Ajay Saraf, business head, professional lighting, Havells India, shines the spotlight on how the company’s strong manufacturing setup and innovations are helping it climb its way to the top.
Interviewed by Mitalee Kurdekar
Havells has made quite a mark in the lighting segment, with a formidable presence in both the consumer and industrial segments. What has been the key to this growth?
Havells India is a Fast Moving Electrical Goods (FMEG) company with an extremely strong global presence, thanks to our philosophy of Make in India, extensive distribution network and world-class quality. We started our journey in the lighting sector in 2004 and, today, we have emerged as one of the fastest growing lighting companies in India.
One of the biggest contributors to our growth is our state-of-the-art in-house manufacturing facility for lighting fixtures in Neemrana, Rajasthan, as well as the fact that we are providing end-to-end value-for-money, innovative solutions to our customers.
We have developed expertise and provide solutions for application areas like retail, hospitality, healthcare, indoor commercial, landscape, street, façade, and many more. We have evolved into a Smart Lighting Solutions provider by introducing IoT into our product basket. Another reason for our success and rapid growth is our people, who work towards bringing about this transformation, and creating success.
Innovation is vital in the lighting industry. How do you decide on the tools and budgets to employ for R&D and developing new products and services?
We have a Centre for Research & Innovation (CRI) and a marketing team that constantly keep looking at trends in the global market and understand which technology will be more apt and beneficial to our customers. At Havells, we believe in offering products and solutions that the customer is looking at rather than offering what we have in our portfolio.
As lighting is getting integrated and connected with electronics and software, many IoT-related products and solutions are being developed and offered. To cater to these requirements, we have put in a great focus on putting the right kind of people on the job, in order to integrate these technologies with our products & solutions. We are spending heavily on tools, design & development, technology induction, and many more areas.
What are some of the factors you look at to continuously improve quality processes?
Quality has been the foundation of Havells’ ecosystem with customers & dealers at its core. Given the exponential pace of change around us, the customer is becoming more quality conscious than ever before.
At Havells, the quest for continuous improvement in products and services is supported by: state-of-the-art plants supported by latest technologies; factories working on a Zero Defect Zero Effect philosophy; ISO certifications for quality management, environmental management & OHSAS; IT-enabled processes & systems; ensuring a cultural transformation through a highly motivated workforce; supplier capability enhancement through standardisation and hand-holding; and flawless product introductions.
How do you look at investments in terms of automation, machinery, etc. in your company?
Over the years, we have made huge investments in developing a world-class manufacturing setup. These are in the field of expanding manufacturing capacities, bringing automation in many aspects of manufacturing, specialised machinery, laser cutting for aluminum & steel, powder coating, etc. Currently, we have 70% utilisation of our factories and we are well equipped to take care of a steep rise in demand.
As far as the lighting division is concerned, what are Havells’ plans for 2018?
We are targeting multiple areas this year. One critical area is the specifier segment, which would cover architects, consultants and designers. The biggest USP we have vis-a-vis competition is our own manufacturing, which gives us an ease for quick turnaround time to develop and deliver new and customised products, within a short span of time. Moreover, the range we have in our portfolio now is best-in-class, both on the functional as well as the aesthetic front, making it the first choice for specifiers. Besides this, we are also bringing in connected smart lighting for outdoor & indoor spaces, and are a big player in both these spaces. Finally, we are also getting into Tuneable Dynamic Lighting for indoor as well as outdoor spaces, which will give Havells an extra edge over competition.