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Towards Self Reliance

By Niranjan Mudholkar,

Added 17 July 2020

Cutting tools industry would play important role in achieving India’s dream of ‘Atamnirbhar Bharat’, says Ravi Prem, Chief Operating Officer, Forbes & Company Limited

ravi-prem

How would you analyse the cutting tools industry’s performance over the last one year in India?
Cutting tools industry plays very significant role in metalworking in India in various manufacturing sectors and would play important role in achieving India’s dream of ‘Atamnirbhar Bharat’. We believe that in these competitive times, all those companies who strategically addressed the themes of innovation, improved upon the concept of Total Cost of ownership (TCO), made new designs and products available to customer and had a responsive and agile supply chain to support the end customer retained their competitive edge. Overall, the year was not an easy one, and was made difficult with the onset of Covid19 in the first quarter of calendar year 2020.

How did your organisation fare in comparison with the rest of the industry last year?
We were conscious of our dependencies on the automotive sector and the potential impact it could have on us. We therefore tried to re-define our markets by segmentation at market and consumer level during the last year. Like others, we have also been impacted during the last financial year because of automotive slowdown. We are also looking at innovation, new designs, and a better supply chain as measures of improvement and we are confident of our recovery in the current year.

How has the Covid-19 outbreak affected your business?
COVID 19 has brought us many unique challenges which otherwise one would have thought in normal circumstances. The impact is prevalent across the industry, but differs marginally from state to state. Activities in the last fortnight of March to end of June, 2020 were at around 35 percent to 40 percent of the general plan. New employee safety measures also had to be put in place and are getting embedded as a process. From a customer perspective, new marketing and sales techniques have come into play, which include focus on digital ways of communication in a big way. Communication has improved a lot technologically and we believe that these changes will remain permanent.

With concepts like Industry 4.0, Smart Factories and Digital Machining, customers today are demanding technological advancements. How are you helping your customers on this front?
We have initiated this process some time back and are fully equipped to meet customer demand on high level of industrial automation and digital machining. This is a challenge every day and we have taken all steps to remain ahead of competition on this front.

Many cutting tools players are today supporting customers through a well-equipped technology centre. Tell us about your initiatives in this regard.
We are very happy to state that we are one of leading tools producer in India with exports to developed nations under our own Brand TOTEM, which is a well-recognised and respected brand. We have a state of art centre at Waluj, Aurangabad equipped with test beds & computer aided engineering technology. We are proud to be one of the first in many product developments in our product portfolio in some segments. Our focus is to enhance performance of existing designs and develop new engineered solution for new materials. With rapid technology advancements and evolution in material sciences there is a constant need to come up with products which will keep us with the customers machining requirements, be it complex application, better tool life and cycle time reduction. We have made significant investments in technology and will continue to do so in the future along with talent infusion.

Your outlook for the year ahead?
We will be able to predict the future only after India is able to fully control the Covid19 pandemic. As on date, there are still some concerns, though we as a country have performed better on this front as compared to many other countries. Subject to the above, India being a consumption economy, and also being very resilient economy backed with a strong domestic demand, we believe that the overall industry performance will be close or near to the performance of last financial year.
END

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