Havells India Limited is a leading manufacturer of consumer durables, lighting, home automation, switches & switchgear, and personal grooming products. It has been using innovation and technology to stand out as the Fast Moving Electrical Goods (FMEG) with an extremely global presence for years. To understand its recent projects and contribution during the pandemic, we caught up with Mr. Prag Bhatnagar, Senior Vice President of Havells India Limited, following are the excerpts from the email interview.
How has the lighting industry been affected by the second wave of COVID-19? Is the industry recovering?
The rise in case numbers has been exponential in the second wave. The second wave of the pandemic has been tough for almost all businesses including the lighting industry. Although, we were able to achieve good growth in this quarter due to our focused approach around distribution and rural markets. Additionally, we witnessed a substantial increase in sales post the first wave of COVID-19. The contributing factors responsible for the growth were Havells online presence, robust distribution network spread throughout the country.
The pandemic transformed the way we plan for businesses and also operate within the ecosystem. The crisis gave us an opportunity to go back to the drawing board and come up with future-ready plans which match with the trend of “new normal”. This entails assessing cost structures, investing in technology, and creating more digital avenues for sales. We aligned our production as well as our logistics and IT capabilities to meet the end needs of the post-pandemic world.
As more and more people will get vaccinated, the situation will tend to become better. Once, the number of daily cases lowers and the country is in the position to unlock, the market will also start picking up the pace. We are optimistic that the market will continue with its growth trajectory. We will continue to invest in innovations and new technologies to develop connected lighting solutions for B2B space and to build a sense of well-being for customers.
What are your views on Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme?
The Production Linked Incentive Scheme for White Goods (PLIWG) proposes a financial incentive to boost domestic manufacturing and attract large investments in the White Goods manufacturing value chain. Its prime objectives include removing sectoral disabilities, creating economies of scale, enhancing exports, creating a robust component ecosystem, and employment generation. It covers AC and LED Lights.
LED Lights further-
LED Lighting Products (Core Components like LED Chip Packaging, Resisters, ICs, Fuses and large-scale investments in other components etc.)
Components of LED Lighting Products (like LED Chips, LED Drivers, LED Engines, Mechanicals, Packaging, Modules, Wire Wound Inductors, and other components)
Havells always has been front runner in initiating production setup and aligning its offerings to market with the latest technology trends. These initiatives will also attract investments and help to establish India as a global hub for LED and LED light fixtures. make manufacturing in India globally competitive by removing sectoral disabilities, creating economies of scale, and ensuring efficiencies. It is designed to create a complete component ecosystem in India for LED Light fixtures and make India an integral part of the global supply chain system and we will be able to avoid dumping of China. They will have to meet the compulsory BIS and BEE Quality standards for sales into the domestic market and applicable standards for global markets. It will also lead to investments in innovation and research & development, upgradation of technology.
What are the latest trends in lighting designs? Advancements are constantly arising in the industry. What are the latest trends in lighting designs?
Light is emerging as one of the most significant elements to infuse new life into homes, commercial places, public spaces, cities, etc. And Lighting designers are playing a critical role in adding aesthetics, patterns thru their imagination backed up by technologically advanced products. From LEDs to solar-powered lights, lighting options are endless. LEDs have played an eminent role in making beautiful modern lighting fixtures with unique shapes & form factors, cost-effective operation, introducing ease of maintenance, and environment-friendly solutions.
Lighting Designers nowadays work wisely on experimenting with different lighting options to brighten a dark area whilst keeping an eye on curbing light pollution. Lux gradients in designs help in creating dynamism in spaces.
We will see a lot of Solar based indoor and outdoor light fixtures which promotes green and clean energy solution, use of Geometric lights as they look pleasing from every angle. They have eye-catching designs, eclectic styles and look great in all materials so Home Décor Segment would have more innovative design, patterns, and lighting distribution. Chandeliers with filament bulbs add a touch of elegance, class, and sophistication to interiors. Lighting Columns, Smart Poles in outdoor spaces will another dimension in functionalities in open public spaces. Smart Controls will penetrate more into each segment due to increasing inclination towards Apps and with a click of a button system, adds to this generation’s comfort level making smart lighting popular. Smart solutions will offer benefits like – Daylight Harvesting, Scheduling, its integration with the HVAC and fire alarm system. It also allows lights to set at a cascading pointing to exit in case of fire. Sustainable green building initiatives will also get a boost with energy-efficient light fixtures and their smartness.
Havells recently launched a UV-C disinfectant. How is it performing in the market? What are the consumer trends?
With pandemic outbreaks, people have become far more cautious in terms of cleanliness and are adapting to as many shields as possible for avoiding the transmission of the virus. With this background, Havells launched UV-C disinfectant as it combats the contagion. We believe such products that help you prevent contracting the virus in the first place are the need of the hour to safeguard your loved ones from the deadly threat of coronavirus.
Havells Disinfect-Max Portable UVC Sterilizer is a handheld device that has a 2W UVA+UVC ultraviolet germicidal lamp. When turned on, it emits energy-rich UVC light (270 nm-280 nm) that is used to disinfect the surface and the UVA light (390 nm-410 nm) is used for identification purposes. The compact & portable design makes it handy and allows for easy carrying and disinfection, anytime anywhere. The body is made of high-quality fireproof ABS, which makes the product durable for a longer period. It is equipped with a built-in gravity sensor that enables safer operation. It can disinfect in 90 seconds at a 3cm distance from the surface.
The sterilizer can be easily charged using any smartphone charger with a Micro USB charging port. It has a bright white LED mounted on top which can be used as a flashlight to see the surface with dull or no illumination. Being equipped with UVC+UVA special LEDs makes it extremely useful to destroy 99.99% of germs/viruses/bacteria on surfaces exposed by this light.
How is Havells aligned with ‘Make in India’ initiatives for its lighting business?
The company has 13 state-of-the-art manufacturing plants in India located at Haridwar, Baddi, Sahibabad, Faridabad, Alwar, Neemrana, Guwahati, and Ghiloth manufacturing globally acclaimed products, synonymous with excellence and precision in the electrical industry. With sustainability vision to: Reduce CO2 Emissions; Improve Environmental Protection; Improve Quality of Life; Offer Profitable Solutions to Market.
It was in the year 2010 that the Government de-reserved lighting fixtures from the small-scale industries (SSI) list. Havells India, which was then making ceiling fans, cables, and CFL lamps, grabbed the opportunity and planned to set up a Light Fixture manufacturing unit. Neemrana Lighting plant was made with an investment of Rs 100Cr. The modern plant, spread over 2,00,000 square feet, has installed automated machines imported from Germany, Japan, and Italy, including a robotized box-bending machine, that assures absolute product accuracy. To reduce the exposure of workers to hazardous substances, the company has imported an eco-friendly automated powder coating paint shop from Switzerland. Initiatives taken by the GOI in the recent past have also encouraged us to invest in new technology to benefit the end-user not only in India but abroad too. We are now exporting lighting fixtures to African GCC and our recent success in the USA market, where we meet the high standards set by them due to our manufacturing capabilities and strong CRI (Centre of Research & Innovation) Team, these new challenges also offer us an opportunity to explore new territories and markets.
What are the new product launches at Havells India Limited?
Crossway – a unique lighting solution for creating safe passage for commuters through zebra crossings on busy road intersections and busy squares. We often see these street lighting solutions do not work up to their capacity and are at times dimly poorly lit the Zebra Crossings. This makes crossing roads both inconvenient and dangerous for foot-travelers. Thus, Havells, a leading electrical equipment company, has a solution called Crossway. It has dedicated optics for zebra crossings that guarantee higher brightness (positive contrast) for pedestrians adhering to norms of the National Lighting Code: 2010, avoids undesired glare to the drivers. Offered with a unique Amber Color option along with standard Warm white and Cool white CCTs, it helps in creating color contrast which ensures a continuous increase of driver’s attention throughout the night to create safe passage through zebra crossings.