Our competitive edge lies in our robust infrastructure of services coupled with advanced technological interfaces: Satpal Singh, CEO, Numeric India

Satpal Singh

In this interview conducted by CRN India, Satpal Singh, CEO, Numeric India, a subsidiary of the Legrand Group, discusses the company’s position in the Indian market, its product innovations, service strategies, and the evolving landscape of power backup solutions. Numeric, known for its robust UPS systems, emphasises its commitment to technological advancement, customer satisfaction, and seamless business continuity. With a focus on both global expertise and local insights, Numeric navigates the Indian market by blending innovation with customer-centric service, aiming to address the evolving needs of various industries and enterprises. The discussion delves into specific product lines, market trends, digitalisation efforts, and the pivotal role of service infrastructure in ensuring reliable power solutions. Through strategic initiatives, Numeric aims to maintain its leadership position while adapting to the changing demands of an increasingly digital and interconnected world.

What industry trends do you anticipate in terms of your own IPs and product lines, and what can the market expect from these developments?

Numeric is part of the Legrand family, having joined in 2012. Legrand, a more than 160-year-old brand based in France, operates in over 90 countries with a workforce of around 40,000 and revenues exceeding 8 billion Euros in 2022. Numeric, being a part of this legacy, brings together global expertise and local insights, terming itself as “GLOCAL.”

In India, Numeric has held the top spot in line-interactive and single-phase products for over 35-36 years in terms of market share. In the three-phase product category, we have consistently maintained strong double-digit growth due to technological innovations. With a team of approximately 1,700 people, Numeric ensures widespread coverage with one service engineer available for every 150 kilometres.

The organisation heavily invests in technology, considering itself technology-intensive. Growth in recent years has been robust across all product families and categories, driven by innovation in products and services. Numeric’s core mission revolves around partnering with customers to ensure uninterrupted business continuity.

The company’s strategic focus spans three main areas: introducing cutting-edge products, providing best-in-class service through technology integration, and leveraging technology across all aspects of its operations. This approach has yielded significant results over the years.

In terms of product innovation, Numeric has introduced various solutions catering to evolving customer needs. For instance, we developed a router-specific product to address the increasing demand for internet connectivity due to trends like remote work and OTT content consumption. Additionally, we launched energy-efficient solutions in the three-phase category, compatible with lithium-ion technology. We also offer inbuilt battery solutions for hassle-free installation.

Numeric has embraced digitalisation with its eShop platform, offering end-to-end product ranges nationwide. This focus on innovation has propelled our growth trajectory, ensuring we remains at the forefront of the industry.

Are any of these products Made in India and taken to the world, or is it a global organisation?

As a ‘Glocal’ organisation, we draw on a blend of global and local expertise to drive innovation. Our global R&D centres contribute significantly to our technological advancements, complemented by our local R&D centre in Chennai. Additionally, our manufacturing facilities, situated in Chennai and Maharashtra’s Sinnar, play a pivotal role in our operations. Over the years, we’ve focused on continuous innovation within our R&D centres, leveraging customer requirements to expand our product offerings. Notably, a significant portion of our product range aligns with the Make in India initiative, reflecting our commitment to both market needs and national priorities.

Take, for example, our product Intizon, which is entirely engineered and manufactured in India, embodying our dedication to local production. Across our single-phase and three-phase ranges, we’ve prioritised Make in India compliance, ensuring a comprehensive coverage of project requirements. Our emphasis on localization spans various facets, including technology and software development, aimed at augmenting the indigenous content of our products.

What specific product ranges have shown significant demand trends in India?

Let me provide an example that illustrates our product innovation in the three-phase category. Our HPI33 EVO stands out as an exceptional offering that has recently undergone a significant revamp and launch. This product boasts a compact footprint, making it highly space-efficient while delivering exceptional performance. It’s engineered to be rugged and robust, catering to various industries ranging from infrastructure to BFSI, ITES, and commercial establishments. These sectors, amid their expansion endeavours, seek solutions like the HPI33 EVO to meet their growing needs.

In particular, the SME sector in India, which plays a vital role in the economy, often requires compact setups for their offices, labs, or shops. The HPI33 EVO addresses this need perfectly and has garnered significant praise from our customers nationwide. Another noteworthy product in our lineup is the Premius with Unity Power Factor. This innovative solution addresses the specific requirements of customers who have a three-phase input but require a single-phase output.

Our approach to product development emphasises customised solutions tailored to specific markets rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach. Numeric is renowned for its ability to provide bespoke solutions through preemptive partnerships and need-based innovation. Over the years, these products have proven successful, with the HPI33 EVO being a standout example of our achievements.

Our modular solutions, such as the Keor Mod, have gained traction in data centre applications, where customers prioritise modularity, scalability, hot swapability, and energy efficiency. These products are equipped with unique features derived from customer feedback, enabling us to deliver innovations that precisely meet their needs.

Our robust service infrastructure complements our product offerings, bolstered by over one million active installations worldwide. Numeric UPS powers more than 70% of airports and metros, as well as leading educational institutions like IITs and IIMs. As the education sector undergoes digital transformation, our UPS systems are deployed even in the most remote corners of the country, supported by our dedicated engineers who go above and beyond to ensure reliable power supply, even in challenging terrains.

Do you anticipate significant demand for your products in the growing data centre infrastructure sector in India?

Absolutely. We’ve observed robust and consistent growth within the data centre solutions segment over the past several years, and this growth is in alignment with the rapid expansion of the market itself. The data centre market’s growth trajectory has been remarkable, driven by various factors such as the increasing demand for reliable solutions, modularity, agility, redundancy, and scalability. Our product offerings, including Keor Mod and Keor HPE, cater to these diverse requirements. We provide both monolithic UPSs for large-scale applications and modular solutions for situations where modularity is key. This versatility ensures that we can meet the specific needs of different customers and applications within the data centre ecosystem.

The growth in data centre solutions is further fueled by the growing emphasis on data security, as well as the increasing adoption of cloud infrastructure by organisations across various sectors. Whether it’s on-premise enterprise data centres, colocation facilities, or hyper-scale data centres, all segments are experiencing significant expansion and demand. This growth is also a reflection of evolving consumer behaviour, driven by trends such as digital transactions, OTT content consumption, data security measures, and the development of smart cities. As digitisation and automation continue to accelerate, the need for robust data storage and management facilities becomes increasingly vital.

Looking ahead, we anticipate strong growth momentum in this space, with a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 18-20% over the next five to six years. Our modular solutions, coupled with our robust service infrastructure, uniquely position us to meet the evolving needs of our customers. We remain committed to providing reliable power solutions that ensure business continuity for our customers, thereby contributing to their success in an increasingly data-driven world.

What are your current plans for the power backup solutions market, and how large is the market currently?

This market is quite expansive, but if we dissect our share of it, particularly in line-interacting single-phase products, we’ve maintained a strong leadership position. This dominance isn’t recent; it’s been established over many years. It stems from our robust service infrastructure, which has enabled us to deploy products and solutions across every corner of the country. Our leadership traces back to the digitalisation era when ATMs were proliferating nationwide, and we were at the forefront, leveraging our extensive service network to install these solutions across the country. Since then, we’ve maintained our leadership position in this segment.

Turning to the three-phase market, it’s been a significant sector for the industry at large, and we’ve been active participants in its growth. The entire industry is witnessing remarkable expansion in the three-phase segment, which aligns well with our strategic objectives. Our estimates put the total industry size at around 6,000 crores, with three-phase products accounting for approximately 50-55% of that figure.

Can you provide insights into the reasons behind the three-phase growth?

If we analyse the current trajectory, it closely aligns with the broader economic trends. For instance, with GDP projections indicating robust growth ranging between 6 to 8%, we anticipate significant investments in infrastructure development. This encompasses the evolution of smart cities, expansion of transportation networks including metros and airports, and the burgeoning startup ecosystem, which boasts approximately 30 unicorns and numerous SMEs led by tech-savvy entrepreneurs.

Simultaneously, there’s a notable shift towards digitalisation across various sectors. This is evident in the transformation of education, entertainment consumption patterns, and the adoption of healthcare technology solutions facilitating remote assistance. As technology assumes a central role in driving these changes, it empowers businesses in ways previously unimaginable, amplifying growth trajectories across sectors.

The evolution of technology itself contributes to increased power consumption. Consider the transition from earlier phone models with minimal power requirements to contemporary smartphones necessitating higher-powered chargers for sustained usage. Similarly, advancements in office equipment, such as servers and computers with more sophisticated processors, elevate energy consumption levels. Additionally, the expansion of office spaces to accommodate larger workforces further escalates power demands.

While these developments signify progress, the COVID-19 pandemic catalysed a paradigm shift in work dynamics, ushering in widespread remote work setups. This necessitated a reevaluation of power reliability solutions, particularly in industrial settings, where physical inspections became impractical. Consequently, there’s a growing awareness among consumers regarding the significance of quality power solutions and energy efficiency.

Companies are increasingly cognizant of their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) commitments, aiming for carbon neutrality and emphasising sustainability. This shift underscores a broader dialogue surrounding the total cost of ownership and the long-term impact of product choices on energy consumption and ESG contributions. As an organisation committed to corporate social responsibility (CSR), we remain dedicated to supporting our customers in aligning with these objectives through innovative product solutions.

Do you anticipate the role of software growing within your industry, similar to how it has expanded in hardware companies, especially with the increasing connectivity and smarter device trends?

We believe it’s inevitable, given the trajectory of technological advancement, particularly in the realms of AI, machine learning, and generative AI. Over the past few months, there’s been significant buzz surrounding technologies like ChatGPT, which are aimed at streamlining everyday tasks and making life easier. Take connected devices, for example. We’ve implemented remote monitoring solutions for certain installations where customers prefer not to invest resources in deploying monitoring infrastructure for their equipment. Instead, through connected devices integrated into our infrastructure, we’re able to track the performance of their equipment on their behalf. This allows them to concentrate on their core business activities, while leveraging technology to handle peripheral tasks efficiently. This convergence of technology and business objectives is reshaping how companies operate and underscores the transformative potential of connected devices and AI-driven solutions.

Do you provide it like a service to them?

Yes, our services extend to encompass connected products and remote monitoring applications, allowing us to effectively track the health of our customers’ equipment. One notable system we offer is the BHMS, or ‘Battery Health Monitoring System’. This system is particularly beneficial for large enterprises with extensive installations across regions like India. In such cases, where thousands of batteries may be dispersed throughout the country, manually checking their health would be resource-intensive and impractical.

However, with our BHMS solution, we provide a digital infrastructure that facilitates remote monitoring and assistance. This is where our Customer Excellence Center plays a pivotal role. Through this digital infrastructure and remote support, we can monitor the performance of batteries and equipment in real-time. This proactive approach not only enhances operational efficiency but also ensures timely maintenance and intervention, ultimately maximising the lifespan and performance of the equipment.

How many batteries do you monitor simultaneously at any given time?

Our battery installations are extensive, potentially running into millions. However, it’s essential to clarify that we don’t monitor every individual battery. The extent of monitoring depends on the customer’s setup. Let’s consider a logistics company as an example. They operate warehouses nationwide, each equipped with a 500 kVA UPS system comprising approximately 2000 batteries. With 10 such locations, the total battery count reaches 20,000. In this scenario, if one battery fails in a single location, it could disrupt the entire UPS system’s functionality.

To address this challenge, we’ve implemented a centralised monitoring solution known as Battery Health Monitoring System (BHMS). This system enables us to monitor the health of every battery across the country from a single location. Through BHMS, we can quickly assess the operational status of each site. For instance, if a red signal indicates a potential issue at a specific location, we dispatch proactive engineers to investigate and resolve the problem promptly, ensuring uninterrupted UPS functionality.

Do you have a monitoring system similar to a network operations centre (NOC) for your systems?

Yes, exactly, we do have a system in place, but it’s essential to discern who truly requires these solutions. Individual standalone ecosystems might not necessarily benefit from such offerings. However, for entities engaged in pan-India operations, particularly those focused on logistics or retail infrastructure, specialised infrastructure solutions become imperative. This is where expertise from companies like Numeric, coupled with product specialisation and robust service infrastructure, can prove invaluable in addressing their needs.

Is this a recent thing or has it been occurring over an extended period?

No, this technology is quite recent. We’ve recently implemented our 24×7 digital Customer Excellence Center, representing a significant step forward in our service capabilities. This centre serves as a comprehensive 24×7 digital interface where every call and email is received in real-time and logged into our advanced CRM software. This software, built on next-generation technology, allows us to efficiently manage customer concerns by generating tickets and assigning service engineers to resolve issues promptly.

One of the notable features of this system is the provision of virtual remote assistance. For instance, last year alone, we delivered over 31,000 instances of virtual remote assistance to customers. Consider a scenario like an installation in a remote area like Sikkim, where an urgent problem arises that doesn’t necessarily require physical spare parts but demands immediate attention. In such cases, we initiate virtual remote assistance, providing customers with a link to connect with our support team. Within a remarkably short timeframe of around 25 to 30 minutes, we address these issues remotely. This approach has proven highly effective, contributing to a significant number of resolved cases.

In the past year, we’ve received direct feedback from customers through various digital channels, totaling an impressive 65,000 responses. We view this as a testament to our commitment to democratising the voice of the customer. Additionally, our service rating, measured in stars, stands at an outstanding 4.9 out of 5, reflecting the high satisfaction levels among our customers. This remarkable achievement has been made possible through our journey of embracing technology and digitalisation to enhance our service offerings.

Roughly, how many remote machines are currently operational within your system?

Yes, indeed. Regarding the Battery Health Monitoring System (BHMS) and remote monitoring system, our launch occurred just last year, so it’s been only a few months since its introduction. While it’s still early in the journey, we’ve already seen traction with some key customers operating across India. For instance, a prominent 3PL company in the logistics sector has been keen on adopting this solution for some time, and we’re currently in advanced discussions with them. This deployment would involve monitoring thousands of batteries and pieces of equipment, highlighting the scalability and significance of our solution.

In terms of virtual remote assistance, the numbers are quite promising. Initially, we started with around 31,000 virtual remote assists, which has since grown substantially. Over the past four to five months alone, we’ve seen a significant uptick in demand. Presently, we’re aiming to conduct approximately 10,000 virtual remote assists per month. To support this initiative, we’ve established a Customer Excellence Center staffed with a team of technology and technical experts proficient in both single-phase and three-phase technologies. With this setup, we anticipate providing over a lakh virtual remote assistance sessions to clients nationwide.

What is your staff strength for this task?

The Customer Excellence Center is composed of approximately 30 customer care executives who primarily utilise digital interfaces to log customer calls. Additionally, there are about 15 service engineers who provide nationwide support for virtual remote assistance.

How do you anticipate the growth and role of managed service providers, particularly in handling global requests, especially in contexts like server and battery management?

For us, what’s crucial is that we currently boast over 1 million active installations. While we certainly aspire to have world-class infrastructure, such as what we’ve established in the Customer Excellence Centre, with the potential for global expansion, the sheer size of the Indian market demands our immediate attention. The market is so vast that our current efforts may not suffice to meet the evolving needs of consumers who increasingly seek remote monitoring and advanced Building and Home Management System (BHMS) solutions.

At present, our focus is on leveraging local infrastructure to address local requirements in the midterm. However, it’s worth noting that there exists a global opportunity, especially within the broader context of Legrand’s global presence, where similar infrastructure solutions could find application.

How does India being a low-cost service centre impact the global deployment of battery management systems, and how are your service centres positioned to address this trend?

Moving forward, we see India as a key focus for the Legrand Group. The Group is deeply committed to investing in the growth of our local subsidiary and entity here, recognizing India as a significant and rapidly expanding market. Our priority lies in strengthening this market, enhancing our capabilities, and optimising our digital interfaces. We aim to leverage technology not only in our product offerings, where we already provide cutting-edge solutions like three-phase systems and lithium-ion solutions but also in our service infrastructure.

We firmly believe that service plays a vital role in ensuring business continuity. Therefore, we’re dedicated to investing in next-generation service infrastructure that harnesses technology to meet the evolving needs of our customers. In today’s digital age, where consumers are increasingly reliant on technology in their daily lives, it’s essential that we adapt and innovate to provide the best possible service and support.

Do you consider your emphasis on services and the connected ecosystem, particularly the remote model, to be a competitive advantage?

It’s undoubtedly a significant advantage for us, stemming primarily from the critical nature of the applications our customers rely on. Take, for instance, the ubiquitous presence of Numeric UPS systems in most metros. For our customers in these areas, the smooth operation of Metro services is paramount. Similarly, with over 500 healthcare brands partnering with us, the equipment we provide isn’t just machinery; it’s life-saving technology. Whether it’s in the remotest corners or within the bustling financial sector, seamless operation is non-negotiable.

Over the past few years, as digitalisation has become more prevalent, customer expectations have risen, extending beyond mere product functionality. Our competitive edge lies in our robust infrastructure of services coupled with advanced technological interfaces. We firmly believe that ensuring customer satisfaction goes beyond delivering a product; it’s about providing a comprehensive solution that meets their needs. This customer-centric approach is where we focus our investments, confident that happy customers are the key to sustained success.

Do you engage in marketing-led activities to expand your presence and make further inroads into the Indian market, across enterprises and various industries?

Absolutely, our investments have been extensive, particularly in enhancing our digital interface and expanding our presence across various platforms. One significant initiative we’ve undertaken is the launch of our eShop, a robust platform offering end-to-end product listings. This provides our customers with a comprehensive range of products and solutions, complemented by configurators that allow for personalised configurations tailored to their needs. By leveraging eShop, we not only facilitate product discovery but also empower customers to make informed decisions about the solutions that best suit their requirements.

We’ve bolstered our presence across diverse digital platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Meta, and WhatsApp for Business, among others. Strengthening our presence on these platforms has been a strategic focus over the years, enabling us to expand our reach significantly.

While our digital interface remains a priority, we also recognise the importance of the offline space. Consequently, we’ve made concurrent investments in our offline ecosystem, including our channel community, system integrators, and value-added reseller (VAR) partners. Our approach emphasises the creation of a hybrid ecosystem that seamlessly integrates digital interfaces with offline touchpoints, ensuring broad accessibility and engagement.


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