Pinaki Banerjee, MD, APAC, Hoffmann Group
Europe’s leading system partner for quality tools, Hoffmann Group, is eyeing the immense opportunities in the Indian market. The company believes that India has all the three Ps: People, Passion and Profit, which are the pre-requisite for any successful business venture. In line with its extensive growth plans in India, Hoffmann recently participated in the Pune Machine Tool Expo. On the sidelines of the expo, Shweta Nanda of Machine Tools World had a chat with Pinaki Banerjee, MD, APAC, Hoffmann Group to learn more about the company’s journey, the unique challenges and opportunities in the Indian market and their future roadmap.
PMTX was the first exhibition in our home ground, Pune and we have received a tremendous response. We witnessed an exciting mix of interest from machining tools to hand tools, measuring instruments to workstations and storage equipment. While the customers were enthralled on our ‘consultative approach’ we are excited to bring our expertise in tools to the Indian market. We feel the market is growing and timing is just right as we move towards exhibiting at another tool exhibition IMTEX to showcase our winning combination of over 100 years.
Hoffmann’s journey in India started last year when we officially registered our company. We have received incredible response in the market and already have a large pool of customers across the major hotspots in the country. We are deeply committed towards India market and bringing quality products to the country. The fact that our team has expanded to 75 employees in the last 18 months clearly highlights our focus on the country. We are in India for the long haul and will continue to invest more and more into the market.
The challenge in India is two-fold: it is a price-sensitive market and quality expectations are extremely high. I always highlight the challenge in India by giving this example that customers expect the quality of Mercedes at the cost of an Ambassador. So, although companies want a product of top-notch quality, they are not willing to spend money for that quality. This is a difficult combination to meet.
That said, India is also standing on the cusp of great opportunity given the government’s push on the manufacturing sector with Make in India initiative. With manufacturing getting a major boost, there are immense opportunities for machine tools players. Further, there is a lot of emphasis on productivity, quality and efficiency and this is where Hoffman is really sensing opportunity, being a premium tool supplier. India has all the ingredients, which makes it a great opportunity for the companies around the world. It has all the three Ps: People, Passion and Profit that work in the tooling industry.
At Hoffmann, we always focus on long-term relationship with the customers. In India, what is typically happening is transaction-based selling, whereas we focus on entrepreneurial-based, solution-based selling. So essentially, we go and understand the needs of the customers and offer customized products. Also, with Hoffmann you get everything that you need for your factory in one single window. This is a great advantage in Indian market, which has numerous small suppliers. When we meet customers, most of them say they want to avoid the hassle of dealing with several small suppliers and are willing to pay more for a consolidated service. This is where Hoffmann fits the bill.
We also have a team of technical specialists who go to the customers and demonstrate and show our products to them in real-time. Apart from this, we are the first company in Indian market to introduce PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) Catalogue, which focuses on safety from head to toe. Health and Safety is of utmost importance to us and even companies in India are increasingly focusing on it. Further, we are the only company that is innovating over 10,000 products every year on a global basis. This definitely puts us ahead of the pack.
We have clearly defined objectives for Indian market and our team is working hard towards achieving them. Our first milestone In India would be to hit the 25 crore mark. Secondly, our goal is to be recognized as one of the top five suppliers within the country. We are aiming to achieve these two milestones between 3 to 5 years’ time.
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