The success strategies, growth mantras, and the culture of innovation of established players like Rohde & Schwarz in competitive markets like electronics, are fascinating subjects for anyone interested in this dynamic sector. Baishakhi Dutta of the EFY Group spoke with Nasser Jariwala, senior director – sales and operations (T&M), Rohde & Schwarz India, to learn about all this, and the firm’s business plans in India.
EB: How has Rohde & Schwarz fared in the Indian market over the past?
Rohde & Schwarz first entered India way back in 1988 when it opened a liaison office with nine people. Later, in 1996, Rohde & Schwarz India (RSIndia) was incorporated with its headquarters in New Delhi. Initially, business was tough as the company’s sales activities were limited mainly to defence and government organisations. Local manufacturing and R&D were still in the nascent stage, in the private sector.
In addition to this, India was also passing through a crisis with respect to its forex reserves. However, R&S remained committed to the growth story of India. Gradually, the Indian market started to improve. Many global MNCs started their R&D operations in the country, and the manufacture of telecom devices and mobile phones began to increase. All these factors bolstered RSIndia’s growth, and the company’s revenues kept improving year on year. It also grew to an employee strength of more than 160 people across the country.
The trend towards networking all aspects of our lives and the ever higher security requirements are driving R&S’ business. In India, we are well positioned in all the market segments, with mature and stable teams to partner and participate in major programmes, whether it is in the defence market or in the wireless and electronics manufacturing domain.
RSIndia is a leader in the Indian T&M market. We offer T&M solutions to various important sectors, focusing primarily on five market segments—wireless communication, aerospace and defence, automotive, mobile network testing and industrial components. Apart from these domains, we are also focusing on research and educational institutes.
We have been very successful globally as well as in India. We are confident of growing by a CAGR of 15 per cent in India in the next two to three years due to the strong economic fundamentals, our growing product portfolio, and government reforms and programmes like Digital India, Make in India and Skill India.
EB: If you must choose key milestones in the journey of RSIndia, what would they be?
There are quite a few success stories that I could share as we continue to enjoy more than a 50 per cent market share in EMI-EMC testing, by providing turnkey solutions. With the recent government mandate that has made TEC testing of wireless products compulsory, we foresee double digit growth for those of our products and systems that cater to this test. We also have the maximum share, almost half, in the wireless and communications market.
Last year, our consistent efforts paid off handsomely when Rohde & Schwarz India (RSIndia) was named the ‘Indian T&M Company of the Year’ at Frost & Sullivan’s 2018 India Best Practices Awards Banquet in Mumbai.
EB: What are the main priorities of Rohde & Schwarz for its customers in India?
Across the globe, Rohde & Schwarz is a key partner to its valued customers. India is one of the key markets for the company, so we are listening carefully to the changing market demands and adapting ourselves with our innovative products and strategies to be a trendsetter in serving the testing needs of our customers.
There is a lot of trust when a customer partners with Rohde & Schwarz. For us, building a world-class infrastructure and competent team in RSIndia remains the topmost priority, since our customers expect the same level of competence in services and deliverables from an R&S team anywhere in the world.
EB: Do tell us about Rohde & Schwarz’s involvement with academic institutions and its work to encourage engineering students.
As the leading provider of test and measurement solutions, we aim to help researchers in academia explore ground breaking concepts with greater precision and deeper confidence. We offer cost-effective test and measurement solutions with our Distributor range of products, which caters to the needs of the Indian educational market.
Over the years, RSIndia has been part of many CSR activities, by which the company has actively supported the cause of higher technical education through various sponsorships and participation in social events. We have plans to upgrade the technical infrastructure in a few select universities to ensure that the training imparted to the students is in line with the demands of the industry.
EB: How important is the 5G market to Rohde & Schwarz?
5G is becoming a reality and is one of the key drivers for the global test and measurement market. R&S is the T&M company that’s best suited to ride the 5G wave due to its rich experience in microwave and millimetre frequencies, with our products already covering these frequency ranges. As a leading provider of test and measurement equipment for the connected world of today and tomorrow, Rohde & Schwarz offers innovative test solutions for the new 5G mobile communications standards.
Our 5G test solutions empower customers to quickly innovate, transform and win in the 5G ecosystem. We are working closely with 5G ecosystem leaders across the globe. For example, recently, a leading chipset maker leveraged Rohde & Schwarz’s high-performance turnkey OTA (over the air) system for device transmitter and receiver tests to meet the challenges of 5G deployment.
In India also, we have built a technically strong team to provide top class application and service support for the next generation of T&M products that we are delivering to Indian customers across various market segments.
EB: How does the company plan for the next growth period?
We expect the Indian market to evolve a lot in the next five years. While planning our offerings for existing application areas, we also consider future needs and try to ensure that investments in our products are future-proof. We would like to emerge as the largest T&M player in the RF and wireless domain in India by 2020, supplying world class T&M products and solutions.
We foresee that various programmes like Make in India and Digital India will increase the demand for onsite calibration of high precision test equipment, which RSIndia is already doing for its major Indian customers. We will continue to accelerate our pace of investments by augmenting our repair and calibration facility, and provide our offices with full-fledged demo centres, as well as state-of-art IT facilities.
We have been continuously investing in training of our employees to maintain a high level of technical competence in pre- and post-sales support. This practice ensures outstanding quality in services in relation to repairs, calibration, product support, and project management. The company is already introducing new platforms, processes and automation tools, which will enhance the customer experience and ensure faster project execution and deliveries.
Our marketing activities will be more centred around continuous engagement with our users through various digital channels and the traditional print media. In the future, working closely with the R&S Asia Marketing Hub in Singapore and our headquarters in Munich will help us to better leverage our global brand equity and maintain standardisation when creating a strong visual brand. Our marketing spends will register a substantial jump as we reach out to new customers in the IoT, IIoT and emerging wireless technologies domains.
EB: Lastly, is market leadership an important issue for Rohde & Schwarz?
Ultimately, we want to develop employees that make Rohde & Schwarz’s market leadership a top priority. We also need competent leadership at all levels to serve the stakeholders and maintain our leading position. As I see it, excellent leadership is the key to our ongoing success.