Panish PK, Regional Sales Director & Business Head – India and SAARC, Bosch Power Tools

“During the past two decades, the Indian economy has witnessed a transformation and has emerged as one of the fastest growing economies in the world. ‘Make in India’ is an ambitious initiative launched by the Government of India in September 2014 with a mission to transform India into a global design and manufacturing hub,” says Panish PK, Regional Sales Director & Business Head – India and SAARC, Bosch Power Tools in an interview with Nishant Kashyap.

Please tell us something about your strategy for the Indian market…
Bosch Power Tools experienced strong growth in 2017. Our success is the result of consistent focus on the users. We know about their requirements and we offer them the best suitable solutions. We are well-positioned for the coming years.  Our strong brand awareness and user preference backed by tailwind of higher GDP and industrial growth forecasts will be a favourable combination.

Additionally, the rising usage of power tools in Tier 2 and 3 cities and increase in FDI in the category due to government initiatives will complement the growth of power tools industry in India in the coming years.

What is the market size of power tools in India?
The market for power tools has witnessed a robust growth in terms of revenues in the past few years. Indian power tool industry is an import driven market with a large proportion of products imported through countries such as China, Germany, UAE, Japan and Korea among others.

A major share of power tools sold in the market is imported and sold by individuals using their own labels. These labels have a short presence in the market – to be replaced by new ones periodically. This makes the market fragmented in terms of brands and estimation of its size is not easy.)

Though there has been no authenticated study to calculate the size, but the median of various estimates point to a value in the excess of 18 billion INR of corded and cordless tools sold in 2017 in India.

New innovations at Bosch Power Tool Technology…
Innovation plays an important role in the success of Bosch Power Tools. Recently, we introduced the world’s first smart screwdrivers ‘Bosch Go’ in India. The revolutionary screwdriver caters to the evolving needs of the Indian millennial consumer. ‘Bosch GO’ is the smart screwdriver where a simple push gets the work done. Its intelligent E-clutch system knows when to stop on reaching the target torque.

Bosch has also introduced a brand new saw blade technology for ‘do-it-yourselfers’ in the form of ‘NanoBlades’ technology which is based on a saw blade with a revolving micro-chain. It consists of chain links which are only four millimeter in size – similar to a chainsaw, only smaller. The revolving chain means that the pendulum movement which is typical of jigsaws and saber saws, featuring high vibrations and saw blade running, is no longer required. With this, Bosch has taken sawing to the next level. Our ‘NanoBlades’ allow users to saw easily and precisely while producing the exact right angles.

Bosch power tools are designed to save energy and deliver the highest level of performance. While these tools are compact and light in weight, they also run on environment-friendly Bosch lithium ion technology, that cater to diverse industries like automotive, construction, manufacturing, and home-interiors, thus offering the best solutions to both industrial and engineering applications that include screw driving, drilling, cutting, grinding, polishing and sanding. There is a wide range of 350+ tools including cordless screwdrivers, drill machines, impact wrenches; rotary hammers, surveying equipment, and rangefinders.

Shift from corded to cordless electric to pneumatic, how has this impacted professional productivity?
We not only expect a shift from corded to cordless but also from pneumatic to corded or even cordless tools.

Cordless tools offer ergonomic and safe user experience, the rapid improvements in tool design as well as battery technology from Bosch has resulted in cordless tools offering similar power and performance as the regular corded tools. Pneumatic tools which work on stored air under high pressure are also giving way to corded or cordless due to the inherent low energy efficiency which such systems generate. The productivity improvements by use of cordless tools are clearly experienced by users and we are sure this experience of the early adopters will encourage the others to follow suit as is experienced in other markets in the world that are substantially ahead in terms of power tools adoption. While the adoption rate of cordless in India is less than 5%, we see a share of 20-30% in China and 50-60% in Europe and it is increasing.

What are your views about the Indian manufacturing industry? What impact do initiatives like ‘Make in India’ have on the industry?

According to IBFF (India Brand Equity Foundation), the Gross Value Added (GVA) from the manufacturing sector is estimated at US$ 326.3 billion in FY18. The sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP stood at 16.51 per cent in 2016. Quarterly GVA at basic prices from manufacturing sector grew by 10.92 per cent in the third quarter of FY18. India has been ranked at 30th position on a global manufacturing index, ahead of BRICS peers, Brazil, South Africa and Russia.

During the past two decades, the Indian economy has witnessed a transformation and has emerged as one of the fastest growing economies in the world. ‘Make in India’ is an ambitious initiative launched by the Government of India in September 2014 with a mission to transform India into a global design and manufacturing hub. India aims to become the top destination for FDI in the world. The initiative plans to increase the contribution of manufacturing to India’s GDP to 25% from current 15% and also generate employment. India aims to increase its competitiveness compared to China which is seen as a more favourable destination for manufacturing. India believes it has a lot of untapped potential in terms of human resource and infrastructure development which, when properly utilised, will propel India into an industrial hub.

We appreciate programs like Make in India that aims to increase the share of manufacturing in the GDP pie of India.  The initiative plans to increase the contribution of manufacturing to India’s GDP to 25% from current 15% and also generate employment.

Improvement in the scale of manufacturing brings with itself the need to improve productivity and methods. We see an increase in the adoption of power tools and mechanisation as the industry realises the benefits which power tools generate not only in terms of higher productivity but also in the improvement of HSE index of the workplace.

Of course, we realise there is a requirement for skilled manpower to cater to the demands of the growing industry, BOSCH with its established and award-winning apprentice training program is well placed to support this demand. We have a well-established training center in Bengaluru to offer similar services to the professional and industrial users.

How and what is Bosch PT’s involvement in ‘Make in India’ program
The investment in setting up a new unit in Chennai and it is an apt example of Bosch PT’s involvement and belief in the ‘Make in India’ initiative. The facility, which is located close to Chennai, started humming in mid-2015. The main objective of setting up the plant was to focus on the Indian market, with product design for India. The factory will cater to India and also export to the SAARC region.

In recent years, e-commerce is playing a huge role in power tools sale. What per cent of your overall sales comes from online shopping in India?
Indian users still prefer to travel to a hardware or power tool shop rather than making a purchase online, but we expect this to change with the adoption of smartphones and affordable data connectivity solutions in India. We see several platforms catering to these users coming up and hope that the user-friendly interface and logistics they offer will accelerate the shift from offline purchase to online purchase.

The practice of online research and offline purchase is also being witnessed and we are eagerly following this development for the right opportunities. Currently, the estimated sales of power tools via e-commerce are estimated to be less than 5% of the market.

Like BOSCH, there are other global companies active in India. How does BOSCH plan to stay ahead in competition?
As I explained earlier, brand awareness and our thorough understanding of our users’ demands are our key advantages. We continue to invest in channel – both offline and online to reduce the distance from the user whether it is before the purchase or post-purchase.

We will continue to invest in market-oriented products, tailored to the needs of tradesmen as well as the industrial users – offering the right product at the right price.

Cordless tools with Lithium-ion battery are some of the many innovations from its portfolio.

What are your future plans for the Indian market?
We will continue to focus on channel expansion and getting closer to the users. Our aim is to understand the needs of the end users and make sure we reach them with the right solutions and products. Bosch PT will continue its innovation strategy by developing both completely new products as well as helpful upgradations in the established power tools range.

By Nishant kashyap