The machine tool industry is a crucial customer base for Eplan

  • Interviews
  • May 28,24
In this interview with Rakesh Rao, Umesh Pai, MD, Eplan Software Pvt Ltd (Eplan India) explores recent developments and the effect of emerging trends on the Indian machine tools industry.
The machine tool industry is a crucial customer base for Eplan

While the machine tool industry offers a huge growth opportunity, it also faces various challenges. With its advanced solutions, EplanSoftware Pvt Ltd (Eplan India) has been helping the industry to handle these issues successfully, enhancing its competitiveness globally for sustained growth. In this interview with Rakesh Rao, Umesh Pai, MD, EPLAN India explores recent developments and the effect of emerging trends on the Indian machine tools industry.

How has EPLAN's journey in India evolved?
Our journey in India has been remarkable. Since our early presence in the 2000s, we have seen steady growth, but establishing our direct entity in 2017 was a pivotal move. This decision led to phenomenal growth, almost tripling our business in six years, showcasing robust strategies and dynamic market potential.

A key driver of this growth has been our subscription-based model, offering customers flexible, cost-effective solutions while creating a steady revenue stream. Coupled with our focus on customer centricity, we have built strong, lasting relationships by understanding customer needs and delivering value.

Expanding our domestic footprint has been a significant focus, broadening our reach across India and making us more accessible. We have also started offering services to EPLAN's global subsidiaries, leveraging India’s exceptional engineering talent and showcasing it globally.

Our product and solution offerings continually evolve to meet market needs. We enhance existing products and develop new solutions, addressing emerging industry trends and challenges. Diversifying the end-user industries we serve has been crucial; we have expanded from manufacturing and automotive into sectors like energy, aerospace, and construction.

Strategic collaborations with global players have brought cutting-edge technologies and practices to our Indian customers, helping them stay competitive. We are incredibly optimistic with the strides we have made. The focus on innovation, customer satisfaction, and strategic growth, are promising about the future opportunities that lie ahead.

What are some of EPLAN’s recent developments?
In response to the pandemic, EPLAN has advanced the transition to a subscription-based business model. Since August 2021, we have fully embraced this model, aligning with the broader software industry trend. This shift has been transformative for both, us and our customers.

The subscription model offers unprecedented flexibility. Customers can on-board our solutions at their own pace, scaling usage based on immediate needs and long-term goals. This adaptability has been valuable during uncertain times, providing assurance without significant upfront investments.

This model also enhances our accountability for customer success. We are committed to continuous improvement and delivering on-going value, ensuring our solutions evolve to meet changing needs. This customer-centric approach has strengthened our relationships and built greater trust.

We have expanded our product offerings and services, introducing new features and enhancements to our software. Our focus is on improving the user experience, increasing efficiency, and integrating cutting-edge technologies to keep customers at the forefront of innovation.

Additionally, we have leveraged exceptional engineering talent in India. Our Indian team supports EPLAN subsidiaries worldwide, showcasing the quality and reliability of Indian engineering globally.

The pandemic posed challenges but also spurred us to innovate and adapt. With our subscription model, enhanced offerings, and global reach, we are well-positioned for sustained growth and success. The future holds numerous opportunities, and we are excited to continue our journey of innovation and customer-centric growth.

How have recent industry trends affected business?
While EPLAN isn't directly involved in the machine tool industry, it is a crucial customer base for us. Key trends like innovation, standardisation, and custom-built machines, along with additive manufacturing, are reshaping the sector.

Our offerings extend beyond software packages. We are committed to sharing global best practices with Indian customers, enhancing their competitiveness. Our solutions boost efficiency, accuracy, and integration, keeping them ahead in a fast-evolving market.

A major challenge is the scarcity of trained manpower, especially in the Indian industry. High attrition rates disrupt operations. We address this by working closely with the industry, employing comprehensive consulting practices like Knowledge-Based Engineering (KBE). This allows clients to capture and reuse expert knowledge, lessening dependency on individuals and mitigating the attrition impact.

Our training programs up-skill the workforce, providing the latest tools and techniques. A well-trained workforce is vital for industry success, and we are committed to contributing through our initiatives.

In summary, while challenges exist, the machine tool industry offers growth and innovation opportunities. EPLAN is strategically positioned to support this sector with advanced solutions and by addressing the critical issue of skilled manpower shortages. We are confident in the future and dedicated to helping our customers navigate successfully, ensuring sustained growth and competitiveness globally.

How is EPLAN preparing for trends in the automobile and auto component industry?
While EPLAN doesn't directly position its products within the automotive or auto component industry, these sectors are of strategic importance to us, particularly concerning their plant and operations ecosystems. Historically, automotive companies have been at the forefront of adopting cutting-edge technologies and best practices. This forward-thinking approach makes them ideal partners for EPLAN's offerings.

Automotive companies extensively utilise EPLAN products and consulting services to standardise their electrical and automation systems. Our solutions help them streamline plant operations and establish vendor guidelines, ensuring they are well-prepared to harness the benefits of both current and future technologies. This standardisation is crucial for maintaining high efficiency, reducing errors, and facilitating seamless integration across various systems within their operations.

A significant trend we are addressing is the shift towards electric vehicles (EVs) and light-weighting. These trends are revolutionising the automotive industry, and we are proactively gearing up to meet these demands. EPLAN works closely with auto OEM insisting them in adapting to the technological disruptions brought about by the transition to electric vehicles. Our solutions are designed to support the unique requirements of EV production, from battery management systems to the integration of advanced electrical architectures.

To ensure our customers are prepared for these industry shifts, we continuously innovate and enhance our product offerings. Our commitment to staying ahead of technological trends means that we provide our customers with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed in a rapidly changing landscape.

How do sectors like railways, defence & aerospace, electronics, etc. act as potential growth propellers?
Beyond automotive and machine tools, significant growth is evident in key sectors such as automation, energy, building automation, railways, defence, aerospace, and electronics. These industries are embracing digital transformation and advanced automation technologies, making them prime areas for EPLAN's offerings.

The automation industry, central to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, demands smart, interconnected systems. Our solutions streamline operations, enhance efficiency, and seamlessly integrate advanced automation.

In the energy and power industries, the shift towards renewable energy sources and smart grids offers substantial opportunities. Our software and consulting services optimise electrical and automation systems, ensuring reliable and efficient energy management. This alignment with global energy trends makes us a strategic partner for these industries.

Building automation, focusing on smart buildings and sustainable infrastructure, drives demand for our solutions, facilitating the design and management of complex electrical systems within modern buildings. Our expertise supports the development of intelligent, energy-efficient buildings.

Railways, defence, and aerospace require sophisticated electrical and automation solutions for modernisation and innovation. EPLAN's offerings meet stringent requirements, ensuring safety, efficiency, and innovation.

Additionally, the electronics industry's focus on miniaturisation and smart devices benefits from our solutions, supporting dynamic growth. EPLAN is well-positioned to capitalise on opportunities in these diverse sectors. Our strategic focus on innovation and customer-centric solutions ensures leadership in these industries' growth trajectories. We're confident in our ability to drive success and deliver significant value across expanding markets.

How are factors like automation and sustainability leading to changes in customer demand and solutions and products offered?
The automation industry stands on the brink of a profound transformation, propelled by the swift integration of cutting-edge technologies such as AI, AR/VR, and more. This industry is our forte, with global automation giants among our key clientele, alongside close collaborations with start-ups to fuel innovation. In India, we are witnessing a notable upsurge in robotics technology, warehouse and intra-logistics automation, port automation, and other advanced automation solutions.

Factors like automation and sustainability are reshaping customer expectations dramatically. Our clients increasingly seek solutions that not only bolster operational efficiency and trim costs but also champion sustainable practices. The surge in robotics and smart automation is spurring demand for sophisticated, integrated systems capable of optimising workflows and curbing human error. Moreover, there is a burgeoning emphasis on sustainability, driving customers to favour eco-friendly and energy-efficient products that minimise environmental footprints.

These shifts in automation and sustainability are precipitating substantial changes in customer demand and, consequently, our product offerings. At EPLAN, we stand to tackle these challenges head-on, armed with a suite of innovative, efficient, and sustainable solutions primed to propel our clients to success.

What are some challenges faced by Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs)?
EPLAN recognises that SMEs face several key challenges, but these can also be viewed as opportunities for growth and improvement. One of the significant challenges is compliance with various regulations related to taxes, GST, licenses, environmental standards, and quality control. Navigating these regulatory requirements can be complex and time-consuming, often stretching the limited resources of SMEs.

However, compliance is not merely a hurdle; it is a crucial aspect of doing business that ensures long-term sustainability and trust. Adhering to regulations can enhance our reputation, open up new markets, and lead to better operational practices. For instance, environmental regulations push us towards more sustainable practices, which are increasingly valued by customers and partners alike.

To address these challenges, we focus on building robust internal processes and investing in the right technology and expertise. Leveraging software solutions for tax and compliance management helps streamline these processes and reduces the risk of errors. Additionally, staying updated with regulatory changes and engaging with industry bodies can provide valuable insights and support.
While the regulatory landscape can be demanding, it also drives us to be more disciplined and innovative.

Embracing these challenges with a proactive mindset allows us to improve our operations, enhance our market position, and build a resilient business foundation.

What is EPLAN’s vision for the future?
As a technology provider, we see significant growth prospects in India, driven by the country's dynamic economy and emerging opportunities. We have aggressive investment plans in sales and support, aiming to triple our business in the next decade. We believe India is at an inflection point, presenting abundant opportunities for both Indian and multinational companies.

Our approach is not just about numbers; it is about people. We see ourselves as enablers, here to support both Indian companies and multinational giants in navigating this exciting journey of growth. That means not just selling products, but also providing the knowledge and support needed to thrive in this rapidly evolving landscape. This includes adding new product ranges, targeting new sectors, and investing in R&D.

We are committed to leveraging our expertise and resources to support India's growth trajectory and contribute to its economic development. By aligning our growth plans with the evolving needs of the market, we aim to play a pivotal role in shaping the technological landscape and driving innovation across industries.

Our growth plans are driven by a vision to create value for our customers, partners, and the broader ecosystem. We are expectant about the journey ahead.

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