With a 26-year old track record, Super Plastronics Pvt Ltd is going strong as an EMS provider in the national consumer electronics field, with product lines such as colour TVs, LED TVs, multimedia speaker systems, washing machines and induction cookers. Avneet Singh Marwah, director and CEO of Super Plastronics Pvt Ltd (SPPL), shares with Baishakhi Dutta of Electronics Bazaar how the company plans to gain a stronger foothold in the ACE (appliance and consumer electronics) industry.
EB: What is SPPL’s current market share in India?
SPPL’s current market share in India is 4 per cent but we wish to grow to 7 per cent by 2020. As far as our presence in India is concerned, we are on all major online platforms. Talking about our offline presence, we have 28 offices across India with 350 company owned service centres, and collaborations with 220 other services centres. Our major LFRs (large format retail stores) are Metro Cash and Carry, Croma and Aditya Birla’s More. We are also present on Flipkart (our strategic partner), Amazon and Paytm.
EB: What is SPPL’s production setup like?
We have a backward integrated plant where we have in-house moulding machines, paint shops, SMT lines, a clean room for assembling display panels, and a semi-automatic assembling line for LED televisions. We are setting up one more fully automatic television line for our large-sized televisions, which we will be inaugurating soon. We have a capacity to manufacture 350,000 units annually at present.
EB: How do you aim to make an impact in a saturated TV market?
We are a 30-year-old company and initially, we started our business with plastic injection moulding, after which we graduated to manufacturing black and white CRT TVs, before moving on to LED TVs. SPPL was one of the largest manufacturers of CRT TV cabinets in the 90s and in the first decade of the 2000s.
Though we had our own Indian brands, we thought that with the kind of infrastructure we have, we needed a multinational brand to be able to reach our target audience and build the business further. Therefore, we partnered with Kodak, after which there has been no looking back. We try to innovate on our products every quarter by launching something new by working on the latest technology. You can appreciate the difference between the smart televisions in the market two years ago, as compared to what’s available today – you can see how the technology used in them and to manufacture them has evolved. This is a very good sign for television brands that are manufactured in India.
EB: What challenges do you face in India as a TV manufacturer? Can you expect any help from the government?
The biggest challenges in India are related to the infrastructure and policies, e.g., there is an import duty on the glass panels, even though there is no manufacturing of glass in India. Additionally, LED TVs come under the 28 per cent slab for GST, which is the highest anywhere in the world. If you want to increase sales in this country, I think the tax slab should be reduced to 18 per cent.
The other big challenge for any manufacturer in India is the rapidly changing policies that you have seen over the past three years. The government needs to be more stable with its policies, and things should be done in a way that ensures stability in the industry so that you can have long term goals for manufacturing.
EB: How has your partnership with Eastman Kodak helped your business? Give us some insights into the partnership model.
We are the exclusive brand licensee for Kodak HD LED TVs in India. We need to follow the brand guidelines given by Kodak and all our TVs get approved by their headquarters in New York. We have a very close partnership with Kodak and have followed all the global standards. With their experience and guidance, we always try to learn and develop relevant strategies, and this has really worked well for us. We get useful insights from Kodak before launching any product—regarding what our market strategy should be and how we can benefit from the brand equity of Kodak in the market.
EB: You are also in partnership with Thomson? How is that evolving?
Our partnership with Thomson is equally good, and we have a different strategy for its products. We need to thank our customers for their great response to the launch of Thomson TVs, which have been doing really well.
EB: How do you plan to maintain product USPs between the brands you are manufacturing for? What tips will you give consumers who have to choose between the different brands you manufacture for?
There is a lot of difference between the brands we are manufacturing and the brands we own—75 per cent of the online market is occupied by smart TVs. We have a completely different UI for our own smart TV, which is different from the UIs of both Thomson and Kodak. For our OEM brands, we have a different UI and this has become one of our major USPs. With regard to non-smart models, we have different SKUs for our OEM customers and different SKUs for our own brands—so that is a big differentiator in the market.
EB: Are you in talks with any other brands for similar partnerships?
Currently we are only focusing on Kodak and Thomson.
EB: What are your expansion plans?
As mentioned earlier, our main expansion plan is to set up our fully automatic manufacturing line to achieve a market share of 7 per cent by 2020 and to become the fastest growing smart TV brand in the country.
Our road map is to develop and introduce more technology focused and consumer friendly products. We will be focusing on our smart TVs that can be integrated with the dish TV ecosystem. We have just launched our new 4K TVs as well, because that’s where we see the TV market heading to in the future. So this is where we will be putting a lot of our efforts to ensure proper R&D and consumer delight.