With ‘work from home’ being the alien and social distance in a production setup seemingly impossible, the pandemic suggested that an uphill journey was on the cards for this sector; they encompassed a complete overhaul of structures and functions that proved no less than overwhelming for a sector that contributes more than 16 per cent to India’s GDP production, employing about 12 per cent of the country’s labour force.
While organisations such as Kanchan Metals, a company offering food processing machines, adjust to the next normal, the longer-term concern remains what will be the new order of business.
During the earlier days, the organisation was following WFH but gradually has shifted back to working from the office. Speaking on the sudden disruption, Raghav Gupta, Director, Kanchan Metals, said, “It is evident that the immediate response to the crisis is by making a presence in the digital space and utilising the technologies.”
Focus on cost optimization
From the industry’s perspective, Gupta said the focus is going to be on cost optimization and looking for efficiencies in all aspects of production. He further said, “The shortage of labour/skilled labour is one of the most common and major challenges facing businesses, especially in the manufacturing sector.”
According to Gupta, work from home isn’t an option for the manufacturing segment. “Some employees need to be available onsite to ensure that business moves ahead as a complete shutdown would not have been successful,” he said.
However, with a response to such a pandemic, the manufacturing industry had to learn to work remotely or with limited staff. Eventually, it led to a “fortunate change” where the organisation learnt to operate virtually.
Gupta said, “We learnt to focus on ensuring the knowhow and health of every production machinery; monitoring staff’s health and productivity; taking appropriate precautions for safety against the virus; Automating team for effectiveness.”
Gupta pointed out that the pandemic affected the hiring cycle in the year 2020. “Keeping our future plans in mind we have identified certain key posts/positions where we are looking for fresh recruitments,” he said.
The company works with a close group of HR Consultants who send it CVs from relevant industries to meet requirements. “It is a dynamic and ever-evolving situation but generally speaking we are adding 10-15 per cent of HR strength each year,” Gupta said.
“We have multiple divisions in our company. In our machinery division, we employ about 40 people and we add 4-5 persons each year in different roles and responsibilities,” he added.