China is at Europe’s doorstep, not India’s


Caple has tied up with Nanxing Machinery. You may ask ‘Why change the approach by adding a major Chinese brand to Caple’s portfolio, which has otherwise thrived on European brands?’

China is not at India’s doorstep but at Europe’s doorstep. It is knocking hard, but Europe seems not to be listening. The Chinese are different from how they were 10 years back; they have improved in quality and service.

If you call a Chinese on a Saturday evening, the sales and service department will respond; but the European will not after Friday afternoon. The Chinese would still work 50 hours per week, whereas Europeans would work only 35 hours.

The Chinese still target doubling the revenue every 3 years. This is a CAGR of 27%. Europeans cannot even imagine this growth. This shows that even after being the factory of the world, the Chinese are not complacent, and there’s a hunger in the country to learn and grow.

Europe was the core of innovation till now; but the first investment to go away is in R&D when you don’t grow fast. This R&D is now happening in China. Look at the configuration of machines: the CNC beamsaws, edge banders and CNC boring are minimum double the productivity.

The Europeans customised their machines for batch size-1 with open configuration; the Chinese have commoditised this with a closed configuration. European brands have inspired the world but will have to move to higher configurations but keep the production price low. This can only happen if they invest in manufacturing in India or China.

Best vendors

Unfortunately, only a couple of European brands have seriously invested in Indian manufacturing, but the configuration is still low-productivity and low-speed, which is suitable for small workshops. Indian brands, unfortunately, have failed to build manufacturing capabilities, not to talk about scaling up capacities.

The mother machines required to make advanced machines require high precision and are either Japanese, German or Taiwanese. Nanxing Machinery has invested nearly US$1 billion in 200+ Mazak, SMK, Trumpf, etc. These are mother machines to manufacture machines.

This shows that all the components are machined in-house and not outsourced, and quality and production are controlled. They are producing 10x the volume of large European suppliers, doubling every 3 years.

We at Caple have been fortunate to learn from the best in the West, but now the writing is evident on the wall: work with the best from the East. If we don’t adapt to the market’s changing demands, the customers, raw material suppliers, and industry will remain small niche businesses, lose global market share, and soon become irrelevant and out of business.

We respect all the European suppliers who have taught us this business. While many of us look for the most economical products in China, Caple looks for and chooses the best vendors. We educate people on how to select machines based on their needs and resources. We still aim to deliver the best solutions, with consultancy in application and process, leading to excellence.

Spares, standards

The machine tool industry thrives on the sales of spare parts. This format makes it painful for customers to buy expensive spares. Caple empowers customers to choose between the right to replace, repair, or source generic spare parts locally or import from the OEM.

The right to repair/ replace is a power to the customer to choose what is in his best interest: speed of uptime or the cost of spares. European brands have a spare-to-machine ratio of 7:1, so the cost of spares is high. The Chinese ratio is 2:1.

It goes without saying that with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), India should have the best safety regulations in the world. The cost of health and safety and the impact on the climate should be no less than any other in the world. The BIS is not for the protection of Indian businesses but to ensure that we are export-ready, and that India is able to deliver high quality and high volume at global standards.

Solid wood, if coming from a suitable forest, is one of the best raw materials in the world and has the lowest carbon footprint. We should ensure that consumption is made of sustainable materials with a lower carbon footprint and no pollution. Waste of any resource is national waste, be it time, material, energy, or consumption. 



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