October Editorial 2018

In 2017, Indian economy was shadowed by demonetization in the first half and the implementation of much awaited GST.As mentioned in my last piece, one may debate on the long term utility of these measures but on a short term basis the economy did get a big jolt. Organized part of iron & steel industry did not get much affected by demonetization and infact it gained a little bit from GST implementation. Now in 2018, Indian economy seems to have recovered from these tremors and is cruising forward. The GDP growth rates of the first two quarters of 2018 (7.5 % and 8.2 % respectively) are quite encouraging for the economy as well as for the iron & steel industry. A good GDP growth rate always encourages the industry and in turn helps the steel demand to rise.

If one looks at the user industry sectors of steel, there too a positive sentiment is prevailing. Infrastructure sector which consumes maximum steel, is growing at a steady speed. Many mega projects have now shifted from drawing boards to the sites. They are expected to give a big boost to steel demand in the country. As regards construction, one may develop a feeling that it is stagnated in big metros. Yes, it may be the case but look at tier II and Tier III cities. They are growing at amazing speed and eating lot of steel in the process. Auto industry too is growing at a decent speed and creating a good demand for flat steels (body) and long products (auto parts). Of course experts feel concerned about the auto steel demand on a long term basis when electric vehicles will be popular. In any case, today all seems to be well.

 

Today, one of the major concerns of the industry is rising oil prices. It makes the transport more costly and affects all the products, industrial as well as household. As we all know, for producing a tone of steel three tones of raw materials are required. Thus in totality, four tones are transported. With these facts in mind, one can imagine the impact oil price rise is going to have on iron & steel industry.

If the industry has to progress, technology should provide the push and the direction for this transition. For the last few years, we have been talking about automation, robotics in steel sector. Now the concept of ‘smart manufacturing’ or ‘industry 4.0’ is getting popular. With implementation of this, one can not only monitor but also effectively and efficiently manage his factory by using an app on his mobile phone. I feel now is the time Indian iron & steel industry should look for such technological upgradation so as to improve on quality, productivity and overall efficiency of the plant.

 

If the industry has to progress, technology should provide the push and the direction for this transition. For the last few years, we have been talking about automation, robotics in steel sector. Now the concept of ‘smart manufacturing’ or ‘industry 4.0’ is getting popular. With implementation of this, one can not only monitor but also effectively and efficiently manage his factory by using an app on his mobile phone. I feel now is the time Indian iron & steel industry should look for such technological upgradation so as to improve on quality, productivity and overall efficiency of the plant.

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