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Next three years for HOMAG is to Innovate for India

In special conversation with Mr. Venkataramana Gorti - the newly appointed Managing Director and Country Head of HOMAG India Pvt. Ltd. An IIM graduate having close to three decades of industry experience, Mr. Gorti would like to focus on making things simpler, affordable and ensuring value for money for HOMAG.

Modern Woodwork:
Many congratulations and best wishes for your new innings at HOMAG India! What opportunities as well as challenges do you foresee while taking charge of India division of HOMAG?

Mr. Venkararamana Gorti:
Thank you for your hearty wonderful wishes! It is a great feeling to be wished from your fraternity and I am sure it will fuel me for a long time. We have just commenced our journey. HOMAG India, I would say, is at the right time for the industry sector which is about to undergo a rapid transformation. The global majors parking their money for commercial office spaces is an indicator of this transformation at one end, while local players gearing up to the global standards is at the other end. Well this is a great opportunity for HOMAG India which is ready to address both the needs. Being pioneers in the industry and technology leaders, we are customer ready and customers can pick from our existing list of machines.

While that is an opportunity, what we see as a challenge is to address the voluminous segment in the sector which is cost apprehended. While our efforts will be at working on cost-optimization, we will also look at bringing into Indian mindset of ‘Total Cost’ for going in for SOLUTIONS rather than just products. Challenges are the opportunities to show your METTLE!

Modern Woodwork:
HOMAG India currently has close to 48% market share in the mid and high-level segments in the country. How HOMAG Group and HOMAG India plans to retain the No. 1 spot in the industry?

Mr. Venkararamana Gorti:
We have around 33% global market share while in India we have close to 48% market share in the mid and high-level segments we have chosen to be present. Technology and class have been HOMAG’s image in the fraternity and while we continue to be in that same picture, we would look at venturing into market with Indian industry and scenario mindset looking at what else is my customers’ need.
Being there for a customer to empower him to win by bringing him productivity tools, simplified technology and positively creating value to his investments will for sure keep us at No. 1 slot and sustain it.

Modern Woodwork:
With advent of several new technologies under the gamut of Industry 4.0, dynamics of manufacturing industry has been rapidly changing. Being a complete end-to-end solution provider what is the roadmap of HOMAG India to deliver more Industry 4.0 solutions involving IoT, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR) and Cloud based solutions?

Mr. Venkararamana Gorti:
We believe our TAPIO, Industry 4.0 solutions, DIPA (digital printing technology), Digital factory, ‘Digital twin’ will be the future. As a road map at this threshold of the transformation the segment is undergoing, we are agile in our approach. We have different approach for different segments. Bringing on board mindset of Indian manufacturer to the need for world class requirement will be the first step to begin with.

We would, at this moment, look at adapting rapidly to need of the hour and keep the vision envisaged to sustainable and scalable mix. We assure that we are shoulder to shoulder with our customers in their needs. The road map is smooth as we see Indian manufacturing investors never have shunned away from quickly changing over to expectations of the world and with clarity of returns on not just investment but their growth, the journey would be totally smooth.

Modern Woodwork:
Could you please elaborate ‘Digital Factory’ initiative of HOMAG Group, the innovation that fetched lot of applause and center stage in 2019?

Mr. Venkararamana Gorti:
HOMAG will continue to invest on innovation and technology. At Ligna 2019, HOMAG had displayed several software solutions (we have more than 270 of them already), 50 new machines and our digital factory. Our ‘digital twin’ solution will change the way this industry will be operating moving forward. Our Industry 4.0 solutions using IoT, AI, VR would be a major game changer.

Modern Woodwork:
What the customers can expect from HOMAG at IndiaWood 2020?

Mr. Venkararamana Gorti:
We will definitely live up to expectation and the fraternity can expect sweet surprise from us and I hope the industry will welcome it with open arms

Modern Woodwork:
Availability of abundant labour in reasonable cost is the biggest advantage of India as a global manufacturing hub. Hence, many industry experts opined that India should adopt and apply Industry 4.0 in such a way that the new technology should utilise the skillset of man and precision of machine instead of totally replacing manpower with machine power. Your opinion on this please.

Mr. Venkararamana Gorti:
Reasonable cost is something debatable. So, without using that ‘phrase’, let me hover about this question (on a lighter note). Skilled and un-skilled labour are available; but does it suit to our present ecology is the big question. Just like the service sector is facing the need of new skills, so is machine tool manufacturing sector. And yes, you are right Industry 4.0 is not any more knocking at the door, but it has already made roads inside deep. We were one step ahead and thankfully HOMAG had this technology already pro-actively developed and we would look at enhancing and taking advantage of the same. Quick learnings and un-learnings are need of the hour. We will for sure take all needed steps to bring in unison between machine and man.

Modern Woodwork:
How India and Indian market has been contributing in overall growth of HOMAG Group?

Mr. Venkararamana Gorti:
I would like to highlight that HOMAG has multiple products for various segments and when we are having greater than 30-35% at minimum in each segment we are of course making the volumes. Our focus definitely is on making products with high quality, technology, reliability and performance and we would like to be a market leader in the segments with optimal volumes where customers value all of these key elements, and which shall in turn contribute to the HOMAG Group.

India is placed right to grow in a higher pace. While at one end Indian manufacturers (our customers) are aware of what is coming in the guise of global players, they would pull up their socks to match the standards; this will enable us to improve ourselves with products and services. And we look at developing innovations which we can start exporting to other locations. Like what has happened in several sectors, am sure India will fuel the next technology growth. We are building machines for millennials and gen Ys’; so, for sure it is the need of the hour. With this we are confident that we will play a major role in contributing to the overall growth of HOMAG Group.

Modern Woodwork:
The United Nations (UN) in its flagship report of UNCTAD (The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) warned that global recession is a clear and present danger in 2020. India has also been suffering through economic slowdown. As we have just entered in 2020 what is your analysis for the next three years?

Mr. Venkararamana Gorti:
I may not be able to answer this as an economist; but will answer this as a business fraternity person. Slowdown and recessions are a part of the cycle. And foresight about them is your weapon. We will surely keep in mind when we are working towards planning of our strategies and execution of the same. Looking at all possible optimization and keeping our methods and minds flexible would be our focus in the advent of any adversaries. Next three years for HOMAG is to Innovate for India. Making things simpler, affordable and ensuring value for money will be our focus areas. How much more can we do for our customer and which are the areas we can add value to our customers will drive our thought process for next three years.

Modern Woodwork:
While dark clouds of recession have already spread in the region, a study by the World Bank predicts India’s organised furniture industry to grow 20% per annum over the next few years to register a CAGR of 4.1% from 2015 to the end of 2020. Are these numbers factual and reflects the ground reality of Indian market?

Mr. Venkararamana Gorti:
Yes, they do! There is a sure background data for such numbers to be true. Few hints for us to reiterate are that Indian market is set for big global players to enter and you can see the investments flowing in real estate sector both in office spaces and commercial spaces from global players. Joining hands with them are the big Indian players. We now will start witnessing the EXPERIENCE ECONOMY even in this furniture sector. So, these numbers are factual and achievable.

Questions by : Niranjan Medhekar and Gaurav Divekar with inputs from  Amit Tekale

Special thanks to Ms. Renucka Balcchandran

Modern Woodwork | February 2019 - April 2020

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