Optimal efficiency, higher functionality, and safety standards are key for measurement products in the instrumentation industry. Can you highlight some major milestones from WIKA in these areas?
As automation increases in every field, it is pertinent that the industry will be looking for efficient returns on investment in smart technology, better functionality of the machines, and of course safety points. In each of these cases, instrumentation plays a key role, as the success of smart technology is dependent not only on sensors for measurements and communications but also on actuators, valves, motors, and other control equipment that generates continuous data that leads to efficient systems.
Smart instrumentation today is a large part of asset performance management, where a variety of functions, include power management, maintenance systems, process automation, asset optimisation and safety. In order to deliver on the same, WIKA offers a number of smart products aiming to cover the entire industry range.
For example, WIKA has a differential pressure gauge with a pressure switch for monitoring air filters, blowers, industrial cooling circuits, flows in ventilation ducts, and the control of air and fire shutters that are sensor driven. Not only can they predict the heating and cooling requirements of the surroundings and adjust themselves, but the inbuilt software in the system wired through AI also enables the system to send a signal to the maintenance department in case there is any issue that needs to be addressed.
How do you strategise your business plans for meeting complex customer demands while being aware of cost-effectiveness in the Indian market?
While WIKA’s global expertise in technology and engineering propelled us to the leadership position in the Test and Measurement (T&M) equipment market in India, in the 25 years that WIKA has been present in the country, there have also been several learnings from India.
One such typical example has been the concept of frugal engineering, which has not only helped achieve localisation of components but also established India as an export hub for nearby and neighbouring countries. Our experience over the last five years, during which we clocked double-digit growth, demonstrated that a quality product portfolio combined with customer servicing and efficient cost control is hardly impacted by external factors. This has further intensified our push for greater localisation to make India a manufacturing hub for manufacturing more affordable WIKA products, thus taking advantage of the value for money in labour and the supply chain, all of which also make for better business sense.
WIKA India recently launched its NABL accredited lab in Ghaziabad. Can you tell us more about this development?
The new lab in Ghaziabad, which is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment conforming to the highest accuracy reference for pressure balances and working standards for precise electronic pressure measuring instruments, will strengthen WIKA India’s presence in the field of measurement of level, force, and flow, as well as calibration technology.
It's essential that measuring instruments undergo regular quality control not only to determine their accuracy of measurements but also to ensure optimal performance of the machines. Given the importance of sustainable production these days, organisations across the industrial spectrum want predictive maintenance, and WIKA India’s NABL accredited lab in Ghaziabad will help in the process of efficient measurements, which are important in not only keeping the machines in perfect running condition but also ensuring the safety of the instruments by checking their balance and measurements.
How is your company contributing towards optimising supply chain efficiency across several verticals?
There are three phases that occur within a successful supply chain optimisation process. First is Supply Chain Design, which looks at location, optimal product display, product flows, demand forecasting, etc. Second is Supply Chain Planning, which includes inventory planning for optimised delivery chain, and the third phase is Supply Chain Execution which concerns transport management and global trade management.
WIKA has adopted the use of IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) for supply chain traceability and efficiency. Blockchain enables supply chain optimisation without missing the links at each point, making it easier to negotiate with third parties and integrate financial and logistics services.
Technology led supply chain management not only ensures seamless efficiency but also enables a green footprint, making it a sustainable business case.
A key element in any organization’s growth is upscaling the workforce. How is WIKA addressing this?
WIKA believes in the way forward where we all reach out together — the impact will be faster and better. As WIKA plans to double its size, the attempt to reach the goal should also be together. Thus, WIKA has fully invested in its manpower and the process of empowering them to grow further. We today encourage talent exchange between different geographies. A new talent, a good talent, deserves world-wide recognition and also gets aligned with the global workforce. This also helps them to develop and work toward a common goal. A global training agenda has really motivated the workers.
The HR role in WIKA has evolved from the traditional hiring agency to an employee advocacy cell that not only supports the employees in their journey in the organisation but also helps them attain their career goals. WIKA has also consciously looked into women specific job roles to bring a balance to the manufacturing industry, and today we have women working on shop floors as well. Apart from the directly employed workforce, we are also strengthening our vendor and distribution networks as dealers provide the connect with the end customers. WIKA India has a dedicated dealer-partnership programme under which dealers are not only rewarded but also ranked according to their performance. Since these are remuneration-based performance checks, it motivates others to set their own targets and perform better.
What are the latest advancements in the digitalisation space within WIKA? How do you think such advancements lead to business development of an organisation?
Industry 4.0 or smart industry, as it’s known, has its own challenges that require unique solutions for each establishment. The last two years, as we faced a pandemic, have sped up the adoption of automation and upgradation. WIKA India made an internal list of products that needed to become smart and prioritised the transformation of manufacturing IoT enabled products.
In fact, we are at the cusp of a paradigm shift of industrial revolution, where two realms of industrial manufacturing coexist for the first time ever in modern human history. So, while Industry 4.0 is more technology-driven, Industry 5.0 is value-driven. Thus, implementation of technology opens a window for businesses to become accountable for a green future, while disruptions make deliverables more efficient and competitive. The data generated in the process, if used responsibly, allows human-kind to reap the benefits offered by the twining of AI and blockchain and create a sustainable force of development. Thus, for Industry 4.0 to be optimised in the long run, we need Industry 5.0 as it provides the weightage to the value addition offered by digital adoptions. Business development of WIKA rides on the competency of the products and the trained manpower. WIKA has invested in both and today can offer smart solutions across all the verticals in which they are present, right from the oil and gas sector to the health sector.
What is the big strategy for 2023 that is targeted to create a significant business impact?
WIKA India has been clocking double digit growth through the last few years, including last year in 2021 when India saw the unprecedented impact of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to research by Frost & Sullivan, the Indian market for general-purpose electronic T&M instruments alone will touch $300 million by 2022. The company is targeting doubling its turnover by 2025 by taking advantage of affordable labour in India to build up a cost-effective production process that is aided by a good supply chain and distribution channel. We already have a strong presence in India and intend to focus on strengthening our market share in the segments where we are present, while managing our service line and creating differentiation through customised smart solutions.