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We will be introducing a new product category in India every six months, says SPPL CEO Avneet Singh Marwah

India has transformed completely in the past six-seven years when it comes to electronic manufacturing ecosystem. Bolstered by Prime Minister Narender Modi's 'Make in India' push and policies such as

Edited By: Shweta Ganjoo

Published: Apr 29, 2023, 11:13 AM IST

SPPL Interview
SPPL Interview

Story Highlights

  • SPPL has been manufacturing electronic devices in India for over 30 years.
  • SPPL manufactures devices for companies such as Kodak and Thomson.
  • SPPL plans to expand to more product categories in the coming years.

India has transformed completely in the past six-seven years when it comes to electronic manufacturing ecosystem. Bolstered by Prime Minister Narender Modi’s ‘Make in India’ push and policies such as PLI and EMC 2.0, electronic manufacturing industry in the country is booming. These policies and this drive in the country have not only prompted domestic manufacturers to step up their game, but they have also invited foreign companies to set up their roots in India and manufacture components and products not just for the Indian market but also for the world. The ‘Make in India’ campaign is still gaining momentum. But one company that has been making their products in India for over 30 years now is SPPL or Super Plastronics Private Limited.

SPPL is an Indian manufacturing company that was established in 1990. The company started off as a plastic injection molding manufacturing unit and then moved to making Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) televisions. Today, it is manufacturing smart TVs and other home appliances including ACs, coolers and washing machines for five major global brands including Thomson, Kodak, Blaupunkt, Westinghouse and White-Westinghouse.

The company’s journey from being a plastic injection molding manufacturer to being a home appliance manufacturer wasn’t easy. So, we sat down for a conversation with SPPL CEO Avneet Singh Marwah to understand the company’s journey so far and where it is heading to next.

Journey so far and key learnings

When SPPL decided to transform itself, it went on to become a brand licensee for companies such as Blaupunkt, Westinghouse and White-Westinghouse. While these are fairly popular names in the global markets, they are still gaining popularity in India. When asked why SPPL decided to go for comparatively lesser-known names, the company CEO said the company opted to partner with brand that have a huge recall value globally.

“…we thought that because of this technology [smart TV tech] you need brands which are multinational, which have globally a huge recall and then as Indians we are always favourable to all these multinational big recall brands. So, we started working…2015 we signed Kodak, 2018 we launched Thomson and then we launched Blaupunkt from Germany and then Westinghouse for television and I think there’s no looking back after 2015,” he said.

“We’re doing Make in India from last 30 years. When a lot of people started importing screens from different countries, we were manufacturing. And we have seen the hard days. And after that, the network of service that you have after sales service, I think that was really important from day one. And that’s the mantra and success behind our brands,” he added.

Talking about his key learnings, Marwah said that while India is a huge market, making profits isn’t easy. “I think key learning is that people say that India is a very big market, but I still say the penetration versus population is quite low in the country. It’s very hard to make profit out of brands…But it’s not impossible,” he told us.

About future plans

At the moment, SPPL manufactures products under four categories — TVs, washing machines, coolers and ACs. In the company plans to expand its manufacturing facility beyond these home appliances. The SPPL CEO also told us that his company also plans to foray into new technologies.

“…there are a lot of things, not even other home appliances, we are looking for other technology products also. I think the next five years, every year you, or every six months you will see a new category that we’ll be introducing. Apart from home appliances there are other categories which we feel that disruption is left in that category and within two to three months there is a very big news that is coming up. From television to Home Appliances, now we’ll be touching towards technology,” he said.

Buying trends in India

The Indian market has seen a lot of changes, especially in light of the pandemic. Per capita income has increased, which has also increased the spending power of people. “I think the biggest trend that I saw this year was that India is no longer about opening price point. I think the kind of growth that we are seeing in the mid-segment has been phenomenal. The per capita income is growing from 2.5 thousand dollars, and I think it will reach about three point five four thousand dollars. The ideal position is about twelve thousand dollars per capita,” Marwah added.

“As the per capita income grows, disposable income grows, and that’s where there is a shift in the market. Having said that, the rural market is not growing and that’s a term that needs to be very worried for. Despite having back-to-back good seasons for agriculture…the buying sentiments needs to improve in the rural sector,” he added.

Marwah says that the reason for the sluggish growth is the global economic conditions. “One of the main reasons is inflation. I would say that it has global reasons. After the pandemic we saw a war and then it disrupted the whole market — fuel pricing, component pricing, commodity pricing, and then agriculture disruption,” Marwah added.

Indian government and its policies

Talking about policies, Marwah said that the Indian government’s policies have greatly benefitted domestic players.

“Make India is not new for people who were already manufacturing. It just needed a couple of policy changes and how from make in India we became trade in India and then shifting the focus again to manufacturing was really important…So it’s a great initiative that the PM is taking,” Marwah.

“It’s high time that we should have our own core component manufacturing. We need more raw material factories in India. There have been a lot of lucrative policies from banning CPUs of television or air conditioners so that they’ll encourage more manufacturing in India. From assembly in India to now manufacturing, which is very very important. And the PLI, which is a game changer move…So, I feel that it’s a start. Its beginning. There is a long way to go. If this continues for about five to six years definitely there will be a plus one,” he added.

Author Name | Shweta Ganjoo


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