the inaugural issue of "Business Speak" we
meet; Mr.R. A. Venkitachalam, M.D & General Manager-U.L
Emerging Markets. Underwriters Laboratories, famously
known as UL Inc. (www.ul.com)is
a 112 year experienced world leader in product Safety
Testing and Certification. UL issues the world famous
UL product safety marking on a wide variety of products.
Limaye: Can you briefly tell us about UL ,its
history & activities in the emerging markets especially
met Mr Venkitachalam at his Bangalore office &
sought his views on the Indian industry.
Billion UL marks appeared on products.
manufacturers produced UL- certified
In 2005,UL evaluated 19,140 product types.
are 1291 UL standards & 376 ULC standards.
R.A.Venkitachalam: UL is a 112 year experienced
world leader in the field of, Product Safety Testing
and Certification. Mr.Henry Merryl , the founder of
UL started the operation in 1894 in Chicago in response
to the industry need for an independent evaluator of
electricity-using products for safety. UL is today an
organization with over 6000 staff , one of the very
few independent organizations in the world that 'writes'
standards. Incorporated in the US as a 'not for profit'
organization , UL today operates in 100 countries and
has published over 1000 standards. The UL mark appears
on over 20 billion products every year.
In India , UL has been active for the last 9 years through
its own offices. UL India is growing aggressively to
serve the India clients in the areas of Safety and Quality.
UL helps the India manufacturers access world markets
through its Global Market Access Program whereby
UL acts as a single-window facility for all compliance
requirements. UL also serves the automotive / aerospace
/ medical / telecom /general manufacturing sectors through
its QMS services through value-added audits and certification
Over the past few years Indian industry has been
aggressively seeking overseas markets & is also
exposed to world class competition at home. Do you think
Indian organizations are in a position to exploit this
I believe that Indian companies today have a unique
opportunity - a growing local market and a receptive
world market.The Indian market is very demanding on
Quality / Cost / Delivery aspects today and the gap
that may have existed a while back with respect to
global markets is fast vanishing. Thus excellence
in the Cost / Quality / Delivery dimensions is a given
for survival. What will now make the difference is
Innovation and Speed.
Increasing number of SME companies in India today
recognise that they have the Quality / Cost / Delivery
in their favour and are working on scaling up quickly.Thus
it is exciting times ...one which we should make use
of. The other factor to be recognised is that Made
in India is getting increasing acceptability
You deal with with number of manufacturing firms.
In the fast a growing economy,especially India, how
are they developing their sales & marketing strategies.
see many trends , key of those being;
a)Tap the outsourcing trend - manufacture in India
and export e.g. Auto components / Medical Eqpt
b)Expand the footprint outside of India - acquire
brands / manufacturing facilities outside of India
e.g. Auto comp,
c)Tap the opportunities created by enhanced quality
/ spec requirements within India - enhanced purchasing
power included E.g. Consumer products - many examples
d)Some examples of 'bottom of the pyramid' strategy
- Consumer products incl Telecom,FMCG.
e)Expansion into unrelated areas - e.g. Aerospace
components Mfg / Retail / Biotech
more such can be noted......
-B.Tech.Chem Engg. (I.I.T.Chennai)
-M.Tech ( Industrial
..Director and C.E.O
- Thermax Surface Coatings
..C.O.O - BPL Mobile
( TN and KL)
..M.D & General
Manager - UL Emerging Markets
What challenges do you see ahead for the Indian
manufacturers, as India gets more integrated into
RAV: I feel there would be 6 major challenges
indian manufacturers need to address at the earliest;
1. Quality / Cost / Delivery challenges will continue
as always & will get more enhanced.
2. Innovation & Speed of operation witll be
under competitive pressure.
3. Information Security and IPR.
Talent shortage .
5. Infrastructure constraints especially Logistics
6. Environmental concerns & issues.
What has been your most interesting "Business
Insight" in the Indian manufacturing sector?
RAV: I am excited that there are a good number
of small but emerging manufacturers who are striving
for world class quality and cost.They are doing exceedingly
well in the global market with their innovative products.
They are bold enough to face the challenges - they
are winning.They have low capital costs - achieved
through intelligent deployment of technology and capital
and have speed.