POLYCAB: Advancing Through INNOVATION
Q. You claim to be the largest manufacturer of cables & wires in the country. How do you substantiate this?
Polycab is India’s no 1 manufacturer of cables and wires in the 0.20 kV – 220 kV range across 11,000+ SKUs and still growing. We are the industry leader with a market share of approximately 20-22% in the organized wires and cables industry in India and a leading exporter of wires and cables. Our revenue in the cables and wires segment is nearly double of the revenue of the nearest competitor in the same segment. Our leadership position in the industry is well augmented by our state-of-the-art manufacturing units having the capacity to produce 42 lacs km of wires and cables annually, which is by far the largest of any other competitor in the industry. We have an in-house testing laboratory that has been accredited by NABL. We have some of the brightest technical talents in the field of polymer engineering giving us the edge in our R&D capabilities. Our inhouse R&D facility is approved by Ministry of Science and Technology. Some of the awards we received last year speaks about our efforts in raising the industry benchmarks. We were awarded excellent digital infrastructure company by international ICT excellence awards, 2020 and best innovative project of the year by business leader of the year.
Going forward, we aim to continuously innovate, bring greater value to our customers, and grow into the nation’s most preferred end-to-end electrical solutions brand.
Q. What are the different types of cables you offer, and which are the industry segments you serve?
Polycab has been manufacturing and growing extensively while keeping up with the latest technology and commands a diverse portfolio of Power & Control cables, High Voltage cables, EHV cables, Optical Fibre cables, Instrumentation cables, Rubber cables, Fire Survival cables, Flexible cables, Telephone Cables, Co-axial cables, LAN cables, Solar Cables, Railway Signalling cables, other cables such as CCTV and submersible cables. In the wires segment, we are growing with House wires, Green wires & Speaker wires.
Our world-class range of in-house manufactured wires and cables have varying applications across major industries like power, real estate, infrastructure, metro, railways, data centres, steel, cement, oil & gas, nuclear, automobiles, defence, chemicals, pharma, telecom, mining and other industries. With a growth focused mindset, we are all set to leap to a bright tomorrow, by catering to the dynamic market trends today.
Q. Please enlighten us on your manufacturing facilities, capabilities, and capacities.
We are an integrated manufacturer and supplier of wires, cables, and fast-moving electrical goods with an expansive manufacturing presence in India and a global operational presence, owing to world-class offerings and a growth-focused mindset.
We have 23 manufacturing facilities and 52 Warehouses and depots that leverage some of the best technologies in the industry such as electron beams. We use insulation and sheathing compounds that are developed in-house at our R&D centre, proving the Company’s end-to-end capabilities. We have sufficient capacity in the range of 42 lacs km of wires and cables to meet the demand of future. To cater the international demand, we have export presence in more than 55 countries.
Also, our vast distribution network of 4100+ dealers and distributors and 165000+ retailers enable us to provide distinguished services to our customers. We intend to offer a wide gamut of world-class products to our partners, which caters to rising consumers’ aspirations, while enabling channel partners to achieve long term sustainable growth as well.
Q. What are the different approvals you carry?
We have seen considerable progress in terms of business from the railways and the automotive sector in FY21. During the year, we achieved several approvals in sectors such as railways, defence, and automobiles. We are also the first in India to obtain ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India) Test Certificates for ISO 19642 Cables for electric vehicle (EV) applications.
We have a wide range of product certifications for some of the renowned standards/agencies which includes ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015, OHSAS 18001:2007, BIS, BASEC, IEC etc across our multiple product categories.
Our state-of-the-art, in-house R&D centre at Halol, Gujarat is certified by the Department of Science and Industrial Research (DSIR), Government of India. Also, we are accredited by National Accreditation Board for testing and calibration laboratories for our test laboratory in Halol. Polycab is one of the few brands certified with Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) for public buildings, underground railways and tunnel project. To serve the international market, we leveraged the UL certification which is accepted by certifiers, installers and regulators in local, regional or international market. We are also certified with Construction Product Regulations (CPR) for all buildings (public and private) across Europe.
Q. What have you to say about the fire safety of your cables & wires?
Fire related accidents are matter of grave concern. Cables with lower safety standards can lead to rapid spread of fire, high heat emission, increased smoke and toxic gas emission. In all fire disasters, fire, smoke, heat and toxic fumes are the main obstacles to safe evacuation of a building or area. In fire related accidents, it is the delay in evacuation and the subsequent suffocation due to toxic gases leads to maximum fatality. With the help of our research and development team, we came up with a variety of products with distinguish properties for different applications. Polycab offers a wide range of product that provides halogen free environment which contributes to less corrosive gases and prevents the damage of human beings.
Polycab Fire Survival cable is one such product which is a result of continuous research and innovation in highly sophisticated and modern R&D centre. Polycab fire survival cables are designed to withstand temperatures as high as 950 -degree C. They can also maintain circuit integrity for a period of three hours for emergency safety circuits, fire alarm system, water sprinkler system and emergency lighting circuits. They have low toxicity index (5%) and high visibility index (95%). This ensures safe evacuation, and lower smoke generation.
These Cables conform to BS7846 and BS6387, BS 8434-2, BS EN 50200, BS 8491, and are tested in leading labs. Polycab FS Cables are LPCB Certified, which is the most recognized certification across the world and is owned by only a handful brands in the country.
Q. You have also come up with ‘Green Wires’. Can you elaborate this innovative range and its applications?
Rise in global warming demands the world to switch to high performing wires that are eco-friendly and safe. Combining breakthrough engineering with scrupulously selected materials, Polycab brings to you ‘Green Wires’ that conforms to stringent European norms in environmental sustainability and cable safety.
What makes Green Wires preferable choice for green buildings is that these wires are highly energy efficient, recyclable, RoHS compliant, has low smoke density and emits fewer toxic gases in extreme fire situations. Polycab Green wires has a 20% higher current capacity and manufactured in a green zone to avoid any external contamination. These wires have high thermal stability which enables it to resist high heat and hence, they have a longer life expectancy. Stringent tests are conducted at Polycab’s NABL accredited in-house laboratories to ensure the quality of the wires.
Q. Can we have a glimpse of your customer base? Do you have any customer engagement programs?
We have touched millions of lives across the globe through our products. Our majority of the business comes from our wide network of channel partners such as distributors, dealers and retailers. Also, they help us in making critical strategic decisions by providing direct feedback from the market. Other customer group consists of the end consumers with whom we deal directly to meet their customized requirements. They are one of the most important stakeholders since their satisfaction and delight form a critical element of our success strategy.
For our retail partners, we have Polycab Experts Program, which is a 360-degree influencer management initiative promoting inclusive growth. Retail partners can earn loyalty-based monetary incentives, along with training and ‘Experts’ certification.
Q. What are the dynamics of the cable & wire industry in India, & the challenges you are thrown open to?
Currently cables designed for specialized applications are imported from outside India. Polycab along with other reputed manufacturers have played a vital role in limiting the cable imports across the product categories. On the other side, we see huge exports potential in this business, and we have been strengthening our team to boost growth in exports.
However, the competition amongst the organised players in the segment is fierce. The market has innumerous players selling products at low price while compromising on quality. This leads to rival companies start lowering their prices to gain advantage over each other. Most of the cable requirements come directly from the contractors who focus on the L1 prices. It is imperative to put much emphasis on the quality of the cables, while educating end customers about the same, as it can help in lowering the operating cost and reduce downtime. This is the biggest challenge that we face in selling quality products.
Q. What is the kind of resilience you have shown when the whole world was reeling under the impact of the pandemic which is still unabated?
Innovative decisions are important for effective response to and recovery from the pandemic. We believe that through Innovative decisions, changes brought by the pandemic can turn up to be big opportunities for the growth of the company.
We are also committed to our market expansion plan to increase our direct presence, with particular focus on Tier II and III towns. While the demand remained subdued in global markets, we proactively focused on strengthening our product portfolio for our customers in key industries such as renewables, pharmaceuticals, data centres, real estate, oil and gas and utilities as well as on acquiring quality certifications from global agencies.
In the pandemic, another challenge to conquer is to adapt the customer’s interactions and engagements as it can trigger an immediate effect on their sense of trust and loyalty. Since physical engagement meets were not viable, we tried to meet the customers where they were and hence, adopted the digital models to serve the customers and help their business weather the pandemic safely from their homes.
Q. What are your growth strategies in a highly competitive environment?
At Polycab, we undertake agile product and process innovations to stay on top of shifting market demands and aspirations of the customer.
Last year, we flagged off a strategic cost optimisation initiative – Project Udaan. We are quite optimistic that by next 2 years, it will help us in building a lean cost structure, which is sustainable while institutionalising new ways of working. We also initiated Project Shikhar to strengthen our engagement with key influencers i.e., Retailers, Electricians & Small contractors.
Currently, we have embarked on a five-year transformational journey, and aim to leverage our competencies to the fullest and challenge ourselves to realise the future vision.
By FY26, we aspire to cross Rs 200 billion in sales with significant market share improvement across categories. To achieve this, we are focussing on growth led by diversification. In FY21, we added new high-end and customised products in wires and cables segment, and an IOT- based FMEG offering, Hohm. We are strengthening the brand recognition through advertising, promotional activities and consumer initiatives. For the next five years, our strategic decisions will be driven by customer-centricity, digital transformation, and a sharp focus on Environment, Sustainability and Governance.
Q. How do you look at the future of the cable & wire industry vis-à-vis that of Polycab?
The domestic wires and cables market, at about ₹ 450-500 billion, makes up about 40-45% of the Indian electrical industry. At Polycab, we maintain strong oversight over economic and industry developments and megatrends that shape our opportunity landscape.
Majority of the opportunities lies in sectors like infrastructure and renewable power. This coupled with an increase in the number of projects under the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) indicates balanced positive impact for the cables and wires industry. Also, India is ranked sixth in the list of countries to make the significant investments in the power sector. Growing population in India combined with increase in per capita consumption and increase in electrification will impetus the power sector. Other key sectors to focus on are defence, oil and gas, Indian railways, pharmaceuticals, and automobiles, especially Electric Vehicles.
We aim to achieve industry leading growth rate in line with marquee value creators and cement our market leadership in wires and cables. To leverage these growth opportunities, we are heavily putting emphasis on enhancing our distribution presence in tier II and III cities, rapid product and process innovation, green efficient products and intensifying our efforts in terms of automation, digitization and optimisation.