Hella In­dia guns for all round growth

Auto components India - - COVER STORY - Anirudh Ra­heja

Au­to­mo­tive light­ing mar­ket leader Hella In­dia Light­ing (HIL) is gun­ning for all round growth in the In­dian sub­con­ti­nent. HIL is pro­mot­ing mod­u­lar­i­sa­tion con­cept in au­to­mo­tive light­ing. Mass cus­tomi­sa­tion or mod­u­lar­i­sa­tion helps to re­duce the num­ber of tools in use and al­lows the com­pany to de­velop sig­na­tures us­ing var­i­ous com­bi­na­tions in shorter pe­riod. Since the prod­ucts are al­ready ho­molo­gated and val­i­dated, it cuts the time to mar­ket.

The MD and CEO of HIL, Ra­mashankar Pandey, said the bus and coach seg­ment has al­ready shifted to mod­u­lar­i­sa­tion and other seg­ments like trucks, pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cles and agri­cul­tural ma­chin­ery will fol­low soon. Since prod­ucts de­vel­oped in the past are of­ten seen un­able to cope up with the de­mand­ing duty cy­cles, mod­u­lar­i­sa­tion will also make the prod­ucts more cost com­pet­i­tive. “Both on sig­nalling and front light­ing we are al­ready work­ing on fur­ther cost op­ti­mi­sa­tion, which de­mands close col­lab­o­ra­tion with the OEM,” Pandey said.

De­sign and de­vel­op­ment

With over one and a half lakh peo­ple dy­ing on In­dian roads ev­ery year, the com­pany has de­vel­oped a process en­gi­neer­ing set-up at its Der­abassi plant that man­u­fac­tures prod­ucts specif­i­cally engi­neered and de­signed for In­dian roads. It is also its global cen­tre that sup­ports de­sign and de­vel­op­ment for spe­cial OE prod­ucts.

Hella has set up 2 tech­ni­cal

cen­tres, one each in Chen­nai and Pune. They work in tan­dem with its in­ter­na­tional de­vel­op­ment cen­tres for new prod­ucts. The Pune cen­tre, a cen­tre of ex­cel­lence (CoE) for elec­tron­ics, em­ploys 180 peo­ple. The Chen­nai global cen­tre has around 160 peo­ple, un­der­tak­ing light­ing de­vel­op­ment. The cen­tres work also for Hella In­dia light­ing and Hella In­dia Au­to­mo­tive when needed. Out of its to­tal work­force of 33,000 em­ploy­ees, nearly 6000 are de­ployed in the re­search and de­vel­op­ment of new prod­ucts, he said.

The Der­abassi plant, a brown field project of Hella, has been un­der­go­ing a round of up­grades and houses light test­ing fa­cil­i­ties, NVH test­ing, CMMs and en­vi­ron­men­tal cham­bers for new prod­uct de­vel­op­ment. The com­pany has com­pleted a round of ex­pan­sion in March 2017 for LED lamps and pro­jec­tors. It is on course for an­other round of ex­pan­sion start­ing next month for aux­il­iary lamps and LED work lamp des­tined for Hella’s in­ter­na­tional com­mit­ments. “Lo­cal for lo­cal and lo­cal for global has been one of our mis­sions as a strat­egy,” Pandey said. Hella In­dia has lately come up with 24 volts and 12 volts mod­ules for buses, out of which the for­mer is ther­mal shock proof and re­sists burst due to wa­ter splash. In­di­cat­ing the com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle in­dus­try grad­u­at­ing to LED, es­pe­cially in sig­nalling in the next 4 years, Pandey feels head­lights con­ver­sion to LED may still take time but will grow in dou­ble dig­its in the next 5 years, rid­ing pri­mar­ily on fall­ing LED prices. “Last year it­self, we have set up a new assem­bly line for sin­gle func­tion lamp, LED lamps, and mod­u­lar head­lamps, and a spe­cial OE assem­bly line at Der­abassi,” Pandey said.

The Gu­ru­gram-head­quar­tered Hella In­dia is all set to launch lubri­cants, fil­ters and brake parts within the next 2 to 3 quar­ters. “We will give what­ever a work­shop needs to ser­vice a ve­hi­cle and needs less than an hour and a half to fit it,” he said. Hella lubri­cants will hit the mar­ket in the next 2 quar­ters, brake pads and fil­ters will be added to the port­fo­lio in the third quar­ter. Af­ter the launch of bat­ter­ies last year for the en­tire au­to­mo­tive gamut, the new move will sig­nif­i­cantly boost the com­pany’s pres­ence in the largely un­or­gan­ised In­dian af­ter­mar­ket.

Based on its tie-ups with Hella Pagid Brak­ing Sys­tems, Behr Hella and with John­son Con­trol, the com­pany supplies con­densers, ra­di­a­tors, evap­o­ra­tors, coolants, and wiper blades in the af­ter­mar­ket. Pandey is of the opin­ion that look­ing at the pol­lu­tion level in In­dia, it is im­por­tant for the In­dian cus­tomer

to grad­u­ate to bet­ter prod­ucts to avoid the harm sub-stan­dard prod­ucts cause to the en­vi­ron­ment.

Af­ter 6 months of pre­pared­ness while gun­ning for top of the mind re­call game, Hella In­dia is also set to launch a com­mu­nity of car sports en­thu­si­asts to ed­u­cate them and en­cour­age them to go to au­tho­rised ser­vice cen­tres for bet­ter ser­vic­ing of the ve­hi­cles. “Since we are al­ready very pop­u­lar in the ad­ven­ture clubs and ral­lies, we are go­ing to lever­age on that with our lat­est en­deav­our. Un­der the new com­mu­nity go­mo­tor­ing. in, we have tied up with Mahin­dra Ad­ven­ture, and will also launch women rally by Au­gust 2017 to train them and ed­u­cate all about driv­ing safely on roads as well,” Pandey said. Since ev­ery pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cle OEM is into sports, the plat­form will pro­vide a wider out­look for Hella In­dia that has been putting the thrust on road safety in In­dia.

With the Euro­pean man­u­fac­tur­ers ex­pand­ing base in In­dia, Pandey feels it is no more a one sided busi­ness for both the OEM and the sup­plier. Even when the OEM con­ceive for a model, it is im­por­tant to start work­ing with the sup­plier right from the de­sign stage where teams sit to­gether for 2-way part­ner­ships. This leads to co-cre­ation of a prod­uct, to reach just that point where im­por­tant cri­te­ria like cost in­no­va­tion can be achieved while ex­tract­ing the de­mand from the OEM.

Af­ter­mar­ket thrust

As an af­ter­mar­ket player, the big­gest chal­lenge for any com­po­nent man­u­fac­turer is the coun­ter­feit and sub­stan­dard prod­ucts. To counter this, Hella In­dia is do­ing a process ramp-up for the se­ri­al­i­sa­tion of its prod­ucts for the af­ter­mar­ket. It will be com­pleted in 3 months. Post this, me­chan­ics and tech­ni­cians will be able to sup­press poor qual­ity prod­ucts. Also, tak­ing it at the in­dus­try level, un­der the lead­er­ship of Pandey, ACMA is also work­ing closely with gov­ern­ment bod­ies to bring in stan­dards in the af­ter­mar­ket. Since var­i­ous com­pa­nies have track and trace ser­vice for their prod­ucts us­ing SMS ser­vice, ACMA is work­ing hard to bring these frag­mented ef­forts un­der one roof. “ACMA’s gen­uine cat­a­logue will be a cred­i­ble source for any per­son will­ing to buy a com­po­nent,” Pandey said.

Aim­ing to ed­u­cate the work­force at the grass-root level, Hella has col­lab­o­rated with an NGO called `Drive Smart, Drive Safe’. “The NGO aims to pro­mote road safety in In­dia. Ev­ery stake­holder of the in­dus­try, from com­pa­nies, deal­ers, dis­trib­u­tors, to me­dia can be a part of it,” he said. Since the me­chan­ics are of­ten con­sid­ered to be the dis­re­spected part of the com­mu­nity, Hella is also aim­ing to part­ner with them and come with a cam­paign called work­shop’s friend. Hella has opened train­ing in­sti­tutes in See­mand­hara, near Vi­jay­wada, and Hari­na­gar in Delhi. They are also ap­proved by ASDC. They will soon be fol­lowed by new cen­tres in Arunachal Pradesh and Bi­har.

Grow­ing at 20%, HIL posted a rev­enue of Rs 150 crore in FY17, sourced pri­mar­ily from its com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle busi­ness. Pandey aims to main­tain the growth tra­jec­tory in fu­ture as well, de­spite un­cer­tainty per­tain­ing to GST. “For af­ter­mar­ket, GST will bring in a big change as most com­pa­nies sell in af­ter­mar­ket with­out ex­cise on it. GST will al­low bet­ter man­age­ment of lo­gis­tics, re­duce time taken for trans­port from one point to an­other which will bring the costs down. How­ever, the 28% GST is very high. Had it been 18%, sub­stan­tial pass­ing of costs re­duc­tions would have hap­pened to boost In­dian com­po­nent in­dus­try,” Pandey said.

HIL’s man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity in Der­abassi

Ra­mashankar Pandey, MD & CEO, HIL

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