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KUNDAN CAB: It’s All About Building Trust

Established in 1968, KUNDAN CAB began its journey by manufacturing and marketing electrical cables for residential consumption. Over the years, it has witnessed exponential growth, driven by technical expertise, a diversified portfolio of high-quality and innovative products and its ability to respond to market fluctuations on time.
KUNDAN CAB manufactures various types of wires and cables, such as FR, HRFR, FRLS, ZHFR, PVC Insulated Electric Cables, Telephone Switch Board Cables, Co-axial Cables, LAN Cables, LT Power/Control Cables and Specialty Cables. It also manufactures Re-wirable Switch Gears, Changeover Switches, Distribution Boards and Lighting and Fixtures.
The company’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at Bhiwadi, Rajasthan, is well-equipped to meet the demands of the local market for housing wires and low-voltage electric cables.
The Wire & Cable India team recently met Mr. Paras Jain and his son Mr. Bilesh Jain to get an understanding of the factors behind the phenomenal rise of the company.
Here are some excerpts from this interesting interaction.

Company’s Journey

Speaking about his company’s journey, Mr. Paras Jain, Managing Director, Kundan Cab, said, “My father established this company in 1968 in Chennai. It started as a trading company. In the 1980s, we set up a unit in Delhi. Later, in the 1990s, we set up a switchgear unit in Delhi. In 1992 a unit for switches and accessories was set up in Bombay. In times to come, we will focus mainly on wire and cable. We are planning to go into power cable business. We currently deal in domestic cables – housing wire, telephone, communication, submersibles, LAN cables and so on. Such materials are used in any new building. We have also set up an MCB unit at (Hyderabad) and are trying to set up a power cable unit. We have applied for a piece of land at RIICO, Bhiwadi – around 15 acres. We already have a unit at Bhiwadi but for further expansion we need more land.

“As mentioned earlier, we were initially into trading. Trading gave us a good understanding of the market. The products we pushed on the market slowly became our brands. While trading, we were also able to build up trust among the people we dealt with on the market. By the time we got out of trading, we had earned a lot of trust. People trusted the products we sold. So we started focusing on our own brand. From 1968 till 1980 we traded in other brands; in 1980 we started our own brand. And ever since then we have been growing consistently.

“We currently manufacture Low Tension (LT) cables, but I think we need to be strong in the area of High Tension (HT) cables as well. However, for the time being, we’ll focus only on LT – that too up to 1.1 KV. HT is the extension part – up to 6 KV. We don’t have just a retail network; we are currently carrying out quite a few projects. Power cables are for big projects – like the public sector or the government sector. Around 75 per cent of our current business is retail… .

Capacity Enhancement

Speaking about capacity enhancement, Mr. Jain said, “We intend to achieve a turnover of Rs. 100 crores this year. Besides, we have applied for land for our future expansion and expansion is expected to be completed within 3 years after allotment of land.”

Over-capacity on the Market

Speaking about market fluctuations, Mr. Jain said, “Certainly market puts a lot of pressure on business. As far as our business is concerned, it is trust that comes to our rescue. People remember us because they trust us. They have faith in the quality of our products – and rightly so. We provide them with quality products. That’s where our strength lies. In South India, we have an advantage over our competitors because of the high quality of our products. Needless to say, trust and good relations play a vital role in our business in the South. Of course, trust means good quality, good relations and good delivery. Our customers feel we are their long-term suppliers – and that keeps us going. Five or six years ago, we started working in North India. Doing business here was rather difficult, because of the cultural differences. The market was not easy. But things look much better now. We are currently enhancing our presence in seven other states as well, and we are doing well at the moment.”

Foreign Collaboration and Competition

According to Mr. Jain, “most of the collaboration has taken place in the switch gear sector. In the area of cables, it has happened in the high voltage sector. Not many companies in the industry have gone for it. And we are not planning to set up a joint venture with a foreign firm… . About four to five years ago manufacturers in India were worried because of Chinese competition. They thought Chinese manufacturers may thwart the Indian wire and cable industry. I have been to China three or four times to study the Chinese market. You see, the kind of product we make does not have many parts. It consists mainly of PVC compounds and copper. The rates of these materials are the same all over the world. So it’s not possible for any foreign competitor to come to India and sell the same product at a much lower price. But Chinese manufacturers can get some benefit from their scale of operation; they have the latest machinery. But we also need to keep in mind that Indian manufacturers are not far behind China in getting good machines. For instance, we have imported machines for compounding and copper extrusion from Niehoff – the world’s best machine manufacturer. At our upcoming unit at RIICO will be installing machines that meet all international standards.

Future Targets

Speaking about his future targets, Mr. Jain said, “We will focus on plate switches, as the market for plate switches is huge. We want to be present in all Indian states. We are also trying to get into exports – export of plate switches and power cables. In the coming two years, we should have a strong presence in these areas. Besides we will also come up with LEDs and fans.”

The Younger Generation

Mr. Bilesh Jain, Director, Kundan Cab, has just come back to India after finishing his studies in London to join the family business. Speaking on how he has planned to take his family business forward, Mr. Bilesh said, “Market consolidation and product diversification are really important. I fully support my father’s business strategy, which involves building up trust and maintaining good relations with people. That’s the path I will follow… . Market consolidation means expanding the market, making your presence felt on new markets. For instance, power cable is a new market for us and we wish to make our presence felt on this market as well.”

Expressing his views on the Indian wire and cable industry he said, “Wire and cable industry is a competitive industry. And it doesn’t give you a lot of freedom to innovate. In the electronics industry, for example, you can do little things here and there and come up with something really very innovative – something really new. In cable industry you have just two things to play with – raw materials and a wire. So, you have to stick with the basics…with things like good quality, public relations, trust-building, ethics and so on. You have to be constantly in touch with the market, always willing to adapt to changes immediately.”

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