Tech Writer and Content Strategist, R&D and Engineering, Dell Technologies, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
While for a layman, MSME as an abbreviation is Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise. However, for me, MSME is Mission not Solitary but Memorabilia of Excellence. Said that, is digitalization and digital transformation only for major Indian companies? No, it is vital for Indian MSMEs also. Is this myth preventing India’s GDP growth and showcasing India as the beginner in the global e-Intensity Index? See the graph here.
Image—Boston Consulting Group
Digitalization enables better communication with vivid customers in global markets—20% growth for SMEs with online presence compared to the 11% growth for those who are not. How many of our Indian MSMEs have a website or mobile app to showcase their business presence? To begin our journey in bridging this gap, we must get a first-hand-information about the status of India SME digitalization (business sector-based) based on their progress (beginner–matured) in the journey of digitalizing their business processes. CII and CDT have done a tremendous job in this aspect.
Our SMEs must be educated to have some budget for making themselves available online. In India, predominantly, the automotive sectors are more advanced in digitalization compared to other SMEs such as food, machinery, coir, footwear, textiles, ceramics, and many more trades. With the strong support from the government policies to digitalize India, our SMEs, especially the youth must grab the opportunity and showcase their entrepreneurship skills at a rapid rate. This is where developing more clusters and removing internal competition—by technology sharing—can help our MSMEs. Such good deeds can help financially challenged industries to check their digital health state by seeking help from neighboring industries.
I simply mean to say that Industry 4.0 is not only for the IT and manufacturing sectors, but it applies to all the aforesaid SME business sectors. After all, Industry 4.0 in the form of automation and digitalization, is expected to make industries 30% more faster and 25% more efficient. By using this infographic, I am articulating the facts showcased by a survey conducted by KPMG and Google-India (2017) about digitalizing Indian SMEs. The very fact that only 2% of our SMEs do online business is a cause of concern and clearly indicates that even SMEs must effectively participate in digitalizing India.
The machine tool industry is expected to reach USD 3–4 billion by 2020, but our small-scale industries must be up-to-scale to grab opportunities, which can happen only through digitalization. The recent example of Punjab MSMEs signing MoU with Amazon and Flipkart to provide access to global markets is a classic example for digitalizing Indian MSMEs. I am impressed by the way Surindra Engineering, digitalized their business by connecting with global customers and suppliers. Ironically, 97% of Indian MSMEs are small—employing less than 10 workers—where most of them have only 1–3 workers. Research indicates that the next generation of automation can increase industrial productivity by 30% but are our MSMEs ready for the grab? I cannot resist from quoting a few examples of industries that did not start in the era of computers and digitalization, but have embraced modern thinking to lead the market even today—Chordia (food), Sil-kee (rubber key pads), and Chitale (milk & sweet).
Another insight which this research indicates is that in 2019, Indian SMEs have invested USD 14–16 billion on digital technologies. Not to forget the contribution of start-up companies who have helped Indian SMEs in challenges such as findability, customer engagement, online sales, and exploring new markets and customers. Yes, even the large enterprises are joining hands with the vendor SMEs to hand-hold, finance, and upscale the skills to carry the small players also in their global competition, more challenged by innovation and digitalization. Therefore, I would like to reiterate that MSMEs are vital in this journey and sustenance of digital transformation of Indian industries. After all, MSME is Mission not Solitary but Memorabilia of Excellence…
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