Electronics Hardware Manufacturing Will Drive The Indian Success Story

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Sahasra Electronics is confident that the electronics industry will become the backbone for holistic development across various sectors in the country. The company currently boasts of being a one-stop destination for the electronics requirements of its customers and has ambitious plans for the future

By Anwesh Koley

Commencing its operations in 2001, Sahasra Electronics Pvt Ltd has emerged as a leading name in the electronics manufacturing domain. The company is involved in the manufacture and distribution of bare-board PCBs and has a significant presence in the overseas markets as well. Speaking about the journey of the company so far, Varun Manwani, director, Sahasra Electronics, says, “The essence of our business has always been electronics, whether it is manufacturing, distribution or services. We have state-of-the-art equipment installed at all our plants to cater to the myriad needs of our diversified customer base across the globe.”

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A dynamic portfolio
Sahasra Electronics has over 300 dedicated employees working towards the common goal of attaining global standards in electronics manufacturing. The company has emerged as a leading solutions provider to major sectors which require EMS services, including industrial electronics, automotive, consumer products, robotics, data security, data networking, instrumentation and medical devices.
The only industry Sahasra has no plans to enter, currently, is the consumer durables segment that includes TVs, DVD players, laptops, etc. “We have intentionally not ventured into this market as it has substantially large volumes, but very low margins. A different approach is required in order to operate in it. We focus on value addition and maintaining our bottomline as well as our topline. Apart from this vertical, we operate in every segment, including defence and media products as well as those that require high levels of technological knowhow,” says Manwani.

A sprawling presence
The company has four plants—three in Noida, Uttar Pradesh and one at Kigali in Rwanda, East Africa. The three facilities located in Noida are within a one-kilometre radius of each other, which makes it logistically convenient for materials and products to be shifted, as per requirements. One of the plants manufactures PCBs primarily for export and for captive consumption, and the other facility is for EMS, primarily for exports. The third unit is located in the DTA (Domestic Tariff Area) within Noida, which is used for both EMS operations as well as PCB manufacturing and serves the domestic market’s requirements.
The combined manufacturing area of the company is around 4000sqm and it also owns an 8000sqm plot in Bhiwadi, Rajasthan, which is part of the electronics manufacturing cluster of the state. “Apart from the current functional units, we have land of 1000sqm in the Noida SEZ region, which we plan to develop shortly. This gives us enough scope to leverage our inherent strengths in this segment. Being a completely debt-free company, we have an appetite for growth and are constantly looking at joint ventures and partners who can invest with us in order to reach the next level in technology. With a booming market ahead of us, there is enough potential to grow in India and even for our overseas businesses, we constantly look out for lucrative options to partner like-minded companies, which would propel the electronics industry to greater heights,” says Manwani.
The facility in Kigali, Rwanda, is entirely for LED lighting solutions, where Sahasra Electronics manufactures LED products for the East African markets only. “We are not doing any business in Africa apart from Rwanda and neither do we source any of the products manufactured there to India. It is an independent market with a self-sustainable business model and has successfully become a profitable venture over the past few years,” says Manwani.

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A view of the shopfloor at Sahasra Electronics

The distinguishing factor
Manwani believes that Sahasra’s biggest USP is that it is probably the only company in India to have both PCB manufacturing and EMS services together. This enables the company to provide better value added services to its customers. “Our combined expertise streamlines work. Most of our customers eventually approach us for EMS as they are already procuring their PCBs from us. We are thus better integrated in the value chain of our customers,” says Manwani. This arrangement reduces the turnaround time for its customers as they have to deal with only a single vendor, instead of working with multiple vendors. As a part of the value-added services it offers, Sahasra also provides wire harnesses and plastic and metal parts, which enables it to deliver the complete package to its clients.
The company’s international presence is another advantage, giving it a better understanding of global quality standards and how to simultaneously implement them for domestic requirements. “Apart from our LED production facility in Rwanda, we have sales and marketing offices in Florida and Pennsylvania, in the USA, and representative companies in Canada and Belgium as well. We have covered a significant part of the western markets, where most of the technology products go and are planning to enter the Australian market soon, where there is a lot of scope, despite being geographically smaller than USA or Europe,” shares Manwani.

Challenges confronting the electronics industry
The EMS segment in India has to deal with issues both at the micro and macro levels. With government support being dismal earlier, it is the big corporate giants who are missing from the scene. “Unfortunately, electronics has been one of the neglected segments in India. No big corporate group is involved in this business and even if they are, the key focus is the distribution of final products and not of PCBs or manufacturing equipment,” believes Manwani.
In India, the government plays a major role in the operational decisions taken by corporates and till now, the former has played a detrimental role in the hardware manufacturing sector. “If we look at the entire services industry, it is booming—whether it is insurance, banking or software, because the policy makers find it difficult to intervene. In the hardware industry, however, there are tangible products produced in factories, and it is easy for the government to interfere in business decisions like imports, exports and the shipment of products,” says Manwani. The lack of policy support at multiple levels has resulted in the hardware industry growing not because of the government, but in spite of it.
The ‘Make in India’ initiative has laid special emphasis on nurturing the electronics industry and this is expected to provide fresh impetus to the SME sector, which serves as the primary support structure for any large industry. “Ultimately, every economy is run by the SMEs, as they form its backbone and need to grow effectively. If the SME sector is not strong, even MNCs will not be able to operate efficiently due to the lack of an established local set-up, or the local supply of materials and workforce,” says Manwani.

The way forward
The growth of the software industry in India over the past decade has provided vital learnings for the hardware industry as well. The right combination of a skilled workforce and strategic investments in this sector can help electronic components manufacturers overcome the challenges of quality, competition and policy barriers. “Electronics hardware will be required by every industry at every stage. I believe that innovations in software development will eventually plateau in the near future and companies will have to resort to hardware to provide the base for any form of technological breakthrough,” says Manwani.

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“Our combined expertise in PCB manufacturing and EMS services offers a one-stop destination to our customers as we are better integrated in the electronics value chain.
—Varun Manwani, director, Sahasra Electronics Pvt Ltd


 

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