Polycab India

How Polycab India grew from a small hardware store to a leading manufacturer of cables and wires

Polycab India started with just a small electrical retail shop in Mumbai a few decades back and has now evolved into one of India’s leading manufacturers of cables and wires and allied products. In order to scale with the growing demand, the company gradually turned to technology to improve flexibility and scalability. Technology has contributed significantly towards improving the overall performance of the company, achieving overall operational efficiencies and accelerated innovation. In a conversation with Dataquest, Vivek Khanna, executive-president and CIO, Polycab India shared the company’s journey from a small hardware shop in 1968 to India’s largest manufacturer of wires and cables.

DQ: A quick insight into how Polycab India grew from a small electric retail shop to one of the largest producer of electric cables and wires

Vivek Khanna: The Jaisinghani brother ‘started from a small hardware store in Lohar Chawl in 1968. Today Polycab  India Ltd. (PIL) is India’s largest manufacturer of Wires and Cables and one of the fastest growing FMEG companies with a consolidated turnover of INR 122+ billion in revenue.  Polycab’s journey has been very inspiring, the initial years were rough and filled with struggle and sacrifices, as the brothers decided to build the business organically. 

In early 1975, the brothers acquired a small piece of land in MIDC Andheri to set up a factory for manufacturing cables and wires under the name Thakur Industries. A partnership firm ‘Polycab Industries’ was formed in 1983 and  was registered as a small-scale industrial unit by the Directorate of Industries, Government of Gujarat.

Later in 1996 The Company was incorporated as ‘Polycab Wires Private Limited’ and soon a new plant was setup in Daman. Inder Jaisinghani believed in the power of manufacturing and invested in building core capabilities to grow the business. Higher levels of backward integration ensured great quality of products, maximized output and improved profitability. IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, invested about Rs 4 billion in the company, in 2009. 2019 Polycab India Limited was listed on NSE and BSE, and initial public offering (IPO) being subscribed for 52 times.

Today, Polycab India Ltd.  has an estimated 22-24% of share in the organised cables and wires market and is proudly the largest manufacturer in India within this segment. We are now aiming to increase our share in FMEG sector. As of today, out of 23 manufacturing units, 4 of them are completely focussed on manufacturing FMEG products. 

DQ: What are some of the latest trends in the industry?

Vivek Khanna: Wires and cables sector was largely unorganised however as the players are increasing at a massive scale, the sector is catching pace and moving towards a digitized world. Owing to this, the global wires and cables market is projected to grow from $140-150 billion in 2020 which is expected to grow in mid-single digits. Specifically in India, it is estimated that the wire and cables market can potentially grow by USD 1.65 billion during 2021-2025. Recently, we have witnessed the consumer needs evolve drastically as competition has increased. We believe in serving consumers to the best of our potential and for that we constantly keep innovating and experimenting towards educating workforce, evolving business model and bringing efficiency in processes.

DQ: How critical is cloud technology for its current business growth and future business resilience?

Vivek Khanna: We are a technology advanced organisation and have been leveraging it for many years now to better our business processes. Moving to cloud was a business imperative decision for us and we took it nearly three years ago. Since then, we have witnessed agility in our working, and become technology agnostic, better customer experience, and ease of business This allowed us to focus on business growth instead of non-core regular IT server and its maintenance activity. Currently, our IT team is significantly optimised and generating substantial results for the organisation.

Another substantial benefit of leveraging cloud technology for us is that now we are a highly data driven organisation and we aim towards utilising relevant business insights and deliver highly thought though business decisions.

DQ: What is the company’s digital innovation roadmap?

Vivek Khanna: We are constantly aiming to improve our business processes through technology and we will continue to do this. For us technology has been a significant enabler in improving efficiency, increasing productivity, giving an ease to our stakeholders optimising the resource levels including inventory and streamlining supply chain. For example, recently we successfully piloted the end-to-end digitalisation of front-end sales across businesses in key markets. In fact, over the next few years, we aim to digitize our distribution ecosystem and completely innovate the way of doing business. We are also using IoT, AI/ML and analytics to better our business and automate the systems to garner improved results. We aim to continue leveraging these and continually invest in any new technology that can potentially help us deliver on our brand promise.

DQ: What is the Significance of cloud partnership with Oracle? 

Vivek Khanna: At Polycab, we have been at the forefront of technology acceptance and this ideology has led us to naturally pick Oracle as our desired cloud partner given their expertise in the domain. We started our cloud journey by moving the on-premises DR of ERP application on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). After developing a thorough trust on Oracle, we then opted OCI for our new independent treasury application. Later we when we required an additional Test/QA environment, the same was created on OCI. Around a year after of DR movement to OCI, we moved entire ERP EBS workload of Production / Test / QA / Development on OCI. Through that, we realised excellent cloud economics and could witness improved efficiency throughout the organisation too. Beyond just saving our costs, we have also been able to create faster workloads. We are now in the process of moving another two on-prim CRM applications to OCI.

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