Hitendra Bhargava: India will be less prone to the recession
Kluber Lubrication was founded in 1929, and today is the global leader in speciality lubricants. The company has its presence in India for more than 25 years. Kluber has its plant in Mysore from which they supply lubricants to various industry verticals, including heavy industry, which includes textile, cement, power mining, steel, auto, wind, power, bearing manufacturers, etc. Post COVID, the company was the fastest to recover. In addition to the 52 per cent growth in 2020, Kluber’s current growth rate is 30 per cent. In this interview with Rakesh Rao, Hitendra Bhargava, CEO, Kluber lubrication India, shares an insight of their company and what is he anticipating for 2023.
Is the textile business distinct from other industries in how it uses lubricants, or do they share similar?
When I say specialty lubricant, I really mean lubrication pharmacy. When you mention the symptoms, we offer the solution. Sustainability, low production downtime, and high total cost of ownership are currently in demand in the textile business. Therefore, these are taken into consideration when making or developing our lubricants.
Our lubricants are biodegradable, and are reached compliance. We also claim that certain of our lubricants are filled for life. Put it and forget it. So, that is our textile solution.
What percentage of your company’s revenue comes from the textile industry?
Nearly 18 per cent of our overall revenue comes from the textile industry, which is a reasonable share.
Globally, we have a great demand from four countries; USA, Turkey, China, India, and then some continents like Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
Are you offering solutions to the machinery’s end users or the manufacturer?
Although we work with OEMs initially, end user requirements are the most crucial since we closely collaborate with the OEM to produce the products, we understand end user requirements as well as the OEM does. However, when I said symptoms, people are now talking about sustainable solutions, especially in Europe and other places. When discussing technical textiles, the geotextile and other items where a sustainable solution is available are frequently brought up. Hence, the end user. Then, in order to provide longer life, low production, shutdown, and higher efficiency, we are collaborating with the OEM.
Please elaborate on the significance of choosing the right lubricants to meet the target for a sustainable goal.
When it comes to creating sustainable lubricants for machinery, technologies are very significant. When asked what different aspects of sustainability it is considering, the first response is biodegradable. By choosing materials that are reach compliance and free of substances of extremely high concern, you are leaving behind ordinary mineral oil, a commodity that is known to cause cancer. It also means leaving behind the common compounds used as emulsifiers. The longer life comes in second after that. Therefore, you are also considering technologies that can provide a longer life while still being reach compliance, as it should be.
Hence, you are once again attempting to collaborate with the OEM and learn how the machinery, such as high-speed equipment, operates. T The third part is then a lower overall cost of ownership with a digitalisation solution. We have sensors that can keep an eye on the machinery. With the aid of lubricant and machine monitoring, you can really offer the machinery manufacturer advice on how to lengthen the life of the lubricant by ensuring its biodegradability, solution, and longer life.
In terms of awareness of using the proper type of or eco-friendly lubrication, what trends are you noticing, particularly in India?
It is the industry’s responsibility to raise awareness. Because there are still few exports from the Indian textile sector. Even though India is now preparing for exporting, its exports are still relatively low. There is no urgent need for the sustainable solution in India. But globally, yes. We must grow exports because there is a pressing need to do so if we have to remain competitive in the global economy.
Through a channel partner like Voltas, who has access to practically the entire consumer base, we are actually reaching out to the customer and introducing ourselves. We are extending awareness through a variety of channels, including technical seminars, trade exhibitions, and webinars. And it’s working really well. People are aware of the urgent necessity, and Indian customers are adapting to these demands.
What did you present at ITME 2022?
We are one stop shop for textile. For every application, we have a solution. If you look at our dashboard, you will notice that the complete network of textile mills is represented; we are digitising it and identifying the various lubrication points. We are currently working to meet the changing market expectations, and in response to those requests, we have various lubricants in the works. We kept an eye on what other companies were looking at ITME, so one of them was looking for an innovative way to spin success. So one of our priorities is also to build smart solutions.
What do you anticipate for your business and the sector in 2023?
Due to the price of cotton and the global situation, there has been a slight slowdown in recent months. But the rising local demand and stabilising cotton prices, has now started to pick things once again. The complexity, disruption, and supply condition are all decreasing. So, in my opinion, the textile market must evolve.
The textile industry contributes 18% of the total to Kluber India. A million-dollar question is how things will develop in the upcoming months if you consider the geopolitical environment. But I feel that India will be less prone to the recession. So many people attended the trade show, so this gives us confidence. We also have excellent macroeconomic parameters. Because of this, I consider 2023 to be a bullish year, and I anticipate positive outcomes.