Phoenix Lamps re­vamps, eyes more ex­port mar­kets

Auto components India - - COVER STORY - Bhar­gav TS

Phoenix Lamps Limited, man­u­fac­turer of wide range of Halo­gen lamps for twoand three-wheel­ers, pas­sen­ger cars, com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles and off-road ap­pli­ca­tions, is work­ing on bring­ing new prod­ucts and im­prov­ing the stan­dards and meet­ing the lat­est trends in the au­to­mo­tive light­ing busi­ness. It will also fo­cus more on ex­ports.

Phoenix Lamps, ac­quired by the au­to­mo­tive ca­ble maker Supra­jit En­gi­neer­ing Limited a cou­ple of years ago, is one of the largest man­u­fac­tur­ers of au­to­mo­tive halo­gen lamps cater­ing to the orig­i­nal equip­ment man­u­fac­turer (OEM) and af­ter­mar­ket, with a pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity of more than 80 mil­lion lamps a year.

N S Mo­han, Di­rec­tor and CEO of Phoenix Lamps, told Auto Com­po­nents In­dia, that “We are fo­cus­ing more on the ex­port mar­ket es­pe­cially to the Euro­pean OEMs while de­fend­ing and ex­pand­ing busi­ness in In­dia. In In­dia, Phoenix is work­ing with all the beam mak­ers and OEMs so we need to re­tain the cur­rent mar­ket share. In the af­ter­mar­ket also we are do­ing pretty well and we are present in all the seg­ments in­clud­ing CV, pas­sen­ger car and two-wheel­ers. We have re­alised that there is good po­ten­tial to en­ter the OEM seg­ment in Europe. There­fore we are look­ing at the pos­si­bil­i­ties of get­ting into Euro­pean mar­ket with the ‘Made in In­dia’ tag. On the af­ter­mar­ket front we have clear idea that we need to spread our wings. Cur­rently we sup­ply lamps un­der our brands like Luxlite Lamps Sarl, and Trifa Lamps Germany GmbH, to more than 70 coun­tries.

Af­ter ac­quir­ing Phoenix, Supra­jit in­fused tech­nol­ogy and up­dated the ma­chiner­ies. There­fore the fo­cus was on mod­erni­sa­tion. “The first ques­tion that came be­fore the mod­erni­sa­tion was how long the halo­gen bulbs are go­ing to ex­ist in the mar­ket? Do we need to in­vest in halo­gen or LEDs? Our anal­y­sis showed that at least for the next 5 to 6 years halo­gen bulbs for the head lamps will ex­ist. LEDs will come but vol­umes are go­ing to be less than halo­gen bulbs. Se­condly, there is still a huge pop­u­la­tion of old ve­hi­cles on the road, which are cur­rently us­ing halo­gens. There­fore we took a call to mod­ernise the plant and as of 31 March 2017 the mod­erni­sa­tion pro­gramme, from an equip­ment and man­u­fac­tur­ing point of view, has been com­pleted,” he said.

To mod­ernise the plant the com­pany di­vided the in­vest­ments into 3 lev­els; Part of the ex­ist­ing lines to be up­graded, sec­ond to

bring in a new line and the third was sub­sidiary in­vest­ments to en­hance pro­duc­tiv­ity, qual­ity and safety. Phoenix added a lot of au­to­ma­tion and test equip­ment in the ex­ist­ing ma­chine and in­vested sub­stan­tially on set­ting up a new au­to­mated line for man­u­fac­tur­ing H7 bulbs. For mod­ernising the plant alone Phoenix has in­vest around Rs 30 crore.

The com­pany also in­fused tech­nol­ogy both from ex­ter­nal sources and those de­vel­oped in­ter­nally. There­fore Supra­jit hired peo­ple from Europe who had 30 – 40 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the light­ing in­dus­try as con­sul­tants. New peo­ple were also re­cruited within the or­gan­i­sa­tion and they have started work­ing with the con­sul­tants to ab­sorb the new tech­nolo­gies. Supra­jit also sensed the need to im­prove qual­ity lev­els and launched a pro­gramme called ‘Q Chal­lenge’. In this pro­gramme the com­pany en­gaged peo­ple from the op­er­a­tor-level to top man­age­ment.

Mo­han said, “In ‘Q Chal­lenge’ we di­vided into dif­fer­ent teams and iden­ti­fied the cus­tomers’ pain points and the in­ter­nal pain points from the qual­ity per­spec­tive and de­vel­oped mul­ti­ple projects. This cre­ated a sense of in­volve­ment and peo­ple got mo­ti­vated. Now we have com­pleted the ‘Q Chal­lenge’ and are work­ing on a con­cept called RGL (Ro­bust­ness, Ge­om­e­try and Life) which is more im­por­tant for a bulb and this is what the cus­tomer ex­pects.”

To achieve RGL, Supra­jit is work­ing on en­hanc­ing the prod­uct qual­ity and, as the size of the head­lamp is shrink­ing, the com­pany is work­ing on the ge­om­e­try with­out com­pro­mis­ing on the styling. It is also work­ing be­yond the stan­dards to tighten the size and now it is set­ting projects on how to tighten the tol­er­ance and bring sharper ge­om­e­try. To im­prove the life of the prod­uct it is con­stantly work­ing on var­i­ous new con­cepts and in the last 6 months the qual­ity has reached new lev­els and con­tin­ues to im­prove.

Cit­ing the rea­son to set up a new line to man­u­fac­ture H7 bulbs, Mo­han said, “Most of them are now mi­grat­ing from HS1 to H7 and now we even see H7 com­ing in the two-wheel­ers. HS1 or H4 is a dual filament, whereas H7 is a sin­gle filament. H7 bulbs are used as a com­bi­na­tion lamp for high- end cars and it gives brighter light and in­creased vis­i­bil­ity. There­fore the de­mand for H7 is in­creas­ing and to tap that mar­ket we have in­stalled a sep­a­rate line to man­u­fac­ture H7 bulbs.”

Mean­while the com­pany has started to work on LEDs and soon will come out with a prod­uct that will suit the cur­rent trend. Mo­han in­formed that the com­pany will be launch­ing ex­tra long life bulbs in the com­ing months. Phoenix Lamps has 3 man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties in In­dia with a to­tal ca­pac­ity of around 150 mil­lion lamps an­nu­ally.

Supra­jit En­gi­neer­ing is plan­ning to merge with Phoenix Lamps. But the com­pany will be sell­ing the lamps un­der the brand Phoenix. Cur­rently the Supra­jit Group has Supra­jit En­gi­neer­ing, Supra­jit Au­to­mo­tive Ltd, Supra­jit Europe Ltd, Supra­jit US and Phoenix Lamps Ltd. Now Supra­jit En­gi­neer­ing and Phoenix Lamps will be merged and will be­come Supra­jit En­gi­neer­ing Ltd.

Supra­jit En­gi­neer­ing man­u­fac­tures the en­tire range of au­to­mo­tive ca­bles and Phoenix pro­duces com­plete range of halo­gen lamps for the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try. Post merger, Supra­jit will have a stronger port­fo­lio of prod­ucts, which will help it get bet­ter mar­ket share from the OEM cus­tomers in In­dia.

Pro­duc­tion line at Phoenix Lamps

Phoenix Lamps range

N S Mo­han, Di­rec­tor and CEO, Phoenix Lamps

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