From a seed capital of Rs 15,000 in 1993 to a Rs 5570 million company today, NTL has come a long way. Its current focus is on technology and R&D, and on increasing the range of products it plans to manufacture in India. The belief within NTL is that in order for a company to build a legacy, it is important that its actions also benefit society
Thursday, November 01, 2012: NTL Electronics has lately been in the news for all the right reasons—entering into a new joint venture (JV) with a leading LED global player; registering record sales of LED lamps; a four digit jump in its revenue; and bagging the ELCINA-EFY Award (first prize) in Business Excellence.
From starting out as a first generation entrepreneur in 1993 to being listed among the titans of the electronics industry, NTL Electronics has proved its mettle as a key manufacturer in the lighting space. “It is the largest electronics manufacturing company in the lighting industry in India with a strength of 4500 employees,” boasts Arun Gupta, managing director. NTL’s product portfolio comprises electronic control gears, ballasts, luminaires, retrofit CFLs, LED drivers and LED lamps. With a revenue of Rs 5570 million in FY 2011-12, NTL is among the top five EMS players in India. It offers complete solutions—from design to the end product.
Birth of NTL
Northern Telelinks Ltd, now called NTL Electronics India, was started in 1992 by Arun Gupta, the current managing director of the company, along with his younger brother Praveen Gupta. With just an 18.58 sq m (200 sq ft) office in Noida, both brothers took the risk of starting manufacturing. In 1992, the company was manufacturing power filters for CDOT Telecom exchange. “It was our passion to establish our identity, so we moved out of the safety net, grabbed the opportunity presented by the government’s plan for telecom connectivity, and started manufacturing power filters for telecom companies,” recalls Arun Gupta. This product was then high in demand but had a low supply base in the northern region.
Arun Gupta started this business with his savings of just Rs 15,000. Since he lacked enough capital, he could not showcase his products; instead, he just did sampling. Soon, NTL bagged orders, and its first client was Rajasthan based Instrumentation Ltd, which gave NTL an order worth Rs 100,000. Though initially NTL had to convince its customers regarding the quality of its products, prompt deliveries and good after sales service ensured that after the first order dispatch, there was no looking back. Its quality products helped it to bag more orders. In the first year, a lot of business came its way and the company’s turnover rose to Rs 2.8 million.
The expansion spree
After establishing a firm grounding in the electronics space, NTL was looking out to expand its operations. So it ventured into manufacturing other electronic components like electronic transformers, ballasts used in CFLs, fluorescent lamps and LED products. In 2002, the company set up another manufacturing unit in Noida with an investment of Rs 3 million, where it manufactured electronic ballasts. At this point, the company changed its named from Northern Telelinks Ltd to NTL Electronics India Ltd. “We were lucky that during those days the government had started propagating energy conservation, creating the right platform for us,” points out Arun Gupta.
In 2005, NTL expanded its business once again and bought an 1800 sq m plant in Dehradun with an investment of Rs 6 million. This plant also manufactures electronic ballasts. In 2009, another unit with an area of 20,284 sq m (5 acres) was set up in Roorkee at a cost of Rs 250 million, which manufactures complete CFLs. Today, NTL Electronics has seven manufacturing units in Noida, Dehradun and Roorkee.
Establishing NTL Lemnis
Next, the company took a conscious decision to expand its business in the LED segment, and in 2012, NTL formed a JV with Netherlands based Lemnis Lighting to manufacture LED lights for both home and commercial purposes. Lemnis is a global leader and innovator in the LED lighting segment. A 50:50 JV company named NTL Lemnis was formed, which is jointly controlled through offices in Barneveld, Netherlands and Noida, and has sales offices in South Africa and Ghana. “Having a four year association with Lemnis as a supplier helped us to tie up with them. Hence, utilising global designs, as well as the production and distribution strengths of both the parent companies, we started delivering products for the domestic and global markets, particularly in Europe and Africa,” says Arun Gupta.
From developing technology to manufacturing and supplying, NTL Lemnis focuses on manufacturing the complete range of energy efficient LED lighting products under globally acclaimed brand—Pharox. Today, NTL supplies lighting products to almost all the leading global players in the lighting industry. The trust the company enjoys with each customer is based on its philosophy, which is based on ‘customer centricity’. The diligent application of this philosophy has helped NTL to build up a company that continues to address the diverse issues that its OEM partners face.
“NTL focuses more on technology. Our major obstacle has been getting access to good technology and an R&D base. We have been able to overcome this hurdle and have a strong team of highly qualified engineers and the best R&D in our line of business,” says Arun Gupta. Today, NTL Electronics boasts of a record sale of 3.05 million LED lamps during the period July 2011 to June 2012.
Playing to its strengths
Every organisation has its own strengths and weaknesses; hence, one has to align the growth of the business according to its strengths, believes Arun Gupta. “Our first objective was to set up a strong company, which we have already established. Our next step is to connect our company with our customers through better technology and better products. It is a company that is primarily driven by a strong value system. We follow every law of the land, and NTL is a very transparent and honest company in which any stakeholder and supplier can put its trust and faith,” he says.
Moving ahead well on its sustainability strategy, NTL Electronics has been able to develop a very cohesive and strong organisation with a good foundation. With its firm grasp of high end technology and R&D, it is well positioned in the industry and is moving more towards offering a complete solutions package.
NTL Electronics is among the few companies to have measured the pulse of the market and ventured into the LED segment. Its major strength is its quick response to the changing needs of the market. However, NTL is still not at the forefront of the market. “Our manufacturing, in terms of designing, processing and delivering, has been great but if you look at the complete organisation, I feel we need to evolve more. Until you are not at the front end, I feel you are not able to hear the voice of your customer. Hence, we are going ahead with a new portfolio of products, which is basically application oriented. We are currently trying to master the design aspects of lighting. So, we are really moving ahead and upwards in the value chain,” says Arun Gupta.
The unique selling proposition of NTL lies in its customised complete solutions, wherein the company suggests and provides the total package to its customers, which helps them in identifying how soon they can start earning an ROI. “We provide a unique solution to customers. For lighting solutions, we take into consideration where the customer is stationed, we look at every aspect of providing a product, reviewing the total consumption of power, the amount to be invested and the returns that the customer will be earning,” explains Arun Gupta.
Achievements and accolades
NTL has achieved a lot in the electronics space, the latest being the ELCINA-EFY Award (first prize) for Business Excellence in 2011-12. However, Arun Gupta feels that more than the awards, what matters to the company are the intangible rewards it earns from the various stakeholders in the entire value chain of the business. “Every stakeholder has tremendous faith and confidence in us, and we are well respected by our customers, suppliers, the industry, employees, government agencies, financial institutions and the excise, customs, and sales tax departments. Today we have gained this respect due to our sheer hard work and our strong value system. We take this as our true reward,” shares Arun Gupta.
Another important factor that has enhanced NTL’s reputation is an investment made by private equity firm CX Partners. “We are an electronics manufacturing company, and a private equity partner investing in us shows the amount of confidence, faith and trust that investors have in the company. This is not just trust in the company but in its management and its people,” says Arun Gupta.
Key facts at a glance
|Year of establishment||1992|
Rs 5570 million
More than 4500
Electronics ballasts and CFLs—15 million pieces a month; LEDs—500,000 pieces a month
7 units located in Noida, Dehradun and Rorke
NTL Lemnis has one manufacturing unit in Noida with a technology department in the Netherlands and India
Pick and place machines, auto insertions, wave soldering machines, manual insertion lines, high speed automated coil winding, automated online testing facilities, etc. Fully automated production lines for CFL tubes. Most machines are from Juki, and auto insertion lines are from Universal Instruments
Europe, Middle East and South Africa
Electronics ballasts, luminaires, CFLs, electronic control gear, transformers and solutions for
Sectors it caters to
B-10, Sector-58, Noida 201301, Uttar Pradesh;
Strategy for the days ahead
The Indian electronics industry has to gear up for massive technological and economic change, and the only way forward is partnerships, alliances and JVs, believes Arun Gupta. The exchange of technology and expertise will surely help companies garner maximum benefit. “It is only with JVs that we will be able to bring in innovation, technology and products into the country. Moving in this direction will help in faster adoption of technology to manufacture advanced products within the country. As far as manufacturing is concerned, electronics is at a nascent stage; hence, we are definitely looking for opportunities for more JVs and collaborations,” he adds.
NTL Electronics is planning to expand its manufacturing facility in the coming years. The company has a long term business proposition to increase the range of products it will manufacture in India. Moving strategically ahead in the electronics space, Arun Gupta opines, “While the bottom line is the main concern for all businesses, we should not forget the larger purpose that we need to adhere to. In order to build a legacy, it is important that society also benefits. For this, entrepreneurs need to have a desire, purpose and vision to serve humanity. Companies should be built on a value system that just does not focus on core sales but that which benefits all strata of society.”
Electronics Bazaar, South Asia’s No.1 Electronics B2B magazine