Habasit Iakoka: In Endless Pursuit For Energy Efficient Endless Belts
M/s Habasit AG, Switzerland, the worldwide leaders in the belting industries with production facilities around the world have agreed to join hands with Iakoka group. Habasit Iakoka is also importing and marketing various products such as PU/PVC conveyor belts, plastic modular belts, slat chains, PU timing belts, printing blankets, power transmission belts, etc.
Mr. N.Subramaniam, Managing Director,
Habasit Iakoka Pvt Ltd
Q. Please brief its journey from the inception and share some of its milestones?
In its silver jubilee year, since inception in 1987, Iakoka Syntrans has traversed many high points. The launch of the key product viz. synthetic spindle tape, itself was appropriate, at that juncture, in the context of the spinning industry changing over from cotton tapes to synthetic tapes for the resultant improvement in transmission efficiency and reliability.
The company was first founded, as a partnership firm, by four young aspiring Engineers from Coimbatore, the Manchester of South India. There was tremendous response and adaptation of the synthetic spindle tapes by almost the entire spinning industry in India, within the first three years. But this was achieved through sustained and relentless pre-sale and post sale activities, throughout the country. Export orders were received from mills and undoubtedly the global vision set by the company had been well achieved due to the quality conscious team-work developed by the promoters. Iakoka had been No.1 player in Asia for several years with a major focus on South East Asian countries.
Iakoka Beltrans Pvt. Ltd., was started in the year 1992 to manufacture leather belts with polyamide traction layer to offer both Textiles as well as Non-textile industrial applications. The first participation in an international exhibition was successfully accomplished during 1995 at Milan ITMA.The dawn of 1996 saw the merger of Iakoka Syntrans and Iakoka Beltrans Pvt. Ltd., and the successful Indo-Swiss joint-venture with M/s Habasit AG paved way for the birth of “HABASIT IAKOKA PVT LTD” during 1996. M/s Habasit AG, Switzerland, the worldwide leaders in the belting industries with production facilities around the world have agreed to join hands with Iakoka group. Habasit Iakoka is also importing and marketing various products such as PU/PVC conveyor belts, plastic modular belts, slat chains, PU timing belts, printing blankets, power transmission belts, etc. A spirit of family has been maintained among the workers to ensure good performance. The company provides employment to 270 people directly besides employing 200 indirectly.
As a result of JV with an international company
- HIPL is the largest manufacturer of synthetic spindle tapes in the world, consistently since 1996.
- Largest exporter of leather transmission belts
- Habasit Iakoka has become most preferred OEM suppliers to manufacturers of Textile machinery, printing & packaging machinery, etc.
- In the 60 years saga of Habasit AG, a special ‘best performer’ award was given to the Managing Director of Habasit Iakoka Pvt. Ltd during 2008.
Q. Please brief us about company’s global reach & what are the global alliances that has been made in order to out front the competition?
The original idea of offering tape installation service through company trained technicians, after machine & site preparations, resulted in stupendous success of the product in India. This idea was adopted by the other affiliates of Habasit AG, globally. Habasit Iakoka offered training to all the affiliate companies to boost the market share. HIPL has the unique distinction of deputing and placing Indian technicians in Japan, Indonesia, African countries even today. This service has been sustained over the period of 25 years.
Q. What are the market prospects of your company products in India and How do you plan to position these products?
Customers always welcome and encourage the products with after-sales-service competence. Our dealers situated in India are able to reach every nook and corner to develop the customers. We are giving guidance, periodical training and technical support to our dealers. We have three years back introduced plastic modular belts. Habasit Belts cater to the needs of various industries like Paper, Printing, Packaging, Electronics, Textile Industries, Wood Industries, Material Handling, Airport Baggage Handling, Automobiles and also Food Processing Industries. We interact with OEMs from the design stage on belt selection. We have modern fabrication facilities and deliver the belts at the shortest possible time.
Q. Can you brief us about the marketing strategies that were applied in order to stand out in the competition among industry?
Quality and Service are more prominent differentiators rather than price. It has been established on many applications, that Habasit Iakoka synthetic tapes are gentler yet more efficient than any other make. Our pre-sale and post sale service include machine preparation, tools upgradation and tape installation. Voluntary product assessment has been carried out by us periodically. In the case of Habasit synthetic belts, product selection software tools, advanced fabrication tools for ‘ends’ and ‘endless’ belts and on-site training to end clients & OEMs are offered regularly. Customer service is sustained through 25 authorised dealers, 3 branches and countrywide service personnel.
Q. Please elucidate in brief about the company’s infrastructure and what are the measures that are being taken from the product manufacturing to distribution?
We have two separate Units, one is for manufacturing tapes and leather belts and another is for belt fabrication. We have sophisticated fabricating machinery and our employees are experienced and well trained. Every year four of our employees are invited by our Japanese affiliate company to work together with them. We have also placed our imported belt joining machinery at prime location in India to meet out the urgent needs of the customers. As far as synthetic tapes are concerned, we buy good quality raw materials from reputed suppliers and make tapes of international quality. Belt materials are imported from our Principals at Switzerland, Italy U.K & USA in roll-form. We keep them in stock and make endless belts as per the dimensions required by our customers. We also supply the belt materials in ‘open roll’ form and we depute our technical personnel to the concerned Units to make ‘endless’ belts on the spot. Since we have dealers all over India and with reliable logistic network we are able to follow up and ensure delivering to the customers on time. All our products are undergoing thorough quality check before packing.
Q. Brief us about the R&D and quality policy for your business?
We are regularly updating the quality control measures. Even we develop our own machinery to produce a good quality product. ‘HS-9’ is the name of the synthetic spindle tape recently developed by us meeting our customers’ newest requirements. This can be used as a replacement for the costly imported tapes. Our Principals have got ISO international standard R&D facility and its team is developing new technologies and policies. Being a joint venture partner, we enjoy the benefits of the same.
Q. Please comment on the current industry scenario in India ?
Generally, the industries are not doing well at present. Textile industry especially, the spinning industry in South India and knitting industry due to pollution in dyeing problem in Tirupur are facing tough times. But right now, India is the place for manufacturing activities with international quality standards. Our youngsters are very brilliant and all the industries including IT industry would do very well in the coming years. State Governments, Central Governments and other departments, Non-Governmental organizations are acting individually without proper co-ordination. On Macro level, they all should unite and form strategies to speed up the growth of manufacturing industries.
Q.Could you brief us on Indian & Global perspective of your industry? What are the distinguishing factors?
Our products are actually accessories and spares used in Power Transmission and conveyor systems. Since India is growing in all aspects and lot of multinational companies is selecting India as their manufacturing base, we have a great future for our products. Especially, non-textile application like food, packaging industry, material handling industry etc., Indian market share is going to be much bigger and a lot of innovation is being done in our Headquarters. The distinguishing factor is always Energy saving aspects on Indian perspective and value for money at the quality of international standards. HIPL has contributed to the core R&D work for Habasit AG, to register two international patents within a short span of three years.
Q.In your opinion how can the Indian industry become globally competitive?
To become globally competitive, the Government has to sincerely think about standardizing petroleum products pricing and introducing GST at the earliest. Apart from the above, Government should instruct concerned departments to simplify the inspection procedures to help the industry. You could not compete with China and other countries where the Government is the deciding factor on many issues. But quality, service mindedness, high skills and the knowledge of technocrats will help India to become globally a much respected player. Large corporates should encourage and participate in R&D efforts of universities and special institutions.
Q.What are the key technological trends that are driving the industry?
Automation is the major factor in all industries. IT Knowledge helps to speed up automation and help to reduce cost of product. The improvements in the communication system are all helping the industry. Nano technology, Bio-engineering, new infrastructure and building technology are going to change face of India in future.
Q. How do your perceive the future of the Indian industry?
India is the second largest consumer nation with huge potentials of manufacturing for domestic population and export. If the infrastructure development, largely the responsibility of the Government, are kept in pace with the projected demand, India can emerge as the real super power of the 21st century. We should encourage the native wisdom in higher education rather than totally adopting alien systems and culture.
Q. How far the factors like government norms, excise duty, taxation, exim policies are affecting your business?
Government norms, excise duty, taxation, exim policies are statutory requirements and if you consider the developments for the past few years, you would find the Government is trying to help the business and industrialists by simplifying the norms and therefore one should take pride in complying with these norms. However, simpler norms like GST should be immediately implemented. Unified approach from both Central and State authorities will ensure inclusive growth.
Q. What are the best possible remedies you can advise in order to maintain the high profitability in the shrinking margins market of India?
Uninterrupted innovations, cutting unwanted expenses, sustaining quality and exploring new markets are the best way to maintain high profitability. The differentiation is most important. Again the margins are depending on the demand and uniqueness of the product.
Q.What is your vision for your company?
Leadership positions help consumers to perceive quality and dependability. It is always a challenge to maintain perceived leadership position and sustain all the stake holders’ interest. Our vision for our company encompasses complete satisfaction for all the players, such as the investors, clients, employees and the distributors involved