United Technologies recently brought its air-conditioning system brands Carrier and Otis, and fire, security and building automation brands Kidde and Chubb together to form a global building and industrial systems (BIS) business. Zubin Irani, President-BIS of the company, says this will help United Tech offer integrated solutions to its clients.

In an interview with BusinessLine , Irani talks about the strategies being adopted to tap into the opportunities India offers.

Edited excerpts:

You said the BIS business is poised to grow at strong double digits. What is the company’s future strategy to capture that kind of growth?

We are working on our 10-year goals. We want to grow faster than what we have done historically. As per our global strategy, we are bringing together our brands Carrier, Otis and Chubbs, in a bid to offer integrated solutions to our clients.

So we are reorganising to be a lot closer to our customers and we have carved out a separate team called ‘Key Accounts’ which is focusing on the top 40 infrastructure and real estate companies. The rationale is to be involved in the planning stage as early as possible and help bring down costs for our clients.

In addition, we are moving from product selling to solution selling and see how we can add value to the customer.

Also, we are building capabilities for monitoring and collecting data and developing capabilities where our consumers can monitor all their systems across their offices from one location.

In fact, we are building a separate team that can do this not only for new projects but also do energy audits on existing buildings. These days it’s not some project managers, but the CEO of a company who is directly engaging with us on improving energy efficiency levels. It’s something that has huge paybacks in the long terms for companies. It’s an indicator that energy efficiency has become important for companies.

How crucial is the localisation for you to grow in the future? Do you export from India to other locations?

We are really working on becoming local and providing solutions that are unique to India. Over the last one year, we have localised over 10 products across our portfolio. India’s power conditions are different, and we endeavour to provide solutions for India-specific issues.

Localisation helps us in making significant cost reductions. Our goal is to have over 90 per cent of our product portfolio localised in the next two-three years. Currently, only about two-thirds of our portfolio is localised. I fundamentally believe India is really the place where we can manufacture.

We have started exporting to some South-East Asian countries, but there is a lot of potential for exports and we are still early in the journey. So far, we have been focused on growing scale in the Indian market.

Where does the Indian BIS business stand globally, for the company, in terms of revenues, scale and workforce?

In term of contribution to the global revenues, it is still pretty small.

But in terms of interest, size of the market and investments, India is a priority market.

For instance, India is the second largest market for Otis. India is a key market for us and is expected to play a bigger role in the future. We expect to grow much faster than how we have been growing in the past and we believe urbanisation in India is going to be a huge growth story for us.

What do you think the Government needs to do to promote manufacturing?

Today manufacturing’s contribution to GDP in India is abysmal compared to China or even other ASEAN countries, where it’s much higher. Also, growth in manufacturing has been flat due to economic conditions.

Clearly, a lot needs to be done. I am very encouraged hearing from the new Government’s focus on promoting manufacturing.

A lot of issues need to be fixed, whether its approvals for projects that are stuck or new projects, issues around labour laws among other issues needs to be worked out.

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