Make in India could be the Indian government’s latest mantra, and it goes without saying that there are many hurdles before we truly start manufacturing for the world. They are many challenges—among others, the infrastructure needs a lot of work, power sector reforms need to kick in soon and distribution has to strengthen. Also, connectivity to ports and facilities for faster movement of cargo is dismal and red tape is stifling the industry.
However, despite these challenges, some companies are already ‘making in India’. On Budget Yatra for CNN IBN, we travelled and profiled some companies that are already manufacturing in India, and are making a mark in the global market place. They excel in manufacturing niche products and are very competitive, even in comparison to Chinese companies.
On the outskirts of Bangalore, global aerospace giant UTC Aerospace Systems quietly manufacture some of the best aerospace products. All the escape chutes on the eighteen doors on an Airbus A380 and many other aircrafts are manufactured right there. Their life raft for smaller aircrafts is the first aerospace product manufactured in India to be certified by the FAA. And, they don’t stop at just evacuation systems. External and internal lights for aircrafts and other electrical systems are also put together by them. They also specialize in making pilot and cabin crew seats that meet stringent global standards. At the plant, I also met the only person from the Northeast who was working there—a talented engineer from Nagaland who was part of the team who designed the life raft.
In the same city, another small Indian company is making rapid strides and competing with the best in the world. CMEnvorisystems, which makes environment testing chambers, has presence in over 18 countries around the world. They count companies like GE, Toyota and even the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) among their clients. The nose cone of the Sukoi fighter is tested for endurance in their chambers. The chairman of the company, Dr J Carsta says they are driven by excellence and want to focus on areas where no Indian company has gone before. Today, they compete with the best in providing cutting-edge products in countries as far away as Argentina and Japan.
Most people have never heard of Berkshire Hathway, an Indian company that is part of a global corporation 100% owned by Warren Buffet’s company. Robots do the most mundane tasks, while the skilled factory workers focus on processes. The entire campus is self-sustained with water harvesting, recycling, solar power and everything that aims at reducing stress and loss. The Managing Director, L Krishnan, says he would love for young people from the Northeast come and work for them; but so far has been unsuccessful in recruiting anyone.
Across in Chennai, there is a story about an Italian industrialist, Massimiliano Spada, who came to invest in India in 2009 because he believed in democracy. Today, his plant on the outskirts of Chennai, which makes cryogenic tanks, supplies 70 per cent of its products worldwide. They have recently commissioned one of the tallest cryogenic tanks in the world.
It will take some time for the Northeast to attract such global companies, but the possibilities are endless. We have the resources but need leaders who have vision and are able to plan for the future generations. And, as India struggles to wake up to make in India, there are umpteen examples already!