Pros And Cons: Boult’s Varun Gupta On Contract Electronics Manufacturing

- Advertisement -

While contract electronics manufacturing is not a new concept in India, it has lately picked up a pace never seen before. But what has it enabled for one of India’s leading wearables and hearables brand, Boult? The company’s Co-founder, Varun Gupta, shares with EFY’s Mukul Yudhveer Singh.


Varun Gupta, Co-founder, Boult

Q. What levels of localisation has Boult achieved for the products it sells in India?

A. Unfortunately, India does not have the capability to produce many components, including drivers, LEDs, displays, PCBs, and semiconductors. For semiconductors, we follow the surface mount technology route; for batteries, the cells come from China, but the packaging of cells has started happening in India. Essentially, many of the primary core components come from outside India.

That said, Boult is now sourcing many peripheral components from India. These include the body, plastics, metals, silicone, USB cables, charging cables, packaging, and more.

- Advertisement -

Q. Does Boult manufacture products independently, or is manufacturing sourced to electronics manufacturing service providers?

A. About a quarter percentage of the manufacturing cum assembling is done in-house, while the rest is sourced out to EMS companies via the contract manufacturing route. Most of these EMS companies are based in northern India.

Q. While using the contract manufacturing route, how do you ensure quality standards for all the products?

A. I think our ratings across platforms have been consistent because we have maintained the quality of products we retail in India. The same has been achieved because we design products ourselves. We use 3D printing machines for prototypes.

Each piece of the different components we source goes through the same tests. Also, Boult employees and line managers are stationed at every assembly location.

Q. What do these line managers do at third-party EMS facilities?

A. These are Boult employees responsible for running these facilities as Boult facilities. The manufacturing partner must allow Boult employees to administer the manufacturing of our products. Then, Boult issues standard operating procedures (SOPs) for every contract manufacturer.

Q. While the advantages of this process are many, are there any disadvantages to these SOPs?

A. Though this is a scientific process, it often leads to extended and expensive product cycles. We know it is a relatively slower cycle, but it ends up giving a longer life cycle to the product.

Q. Are there SOPs on the raw materials sourcing side as well?

A. Raw materials sourced by Boult go through many quality checks and paperwork. The same holds for technical and non-technical components. They reach our assembly facilities only after these checks. Boult’s quality inspectors stationed at our manufacturing partners’ premises also ensure the quality standards of all our products during manufacture.

Q. Are the contract manufacturers with whom you started Boult’s journey still on board?

A. We started our journey with two contract manufacturers. Today, more than two contract manufacturers work with Boult, but the ones we began with are no longer associated with us. Our new partners are better in terms of quality standards, infrastructure, and cost.

Q. When selecting an EMS partner, how do you balance the ‘cost+ quality+quantity’ criteria?

A. Our manufacturing costs are among the highest among our competition. We understand that our gross margins are relatively lower than our competition, but we do not want to cut corners there. When choosing an EMS partner, we focus on net profitability. We partner with more than one manufacturing partner and have our own manufacturing facility. In this way, we can hedge our risks. Focusing on product design is of utmost importance in the whole process.

Q. Going forward, would you want to start manufacturing more independently?

A. We have been, and will always be, focusing more on design. Additionally, we will focus on manufacturing with stringent quality checks for all our processes, whether in-house or contracted. The control over the supply chain and manufacturing will remain in our hands.

Q. What are the advantages of contract manufacturing over in-house manufacturing?

A. Outsourcing manufacturing to a contract partner allows us to channel our energies into creating new products with better tech specs. In simple terms, it allows us to focus on technology and innovation. We are ready to pay a premium to have goods manufactured via a partner to concentrate more on the design side.

Q. Regarding supply chains, how critical is component selection in the process, and how do you approach it?

A. Component selection is the magic of the whole process. Finished products might pass quality tests, but their longevity has often been questionable. Therefore, all the components we source are tested for longevity. For example, a typical battery in India might start swelling up in about three months. That is something that no lab test can predict; hence, we do longevity tests.

Q. How many partners do you typically work with for a particular component category, such as displays?

A. We would not work with more than four partners at a time for displays. Working with more would mean difficulty in maintaining our product quality standards. We have a small number of suppliers for all component categories. These are produced in bulk for us, but we control the quality of all transactions!

Q. What is your take on competing brands in India?

A. I am proud that Indian players occupy over 80% of the market share across smart wearables and audio products. In audio, we are the second biggest and top five in the wearables category. Competition ensures that no one can take consumers for granted in terms of price, technology, and choices.


- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles

Mukul Yudhveer Singh
Mukul Yudhveer Singh
Mukul Yudhveer Singh is an Editor at EFY. He’s an experienced business journalist who is both an enthusiast and a cynic of technology. Believes in data, as well as hunch-based journalism. He defines journalism as- reporting facts which help the audience take their own decisions, not ones that influence them!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
Captcha verification failed!
CAPTCHA user score failed. Please contact us!

Exclusive

5G Chipset Market to Hit $92.09B by 2030

0
Reports indicate that the global next-gen wireless processor market is on track to surpass the $100 billion mark in the coming decade. The 5G chipset...
Gursaurabh Singh, Founder of Dhruv Vidyut

“Electrifying Rural Mobility- Converting Traditional Bicycles Into E-Bikes”

0
In a conversation with Nitisha Dubey from EFY, Gursaurabh Singh, the Founder of Dhruv Vidyut, discusses their conversion kit, which can transform any conventional...
Rahul Bollini, the Founder of Bollini Energy

“Formal Contracts For Long-Term Commitments Are Not Always Necessary”

0
Bollini Energy collaborates with various companies interested in understanding the complete value chain of Lithium-ion cells. They offer technical services that span from mining...

Buzz

FAME 3 Likely To Launch On Budget Day With INR 10k Cr Budget

0
People familiar with the discussions informed that the Faster Adoption & Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme is likely to include support for electric...

Dixon Technologies Plans Multi-Million Dollar Investment In India

0
The domestic electronics manufacturer has planned 1500-1800 crores INR investment, seeks to venture into new sectors.  Dixon Technologies, a producer of e-components, recently disclosed its...

Clean Mobility Establishes Pune Facility For Zbee

0
Clean Mobility Solution India Pvt. Ltd. establishes a manufacturing facility in Pune to localise and indigenously produce the 'Made in India' Zbee, a three-wheeled...

Important Sectors

Setting UP Plant For Motors That Deliver 97% Efficiency

0
What can four students competing in Formula Student race teams achieve? Why would these students, originally focused on developing an electric two-wheeler brand, pivot...

FAME 3 Likely To Launch On Budget Day With INR 10k Cr Budget

0
People familiar with the discussions informed that the Faster Adoption & Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme is likely to include support for electric...

Dixon Technologies Plans Multi-Million Dollar Investment In India

0
The domestic electronics manufacturer has planned 1500-1800 crores INR investment, seeks to venture into new sectors.  Dixon Technologies, a producer of e-components, recently disclosed its...

Clean Mobility Establishes Pune Facility For Zbee

0
Clean Mobility Solution India Pvt. Ltd. establishes a manufacturing facility in Pune to localise and indigenously produce the 'Made in India' Zbee, a three-wheeled...

VinFast Invests $2 Billion In India Expansion

0
Vietnamese electric carmaker VinFast expands across Asia, opening new factories in India and Indonesia, despite challenges in the competitive EV market and slowing global...

Manufacturing

Honeywell Creates AI Software For Gigafactory Efficiency

0
Honeywell anticipates that its new battery manufacturing excellence platform will lower the costs of cell production, speed up the ramp-up cycles, and decrease material...

Raju B Ketkale Named CEO Of Lumax Industries

0
He takes over from Vishnu Johri, who is stepping down for personal reasons. Lumax Industries Limited, a Tier-1 automotive lighting system and component manufacturer within...

Schaeffler And Symbio JV Innoplate Starts Fuel Cell Plate Production

0
Starting with an initial production capacity of 4 million bipolar plates, the Innoplate joint venture is projected to achieve an annual output of 50...

Tesla Pushes Suppliers To Source Parts Beyond Taiwan And China

0
China and Taiwan are major global producers of essential electronics parts and components. Tesla has requested that its suppliers move the production of components and...

Uno Minda Shines With Increased Content Per Car And EV Focus

0
Uno Minda, a key player in the auto parts industry, has demonstrated significant revenue growth, surpassing industry averages by more than double over the...