Editorial November 2020.

I am quite happy about the way Indian iron & steel industry is recovering from the global pandemic of covid-19. As we all know, ‘steel’ is one of the core sector of the economy and is important input to many important industry sectors like infra, construction, white goods, auto, engineering, etc. Thus the performance of steel sector affects so many industry verticals and finally has a big impact on overall economy of the country.

In the first few months of unlocking, the steel production was superseding the demand. This was natural as the steel producers were running the plants where as the construction activity was almost closed, infra projects were completely halted and hardly any vehicle was being sold. In fact many automakers were themselves involved in the noble work of manufacturing safety equipments for the people. The exports surged during this period. But now gradually the steel demand is moving up and the industry balance is getting restored.

Now that the industry is back on recovery track and cruising ahead decently, there are few other challenges peeping in. Firstly, even if the demand is recovering fast, the supply chain which was disrupted at many places has not been healed properly. Many points including the logistics has to be improved further. Secondly, this pandemic has created lot of stress and pressure within global economy and has tremendously increased the competition. This necessitates the need to produce better quality at competitive prices. Thus the producer has to adopt smart manufacturing techniques, or Industry 4.0 as is commonly referred to in India, to enhance efficiency, productivity and thus improve the bottomline of the company. Mind you, Industry 4.0 is not a just a fashionable word but the smart way of inducting the sustainability in the organisation. Sooner or later, everybody has to adopt it.

Another important outcome of covid-19 is the total change in the mindset of individuals as well as the corporations. Now, going to office everyday looks unnecessary. Instead, working from home throughout the week and going to office may be once a week looks normal. Also, planning a business tour for fewer meetings may not look professional. Video meeting or conversation completely serves the purpose. Although, most of the restrictions imposed during the lockdown are now lifted, the local trains in Mumbai and public transport systems in many metros are not fully on track. This has forced many corporations to outsource many of the professional functions which is going on smoothly. This situation has drastically reduced the need to have big number of permanent employees and also of a big office premises.

Indeed, the post covid world is different, interesting and off course challenging. One has to face it with a smiling face !

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