In an interaction with Zaid Lakdawala of OEM Update, Ashish Chand, Managing Director, Industrial & Enterprise Solutions, Asia Pacific, Belden, talks about their latest Chakan manufacturing facility and how they, with a portfolio of best-in-class communication technology they plan to deepen their roots on Indian soil.
How has Belden’s journey been in India so far and how effective will the Chakan manufacturing facility will be?
We’ve been here for 16 years and our journey has been fairly strong. In the initial phase, we sold our products only to premium customers. But now, because Indian market has grown exponentially, we are trying to widen our horizon of selling products. And to do that, it became evident to us that it’s very important to have a manufacturing facility in India.
The feedback received tells us that more demand is expected in the next five years. In the last four years, we’ve achieved a growth rate of 60-70 per cent every year on a small base. We’re at ` 250-crore right now in terms of sales. But, I think it is very likely that we cross the ` 500-crore mark in the next 2-3 years.
What key products will be manufactured in India in this mega unit?
There are four kinds of products. One is the specialised industrial cables, which we use for industrial automation, but mostly in building automation, where the building standards in India are going up more towards the industrial category for safety reasons. More and more precautions have been taken. The second one is the industrial Ethernet switches, which are used for automating different kinds of networks. The third is copper and optical fibre connectivity products that are used in data centres and in LAN networks. The fourth one is broadband cable, which we manufacture for the US market, and we hope to manufacture for the Indian market, too.
In Indian industry, Industry 4.0 comes with a vital challenge of threat to cyber security. What sort of implementation is necessary?
Within cyber security, there are different levels of protection that the industry provides. The good thing about Belden is that we have Layer 2 switches/Layer 2 firewalls. But, we also have endpoint security and file integrity management software, which is of very high level; it has an entire range of 0-10 of cyber security. Lot of Indian or industrial companies are yet to realise the importance of cyber security because of the lack of any consumer-based transactional model. However, what hackers can steal from one consumer is nothing compared to what they can steal from a big industrial corporation, in terms of sensitive information. So, I think this change will happen. I think it’s up to us to educate the market by focusing and providing cyber security education opportunities to our customers.
What type of solutions do you provide?
Ours is the only company which provides solutions with in-built cyber security. This is not the case with most of the other companies, as you have to buy cyber security separately along with the solution. We have acquired a company that provides in-built cyber security. But again, it’s a journey from 0-10 and I think in India the average right now is about 3-4 on that journey. People are implementing firewalls, but they don’t worry so much about file integrity management. I hope that will change over time.
Belden is said to have a developed and more comprehensive line of the industry cabling solution in the world. Could you please elaborate more on that?
Over the last 116 years, we have developed much specialised range for each and every different application. For example, you can say automation is a market; within automation, transportation is a vertical; within transportation, metro is a sub-vertical; within that metro, supervisory control system is an application. Most of our competitors use the term ‘automation cables’; however, we call them supervisory control system cable, which is designed for that application, taking into account the vibration, temperature, chemical requirements, and network requirements of that particular application. As a result, over last several years, we have accumulated almost 30,000 different part numbers. So, Belden is like a bible for this industry.
What new opportunities do you see for strengthening Belden’s presence in the Indian dynamic market?
I think our biggest opportunity would be to increase the localised designs. Because Belden is well known to our existing user base. But, as we want to strengthen our market presence, we have to get new users. We may have to relook at some of our products, make them more suitable for the Indian context, sometimes it’s about taking the price point down, and more importantly it’s about customising through the environment. So, I think that’s the next step for us in Pune. The more we can accelerate customisation, the stronger we will have our foothold in India.
“Industrial companies are yet to realise the importance of cyber security because of the lack of any consumer-based transactional model”
Ashish Chand, Managing Director, Industrial & Enterprise Solutions, Asia Pacific, Belden India Pvt Ltd