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Steven Stokey (right) and Keshav Khurana (left) during IMTEX 2017

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Cutting tools “We are bringing value to customers’ businesses”

Mar 31, 2017

…says Steven Stokey, Executive VP, Allied Machine & Engineering Corp, along with Keshav Khurana, Executive Director, Wohlhaupter India, while highlighting the benefits of both companies coming together for the Indian market. He also discusses his company’s strategy to meet customer-specific requirements. Excerpts from the interview…

Can you brief us on the recent acquisition of Wohlhaupter by Allied Machine & Engineering? How has each company benefitted from this partnership?

Our company is focused on drilling systems and Wohlhaupter is focused on boring systems. In the machining process, boring is the next operation after drilling. So, the majority of our existing customers who are into drilling processes are also in need of boring tools to complete their machining activities. Hence, the acquisition of Wohlhaupter is a strategic move for us as it provides a complete solution for our customers.

According to this collaboration, we recently acquired a majority of the shares of Wohlhaupter GmbH, Wohlhaupter USA and Wohlhaupter India. With this, we have a strong application engineering support in India with 18 engineers. We are bringing both organisations together and conducting training and exchanging ideas on both the companies' businesses to raise the technical capabilities of our people.

What are the factors that are driving innovations globally? With the ‘Make in India’ initiative in the background, how will the competition dynamics within the Indian manufacturing industry change and what will be the benefits to the customers?

Globally, in the current scenario, all companies are constantly innovating to improve customers' productivity and reduce their manufacturing cost per component. So to succeed in the Indian market, we need to be flexible and responsive to customer discussion. We are listening to our customers’ challenges and providing them solutions for their problems.

Considering the demographics of India, a vast majority of the population in India is under 30 years old, which shows the huge workforce and the potential demand for a variety of goods and services. We entered into the Indian market at the right time in 2005 coinciding with the country’s growing economy. Now, through this partnership, instead of an incremental growth, we can grow exponentially. We are driving to bring both our teams together to get much closer to our customers, respond to them faster and bring added values to their businesses.

What is your company’s business model to cater to customers' demand for quality and productivity improvement on their shop floor?

Generally, people have different demands in terms of productivity, price and quality. Our business model is not to build products to be at the lowest price. We are known for our quality craftsmanship all over the world. By supplying quality tools, it enables our Indian customers to compete on the global market by making flagship products that are of world-class standard. We have to bring value to our customers in order to increase their profits. On the other hand, we are strengthening our relationship with machine tool builders so that our tools will be delivered along with their machines, which opens up new opportunities for customers.

Khurana: Now, we are known to the majority of the Indian machine tool companies together as Allied-Wohlhaupter. Definitely, machine tool players need our help to take care of their tooling projects. We receive lots of inquiries from them and we have done lot of tooling proposals for their customers. We have already established successful projects across India. They look at us as a solution provider for hole making. Wohlhaupter have relationships with certain companies and Allied have strong relationships with companies like Mazak. Now we are sharing our information, allowing both of us to be successful.

The tooling industry, today, faces challenges with the advent of new materials. Amidst these challenges lie many opportunities that are largely led by technological advancements. What is your take on this?

We have a long history of providing standard products that customers can use for machining difficult-to-machine materials. We have also developed special geometries that can form chips. Chip formation is the critical factor in machining these materials. Wohlhaupter and Allied together have a wide range of solutions as far as chip formation is concerned.

Allied recently announced a new GEN3SYS XT Pro line of high penetration drilling products, which features inserts and holders designed for three new geometries (P, K, N) and will be available for steels (ISO material class P), cast irons (material class K), and non-ferrous materials (material class N). Thus, we are aligning ourselves to make it easier for customers to understand.

What is your company’s approach towards digital platforms? How are you leveraging such platforms to roll out tooling capability?

Khurana: Wohlhaupter has its own online digital platform called ‘Tool-Architect’ that has been designed to provide a fast and easy way to build a tool-based on customer specific requirements via search and filter functions. It is very easy to handle.

In a similar manner, Allied has established an online tool called Insta-Quote™. It is the most flexible and rapid method available and its user-friendly menu guides customers through a simple process to design, draw, obtain a quote and order customised tooling in minutes.

What are your plans for India, in terms of expansion, increasing market share, manufacturing activities, etc?

We have certain plans for the Indian market in the next 3 to 5 years. The first year, together, we will be working to form an Allied–Wohlhaupter culture in India, as we continue to provide outstanding service to our customers throughout, then year 2 to 5 is about strategic planning for the Indian market. It’s about adding more people providing outstanding service in a bigger way to other countries. Our vision in five years will be to have twice as many people as now. Then we want India to become a self-sufficient application group so that they can provide immediate responses to global customers, that are in place now. So, we want to continue to build that strength.

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