Monday, 1 April 2013

igus India : Delivering Perfection and Endurance (An interview with Mr. Antony P. Kurian, C.O.O. igus India Pvt. Ltd. published in Engineering Review - Feb 2013)

Q. igus being the key player in the industry, please brief us about recent initiatives undertaken by your company? Which are your focus areas?

From the time we made a humble beginning in India from a small 3 room office, the focus of igus has been the same as it was world over; to be with the customer as a part of their team to develop innovative and comprehensive solutions.
Mr. Antony P. Kurian, C.O.O.
igus India Pvt. Ltd.

Over the last year 10 years igus growth has been chartered by a passionate adherence to a simple philosophy “Plastics for longer life”. Today igus through its Headquarters in Bangalore measuring 40,000 sq. ft. and through its 16 Technical Support Offices spread across India, successfully practices “Plastics for longer life” “Lifetimes Configured in Minutes” and “Delivered in 24 hours” with “Cost Down…Life up…” – the guiding principles that defined the success of igus in India as well as world over.

Today with customers and their needs in mind, we have launched our new 24 hours express catalogue program, where in anything ordered from this catalogue will be dispatched within 24 hours or the same day. Further to be closer with our customers and offer the best of application engineering by our trained professionals we have expanded our sales force by 50%. To support the above to active sales measures we also invest in increasing factory space by nearly 70%. These measures along with the 145 new product launches we hope that we remain ahead in not just competition but more importantly in the customers estimates of igus as an inventor and innovator in performance plastic solutions.

Q. Please brief us about company’s global reach & what are the global alliances that has been made in order to out-front the competition?

igus has 27 offices and 54 exclusive distributors worldwide. As pioneers in tribopolymers it has been our endeavour to continuously develop new materials, products and product extensions based on constant feedback from our customers. The launch of 145 new products is a testimony to our focus in this area. What additionally all our products offer for the discerning customer is the ability to calculate lifetimes, which is based on the accumulated results of over 10,000 tests per year in our labs for varying operating conditions in our test labs. This real and actualized life time predictability is unique to igus and sets us apart and ahead of all others.
It is our attempt to be true innovators and inventors in the field of performance plastics that encourage us to run the famous global “manus” and “vector” awards to bring out hidden innovations with plastics globally in the field of general bearing and cable management applications.

igus GmbH-Headquarter Cologne
igus GmbH-Headquarter Cologne
Q. What are the market prospects for igus products in India? How do you plan to position these products?

Market prospects are seamless. In the last years igus India has grown every year over 40% to achieve leadership position. The top 8 machine tool manufacturers are all faithful and long standing igus customers. Likewise all automotive majors, be it the homegrown or global players are all buying igus bushes. The India growth has spanned across all industry segments be it, automotive, packaging, steel, medical, machine tools, automation, material handling, cement, fertilizer, ports etc.

Q. What is your marketing strategy for India?

There is no better marketing than the word of mouth. In today’s world when companies including us work aggressively with marketing campaigns, SEA & SEO’s, costly print ads, what we are really proud of is the marketing that comes from our customers – these are amply proven time and again by the thousands of application references and customer testimonials in our websites.

Coming more specific to our strategy – we believe our attempt to come closer to the customer as always has to be taken to the next level. With this in mind we have distributed more 10,000 Express Catalogues into the hand of Technocrats in various industry segments with the promise of delivering these articles (around 6000 various items) within 24 hours of a request. On the same plane is also the aggressive sample campaigns that we undertake for industry segments where customer are given samples of products that are commonly used from their segment with a promise of free till proven sample for each individual application that the customer may have.
igus India - Bangalore infrastructure
igus India - Bangalore infrastructure
It is also our endeavour to take the good news “plastics for longer life” to the industry – this is amply demonstrated by our famous road-shows or “In-House Exhibitions” as we like to call it, wherein we move an exhibition booth to the customers place where they are invited to feel our products and freely discuss their applications.

All our actions are to further our belief and strengths in our two umbrella brands namely – the-chain, energy for your motion & dry-tech bearings, lubrication free for your motion.

Q. Product innovation through R&D is vital to be forrader in the competition, as per your opinion how does R&D plays the role of catalyst in the success process?

Definitely without a doubt R&D plays a major role in any process. We have tests run round the year to make sure our parts perform well. Over 10,000 tests are run before they are out to the customers. Detailed R&D is carried to understand applications, conditions etc and manufactured accordingly with high quality.

igus replaces classic metallic solutions with engineering plastics. We call these plastics tribo-polymers. As we know from our daily life the possibilities of plastics are seamless. What makes igus special is the state of R&D and testing which helps to translate cost and life saving ideas to tangible usable products which can be configured on the internet, ordered from stock and delivered in 24 hours. This is a significant promise which differentiates us and keeps us very close to the customers.

Q. Quality standards are benchmarked by the product performance; please brief us how do you maintain the quality norms since from product manufacturing to implementation?

Our products come from the stable of the unbeatable German quest and diligence on quality. These are ensured through Lean Production Systems and iPS (igus Production System). From the stage of design to production we maintain all quality norms and over 10,000 tests a year are run in our labs to make sure we deliver what we promise. This confidence is how we are able to offer online life-calculator tools, thus making it possible to measure life of the components even before we physically run the tests.

Based on these results we are able to provide the most cost effective solution to our customers with absolutely no compromises with quality. Coming to quality standards in production and conformity, it goes without saying that we comply with all major certifications including ISO9001.2008, TS16949, UL, DESINA CSA, RoHS etc. as applicable for the product and production systems.

igus India factory view
igus India factory view
Q. According to you what are the factors affecting to your business? 

In our country, we never experienced any situation where the trend is down across all industry segments, thanks to our country’s variety of industry segments ! The same is applicable for our product line also where we have more than 100,000 product variants to support all kinds of industries from a small one man work shop to a complex thermal power plant or steel plant or automotive or space technology. Thanks to igus innovations !

Our underlined principle is “Cheapest solution that works is the best solution.” We have many innovative products in our kitty that reduces cost by way of various aspects like 90% weight reduction in automotive bearing application to 75% power savings by state of the art cable management solutions using Roll e-chains in material handling equipments. So any kind of industry situation is an opportunity for igus.

Q. What is your vision for igus INDIA for near future?

Bring out new innovations with plastics with focus on customer needs and new areas of applications. Reach out to all customers across India and let them know what igus Tribopolymers (plastics) could really do. Our vision is to spread our philosophy “Plastics for longer life” means to customer- longer service life, better performance, lower noise, better/easy handling, technical benefit etc. and to ensure that we strictly offer to our customer Economical advantage or Technical advantage or both in most of the cases. We wish to spread this message across the country.

Our Customer centric approach (igus Solar system) highlights our vision that all igus team (planets) revolves around the Customer to get energy in the form of ideas, requirements and suggestions and to fulfil it by innovative solutions we develop in return.

igus India Office
igus India Office
Q. Please let us know the issues you need to address that are related to your industry?

Our aim is to turn around the issues as opportunities to serve the customer better.
  • Cost reduction exercise done currently by all industries (from Automotive to Material Handling!) are addressed by our philosophy “plastics for longer life” and “cheapest solution that works is the best solution”
  • Space saving design requirements are addressed by our thin self lubricated polymer bearings in hundreds of Automotive and similar applications and High Flex Cables and e-chains serve compact machine desings.
  • Faster speed requirements-challenge of the hour- thanks to high speed solutions in the rage of 10 mtrs / sec velocity and acceleration up to 15 g.
  • Greener India dream-Millions of self lubricated polymer bearings in the field replaced and continue to replace gallons of lubricating oil.
  • Power savings challenge-thanks to roll e-chains for cable management solutions to save up to 75% power savings in material handling equipments and cranes.
  • Fast delivery challenge-nothing impresses other than speed. Thanks to our dynamic stock we maintain in our works. Express catalogue where we offer 24hr or today delivery services.