Panasonic group company Anchor Electricals is incessantly putting efforts in creating sustainable environment in the country’s lighting arena. The group has continued to advance lighting in terms of technology, quality, and design methods for spaces. No wonder Panasonic’s experience of life-enhancing lighting solutions gives this new development an added advantage as these specialty LED products are not just concerned with advancing the perceived quality of light and shadows but also the reliability of the lighting fixtures. Panasonic is bringing design and aesthetics experience to its customers across the globe. It boasts of its manufacturing base in China, Indonesia, Japan and India.
For the first time Anchor had introduced state-of-the-art Panasonic LED lighting range, an assortment of forty products that have carved a niche for themselves across the globe. This time, it has come up with another bunch of lighting products with an aim to serve a rather expanded market by bringing few more segments in its target base. The company has been striving to strengthen its production capacity, product range, etc. to harness the burgeoning demand for energy-efficient LED lighting from both residential as well as professional lighting segment. The real estate market has witnessed an uptik in the last one year, and the initiatives of the government like housing for all, smart cities, opening up of FDI in real estate segment, RERA, etc. are expected to bring more confidence in the market in future.
In the last fiscal, Anchor posted sales of Rs. 300 crore from its lighting segment, including LED and fluorescent, with LED contributing around Rs. 50 crore. Now, the company is eyeing a 10-time high to touch Rs. 500 crore in the next three years. To explore on how the company has manoeuvred its plan, LED World met Dinesh Aggarwal, Anchor Electricals’ Joint Managing Director, who discussed in detail on product innovation, market positioning, and future strategies… Here are the excerpts:
What’s new from Anchor on board this time? What are the USP of the new range?
The newly launched portfolio includes the ‘Neue Archi’ range of LED Luminaires designed specifically for the India market. This range of architectural luminaires is equipped with advanced thermal management technology, specially designed transparent thermoplastic diffuser, robust housing, high UV, and corrosion resistance properties. Our professional lighting product basket comprises luminaires equipped with long operational efficiencies to the range of 50,000 burning hours, high surge protection of 2.5 KV, and energy efficient electronic drivers. As of now, we have more than 100 LED products in India with quite a few sourced from our manufacturing facility in China and Japan.
How much investment did the company make for all this?
We have invested around Rs. 130 crore this year, of which, a big chunk went for brand building and of course, part of it in product development that includes design & technology. In fact, in the last two years, we have invested around Rs. 250 crore inclusive of all the product segments. The next couple of years will see investment in the same range.
Which segments are you targeting with your LED lighting portfolio?
Till now, we were focusing on residential, office spaces, and to some extent commercial lighting market, but with this launch, we would also be serving the need of retail, hospitality, healthcare & industrial as well covering all the spectrum of lighting. Of these, hospitality sector has registered highest adoption of LED-oriented lighting solutions and the domination of the sector in the professional lighting segment will continue in the coming years as well. In the meanwhile, there is a strong realisation among the hospitality segment about the benefits of LED lighting not just in terms of the quality of lighting, but also in terms of the savings in energy consumption.
Lighting industry has been so lucrative that it keeps attracting new players thereby adding to the existing competition. How do you plan to fight this out?
To fight out competition, we have to distinguish ourselves. However, differentiating at retail level on quality terms has become difficult these days since the trade has become hugely commoditised and doesn’t allow creating a technology differentiator to get the pricing. We, therefore, would increase our thrust on professional lighting to serve projects by developing and designing task-based specific luminaires. The new range of professional lighting products is in the same line with which we are targeting hospitality and architectural lighting segment in a big way. This is because our focus is to capitalize on our strengths and grow the professional lighting market. Our aspiration is to become one among the top three players in the country for which we will try our best.
But to achieve, how are you strategising your move?
Enhancing product portfolio is very important, which we already have started by augmenting the professional luminaires range as planned. Further, we already have a very strong and dedicated trade network to support. We do have a very strong specification team in-place that comprises leading specialists from lighting domain. It keeps meeting professionals like architects, interior designers, lighting consultants, etc. to know their specific requirements. The feedbacks so collected from specifiers help us to design & develop new and unique products to fit in their respective projects and define the trend.
How do you see Anchor taking on IOT in lighting in time to come?
IoT is more on control side of the operations. Also, rapid proliferation of technology predicts that there won’t be any switches or wires in the future. And, we are excited about it. But for now, the reality seems at a far end as the already existing products are here to stay. No doubt, we would be launching our smart lighting products for sure as it come in the market.
How do you see the potential from smart cities projects? Is Anchor ready to participate?
Anchor has a very strong trade channel with standard products but the biggest growth would come from the professional luminaries selling to the projects, hospitality, commercial spaces etc. We do have plans to participate in the government’s smart cities project. In fact, we already are participating in some of these tenders where we need to be more aggressive in time to come. We do have prior experience of creating smart cities in Japan, which we would make use of. Panasonic has partnered the technology major Cisco for one of such projects. So, we are very much open to participate.
Where can we see Anchor Electricals in three years from now?
We have entered into professional lighting segment a year ago and the volume is quite small as of now. About 90% of our lighting segment’s revenue is coming from trade network. Since, we are now fully jumped on to the LED market; this ratio is expected to change in the next three years. I mean, by 2018, this would be like 60:40 where 60% will be from trade and rest of 40% from projects. And if everything goes as per the plan, by 2020, this targeted ratio will further shuffle to read as 40:60 where 40% from trade and 60 from projects. We believe that by 2018, the country’s total lighting market would worth around Rs. 21,000 crore where LED would be 55%. Of this, we have set a target of at least 5% share i.e. Rs. 450 to 500 cr.