In a candid interview, Brett Allard, Director of Sales and Marketing – India, Renishaw plc speaks to Ahlam Rais on India’s market situation in the machine tool industry and more...
What is the current situation of the Indian market for the machine tool industry?
Brett Allard: From our experiences we have witnessed that the Indian market is in reasonable health. There is definitely a shift from lower end machines towards more flexible equipment such as 5 axis machines. As India moves towards a global market the requirement, the accuracy and repeatability is increasing too. Therefore, people are investing more in quality machines. In the current scenario, even if volume over volume maybe slightly down; the value is increasing owing to the average cost per machine.
How has the ‘Make in India’ concept impacted the industry?
Allard: The initiative has been useful as it has given the Indian manufacturing industry an identity, freed up trade and boosted the confidence of people to invest. But now everyone is looking at what financial and mental assistance will the government provide in order to take this vision to the next level.
In your opinion, kindly mention some of the measures that the government should undertake to improve business in the country?
Allard: Majority of our products in India come from Renishaw plc. In this case, the import duties are an issue for us. I would request the government to provide a slight relief in this area and also streamline the process of custom imports as there are many occasions on which we need an order to be dispatched at the earliest but it gets stuck in customs.
The government should undertake measures to provide financial assistance to the end user market. For instance, the automobile, aerospace, space, defence and medical sectors should be provided with a system to invest. The EU is a good example in Central and Eastern Europe where they have regional development funds that goes into improving process efficiency and productivity. This really helped our business to grow in the EU.
Lastly, the government should speed up the infrastructure projects as it will become an enabler for the ‘Make in India’ campaign too.
What are your views on new technologies such as Additive Manufacturing?
Allard: Additive Manufacturing (AM) is globally a hot topic of discussion. We are fortunate that we got into the market fairly early. Today, we see a ballooning interest for AM within India and globally. This technology is a high level investment; people are not certain where exactly it fits in the supply chain. But there are already niche markets or certain markets which are adding real value through a design and also the fact that you can manufacture things that were not possible to manufacture through traditional manufacturing techniques. We can double our business as additive is a large part of our future plan but the core of our business will remain the metrology business.
What are your expansion and investment plans for the future?
Allard: India is a fairly large market for us; we already have a manufacturing facility in Pune. We are in the process of expanding our manufacturing outputs as more products need to be produced at the facility. The Group’s software development hub which is also based in the country is expanding rapidly. We are running out of space at our Pune facility and will expand over a period of time. We have five offices spread across the country and are currently investing in people. We invest where we see growth and India is one such market.
How do you see your company growing in the next five years?
Allard: For us double digit growth is a minimum. We could potentially double our business in the next five years and this is a combination of organic growth i.e. finding new markets, new customers, and new applications for our current customers.
The biggest limiting factor for me in India is the ability to actually uncover and effectively cover all the potential customers in the market. We have to be smart in the way we approach this space.