Kunwer Sachdev
Managing Director Su-Kam

Change is constant and with the change comes a new morning, new hopes and new way of living. We are talking about ek nayi soch, yes Su-Kam which is an excellent power solutions provider, with the growing presence across India and over 70 countries worldwide.

We are here today with the complete leader Mr Kunwer Sachdev, Managing Director, Su-Kam.

Sir, CAclubindia would like to thank you for taking out your precious time to share your journey towards success.

First of all we would like to know about Su-Kam? And how this fancy name came into being?

As everyone is aware that Su-Kam is in inverter business but we do lot of other businesses like solar business, battery business and inverter business. Su-Kam was found in 1992, and initially we started with the cable TV business and then in 1998 we moved into the inverter business, that is power business and since then we have been continuously growing into this power field only. So we are slowly, slowly getting into a power solutions company rather than an inverter company or a UPS company so we are trying to build a whole system around the power back up solutions that is why we call ourselves as a power solutions company and as far as fancy name is concerned, I think I was in college then I thought of this name and it was not for an inverter or for cable TV it was for pens that’s how name came into the system.

You started from a garage so please share the whole experience?

I would not call it a garage, I got a shop and I started from there. Definitely at one time my parents had a home where on the top of it I created a small garage for manufacturing also. So definitely you can say that.

How your journey has been from there till today?

Journey has been very exciting and good because there was always a change happening and we were developing products, developing markets, developing branding and learning throughout these career and I think learning was very high. I am very fortunate that I came to this position and I think the kind of learnings I had in life were very exciting and challenging.

What did encourage you to start this venture of manufacturing inverters?

I do not understand that how this happened. Actually I was already in manufacturing business, I was manufacturing Cable TV equipments so one day I opened my inverter at home and I realized this inverter was not a real good product, it was troubling me at home and since I was into a manufacturing business I thought I can make it better that’s how I thought of manufacturing inverter but I was already a manufacturer of electronics making cable TV products.

You are not from the technology background and your company is running on technology…How challenging it was for you to enter in this new world?

I think it’s an interesting thing that I am not from the technology background because it helps as I have no boundaries. People who learn that one plus one is equal to two and two plus three is equal to five they know this is the only thing they can think of and since I do not know what is one plus one and what is two plus three so my imagination can go to any direction so that is one thing where I think creativity has no boundaries. When you are not technical so your creativity can go to left right and center and sometimes it is good and sometimes it is bad. Because sometimes when I go with some ideas to my R&D guys they tell me sir you should learn technical things first then I do learn but I think it helps. Secondly I think if you go to any field whether it is politics, films or anywhere people who have got very successful they were not from those fields so I do not see any field where people have to, have that education to make it successful so this it’s all passion, interest and your learning which helps you.

We love being there and we honor it and motivation for success is AKC, motivation for being ethical is AKC. It’s our pride. That’s the landmark Dr Chauhan has put for us, and at no cost during our breathing tenure on the planet we can let the flag go down because of anything which points a bad figure towards AKC.

With the change in time, do you think our government is supporting aspiring entrepreneurs of our country?

I think the major shift which has taken place in the last 20 years which I feel is that earlier people used to think that the businessman is a “chor” so any businessman having any enterprise people always used to think that he is a “chor” or businessman is not honest, entrepreneurs are not honest and I see in these 20 years that thing has changed. People who are in government sector they are preparing their kids to join the private sector rather than a government sector so I think this is the major shift where the thought process of people have changed and middle class or upper class people want their kids to join the private sector. In last 5 years I have seen that lot of people want to hear the entrepreneurs and next decade I think belongs to entrepreneurs.

How important is it filing patents to your company? And how many patents are in the pipeline?

When we were doing this R&D research and we were already made lot of technologies like Sine wave technology, big inverters, lot of charging technology we stumbled upon and we did not know that these are the technologies which are not made across the globe so we started exporting, we started going out then we realized that we have really developed certain technologies which are not developed by the other companies and the technologies which we develop were advanced compared to those companies which were dealing in the industry. So we started filing for patents and we filed the first patent in 2004 which we got that time. Our engineers did not have the time and they did not know how to file a patent, so in 2007 we became serious and outsourced the patent services then we realized that our company is sitting on lot of technologies so we need to bring everything on papers, so we started working very aggressively on this and nowadays we are filing almost 2 technology patents in a month so we have filed more than 60 technology patents so far and almost few patents are in process that we are going to get. When I am talking about 60 technology patents all are published so they are final patents that we have filed so I think the list is growing.

What are the next technologies Su-kam is coming up with?

We are working on lot of technologies like Solar, power, stabilization and power monitoring so basically we want to save the power whether it is a home, office, factory or complex we would like to save the power whether it is the power generated by the diesel, gensets or it is generated by any other source. So we would like to save the power because I think in India the power wastage is very high so we are working on those technologies and in India solar has lot of challenges because government wants to give subsidy to the solar industry but government faces lot of challenges in terms of technologies. So we are working on lot of technologies where we are bringing up with the new concept in inverters, where government can also watch what kind of generation we are doing, one house can easily integrate those systems at home or their offices or in the factories. Also we are working on LED’s; improving the battery technologies because storage is a big business worldwide storage is going to be a very big business.

Kindly tell us about Su-Kam R&D?

That’s a very interesting subject. We created R&D in 2001 in fact we started doing R&D in 1990 itself but formally we got the R&D certificate from government of India in 2001-2002. We have a very strong R&D where we have more than 40 people working. It is one of its kinds in India where I think we have all the equipment, testing equipments, we have all the certifications in place and as we are working on lot of new technologies so R&D is the backbone of the country.

How big is the R&D?

We have 10,000 square feet area, 40 people are working there and we do not have any fixed budget for R&D, we just invest whatever is required for the R&D.

How do you see demand for your products in the coming years?

Our products are changing from time to time so right now there is a power shortage so we are into inverters which we are making, they are used by household applications may be 5-7 years down the line that application is not there because power scenario is changing in India. So we are bringing in lot of new technology products where you can do the storage or save the power, store the power or we can use the power as and when required or we can get the power from the solar or wind. So renewable we are working on, so I think in the coming times the same technology will go ahead I don’t think so, that is why we need lot of changes to use this technology in some other areas. Like inverters are used in fuels, solar and various applications so we are working in lot other applications where we can use the same technologies with the minor changes. The same inverter technology is used in UPS also. So this is a very interesting area where we can explore more even when the power distribution is taking place. We can play a major role there in the transformation, where there are transformers they are reducing the voltage there also we can play a major role. I think in the coming years technology needs change which is a constant change which is happening and it’s a need of an hour.


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How did you start export and where the industry stands today?

Actually in the year 2004 when we sent our first consignment to Sri Lanka there was some power problem going on and somebody called us who knew us. We sent few inverters to Sri Lanka and the moment we started with Sri Lanka we started exploring other countries, we made a small team and people who never travelled abroad they were the part of that team. I myself travelled initially then we started with Bangladesh, Nigeria Uganda, Kenya, Middle East slowly, slowly we also learnt that there are countries facing the similar problems so we started exports in a very small way and today our exports are more than 100 crores. There are 70 countries we are covering and there are more countries we need to cover. Even in the existing countries we need to expand, there are many challenges in terms of servicing, support structure so we are expanding. It’s a new industry we just came as an export because what we did it was followed by others. If you see India is the world leader in this technology, it is the biggest exporter in this Industry.

What steps government should take to improvise export industry?

Right now Government has not taken it as a serious area, it does not think that this industry can be a 5000 crore export industry and I can see it very clearly that we can be a 5000 crore industry for exports. There is a lot government can do, just recognizing that we are the leaders in some areas like exports of software’s or hardware’s so if the government can give us some more incentives that would help us. Also other than incentives even our embassies can help us which is right now is not there, like in other countries embassies are very aggressive as far as helping these industries are concerned. In India that concept is picking up but not with the speed that we are looking at, so government can help us in many ways. Government is definitely improving, lots of restrictions aren’t there which were there before.

But don’t you think that the pace is very slow since we have a huge market outside and for the development of our country and for financial stability they should focus more on Export Industry?

Yes you are right, but that is not in my preview since I don’t know how government works. It has its own speed and challenges. So what I can do is whatever is under my preview so I cannot comment that government is slow.

Considering the changing macro- economic environment, how do you see Su-Kam evolving and remaining resilient during the tough times?

We have seen the down times when the world market crashed, Indian market crashed and I think in any company you need to evolve. You need to change with the time so we understand that you need to evolve, products need to evolved, Industry as a whole need to be evolved and as a human being you need to be evolved first. So this is a very continuous phenomenon and we are working towards it and I think when you say resilient towards any conditions so you need to keep changing, keep improving, keep listening, keep understanding the situation rather than thinking that you have reached somewhere. In Su-Kam we have a very learning culture and we want this to be maintained and we strive for that and I hope that it will remain the same in coming tough times too.

You have a couple of manufacturing facilities in India and Nepal, what were the reasons behind venturing into Nepal?

We went to Nepal because Nepal government had put a ban and we had almost 80% share in Nepal so they had put a ban on import of the inverters so we had no choice but to put up a factory in Nepal in collaboration with one of the distributor there. As far as India is concerned we have 6 locations where we have our factories. We went to Baddi Himachal where government was giving us subsidies on Income Tax and Excise so that was the reason we went to Baddi. I think if the organization is big then having different locations is always good because there could be some problems which could arise like strikes, workers strikes, transport strikes so definitely different facilities are always good in such situations.

Can you please throw some light on your expansion plans?

We are expanding in storage business like batteries so we are trying to bring automobile batteries we are always working hard and Mr. Ganguly who was the chairman of the site he joined our board. Also we are working on lot of new technologies inverter, UPS and automobile because in the automobile front there are only 2 companies in India right now. There is lot need to be done in that area. So battery area is improving like anything then solar is a big challenge. We are working on the solar and we are going to expand in a solar business where we will be putting off grid and on grid systems. So expansion plans are definitely there.

Su-Kam is a big name now so how differently you position yourself from your closest competitors?

As you said it’s a big so I don’t have to talk about competition, actually I don’t look at the competitors since in our industry we are the ones who always bringing in the technologies so in fact whenever I opened any product 1 - 2 years back I did not find anything worthwhile. So I don’t waste time what competitors are doing and my focus is always on what we need to do, how we are doing it and how can we improve.

With the budget just round the corner from your industry point of view, what favorable changes are you expecting that will impact the industry?

I think the whole industry will be impacted if government would increase the limit for Income Tax if that is uplifted say 3-3.5 lakhs lot of salaried people will get lot of money in their hands to spend. So whatever money that we definitely come into the system rather than going to government that’s a big chunk. Lot of people will into get, who are not paying tax they will also start paying tax to the government so it’s a very good move if government is going to upgrade the list. As far as other things are concerned I think government is reducing the CRR ratio which they have already done, 5 days back they reduced the CRR, lot of lucrative banks are also coming. So I think government need to further reduce the CRR ratio, so the money should come into the system. Government is trying to spend money from their home companies, public sector companies and rest government has hardly any choice.

What are your views about UPS industry?

I would like to mention that UPS industry is controlled by Chinese manufacturers or other foreign multinationals, it is because there is no duty on the UPS so I would request to the government to relook at the picture. UPS industry should have some sort of restrictions because UPS as a whole with the batteries is coming without any taxation in India and when we are manufacturing we have to give some duties and when you have a finished product there is no duty. This has hit Indian market in a big way so I think government need to relook at the situation so that Indian companies can come at the competitive level.

Being a self made successful entrepreneur, do you have any message for aspiring entrepreneurs?

I think nowadays everybody wants to become rich even in our times we wanted to become rich and famous. This is the general tendency among everyone. But I feel you should have the focus, nobody knows what he or she can do, even I did not know that I would come to this stage. So you have to find out that what is the area which interests you and that is only possible when you start working rather than talking or sitting or thinking one should start working and then you do the best in that job because you never know when somebody will come and see you working there and he will pick you from there so you have to perform the best whatever you are doing not thinking that no I am not made for this or I am not cut for this whatever chance you get to perform you should perform the best because you never know that would lead you to somewhere else. I will give you an example, somebody is coming to my home and washing my car and I see him performing his duty very well and I know he is a great guy, he washes my car properly and he is a hardworking guy, may be tomorrow I will take that guy and put him somewhere else which I have done in the past. So nobody knows who will end up where, so first thing is to start working whatever comes to their hand so slowly, slowly opportunities would start opening up. It’s not that god is going to come to your place and would knock and say that we have an opportunity for you. So opportunities are lying everywhere so you start doing something whether you are paid less or more you should start working and then you start getting your directions rather than waiting what is my interest area. Some people I meet, they say that we are still looking what interest us the most then I ask them that are you doing something? They say No, then I say how will you come to know that what interests you unless you start working. So I think the only message I will give you is that no work is small or big, there is no industry which is small or big, there is no industry where you can say you can’t make money or you can make money. So you start working and that will lead you to your interest area and try to do the best what you are doing, what you are giving to your work. So you should try your best, that’s all I want to say.

Thankyou so much from CAclubindia for your inspiring words!