Our vision is to be aligned with the government’s ‘Make-in-India’ program to make India into a global manufacturing hub: Ashish P Dhakan

Mr. Ashish P. Dhakan, MD & CEO, Prama Hikvision India Pvt. Ltd., speaks to SECURITY UPDATE on what galvanises his Make in India initiatives and what his plans are going ahead as the government promotes the Make In India initiative to help the local Indian manufacturers rise in their stature.

What were the top reasons for setting up the manufacturing facility in India?
India is fast developing into one of the top manufacturing hubs across the world. There are multiple reasons for the positive industry sentiment for local manufacturing. The government’s flagship ‘Make-in-India’ program and Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (Self-Reliant India Movement) are the key drivers to boost local manufacturing. They are helping to lower dependence on imports and boost local production of high-value products. The other reasons that are helping to regain the momentum for local manufacturing include, economic stability, robust legal system, cost effective labour, skilled workforce, high quality production, cost savings on import duties, domestic market demand and ease of doing business.

Our vision is to be aligned with the government of India’s ‘Make-in-India’ program and Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (Self-Reliant India Movement) to transform India into a global design and manufacturing hub. Through the local state-of-the-art manufacturing plant, Prama Hikvision is providing its wide range of products and solutions to a fast expanding domestic market.

Keeping in view India’s vision of becoming ‘Atmanirbhar’ and to enhance India’s Manufacturing Capabilities, an outlay of INR 1.97 lakh crore has been announced in Union Budget 2021-22 for production linked incentives (PLI) schemes for 13 key sectors for a period of 5 years starting from fiscal year (FY) 2021- 22. The government’s production linked incentive scheme to make India a manufacturing powerhouse. The PLI Scheme has received a positive response from the local and foreign companies, they are upbeat about government initiatives and incentives for manufacturing in India.

What were the top few challenges which you encountered during the set up?
When we started out on the journey of setting up a manufacturing plant, the biggest challenge for the project was to create a roadmap for fast track implementation. We studied all the aspects of local and foreign manufacturing plants. We met several experts and consultants to discuss and validate the plan. We found out that key challenges in setting up a local manufacturing plant were related to finalising the suitable location and land with better road connectivity. The other key challenges included finalizing plant machinery and making the plant ready for production in a record time. The operational challenges were higher cost of logistics, productivity related issues and infrastructure related shortcomings.

Despite these challenges, there are some advantages that the manufacturing sector in India gets, which includes a familiar legal system, cost effective labour, availability of skilled workforce, high quality production, domestic market and availability of raw material.

What type of products are you manufacturing in your plant. What are the authorised capacities and how many are you producing per month?

Prama Hikvision’s manufacturing plant is fully equipped to manufacture 850 models of video security cameras, key components and accessories. It will be further expanded in a phased manner. The installed capacity of the manufacturing plant is 1.5 million cameras per month. The manufacturing plant currently produces video security cameras, DVRs and NVRs locally in India and the production capacity is growing at the rate of 30% year-on-year.

What percentage of indigenisation have you achieved?
We at the Prama Hikvision have the core focus on 100% Indigenisation. The brown-field facility is spread over 900,000 Sq.Ft., and comprises end-to-end production capabilities, which also supports an initial localization target of 50% with gradually transitioning to 100% localization. The facility is certified with ISO 9001:2015 (quality management system), ISO 14001:2015 (Environmental Management Systems), ISO 45001:2018 (Occupational Health & Safety Management System). We have received UL certifications for the products manufactured in our manufacturing plant.

Which brands do you treat as your competition?
Today the Indian security market has become a battleground of competing brands while competition among brands is getting fiercer by the day. As a leading video security brand, we are focused on enhancing our competitive advantage by raising the bar of our service support and value offerings.

We are extremely customer focused and look beyond the spectrum of competition and competitors while consistently upping the game through insightful value additions and indigenous manufacturing vision. We are solely focused on enhancing quality, research and development (R&D), innovative solutions and transformative technology applications.

Different types of CCTV cameras are used for different applications in the same project. Are you able to meet all the technical requirements from the current range of cameras which you’re manufacturing? What about high end cameras and other equipment?
Yes! We are able to meet all the technical requirements that are needed to manufacture as per government standards and guidelines in our state-of-the-art manufacturing plant. Prama Hikvision’s state-of-the- art manufacturing facility has the capability to manufacture over 850 product models at present. We are implementing our manufacturing roadmap in a phased manner. The high-end products and other equipment manufacturing plans are in the pipeline. We have the capacity and capability to do their production at our manufacturing plant, but it would be done as per the planned roadmap.

How, if it has, the pandemic affected your manufacturing plant?
We were resilient during the pandemic and effectively utilised the critical phase to keep our employees safe. We meticulously followed all the guidelines issued by the government. The manufacturing plant was impacted by the pandemic situation but we ensured that all the employees, plant workers and staff were taken care off and supported by all means necessary. Some austerity measures were enforced for a limited time frame and normalcy was restored as soon as the situation improved.

Prama Hikvision management ensured that the health, safety and wellbeing of employees was protected at all times during the pandemic phase. Special insurance cover and incentives were given to the employees while enabling WFH (Work from Home) option to most of the employees except the operational staff. Prama Hikvision has effectively managed the pandemic situation by supporting employees with extreme sensitivity, deep understanding and humane approach.

What are the products currently most sought after in the Indian market as far as your plant is concerned?
The Analog and IP Video Security cameras, DVRs and NVRs are the most sought after video security products in the Indian market as far as our manufacturing plant is concerned. We are doing the record production of these products as there is huge demand emanating from the Tier-I, Tier-II and Tier-III cities.

What are your expansion plans in terms of enhancing your Make In India initiatives?
We have meticulously planned the expansion of our ‘Make-in-India’ manufacturing roadmap. It has been rescheduled due to the prevailing pandemic situation. We have a long term commitment to the ‘Make-in-India’ initiatives. We have already made a big ticket investment in Prama Hikvision’s state-of-the-art manufacturing plant. It would be implemented in the phased manner as per plan. Our expansion plan will further depend on the evolving scenario of government’s policy framework market requirements.

Tell us something about your growth figures in recent years and what targets have you set for yourself for the next 3 years?
We have had robust growth in the recent years. We are grateful to our partners and end-users for their consistent support and unshakable trust. We are hopeful that the security market will get back to its peak performance level. Though the pandemic situation had created a major challenge for the security industry, a resilient approach has helped us to win over the odds.

Going forward, we envision a better growth phase for next generation video security cameras with advanced features and technologies in the near future. We are upbeat about the growth prospects and emerging opportunities that are evolving in the Indian security solutions market. In the next three years the security industry will see the highest growth due to various factors at play, we are aligning our targets with those new opportunities by ramping up the manufacturing plant for production.

Are there any plans of opening up more plants as a part of your Make in India initiatives?
We at Prama Hikvision have plans to set up manufacturing plants across India. These regional manufacturing facilities will be key to our future roadmap. Due to the pandemic situation, these plans got rescheduled. Once the normalcy returns, these plans will be implemented as per the market situation and feedback.

You are widely travelled and have seen the video surveillance markets in different regions of the world. How is the Indian market different?
The Indian security market is one of the most dynamic ecosystems of growth and opportunities. It is one of the fastest growing security markets across the world. The exponential growth, high demand and extreme price sensitivity, are some of its unique features, but it also has the resilience and adaptability to new disruptive technologies and trends. The scale and size of the Indian security market remain unmatched compared to the other parts of the world.

What further improvements could be done to encourage indigenous video surveillance products manufacturing?
The indigenous video security product manufacturing needs improvements in terms of compliance, standards, service support and R&D. Both the government and the private sector can join hands to indigenise video security product manufacturing. To really encourage the indigenous video security products manufacturing, the government needs to support the electronic security industry through various incentives, schemes and facilities.

Production Linked Incentives (PLI): A production linked incentive to boost domestic manufacturing and attract large investments in electronic security system manufacturing and specified electronic components, including assembly, testing, marking and packaging (ATMP) units. The scheme would tremendously boost the electronics manufacturing in India.

Development of supply chain: Development of supply chain is essential for the manufacturing of electronic products with higher domestic value addition. The vision of National Policy on Electronics 2019 (NPE 2019) is to position India as a global hub for Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) by encouraging the capabilities in the country for developing key components, including chipsets, and creating an enabling environment for the industry to compete globally.

Electronic Components Manufacturing Ecosystem: Electronic components are the basic building blocks for Electronics Industry and entail maximum value addition. Therefore, a vibrant electronic component manufacturing ecosystem is vital for the sustainable growth of electronics manufacturing in India.

R&D Initiatives: The electronic security industry needs government support in linking government and private educational Institutions for initiating R&D projects in partnership. The government should encourage more academia-research-industry partnerships for the electronic security products manufacturing.