“We plan to have a full-fledged office in India in another year”

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Frances-Lai
Frances-Lai,-marketing-specialist,-MEAN-WELL

Power supplies for electronic systems are always in high demand. The business opportunities are immense and foreign players are looking at India as an expansion destination. One such power supply solutions provider is MEAN WELL Enterprises. Frances Lai, marketing specialist, MEAN WELL, talks to Paromik Chakraborty of the EFY Group about the company’s business strategies and plans for India.

EB: Tell us about the latest technology and application areas of your offerings.
Our company is a standard power supply manufacturer. Our power supply solutions are targeted towards various use cases, including building automation, charging solutions, medical electronics, industrial power failsafe requirements, LED luminaires, smart lighting applications and more. One of our main technology upgrades is the integration of the KNX Protocol, which will allow our products to cross-function with KNX-compatible components from other vendors. This will allow users to create a well-integrated automation ecosystem.

EB: What is your strategy to meet customer demand for your products?
According to our calculations, we have a stock worth almost US$ 300 million, across our factories, offices and authorised distributors, globally. We keep our stocks full so that customers get the product they need at any time. Moreover, for regular purchasers, orders for standard items in quantities of less than 100 units are met within a 14-day delivery period. This service is provided through MEAN WELL’s branches and authorised distributors. If we are unable to meet the deadline for any customer, we pay the air shipment fees of that order.

EB: How do you ensure this 14-day delivery schedule is met?
We have a just-in-time (JIT) shared material management and computerised system for operations. We have created a global presence across 80 countries – through our offices, distributors and factories. That helps us reach out to any part of the globe quickly. We also have strong distribution partners. In this way, we ensure that we deliver our products in 14 days.

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EB: Where do you manufacture your products?
We have three factories – one in Taiwan and two in China (in Guangzhou and Suzhou).
EB: What are your global revenue targets and what is the size of your workforce?
Last year, we had reached a total revenue of US$ 927 million. This year, we hope to achieve US$ 1 billion in revenues. So far, our biggest market is in China. In fact, almost 50 per cent of our products are built in China and exported worldwide. We have a workforce of 3000 employees globally, who help us in achieving our business targets.

EB: How is the business in India compared to your global sales?
India is a big country with a young market. The business requirements and demands have started to grow there. Looking at the current trade competition between China and the US, we have considered strengthening our business in the Indian market. We need to get more familiar with the Indian ecosystem to understand the business environment and the requirements of customers there. Right now, we are operating in India through our authorised distributors.

EB: How do you plan to execute your expansion plans in India?
We plan to have our own dedicated service team for India. We already have sales representatives in the country. Further down the line, we may open a factory in India. However, all the plans are in the preliminary stages. We are proceeding, step by step.

EB: Does MEAN WELL have any tentative time frame within which it plans to set up its new facility? Or a preferred location?
We plan to have a full-fledged office in India in another year. We have just started evaluating the market and identifying our options right now. We will have a team visit India to scout out regions and find out the most suitable location for starting our own units – both for the office and for the factory. We will have to check the availability of land, infrastructure as well as the best supply chain – and these will help us choose the correct destination.

EB: What business challenges do you anticipate in the Indian ecosystem?
One of the major challenges will be the language barrier. Knowing the local language of the respective region in India is a necessity to communicate properly. Finding land and space may also take some effort. Moreover, we also anticipate some obstacles due to local political issues. However, we do not foresee that to be a major problem in the long run. Overall, we are familiarising ourselves with the business opportunities in India and we will prepare our strategies accordingly.

EB: What business benefits will customers derive from MEAN WELL’s solutions?
MEAN WELL has an inventory of 10,000 different models across all of our product lines. Customers get to select from a wide range in a tight market, as per their requirements. All of our products comply with global certification standards and protocols. As a result, customers will not need to invest in the certification of our products when implemented in their systems. They can also avoid paying non-recurring engineering (NRE) fees and tooling fees in the process.

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