Manav Kapur says....‘We focus on operational excellence following Industry 4.0 disruptions’
Manav Kapur, Executive Director, Steelbird International, talks about the company and its journey over five decades in this interview with Industrial Automation.
Widest range of air, oil, and fuel filters in the Indian auto components market.
A legacy of over 50 years – what was the inspiration for the founder in starting this enterprise?
Founded by the late Shri Tilak Raj Kapur in 1964, Steelbird International is a family owned, yet the professionally managed, group that is growing consistently in all the business verticals. Shri Tilak Raj was a great visionary and his insight augured well, as to the great future of auto components industry in India. At that time, the future growth of the automobile sector in India was the biggest inspiration for him in establishing the filter manufacturing business of Steelbird International.
What are the main filter products that Steelbird offers?
Steelbird is the oldest manufacturer of filters in India for 2-wheelers and it has the widest range of air, oil, and fuel filters in the Indian auto components market. Steelbird caters to all the major auto brands and OEMs, and it is the leader of the aftermarket for decades.
When was the rubber product line launched? What is the range of products?
Steelbird is engaged in manufacturing rubber products for the last 4 decades, and it ventures into tyres and tubes in 2018. Apart from manufacturing the widest range of two-wheeler tyres and tubes, Steelbird offers a complete range of rubber auto components, including dampers, bushes, bellows, gaskets, mats, oil seals, dust covers, and a lot more. The company has recently joined hands with Japan’s leading manufacturer of rubber components and industrial materials, Fujikura Rubber, to meet the changing demands of OEMs and the aftermarket.
The automotive component segment is highly competitive. How does Steelbird differentiate itself in such a market?
To stay ahead of the competition, we focus on operational excellence following industry 4.0 disruptions. Secondly, educating our existing and potential customers about the quality of our products is the central focus of the company. Also, for bringing innovation to our products and offerings and taking an edge over competitors, we are planning to invest more in R&D activities.
Automation is today an essential part of manufacturing. How automated are the Steelbird manufacturing facilities?
Currently, the smart and eco-friendly plant at Pantnagar (Uttarakhand) is spread over a large area with a production capacity of 40,000 filters per day. This plant is equipped with the latest machinery and complies with all international standards of quality control and pollution norms such as ISO/TS 16949:2009; OHSAS 18001:2007; ISO 14001:2004; and ISO 9001:2008. The new plant has significantly expanded Steelbird’s manufacturing capacity and is helping the brand to attract international customers as well. Steelbird’s standard operating procedures are embedded with SAP, Industry 4.0, and digital factory automation. The IoT-enabled sensors for machines electronically generate notifications in case of errors.
How does the company ensure the quality of its products and regulatory compliances?
Since long back, Seelbird International complies various quality standards such as ISO/TS 16949:2009; OHSAS 18001:2007; ISO 14001:2004; ISO 9001:2008. Now, it is working in collaboration with Japan’s leading manufacturer of rubber components and industrial materials, Fujikura Rubber. As Fujikura is competent with R&D facilities, marketing & sales is the core strength of Steelbird, which mean the two brands are the best fit for each other. This strategic partnership is a big boon for the market as well.
Any breakthrough product launch that made a difference?
The company has diversified its product portfolio when it launched tyres and tubes for two-wheelers and e-vehicles at the Auto Expo Component 2018, earlier this year. Since then, the company is continuously increasing its market penetration and has already received a good response from entire north India, including UP, MP, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi-NCR, and the Northeast.
Steelbird is a strong domestic player. What about the export market?
Driven with a penchant for achieving excellence in its domain of work for more than five decades, Steelbird International’s excellent growth is not just restricted to the domestic market; the brand is also gaining momentum on the export front and catering to many Asian and African markets. As of now Steelbird is exporting to 8 countries, but soon it will penetrate new markets.
What are the future plans?
Making more investment in R&D, and increasing the market penetration for tyres and tubes business will be the topmost priorities of Steelbird in future.
Pix2: Steelbird officials at the launch of Steelbird Tyres at Guhawati recently.
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