Skip to Main Content

How technology is empowering SMEs realize their ‘Make in India’ dream

Small and medium enterprises, or SMEs, may be gunning for the global markets. The reality of getting their systems in place before making this quantum leap is posing its own set of challenges.

Case in point: Wonder Polymers, a medium-sized company that manufactures and markets a wide range of self-adhesive tapes in India. This Delhi- and Haryana-based company boasts of a design unit, quality and test laboratories, and employs over 80 skilled workers.

For Wonder Polymers, managing its sales process and leads was proving to be a painstaking task. Wonder Polymers’ internal reporting was done manually by a sales person, who would record the leads, opportunities and client contact information on an Excel sheet. The information that was being processed was available to one person at a time. Invariably, to the one recording it.

In the modern manufacturing era, with real-time tracking and inventory processing, this system was proving to be inadequate. It was also holding them back on streamlining sales processes to improve employee productivity.

Wonder Polymers is not alone. Millions of small and medium businesses in India face the same conundrum.

Traditionally small businesses are defined as an industrial undertaking with investments in fixed assets of Rs.10 million and with less than 50 employees while a medium-sized enterprise is one with fewer than 250 employees.

SMEs in India contribute more than 40%* of the country’s total exports, 1.3* million jobs every year, 45%* of India’s industrial output

However, for these businesses to make the leap to international markets, digitization via information technology is the business need of the hour. It’s driven by the growth potential, incubated by programs such as the Government’s Make in India initiative.

“Less than 5% of our SMBs have online presence today.”

Tallam R Dwaraknath
President of FKCCI

Make in India, launched by the Prime Minister in September 2014, is enabling growth, investment and the tools to promote integration with global manufacturing and supply chains. It encourages multi-national, as well as domestic, companies to manufacture their products in India. Apart from ensuring that India emerges as the top destination globally for foreign direct investment, it is also about creating jobs, boosting manufacturing output and exports. All of this directly engages the SME sector – be it in automotive, retail, manufacturing, defence and aerospace, or electronics. While the government has listed 25 sectors to boost the globally integrated local economy, the reality is the bulk of the Make in India focus (as the name suggests) will be on manufacturing and retail.

Manufacturing and retail lead Make in India

Manufacturing and retail are leading the race to digitization as they will see the maximum gains from this effort to integrate IT into their business processes. According to a survey conducted by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and the Boston Consulting Group, 72% of manufacturing executives said they would be heavily investing in advanced manufacturing technologies in the next five years. Manufacturing companies will increasingly use more technology to gain competitive sustainable advantages, better their innovative capability and shorten their product development cycle. The Government, which is pushing India as a global manufacturing hub through its Make in India initiative, can play a more important role by providing a conducive environment and support to the manufacturing companies. As Tallam R Dwaraknath, President of the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FKCCI) puts it, “In today’s digital era, it is essential that our SMBs have an online presence. Less than 5% of our SMBs have an online presence today.”

Beyond this online presence, managing an enterprise requires specific technological solutions. When it comes to real-time tracking, streamlining of business processes, quality control, collaboration and efficient delivery systems, technology will play the crucial differentiator. Currently they see technology as a cherry topping they can do without, but to truly compete on the global stage as a world-class manufacturer or retailer requires synergies, cost benefits, flexibility, scalability and responsiveness that only information technology can provide.

How technology can power the Make in India dream

In terms of government policy reforms, Make in India has kick-started many initiatives promoting the ease of doing business and to set up infrastructure. By de-licensing and deregulating the infrastructure, the government plans to make it easier to do business or manufacture in India. Application for industrial licenses will happen on a 24×7 basis online, and a single window IT platform will be integrated with this portal so that all clearances are obtained in one go. Apart from licenses and environmental clearances, a checklist of compliances will be clearly listed. Smart cities and industrial corridors are being planned to ensure government policy and reforms match the ease of doing business and infrastructure. But, more than the investment, a change in mindset is crucial. Where technology and innovation will emerge as the true competitive advantage for SMEs and startups.

The Make in India initiatives are designed to facilitate investment, foster innovation, protect intellectual property, and build best-in-class manufacturing infrastructure. In an increasingly complex and competitive global economic landscape, the need to align people, processes and technology is stronger than ever. This helps SMEs and startups differentiate from peers, optimize cost structures and most importantly, compete on a global level with other corporate giants.

Here are examples of how various technology tools enable businesses to succeed

Finecure Pharma grows 30% by using cloud productivity solutions and analytics

Finecure Pharmaceuticals Limited are leading manufacturers and marketers of pharmaceutical formulations and nutraceuticals. They wanted to secure crucial IP information, and use market insights more effectively. They leveraged the Microsoft Office 365 cloud productivity solution to improve productivity, using the digital rights management and encryption technology inbuilt in the software to protect their IP. The company was able to create greater collaboration amongst scientists, technicians and management through the deployment of Skype for business, document sharing and co-authoring of documents. The use of Power BI and analytics has provided accurate field data and deeper market insights to its medical representatives and marketing staff. Finally, data analytics and deeper customer engagement have helped it grow its revenue by 30% every year in the last three years.

“Office 365 has helped us protect IP, produce quality medicines and manage relationships with influencers like medical practitioners, bringing in enhanced efficiencies and better control. Finecure’s quest for excellence is rooted in leveraging technology.”

Vikash Rajgharia, Director, Finecure Pharmaceuticals says.

MartJack signs 250 enterprise customers after moving to the cloud

MartJack Enterprise, a Hyderabad-based digital commerce solution that offers world-class digital commerce solutions to retail clients across emerging markets. Its multi-tenant SaaS based ecommerce platform, and end-to-end multichannel commerce capabilities include seamless catalogue, inventory, order and marketing management, integrated logistics, payments and third party application integration facility. This platform, which enables retailers/ brands to leverage the power of mobile applications and social media integration to engage with digitally savvy consumers, was built on Microsoft Azure.

“The flexibility, scalability, agility and security offered by Microsoft Azure helped us focus on customer acquisition and bring in customized deployments at quick pace with minimal investments.”

Abhay Deshpande, the Founder & CEO, MartJack Enterprise

“MartJack Enterprise announced that it has signed on more than 250 Enterprise customers globally for its Multichannel Commerce Platform, making it the leader in the Enterprise e-commerce Platform space across India and Middle East.”

Abhay Deshpande, the Founder & CEO said that moving to Microsoft Azure helped them acquire this customer base in record time.

Information Systems cut user time by half for the Madhya Pradesh Urban Development and Environment Department

The administrative processes at the Madhya Pradesh UDED were manually controlled – leading to delays, errors and inefficiency. Manual administrative processes were time and effort intensive, leading to poor data consolidation without any tracking mechanism. To top it off, the Human Resources (HR) team had to manage the recruitment, loans, advances, scale of pay and allowances as well as retirement benefits such as pensions, gratuity, annuity, compassionate fund and provident fund for over 60,000 employees using just manual records.

The UDED collaborated with Microsoft partners to design and implement the Urban Sector Management Information System (USMIS). Using Microsoft technology, the USMIS identified a mechanism to enhance the efficiency of processes, cost, quality and service delivery. Thanks to this, pension data of approximately 12,000 pensioners has been cleansed and automated, payrolls of 16 units of UADD are generated every month with just a click. The USMIS applicationhas reduced user-incurred time and effort by 50%! Anil Kumar Gound, Deputy Director, UA&D, Madhya Pradesh state government, says, “With USMIS, the organization has witnessed a revolution.”

Make in India: Turning Vision into Reality.

The Indian SME Survey: Analyzing Indian SME Perceptions Around Union Budget 2014.