The seed of Ace Designers was sown when technocrats, Mr. Shrinivas G Shirgurkar and Mr. Benedict Machado, inspired by the vision of their senior Colleague and mentor Mr. A V Sathe decided to turn into entrepreneurs by starting Ace Designers in the year 1979. With a humble beginning offering only design services, entered into a manufacturing and with perseverance and passion for machine tools, today Ace Designers Limited is the largest producer of CNC lathes in India. Along the journey, different companies were floated, Ace Manufacturing Systems Limited for Machining Centres, AMASL and Auto CNC for catering to the component requirements, and MMT for taking care of the sales and service of the product companies. Today the Ace Micromatic Group stands testimony to the entrepreneurial spirit with its large domestic and international presence with its products and services.
Right from the beginning, we have had the right mix of high-volume products and a complete basket of appropriate products for multiple segments. Though we have built a huge ecosystem to address large volume production of standard configurations, equal flexibility has also been built up to address low volume and special requirements. We have always been very strong in providing tooled-up solutions and some special executions to cater to the changing needs of the customers. The focus of new product introduction had always been to fill up the gaps felt by the customers in different market segments and also the timely introduction of products to satisfy the perceived product configuration and technology needs. We believe that we can offer the complete range of products needed in the market with both horizontal and vertical series of lathes.
Our sales and service organization Micromatic Machine Tools, popularly called as MMT has an extensive reach across the country, currently operating with 60+ offices, and multiple locations in certain larger cities. Changes in marketing methodologies were adopted at appropriate times, including the development of franchisees.
Splitting of branches into smaller sizes with a limited area of focus has helped in having a micro-focus on geographies and also has satisfied the need to be present very near to the customers. The service support offered by MMT has always been exceptional and this has further strengthened our long-term relationship with the customers. We have currently more than 375 machines that are more than 25 years old, still being supported for their service needs.
Right from the 1990s, the vision to be a large-scale producer of world-class machine tools has driven us to invest in the required infrastructure at appropriate times and today we have an ecosystem that can cater to a plan of 7500 machines cutting across different platforms. The investment in a foundry in 2012 of 1000 tonnes per month capacity to produce large castings has definitely helped in taking care of a very critical bottleneck. Providing a warehouse of 150 to 200 machines storage capacity has helped us in moving over to stock and sale of many of the large volume products.
As an organization, we have always been introducing new products at very regular intervals with appropriate technologies relevant at those points in time. We have also been working with institutions like IITs and CMTI for joint development of certain technologies including technology transfer projects. The quality is being built into the products with a very robust manufacturing infrastructure and skill development to people to ensure high-quality products.
Our foray into exports started as early as 1987 even when the company revenues were at around 1.6 Cr. We moved aggressively into exports around 1992 and we feel proud to have exported more than 1900 machines in the past 15 years covering more than 15 countries. It is interesting to note that out of this number, more than 1300 are in the Chinese market. This has been made possible by operating our marketing office from Shanghai and developing dealers across China.
The export focus is further being strengthened by floating an independent export marketing organization Ace Micromatic International. We are also looking at a Joint Venture in Mexico to promote the products with local support.
In the past 3 to 4 decades, India has seen a quantum leap in bridging the gap that existed between German and Japanese products. The Indian machine tool industry has been able to satisfy the needs of the Indian market to a large extent, though there are some specific gaps in certain segments that need to be addressed. The industry is very conscious of this gap and all efforts are being put in this direction.
With a large acceptance of Indian products in the global market, we are well placed now to target a larger presence globally. With the cost competitiveness already being an advantage, we need to work on reducing the other costs like logistics, etc., We also need to work on identifying the best business model of either operating through dealers or with our own offices which will help us in positioning the products at market acceptable prices.
IoT is being talked about as a technological advancement required in this industry with connected products. The machine tool industry is also looking at enhancing their products suitable for high precision parts, in addition to providing the customers with appropriate technologies at the expected price points. The need for automation in manufacturing processes has caught up very rapidly in the past few years.
Though there is a high export thrust from the Government, certain policies on export credits, duration of stocking of machines on foreign soil, control of many procedural issues related to payment receipts within a specified time, etc., have some impact on exports. We have been highlighting some of these issues at appropriate levels in the Government through association bodies and we hope to have the government support in relooking at these.
Being a home-grown industry, the supplier ecosystem is not as robust as the one that we see in the auto industry. The component supply chain predominantly consists of small-scale entrepreneurs and the inability to scale up the operations of the chain has been one of the major issues. The dependency on foreign players for the critical inputs like the CNC system and drives, precision bearings and ball screws, etc., has also been one of the major issues.
We need to maintain the cost competitiveness against the internationally accepted brands. With the rising manpower costs, we need to target high productivity across the spectrum of employees, also satisfying their changing expectations. Reducing the dependency on imports by indigenizing the parts and accessories to the maximum possible extent can also provide cost competitiveness. This would also need close working with the Indian manufacturers of these elements and take the products along with the accessories to a high-quality level.
The Indian machine tool industry is having a great opportunity both with the domestic requirements and higher-level demand even from the export market. With fairly high product acceptability in the global markets, we have a huge potential for growth despite the threats that are being posed by the EV, Additive, etc., especially for the metal cutting machine tools.
Ace Designers as a company have built up a strong relationship with the customers based on trustworthy and ethical practices. We are working towards expanding our footprint in the global market in addition to satisfying the varied needs of Indian customers.
The vision is to be recognized as a Global, responsible, sustainable, and most preferred organization.
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