Mecca of Manufacturing

DQI Bureau
New Update

The manufacturing vertical owes a lot to Tamil Nadu, because it is here that

this vertical thrives at its best. Called the Detroit of India, Chennai today

houses some of the very big names in the automotive industry. Ford India, one of

the big-ticket auto investments that came into Chennai in the mid-1990s, has

become a key hub for Ford in the Asia-Pacific region. The Ford plant in

Maraimalai Nagar near Chennai rolls out models like Escort, Ikon, Endeavor, and

Mondeo. The Chennai unit's latest achievement is the spanking new offering

from its stable is the mid-sized urban utility vehicle- Fusion. Ford has put in

place a state of the art plant in Maraimalai Nagar and has used IT heavily in

all process of its manufacturing right from sourcing raw materials to the shop

floor. According to industry sources, Ford has invested around Rs 1,600 crore on

the 350-acre plant, which has the capacity to roll out one-lakh cars a year.


The Driving Force

Not far away from Ford, another biggie in the automotive space is Korean

giant Hyundai Motors, which launched its Indian operation in 1996. It has its

Indian plant at Irungatukottai near Chennai. From here, Hyundai rolls out models

like Santro Xing, Accent, Getz, Elantra and Terracan. Hyundai has so far pumped

in close to $700 mn on its plant here and plans are on the anvil to scale up its

manufacturing capabilities to up its car production in excess of two lakh a


TVS, automobile and electronics company, is a home-grown spectacular success story

Meanwhile, Hindustan Motors also has large mandates and its plant in

Thiruvallur makes the Ambassador, Lancer, and Pajero in alliance with

Mitsubishi. Also heavy earth moving equipments are manufactured in a tie-up with

Caterpillar. Another company on the niche auto space is Tractor and Farm

Equipment (TAFE), started in 1961. TAFE holds close to 15% market share in this

space and sells close to 24,000 tractors a year. The company has also

implemented SAP and developed many in-house IT applications for HR.


Meanwhile, entities like Rane Group and Sundaram Fasteners dominate in the

auto ancillary space they make critical components ranging from bolts, nuts to

fasteners. Ashok Leyland, the truck major, which signed out of last year with

around 48,000 units, is also an aggressive user of IT and an Oracle global case

study reference.

On the two-wheeler segment, a company that is challenging the mighty Hero

Honda is TVS Motors. When Suzuki exited from its JV with TVS three years back,

many in the industry wondered how TVS is going to make the transition without

Suzuki. But it overwhelmed the skeptics by successfully launching four stroke

motorbikes, which is today its flagship product indegeneously built. The success

of TVS' Victor brand of four-stroke motorbikes has eaten into the four-stroke

pie and today competes head on with Splendor and Caliber brands.

On the Periphery

All types of manufacturing thrives in Chennai and if we look at the IT

peripherals market, TVS Electronics is the company that has carved a name for

itself in the printer space by its flagship Dot Matrix Printer offerings. TVSE

started out its operations in Chennai in 1998 and since then has almost doubled

its productivity from 450 printers a day, to 750 printers a day,

presently. Says Gopal Srinivasan, director, TVSE, " The company has

been successful largely because of manufacturing excellence through TQM

principles and combining the principles of Six Sigma.With business agility that

the IT market demands, we have been able to successfully sustain and compete

against global players." Meanwhile, players like HCL Peripherals and

Numeric Power Systems also have manufacturing facilities out of Chennai.

Shrikanth G in