"To become an international player, you need to be global in your thinking"

Industry chieftains urge Indian SMEs to develop the right mindset as they set foot in the global market   

Published 4 years ago on Aug 07, 2017 10 minutes Read
RA Chandroo

N Mahalakshmi, editor, Outlook Business: Thank you so much panellists for joining me today for this discussion. We thought of taking up ‘Going Global’ as the theme for this year because it stood out for us while we were working on our 11th anniversary issue, Outperformers. In the past 10 years, a whole bunch of new billionaires have emerged across the country and many of them are under the radar. One such company we have profiled in this edition that really exemplifies this whole idea of going global and scaling up is Motherson Sumi. It's a sensational story of a company that started with nothing, wasn't too big 10 years ago and is a $6.5-billion company today. Moreover, they aspire to be a $20-billion company by 2020. There are a bunch of other entrepreneurs who look at success stories such as this one and are inspired.

When you think about scaling up, you can't be thinking only about India. You need to have a global mindset to compete both locally and globally. We have a fantastic panel with two stellar Indian companies that have grown significantly in the past 10-20 years. Then we have companies that have done a remarkable job of engaging with the Indian vendor base, which is by and large the SME segment. 

Mr Sawhney, you were able to do in less than five years what Maruti took two decades to do, in terms of vendor development and idigenisation of the car. What stood out for you in Indian companies and what has that whole experience been like for you?

Sumit Sawhney, MD & CEO, Renault India: Four years ago, we wanted to launch a global car in India, and we wanted to launch a car in the small or mini car segment. Although the small car segment was not our forte, our global CEO was convinced that to succeed in emerging markets, we had to enter the small and mini car segment. The key to our success was innovation. Usually, automobile manufacturers work with global suppliers, but we had to do something different to succeed. That's where the India of developing Indian suppliers came in. We asked them to bring innovation and quality to the table. Most global companies are scared to give Indian or local suppliers work, because they are unsure of the quality. We were quite surprised when these vendors came up with a lot of innovative ideas. When we launched Kwid in India, it was the first time that any Indian company had 98% localisa


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