Manufacturing in India has existed since ages and it is a well-known fact that the sector employs a large number of engineers, to physically develop solutions to solve societal issues. With most other ‘traditional’ engineering streams, the manufacturing branch has also fallen prey to rumour mills that have gone as far as belittling the sector as far as students taking up courses here is concerned.
Now, to effectively throw light on the scope and career prospects for engineering students, taking up manufacturing engineering studies and careers, domain experts offer enough insights on the scenario of manufacturing in India and whether it is worth for engineers to take up jobs in the sector.
Manufacturing is still multi-disciplinary; don’t be restrictive
“Indian manufacturing sector accepts fresh engineers graduating in various streams, be it mechanical, instrumentation, electrical, and even industrial production. The domain is multi-disciplinary,” states Dr Radhakrishnan HK who is a veteran career counsellor in Bengaluru who works closely with engineers in guiding them towards right career paths.
Dr Radhakrishnan also adds an important aspect which is the fact that the core jobs are relatively more in the sector when compared to the Information Technology enabled services (ITes) engineering domains. Also, with multi-national corporations (MNC) showing avid interest in opening new manufacturing units in various tier-2 Indian areas viz. Bidadi, Ramanagara, Jharkhand, Tiruchirappalli, and more, the opportunities exist for engineers.
Fundamentally, manufacturing engineering is a combination of cross-domain skills like engineering designing, mechanical engineering, engineering management, industrial production, industrial technology, and more. The sector also needs engineers to flex their research & development (R&D) skills at an optimal level such that the finished goods are in line with acceptable standards whilst leveraging smart technology.
What do you do as engineers within a manufacturing unit?
Typically, engineers spend their day in streamlining the manufacturing processes that are currently in place within factories and manufacturing plants. Engineers also get to work in the assembly line area or sometimes even at the exact floor of the process.
Also, it is important to note that the exact process of manufacturing needs to be mastered by engineers so that this can be improvised upon (as stated above).
“As engineers, you will also be involved in the product-level fabrication, and to create working models such that this process, if efficient, is adapted for all the products that are developed at the unit,” states Vijay Shankar B who is a Bengaluru-based senior plant engineer at SMMS Industries that manufactures connectors.
“Th exact placement of components and other micro-level aspects are decided and supervised by domain engineers,” adds Vijay.
Along with the above, engineers are also responsible for the working of developed products and for resolution of post-release queries.
Decoding the exact scope and career prospects in manufacturing engineering
As far as career scope and prospects are concerned, experts bring to light the constant rate at which jobs are generated in the manufacturing engineering sector in India.
“Manufacturing was at its peak in India during the beginning of the latest millennium, but with the onslaught of ITes, engineers are slowly drifting away towards services more than production & manufacturing,” states Jerome Matthews a Mumbai-based senior recruiter who hires for manufacturing companies across India.
Jerome, believes that it takes a lot of awareness for engineers to seek jobs in the current manufacturing domain. “As manufacturing is one sector wherein creativity can be applied to physically develop smart solutions, engineers should analyse the real-world impact (positive) that they can create in the sector,” adds Jerome.
“There is always scope for engineers in the manufacturing sector,” advises Dr Radhakrishnan.
With experts having predicted industrialisation to grow manifold, even the core domains such as production and manufacturing are expected optimistically to report a comparatively better growth rate in the next five years.
“To start off with, fresher engineers should remember that they should toil hard before seeing lucrative days,” chimes-in Nagraj Shankar who owns a printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing unit in the industrial suburbs of Bengaluru.
Nagraj’s view reflects the views of other domain engineers who state that the best part, in the sector, is the monetary bonuses that are generally associated with creatively and technically smart finished goods. Nonetheless, creativity and technology-leveraging abilities are highly sought after by recruiters while hiring engineers for manufacturing.
From the perspective of fresh engineers, designations offered in manufacturing, typically begin from Manufacturing Engineer, and go all the way up till Production and Product Managers. Again, progression in careers and designations is directly based on the level of experience and skillsets.
In fact, salaries of engineers have seen upward spikes by as much as 100% after engineers acquired experience and the in-demand skillsets.