How has been the performance of Endress+Hauser in India so far?
India has been an important country for our group since a long time. The strategic investments which we have made in the country over the years, and continue to make, ensured that we grew at a rate faster than our peers. We have been consistently growing at more than 1.5x the market growth and we intend to keep it that way.
What are the critical factors that will take the business forward in the future?
Innovation is the key differentiator for us, and our growth is fueled by a wealth of innovations. Research and development expenses climbed to €184.2 million, representing 7.5 per cent of sales. The company filed 287 initial patents in 2018. At the end of the year, the company held nearly 7800 patents and other intellectual property rights. About one-third of the new patents were related to IIoT, digital communications, diagnostics and electronics.
Which are the industry sectors contributing to the growth of your company, globally and in India?
Though we work in almost all process industries in India, water, waste water, chemical, life science, food & beverage and oil & gas are the areas that form the major chunk of our business. Besides these, power, metals, primaries (ore & cement) are the other industries which contribute significantly to our businesses in India & worldwide. The company is also the founding member of the ‘Open Industry 4.0 Alliance’, an alliance of companies working on an open ecosystem, overcoming proprietary solutions for the digital transformation of industrial plants. Besides, we have a strategic alliance with companies where, we believe, we have synergies to offer added value to our customer.
Endress+Hauser group is mostly known globally for measuring instruments and automation for process industries. To what extent has the Indian market been receptive to this industry and to your services?
We support our customers in improving their products and in manufacturing them even more efficiently. Customers, since the last five years, have started acknowledging our competencies in integrated solutions & services. These new industry initiatives have been contributing almost one fourth of our total revenue in India. As plants become more complex, customers are looking at ways to leverage new technologies, and at the same time, reduce costs in every possible way. Customers today, demand end-to-end solutions and a single point responsibility; our company is in a unique position to offer these solutions & services aided by our broad portfolio of offerings and industry expertise & knowledge.
Can you highlight the key trends driving the process automation and measurement segments?
One of the key areas which would be interesting to look at in the next couple of years could include smart sensors. One of the challenges in process measurement, which we feel is questionable, is the quality & integrity of the measurements taken. The control quality is directly proportional to the quality of measurement and I envisage the roles of sensors going beyond the basic measurement. Another area I see is data in the cloud; the entire IIoT & Industry 4.0 ecosystem revolves around the data hub. This is one area where industrial plants can look to increase their bottom line to streamline & decrease costs in maintenance. Furthermore, predictive maintenance is a topic gaining a lot of attention from industry professionals.
How is digitalisation impacting your company’s business?
Ninety per cent of our field device portfolio is already digital and we are in a position to give our customers the opportunity to unlock this potential. We have also enabled more than 45 million digital twins (actively installed in the field), which promise to connect & provide our customers information & insights for them to make active decisions – this means information to the right person at the right time and place.