COVID-19 will boost the demand for automation


As businesses continue to reel under the impact of COVID-19, challenging days lie ahead for all industry sectors. Rashmi Ranjan Mohapatra, Managing Director, Kemppi South East Asia and India asserts that technology will play a major role in these difficult times. With more and more people relying on automation, the segment will see a sudden surge in demand. He talks about how Kemppi is ensuring employee well-being and how ‘work from home’ might become the new normal. Excerpts:

Q. Please tell us about the initiatives taken by your company for business continuity, connectivity and employee well-being during these challenging days?

We have made all efforts to be a part of the fight against COVID-19. As a part of our social responsibility we came up with several measures to avoid its social spreading. Our prime concern is always the employee well-being and so all employees were permitted to work from home. Meetings are being held through video conferencing at a frequency of twice a week. Travelling and external visits to Kemppi premises are restricted until further notice. Strict personal hygiene is advised. Hands to be washed frequently with sanitizers/soap water. Shaking of hands should be avoided. Use of masks and handkerchiefs and their safe disposal is suggested.

Employees who returned from foreign countries and others who have had contact with them were strictly made to undergo self- isolation. Every employee is informed to approach the occupational healthcare, their local healthcare provider or hospital to receive instructions based on the symptoms and possible virus exposure.

We suggest to every other person to make sure that ‘you are not a cause for the spread of Coronavirus. Please do follow the healthcare instructions. Join hands to fight the spread of the viral infection and to reinstate the beauty of the Earth’.

To ensure that our employees stay physically and mentally fit during the lockdown period, we have organized compulsory fitness class for one hour. This is conducted by a Professional Trainer and all the employees along with their families join the program.

We have a team that creates activities for the employees and their families. This is to keep the Kemppi extended families active and engaged during the lockdown. While the kids are drawing something, the elder ones are engaged in some recipes or riddles.

What initiatives have you taken to ensure customer engagement and satisfaction?

Our employees are in touch with the customers during these difficult times. We stay in touch with our customers through webinars and newsletters. Webinars are organized based on the customer requests. Newsletters and emails are sent to the customers so as to help them to be updated about the status of the market and our operations. The entire Kemppi India family is working together to ensure maximum support to the customers.

Q. As a corporate entity, what are the key lessons you learn from this crisis?

Being an industrial organization, which is closely associated to the manufacturing sector, this is a challenging situation. We strongly believe that, the current work culture might change following the lockdown days. Many organizations will adopt ‘work from home culture’ as a part of their regular operations. The living style of individuals has been influenced by lockdown. By leveraging the digital platforms, we are able to connect to the entire team on the globe.

Q. In your view, what would be the impact of the pandemic on the overall business scenario and your industry?

In fact, this period is a realization to the changed technological aspects and the newer arena of digital world.  It is expected that business throughout the globe would be affected by the current situation. Challenging days are coming ahead for all the industry sectors and it all depends on how we are going to manage the upcoming days. Technology will play a major role after this, and people will rely on automation and this segment will witness a sudden demand in the market. Being a Robotic Welding Integrator, we are sure that industries will rely on more automation in the production-lines in the future.

Q. What’s your strategy to keep yourself afloat and to tackle the economic slowdown?

As I said, the entire team is working together to ensure that these days are tackled in the best possible ways. Of course, a whole lot of re-works would be required to swim across this sea of challenge; but being hopeful is the only catalyst to our efforts ahead rather than projecting the losses. Keeping in mind the expected scenario the entire world has to work together on empowering every sector of the society to get back to the normal business.

Q. Do you expect any support from the Government for your sector?

Definitely Government will be offering their support to every sector including the manufacturing sector to take a leap from the emerging situation. The RBI has pumped in more money into the banking sector and new schemes have been introduced to provide financial support to MSMEs at cheaper interest rate. This shows that their part of providing support has already started. As the Supply Chain and Logistics domain have been affected, more and more manufacturing units under ‘Make in India’ scheme will be supported and this will help in booming the manufacturing sector.

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