Havells India looks to double R&D spend and set up design studio

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on August 17, 2018 Published on August 17, 2018

Mukul Saxena, Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice-President, Havells

Will bring in disruptive technologies, IoT- and AI-enabled products

Consumer electrical goods and appliances maker Havells India plans to double its R&D spend in the next couple of years as part of its strategy to transform itself into a technology-driven company. It is working on establishing a state-of-the-art design studio and expanding its R&D team.

Havells recently roped in Siemens’ former senior executive Mukul Saxena as its Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice-President to spearhead these efforts. He was involved with establishing and leading the Siemens Corporate Research & Technologies’ India Lab.

Saxena told BusinessLine, “We plan to double investments inR&D in the next 1-2 years. On an average, the company currently spends about 1 per cent of its turnover on R&D, and we will ramp it up to 2 per cent.” Last fiscal, the company spent about ₹80 crore on R&D.

Re-skilling team

“We are looking at re-skilling some of the people in our R&D team and adding more people. We are targeting top- notch institutions and talent that has global exposure,” he added. Currently, its R&D team is about 330 strong based out of the corporate headquarters and at various manufacturing facilities. Havells is planning to align its product specific R&D teams spread across 18 verticals.

Havells India last year said it is targeting ₹20,000 crore in revenues in the next 4-5 years and it believes the R&D focus will be the key to achieving this target.

“Our vision is to transform Havells into a proactive, technology-led and a customer-centric organisation. We want to focus on innovations and bringing in disruptive technologies that will enable us to translate the latent needs of consumers into products,” he added.

As part of this strategy, the home-grown company is establishing a design studio at its corporate headquarters in Noida, which will showcase futuristic concepts to its customers and distributors to aid innovation.

“We want to adopt the solution-based approach of “design thinking”, which is all about co-creating or co-innovating with the customers,” he added. The company will also collaborate with think tanks and research institutes for the design studio.

Havells is working on a slew of products which will be IoT and AI-enabled in various categories such as ACs, washing machines and LED TV. It will also look at AI-based smart living product concepts for futuristic homes.

“This is a huge cultural shift which is being driven from the top. It is a conscious decision taken by the management. We want to transform the company to ensure that technology becomes a key pillar for future growth,” Saxena added.

Published on August 17, 2018
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