Automation , Aatmanirbharta (Self-Reliance) & Vada Pav (Indian Burger)
Blog: NASSCOM Official Blog
Finding the New Deal in my Happy Meal
My husband and I walked into the nearest Mc Donald’s store (in Pune) for a lazy Sunday binge earlier this year.
It’s a large outlet and remains fairly crowded over the weekends. Primarily thronged by youngsters and children leaning over the billing counters asking for their favourite meals makes the store vibrant and cheerful.
We noticed a change that day!
The children who usually lined up at the billing counters, were lining up to explore the NEW automated ‘Order and Pay Here’ and pick up at the counter instead of bothering the man at the counter.
Perhaps, the added fun element was swiping their parents’ card while making click choices for their meals themselves.
They were becoming self-reliant (or aatmanirbhar) and automation only aided the aatmanirbharta of the generation.
The Automation Deal
Organizations were adopting automation in labour intensive industries even before the COVID pandemic, but they were cautious in their approach.1
Many such retail outlets like Mc Donald’s have been experimenting with technology and reducing human-run checkouts or cashiers even before the pandemic. Amazon’s Supermarket in Seattle has no checkout assistants for example. Sensors and ‘Just Walk Out’ technology billing counters reduce queues and the need for human contact.
Investments in the automation industry were witnessing a gradual rise however, the pandemic has forced organizations to think about automation and labour rather seriously.
The Cusp of Change
In a survey conducted by EY, 41% of the respondents(leaders of organizations) said that they would soon be investing in accelerating automation within their industry while preparing for a post-crisis world.2
Here are some reasons and key changes within organizations that may drive you towards automation leading to self-reliance:
- Social Distancing and the ‘New Normal’
While automation has been embraced by various organizations worldwide, the added social distancing norms in a post COVID world will play a key role in ensuring novel ways of automating processes that normally involved more human contact earlier.
- Investments will bear fruit
Forrester’s recent report on COVID’s impact on Automation notes that organizations are willing to invest more in automation than in rehiring due to its long-term benefits.3
According to McKinsey, industries will see increased productivity with in automation. The annual GDP growth is expected to be around 0.8 -1.4% of the global GDP.4
- Self-Reliance at scale
Care robots and remote caring systems were introduced in Japan which had a huge elderly population. A COVID Cobot was introduced by a passionate IAS officer to reduce human contact and build self-reliance at scale in a village in Jharkhand, India.
These are clear examples of what may push organizations to adopt automation.
- Financial Pressure to Automate
The Govt. of India announced the Aatmanirbharta concept and ever since organizations small and large have been looking at going #vocalforlocal. The financial pressures to automate have become greater in order to keep up with the social distancing norms, replace exports with local materials while also keeping up the growth curve.
What’s next then?
The financial implications of COVID – 19 have impacted investments in automation and organizations are following a ‘wait & watch’ approach while limiting expenditures. However, once the demand increases and financials improve in Q4’20 or in 2021, the investments in automation are bound to gain momentum.
Growth of domestic production will then rest on the use of innovative ideas along with mapped automation techniques to make globally competitive products locally.
For instance, Bharat Prajapati, a gadget enthusiast from Gujarat invented a self-dispensing paani-puri vending machine recently. Users insert the money from one side, while the golgappas slide in from the other side.
I’m also thinking of a vada pav kiosk version for the local vendors!
What do you think?
Leave your thoughts below.
- COVID-19 – Tipping point for automation. (2020, April 15). NASSCOM Community |The Official Community of Indian IT Industry. https://community.nasscom.in/communities/covid-19/automation-impact-on-jobs-assessing-possibilities-of-greater-automation-and-more-jobs.html
- Chandler, S. (2020, May 13). Coronavirus is forcing companies to speed up automation, for better and for worse. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/simonchandler/2020/05/12/coronavirus-is-forcing-companies-to-speed-up-automation-for-better-and-for-worse/#26e1787e5906
- The COVID-19 crisis will accelerate enterprise automation plans. (2020, May 5). Home · Forrester. https://www.forrester.com/report/The+COVID19+Crisis+Will+Accelerate+Enterprise+Automation+Plans/-/E-RES160598?objectid=RES160598
- AI and automation in HR: Impact, adoption and future workforce. (2019, November 1). AIHR Digital. https://www.digitalhrtech.com/ai-in-hr-impact-adoption-automation/