What is your outlook on the current business scenario and what are the changes anticipated in this year? How optimistic are you in terms of the economy bouncing back on track?
The automotive industry is one of the main drivers for the machine tool industry. With introduction of BS VI emission norms since April 2020 and associated price hike of the vehicles in all segments, we anticipate a challenging business environment. If we get good monsoon this year, we expect the industry to bounce back between Sept-Dec 2020. Nevertheless, with BS VI introduction, several key components in the engine are modified with much closer tolerances. As a result, significant investments are taking place in associated metrology equipment. In the meantime, we are also seeing good opportunities in other sectors such as railways, aerospace and engineering. Since the last five years, we have been working on exports of our machines. We now sell our machines in Germany, Italy, USA, Mexico, Russia and middle east. We hope to get further traction on our exports during 2020.
What is your agenda / plan-of-action for the year 2020, in order to be competitive and stay relevant to customers and catch up with the growth momentum? Upcoming challenges can no longer be met using conventional methods. What's your take on this?
During the FY 2019-20, we have invested significantly in new product development in line with global need of smart factories. With smart factory or Industry 4.0, there is an increasing requirement of digitisation on the shop floor. We are now engaged with several companies to provide an end-to-end solution in the area of quality management. With this integrated approach, our customers can take decision based on real-time data from the shop floor. Communication between a measuring tool and CNC work centre is also automated, wherein, automatic tool wear compensation can be calculated for a zero-defect production. These advances in technology will also minimise the dependence on the skills of an operator. We anticipate more and more companies to focus on Quality 4.0 efforts in their companies in the coming years and invest accordingly in resources to address the needs.
How should a company effectively bridge the gap between optimising existing technologies & investing in advancements? Would you like to share examples from your organisation?
Every year, we invest 50% of our development budget on optimising existing products/technologies. This helps us in reducing costs, bettering the features and increasing throughput of products. The primary aim is to increase customer satisfaction through these efforts and increase our business with the existing customers. The remaining 50% is spent on new product developments, which will open new customer segments and new markets for us. From our customers perspective, we have always offered products with a flexibility for future upgradation according to the changing needs of the customer. This approach helps our customers to invest in what they use today without limiting the benefits of future developments in technology.
How can India build sustainable breakthrough ecosystems for nurturing global businesses and achieving manufacturing-driven growth? At the same time, how can the industry respond to uncertain economic cycles and technological disruptions, simultaneously?
For developing a sustainable ecosystem, we as a country must nurture local manufacturing. Most companies want business for their products, but to make these products they prefer to import machinery from abroad. Of course, Indian companies have to prove their mantle to change this preference, but as a society, we have to restore our lost pride and build in India. No company can get into exports unless its products are well proven in the domestic market. At the same time, one cannot entirely depend on the domestic market as the economic cycles can otherwise affect the smooth running of the company. As a company, Accurate has invested significantly in skill development in the area of our domain – quality. During the last year alone, we trained over 1000 quality engineers across the country in better use of CMMs. GD&T, MSA, etc. This is helping us greatly in wider acceptance of our offerings on the Indian shop floors. We are now institutionalising this activity with the formation of Accurate Centre of Excellence for Quality, a section 25 company, as our contribution to our fraternity.