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Kaleidoscope -Leaders' Views

Connectwell - A socially responsible enterprise that makes India proud, Globally!

Mr. Vijay Saheta
Managing Director
Connectwell Industries Pvt. Ltd.
Start of Business : 1978
Business website : www.connectwell.com
Main Product Lines : Terminal Blocks, Interface Modules, Power Supplies (SMPS)
‘Star’ Product /State-of-the Art Design/Front-running Product : Terminal Blocks (CX Series – Next Generation Spring Terminal Blocks)
Quality credentials of products (ISO/ CE/UL /CSA/RoHS etc.) : UL, CSA, VDE, ATEX, IECEX and many more
City & Country of factory and Head Office : Dombivli (Suburb of Mumbai),India
Names of locations of branch offices : 7 branch offices in India and 2 subsidiaries (China & Brazil)
Main countries of business operations : India, USA, China, Brazil, Middle East
Major market segments for products : Power and Distribution, Renewable Energy, Industrial Automation, Machines and Machine Tools, Elevators & Escalators, Material Handling.
Turnover growth % in last year compared to previous year : 8%

What started as a small business to 'build something of our own', nearly 40 years ago, is now an enterprise, employing few hundred employees, and a largest producer of Terminal Blocks. Connectwell now exports its world class products to nearly every part of the world, has 7 branch offices in India and 2 subsidiaries overseas.

Connectwell has prudently identified important bottlenecks that affect business growth and have some valid suggestions towards it. Connectwell faces competition however, knows how to handle it smartly. Excellent quality is main edge over competition; be it local or in international market.

Connectwell takes efforts to invest in human capital, and has many CSR activities and initiatives for environmental protection.


What were thoughts and philosophies for starting your business?

I along with my friends started this business out of a sense of wanting to ‘build something of our own’ There was only a direction to build something in the engineering sector, never in specific to Terminal Blocks or even Electrical products for that matter. As a matter of fact I am a Metallurgical Engineer by education and had spent my starting years at rolling mills.


To what extent you feel having fulfilled your objectives today?

I am sure that we are well past that initial ‘build something on my own’ objective and today are a socially responsible enterprise that employs a few hundred personnel with a product line that makes India proud even in the international space.


What according to you are your positive points towards growth and sustenance of your business?

We are the largest Terminal Block manufacturer in India, but globally we are just a spec in the large ocean, this for us is an amazing opportunity that we have started to capitalize on with our ever improving line of products.


What are your considerations/ideas when you develop and introduce any new product or concept?

Our products are now getting smarter and ever more compact, so our product designs focus on re-usability of components, standardization of features, ease of manufacturing features and needless to say features that help our customer to choose Connectwell over competition.


Do you have any Green Channel Supplier (how many?):

Yes. Around 8


Are you a Green Channel Supplier to any customers: (to how many?)

Yes. To More than 25 customers


What are your growth/expansion plans for next 5 years?

We are expecting a 15% YOY growth for the next 5 years. Our plan remains to keep working towards building a leaner smarter organization, which is able to respond faster to market requirements. We do have a few investments planned in manufacturing towards automating some more manufacturing process while continuing to build our quality assurance systems. We also plan to make headways directly into more international markets.


How do you foresee growth of your industry in next 5 years (a) in the country, and (b) internationally

In the country, in spite of all this Make in India talk, there is no fundamental shift in actual manufacturing within India. The growth within the country we see as being sustained at maybe 7 to 10% per annum.

Globally as we compete with a niche set of players out of Europe, we see ourselves having a competitive advantage being based out of India and shall be able to grow pretty well. However the overall growth of the segment in our opinion shall remain constrained in between the 4 to 7% band.


What kind of bottlenecks you anticipate in your growth plans for next 5 years, and how you plan to counter them?

In our opinion cost of capital remains the biggest bottleneck towards growth in India for any manufacturer. Barring that we will remain constrained by our efforts or lack of it. All things said and done, India’s environment for manufacturing is improving although much slower than what the Make in India campaign would have us believe.


In present business practices, do you experience problems like:-

a) Unusual credits expectations by customers: Yes
b) Payment delays, non-payments, bad debts: Yes
c) Statutory & regulatory exploitations: Yes
d) Harassments from some specific sectors: Yes
e) Effects of Government policies(lack of policies/inadequate policies/negative policies): Yes
f) Effects of International happenings: Yes
g) Effects of changed climatic conditions: No


As a progressive and prominent businessman, would you have any suggestions for removing these hurdles?

Change in laws towards taxation and labour are the need of the hour. A free market is all businessmen across the country need. We do not need trade protection, but need better infrastructure to manufacture more efficiently.


National/local competition is mostly from business units that come up by copying a leading brand with less features, less quality and less price. Do you have experience of it?

Our products call for an organization that is able to manufacture products with international approvals like UL, CSA, VDE, although there exist local players, but their understanding of the product and customer leaves a lot to be desired. We have had our products copied, our brand name copied and all of it but it has hardly made a dent in our business proceedings. Most of such nuisances remain nothing more than a short term disturbance.


How you see the onslaught of international competition in your business segments?

We have been competing with European Competitors since 1994 and there is nothing new here. It is a matter of understanding that if we do not improve our products to international levels we shall not survive in this global business era.


What are your suggestions and plans for countering such competition – both national and international?

Work on your products and process and make them smarter and more efficient, there is truly no other way.


Do you have any activities in practice for improving performance, loyalty and retention of your employees? You may like to mention those here along with your experience.

Our management team spends a very good amount of time in identification of KPIs for each person in the organization and performance is the primary grounds for rewards within the organization. We also find that employee engagement activities are very critical to retaining people within the organization. Lastly an open work environment goes a long way in ensuring that people feel that Connectwell can be a place where they hang their hats.


Would you like to mention about your CSR activities towards society?

We support a few social causes having to do with education and health. But a cause that is very close to us at Connectwell is what is pursued by an organization called Astitva. They work with mentally challenged children and help them adapt to the society at large.


Do you take up any specific actions and undertake activities for environment protection?

All our products are RoHS and REACH compliant, which ensures that we do not contribute to environmental pollution. In addition our ISO 14000 certification is under way. Also we pay special attention to areas like energy conservation. A good example is our usage of All Electric Injection Moulding machines which are 60% more efficient that standard hydraulic injection moulding machine.

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