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VP-Textile Machinery Division Voltas
How can you improve your service support resulting in less downtime and higher productivity?
In the textiles industry, installing and servicing the machine, and addressing the complaints of the customer are categorised as hygiene services.
The Indian textiles industry went through a lot of difficulties. There were many pain areas that the customers faced for which they were looking for solutions from other stakeholders. Here we saw an opportunity to reinforce our long relationship with the customers.
There is a very good level of acceptance, but this calls for skilled people. So, we are moving forward in a steady manner but with clear thoughts. We are slowly scaling up our special services.
How do you intend to expand your services for the textiles industry?
Voltas is already representing in the entire value chain and our plans are to grow along with market and by enhancing the market share in each product line. We would also like to enhance our product base in the after-sales segment by filling the gaps in our product range and offering special services like energy audit, machinery assessment, yarn realisation, enhancing the quality and productivity. We have made an entry into garmenting; however, since garmenting is not a capital dominant sector, our presence would be selective and to offer the engineering solutions wherever needed in the garmenting sector.
What kind of research is being undertaken at the textile machinery division?
Since we are not a machinery manufacturer, our research focuses mainly on enhancing the comprehensiveness as well as quality of our services. Thus, we have launched many special services as detailed above. In addition, our engineers, based on the customer voice captured during their visits, continuously provide valuable inputs to our principals towards product development and improvement. Our principals have appreciated the quality inputs provided by our engineers which have helped a lot to bring out innovative products.
What changes will the adoption of Industry 4.0 bring to the textile machinery segment in India?
Industry 4.0 is the future. It will lead to transformational changes across the industries through IIoT (Industry Internet of Things), big data analytics, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, etc. The textiles industry had already adopted this technology through networking of the various machineries in the plant, remote monitoring of high technology equipment, etc. With Industry 4.0 catching up, we are sure the concepts like IIoT would be adopted by the textiles industry at a much faster pace than ever before.
Can you emphasize on this fast-catching trend across the world?
Industry 4.0 is a very generic term. If you must classify the activities that go in to Industry 4.0, then it is automation, which includes robotics. The second part is remote monitoring of the equipment through networking (which is IIoT), which includes predictive analysis and collect a wealth of data on performance (which is big data). The third but most important part is to use analytics and artificial intelligence to derive insights from the big data and rapidly deploying corrective/preventing actions for improvement. The fourth is to digitise designs/ product samples through virtual samples to manufacture customised products. The fifth part in Industry 4.0 is how we make the business transaction happen leveraging technology to reduce the cycle time of purchase and enhance the purchasing experience. These could be online quote generation, online order placement, online tracking of the orders, etc. The above are few examples and the opportunities to leverage Industry 4.0 are abundant.
LMW has been a front-runner in offering Industry 4.0 solutions. In fact, LMW was the first to offer automation for ring frames, speed frames and automatic transport of material from the blowroom to the carding machine. Automation has become an integral part of the spinning industry today. If a spinning industry does not invest in automation, it is going to be difficult to sustain, going forward.
I would like to share an example. In the past, 60 per cent of the ring spinning machine delivered from LMW used to be a normal ring frame without automation; but today, the trend has reversed. Almost 95 per cent of the ring frame delivered is only with automation, irrespective of whether the machinery is supplied to a mega project or a small project.
As you know, availability of labour is a major problem. Labour can be divided into two segments: skilled and unskilled. Shortage of labour is in both cases. This has made the industry look at automation as a solution. It is not something which is good to have, but a must.
In monitoring and controlling the equipment through IIoT, here too, LMW was the first to offer networking of the entire plant. Sitting at one place, the manager can check the production of the plant. Monitoring power is the key to control cost. The current state of IoT allows the investors to monitor the power consumption as well.
LMW had launched a portal called 'e-spares' almost a decade back. When it was launched, customers were quite apprehensive about using it in the beginning. The customers were for this portal and the benefit of this has been very well understood by various sets of people in the plant. Today, almost 80 per cent of the orders for the parts take place through this portal. Through this portal, customers can create the quote and place the order themselves. Once the order is placed, in quick time they get the acceptance of the order, and the sales process gets completed much faster. This has also enabled us to increase our delivery performance. I am very proud to say that LMW can supply any part within 7-10 days' time. This portal is very user-friendly and most used in the industry.
Our principals in PSD also offer the features of Industry 4.0 For example: Brueckner offers 'e-Shop'; efi Reggiani, which is into digital printing, can access digital printing machine remotely from their plant. For any issue on the machine, they can offer solution through its remote monitoring system.
How did you perform in the last two fiscals? What are your expectations from the next two?
Our performance has been quite good in the last two fiscals and being a listed company, the details are available on the website. Despite the cyclical phases in the short term, we expect that the Indian textiles industry as well as textile machinery industry would do well in the longer term.
What are the future plans at the textile machinery division of Voltas?
We are a leading end-to-end solution provider for the Indian market. We offer products and solutions for each part of the textile value chain, including spinning, weaving, knitting, processing, finishing and technical textiles. Our plans are to further strengthen our position in each area by enhancing our market share. Voltas TMD has been growing along with the market, supported by the strong belief on us as a trustworthy business partner. Our focus is on continuously enhancing the relationship with our customers not only by offering the right products and solutions but also by providing end-to-end service support throughout the lifecycle of the products. We are sure that we shall continue to be successful. (HO)
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