We are living in unprecedented times and the world around us is undergoing a churn like never before. The ongoing pandemic has resulted in many changes across industry sectors like aerospace, oil and gas, power and transportation, which will have long-lasting implications on several related industries in the coming days.

Given the above, most businesses are in a reset mode and looking at ways to put themselves in a position to succeed, survive change, and develop resilience. Embracing change by reinventing business models and strategies according to circumstances is the only way to remain agile for longer.

Agility in times like these is hinged on a mandate where businesses disrupt and reimagine a future which is more digital. Organizations that invest in digital transformation enabled by technology are likely to experience positive outcomes both in terms of business resilience as well as customer mindshare.

With many established or core engineering companies facing existential crisis post Covid, organizations that are looking to digitize, innovate and transform their business through engineering will be seeking trusted, thinking partners who can help them transform.

This means that engineers who have helped create drones and ride sharing apps, micro devices for health monitoring and software for asset tracking will be visualised as facilitators of sustainable development using technology. Creating a world where people are safe, secure, healthy and productive will no longer be an option but an imperative.

Ajith Prabhu, CEO, QuEST Global echoes the same sentiment when he says, “As engineers we have been responsible for creating products that have propelled humanity to greatness but our biggest job now is to reverse the damage done to the environment…whether it is providing clean air, conserving energy, ensuring that clean water is available for every person or combating climate change.”

Creating a new world

Tasked with reversing the damage done to the environment, engineers will be at the forefront of unravelling new solutions that will help reduce carbon foot print across automotive, aerospace, power, energy and manufacturing industry sectors. They will be an integral part of innovation strategies that involve digitization and automation on a large scale.

Opportunities will present themselves in the form of designing equipment and software capabilities, which help distribute power efficiently, so that transmission losses are reduced, clean energy is delivered, costs are lowered and efficiency is increased. 

Within the renewable energy space, engineering designs that increase reliability of solar/wind turbines will be sought after to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The oil and gas sector will seek solutions that help enhance productivity, enable remote monitoring of assets, and optimize costs.

With growth predicted across sectors like transportation, power and Hi Tech, the case for transformation of businesses through engineering builds up to solve complex problems and increase business resiliency. 

AI based solutions that can proactively detect and repair aircrafts, fleet management software that help transportation companies keep track of their assets, state-of-the-art signalling software that make travel safe will require engineers to act as enablers of transformation.

Likewise engineers will play a big role in designing healthcare solutions that use image processing technology to make diagnosis more accurate along with software platforms that connect patient to a doctor remotely.

How to win

“Having opportunities is just 50 percent of the solution. Actually winning them, is where I think the power of organizations like QuEST comes to play,” says Ajith who believes that Business resilience does not mean responding to a one-time crisis. “Crisis is not unique to an industry segment or company or nation or family or an individual. Crisis is a part of life and societies have rebuilt themselves to go on and become great,” he adds.

Rather than looking at crisis as a problem statement, organizations must look at crisis an opportunity to grow across verticals in such a way that technology and development in one field can be brought to another to produce world-class innovations. Pursuing knowledge and applying best practices to scale, creates opportunities to develop break-through solutions that give organizations an edge over competition.

“Learning should be a perpetual thing,” according to Ajith who feels, “No matter how intelligent we are, we become irrelevant very quickly unless we take the opportunity to learn, do better and have the humility and desire to contribute something great.”

Ajit Prabhu
Ajit Prabhu is chairman and CEO of QuEST Global, a product development and production engineering company that enables Fortune 500 companies to increase profitability and transform markets. QuEST has grown at a 30% CAGR since its 1997 inception, a testimony to Ajit’s entrepreneurial spirit. Ajit has been recognized for his business acumen, including: 2017 T.I.E. Global Entrepreneur of the Year, 2014 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, 2014 SICCI Outstanding Entrepreneur. Ajit is a RAeS fellow and IASSC Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt™. Ajit holds a MS in biomedical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), where he is a Livingston W. Houston Society Patrons member for lifetime giving and a School of Engineering advisory council member; a MS in Mechanical Engineering from Old Dominion University, where he is a department of mechanical engineering hall of fame member, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Karnataka University.
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