Ten years ago India was a promising market for Ensto but one that the company had little experience in. Then in 2009, a decision was made to set up operations in the country. It all started with one product, a single customer and just a few staff.
One of the first staff members to join the company was an engineer Vinod Kumar. “Joining Ensto meant good career prospects with an international company. But at that time, I did not know I was going to stay this long,” he laughs.
Kumar’s career has flourished with Ensto. Originally hired as a production supervisor, today he is in charge of production at the company’s plant in Gurgaon, New Delhi. Kumar himself has closely witnessed phenomenal growth of the business in the last decade. “Operations have grown from a simple small business to a proper, fast growing domestic and export business,” he says.
Indeed Ensto India today is a very different company with over 100 staff, more than 100 products and a huge, well-organized warehouse where products get shipped all over India, as well as neighboring countries.
Kumar’s day starts with a morning meeting, and he then goes to check the production schedule, dealing with supply issues or manpower. No day at the site is ever the same, he says. But the reward for his work is constant. “Even when it’s hectic, I feel that my work is valued by my managers and co-workers,” he adds.
Kumar is busy because today Ensto India has become the market leader in overhead line accessories in India and it boasts sector majors such as Bajaj, L&T, Reliance, and Tata Power as its customers.
Growth did not happen overnight, but Ensto India gradually built its name in the market as the most reliable supplier. “In those early days, we were not known. But we began showing potential customers our international track record and slowly yet surely market recognition happened with quality products and services,” says Ashok Kaushik, Managing Director of Ensto India.
The Indian customer mindset has changed over the years, he notes. "We showed our customers the cost of the total life cycle of our products and the importance of investing in good quality. Most of them understood that getting low-end products would become costly later."
For Ensto Group, India’s importance grew strategically as the business in the country grew. And this is not about to stop, Kaushik notes. “Megatrends such as urbanization and digitalization are set to boost our business.”
As India’s cities grow, so does the demand for better quality electricity and the need in local production. This is turn creates challenges for local electricity companies.
“Ensto’s low voltage direct current (LVDC) technology is a smart- and cost-effective way of making the most of the network because it can increase the power capacity without any extra investment, improve the quality of electricity and has the provision to use electricity from renewable sources like roof-top solar,” says Kaushik.
Smart cities are another opportunity. India is looking heavily into making cities less polluted and electric-vehicle friendly by creating a charging station network.
Ensto India has already partnered with the Finnish energy giant Fortum to deliver charging equipment for the company in India. “We are in process of developing chargers specific for the Indian market and are currently testing out smart chargers with Fortum across the capital,” says Kaushik.
India is known for its poor power supply, leaving millions of people still today in the dark. Most rural households have poor or no electricity supply, which means patchy distribution is a genuine opportunity.
“Each power cut, however unwanted they are, opens up an opportunity for improvements. We can help make villages smarter because our Phase Balancer divides phase currents more equally and creates better voltage stability,” Kaushik says.
India is a country that wants to modernize its ancient electricity cables. The trend of converting overhead lines into underground lines is a significant opportunity for Ensto.
“The opportunity to grow the business is huge since the Indian government has begun its work converting the lines into an integrated power distribution system,” Kaushik notes.
As Ensto India gears up for its next decade, plans to expand the business are on the way to respond to rising demand. “We are currently looking at expanding our production to double the capacity,” says Kaushik. The aim is to find a suitable, bigger factory, which should be up and running by next year.
Ensto India does not only supply products for the Indian market but works as manufacturing hub other markets outside India.
“We have customers in the regional markets such as Bhutan and Nepal and in recent times began supplying some products to our group of companies in countries such as Czech Republic and Poland, and components to Estonia as well. It has taken some time to get products made in India to be accepted in these markets but now that we have made a good start, we are looking to grow this side of business too,” Kaushik says.
The potential in India seems unlimited and only serves to highlight a great future ahead for the business. For Ensto India, keeping the customer happy is number one priority, and it aims to keep it that way for the decades to come.
“Our unique selling point is that whatever we promise, we will deliver it in time. In addition, the quality of our product is unrivaled as is our training and support service,” says Kaushik.
Text: Pia Heikkilä