TS: Tell me a little bit about the background of Mohindra. I could look up and see that it was incorporated in 1995 but that is all I know of the company background. Please, fill us in on the history of Mohindra.
Deepak: Mohindra Fasteners Ltd started its commercial activity towards end of December 1996. It was started with joining hands of some like minded friends and families; some of which had prior experience in small scale manufacturing of Fasteners and trading of Fasteners. So in a true sense, we are first generation entrepreneurs. I had completed my education – Masters of Business Administration in 1993 and I was only 24 years when I had conceived the idea of setting up a fastener manufacturing unit.
TS: Please share with our readers the products that you manufacture and the markets you serve. Do you sell to a world wide market or are you mostly selling into India and into the U.S.?
Deepak: To briefly explain, we do the following products : Socket Flats in Alloy Steel Inches & Metric, Socket Buttons in Alloy Steel in Inches & Metric, Socket Shoulder Bolts in Alloy Steel in Inches & Metric, Socket Shoulder Bolts in Stainless Steel in Inches & Metric, Dowel Pins in Alloy Steel in Inches & Metric, Dowel pins in Stainless Steel in Inches & Metric, Pull Out Dowel Pins in Alloy Steel in Inches & Metric, Pipe/Pressure plugs in Steel in Inches & Metric, Specials/parts by print or drawing.
We are supplying to most of the big wholesalers in Europe and to the big importers in USA/North America. We are also supplying to the Australian and South African markets. We only sell to Automotive based customers in India, primarily the Tier I vendors.
TS: I have some other fastener friends who run businesses in India and we have discussed some of the expectations they have encountered when selling into the U.S. What are some of the challenges of manufacturing parts in India? Are there differences that you are aware of between manufacturing in India and manufacturing in the U.S. or even China?
Deepak: Manufacturing in India is quite challenging. We have many constraints even now although I must admit that in the last 23 years of our manufacturing, I have seen most of those constraints easing out now. To name some of them – Energy deficient (we still have power outages), high interest rate regime, infrastructure bottlenecks in roads, ports etc., skewed labor laws with limited possibilities of firing/redundancy at the worker level (This has made workforce largely inefficient). The world does see huge numbers of engineers/diploma holders graduating every year but the problem is that everyone is interested in white collar jobs and very few prefer to be on shop floor. Skills of the people have to be improved. And lastly, the mind set of the population has to change more than it has already changed towards being professional, productivity and lean manufacturing. Things have vastly improved now but it is always our goal to strive for improvement to match world class manufacturing standards. I myself see those changes in our customers’ approach when they dealt with us in the late nineties and when they deal now. So the transition is for the good; is stable and smooth. The customers in USA are upfront and are not evasive at all. They prefer to work long term and believe in relationships. However this does take time and the supplier has to prove his credentials.
TS: How has the Caronavirus affected your company and the Indian market in general?
Deepak: All of us are in the same storm but not necessarily in the same boat. Indian domestic business is down and poor as there was no manufacturing for over 6 weeks or more owing to lockdown. People totally dependent on Indian business have been hit very hard. In the short term, things are tough but there are inherent strengths in the Indian economy and things hopefully will be better in medium to long term. Hopefully by then, scientists of the world would have taken care of the vaccine for COVID 19. Mohindra is significantly dependent on Exports; so it has not been so bad for us. The order inflow since April 2020 is slow (down by over 25 to 30%) and there is pressure on the pricing as manufacturers worldwide are staring at idle capacities. Our foray into specials and some long term contracts with our overseas customers have ensured continuing sales with reasonable profitability.
TS: What changes do you see coming in the fastener marketplace in upcoming years? What changes do you see in India and in other markets?
Deeak: India will emerge well in the overall scheme of things. India today is at same junction where China was there about 20 years ago. Economic policies are good/stable. People worldwide have started to prefer to deal with democracies rather than autocracies. Although people have short memories the current backlash against China owing to US politics and COVID terror, will make people drift away from China, not significantly though. The Industrial climate in India is generally improving and the federal government of the day is working hard to make things happen. The pet project of the government for promoting manufacturing in India via “Make in India” initiative is delivering results, albeit slowly. India will get tough competition from Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia in the medium term. However India with its large population and a young workforce can prove to be game changer for India, if harnessed well. I see a lot of Indian companies forging long term alliances with their customers/potential partners overseas. This will be a WIN-WIN situation for the Indian suppliers and overseas customers.
TS: I have been involved with different fastener associations in the U.S. for years. Do you have several fastener associations in India? Tell me a little bit about them. How often do they meet, what are their activities?
Deepak: This is the sad part of Indian fastener manufacturing. Almost all companies are owner driven and there is no forum/meeting/common ground to discuss the macro issues facing the industry. Efforts have been made to forge an association in the name of “ Fastener Association of India”; however this association currently has manufacturers, importers, dealers all under one banner which is self-defeating in nature because everyone’s needs/priorities/requirements are divergent.
TS: What else have I missed asking about? What else would you like to share with us about your company?
Deepak: Mohindra is a quality producer of specialized Fasteners. The product category mentioned above, possibly describes us a specialized socket products manufacturer having ISO 9001 and IATF certifications. We are located in Rohtak, an industrial town, about 40 miles away from New Delhi(the capital of the country). Our brand/logo “MFL” is registered with USPTO. Our Heat treatment operations confirm to CQI9 specs and we are duly certified by an external agency. Our Laboratory is accredited as per ISO 17025(similar to A2LA certification). We are an approved vendor to German Railways for quality parts for its Transmission/MRO applications. We are looking to add our capacities in the form of a greenfield expansion in the next 18-24 months which will increase our capacities by about 30%. We are open for new and long term relationships with new customers in the world markets. To know more details about the company, please visit our website www.mohindra.asia