- Anish Gaikwad, Managing Director, Honeywell Automation India
Honeywell Automation India (HAIL) is looking to create a new class of consumers by offering cost-effective technologies to SMEs spread across the country's mofussil towns and cities. According to Ashish Gaikwad, Managing Director, the company, a solutions provider to sectors ranging from oil and gas to transportation, is keenly eyeing new processes in India's smart cities programme and the railway sector for future expansion. He shares more in conversation with MANISH PANT.
India's contribution to Honeywell's global revenues of $40 billion is a mere 1 per cent. How do you propose to progressively expand here?
We have various strategies for each of the different businesses as Honeywell is a multi-business company. I represent a portion of that business. And for me, what we are trying to do here is to see which process industries are growing and, therefore, aligned to the growth currently demanded by the Indian economy. However, at any point in time, whether the economy is good or bad, growth is always a challenge. Therefore, we need to continuously reinvent ourselves, like what we are doing with connected plants, while making sure we do not stop innovating. Most important, my focus is on developing products that are fit-for-purpose and designed for the Indian industry rather than taking any global product and trying to force-fit it here because affordability and applicability might be different.
You have around 15,000 employees in India. In view of the ambitious push being given to the country's infrastructure sector, are you looking at adding headcount in the medium term?
We have never stopped looking at the headcount aspect. It is all driven by what is necessary for business. The fact remains that even when India was not on the global map, our management was investing here. We have been steadily growing and invest prudently every time we require manpower. Otherwise we would not be where we are today. So, the answer is, yes!
How do you propose to bring down costs for SMEs?
There are multiple ways. We have to be inclusive rather than exclusive. That's why we are passionate about moving from Tier-I to Tier-II and Tier-III cities. Also, we need to be practical about it. One way you can reduce the cost of the total offering to make it affordable for SMEs is by designing fit-for-purpose solutions made for India. Therefore, my team will be continuously working on India-specific strategies. Second, we would also like to divide the cost between players so one industry does not end up bearing the cost of the total solution. That is where Internet of Things (IoT) can come in. Rather than targeting just one SME, we have a group in the ecosystem that are able to divide the cost and take collective benefit of a solution.
Are you also looking at India's extensive railway network?
We have not played there in the past. But I am sure that with the disruptions that are happening boundaries between who can play in certain industries and who cannot will go away. It's a new way of looking at solutions. From among the technology and products we have today for the rest of the industry, some can very well fit into railway as well. Your question is valid. I would love to explore the possibilities in India's railway sector. Second, as we speak, we are already playing in metro railway. We provide what we call safety programmable logic controllers (PLCs) for underground tunnel management because there could be situations where we need to evacuate people safely.
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