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Ram Venkatramani



AUTOMOTIVE Bringing buyers and sellers on same platform is key

Dec 18, 2018

….believes Ram Venkatramani, President, ACMA, in this interaction with Suchi Adhikari. He speaks about the Indian automotive sector, its capability to compete at the global platform and his role as the ACMA President. Excerpts from the interview…

Can you share your insights on the Indian automotive sector? How well placed is the sector to compete on the global platform?

The Indian auto component industry is doing well. Last year, we grew by 18% and the exports outgrew the domestic market. This year, we grew by 24% and reached a turnover of $13.5 billion. So, the industry is poised well for growth. What is key to notice is the upgradation in quality and technological levels amongst ACMA members. If you look at the composition of our exports, almost 75-80% go to international OEMs and to developed markets, like, Europe and North America. Europe is about 34% and North America is 28%. If you further look at the industry a decade ago, our exports were primarily aftermarket exports — low-volume and high variety to multiple countries—but the fact that we have graduated to OEM types of supplies speaks volumes about the industry’s capability on quality and technology.

ACMA recently held the third edition of the iAutoConnect 2018 exhibition in Pune. What is the significance of this event?

The purpose of the iAutoConnect 2018 exhibition was to put captive buyers and sellers together on the same platform. This is a reverse buyers and sellers exhibition—a platform where our members were able to showcase their latest technology and be the sellers in the exhibition while the buyers were foreign delegates and representatives from 45 countries. This exclusive exhibition is based on the concept of the global aftermarket, which is a significant market and our members see the global aftermarket as an opportunity for growth. Since globally, the market is 50% OE and 50% aftermarket, there is a huge opportunity for significant growth and we are tapping this potential through this exhibition.

What kind of response are Indian auto suppliers getting at these exhibitions? Can you share some statistics from the previous years?

With this being the third edition of the iAutoConnect exhibition, it has become a global platform, which provides great opportunities to the Indian auto component manufacturers to showcase their strengths and capabilities. India being the fourth largest auto manufacturing nation in the world, with an annual production of around 30 million vehicles and a vehicle parc of 228 million, offers huge opportunities in servicing the aftermarket. Equally, there are immense opportunities outside of India. The tremendous response from visiting international buyers to this event is a testimony to the growing credibility of Indian manufactured auto components in international markets.

Additionally, bringing buyers and sellers together on the same platform is key to tap such potential and the fact that the overall exports from India has been growing year after year is a testimony that this initiative is adding to our ever-growing export story. Specifically, in the case of the iAutoConnect 2018 exhibition, there are a few factors that contributed to its success. We have an online portal, which matches buyers and sellers based on their needs. Due to this online portal, overall, we have been able to schedule more than 1000 meetings, even before the exhibition has started. Thus, the exhibition comes with a strong, concrete and specific agenda, for both, the buyers and sellers, both of whose needs are met through this platform.

You have been recently appointed as the ACMA President. What is the one agenda that you are passionate about which will be your driving force in this new role?

The role of ACMA is very clear: It is to be a bridge between the lawmakers, our membership and our customers, so that our membership is prepared to meet the regulatory and other changes that are coming up. I would like to continue on this agenda and take it ahead. It is a time of fairly tectonic changes that are happening and therefore, being updated, transmitting the information as quickly as possible back to our membership is the key and that is our focus. Meeting the lawmakers as often as possible and arranging for meetings between our customers and our membership is another important aspect. The focus is getting a lot more sharpened because we are not just doing a general factory visit. We are concentrating on more focused visits to show the technologies that the OEM is interested in and connecting them with who can provide these technologies. These kind of visits are increasing today so there is a greater focus and interaction with the lawmakers to ensure seamless transmission of information.

What are ACMA’s future plans in order to explore global market for Indian auto suppliers? What are your short-term and long-term goals?

For the short-term, study missions and business development missions take place every year. Study missions explore the available technologies around the world and find the possibility of facilitating joint ventures and technical assistance agreements. The business development mission is very similar to domestic interaction between the OE customer and our membership. Our membership tells us what are the areas they are interested in and when we visit a foreign country, we try to get manufacturers who provide that technology and facilitate a B2B meeting.

In the long term, there are associations that we are forming with the equivalent of ACMA in other parts of the world like, Japan. When you look at the traditional market, you need to deepen your engagement with Japan, Germany, the United States and South Korea. Periodically, we invest in trade missions, President Leagues and meet our counterpart associations. They, in turn, help us meet their industry. We will be doing the Japan mission soon. Apart from this, our team will also be flying down to the US as we are participating in the Apex show, where we have about 17 Indian companies. This is, in that part of the world, the largest aftermarket fair.

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  • Ram Venkatramani

    Ram Venkatramani recently took over as the ACMA President in September, 2018. He is also the Managing Director of India Piston Rings, which he joined in early 1989. He had done his MBA from USB Chicago, after which he flourished in his career as he successfully implemented systems and procedures based on TPM, TQM & Lean Manufacturing in all locations.

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