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In Full Control

By Niranjan Mudholkar,

Added 20 November 2020

We would love to maintain our position as the largest and most trusted remote control and set top box manufacturer in the country while also boosting our position as the leading OEM, ODM and EMS Company in the categories we deal in, says Vijay Kumar Sachdeva, MD & CEO, Laxmi Remote (India) Pvt Ltd

Briefly tell us something about the beginning of Laxmi Remote (India) Private Limited (LRIPL). How has been the journey so far since the beginning and are you satisfied with the progress?
Laxmi Remote (India) Pvt. Ltd is a leading manufacturer of remote controls, set-top boxes, adapters, power supply, mobile chargers and AV cables. The company, formerly known as Remotec Industries, was rebranded in the year 2000 as Laxmi Remote India Pvt. Ltd. Our trading business came to a halt in 1998 and we debuted into the remote control manufacturing industry thereafter. We opened our first manufacturing plant in Bahadurgarh, Uttar Pradesh in the year 2001, and by 2003, we had established our in-house PCB designing and manufacturing unit along with a corporate office in Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
We established another manufacturing unit in Noida Phase II, in the year 2006, with a focus on manufacturing remote controls and set-top boxes for our business partners. After achieving tremendous success, we decided to further expand our portfolio by adding FTA set-top box and AV cables in our manufacturing capabilities to cater to end consumers as well as businesses. In 2018, we established our R&D centre at Hyderabad to drive innovation for setup box business and software division. Laxmi Remote has its own conditional access system (CAS) under the brand name of Pro CAS.
In the consumer segment, Laxmi Remote (India) Pvt. Ltd has a PAN India presence with a well-established supply chain and a network of over 500 distributors to reach retailers and end consumers. With four brands (LRIPL, EARTHMA, ONLY1 & Pro CAS), two manufacturing plants, three regional offices and more than 1200 employees working for us, we feel we are on the right growth trajectory and will continue to achieve the set goals with the same enthusiasm.

How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected LRIPL's business and operations and how are you dealing with the same?
The COVID 19 pandemic has pushed everyone in the world to go beyond their limits and explore new ways to perform and achieve success. Industries are, naturally, disrupted due to the frequent lockdowns, supply chain breakdown, medical emergencies and workforce migration. Similarly our entire business came to a halt for about two months which impacted us and the business as it came abruptly.
We were strictly operating under government policies right from unlock one and the first priority for us was to ensure the safety of our employees and give them a proper working environment. At Laxmi Remote, we are taking all the necessary steps to ensure their safety and support them by offering insurance policies.
To ensure smooth production, we divided our workforce into two shifts and only 1/3rd of the workforce was allowed to resume work. In business operations, the unprocessed material availability and supply chains were the most affected areas. We have revised our collaborations and outsourced the raw materials from other substitute Asian countries to maintain the production and supply. We are making sure that we are able to deliver all the orders of our business partners and also of our channel partners on time so that they can serve their customers too.
For our B2C segment, we have launched our online e-commerce website in the lockdown period to further facilitate our consumers to get the delivery of products at their doorsteps.

How was the last financial year for LRIPL in terms of business and what kind of target have set for the ongoing financial year?
We had a remarkable growth during the last financial year, where we reported our revenue at over Rs.125 crore for the fiscal. However, this year we witnessed the world fighting with the pandemic and trying to overcome with it. Our business too was hit hard by the pandemic and by the lockdown, but strategic decisions taken by our management and dedication of our employees has helped us fight with the crisis.
We have now completely resumed our operations and working with our full capacity. We are positive for rest of the year and expecting at least 10-15 percent hike over the last year revenue.

What is your overview of the Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) segment in India? Where do you think LRIPL stands in the market in terms of its position?
Electronics manufacturing as an industry has been garnering a lot of interest from domestic and international players. It is expected to be a huge contributor to the growth of the manufacturing industry as the government also intends to promote the domestic manufacturing and increase its contribution to the GDP to 25 percent by FY2025 (according to an ASSOCHAM Report).
The recent initiatives such as ‘Digital India', ‘Make in India' and supportive policies such as FDI, M-SIPs, PLI, Electronic Development fund (EDF), Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors (SPECS), etc.  for electronics manufacturing industries are streamlining the process of establishment and expansion of the manufacturing segment.
The measures by the government include the announcement of the National Policy on Electronics which aims to make India the centre of Electronics System Design and Manufacturing by targeting a turnover of US$400 billion in the next five years. As of now, India accounts for three percent of global electronic production with the biggest competitor being China, which accounts for 28 percent of the overall global manufacturing output. The electronics sector is estimated to grow at 30 percent for the next five years, generating Rs.11.5 lakh crore worth production during this period. This shows that EMS has a long way to go in the future.
Laxmi Remote (India) Pvt. Ltd. in the recent past has made a considerable progress in establishing itself as the leading OEM, ODM EMS provider in the country. We are doing OEM as well as ODM in products like remote controls, set top boxes, SMPS, chargers, door bells, etc. for our partners with complete in-house manufacturing facilities such as mould design & development, tool & die manufacturing, PCB design & manufacturing, PCBA, as well as testing & reverse logistics to facilitate one stop solutions to our business partners for all their EMS needs. Today, we are manufacturing products for more than 60 electronics brands such as Daikin, Blue Star, Crompton, Intex, Sansui, Toshiba, Godrej, Eureka Forbes, Croma, Haier, Videocon, Hindware, Micromax, Mitashi, V-guard, Voltas, Havells, Orient Electric, Bajaj, Luminous, Livpure, Whirlpool, Lloyd, Amber, Usha, Halonix, Sun TV and Ricoh amongst many others.

What are the major challenges faced by your industry and how are you dealing with the same?
Scarcity of and high pricing of components and raw materials, lack of technological support, lack of skilled manpower, high infrastructure & logistical cost, irregular demands & fewer profit margins are some major challenges faced by the industry at the moment. These issues need to be addressed to further boost the growth of the Electronic manufacturing industry in India.
We are also dependent on other countries for raw material and components however we have complete in-house facilities to manufacture products at our premises which enables us to provide one stop solution to the clients and help us delivering the right products on right time and at right price.
For skill development of our employees, we keep on organising workshops and train them with required skills. We also offer our employees the opportunity to attend trainings & workshops abroad to nurture and upgrade their skills & adapt as per the new technological advancements.
For components, infrastructure and logistical set up, the industry as well as the government need to work together to overcome these challenges. Although the government has come up with various schemes and initiatives such as ‘Make in India and Atmanirbhar Bharat' to improve the business environment in the country, it further needs to set up a base which can scale up industries and facilitate ease of doing business in India. To further enhance the competitiveness of the Indian electronics manufacturing industry, these initiatives must be sustained with regular monitoring.

What are your expectations from the government in terms of providing a boost to your industry?
I have already mentioned the challenges faced by the industry. We are expecting infrastructural support from the government to nurture the manufacturing industry. Programs like the Skill India mission and Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative are already launched by the government in India and we believe, such skill development programs should be promoted further to increase their reach and make people more capable. Need of the hour is to reduce the import and minimise the dependency on other countries for raw material and components and the same can't be done without government's support to the industry. Government needs to set up a base for industry and provide boosters to further nurture and expand it.

How do you relate to initiatives like ‘Make in India' and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat'?
We are glad that our honourable Prime Minister has brought the concept of Atmanirbhar Bharat and Make in India in the mainstream along with several supporting policies. We at Laxmi Remote (India) Pvt. Ltd were always focused on making ourselves a truly independent manufacturing company. Today, we are equipped with comprehensive in-house facilities from design & development to production and from tooling to testing and everything in between including an R&D lab, molding as well as assembly lines.
One of our major USPs is to provide end to end solutions to clients in the categories we deal in where we can take up any project and can work on making the final product as per the client requirements. Right from the development of molds to building sophisticated cabinets, design and development of PCBs to assembly, and to manufacturing the final products, after an appropriate stringent quality process, we have all the capabilities which help us in building these products.
We are in the process of bolstering our manufacturing capacities and increasing our product lines at the moment to support make in India and Atmanirbhar Bharat initiatives and are committed to it.
With our future product portfolio expansion, we are aiming to generate employment opportunities for more than 1000 people in 3-5 years, to accommodate our vision to increase the share of Made in India products in the electronics manufacturing industry.

Tell us about LRIPL's overall manufacturing strength in terms of product spread and capacity.
We have a vast product portfolio that allows us to explore diverse industries for business. Our in-house production capacities make us stand out in the industry. We are a one-stop solution for manufacturing remote controls, setup boxes, adaptors, mobile chargers, door bells, LED TV boards and many more products. We have an installed capacity of manufacturing more than three million remote controls and one million set-top boxes, adapters, and mobile chargers each in a month to cater to different companies in the electronics manufacturing sector.
In the consumer segment, we have a PAN India presence with more than 500 distributors to reach to retailers and consumers and for selling remote controls, free to air set top boxes, adapters and power supplies, mobile chargers and so on through the same channel.

What kind of R&D set up do you have?
Our R&D unit in Noida is focused on remote controls, mobile chargers, adapters & power supplies. It is dedicated to work on different technologies and develop products in sync with latest trends and advancements happening around the industry. The team is currently working on RF, touch screen, voice control along with Bluetooth technology in the remote control category.
In 2018, we established another R&D center at Hyderabad for enhancing the set box and software business. This unit is a complete research and innovation lab that focuses on the research and implementation of new technologies in the cable and broadcast segment. The team is currently working on Internet based product categories like Hybrid box, IPTV box, and Android box along with a few other products.

Tell us about your client base.
Currently we cater to more than 60 electronics brands across the country. Some of these enterprises include Daikin, Blue Star, Crompton, Intex, Sansui, Toshiba, Crabtree, Johnson, Godrej, Eureka Forbes, Croma, Haier, Videocon, Hindware, Enhanced Living, Micromax, Mitashi, Amara Raja, V-guard, Voltas, Havells, Orient Electric, Bajaj, Luminous, Livpure, Whirlpool, Lloyd, Amber, Usha, Halonix, Carrier Midea, Sun TV, and Ricoh amongst many others. Apart from these clients, we are also the approved empanelled company for Doordarshan for making free-to-air setup boxes in India.

Does LRIPL also export? If yes, then tell us about the exports business. Yes, we are already exporting remote controls, setup boxes and casings of single board computers and microcontroller boards to UK, Africa, and Dubai. While stepping into the next era of electronic technologies, overseas expansion is one of our key focus areas. Amongst the international markets that are high up on our list are United States of America, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Argentina along with neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, etc.

Tell us about LRIPL's growth plans to expand business in India. Which vertical/product line will be its major focus?
As an electronics manufacturer, we are bidding high on the Indian market. The local manufacturers are expected to play a vital role in the government driven initiative like Make in India, Atmanirbhar Bharat and Vocal for local. For more diversified business, we have recently announced the expansion in our product portfolio by foraying into internet-based category products for the Broadcast & Cable industry such as IPTV, Hybrid Box, Android box and other products in the same categories. We are also working on technologies like RF, touch screen, voice control along with Bluetooth technology in the category of remote controls.
Additionally, we are also considering the possibility of entering in to LED TV manufacturing business with a manufacturing plant in the near future. Our future product line-ups selection is going to be focused on innovation and technology which will ensure that we deliver world-class technology at a competitive price.

Where do you see LRIPL three years down the line?
We would love to maintain our position as the largest and most trusted remote control and set top box manufacturer in the country while also boosting our position as the leading OEM, ODM and EMS Company in the categories we deal in. In the consumer segment, we are targeting to be No.1 brand in remote control, Free-to-air setup boxes and power supply categories.

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