Gaurav Ahluwalia, Managing Director, R&M India

R&M (Reichle & De-Massari AG) is a leading global manufacturer of future-proof products and systems for communication and data networks. The Swiss company covers the entire connectivity range and caters to local area networks, telecom networks and data centres. In an interview with, Gaurav Ahluwalia, managing director, R&M India, talks about the company’s focus areas and growth plans in the Indian market…

What are the key focus areas for R&M in India?

India is the third-largest global market for R&M. We can also say that India is R&M’s new distribution hub. With a strong understanding of the competitive Indian market, our growth is backed by our key focus on telecom, BFSI, healthcare, hospitality and government verticals for smart city projects, 5G connectivity, data centres and fibre-to-the-home (FTTH).

How has your channel ecosystem expanded over time? What is your strategy in this regard?

Channel partners have a prominent responsibility of creating and expanding business opportunities across the globe. R&M has strengthened its regional distributors across India to ensure that its products are available everywhere in the country. Considering the current and future scenarios of the Indian market, we are designing effective partner programmes and road shows that will not only help us increase our business figures, but also accelerate the growth of our channel partners.

How has Covid-19 impacted your business?

Before the pandemic, more than half the companies surveyed worldwide preferred personal customer visits. Today, that remains true for just one-fifth of companies. This has not impacted R&M in any way as we are a company that helps organisations, data centres and projects like smart cities, metro rail and airports. Although developmental work was halted for a while, we bounced back after the phased unlock. Customers are offered the opportunity to benefit from the company’s knowledge in the field of connectivity and the results have been promising. We also used the time freed up by the cancellation of trade fairs, events, road shows and customer visits to provide network technology training in the form of a series of webinars. The resilience of our employees played a major role in the success of these webinars at such short notice.

How are you leveraging opportunities offered by government programmes such as Smart Cities, Digital India and Make in India?

From R&M’s perspective, Make in India has two major components, FTTH and 5G, and we have already invested heavily on these two aspects. Fibre will play a key role in enabling the government’s ambitious BharatNet programme to provide high-speed broadband connectivity for all. In line with Make in India, R&M had inaugurated a state-of-the-art production facility in August 2018 at Jakkur, Bengaluru. The plant was started with the aim to support the Indian market, but now the company is also exporting its fibre products.

As for smart cities, we are one of the leaders in the space. R&M has developed a special product line for copper, shielded or double jacketed cables with anti-rodent, anti-termite features specifically designed for the smart city market. R&M is actively involved in most of the smart cities projects. We are proud to be a part of more than 15 projects across India.

Going forward, what will be your focus areas and growth strategies in 2021?

Almost every big player in the market is an R&M customer. R&M’s solutions are deployed at many customer sites and our footprint is pan-India. R&M has been a key player not just in the global market but in India as well. The fiscal year 2020-21 will see us implement and execute projects at the same pace. We are very confident about kick-starting our new assembly line for copper solutions by January 1, 2021.

5G is the bedrock of smart city projects. With 5G about to roll out in the near future, we are building our capacities on the technology level and upgrading our human skill set for the upcoming demand. We are also enhancing our copper and fibre solutions.

The year 2020 saw a level of disruption never seen before in our lifetime. Innovation in our marketing activities has been a constant in the past few months and we intend to stay focused in the year ahead. We will continue to have a healthy mix of ATL (above the line) and BTL (below the line) activities, along with digital outreach since that is what the current times mandate.