For more than 70 years, the German company Würth has been the world’s leading supplier of assembly technology. It is one of Germany’s 100 most influential companies with an annual turnover of around 14.5 billion euros. “A large company like ours could not, therefore, ignore India,” says Norman Dentel, CEO of Wuerth Industrial Services India Pvt. Ltd. “India is one of the largest growth markets in the world, perhaps even the largest growth market in the world. Any self-respecting company should take advantage of the opportunities this market offers”. Norman Dentel shares his four tips for companies that want to become successful in India.
1. Choose The Right Legal Form For Your Market Entry
Würth opened its first private limited company in Mumbai in 1994. “That was a Würth-Line company,” explains Norman Dentel. “This is what we call the companies that carry out our core business under the red W logo: the sale of assembly equipment, including screws, screw accessories, anchors, tools, chemical-technical products, personal protective equipment and the supply of complete supply chain solutions with different types of vending machines and Kanban systems”.
In the following years, Würth’s German headquarters received more and more requests from large, international customers looking for professional supply chain solutions for their various entities worldwide, including in India. “In 2005, we, therefore, decided to establish a new company, Wuerth Industrial Services India Pvt. Ltd. in Pune, in order to meet these requests and to provide our multinational customers with fast service and local support. Because we brought a solid customer base of international, existing customers from Germany, we never had any start-up problems in India and there was immediate room to grow”.
Wuerth Industrial Services India is much more than just a supplier of fasteners and assembly materials. “The company consists of four segments in India. First is a team focusing on the company’s core business. Second is a business unit providing international customers with outsourcing support from India. The third is a department developing Customer Relation Management software. And lastly, an innovation center called “iHUB”. Here experts work on e-learning, augmented reality, virtual reality and graphic design applications. They have recently built a virtual reality tool that allows our customers to virtually visit our company and our warehouses. In these corona times, social distancing solutions are a hot topic. We are working hard to implement them at different levels”.
“In order to grow successfully in a country like India, it is very important to look carefully at the best legal form for the company before entering the market,” says Würth’s top executive in India.
“For us, the private limited company is a tried and tested business model. So it was logical to choose this in India as well. The big advantage is that companies own the shares of the subsidiaries. As the owner, you have the opportunity to run the company yourself, or to appoint directors without having to take other shareholders into account. In addition, the creditworthiness of a private limited is higher. It is easier to raise funds from venture capitalists, members and even from foreign companies”.
2.Take Plenty Of Time To Recruit Good Personnel
Wuerth Industrial Services India has over 330 employees. Many of whom have been working for the German wholesaler for about ten years. “This is very unusual in India. But we try to separate the wheat from the chaff during the recruitment process so that we only have the people who really suit us,” says the director in India. “Often the candidates look very good on paper, but we find the real talents by asking in detail during the interviews. So dare to take the time for the selection process and really get to know the candidates before you make a final decision”.
European companies are popular employers in India, according to the CEO. “European companies have a high status in the country, are well organized, reliable and support the personal development of employees. So there are always enough candidates available for an open position. But of course, you want to find the employees with the right mindset. And not hop on to the next company after a year because they can earn more there. That is why we are very open about what we are looking for, a talent that is open to long-term employment with a performance-based income that is always paid on time. We see that this openness, about what a candidate can expect, is greatly appreciated.
3. Find The Right Balance Between Private And Business In The Workplace
“Leadership requires above all emotional intelligence and a certain instinct to prevent fluctuations. This is no different in India than in other countries,” says the Wuerth Industrial Services CEO. “However, I have also learned a lot in recent years about cultural differences and how to act in order to better reach my Indian team. In Germany, we are very focused on facts and other reliable factors, but in India, emotions are much more important. For example, I can’t give an introductory speech in India where I only tell about my +20 years with Würth. The the different countries I have visited over the years, I would bore my audience to death. On the other hand, if I share my personal experiences in India or tell about my family, it would be very welcome. India is a country where emotions really bring people together”.
Yet Norman Dentel also sees that German professionalism is appreciated by his employees. “Appreciation and giving feedback on the work done is just as important as discussing family and other private matters. You should not bend over too much and let individual sensitivities and interpretations prevail in the workplace, which could lead to unnecessary discussions. A good balance between private and business is key in India.“
“India is the most exciting place where I have been able to work for Würth in 20 years.- Norman Dentel – CEO Wuerth Industrial Services India
4. Go Step By Step
According to Norman Dentel, companies often think they can apply the same business strategy in India that they use in China. “But make no mistake, India is not a big country. There are 28 smaller states with their own languages, cultures and customs. Each state has its own government agencies and therefore its own rules. You can’t make one business plan for the whole country and ignore those state differences entirely. Doing business in India is therefore not a sprint but a marathon, you have to conquer the country step by step”.
“It’s therefore important to build in space in your business goals so that you can grow peacefully,” explains the top man. “A simple example: in India, we see a high consumption of raw materials and a lot of environmental pollution, which goes against the value of our company. We try to counteract this by offering green solutions to our customers, but in India, sustainable awareness is still very low. It will probably take years before real changes become visible in the country. At the same time, you will also find very positive examples, such as the clean cities of Mysore or Kochi.
Continuing to invest will deliver results in the long run, although you have to take a long time. I have forgiven half of my heart to India, the other half stays in Germany. Despite the fact that sometimes you really have to show a lot of patience, private and business, India remains the most exciting place where I’ve been able to work for Würth in 20 years”.
Does your Indian entity need support from local production or assembly? Wuerth Industrial Services is here to help. You can reach Norman Dentel here.