Industrial Automation Magazine India



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How industry should cope with the disruption ?

During these trying times when the industry is heavily affected with economical issues came up the pandemic called Covid 19 and disrupted the industry completely. We at Industrial Automation Magazine have taken an initiative to bring the industry together and share their viewpoints so that others reading can take measures accordingly to have minimal damage.

About the industry expert

Disclaimer: The views expressed in interviews are personal, not necessarily of the organisations represented.

My name is Bharat Wakhlu. I'm an energetic and inspiring Thought Leader, an International Management Consultant, a Global Futurist, Leadership Coach, Facilitator of Beneficial Change, a World-class Keynote Speaker, Author and a Champion of Life-Affirming Enterprise. I'm widely traveled and Inter-culturally effective. I am also the Founder and the President of The Wakhlu Advisory - a Business Consulting Organization, as also the Co-Founder of Resilient Leadership and Change Management, LLP.

Has the present Corona Virus strain caught the world unaware and unprepared ?

There's no doubt that the manner in which (and the reasons why ) the Covid19 virus jumped the species barrier and then spread rapidly across the globe, are altogether unprecedented. Naturally, nobody was aware that such a thing could occur, albeit the scenario about a virulent pathogen afflicting humanity in large numbers, has been discussed and debated. Even movies about that possibility were made. But as far as the preparedness of nations - and the adequacy of their healthcare infrastructure - is concerned I think no nation can ever have unlimited facilities to deal with crises of the magnitude akin to that created by Covid19. Nations will almost always be in reactive-mode when affected by a crisis that afflicts a large number of people together.

What are the implications for business in the near, medium and long term ?

Businesses will all be affected. Many will be adversely impacted, while others might tide over the crisis depending on their business model.
In the short and medium terms, the travel, tourism and entertainment and events businesses will probably take the most hit. The Aviation and automobile sectors will experience a significant downturn. The medical supplies and pharmaceutical companies might benefit. The food processing industries might benefit. The long-term will see some major changes in value-propositions, and the manner in which business will be done. It's far to early to make predictions about that.

How can governments be better prepared to handle such pandemics in future ?

There has to be much more global collaboration and information sharing in the areas related to the Management of Bio-hazards and other potential crises. In the current pandemic, the United Nations and the WHO have been most ineffective even in sharing the right kind of information in a timely manner. The structure of the UNO and the UNSC are obviously impediments in ensuring transparency, and that complicates matters. But the COVID19 crisis will, in my view, act as a spur to bring about more global collaboration in health, food security, and climate change.

High accuracy thermal scanners are available but are not used possible due to high costs. Would they be more effective ?

Effective for gauging the temperature of people? Frankly, I'm not an expert on this, so I don't know.

Now that businesses are getting used to the Work From Home culture, will this signal a paradigm shift ?

Yes, the ability to work from remote locations, without allowing Business Continuity, Security and Compliance issues to be compromised, is significant learning, for businesses around the world. Remote working, using secure and reliable VPNs is also very effective in releasing office space, and companies are noticing that fixed costs can be brought down as a result. There is no question that this will force companies to continuously evaluate which jobs can be done remotely and which need more face time. Ultimately there will be a new normal that will emerge, where a hybrid between face time and remote working will be commonplace.

Some analysts have suggested this crisis will boost automation and make a case for Lights Out manufacturing. Your comments ?

The push for automated manufacturing will undoubtedly get a fillip, But not all industries are capable of transitioning to a completely "lights-out manufacturing " environment. Where it is possible, it will definitely get a boost, but creative people, who will design, develop new processes and upgrade the inputs based on the changing needs of the market, will still be required to interface with such a manufacturing eco-system.

What are the lessons from this crisis ?

In my view there are five major lessons for people as a whole:
a) Learn to focus on what's truly valuable in life. Go for the really valuable stuff, and not the fluff.
b) Care for and appreciate all those whom we are dependent on ( the farmers, the truckers, the doctors, paramedics, nurses, police-people etc)
c) Collaborate across companies and nations, so that the pressing problems can be solved making the world a better place.
d) Run enterprises transparently and efficiently, not wasting natural resources and water, Our planet has only a finite set of resources.
e) Rely more and more upon the Circular Economy, and give a boost to recycling and re-using what we have.

#April 2020 Covid Special

To say the world is passing through trying times is to state the obvious. Also evident is the fact that for too long the world has been ignoring the warning signs of environmental degradation fuelled by human excesses and greed. But this is no time for ifs and buts, nor recrimination. Instead, the crisis should be used as an opportunity to make the required course correction to make the world a safer place for all living beings, and the ecological balance, restored. Industrial Automation invited a cross section of industry leaders to offer their views and possible course of action as a way forward from this situation, even as governments across the world and the people are trying to make sense from the still evolving scenario. To read the full cover story Please click here