One of India’s leading OEMs for electrical products, Indo Blings India has recently diversified into LED lighting, and plans to make it a major focus in time to come. Over the years, the brand Indo has carved out a niche of its own in the electronic products segment. Incepted with the vision to cater to the exact requirement of the people, Indo is all set to become one of the most sought after names in the electronic appliances segment. Keeping in mind the requirements of the market, the company constantly keeps on researching and developing new products or modifying the existing ones with a strong R&D team which is driven by innovation.
Apart from being OEMs for a number of reputed brands in India, the Indo products are patronised by various reputed builders & real estate developers across the country. The company has been the supplier of its range of products viz., the axial, ventilation fans, geysers & ceiling fans to various projects of the reputed builders in Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Surat, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi & other metro cities pan India.
The recent diversification of the brand in the lighting arena is nothing but fulfilling its dream of becoming a leading solution player in the country’s electrical space. In a recent meeting with LED World’s team, Prateek Sharma, Head – Commercial & Operations, Indo Blings India’s lighting division, spoke at length about the company’s strategy and future plans for this new venture. Here are the excerpts:
How did Indo plan to enter into the lighting segment?
From the last 35 years, we have been manufacturing fans and geysers as OEM for many brands across the electrical industry. The testimony of the fact is that if one starts listing out the OEMs, Indo would probably top the list as one of the leading players. All this facilitated us with a very rich experience, using which we decided to foray into lighting too so as to offer a complete package of solutions. So far, the response has been great despite the fact that we are yet to complete a year in lighting segment
What about the channel partners, especially for lighting?
Owing to our more than a three-decade-long standing in the industry, we have developed a extensive distribution network. As of now, over 400 distributors, 1,200 authorised dealers and 10,000 retail outlets are making our presence felt across the nook and corner of the country, which has given us the strength needed to move into lighting segment. Of all channel partners, 70-80% are well-versed and fully capable of handling our lighting products as well.
In which other ways are you promoting your products?
We will continue with Ravina Tandon as our brand ambassador for lighting products also. We would soon introduce the concerned TVCs. We are also promoting our lighting business online through digital media and online shopping portals, besides using the evergreen promotional platforms i.e. print media especially the trade magazines. All this together would certainly increase the awareness at both the levels – consumers as well as trade. In all, lighting will be our focus area in time to come.
What are your new and exclusive offerings? Are you going to enter into smart lighting as well?
We have a gamut of consumer lighting products for each application – be it bulbs, tubelights, downlights, pendent lights, or decorative colourful lights. As far as unique or exclusive is concerned, we do have T-5 bulb, which was introduced to the market by Signify India (erstwhile Philips Lighting), but only a few have replicated. However, ours is available at a very nominal rate, which makes it affordable for same wattage and same quality. We are concentrating not just on margins but also quality. Even in joy bulbs, there is no option in the market for 7W, 8W, or 9W, which we have included in our portfolio. Thus, we are trying new things and are busy exploring new options. About smart lighting, I would say that yes, we do have plans. Soon, we will be diversifying into industrial lighting also.
Where are your manufacturing facilities located? Where do you manufacture lighting products and what is the current capacity?
We have a well-equipped infrastructure with state-of-the-art facilities. As of now, we have four manufacturing facilities – two in New Delhi (one each at Badli and Mangolpuri) and two in Himachal Pradesh (one each at Nalagarh and Baddi). Of these, the one at Badli is meant specifically for manufacturing of LED lights. For now, we are mostly into assembling, and therefore, capacity is just order-based, depending upon the applications and type of products.
Our facilities are well-equipped to cater to photometric, electrical, mechanical, environmental, and endurance test requirements for development of latest generation energy-saving products and appliances. All our products go through a stringent quality test before they are dispatched to the network, because of which we are also happy to be associated with some key consumer brands of India.
How much investment have you made in the lighting business?
We have made an initial investment of about Rs. 35 crore, which would be enhanced further as we have kept aside a total of Rs. 100 crore for this segment. In the meantime, we do have plans to foray in MCBs and meters. We want to become a company that can offer a complete solution in LED lighting.
How much market share are you planning to capture, say, in the next couple of years?
We have a pan-India presence in other products, and we plan the same for our lighting business as well. The first focus would be on North India as it is a very strong market for us. Same goes for Maharashtra, where we are giving tough competition to a few major brands. We are also targeting hotel and hospitality industry for which we are in close coordination with a couple of renowned builders such as Rahejas and Lodhas. Soon, our lighting products would be used in their buildings as they are our regular buyers.
How do you plan to proliferate into rural areas?
As I said, we have distributors across the country, which is inclusive of rural India. We will focus on all the regions with good quality products at a lesser price. We do have plans to come up with a gamut of smart lighting products, but these products will not go into rural markets immediately. However, we still have a great deal of vacuum to fill in. Once the contemporary line of products becomes obsolete, we will move to the next generation of lighting products.
How do you see the competition gearing up in this industry?
There is no doubt about competition in this industry as the market is flooded with substandard products which are available at considerably low prices. But we do not want to compromise on quality and will continue feeding the lighting market in the way we have been catering to the appliances segment.
We do not compare ourselves to anyone because we have a very rich legacy. We don’t consider ourselves new in the electrical appliances market. But yes, since we are new to the lighting segment, we will make sure that we maintain quality and create a place in the country’s lighting market despite tough competition. We believe in concentrating on reaching customers rather than earning profits.
How do you ensure the quality of LED chips and lighting products?
For now, we are sourcing LEDs from international quality players, which obviously is the certificate of quality in itself. And if the market remains good for us, we will get into manufacturing also. Since it has been just around a year, we are still very new and are in process of designing our own things now. We would also be open to source LEDs from Indian players like Indo-Japan that has just started chip manufacturing, provided the price and quality meet our set criteria.
However, when it comes to quality, we leave no stones unturned to ensure only the best of products go out to the market. We have an ISO 9001-2004 certification and all our products are ISI certified. Stringent quality checks and testing procedures help us to manufacture and supply nothing but the best.
What about sourcing LED chips from Indian player?
In fact, it is too early to comment. We are glad that someone has taken initiative in this front and is dedicatedly going forward. It’s the initial phase and there is long way to go when it comes to become market friendly by offering technology at an affordable rate. I am not convinced that Indian manufacturer will be able to match the prices offered by their Chinese counterparts.
Moreover, Chinese are pretty competitive as they have been into this industry since more than a decade. Their plant sizes are huge given them the advantage of scaling. Their research wing is so strong that they can make anything the customers ask for. They customise according to the needs. All these are favourable to new players like us.
What is your plan for lighting in the next two years?
We are pretty determined to take our lighting business to touch somewhere around 15-20% of the company’s total revenue. We are very much optimistic citing the initial response from the market for our products. We are still in the process of creating a dedicated team for the purpose. We are shortly going to be a member of ELCOMA also. All of this will give a push to our business bottom line.