“Littelfuse is growing at around 20-25 per cent in India and expect that to continue”

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Deepak Nayar_LittelfuseJanuary 24, 2015: Littelfuse is among the most preferred brands in the circuit protection vertical. With growing global platforms in power control and sensing, the company offers the broadest and deepest portfolio of circuit protection products, enabling comprehensive solutions for customers’ unique needs. It caters to customers in the electronics, automotive and industrial markets with a portfolio that includes fuses, semiconductors, polymers, ceramics, relays and sensors. Today, the company boasts of an employee strength of over 8000 people in more than 35 locations throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. Identifying the growth opportunities in the country, Littelfuse ventured into the Indian market in 2007 and expanded its team significantly in 2011. In conversation with Richa Chakravarty of Electronics Bazaar, Deepak Nayar, vice president and general manager, electronics division, spoke about the company’s growth trajectory and the unique market opportunities it enjoys in India.

EB: What is the global market growth being witnessed by the components industry?

Globally, the components industry is doing well. This has been a good year for all the manufacturers including Littelfuse. On the electronics side, Littelfuse has registered an 8-10 per cent growth, year on year. The automotive segment is also doing very well and as manufacturers, we are witnessing a high single digit growth here as well.

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EB: How is the Indian components industry doing?

India, too, is following the same trend as the global market. Lighting and automotive are doing comparatively well across the globe, but in India there are some local market demands that we are focusing on. The LED lighting, two wheeler and smart meter markets are unique to this region, and we are doing very well in all three domains.

EB: Littelfuse caters to various industry verticals. Which division, according to you, contributes the most to your company’s revenue?

Littelfuse has a good base of about 150,000 customers across the globe. Our specialisation has been in circuit protection, i.e., the fuse, so there is demand coming in from various electronics verticals which are of great significance to us. It is a wide spectrum that we cater to. The industrial segment is a huge base where we are registering good demand. We are witnessing demand coming from the lighting, medical, mobile computing and charger markets too.

EB: What is Littelfuse’s edge over its competitors?

Our edge is our solid reputation for offering the best quality products. Also, our pricing is very competitive in the market. We have never faced a delivery problem as we maintain a good capacity.
A customer does not buy just a fuse, but circuit protection along with it, be it a TVS diode, ESD protection, etc. So, the buyer actually goes in for an insurance policy. A buyer always prefers to opt for a product that is reliable. Littelfuse has a reputation for very reliable products, which gives us an edge. Beyond that, we have IP protected products that we have come up with. These are unique and patented products that no other player offers.

EB: What are the latest products launched by your company, and what are the R&D initiatives undertaken by you?

As a company, our focus has been on performance and size. We are putting out more products that are smaller in size with greater energy handling capabilities. So, our R&D focus is on miniaturisation of the product which, at the same time, can handle more energy. Our latest offering in the market is a fuse for smartphones and chargers. Most of these 10-12W chargers that smartphone manufacturers use have our fuse installed in them.

EB: In terms of technological advancements, which direction do we see the industry moving in?

Today’s consumers do not just want a compact, small and portable device. They also look for devices that are energy efficient and guarantee protection. The trend for miniaturisation will continue and as long as manufacturers are able to meet this, they will survive. Miniaturisation is the ruling trend that our company focuses on. So, whether it’s a phone, medical device or a wearable device, all require miniaturisation. But along with this, they also require all kinds of protection. The smaller the components, the more sensitive they become to electro static discharge (ESD). This is another segment that we are focusing on, in order to deliver small components for the ESD market.

EB: What is the growth percentage that you forecast for Littelfuse from its India division in 2014-15 and how important is India as a region to Littelfuse?

Littelfuse is almost a billion dollar company and its growth, particularly from the India market, is good. Though our base is small in India, we are growing at around 20-25 per cent. We predict this pace of growth will continue for the next five years too. India is an important region for us. Initially, there were only two employees representing the company in India, but now we have increased our strength to eight people. With the present government’s push towards domestic manufacturing, the components manufacturers will find huge opportunities coming their way.

EB: Over the seven years you’ve been in India, which segments have grown in Littelfuse?

The automotive segment, especially the two wheeler market, which has approximately 14-15 million vehicles, has evolved in the sense that the electronics content is now higher. Today, we have automatic ignition switches replacing the manual kick-start for two wheelers. Similarly, the stands of the two wheelers have sensors installed to alert the rider. As the vehicles are becoming more sophisticated, more electronics is being used to support the technological advancements. However, these advances are not in the two wheeler market alone but in four wheelers too. Besides this, the lighting market, particularly with the light emitting diodes (LEDs) penetrating the region, has witnessed an altogether new spurt of growth.

EB: How important is the channel network for Littelfuse? Do you have any expansion plans along these lines?

As a company, we are very committed to working with our channel partners. For the electronics division, about 85 per cent of our products are distributed through channel partners. For India, we have a very large channel network. We have global channel partners like Arrow, Avnet, TTI, etc, along with some Asian and local partners supporting us including Le Champ, Millennium, etc. These partners are doing very well for us and we do not have any plans to expand our network at this point in time.

EB: What are the initiatives taken by the company to encourage your channel partners? Also, how do you educate them about the product and the market, per se?

With the objective of keeping our channel partners updated with the latest product launches and technological advances, we hold training programmes and provide on-going training support to them. Also, every quarter, we review the business activities at their branch offices to understand their challenges and upcoming plans.

EB: What are your R&D plans for India?

India has a pool of talented engineers, scientists, technologists, etc., so besides having a sales division here in India, we would like to set up an R&D laboratory. But so far, there is nothing substantial on paper.

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