You received the Business Leader of the Year award by BTVI in March 2019 for exemplary business turnaround for Premium Transmission. What do you attribute this success to?
I would attribute this success solely to my team. We have a good team, which has worked with dedication to achieve the company’s goals. I joined last year and have seen the leadership of the people of this company who are all working towards doubling its growth by 2021-22. So, it’s their passion and commitment that has made it possible for this to happen.
What kind of innovations or technology trends do you foresee in the coming years that will impact the worldwide power transmission industry? Do you foresee any new technologies that will be coming and impacting gear & gearbox manufacturing?
Earlier, the trend was towards worm gearboxes. However, the demand now is for helical and planetary gearboxes, making a shift in technology. Besides, the size and aesthetics of gearboxes have become very important; people want compact gearboxes. These trends may affect the overall world market in the gearbox industry. Taking the transmission industry into account, we see that electronics and control systems have started playing a significant role in fluid couplings, which will decide how the fluid couplings will change in combination with VFD. Another trend that’s catching up is IoT, which will become very prominent in the mechanical power system in the next three to five years because nobody wants to monitor things manually anymore.
How is the growth of the gear & gearbox industry sector in India viz-a-viz global one? What are the challenges you see in this area?
The CAGR of the gear & gearbox industry globally is 4 to 4½%, while that in India is more, being 7 to 8%. Additionally, the government has been putting more thrust on infrastructural development and the core industry segments, such as, the sugar industry, cement industry and power industry, which will eventually boost the gear & gearbox industry. However, one of the biggest challenges the sector faces is keeping the cost of manufacturing low while meeting the same reliability and quality parameter which are supplied by US and European companies.
Premium Transmission recently launched its first product development centre in Kolkata. What is the reason for choosing Kolkata for the company’s product development centre? Will it be just an extension of the company’s current R&D activities?
We noticed that the day-to-day activities took up a significant amount of space and resources than the development activities. So, keeping this in mind, we have separated the development activities from engineering activities. Therefore, the development centre in Kolkata will be focusing only on product developments. The reason we picked Kolkata is because we see a good technical and engineering resource here. Plus, we have a plant in Falta near the city, where we see high stability in people, which is important for long-term development activities. This very same stability is a challenge in Pune as the city has so many development centres of different companies, leading to high attrition of manpower.
Premium Transmission recently opened its first service centre in Pune. Can you give us more details on it? How will the centre contribute to the company's overall business growth?
In order for a gearbox to have a long product lifecycle, regular maintenance is important. We have identified that there is no organised player in the market that is providing such a service professionally. Hence, recognising this need of our customers, we have opened this service centre. Likewise, we will be opening a service centre in Coimbatore, Bhubaneswar, Jabalpur and Ahmedabad. The crucial part is that these service centres will not provide its services to just our gearboxes, but to gearboxes by any manufacturer. The point is that we want our customers to be completely dependent on us for any kind of service, even if the product has been bought from our competitors. As a growth opportunity, we see this becoming a 100 crore business by 2024.
How is Premium Transmission directing its efforts towards strengthening its global footprint? How does it plan on coming out as a competent global player?
We are trying to make our product profile in the European market stronger by selling our complete product there from our German operations. Also, we are identifying the significant presence of engineering companies in other countries and trying to be in alignment with them for a joint venture operation. So, we have already appointed the authorised representative in Sri Lanka and made a partnership deal with a company in Bangladesh. As for the US market, we are in touch with a company whose products are complimentary with ours; we are planning to enter into an agreement with them where they will sell our products in the US and we will sell their products in India. Similarly, for fluid couplings, we have signed a MoM with an Italian company, where they will sell our products in the European market and we will sell some of their products in the Asian markets.
What are the company's short-term and long-term goals down the line?
Our short-term goals are made keeping our long-term goals in sight. We have a long-term goal to double our company’s value by 2021-22, that is to bring it to 700 crore plus. So, in order to achieve this long-term goal, we have short-term objectives in terms of improving our product profile, refining our offerings, and bettering our quality and technological advancements to expand in the exports market.