Maturing of the industry: Customers are increasingly getting more demanding for quality products and the bearing industry is responding positively to this.
This is also reflecting on the size and scale of component makers who are responding by bringing in quality systems and better manufacturing practices.
Our industry is integrally linked to the industrial economy. The bearing industry has grown at an average of 15-17 percent over the last three years and we expect this trend to continue over the next few years too.
India is now integrated within the global economy and the products and services offered here have to reflect the global standards that are necessary to thrive in this environment. Focus has to be on R&D with an emphasis on the ‘research’ part if this has to be achieved. Our customers want more value and this is only possible if we focus on value-added products which provide higher efficiencies, longer life and are reliable and secure.
The other important aspect is scale - the bearing industry is capital-intensive. If it is going to be competitive in the long run, we need to build size to get the most value from the investments.
Exports will grow exponentially but quality and consistency will be the key to this. Hence, the industry needs to invest in manufacturing excellence practices, quality standards and a large supplier base with similar competencies.
The bearing industry is critical for India's industrial drive and must align itself with academic institutions for R&D, besides alliance with international agencies. The government must support this industry by clamping down on counterfeit products and unscrupulous traders and businesses which indulge in these practices.
##### HERCULEAN TASK
Counterfeiting is turning out to be the biggest challenge. For an industry as critical for the nation’s modernisation, whether it is the automotive industry or manufacturing environment, this has no place in today's emerging environment. The bearing industry has undertaken various initiatives, besides individually driving them but it is a Herculean task which has no chance of winning the war unless the law and legislature supports this with stringent penalties and imprisonment.
Each year, we invest considerable amounts to fight this menace, which is really like cancer and impossible to contain. The influx of these counterfeit products is from various channels and locations including China and East European countries. We need support in various areas and some of this is starting to happen now. While we are aligned to the government's policy on FTAs, there is some consideration to be given to ensuring that the local industry gets a level playing field.
This is in terms of bringing imports at par with prevailing duties, ensuring minimum value add from the FTA countries thereby and preventing secondary channels using this route. The counterfeiting point has been covered earlier where government support is necessary.
From SKF's perspective we are completely focused and aligned to supporting India's industrial drive thorough value-added products, high technology standards and being extremely close to our customers to ensure that we continue to add value to them.
Our priorities range from ensuring that we serve our customers with best-in-their-class products with strong application engineering support. Our focus is on providing solutions, based upon our five technology platforms. We will continue to invest both in technology, capacity and people to build further upon our leadership position in India. Exports are increasingly becoming a significant opportunity for us.
SKF this year is 100 years old and we will rededicate ourselves to our Vision to 'Equip the world with SKF knowledge' and to the next 100 years of providing unparalleled solutions and technology to our customers.
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