Lectra to support Indian automotive industry’s expansion plans
Lectra, the world leader in integrated technology solutions—software, CAD/CAM equipment, and associated services—specifically designed for industries using fabrics, leather, technical textiles, and composite materials to manufacture their products. It serves major world markets: Fashion and apparel, automotive, and furniture as well as a broad array of other industries. For the automotive industry it provides soft materials like car seats, interiors and airbags. In an exclusive interaction, BT Nagesh, India Subsidiary Head, Lectra Technologies India told Bhargav TS that, “Lectra also develops the most advanced specialised software, cutting systems and provides associated services. We are well geared up to support the expansion of the Indian automotive industry and to provide the best-in-class solutions.” The excerpts:- Q: How do you find India emerging as an automotive hub in terms of volume and investments?
Nagesh: India has been a developing country for the last 2 decades with automotive being one of the organised contributors to its growth. India is emerging as a global hub for small cars. Reports that India manufactures about 31% of the small cars globally sold reinforce this fact. Investments made by OEMs to enhance capacity see India as an attractive destination. Currently India has both domestic and international players having manufacturing and development centres as a hub for automotive investments and development.
Q: How does Lectra plan to leverage the Indian automotive industry in its growth plans?
Nagesh: Lectra is an industryleading company in integrated technology for industries using soft materials like automotive - car seats, interiors and airbags. Lectra solutions have been deployed at over 23,000 clients in over 100 countries. Our solutions help to automate, streamline and accelerate product design, development and manufacturing processes. Lectra develops the most advanced specialised software, cutting systems and provides associated services. We are well geared up to support the expansion of the Indian automotive industry and provide the best-inclass solutions
Q: How can digitalisation influence the buying experience of the customer?
Nagesh: With the changing demography and millennials, digitalisation in today’s world impacts the decision-making process. Customers look for interconnected solutions and smart services to aid their decisions with readily available data. Manufacturers as customers are looking for uptime over downtime and transparency in information with digitalisation at the centre of their decision-making process.
Q: How does Lectra define digitalisation in the automotive industry?
Nagesh: Lectra is able to be more predictive, pro-active, and analytical than reactive in technologies invested by manufacturers. We can provide real-time integrated solutions and smart services to many stakeholders across the product lifecycle. Our systems have the ability to support these stakeholders in making decisions or solving problems. With over a decade of experience in the industrial Internet of Things combined with our software and hardware expertise and experience to automate design, development and manufacturing, Lectra stands out as a front runner in defining digitalisation to the automotive industry.
Q: What are the solutions Lectra can offer to the automotive industry in terms of Industry 4.0?
Nagesh: Industry 4.0 is creating factories with their ecosystems rooted to the digitalisation of industrial processes, from creation to production. Manufacturers are looking at digital lifecycle of products benefiting their customers in an increasingly flexible environment with optimised resources. With increasingly impatient and demanding customers, mass production is leaving a bigger room for largescale customised production,
as well as providing quick-tomarket, quality products. In such a changing scenario, digital value chain is essential to provide realtime connections among creative teams, product development teams, smart factories, suppliers and consumers.
The Lectra Industry 4.0 strategy is framed to support customers as they face these profound changes triggered by the fourth industrial revolution. Reflecting Lectra’s new strategy is the launch of a Software as a Service (SaaS) offer, reinforced by cloud since 2015. This offer, capitalising on data analysis and exploitation, will translate into even smarter, connected equipment and finely-tuned integration among equipment, software and services. New industry-specific services will reinforce the offer, enabling Lectra to improve customer processes. Initially tested in 2017 with select customers, some of whom have been involved with the offer since the beginning of the design, the new offer will be progressively offered and deployed to all our customers.
Q: Can you elaborate on global trends and how are requirements changing in India? How different are they from those worldwide?
Nagesh: The global trends are on safety and reliability due to the increase in number of road accidents vis-a-vis those implemented in India. Though the process is slower, compared to other nations worldwide India is picking up pace. The pricing sensitivity of buyers still sees cars without airbags and other safety systems being manufactured. With the government making safety devices like airbags, ABS and speed-warning system mandatory, companies are moving towards placing a minimum 2 airbags in each car manufactured in India.
Q: Is Lectra prepared for the next industrial revolution?
Nagesh: Lectra’s continuous efforts in R&D helps to foresee the new advances required by the industry and can offer best to its customers that optimises their productivity. By the time, the industry enters the next industrial revolution we have already had our hands rubbed onto it to provide the best out of those new solutions. Lectra is the only player in its industry to propose a complete Industry 4.0-ready addedvalue offer.
Q: How is Lectra’s Industry 4.0 strategy being developed and implemented across the company?
Nagesh: I would like to quote our CEO-Daniel Hararri on this: “Bringing increasing value to our customers, Lectra will increase the share of revenues dedicated to R&D to 10% from 2017 to 2019, representing a rise of about 50% between 2016 and 2019. This way we can support our customers on their path towards operational excellence, indispensable if they are to succeed in the context of the fourth industrial revolution.”
Q: Will the growing pressure to rationalise and implement Industry 4.0 concepts result in more job losses?
Nagesh: Lectra is a growing company and with regular investments in R&D we constantly drive on innovations and betterment of existing technologies. With technological advances on one side, where we help companies in automating the processes, we parallely work with our customers for redeployment of workforce in labour-intensive areas. I would say Industry 4.0 augments and compliments the existing workforce to excel and innovate.
Q: What are all the software solutions that Lectra offers to its customers?
Nagesh: Lectra has designed specific software for automotive industry keeping in mind the intricacies required for automotive seating and airbags in design, product development and testing. Our software solutions are built to accelerate development, improve the RFQ response process, reduce costs and material use with virtual prototypes, harmonise design and production operations, shorten industrialisation time with the most efficient use of fabric or leather and to facilitate change.
Q: What is your strategy to offer Software as a Service (SaaS)?
Nagesh: We will progressively deliver our software in SaaS starting 2017 and offer it to all our customers in 2018. They will be based on either a subscription or a pay-per-use pricing and will include the access to software, new upgrades, customer care centre, e-learning, access to incentives, such as supply chain programme. Moreover, our cloud services will be included in SaaS offers only. We will also provide customers with flexibility to be able to subscribe to Lectra’s software.
Q: Owing to the upcoming industrial revolution, will you be enhancing the spends on R&D?
Nagesh: As mentioned earlier Lectra will increase the share of revenues dedicated to R&D to 10% for the period from 2017 to 2019 that represents a 50% rise between 2016 and 2019. ACI