Dr. Suresh Shah, Laser Physicist – the founder of Suresh Indu Lasers Pvt. Ltd., an ISO 9001:2008-certified company, has designed, developed and produced Laser systems for various industrial and research applications. Since 1975, Dr. Shah is ranked one among the top Laser research fellows, who has been instrumental in promoting technical courses on Laser technology in India.
Setting the standards in laser engraving & cutting systems, laser marking systems, metal marking systems, CNC metal laser cutting systems, and welding laser systems are nothing but part of the mission that Suresh Indu Lasers (SIL) has set for itself to bring engraving, marking and cutting systems based on lasers & allied technology to a wide range of clients as well as verticals.
Over the past 20 years, SIL has expanded its product line to offer the latest marking and cutting systems that integrate the most advanced Laser source technology. Recently, the company has developed larger-sized, low-power-consumption laser systems. We at, Sign & POP World met Vardhman Shah, SIL’s Director to know about his new launches and future plans. Excerpts are here to follow:
What is the most selling machine from SIL umbrella?
We are catering to the needs of the Indian signage industry for last many years. As we are the manufacturers of CO2 Laser cutting machines (for non-metal), which have varied applications and are used in signage industry for making logos, acrylic letters, nameplates, etc., to be used for advertising in outdoor and indoor both. These machines are pretty much in demand in the signage industry for these are available at considerably low-price facilitating ways for small investors to enter the fray to establish their business in signage industry. As of now, we are getting amazing response from the market as we are selling more than 100 machines every month. Till date, we already have installed more than 10,000 machines across the country. This is besides exporting to 14 countries.
How are you maintaining such an impeccable record?
We have launched the industry’s first low-cost entry-level C02 Laser engraving system: YAG Laser marking systems. This has brought our Laser products to an even wider audience. We’ve been in the Laser business longer than anyone else in the Indian market and it shows in our large numbers of Laser installations. SIL is known for implementing new and useful features that enhance our customers’ ability to work more efficiently and gain higher profits.
See, this is truly a Make-in-India product, which is solely developed and manufactured in our factory premises in Pune. This is actually the USP of this machine that each process involved in manufacturing these machines – be it mechanical, electrical or electronics, is completely done by us. While we are having tough competition with our Chinese counterparts, but we are able to beat them on every front be it quality, reliability or price. The testimony of the fact is the rapidly increasing demand for our machines. The other positive factor is that unlike our Chinese counterparts, for us, everything is in-house, right from the manufacturing to installation and then after sales service, which together bring us the edge over them.
How is the company positioned on national map? Where is the facility and what’s its capacity as of now?
Headquartered in Pune (Maharashtra), we are a 200-people company with branch offices in Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Chennai. We have four manufacturing facilities in Pune itself, covering a total land area of around 74000 sq. ft. wherein we manufacture 200 machines every month. Apart from CO2 Laser Cutting Machines, we do manufacture CNC machines, which are excessively being used in signage. We also have Fibre Laser Cutting machines – for metal cutting, which have created their own niche owing to the increased use of metal these days in signage.
What are the factors contributing to the escalating demand? Where do you see the potential coming from?
The reason behind the escalating demand is simple as we are excelling towards the automation irrespective of industries or the sectors. Today, no artisan wants to work with hand but machines. And, therefore, the boost in demand for these machines is almost irresistible and will further surge in future. However, the longevity or the sustainability to maintain the demand pull for a product depends on its quality and reliability wherein we are maintaining a remarkable record which is further backed by our pretty strong after sales services. As far as potential is concerned, since India is very big market and is still at a developing stage, the scope is infinite for any industry to grow and signage is no different. Currently, we are a 40-crore company and want to touch Rs. 100-crore mark by the end of this fiscal.
What makes your machines different from those already available in the market?
All these are new generation machines. Unlike the conventional machines, where more manual intervention and assistance are required to operate and being functional, our new generation machines are making the jobs considerably easy. This is for these machines simply require the design to be fed in the computer system attached therewith and rest of the jobs are just like a dream come true for the service providers. What’s more, being priced between Rs.3 lakh to Rs.10 lakh, these machines are pretty affordable even for startup business for any individual willing to make his future secure in the country’s signage industry.
How has been the response so far?
We are a leading laser machine manufacturer with impeccable records in the market. Customers are extremely satisfied with the performance of our machines as after five years of installation, we are yet to receive a complaint. They are even referring to others, besides giving return orders. So, the volume of machines is growing steadily at a rapid pace which has forced us to set up another unit to add to our capacity to feed the market meeting the escalating demand. The large scale production would in turn bring us the economies of scale to further cut down the production cost for all the machines.
For instance, as of now, we are 15 to 20% higher in Fibre Laser Cutting Machine cost from our Chinese counterparts. But with increased capacity, producing more machines would certainly help us bring down the cost to level the equation and gain more market share in time to come. Hopefully, the enhanced production would enable us bringing down our cost of production by not less than 20% against those of Chinese, but without sacrificing on quality front.
How has the recently implemented GST impacting the trade at SIL?
GST for us is a boon and not bane. We follow fair trade practices, and hence, have no fear. This is equally applicable to all the manufacturers and traders who have maintained their book of accounts properly till date. It will help facilitate instilling genuine trade practices. Going forward, it would also bring down the price considerably. Earlier, we use to pay 25% (12.5% each for VAT & Excise Duty), while now we are only liable to pay 18%, which is fully reversed in the trade.
Let me share an interesting incident as one of our clients placed an order of Rs. 71 lakh (including all the taxes) for our Fibre Laser Cutting machine. It was the era just before the implementation of GST. I suggested my client to hold it for few days, while GST was about to be put in place. After GST, there came the price difference of around 7 lakh, which we repaid to our customer who was thankful for this act of fair trade practice.
How are you promoting this practice to the industry stakeholders?
We educate each of our customers on GST’s impact, which is extremely positive and would help them flourish in future. We tell them that if they get themselves registered under the law, they will be benefited as every capital investment of this kind is entitled to get the rebate under the capital investment clause.
But let me tell you that the people engaged in the country’s signage industry are not educated for this trait, but are blessed with traditional artistic attributes. They want to grow their business simply by installing machine to help improve their productivity, and are hardly concerned about the quality of machines or the output. Also, they look for ways to save on taxes. We are trying our best to educate them on the fair trade practices.
What’s the future marketing plan at SIL?
We are planning to have a distribution channel in place for our machines and other products. This is to enhance our presence across the country to facilitate easy sourcing for our valued customers. At SIL, we are dedicated in building strong relationships with customers, distributors, vendors and employees is our business foundation. To our customers, we offer a near endless stream of support. It’s our goal to keep our customers up and running. We have a huge network of talented suppliers and distributors.
How has been the country’s signage industry going so far?
I can say that the Indian signage industry is economically poor and the stakeholders prefer not to invest big amount. Eventually, they opt for substandard products, which are sourced in bulk from Chinese manufacturers. These people are mainly the short-term gainers and try grabbing as much profit as they can in a very short span of time. This is not good for the industry. This is why manufacturers like us are trying to enhance production of these machines to bring down the cost so as to defeat Chinese products. But for all this we would never compromise on our quality.