Machine Tool Marvel: The Godrej Legacy and India’s Industrial Ascent

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Jamsheyd-N-Godrej
Jamsheyd N Godrej

IMTMA, the Indian Machine Tools Manufacturing Association, has played a key role in fostering and developing the Indian Machine Tool industry. Its goal is to cater to the requirements of both the local and global manufacturing sectors. Beginning with Naval P Godrej, the primary force behind IMTEX, the International Machine Tool and Manufacturing Technology Exhibition organized by IMTMA, and continuing with his son, Jamsheyd N Godrej, IMTEX has consistently been benefited from the dedicated leadership of visionary individuals.

Jamsheyd N Godrej, a legend in the Machine Tool industry and IMTMA, played a crucial role in promoting IMTEX, the International Machine Tool and Manufacturing Technology Exhibition. Under his leadership, IMTEX used to be a long-standing event happening in Mumbai. Throughout the years, Mr Godrej not only inherited the legacy of his father but also broadened its scope, embodying the essence of innovation and advancement propelling Indian manufacturing. Mr Godrej engaged in a heartening and insightful conversation with Machine Maker during the IMTEX Forming 2024 event.

Jamsheyd N Godrej is the Chairman of Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Company Limited, holding a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology, USA. Formerly Chair of Ananta Aspen Centre, he leads Ananta Centre and serves as President of World Wide Fund for Nature – India. Mr Godrej is also Chair of the Board for Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, India Resources Trust, and the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water.

Additionally, he’s a Director of the World Resources Institute, USA, and a Trustee of the Asia Society, USA. A former President of CII and IMTMA, he oversees the CII Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre, known for its LEED Platinum building. Leading Godrej and Boyce’s diverse manufacturing, he guides the group’s prominence in home appliances, consumer goods, and industrial services. Beyond business, Mr Godrej is an avid yachting enthusiast, honored with the “Padma Bhushan” by the President of India in 2003.

IMTEX has achieved its milestone status in the industry after almost five decades. When Mr Godrej was young, he worked hard to support this exhibition, putting India on the global map. Talking about his feelings after all these years, Mr Godrej says, “Well, you know, the generation before me, my father, Mr Vinod Doshi, and a lot of other people who were pioneers of machine building in India, I think it was their dream to have a show like this. So, I have continued the legacy of my father and those who came before me. IMTEX is important because, when India is industrializing, you have to demonstrate what the industry is capable of doing in India.”

Mr Godrej further emphasized that during the inception of the Machine Tool Industry in India, the industry operated in a time when everything had to be imported. He highlighted the current state of maturity, acknowledging the global nature of the industry, dependent on factors like import, export, innovation, and worldwide developments. He noted India’s strides in technology, innovation, software, and design, asserting the positive impact on the Machine Tool industry.

According to him, successive Indian governments have actively endorsed the concept of promoting domestic production. Referring to the present initiative of “Atmanirbhar Bharat,” he stated that the prevalent recognition that Indian machine tools are the preferred choice for the country’s advancement. Mr. Godrej acknowledged the limitations in manufacturing everything but expressed the commitment to producing as much as possible, steering progress in that direction.

Reflecting on the past challenges faced during his father and grandfather’s era, Mr Godrej was asked to share his observations about his perspective on India’s course of development in the next 10-15 years. Noting the shift from hurdles like government red tape to the present influx of investments, technology, and funds due to the One China policy, the discussion has focused extensively on the evolving landscape of India.

Mr Godrej agreed to the proposition, emphasizing the transformation from financial constraints to the current challenge of skill development. Stressing the importance of nurturing young talent, he pointed out the positive trend of engineering becoming a popular career choice in India, extending beyond prestigious institutions like IITs to regional engineering colleges. He validated the diverse paths chosen by graduates, with many entering the manufacturing sector alongside software.

Envisioning India’s growth across various domains, Mr Godrej drew parallels between the success in the space sector and the potential in defense and consumer products like smartphones. Anticipating a surge in items traditionally outside India’s expertise, he acknowledged the dual opportunity and challenge presented by this dynamic environment.

The narrative weaves the tale of India’s journey in the Machine Tool industry, with figures like Mr Godrej serving as instrumental forces behind milestones such as IMTEX. Their visionary leadership have propelled India onto the global stage in manufacturing technology. Mr Godrej’s insights into the industry’s evolution, from the challenges faced by earlier generations to the present era of technological advancements and skill development, reflects the nation’s resilience and progressive ideologies. Mr Godrej optimistically envisions a future where India continues its growth in diverse sectors, embracing innovation, skill development, and global competitiveness.

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