HARTING India expects to grow by 30%
“We had almost 200-300 per cent growth in first 4-5 years. Now we are close to about 30 per cent year-on-year growth,” said Girish Rao, CEO, HARTING India Pvt. Ltd.
HARTING is a globally recognised company and you have started your venture in India in 2005. How has been the journey?The journey in India has been good so far because we have a lot of customers in India looking for high-quality products. There was a tremendous growth in the last 6-7 years for HARTING India. We started from scratch in India, and today it is a decent size company with almost 35 people working for us.
We had almost 200-300 per cent growth in first 4-5 years of our operation here, now we are close to about 30 per cent year-on-year (YOY) growth.
What are your expectations for this financial year? In this financial year, we expect to grow by 30 per cent.
How do you find the acceptance of your products when it comes to Indian market? HARTING products are considered as premium products which are on everybody’s wish list because of their unmatched quality.
So affordability remains a question when you talk about HARTING products? Actually it’s a myth people have about our products. We are not very expensive. If people are willing to give us a chance to look into their applications, we can come out with cost-effective solution for their applications, and that’s how we are trying to work. People find our products expensive when they compare us with our look-a-like products without going through finer technical aspects. Our connectors are the benchmark in our market and 90 per cent of the competitors have copied our products. Obviously, when they don’t have technical leadership, they try to compete with low price.
Isn’t difficult offering premium products and competing with them who are offering lower cost? How do you tackle this kind of situation? We are also little bit choosy about the work and do not approach each and every market segment. We work in those markets where people are looking for robust products used in harsh industrial environment. For mission critical applications, reliability and minimal downtime are the key selection criterion, and our customers are willing to pay higher prices for such high-end applications.
Could you explain the initiative taken to strengthen your position and expand your base in domestic market? Most of our customers still think HARTING as a connector company. The HARTING Technology Group is skilled in electrical, electronic and optical connection, transmission and networking, as well as in manufacturing, mechatronics and software creation. The group uses these skills to develop customised solutions and products such as connectors for energy and data transmission applications including mechanical engineering, rail technology, wind energy plants, factory automation, and the telecommunications sector.
HARTING is also a specialist in industrial applications in the form of enclosures, housings, cabling and/or the assembly of individual or complete systems. We are trying to educate customers on various solution packages that we can offer. In India, we have started small operation where we do some value-added activities. In coming years, we plan to have our own manufacturing and would like to do everything under one roof—whether it is connector manufacturing, cable assemblies, or complex solutions.
When are you going to set up such facility? We already have a manufacturing facility in a rented premise which is up and running since October 2012. We have started this operation to offer more flexibility to our local customers. We would like to move into our own premise in due course of time.
What kind of investment are you looking to set up a manufacturing plant? We already have made a decent infrastructure in India, and the new campus will be in-line with our global manufacturing footprints.
What kind of solutions are you providing for rail?We provide solutions for both rolling stock as well as stationary equipment. Some of our solutions are jumper fittings, interface solutions for train controls, backplane systems, connection technology for drive and vehicle controls, quick connection for drive motors, and hall effect sensors for the convertor application, to name a few.
How are your business activities peaking up in the manufacturing sector? HARTING is a growing company in India; obviously, we are quite active in the manufacturing sector. Compared to western countries, India has a lot of works to do in terms of infrastructure. This will continue to trigger growth in many industries such as rail, energy, steel, etc. This is where we operate and are going good so far. Of course, industrial output is lower than the expectation levels, but it doesn’t mean that it will stay this way. Sooner or later, manufacturing sector will return to its double-digit growth rate, we are ready from our side.
How do you place your focus with your core competencies?In India, we are pretty focussed on our target markets such as energy, transportation, machinery, and automation as we have excellent product range to address customer needs.
Can you give us the segment wise percentage? More than 50 per cent of our revenue comes from transportation (rail, ships, offshore) and energy segment. Then we have machinery and robotics followed by automation, telecom and medical markets.
Did you launch any product recently? HARTING believes in continuous innovations, and we keep launching many products. Some of our new products are Han-Yellock, Han-Eco, har-flex, har-speedM12, and HCSE which are already well accepted.
Indian market is dominated by more or less unorganised players. Isn’t it too difficult for you to compete with them or do you have any kind of competition with them?Normally, there are two kinds of competition: organised and fly-by-night operators. All I can say is that every product is a copy of HARTING. It gives a lot of pride that there are a lot of connectors which look like ours. If I start counting them, I’ll have to say that I have monopoly in certain markets because every connector’s design is based on HARTING’s design. Our customers come to us because of our reliability and the reputation which we have built over 65 years. We don’t mind competing with the organised players at all.
HARTING is still accounted as one of the connector manufacturers. What’s your view on it?Yes, HARTING is very famous for its connectors, but we are trying to establish ourselves with our other offers such as Ethernet switches, cabling solutions and backplane solutions in India.
In electrical and electronics, what is your market share?We are in a dominant position in rectangular and DIN connectors, but we were virtually unknown in many other electronic connector segments. This is where we are working hard to establish ourselves. Most of our competitors are catering to aerospace and military applications where we are not active by our own choice.
Are you planning for any kind of acquisition or consolidation in the Indian market? As a company, we don’t have a policy of inorganic growth. It’s a family owned company and insulated from the stock market turmoil. We don’t have any ambition of acquiring other companies.
HARTING India expects to grow by 30%