CII Movement on Low Cost Automation: Building a competitive Industrial Ecosystem

10 Mar 2021

CII initiative on Low Cost Automation (LCA) and Digitalisation Robotics & Automation (DRA) Movement towards Industry 4.0 started in December 2018. The first-ever, ‘National Level Competition on Low Cost Automation,’ was the first step to catalyze LCA a methodology for value automation culture building. A CII Core Committee on LCA & DRA – Industry 4.0 was formed with senior members and experts from Industry to drive this initiative.

Industry 4.0 was emerging as a new phase of the transformation of the Industry. During an initial discussion among the core committee members, it was realized that the Indian industry is at different levels, starting from small-scale, medium-scale, and large-scale companies and they are at different levels on their adoption of the concepts of Automation and journey towards Industry 4.0.

Also, there was a general resistance to adopting automation in the industry. Companies felt that automation is costly, removes manpower, is difficult to maintain, and also the automation knowledge was low.  So, there was some amount of apprehension among the industry for adopting the automation methods.

It was also thought that if we must motivate the industry towards Industry 4.0, we have to go in stages suitable for the level of the company. Accordingly, three broad stages were identified being LCA, DRA, and moving towards Industry 4.0.

Low-Cost Automation (LCA) is the absolute foundation for moving towards automation wherein, the company implements some level of automation with limited resources and with the ROI being achieved within 2 years. This is the phase where a company starts getting used to automation concepts, implementing, and maintaining them, and starts deriving and cherishing the benefits through cost reduction and consistency improvement. 

It is the foundation that builds confidence in the company to move on the path of automation. 

CII Core Committee members, along with the industry experts, deliberated on existing LCA concepts and approaches, how to modify them to suit all sectors of the industry, ways to increase profitability, and organisation sustenance. However, there will be no compromise on continual improvement in PQCDMSE indicators. 

LCA core concepts and criteria were redefined to cover small to large-scale companies from the manufacturing and service sector. Return on Investment (ROI) or Payback period decided 24 Months/2 Years as the key criteria for Low-Cost Automation, Customized improvement, use of IoTs and PLCs were included.

Further, it was also decided to hold competitions on LCA to meet the twin objective of motivating the companies, that are doing good work in this area, as well as, to showcase the actual case studies, where LCA concepts have been implemented, from which others can learn and implement in their respective organisations. Case studies are being accepted under six categories viz. Productivity Improvement, Quality Improvement, Poka-yoke, Setup Change, Karakuri Kaizen, Safety & Energy.

In the first-ever LCA Competition held in December 2018, there was an overwhelming response from the industry. A total of 74 Case studies from 44 organisations (OEMs, Tier-1 & Tier-2) across India were presented across a very wide spectrum of industry on how the concept of LCA or Intelligent automation is being implemented in their organisations. It was a grand success with approximately 350 delegates.


To recognize the best in class LCA that resulted in improvement in PQCDSME (Productivity, Quality, Cost, Delivery, Safety, Morale & Energy)
To understand and assess how various LCA techniques are implemented by organizations in different processes as well as scenarios 
To provide a national platform for cross-learning different LCA techniques from the presented case studies, interaction with LCA implementers, LCA Gadget providers, and Low-Cost Automation/Automation services providers/Integrators
To provide opportunities to Automation gadgets suppliers/ Integrators/Solution providers – To showcase their products and services through virtual exhibitions/stalls
To promote “Atmanirbhar Bharat”, “Make-In-India” and “Zero Defect & Zero Effect (ZED)” initiatives launched by the Government of India

It was understood through huge response and participation from Industry that CII ‘s Low-Cost Automation concept was well accepted by industry and is seen as a cultural transformation approach, focusing on improving organisational profit/bottom line.

CII Institute of Quality (CII-IQ) has completed the 5th edition of the LCA competition in February 2021. In the last 5 editions of the LCA competition, a total of 212 Case studies were presented, out of which 197 were from manufacturing, and 15 were from service sector organisations.

On average in each Competition, about 42 case studies are presented by companies across a very wide spectrum of manufacturing and service industry on how the concept of LCA or Intelligent automation is being implemented in their organisations. It is a very good learning experience for the participating companies and audience, where they can see the concept in detail. They get to know about the concept, its application process, and how it is cost-effective with an ROI of fewer than two years. So the objective was both to motivate the companies doing good in the field of LCA as well as give confidence to other companies that feel it is possible and profitable. CII-IQ held competitions covering improvements in Productivity, Quality, Poka-yoke, Setup Change, Karakuri Kaizen, Safety & Energy, etc.

Out of a total of 212 Case studies, 98 Case studies have been awarded the trophy. The competition catalyzes the widespread adoption of LCA practices resulting in improvement in PQCDMSE and an upward trend in organisational profit/bottom-line. 


Improving trend in Bottom-line/Profit for sustenance 
Key Performance Indicators – PQCDMSE -Upwards trends
Adaptation of value-based intelligent automation culture
Focus, share & Learn Innovative Technical Concepts, Ideas, and their applications
All Employee Engagement, Team Work and Organisation Culture Building
Foundation building for implementing – Futuristic Technologies/Industry 4.0 

Winners of the LCA Competition Series are eligible to challenge and participate in CII Champion Trophy on Industry 4.0 (LCA & DRA). 

“Two-day Workshop on Leveraging LCA Culture Towards Implementation of Intelligent Automation- Industry 4.0” and “CII Cluster on DRA – Industry 4.0 – Shared Learning & Hand holding” are key initiatives inculcating LCA & DRA practices in the Indian Industry. Counselling & Handholding, DRA & Industry 4.0 Maturity Assessment and certification & inhouse training support are being provided to Industry, please contact in case of any query:
Mr Virender Singh, Senior Counsellor, CII Institute of Quality, E:

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