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As a family we do not use the Ration Card much. So, we did not care to apply for it and take it. But a few months back when we decided to take the Ration card as it can be a good address proof. My memories of taking Ration card earlier many years back are not very good. We had to go through a long procedure for it and deal with many Tables in the Food and Civil Supplies department. 

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With all these bad memories, I set out to visit the Government Department in Coimbatore (where I live). When I reached the office, I went to the first Babu (or Samy in Coimbatore) and enquired about the procedure for Ration Card application. He looked at me funnily and told me that there was no need for me to come to the office. He said ‘I cannot do much to help you. You have to apply online’. He zipped out his Smart phone and searched for ‘How to apply for Ration card in Tamilnadu’. Then he showed me the following screen.

 

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I felt very archaic and ignorant. He told me to call him if I get stuck with the technology! That is a definite new for me about a Government employee! 

 

I came home and completed the Online application procedure. Within about 4-5 weeks the Ration card (Smart card) came home! Now this was a wonderful experience!! No running around the Government offices, no dealing with the ‘hungry’ Babus/Samys. You just deal everything online. Government seems to be progressing in the Digitalization agenda?

 

Come to think of it, there are many more facilities all of us have been enjoying. Let us talk about a few.

 

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Description automatically generatedIRCTC: Indian Railway website which all of us use to book the Railway tickets. I know this had been around for years! But it has taken away a huge burden off our shoulders. I still remember the hours that I used to spend in the Que in the Railway stations as and when we decide to travel somewhere. We would have got used to the online booking comfort. But it saved hours for Millions of Railway travelers.

 

 

Now you can not only book tickets online, but order food from important stations on the way to your destination. Food will be delivered from those Restaurants at your Seat! 

 

Railways made some progress. Isn’t it?

 

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Description automatically generatedOnline Tax payments: All the online Tax payments that we are doing now involved a few years back standing in the Bank, filling up challan to pay the Taxes.

 

You can apply for your Water connection online whether you are individual or a Company.

 

If you are going on a Holiday, you can book the Government Accommodations online.

 

Your Children can even read their Textbooks for free online! 

 

There are more than 100 services that are listed on the Tamilnadu Government website. Each of these links actually lead to more than one service. 

 

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Government is driving Digitalization aggressively for the past decade. It is only gathering more speed now. I am sure all of you know many more examples of wonderful services that are helping the public at large. 

 

We are also witnessing a big change in our daily lives.

 

Uber and Ola have revolutionized the way we look at transportation. There are many families that are relooking at the need for a second / third car in the family.

 

Swiggy, Zomato and others have revolutionized the way we dine. There are many more families that are depending on outside food than ever. 

 

Google maps have revolutionized the way we go around and find places. 

 

As we speak hundreds of Apps are changing the way all of us exercise, how we communicate with others and so on. 

 

We are truly living in a world that is FAST changing. 

 

How is Digitalization in your Company?

 

Now if we look at the extent of Digitalization in Indian Manufacturing Companies, do we see a similar drastic change happening?

 

May be a handful of companies have made good progress in terms of using the Technology. 

 

But largely my observation is that Indian Manufacturing Companies seem to be too slow in adapting the Technology. Government (Both Central and State) are way ahead of the Industry. We keep saying that Government is too slow, and Ministers are ignorant of Technology and everything else! But they seem to be doing much better!! 

 

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Description automatically generatedMany companies are still dealing with age old ERPs. Most of them would not be using the features of these old ERPs itself properly. Most of the controls in the ERPs are bypassed. 

 

Some Companies would have tried implementing an SAP in their company. But 90% of these companies have made a mess of implementing the SAP and using it very sub optimally. 

 

Most of the Companies do not have any other software beyond the SAP / ERP. Production planning may be done manually if it is done! 

 

Most of the Information is generated only in Excel sheets and Power points. 

 

The Machines that have PLCs with lot of capabilities are lying unutilized.

 

Usage of IT

 

Information Technology can be used by Companies at three levels.

 

 

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01.  Using IT to handle routine: Basic ERP System: Every company needs to use the ERP effectively. As all of us know there are several modules that can be used to improve efficiency in the organization. The implementation of an ERP should not be treated as just a Software implementation. It is much bigger than that. It is a re-engineering of the routine in the Company. It should be treated as such and a Company should have clear number goal about what needs to improve after the Implementation of the ERP.

 

With the implementation of the ERP system, a Company should have a good process in:

-       Budgetary Control

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Description automatically generatedAnnual Budgeting

-       Production Planning

-       Supplier Portal

-       Dealer Portal

-       Sales order processing

-       Quality System

And so on.

 

            The Routine work in the Company should be controlled by the ERP and this should 

            Help the Company to improve its’ efficiency of doing this routine. 

 

            I would say a company has to aim at improving the White-Collar Productivity by 

            At least 50% after implementing the ERP. Otherwise you are not using it effectively. 

 

            If an ERP implementation is achieving this objective, I would say you are using the 

            ERP reasonably well. Otherwise, why bother to spend the money?

 

02.  Using IT to improve efficiency: Companies can do very well to use several tools that are available today to improve the efficiency in the work. 

 

They can use CRM (Customer relationship management) software to improve the efficiency of their Sales force. Many companies keep restarting the efforts of Marketing whenever a senior person leaves. There is hardly any continuity. 

 

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Description automatically generatedFor identifying the Product / Parts / Raw material they can use Barcodes. Again, a small percentage of companies are using. But the scope for using Barcodes across the industry is huge!  The technology has advanced beyond Barcodes and some companies are talking about using RFID technology.

 

Companies can use E-Learning to train their employees much more effectively and repetitively. They can cut their Costs also in a big way. 

 

Companies can use Problem Solving software to control the Problem solving and record the Knowledge that is generated. 

 

Companies can use Software in New Product Development to design the Product and improve the consistency and speed of Design. 

 

IT solutions can be used in many areas and generate more efficiency. Each application should have a Target of improving the efficiency and it should deliver a measurable result to the Company. 

 

03.  Using IT to build a Competitive edge: IT is being used to build Competitive edge to the Company. Today there are many online trade apps. IT is playing a huge role in these companies. It is not just an enabler of Business. IT is the Business! 

 

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Description automatically generatedYou can look for using IoT, Ind 4.0 elements to give higher value to the Customer. 

 

Today many Capital equipment Companies are looking to use GPS tracking to give a higher value to the Customer in terms of knowing about the usage of the Capital equipment, knowing about the maintenance schedule of the Equipment and so on. 

 

Logistics companies are getting hugely benefitted with the Online tracking of their vehicles. They are able to keep track of the ‘Most economic route’, ‘Speed of the vehicle’ , ‘Mileage of the vehicle’ and so on using the online Apps that are available. 

 

Every company has to find their own mix of solutions that will give them a Competitive edge over their Competitor. 

 

Companies have to start using Information Technology, Ind 4.0  etc and start re-engineering  their Businesses! 

 

Governments are doing a decent job in promoting this agenda! 

 

Indian Manufacturing has a lot to catch up!! 

 

Many of these companies can stop calling the Government inefficient and start improving!

 

 

 

 

 

Published in People Productivity