Quality is the cornerstone of our brand promise
Customers are at the center of everything we do – and that is reflected in our company’s vision and values, states Ajay Das, Managing Director, Timken India Ltd.
What have been your major achievements as a leading global manufacturer of components and assemblies?
For more than 100 years, Timken has focused on value creation for diverse industries and market segments. We deliver a variety of friction management and power transmission solutions for applications ranging from aircraft and automobiles to mining equipment and medical instruments. We’ve grown considerably since our founding in 1899, but solving customer problems is still at the core of our business, just like it was when founder Henry Timken patented a tapered roller bearing design that made life easier for freight wagon operators and their mules.
How successfully have you applied your expertise of friction management and power transmission?
Wherever there is motion, you’ll find Timken at work. Timken is one of the world’s leading producers of highly engineered antifriction bearings and related products and services and alloy steel and components. We help create, transfer and control power, putting our friction management and power transmission technologies to work across a broad industry spectrum.
For more than 100 years, Timken has refined the science of managing friction. Our chief technologists are responsible for hundreds of patents and white papers, and are committed to improving the performance of customer products. Timken has operations in 26 countries on six continents, and our team of 25,000 employees is dedicated to improving our customers’ performance in a variety of applications.
What efforts do you put in quality enhancement and customer satisfaction?
Customers are at the center of everything we do – and that is reflected in our company’s vision and values. Our vision says, “We are dedicated to improving our customers’ performance by applying our knowledge of friction management and power transmission to deliver unparalleled value and innovation all around the world.”
Quality is the cornerstone of our brand promise and a key to our global competitiveness. Timken associates are trained in quality processes to ensure that customers, no matter where they are located, receive consistent and excellent quality in our products and services. The world revolves around the ability to create, transfer and control movement. Timken influences motion in every major industry through innovative solutions that improve customer performance while providing societal benefits.
How has your foreign collaboration with parent Timken Company updated your production technology and products?
We are truly a global team, collaboratively working on solutions for customers across the globe. Our teams of engineers and scientists around the world are dedicated to using everything they know about friction management and power transmission to improve our customers’ performance.
Our engineers not only increase the reliability of Timken® products but also create designs that can set new performance standards. We refine processes and recommend improvements to enhance performance and improve value. Because our teams are located at technology centers in Asia (Bangalore), North America and Europe – as well as in our manufacturing facilities and field offices on six continents – customers have access to ideas and resources to transform concepts into reality.
Our Technical Centers of Excellence focus on specific products, materials and processes, while our Innovation & Development Centers in North Canton, Ohio, and Greenville, South.Carolina, concentrate on emerging technologies that span across a variety of industries and applications. Aligned with our business units, our technology centers are market driven, helping customers improve their products by enhancing the effectiveness of our products.
In which sectors is Timken involved in providing single-window solutions?
Timken is a global leader in friction management technologies and provides one of the most complete offerings of antifriction bearings in the industry. Timken offers all types of antifriction bearings, bearing kits, and advanced products such as housed units, integrated bearing assemblies and precision assemblies. We also help enhance bearing performance through a wide range of Timken services, including remanufacture and repair, reliability services and training.
Virtually every sector requires friction management tools and we provide a wide range of solutions encompassing precision bearings, reliable replacement parts, and comprehensive overhaul services to the cement & aggregate, oil & gas, mining, construction, rail, gear drive, wind energy, primary metals and a host of other sectors.
What is the depth of the impact created by the global recession on the industry?
The depth of the impact on the industry is very hard to define. There has not been a single industry which has not been affected by the recession. We saw the drop in demand from the industry beginning with the North American auto industry in 2008, moving through broader mobile industries and Europe, and then hitting global process industries and energy markets. That said, many of them might not have seen the bottom yet.
What strategies did you plan to face the slowdown?
Let me put this in perspective. Ethics and integrity, quality, innovation and independence are Timken’s core values. Despite the slowdown and the change in circumstances we have consciously stuck to our core values and vision and all efforts are focused on managing for the long term.
We’ve continued to make long-term decisions, leveraging the challenging markets to accelerate the transformation of the company. The three areas where Timken decided to invest during the last few years have been process industries business with strong after market demand focus, aerospace & defense and the Asian markets. All three areas have been relatively less affected by the slowdown. We will stay focused on the strategic direction that will keep us strong in the long-term while stepping up cost reduction and cash conservation. All efforts are being channeled to help to Timken emerge from the recession stronger than ever.
What are the company’s future plans?
As India builds its infrastructure, I see significant opportunities for Timken India team to further enhance our customers’ equipment performance through the application of Timken technology and skills. Over the last two decades, Timken has built world-class engineering, design, manufacturing, sales and services capabilities in India. We are in an excellent position to provide our discerning customers with the best in the industry end-to-end solutions (design to aftermarket services) with the team and capabilities we have here in Bangalore, Chennai, Jamshedpur and sales offices across India.
A good example is steel industry, where we partner with OEM designers and mill builders to study the application and suggest the right bearings and settings, manufacture the highest performance and highest quality bearings and then maintain it with our Milltec® services team. We intend to make these unique capabilities available to a broader range of industries and customers in India, broaden our product offering in India and in the process become their preferred power transmission and friction management solutions provider.
We have in India a strong team of Timken associates who are well trained and well equipped to use the Timken knowledge, product and solutions to create superior value for our customers in India and also be a significant cost-effective provider of engineering, IT and corporate services and Timken® bearings to the customers outside India (internal and external), and I look forward to strengthening it further to create superior value for our customers and shareholders.
What expectations do you have for revival of the economy in general, and your sector in particular?
Consumer industrial companies were the first to turn down, and we have seen some signs of recovery in our consumer-driven markets. Heavy industrial demand followed the consumer demand downturn much later. Because of our focus on the companies serving the capital goods markets, Timken tends to lag the general economy, in both a downturn and in the recovery from a recession.
Everyone is going through a phase of re-strategizing and consolidation. Though they have been battered, given the new economic conditions, a sense of resilience is becoming more visible. Though the plunge in manufacturing output looks like it’s come to a temporary halt, the outlook still looks quite tentative and in a state of flux. Increased consumer spending would be the only key for a revival.
Please suggest a few helpful tips to prevent global crisis in future.
Despite claims that the current recession is “unprecedented,” it seems to be following many of the same patterns the four previous ones did — patterns that may offer insights into the performance of sectors in coming months and years.
Given the difficult circumstances, it’s crucial for a company to make the right assumptions in strategic planning. The range of possibilities confronting business is unlimited. Companies that nurture flexibility, awareness, and resiliency are more likely to survive crises, and even to prosper.
Uncertainty surrounds not only the downturn’s depth and duration, but also the future of the global economic order. Managing uncertainty successfully to ensure long term health and success of any enterprise will require not just understanding and leveraging on better business intelligence but also adopting a flexible approach to planning. I would advocate a strong adherence to your vision and values, focusing on long term goals than looking at short term crisis responses. The future will belong to companies whose senior executives remain calm, carefully assess their options, and nurture the flexibility, awareness, and resiliency needed to deal with whatever the world throws at them.
Quality is the cornerstone of our brand promise