Skilled labour need of the hour for MSMEs, says expert

Coimbatore: One of the major issues micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country face is the shortage of skilled labour, said Rene Van Berkel, the representative of United Nations Industrial Development Organization (Unido) to India. He was in the city on Wednesday to participate in the southern region stakeholder’s consultation meeting on ‘Clean and Modern Small Industries 2030’.
Berkel said the lack of skilled workforce was felt in two ways – technical skills and soft skills. “MSMEs need more people with technical skills such as welders and CNC operators and people with soft skills such as team workers and people with problem solving abilities,” said Berkel. He said this gap could be bridged by conducting training and skill development programmes.

Berkel had come to the city to interact with MSME stakeholders as part of the nation-wide programme to collect inputs for making the small industries achieve a sustainable growth.

The meeting was organized by the Coimbatore Industrial Infrastructure Association (Coindia). In an initiative to make MSMEs modern and cleaner within 2030, it has asked Unido to take stock of the present situation of MSMEs and provide inputs to improve them. Berkel said the Unido team had met MSME representatives in Kolkata last week and in Mumbai last month.

MSMEs in India mostly depend on informal financial channels rather than banks or organized financial channels, which prove to be expensive for them, said Berkel. He said members of MSMEs must also develop financial management skills. “As many MSMEs in the region have become traditional enterprises managed by second generation from families, they have become complacent and resistant to change. MSMEs should be ready to adopt change,” he said.

Unido has been concentrating on initiatives such as energy efficiency and lean manufacturing, said Berkel. When asked about the waste management scenario in MSMEs, he said while some companies recycle waste and put it to use, a majority of MSMEs have still a long way to go to manage waste. The same goes with implementing Industry 4.0, said Berkel. While a few firms have started to implement facets of Industry 4.0, many firms had no awareness about the concept, he said.

Unido representatives would compile inputs received from MSMEs across the country and submit it to development commissioner of ministry of MSME.

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