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CUMI believes in the power of collaboration: Shyam S Rao



In this interview, Shyam S Rao, Sr VP, Industrial Ceramics Division, Carborundum Universal (CUMI), an exhibitor at Hannover Messe 2019, highlights on market dynamics of ceramics products

Carborundum Universal Ltd (CUMI), a part of Murugappa Group, is a one-stop solution provider for Alumina, Zirconia and RbSiC (Reaction Bonded Silicon Carbide) products. At CUMI, Industrial Ceramics division, approximately 70 per cent of the revenues comes from exports. CUMI's relentless focus on innovation and product development, through in-house R&D and strategic alliances with global leaders, has helped it to export products to more than 22 industries in 43 countries, states Shyam S Rao, Sr VP, Industrial Ceramics Division, CUMI. In this interview with Rakesh Rao, he highlights on market dynamics of ceramics products and how government initiatives to encourage exports is giving an impetus to manufacturing industries. 

How is Carborundum Universal (CUMI) serving its customers?

CUMI is a mines-to-market company. We control our supply chains well and don’t let the impact of any disruption on supply side to reach our customers. Today, we are one of the very few companies in the world to have fully integrated operations in materials. At CUMI, Industrial Ceramics division, 70 per cent of our customers are in exports market, which further enhances our commitment to supply quality products to the customers in shortest possible time.

The organisational purpose of CUMI is – Making Materials Matter – and every product and business within CUMI tries to further this purpose and touch human lives in one way or the other. CUMI's relentless focus on innovation and product development, through in-house R&D and strategic alliances with global leaders has helped it to export products to more than 22 industries in 43 countries spread across North America, Europe, Australia, South Africa and Asia.

Almost all of CUMI's manufacturing facilities have received the ISO 9001:2008 accreditation for quality standards. A well connected marketing and distribution network of offices and warehouses in India and abroad, ensure that service to customers is given prime importance.

Today, we have a very strong product distribution and service capability globally. We have product availability points, market representatives and subsidiaries in key geographies and this has enabled us widen our reach. We also have a very agile marketing team, which has strong customer-centric approach and is always available to interact with customers and service them.

What is driving the demand for your products & services? How has been the performance of your exports business?

CUMI’s relentless focus on innovation and solving the customer needs, whether stated or unstated, has created a reputation of high quality and trust in CUMI’s products. We have adopted strategies, depending on the product and application, to grow our export business. As stated earlier we have approximately 70 per cent of our revenues coming from the export markets.

In the wear resistant ceramics segment, partnerships with OEMs, working with subsidiaries and market representatives, and offering customised wear services has helped us improve our market standing. Today, we have a strong competency in offering installation services across industries - bulk material handling, cement, etc. In addition, our specialists also conduct wear studies & wear audits, which help in predictive maintenance for equipment and better planning of repairs and maintenance.

An example of partnership is that of our association with our subsidiary in Australia, CUMI Australia Pvt Ltd (CAPL), which has helped improve our presence in the demanding Australian mining and coal washery segment. CAPL uses our ceramics and offers comprehensive products and solutions.

In Technical Ceramics business, ie, metallised ceramics and engineered ceramics, we have adopted the strategy of building a strong technical and application oriented relationship with our customer, and working on joint development programs. On the marketing front, we focus on key account management and service excellence through product availability points closer to the customer.

What will be your focus at Hannover Messe 2019? Also, are you going to introduce any new product/technology at Hannover Messe?

CUMI manufactures Alumina & Zirconia based ceramic products for wear, thermal, electrical and several industrial applications. This year our focus would be on RBSiC products for thermal applications; Zirconia products for thermal applications; and X-Ray tubes ceramic for medical and industrial applications.

Any message for visitors/exhibitors at Hannover Messe 2019

CUMI is a one-stop solution provider for Alumina, Zirconia and RbSiC products. We currently cater to more than 22 industries in 43 countries spread across North America, Europe, Australia, South Africa and Asia. Presently, our solutions are mainly for wear, corrosion, thermal & electrical resistance but we don’t shy away from experimenting with the ceramics for replacing the conventional materials. We believe in the power of collaboration which is corroborated by the fact that we are currently engaged with education institutes and industrial partners for developing new products for different applications.

What are your growth plans?

We plan to grow 3 times from current levels in next five years

What is the present status of India’s manufacturing sector? Are government initiatives like “Make in India” aiding the growth of the manufacturing sector?

India is one of those very few countries in the world which leapfrogged the typical development cycle from agriculture to services directly. The typical pattern being a progressive change from an agrarian to manufacturing and then service economy. India, as it stands today, has a skewed share for growth from manufacturing sector. However, Government initiatives, eg ‘Make in India’, ‘Skill India’, etc for import substitution and also for encouraging exports have given an impetus to manufacturing industries. In addition to this, GST, bankruptcy reforms etc are expected to make business scenario in India more transparent than ever.

However, government’s fiscal and monetary policies and government intervention is just one spoke in the wheel, there are many other macroeconomic, cultural and people factors which ultimately determine the growth. High input costs affected by high crude oil prices, rising energy and fuel costs and forex fluctuations have been a major point of concern for the firms.

India’s start up ecosystem has also developed very well in recent times, attracting investors from worldwide and giving the established businesses a run for their money, but sadly the share of manufacturing start-ups is meagre in the ocean of start-ups which are mostly tech & IT driven.

What India offers to global manufacturing companies?

India is world’s fastest growing economy today and as per IMF projections, it shall grow at approximately 7.5 per cent for the next three years. This automatically is an opportunity space in a turbulent, dynamic world which shows the stable growth potential with a competent and skilled workforce and a stable government at the centre. India, today not only offers the arbitrage opportunities but some of the best minds and best ecosystems in the world to conduct business. On the demand side, the Great Indian middle class with its ever increasing purchasing power and the spending will is a boon for businesses of all sizes.

With government relaxed policies on Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), relentless focus on skill development (Skill India), educational institutions of international repute and Indian students preferring to work in their home country post-graduation, vibrant start up ecosystem and reduction of bureaucratic involvement in business setup and business transactions (eg GST reforms, bankruptcy laws, start up angel investor tax subsidies, etc) set the perfect platform for the foreign companies to invest and do business in India.



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