Freudenberg Filtration Technologies India, part of Germany’s Freudenberg Group, has capitalized on its ability to localize its products and based on this success, develop new products for global requirements…
“If you track the air filtration industry, you’d have noticed that our performance between 2000 and 2012 was incremental yet placid. However, in the last three years, we have witnessed remarkable growth and now see ourselves as a profit-making, scalable company,” says Dhirendra Choudhary, Managing Director & CEO, Freudenberg Filtration Technologies India Pvt (FFTI), as we begin this interview.
With a CAGR of over 30 percent, FFTI is now well on its way to maintaining this growth with healthy profit margins. The company also recently acquired a business and upgraded and refitted it’s manufacturing unit with new machinery, processes and landscaping to suit FFTI’s requirement. “We have also undertaken capability and capacity enhancements into our manufacturing operations, which will facilitate our long-term growth in India,” states the CEO and MD of the company which mainly caters to the industrial and automotive filters sector.
Traditionally, manufacturing industry considers cheap labor as its driver. Over the last decade, with the evolution of the it sector, labour has transitioned into talented manufacturing capability. Digitization is what we are looking into and india has opportunities. Quality and quantity can go together, as we have the availability of a healthy talent pool
FFTI is also a keen supporter of the Prime Minister’s Make in India campaign. Choudhary is of the opinion that “Make in India” should be a long-term plan rather than a plan initiated by just this Government. While some ground level realization of this proposal is yet to be seen, Choudhary says that the company, with a manufacturing capability in Pune, Maharashtra, has been contributing to the making in India in its own way even before the campaign came into existence.
Explaining further, he says that the company has made an impact at two levels. Firstly, it localizes its products. Apart from really high technology manufacturing machinery, it has invested on raw material procurement and manufacturing processes, maximizing value addition locally rather than by importing products from Germany.
Secondly, the company is able to develop new products for global requirements based on its success in localization. “We are able to manufacture much more than what is consumed in India without much of cost and consumption at the local level. So we have successfully localized our products as well as improved our processes to such a level that innovation is encouraged and sold at the global level,” explains Choudhary.
On the employment front, a lot of local talent is being hired, be it engineers or other skilled workers. In terms of challenges, given the labor-intensive nature of operations, opportunities to automate are currently limited. “We hire unskilled labour and the challenges exist with changing labor laws. As the industry moves to a higher skill level, these issues will be resolved as we improve our efficiencies,” states Choudhary.
Going forward, FFTI hopes to maintain its growth trajectory and aims to enhance its manufacturing capability as well as make improvements in existing infrastructure through increased efficiencies.