Lately I have come up with the idea of launching a new initiative in this blog: interview relevant people working in the world of hydraulics and pneumatics, with the main purpose of informing you, readers and followers, about news that may affect our market.
I travel a lot, worldwide, to visit the main players in the field, and that gave me the idea: why not collect first-hand information, impressions, and trends from international stakeholders and share them on the spot with the community?
This blog is proving an excellent tool, and, believe me, I weren’t sure it was worth it at the beginning. Instead, from October 2015 when it was launched to today, followers have increased from 1500 to more than 6500! And all of you are qualified operators in the hydraulic and pneumatic field. This is a great satisfaction to me, because it means you find interesting and useful content here.
My commitment is to always strive to do better, and the idea of the interviews aims precisely at transferring valuable and helpful information to all of you.
Here is the first interview to Mr. K.K. Paul, President of T.P.I. (Tube Products of India)
It was conducted in India at the Murugappa Group headquarter in Chennai on 2016, July 21st.
The MURUGAPPA Group operates in India in different fields, like: agriculture, engineering, financial services and many others. With a total turnover of 4 billion of USD, T.P.I. is a fully owned company.
T.P.I. is located in Chennai and, as far as I know and based on my experience, it’s the biggest cold drawing mill in the world.
The current capacity installed is ab. 15,000 tons per month and the current production (output) is about 13,500 tons per month.
T.P.I. is globally recognised as a market leader for Automotive Welded Cold Drawn Tubes covering app. 80% of the total production, mainly addressed for:
- Camshaft, Shock Absorbers, Vibration Dumpers, Power Steering, Axle Shaft, Side Impact Beams, Belt Tensioner, Propeller Shaft
- the 2 wheelers Tubes for: Front Fork (supplying 80% of the market) Handle bars, Seat Rest and Main Frame.
Their main customers are Suzuki Maruti, Hyundai, TATA, GM, Toyota, Nissan, Ashok Leyland, Piaggio, CNH, BOSCH, Honda, SUSPA, DANA, MagnetiMarelli, KYB, SHOWA, KOYO, Gabriel, John Deere, FORD and Mahindra.
I was really impressed about the quality of the products and the commitment of theirs workers to strictly follow the quality instructions. It’s a huge plant with a wide range of products from very small sizes of 12×1 mm up to 160x10mm.
But now let’s read Mr K.K. Paul’s actual words.
Dear Mr K. K. Paul,
first of all, many thanks for this opportunity, which is intended to present you and your company as fully as possible to the benefit of the hydraulic and pneumatic community worldwide.
- What are your main target markets?
India, ASEAN, Europe and USA.
- How’s your perception of the today’s market environment?
My impression is that capacity is exceeding demand in the tube business. Hence competitive intensity is very high in putting pressure on margins.
- What are your main opportunities and threats?
The main opportunity is to be a key supplier in the steel precision welded tube space for automotive and hydraulic cylinders. The main threat is the mismatch of supply and demand leading to margin lowering in the industry.
- Have you developed a new product recently? If yes, what was the customer’s problem it was made to solve?
Yes, many. They present new characteristics of, for instance, light weighting, safety and emission, as well as precision on tolerances and surface.
- What are the new challenges for the future, in your opinion?
The big challenge is to still achieve profitable growth.
- Can you tell me the main reason why T.P.I. have launched a new investment of more than 50 mil USD in the Hydraulic Cylinders production?
Our intention is to enter the non-auto space of construction and infrastructure, allowing new growth opportunities in India and in targeted markets outside India.
- Can you tell me whether other investments have already been executed by T.P.I. or are going to be executed within this year and why?
Yes, there are other investments in the pipeline this year and they will be channelized on capacity creation and capability building.
- What’s your USP and why are you different from your competitors?
Our USP is wide range and scale; support to our customers on dynamically meeting their QCD targets; large R&D backup allowing us to develop newer steel grades with modifications to suit product application; make it easy for the customer to do business with us by helping in some of the down stream operations that the customer does with the tubes. Thanks to all that, we stand out among competition.
- Can you tell us a story of success that can be helpful to our community?
We made the right decision when we entered the Asian, European and US market. It was a challenge but it proved successful, indeed we have a long track record of success against international players. The confirmation comes from the trust our customers have placed on us over all this time, since for many of them we have remained their key supplier and supplier of choice.
Thanks Mr K.K. Paul for your time and the useful information you share with us.
I have a great opinion of T.P.I. and I do appreciate their contribution on our field in terms of high quality and professionalism. They are a world power and their key success factors are:
- they are excellent in meeting QCD expectations of their customers;
- they can boast a proactive product development strategy;
- they are smart in aligning product offering to mega-trends.
Stay in touch for the upcoming new interview and feel free to ask any questions I can transfer to the next market players.