The 7th ACMA Technology Summit and Atmanirbhar Excellence Awards took place in the physical format after two years. Sumesh Soman brings forth the focus areas.

The Automotive Component Manufacturers Association (ACMA) hosted the seventh edition of the  ACMA Technology Summit and Atmanirbhar Excellence Awards returning to the physical format for the first time post the pandemic. The day-long event had the automotive industry in full strength rubbing shoulders with decision-makers from the industry and the government. Deepak Jain, past-President of ACMA and Chairman and Managing Director at Lumax Industries Ltd. exclaimed, “It is a matter of celebration for all of us. As we return to the new normal, I am sure we’re focused on progress. Today, we’re not just felicitating the deserving, but also making sure we’re well aligned with our customer needs.” This alignment to customer needs was well reflected with the summit’s theme of  ‘Driving Mobility Through Technology, Digitisation and Sustainability’.

Through the day-long summit, participating speakers took to the podium as they unanimously brought forth the vision for the future with regards to the impending crossover from Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) to Electric Vehicles (EV) to attain the objective of net-zero carbon emissions. Kenichi Ayukawa, President of SIAM and the Technology Awards Summit cited the target of becoming a carbon-free country in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment at the COP26 concluded in London. He also reiterated the contribution of the industry to the nation’s GDP accounting for 2.3 per cent as a significant employment generator. He stressed on the industry fast moving towards 100 per cent localisation and lauded the government for timely interventions to in turn strengthen the business case of the highly invested industry. The summit concluded with the awards where companies were awarded across key categories including  ‘Excellence in Digitisation’, ‘Excellence in Human Resources’, ‘Excellence in Exports’, ‘Excellence in Health, Safety and Sustainability’, ‘Excellence in Localisation’, ‘Excellence in New Product Design and Development’ and ‘Excellence in Manufacturing’.

Contours of Technology

At the summit, it was agreed that most of the OEMs have incorporated new technological improvements in their products. Here Advanced Drives Assistance Systems (ADAS), connected tech and Over The Air (OTA) updates were the focal points. Known to progress towards making mobility easier and much more convenient in relation to the present scenario, there were concrete mentions of Advanced Rider Assistance Systems (ARAS), especially for two-wheelers that are known to be nearing commercialisation for when the market demands case-in-point 300 cc and higher displacement heavy bikes as per a leading manufacturer in the domain (Refer the eighth Anniversary Special issue of ACI for an in-depth report). Commenting on the industry transformation, Sunjay Kapur, President, ACMA and Chairman, Sona Comstar Ltd. asserted, “Indian automotive component industry is at the cusp of change. Companies have already started adopting new-age technologies such as telematics, ADAS and automation fast transforming the industry.” Hailing the government interventions, he added, whilst the industry faced several headwinds, the support of  government  policies like PLI, FAME-II had enabled the industry  to stay strong and remain globally competitive.” Ram Kuppuswamy, Chief Procurement Officer at Hero MotoCorp seconded Kapur when he cited factors such as sustainability, safety, comfort and adaptation due to geopolitical scenarios constantly driving change in product technologies the industry has succeeded at.


Contours of Digitisation

Ever since the pandemic, the industry has come to terms with digitisation as the new norm. Key manufacturers launched their digital platforms and apps. for their respective trade and for seamlessly functioning. They also coupled them with lucrative offers to help boost the new stream of sales through e-commerce. Be it the integration of components, ancillaries, the aftermarket or the vehicle as a finished good. While some OEMs had to launch new digital platforms, others had to rehash their existing portal to give it a new interface and pool in customers. While these changes were more evident for the front office, the shopfloor also gets some action when it comes to the digitisation trend. A look around is enough to unearth stories of remote installations and troubleshooting between engineers of the parent and their subsidiaries for example, the Panasonic Miraie Profactory solutions and a look at their new Toughbook can be perceived as a two-pronged approach to amplify the wave of digitisation across the value chain, from upstream to downstream was a testimony. French multinational Dassault Systems is no stranger to digitisation with its offerings in the DW Suite of tools as an enabler for shopfloor functioning a cinch.

This has not only helped relieve the blue-collar workforce of mundane and repetitive tasks but brought in the desired level of precision and efficiencies with floor managers in a position to re-allocate resources for better yielding processes. Sunil Kakkar, Sr. Executive Director, Supply Chain at Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. said, “If you want to incorporate a big change in the industry, digital adapter is an extremely important step during the transition.” Here Kapur spoke of  ACMA  being able to align itself with institutes like IITs for a crucial cross-exchange between industry and academia. Vinnie Mehta, Director General at ACMA drew attention to the  ACMA Centre of Excellence at IIT Delhi, Sonipat,  equipped with a lab and workstations, wherein the centre trains people from the industry to be self sufficient. The objective being to enable them with the know-how of building digital suites from scratch to meet their custom needs.


Contours of Sustainability

Since normalcy has surfaced gradually into our lives, sustainability has found its way into the segment as the building block of the industry’s existence. Both OEMs and the government realise how it is imperative to work in tandem to attain the common goal. With 75 of 92 companies gaining an approval under PLI scheme for Advanced Automotive Technology, it is apt to conclude that the industry is also actively working on building a robust ecosystem with circular economy as a topmost priority.

This will in turn cut down imports, and increase exports and gradually aid in growth of the nation’s economy in line with the five trillion dollar vision. The industry’s focus on clean energy solutions including gas-based drivetrains with CNG and LNG in the mix not to leave out hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles that has witnessed a heightened interest with protos nearing commercialisation. Raju Kekale, Deputy Managing Director, Toyota Kirloskar Motor cited the company’s business approach as an example. Over the last two decades, Toyota has worked hard to develop its electric technology that has helped us become the global leaders in electric vehicles and sustainable business excellence, he mentioned. Piyush Goyal, Honourable Minister for Textiles, Commerce and Industry and Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Government of India lauded the auto industry for its serious measures to incorporate the adaptation of sustainability. He reiterated the crucial role it plays in building value, creation of wealth and employment generation as a direct bearer of the uplifting of a      billion Indians.

The 7th ACMA Tech Summit showcased how the OEMs and the government is working in tandem for a better future with less fatalities driven by better mobility solutions for an industry that thrives on technology, digitisation and sustainability.

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