Rajesh Khanna, Chief Executive, Wendt (India) Limited, shares his perspectives and industry updates on the machine tool sector in India.
What are the major industry segments the company caters to? Is the company looking at new areas?
Wendt India Limited is into manufacturing of Super Abrasive products (Diamond and CBN) , special purpose Grinding Machines and Honing Machines and Precision components. By virtue of our comprehensive range of products and offerings, we practically cater to all major industry segments such as automotive, steel, cutting tools, engineering, glass, ceramics, refractory, bearing, textile, defense and aerospace, construction and infrastructure to name a few. We continuously watch and evaluate mega trends that are shaping up globally as well as emerging industry segments as part of our growth strategy. We address the high potential growth areas of the future. Accordingly we put our energies and start building capabilities to seize those opportunities.
With the consistent evolving approach taken by the company, any new product or innovation to mention?
Innovation is a continuous practice for both product and process at Wendt India, because we are a solution provider company in the areas of Grinding and Honing where more than 95 per cent of our products are customised to fulfil the customers’ need. We have two verticals – The Super Abrasive and the Machine Tool and Components. Some of the innovative and new products in Super Abrasives that we developed and introduced, in the recent past, are brazed tools for paint industry, CBN wheels for razor blade, fine grinding wheels. In the Machine tool and Components, added CNC profile grinding machine, CNC honing machine with twin spindle , CNC creep feed grinding machine and angular wheel head CNC cylindrical grinding machine with robotisation incorporating innovative features. All these products were showcased to the audience and customers during the IMTEX Exhibition held in January 2017 at Bangalore.
What are the new trends in the Machine Tools Industry?
The Machine Tool industry has undergone major changes in last decade in terms technology, quality, reliability as well as the look and feel of the product. This is because of the fact that many of the global companies are setting up manufacturing facilities in India who demand the highest standards, precision, robustness and state-of-the-art technology, productivity – to which the Indian machine tool manufacturers have responded well by providing innovative and unique solutions such as multitasking, process integration, ease of operation and user friendliness and overall lower cost economics. Also, there has been more focus on export opportunities for machines which means we are competing against leading international machine tool manufacturers.
How was the company’s performance during 2016-17?
During 2016-17, Wendt India’s performance has been reasonably good and better than the previous year in the domestic market. As regards our overseas business, it has been somewhat flat due to slow recovery and continuous industry slowdown in some of the major markets we operate. Overall in 2017, the growth has been better than previous year, demonstrating the growth of around 11 per cent over previous year.
The Scenario in India, even under present government has not changed much for the manufacturing sector, what is your experience?
The scenario in India for manufacturing sector has not changed much because of the fact that manufacturing dwells on the Government’s long-term policy for any country and in turn it does reflect on an organisation objective and plans. It takes time and focussed effort to achieve these objectives. The present government has taken some time to realise this fact. Some of it has already come in the form of Make-in-India, Digital India and Skill India. Undoubtedly, the current scenario is far better than it was few years back and certainly better than many other developing countries in terms of government support, infrastructure, sourcing, technology, increasing skill levels and so on. Currently, the government is earnestly looking into the national manufacturing policy and planning to come out with this new policy soon, so as to further improve the manufacturing scenario of the country. Going forward, due to our demographic dividend and highly aspirational workforce, the long-term growth projections look much better.
How competitive is manufacturing in India, compared to other global locations?
Globalisation has had the highest impact on the manufacturing sector in India to drive cost competitiveness, improved quality, innovation and manufacturing excellence. India also has the advantage of low cost manufacturing because of availability of skilled and competent manpower. Competitiveness in any area including manufacturing can be achieved by being innovative. We have started looking at this more seriously than before as we are expanding our footprints in overseas markets including developed nations and competing with global manufacturers.
Why does India still has to import over 50 per cent of its Machine Tool requirements?
Today most of the international companies are putting base in India and they all have the reference of their parent company where they are using all global machines and infrastructure. This makes Indian manufacturers difficult to provide reference of a global user and becomes a bottle neck. Now with Indian Machine Tools also becoming the global player, this trend is expected to reverse shortly. The focus of the Indian Machine Tool Industry should be to change to global mindset and work on improving their global presence.
What are the problems that Machine Tool manufacturers have to face?
As mentioned above, the Indian Machine Tool industry still faces the challenge of coming out of the local mindset and change to global mind set in terms of product consistency, design, delivery and reliability, which is slowly changing now. More importantly, references and earlier experiences with global customers play important role.
How is the present business environment and what are the medium you use for marketing your products/services and promoting your organisation?
The present business environment is very congenial to the professionally organised companies. Demonetisation and the GST roll-out is expected to give the required boost to the organized sector. Medium which use we use for marketing is direct marketing with no intermediaries – no traders and stock points. We are planning to reach to the customers more directly by using digital marketing and even using Mobile apps, while still following the traditional road shows, exhibitions, advertisements and product write ups.
Currently our Machine Tool Industry has 30 per cent of the total turnover coming from the MSMEs. Is this contribution sufficient?
I personally feel this percentage is not sufficient and it should grow significantly with their high competitiveness, speed and agility. Going forward, the MSMEs are likely to play a major role in the Machine Tools arena.
Given the current gap between demand and supply, what could be done for adding capacities in this sector?
The Sector demands consistent quality, reliability, predictability at an affordable price and on time delivery. This I feel is the gap which we need to address.
Could you provide a brief on your overseas clientele. How is the present export scenario in the Machine tool Industry? We have been exporting our products to over 35 countries like USA, UK, Germany, Belgium, France, Russia, Switzerland, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Korea, Taiwan, China, UAE and many others. Our export business constitutes to around 30 per cent of our revenue, major contributor being the Super Abrasive Toolings. However in recent past our focus has been in Machines Tools. Till now we have exported our machines to countries like USA, China, UK, Brazil, Austria, Germany, Nigeria, Uganda, Indonesia, Korea and UAE and expect the growth in other countries as well.
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