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Last updated: 02 May, 2022  

SonAM,9.THMB.jpg Indian MSMEs lack capacity utilization, new product development skills: Karkhana.io Founder & CEO

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SME Times News Bureau | 02 May, 2022
In an exclusive interview with SME Times, Sonam Motwani,Founder & CEO, Karkhana.io, said that in terms of manufacturing skill and capability, the skill-set of operators present in the industry is limited by the skill-set of the MSME proprietor.

Excerpts of the interview…

Please tell our readers about your company and its entrepreneurial journey.

Karkhana.io is India’s foremost B2B on-demand manufacturing platform that provides custom parts manufacturing support to companies. We have a robust network of supplier-partners. We are aggregating and organizing the highly fragmented manufacturing industry. Our manufacturing capabilities encompass CNC machining, 3D printing, injection molding, vacuum casting, and sheet metal fabrication.

I started my career with P&G and worked on solving engineering problems across multiple business units. It was during this time that I witnessed some of the challenges underlying in the manufacturing industry in India. If we want to procure a custom part or product, it is extremely tedious and time consuming to find the right manufacturing supplier. There is no easy way to figure out which manufacturing process to go for, where to manufacture and what’s a fair price to pay. Manufacturing is a highly unorganized industry and I wanted to change that. We started in 2018, and have successfully grown the number of clients and suppliers to our platform by more than five fold compared to what we had during the beginning of our start-up. During these four years, our team has also grown from a team of 4 people to a team of 46 people.

What are the services do you provide? What is the business model?

Our services include CNC machining, 3D printing, injection molding, sheet metal fabrication, and vacuum casting of custom parts. We have built an ecosystem wherein the participants are suppliers, karkhana.io, and customers. We co-ordinate with suppliers for all types of project. When a customer shares requirements on the digital platform, app.karkhana.io, our team of manufacturing experts evaluate the project on multiple parameters such as DfM, quantity, price, and provide technical counsel to clients. The platform also matches the project requirements with the suppliers who have capability and capacity to manufacture the parts. On confirmation of the quotation by the client, the manufacturing process starts, which is overseen by Karkhana.io on an end-to-end basis.

How your products and services help companies? Are they helpful for MSMEs?

Most of our customers and suppliers are small to medium size enterprises. We are able to provide support to our partners in the following manner:

For Suppliers:

• Provide them projects from variety of industry sectors and geographical locations that are compatible with their competency. It helps them with better capacity utilization, improving their operational competency and financial health.

For Customers:

• By using our product platform, customers get flexibility to instantly scale their production to any volume.

• Our product platform, app.karkhana.io, facilitates organizing design files, manufacturing specifications, quotations, inspection reports, and live order tracking till delivery. Customers no longer need to do daily phone call or email to check on the status.

What is the competitive edge?

Karkhana.io’s competitive edge is the combination of:

1) Unique digital platform that simplifies the ordering to delivery process

2) In-house competencies in sourcing, and project management

3) Portfolio of wide manufacturing services

4) Robust supplier network

How you see Indian MSMEs in terms of the manufacturing skill and capability? Where do they lack?

In terms of manufacturing skill and capability, the skill-set of operators present in the industry is limited by the skill-set of the proprietor. They lack in a lot of things like:

• Capacity Utilization: Most of the MSMEs work at under utilized capacity as it is enough to make ends meet. Capacity is not utilized at its fullest and it affects their growth in terms of productivity, and business generation.

• Standards: MSMEs rely on makeshift solutions as they don’t have a standardized way of working and don’t follow any standards for which they can be evaluated against. This affect their productivity and capability to take up more complex projects.

• New Product Development: The above two aspects coupled with lack of technical workforce, prevents MSMEs to take up high-value new product development project.

What do you think government should do to further push the manufacturing sector?

Government has already rolled out various schemes aimed at providing financial support, improving business and operations, and upgrading technology and expertise of MSMEs. The schemes include Production Linked Incentives (PLI), Credit Linked Capital Subsidy Scheme, Lean Manufacturing Competitiveness for MSMEs, Technology and Quality Upgradation support to MSMEs, and Design Clinic for Design Expertise to MSMEs.

These schemes are attracting investments from across the world, and encouraging India companies as well to invest further in the country. We believe that if this approach is sustained, it will have a huge, positive impact on the manufacturing industry.

Please tell our readers about your future plans

We are currently focusing on five emerging sectors in India - Aerospace/Defense, Robotics, IOT, Health-tech, and Electric Mobility.

As these sectors are developing, their supply chain is not fully functional. Most companies in these segments face challenges in creating a seamless loop from manufacturing to delivery. While these companies have significant expertise when it comes to product design, sales, and marketing, they lack the skills in areas like manufacturing and supply.

Karkhana.io aims to address this gap by helping companies set up and manage their custom part supply chain and enable them to reach the markets faster thereby giving them a considerable competitive advantage.

On the digital front, we aim to rapidly increase the adoption of our platform across small enterprises, MSMEs, and large enterprises. We also plan to add more features as we expand the ecosystem.

 
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