Lapp India strives to be No 1 in control cables segment“It gives me a sense of contentment that I had the opportunity to spearhead a highly motivated team efficiently, ensuring better prospects for Lapp India in the long run,” explains Richard Lee, CEO – Asia Pacific, Lapp GroupAs the CEO, Asia Pacific at Lapp Group, Richard Lee has been responsible for strategic and business operations to oversee company’s business growth and expansion, by giving strategy and direction, while setting organisational goals. In an exclusive interview, he describes it in details.Lapp Group in IndiaLapp India has successfully completed the set-up of the Phase 1 of its 2nd Indian manufacturing facility in Pilukhedi, Bhopal and currently it is operational. Internationally, its long-term goal is to double its size by 2020. Its global vision is to dominate the control cable business and lead the Indian market as the No 1 player in the control cables segment.Forgettable 2013The economic downturn has definitely hit the industry in terms of cost of critical raw materials and inputs which subsequently puts a pressure on productions costs and profitability. Increasing challenges from the supply and demand side and international competition has started to impact the health of this important industry. There is a significant need of inflow of capital investment for the growth of the industry. Rupee depreciation has not helped either. India’s trade deficit narrowed to a two-and-a-half-year low in September, which is a significant reduction in the country’s gaping current account deficit. The government has taken steps to reduce imports of non-essential commodities, essentially precious metals. The rupee crashed as much as 20 per cent between May and August 2013Enhancing customers’ buying experienceLapp India manufactures cables, catering to all connectivity requirements for an expanse of verticals including wind, solar, automation, automobile, building connectivity, machine tool, process, solar and public sector. Therefore, for Lapp India, the opportunity to grow will continue to exist as there will always be a continuous demand for cables irrespective of market conditions.An initiative that is helping Lapp India stay resilient through change is the Lapp Operating System (LOS), a global initiative of the Lapp Group. The LOS is an organisational concept to manufacture the best of products for its customers with complete involvement of all the employees by eliminating wastage, ensuring the highest quality and on-time delivery. As the result of this activity, Lapp hopes to reduce up to 30 per cent overall inventory, thereby reducing overall operating expenses.Furthermore, Lapp India is increasing its focus on customers. In-line with its guiding principles of being customer centric, Lapp India is focusing on its customers’ connectivity requirements to improve efficiency of operations. Additionally, Lapp India is looking toward a thrust in terms of sales and also increasing its order inflow, which will continue its growth. It believes in delivering high efficiency in customer service. It has recently launched an experience centre, showcasing extensive range of products that Lapp India offers to cater to 8 different industry verticals: machine tools, automation, automotive, public sector, buildings, projects business, renewable energy and process. This provides an opportunity for customers to touch and feel the entire product portfolio, thus helping Lapp India enhance its customers’ buying experience.Mission 2012-2022As per Indian Electrical Equipment Industry Mission Plan 2012-2022, it is estimated that this industry requires almost 80,000 to 90,000 skilled workers every year. The industries need to spend time and money to train and develop skilled talents, which could be achieved through support from government by upgrading training facilities and infrastructure projects. There is definitely a need for companies to enhance their global competitiveness, industry needs to understand customer needs and accordingly cater to their needs through technology upgradation and innovation. The current scenario calls for a robust plan to support the long-term business growth.Industry in coming yearsThe IEEMA report gives a good overview of the future of the industry. As stated by IEEMA, there is immense scope for the Indian electrical products market to boost its exports. The global electricity equipment market stands at around $450 billion of which India’s share is barely $4 billion which is less than 1 per cent. A lot of awareness needs to be created in this area. As far as the cables industry is concerned, Lapp India can expect the market to grow between 5-10 per cent in the next 2-3 years. However, it is hoped that beyond the 2-3 years the market grows by 15-20 per cent. Wires and cables market is quite fragmented and dominated by some big local players. This year, in terms of profits, some of the players are suffering, especially the smaller ones. Considering the commodity cable market, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are expected between a few of these players as the market is going through a difficult phase.If the country is successful in improving the infrastructure facilities, the cable industry will definitely witness an aggressive growth in the coming years.Maintaining sustainable growthIn the challenging business environment, there is a crucial need to use the best innovative strategies to win over the competitive edge. An efficient leader will foster a working environment that facilitates business-aligned innovation that will bring continuous improvement in the promise of delivery. The future of a business depends on how well the leaders can anticipate change, they need to shape the organisation to be flexible and stay ahead of the rapid pace of change. The business leader should proactively build innovative strategies keeping in mind the rapidly transforming market scenario. Adapting one’s business strategies to the evolving market demands is the necessity in maintaining sustainable growth.