Marc Jarrault, Managing Director, Lapp India Pvt. Ltd.
How is the Indian wires & cables market evolving?
The Indian cable industry is growing in double digits, year-on-year, i.e., 10-18 per cent. This growth is as a result of rapid industrialisation and automation. Cable and connection technology is the backbone of this industrialisation. The cable market is evolving, such that along with standard product offerings, customised solutions are now required to support customer applications. Lapp being a German company believes in creating differentiation in the cable industry by manufacturing technologically advanced products and solutions and by meeting customer and business challenges. Reliability, high quality and customer service is already given.
What are some of the major milestones? What sets you apart from your competitors?
Lapp started its India operations in 1996 and has two dedicated manufacturing plants in India v Bangalore and Bhopal, providing about 150,000 km per year of power, control, instrumentation and data cables along with connectors, accessories and end-to-end systems to over 5,000 customers pan-India. LAPP's India operations is the second largest outside of Germany. We currently have five warehouses and over 300 employees in India who are committed to best serve customers, strong network of 150 dealers and 23 sales offices close to customers all over India and five service points. Our constant efforts to enhance our customer oriented approach and organisation support to help our customers achieve their goals has now been globally recognised. Our range of products consist of 40,000 standard products apart from our customised product and cable assembly solutions. As an industrial cable manufacturer, we have also forayed into the retail segment with our single core cables to cater to end-to-end customer market which is huge in India. We want to increase our presence in retail from current five cities to 20 by 2020. This would ensure that we are not only seen a leading industrial cable manufacturer but also a prominent player in the retail market targeting electricians and end consumers.
What is your value proposition, given the market competition?
Our value proposition lies in the quality and reliability of our products. We pride ourselves as experts in cable technology with over 50 years of experience in the industry. Around 60 per cent of what we sell, we manufacture in India, to ensure availability and quick turnaround to meet our customer requirements/demands. We leading the way in technology with our engineering and R&D centre. We also have a fully-fledged lab in our Bangalore factory to perform various tests like fire, chemical resistance. The lab is currently undergoing NABL accreditation. We want to create value for our customers by being end to end connectivity solution provider from a single source rather than being seen as a product company.
What are your plans for sustained long-term growth in the country?
Our vision for India is to reach turnover of Rs 1,000 crore by 2020. This growth is expected to come from ensuring that we increase our customer base in our focus segments and strengthen our presence in retail. We will also be looking at newer segments like F&B, power supplies and pharmaceuticals. We are focusing on providing solutions for Industry 4.0 v slimmer, lighter and more flexible cables which are robust and can withstand torsion, harsh environments and high temperatures. We are also focusing on delivering customised end-to-end solutions to meet customer requirements from a single source by expanding our portfolio.
What impact has GoI's thrust on renewables had?
India is a challenging market. The market is price sensitive and demands world class technologies at affordable pricing. R&D and innovation continues to drive Lour focus to develop innovative solutions and meet industry challenges. To meet this challenge, we are starting to manufacture more products in India with an exception of some specialised products. At present, we cater to about 25 per cent of the total 13 GW of installed grid-connected PV base in India. GoI's 100 GW mission is a key growth driver as well as a step in the right direction which will help bring sustainable, clean and climate-friendly electricity to millions of Indians. However from the cable and connection technology perspective, we need to innovate to provide efficient transmission of power generated and also start looking at the rooftop market, which is very price sensitive.
What market specific technologies have you implemented?
As a part of our commitment to constantly innovate and develop customised solutions for our customers, the newest addition to our range of products is our Water Proof Solar PV Cables. These newly launched cables are built to handle wet conditions of installations. For this purpose we have developed SOLAR AL FLEX½, a lightweight and cost-competitive solar cables with aluminium fine wire strands conductor. These are UV, ozone and weather resistant, double insulated single core cables for outdoor direct current applications, used for the fixed installation of photovoltaic systems. We will be launching this at the Renewable Energy India Expo next month.
What is your emphasis on R&D? How forward is the market in R&D and technology?
When it comes to R&D and innovation, we have the advantage of advanced support from Lapp Germany in terms of technical expertise, resources as well as R&D requirements. We believe in developing innovative cable technologies that help in overall sustainable development. We put our products to a test in our laboratory and test facility to ensure they meet the high expectations of the customer. Production today requires a tailored solution for a defined application. We not only offer customized cables but also a plug & play solution cable assembly solutions for production to scale up. To facilitate students with the best infrastructure and open avenues for innovative thinking, we have set up a Centre Of Excellence at PSG College of Technology that serves as a link between industry and institution with respect to design, selection, application of cables, connectors and other electrical installations. India market is fast catching up with developed countries in terms of their requirements for end-to-end connectivity solution as Industry 4.0 gains momentum with more focus on Make in India.
What impact will GST have on the segments you are in?
Implementation of GST has an indirect effect on the various segments that we operate in. India has always had a very complex taxation structure which is difficult to understand, manage and administer. Especially MNC's find it very complex and a deterrent to do business. GST will help ease all taxation with significant impact to attract investments. This change in taxation will smoothen the process of doing business in India and help India to attract FDI in core manufacturing sector. Today we are suffering from non-value added activities like stock transfers. By way of GST, we will be able to bill to any customer in India as there will be no request for local VAT billing by the customer, which will require us to stock transfer the materials to the respective state and later bill it locally to the customer. This would save us about 50 per cent of our time and effort. The process would be faster and we can reach our customers better. Introduction to GST will save transportation cost, transaction cost and administrative cost. It will also reduce errors, transit damages and delays.
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