EB: What are the current trends in the Indian battery market? Are they different from the global market?
The industrial battery segment has been witnessing consistent growth due to increase in application areas as well as shortage of power. The growth in the BFSI, IT/ITES and telecom sectors, coupled with new focus on solar applications, has provided an impetus to the segment. The market is about Rs 40 billion in size and growing at a rate of 25-30 per cent annually.
Industrial batteries in India are typically constructed to provide support to deep cycle applications due to power availability patterns in the country, but their construction for similar applications globally is different. In India, the applications for these batteries are largely ‘deep cycle’ as against the global ‘standby’ applications. The major demand in India is, therefore, from the UPS segment to provide long periods of backup during a power outage, and in the telecom segment, for backup power at the towers.
EB: What type of innovation is taking place in industrial batteries?
Batteries used for ‘deep cycle’ applications have thicker plates of electrodes for efficient charge/discharge cycles, and these thick electrodes make it efficient and suitable for deep cycle applications. These batteries are rechargeable, with a charging time of approximately 6-8 hours, during which the battery is fully charged for deep cycle application. The plate chemistry is also different from standby batteries to enable the longer life of the batteries.
EB: What is your reach in India?
Relicell has one of the widest networks in the country. We have tied up with a national distributor to ensure that our batteries are available at 53 different POPs and one of the largest service network providers across 47 locations. The distribution network covers the length and breadth of the country from Jammu in the north to Thiruvananthapuram in the south, and from Siliguri in the east to Rajkot in the west. Besides the extensive network provided by the national distributor, a number of sub-distributors have been appointed to ensure stock availability even in the remotest locations.
EB: What type of batteries do you manufacture? What are their USPs?
Relicell manufactures tubular batteries and import SMF batteries. Our SMF batteries are produced at a state of the art facility that is ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified, using advanced AGM VRLA technologies and highly pure material. Relicell SMF VRLA batteries have a life of 5-15 years at 25°C, depending on the model. These batteries have high specific energy, a low rate of self discharge and excellent cyclic performance and recovery after over discharging. The valve regulated (sealed) construction makes them safe for operation in any position and ensures they are totally maintenance free.
Our batteries have been tested and certified by various government labs and agencies including Central Power Research Institute, Bengaluru (CPRI), Electronic Test and Development Centre, STQC Directorate, Ministry of Information & Technology, and UL certified number MH46792. Relicell VRLA batteries are approved and registered in DGS&D for central and state government purchases.
EB: How do you ensure efficiency and quality of your products?
Reliability and efficiency are key factors that influence the buyer. The rugged construction helps our batteries withstand extreme temperatures and perform well even in varying environments. Lead acid battery technology is over a century old and given its mature state, the products available in the market do not vary significantly in terms of functionality. The key differentiator is largely availability, reliability and the service offered.
Relicell has focused on building a design that delivers power efficiently. These batteries have a long life. We ensure quality by following ISO 9001 processes that help us deliver consistently good product.
EB: What are your marketing strategies? How do you maintain an edge over your competitors?
We are young in the market. Our current focus is to build awareness for our brand. One of the key drivers in the market is ensuring availability. Relicell’s strategy of tying up with one national distributor has helped us in ensuring that we are able to optimise our supply chain through efficient distribution and low levels of stock out in the market, especially during the peak season. Another significant difference in our approach is that we provide solutions and not just sell batteries.
EB: Can you explain the idea—a solution provider vs a battery seller?
As a solution provider, we seek to engage with our customers to clearly understand their needs based on the application that the battery will support. We then work with them to identify the best combination of products to provide a solution.
For instance, as a company, we not only provide the AMC and replacement solutions but actually provide commitments based on the power uptime requirements of the customer. Our service network across 47 locations enable us to provide solutions to organisations that have large distributed networks across the country. This is a first for the industry.