- Pradeep S Randhawa, Vice President and Managing Director, Mann and Hummel Filter Pvt Ltd
One thousand R&D specialists, continuous growth and over 16 filter elements produced per second - for 75 years, Mann - Hummel has indeed displayed an impressive track record. (centre) Steffen Schneider, Member of the Extended Group Management, Mann + Hummel GMBH; (right) Pradeep S Randhawa, Vice President and Managing Director, Mann and Hummel Filter Pvt Ltd; and (left) Surinder Koul, Deputy General Manager, Independent Aftermarket, Mann and Hummel Filter Pvt Ltd, share more on the company´s products and key milestones in conversation with SHANKAR SRIVASTAVA.
Relevant to Indian operating conditions, what are the specific parameters you have selected for your filtration solutions?
Randhawa: We work with specifications from engine manufacturers; we have to either meet their requirements or surpass them. Of late, we are seeing demand for increased change intervals and lowering the cost of filtration over a period of time. So far, we have been successful in bringing our solutions to the Indian market, at a time when we are a relatively recent entrant into the Indian market.
Today, most lubricant suppliers are talking about increased oil change intervals in the range of 2,500 to 5,000 operation hours as against 250 hours earlier. How do your filtration systems meet this requirement?
Randhawa: Our R&D is helping us move from cellulose to a blend of cellulose and other media. In fact, we are working on a project where we have been requested to reduce the filter size to half but triple the change interval. We will be coming out with some prototypes shortly. We believe that with this technology we could increase our market share.
We understand that you have a large range of filtration products and have been in this business for a long time. Could you share key milestones achieved so far?
Schneider: We have been in this business for 75 years and are one of the few leading players in the global filtration market, despite the presence of so many other players in this field. Working with our customers in different parts of the globe has led to new developments in each sphere; these have been our milestones over the years.
What excites you in India?
Randhawa: Our range of products and the available opportunities, to begin with. If I speak for India, over the years, we have entered new fields, have reached peak volumes and are expanding. For example, for automotives, we supply intake manifolds, air containers, ventilation systems, head towers and now HVAC filters. For the industrial part of the business, we make air oil separators and filters for crank case ventilation and are soon getting into liquid manufacturing in India. Currently, we import liquid filters but in a short time we will manufacture them here. So the company is healthy and growing in double digits plus year-on-year; these are reasons to be excited.
What are the challenges you face?
Randhawa: Managing growth; we cannot afford to be slow in this market, it would affect us. With the company growing rapidly, it would mean a lot of pressure for us.
What is the demographic of your sales? Obviously, factory-fitted OEM supplies will be there but aftermarket sales will be several times higher.
Randhawa: Yes, if you combine original equipment spares (OES) and aftermarket sales, this market would be bigger.
What are your initiatives to develop distribution of your products in the aftermarket?
Koul: Product distribution to the aftermarket is determined by the outes to the market. We engage service personnel from the field as they have hands-on experience and are much closer to the equipment and users. Traditionally, the other channels are independent traders and dealers. We are also reaching out to OEM´s to engage their OES channels. It is also our endeavor to engage ourselves with oil companies to market our products through their channels that make the right mix for the end-users as they get both the products in one basket. We are living in an age that is dominated by e-commerce and online channels; this is where we are engaging Amazon through which we intend to reach out to new markets and customers. We are open to any new channel that time or future would offer us. All of this put together is what makes us to succeed in the market place.