Scripting the chronicles of the Indian Machinery Industry's soul: Bharat Fritz Werner
The Machinery Industry in India plays a strategic role in the growth of the Indian Economy. It forms the backbone of the manufacturing industry while facilitating its development by producing the basic component-The Machine Tool. Expected to become the fifth largest manufacturing country in the world by the end of the year 2020, India is positioning herself as a growing manufacturing hub. For ages, machines have supported almost every aspect of varied industries, hardly leaving any area untouched. Many machinery leaders have placed themselves as the new front line of the machinery revolution in India. The tide is coming in and as the manufacturing industry embraces the flood, a question strikes: Who has powered this growth, who has been the magnet behind this growth?
Pick a spot, any spot and if there is a company at the forefront of "Enabling Progress of Manufacturing", it has to be Bharat Fritz Werner – a name associated with customer orientation, excellence, and innovation.
On 17 October 1961, BFW came into being and a new leaf got written in the history of the Indian Machinery Industry. The sum and substance was scripted to shape the vision of a young economy, which still had so much to evolve. Since then, the leader has been there, done that, and has accelerated the growth of the manufacturing industry. Focused on innovating the machinery industry, BFW has been successful in pushing the boundaries and delivering superior solutions leveraging the latest technology, innovation and unique products.
A progress-first establishment, BFW have supported the growth of the Indian industry by creating the machine tools vital for industries, across verticals – from medical implants to aerospace structures, from car cylinder blocks to axles of railway wheels , from Refrigerator compressor parts to Marine engine crankshafts. A company with a dedicated workforce, an impeccable design strength, a strong innovation culture and overall operational excellence only hints at the capability of BFW, that is at the heart of the Indian manufacturing industry. With its focus on pitching innovative machine solutions, BFW revolutionized the then market and quickly established its leadership.
Leaving an undeniable mark: Anchoring its position in the context of technology & innovation
"We exist to enable progress. We build machine tools that help making components in the best possible manner… Every component created helps create products that improve the quality of life, and the progress of mankind."
To rise as the best, one has to be exceptional in every sense and above the rest in the respective field. BFW has achieved the feat in all regions and product segments, complementing the structural strength of the company and the proactive measures it takes in the product and market areas. As the team proudly says, "At BFW, we ensure progress at every step, with every innovation."
American polymath and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, Benjamin Franklin once said, "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." Despite various challenges, the company never took a step back. With the trust and support of its loyal customers, BFW has never failed to deliver on its promise of world-class products. The company holds the proud status of being India's largest machine manufacturer.
Studying the footsteps: BFW-step by step
BFW takes pride in a few values that help the organization to test the waters and stay grounded to their reason of existence.
Infrastructure: The backbone that supports every vision of BFW
BFW has a full-fledged foundry at Hosur. The foundry is equipped with furnaces, shot blasting equipment, sand mixing and reclamation machinery, and an in-house laboratory. The foundry produces up to 600 tons of grey iron, SG iron and NiHard castings every month.
The facilities consist of many equipment(s) including:
All BFW products are fitted with spindles manufactured in-house. The facilities include grinding machines from Kellenberger, Studer, Voumard and Toss BDU.
The company has deployed SOLIDWORKS- latest edition for the design software and host of advanced analytics tools for development of its products.
Product and Service Offerings
Fruitful Partnership with key pillars: Supply Partners
BFW enjoys strong goal-oriented partnerships with its 500 supply partners across the globe in its pursuit to enable progress.
"Our commitment to quality, value, delivery, and price ensures that we establish a win-win equation with our vendors. We do not compromise on world-class components sourced from reputed manufacturers that assure us unmatched performance. We always work with partners who follow ethical standards and respect the supply chain relationship with honesty and integrity. At BFW, we strongly believe in clusters. We collaborate with vendors to create synergistic innovations for our common growth. We see collaborative problem-solving and best-practice sharing among all stakeholders as the key to delivering greater value to our clients," asserts Mr P. Venkataraman, Chief Operating Officer, during our recent conversation with him.
Vendor cluster development programme: Jagruti
BFW is dedicated to upscaling its vendors through a personalized and focused approach so that they can stand firm to the challenges of a VUCA world. BFW recognizes that in its relentless pursuit of its Vision 2020's goals of global outreach and overall business excellence it requires its supply partners to rise to next-gen & global standards of excellence. Under the umbrella of Jagruti, vendors are exposed to classroom training and on-site demonstrations in:
Further, BFW Apex Review Committee recognizes and rewards the members under the following category:
We all have watched or played football. To win the game, more than strikers and defenders, goalkeepers are the last and final line of defense. Just as a team is good as its goalkeeper, a company only is as good as its management's focus on strategy. The leadership behind a strong brand need to shape the direction of the organization and transform its operations. Our quest to know the roots of the company took us to the leadership group of BFW. We sat down with the growth catalysts behind BFW- Mr Ravi Raghavan- MD, Mr Praful Shende- Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, and Mr P. Venkataraman- Chief Operating Officer. These thought leaders and industry experts eloquently share their collective vision on the company's position in the Indian manufacturing sector, discussing their management mantras to become globally competitive and future-ready.
Inside the MD's Mind: Mr Ravi Raghavan, BFW
How the company has evolved since 1961?
BFW has a great story and we can write a novel about us! Summing it up in a line-, we are proud to be the crux of the industry with our products and innovation. When our customers win, we cherish their progress. We not only deliver machines but stand with our clients as solutions providers. When you look at the progress of the brand, you see your inspiration. A strong brand, which had such inherent strength, who was continuing its winning momentum, was ready to further consolidate its position. It was ready to expand its footprints and there I found my calling. I believe in growth; if something is doing well, there is no challenge in trying to maintain that success. I like the challenge of finding something that has potential and making it bloom. Innovation has always been a part of BFW and its people. Our dedication, our work speaks for itself.
Ravi is not one for talking much about himself, but he is the 'encyclopedia' of the brand. In a recent interview, the visionary stated, "Our levels of investment in engineering and people are now the highest in the industry. This is a strong foundation anticipating the moment when the need for a high-value product arrives. Fifty percent of machine tools in India are still imported, and all of them are in the high-value segment. Our focus is to introduce import-substitution products alongside next-generation products."
"Our focus had been on "purpose, people, passion & perseverance and our core values revolve around people. At BFW, the team contributes to our customers' progress. Over the years, we have met challenges head-on, and demonstrated our potential. We tell our people to discover the potential within themselves, and put our young associates in charge of cross functional teams from all levels of the company hierarchy. While the young leader may or may not see success from their first project, they gain the confidence to move forward." Its people is one of BFW's biggest assets, and this initiative forms part of a much larger project to "continuously inspire our employees so they remain motivated and engaged, and able to take the company forward". [sic](an excerpt of Ravi's recent interview with an international business magazine)
Is the industry ripe for Change?
Yes, without a doubt. With the government's vision of a $1 Trillion manufacturing GDP by 2024, the Machine Tool Industry has a major role to play. Technology, skill and intent are there. The platform is set and we are looking at this opportunity to take off. We have doubled our capacity since January 2017. We should be growing at double the growth of the market: if market growth is 15%, we should be seeing close to 25%–30% growth. [sic]
Latecomers get the leftovers! Every day a new challenge knocks at your doorstep and not to forget, we live in a word of constant and rapid change. Burn the midnight oil, and prepare yourself to own the world while others sleep. However never lose your patience if you are injured in the race. Good things take time. Grow your love towards your passion and balance your heart and brain. Be compassionate.
If I were to say to a bunch of people who know you 'Give me three adjectives that best describe you,' what would I hear?
Those would be Learner, Compassionate, Innovator, and someone who is always aspiring for change.
Mr Praful Shende- Chief Sales and Marketing Officer
The current state of the machine manufacturing in India
The Machine tool industry in India is at an inflection point. Talking in numbers, in the past, exports constituted 70-75% of the market and domestic products 20-25%. Today, it is almost fifty-fifty. Hence, we can say that the Indian industry has gained momentum both in terms of the volume and technology share in the market. We proudly stand ahead of the pack by reaching out to clients, listening to them meaningfully and introducing the innovative technologies for their shop floors.
What is BFW's USP for its Offerings in the Market?
While we have the largest product and services basket, we are a solutions company. Our range is limited only by client's requirements and our imagination. We believe in listening to clients and several times, we have successfully co-created solutions with our customers. We are now extending the offerings by adding – IRIS, our solution for smart manufacturing, "BEYOND THE BOX" process engineering solutions and "Automation systems. All these new offerings are based on sound foundation of ability to create solutions.
Innovation culture is in our DNA and it is motivating to note that CII recently included BFW within "Top 25 Most Innovative Indian Companies "
Words of Wisdom
Passionately pursue Excellence in everything that you do -the rewards will follow the excellence.
Mr P. Venkataraman
Chief Operating Officer
Explosive growth in Market leads to several challenges in Operations. What are your challenges and how is BFW addressing them?
At BFW, we see challenges as the growth waves. Above all, the biggest hurdle is to meet the demands and supply chain of the customers who ask for the future powered machinery. The market is maturing and we are trying to get on the tide to beat the challenge by simplification. No sweat, our approach is clean: churning the challenges to extract the opportunities. After brainstorming with the brilliant heads at BFW, we outline the sketch and work into the concepts. Drawn for the whole year, these plans are buttoned down as monthly schedules and daily schedules.
Making every inch of BFW's infrastructure productive
For us, every inch of our infrastructure is the iron in the fire; we want to earn maximum revenue and productivity from the same. The land is the most costly element for any machine-manufacturing leader and hence, we want to convert every piece of our infrastructure into opportunity and within our infrastructure, we are looking beneath the layers too. Further, we are in talks with the Government to relocate our establishments to make our operations more effective and economical.
Mr Venkataraman has been an inevitable part of the BFW's team. "The journey has been excellent; indeed an adventurous one." It feels better to master the delicate balance of leadership, hard work and innovation.
Connecting the dots: from traditional machine tool manufacturer to NextGen solutions provider
Dr Kalam Center for Innovation
Nestled at BFW's Bengaluru location, this gilt-edge Research & Development Centre is BFW's spoor towards expanding its global footprint, while simultaneously retaining its position in India. A tribute to the great scientist, researcher and innovator, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the center is BFW's first Innovation Center spread over 3000 sq. feet and established with an investment of INR 25 Million. The center is themed to work on applied research to improve and develop Lean, Green and Mean products.
BFW, with all one's heart, is perfectly shouldering its responsibility as the leader and a pioneer in this industry. Driving progress by sowing the seeds of innovation and transformation, BFW aspires to be one among global top 20 machine tool manufacturers by 2020 while continually investing in cutting edge technology. BFW has a leading share of the domestic milling market.
It is truly said, writing isn't easy, and writing a good story is even harder and BFW's endeavor is a paragon. Shri AK Kothari, Chairman BFW does justice for the same, "Our Group companies stress a lot on R&D irrespective of the industry to which they cater. Innovation is at the center stage of our corporate philosophy. At BFW, we believe our customers deserve innovative machine tools and, we are committed to making the right investments to reinforce customers' trust in us."