As we all know, metals industry is one of the core industries and it is the input for many industry verticals. Thus if the economic wheel has to move, the furnaces have to blast and the rolling mills have to run. This was once again proved in the post second wave industry scenario.
There are few verticals which suffered heavy losses during this period and are still struggling to come back on track. Tourism industry is a glaring example. Probably they have to reinvent themselves, completely change their approach and try to redefine the tourism industry. This exercise, I am sure will not only help them to float but also to grow. Though there is no such threat posing the metals industry, and it will continue to operate and produce the required quantity of metals, I am worried about the production and processing technology and cost. Metals being input material for many industries like auto, construction, white goods etc., high metal prices have cascading effect on the prices of finished goods such as automobiles, refrigerators, washing machines and many such products. The customer industries have already started complaining about the high prices. I genuinely feel it is the time for our metallurgists, process experts and technologists have to come out with cost effective technologies, processes of metal manufacturing and processing. We have been hearing a lot about the concepts like ‘Green Manufacturing’ and ‘Eco friendly sustainable growth’ but these concepts are not fully exploited on industry platform. Yes, Industry 4.0 can help to increase the efficiency and reduce the per ton production cost, but up to a point. We need a breakthrough technology and process. Can the government, research labs, our ministry put together a development fund and chart a time bound program ? One may feel that I am too much worried about the customers and their costing but mind well, unless our customer industries grow, the metals demand can not grow beyond a point. If we, as a nation want to grow at a reasonable pace, we need exponential growth, not a linear one.
As I am writing this piece, the covid cases in Mumbai are slowly increasing. The doctors and authorities are asking us to get ready and prepared for a third wave. Though I am very sure that we, as a industry are very well prepared for such an eventuality. The first two waves have taught us the proper protocols and behavior during covid. So, let us be ready but not scared for a possible third wave !