Not far from the hustle and bustle of the Hindu pilgrimage hotspot of Haridwar in Uttarakhand is an industrial zone where scores of factories make everything from soaps to motorcycles. The zone, developed by the state government, at first appears far quieter than the temple town. Noise levels rise, however, as one enters the factory of electrical-equipment maker Havells. Machines hum, while women and men in blue tunics and white caps make coils and assemble motors, switches, stands and fan blades. The factory churns out one table fan every 25 seconds.
None of this existed two years ago, although Havells has been selling fans for a decade. Havells previously sourced table fans from Chinese company Midea, one of the world’s largest fan producers. Midea didn’t ask Havells for a price increase for many years until 2010 when it cited rising labour costs and electricity shortages, and jacked up rates 20 per cent over three years. “A time came when we said this was enough and we should look at manufacturing in India,” says Sunil Sikka, President at Havells. The company started making table fans at Haridwar, where it was already producing ceiling fans, with an installed capacity of 100,000 a month. It no longer imports table fans, but is making them at a cost 10 per cent lower than what the Chinese had offered. “My margins are up and working capital costs are down,” adds Sikka. Read more