Mr. Vivek Yadav is SBU Head and Sr. VP at Havells Ltd. In his 29 years long career he has worked with companies like Schneider Electric, Philips, Honda, ABB and Crompton Greaves. He is an electrical engineer with great leadership skills. He has done B.E. from M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology and M.Tech. from IIT DELHI in “Management & Systems”. With wide experience in developing and driving growth strategies and plans to maximize market share growth, he is a well proven among industry leaders.
Q. What is your work profile?
A. In Havells, I am handling a Business portfolio of Electrical Wiring Accessories, Home Automation and Building Circuit Protection Products and Solutions.
Q. Does this include ‘Standard’ product range also?
A. Only marketing part. Standard operates as a separate entity and having a separate team for sales and operation.
Q. In this case you have competition within the organization as ‘Standard’ and ‘Havells’ have a similar product line in this segment. How do you manage the competition?
A. There is a clear positioning of each brand in the aspect of targeted customer and segment. The product portfolio and price positioning of the two are made accordingly. We are trying to align different channels for each of the product categories.
Q. The wiring device market is mainly dominated by ‘Legrand’, a European MNC and ‘Anchor’ which is now acquired by a Japanese MNC. How will Havells rise in this tough competitive market?
A. The wiring device market is totally fragmented. Since entry barriers are reasonably small there are many players, not only regional players but also the state level players. We are among the top 3 brands in the market. We are looking at the broad basing of our product portfolio. In last 2 years, we have invested in improving the existing product categories and launching new ranges. There were 3 major launches done in last 2 years for the wiring devices and there will be few more in coming financial year. With this, we expect to continue to dominate the market where we operate. We also see a lot of the gaps where we can gain market shares, be it a geographical gap or customer segments. This will help us increase our market share.
Q. Are you planning to hire more manpower to fill the said gaps?
A. Hiring is need-based. However, we see lots of opportunities which can be utilized by existing manpower.
Q. How do you see the current market for Lighting Control & Automation?
A. This market will definitely grow. In this market of Lighting control, Home automation, Security, Audio Video integration etc awareness amongst customer is increasing. Also, the technology is evolving and much simpler user interfaces, retrofit solutions are emerging. Cost is also coming down. These were deterrents earlier which was making proliferation of this category difficult. With all these factors the market is set to explode in coming time.
Q. There are many start-ups are coming in Lighting Control and Home Automation segment. Do you think that it can be a threat to tradition business companies like Havells?
A. The biggest success factor for this product category is the service support for the customers. It is not just the product or technology which makes you a winner but reach and service support are most important. It is about giving sustainable support over a period of time. I believe companies who can provide such support can survive. Smaller companies or start-ups are expected to join hands with bigger players or will need deep pockets to be successful.
Q. With the evolution of IP Based lighting, do you find any threat to traditional lighting control system market?
A. Yes, it will impact all bus based automation protocols like KNX or C-bus. They will find it difficult to match with the width and breadth of offering being made by IP based solutions. So in case of Commercial Spaces, I can see the Bus based system will be replaced by IP based solutions in future. But for residential spaces, it will still hold good.
Q. Is there any difference for marketing strategy between MNC in India and Indian MNC?
A. There is not much difference, but yes Indian companies, in general, have few advantages over them in terms of Channel relationship, faster decision making etc.
Q. Any difference in operation also?
A. I think flexibility and faster adaptability to changing environment and situations are better in Indian companies.
Q. GST (Goods & Service Tax) on wiring devices is now 18% from 28%. What is the pricing strategy is followed by the market? Also, will Havells pass the benefit or utilize it for profit improvements?
A. If you look at the pricing factor for wiring devices in the market, over the last few years prices are coming down. There are multiple reasons for this. The dominant players are changing the strategy to counter unorganized sector. With the GST coming in to effect, the tax compliance is improving and with the e-waybill concept, now the tax compliance will go further up. So we will see a lot of shift from un-organized sector to organized sector. The dominant players in the market are now consolidating their position with better pricing strategy. This is reducing the pricing gap between un-organized and organized sector.
GST rate of 28% was really high and we welcome the move of Government to bring it down to 18%. Havells passed the benefit to the market by reducing MRP.
Q. A new e-waybill rule is being applied, and many traders are still confused about the way it will operate. Will it hit your business in these crucial months of last quarters?
A. Any change affects the regular business for a short span of time, we saw the fall out at the time of GST implementation but after few months it picked up. So it will not disrupt much, but it will definitely bring better compliance and transparency for GST.
Q. Builders and developers are a major customer for Wiring Devices. Is the market still affected by RERA impact?
A. In our case, the situation is bit different. Our majority of business comes from diffused market & channel operation and a small portion from projects. The project business was developed in last two years. The diffused market is either flat or declining over past few years, project business is supposed to fill the gap. Affordable homes is set to grow with time and we are sure for a growth ride for our project business.
Q. In your 29 years long career, you have worked with many products. Do you think for a good salesperson or sales manager ‘product’ really matters?
A. I really don’t think that product really matters, because to learn a product is a very short cycle. But a good salesperson must understand the psyche of the customer, and what they need. Also reaching to the customer in a most efficient way is important. If your basic fundamental is right you can handle any product.
Q. What are the personality attributes required in a candidate to get hired?
A. For being in sales, confidence and good communication skill is a must. I personally value two personality attribute for a front liner Confidence and Passion.
Q. What is your mantra of being a good salesperson?
A. Persistence, Focus, and hard work are the basic traits of a good salesperson. These traits I have practiced throughout my life and it gave me success. There would be failures and there would be challenges in your path and that is part of your life, but if you think about them and work with an element of fear then you will never succeed. You should always remove fear from your mind and need to face the challenges with the right attitude.