NBC Bearings – Taking rapid strides to global acclaim

Leading the way with indigenous expertise and global outlook

Mr. Rohit Saboo, President & CEO, NEIL
Rohit Saboo, President & CEO, National Engineering Industries Ltd

जयपुर Jaipur (JP): NBC Bearings, the premier brand of National Engineering Industries Ltd. (NEIL), India’s leading bearings manufacturer and exporter and a part of the $1.6 billion C.K.Birla Group, is on a firm footing as it inches closer to become a global player. The nearly seven-decade-old company, which manufactures a wide range of bearings for the automotive, industrial and railway sectors, is making rapid strides to put itself on the global map. Apart from clocking a double-digit growth in its top-line, the Jaipur-based auto component giant is known for its numerous feats such as filing 16 patents for its ground-breaking technology, supplying more than 30 types of bearings to a German commercial vehicle maker and winning supply orders for transmission bearings for one of the most coveted German luxury car makers. The Jaipur plant, sprawls over an area of 478,900 sq. metres.

The company was set up in 1946 under the name National Bearing Company Ltd. Production commenced in 1950 and the company name was changed to National Engineering Industries Ltd. in 1958. NEIL underwent a transformation in its brand identity for its flagship brand NBC Bearings in late 2011.

Market presence

It is the second largest bearings supplier to OEMs in the Indian auto sector. In addition, the company exports bearings to nearly 23 countries, including OEMs in Europe and the US. Approximately 65 per cent of its business comes from automotive bearings, while about 30 per cent comes from railway bearings and the rest five per cent from industrial bearings.

Mr.Rohit Saboo, President & CEO, NEIL, stated: “Our USP is abiding by the philosophy of flexible solutions. Our product development process is centred on 4Ds – Dialogue, Design, Development and Delivery. We get into a dialogue with our customers and try to anticipate their requirements and accordingly design and develop the bearings at a fast clip without any room for error. These have been our four key areas of excellence which further adds a higher value to our customers.”

A company that commenced production in 1950 with an yearly output of merely 30,000 bearings across 19 sizes has transformed itself to become the leading and fastest growing bearings brand in India producing over 100 million bearings in more than a 1,000 sizes every year. One of its growth platforms has been its in-house R&D centre which was commissioned nearly eight years back. It is run more like a command centre where some of the most talented people are working on critical domains like metallurgy, metrology, testing etc.

Mr. Saboo added: “Before 2005 we were spending less than 0.5 per cent of our turnover on our R&D. But now we spend 2 per cent of our turnover on R&D operations with an aim to increase it to 3 per cent in the coming years. We applied for 12 patents and the registration cycle takes three-five years. We are adding 4 to 6 patent applications every year. By the end of this year, 16-18 patents will also be filed.”

Facilities

NEIL has four manufacturing facilities with a total installed capacity of 100 million bearings per annum. While Jaipur is the mother plant churning out 50 million units per annum, Newai makes 30 million units per annum and Manesar 20 million units per annum. The company has earmarked Rs. 500 crores for setting up the fourth plant at Savli, near Vadodara, in Gujarat. The fourth plant, which has just commenced production, will be rolling out 40 million units for both automotive and industrial segments per annum at full capacity.

Talking about the Gujarat facility, Mr. Saboo remarked: “The move was necessitated for being close to our customers who are setting up their manufacturing base there. In the initial phase, the plant will manufacture about 20 million units per year which will be doubled in two years. Proximity to the seaport in Gujarat is also another added advantage for us as nearly 25 per cent of the output will be exported from there.”

The Savli plant of NEIL has been designed and constructed to achieve the IGBC Platinum Certification, which is the highest green rating available. The company promotes recycling of water and rainwater harvesting in its plants.

Expanding client base

The client portfolio boasts of names like ConMet, Indian Railways, Hero MotoCorp, Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors (both PV and CV segments), Mahindra & Mahindra (both PV and CV segments), Daimler India (BharatBenz), Bajaj Auto and Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI), Force Motors, etc. Most of the CV manufacturers like BharatBenz, AMW, Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, Volvo Eicher, etc., are also part of the company’s client base.

The size of bearings manufactured by NEIL range from 10 mm bore to 2000 mm outer diameter (OD). The product range covers ball bearings, tapered roller bearings, railway bearings, cylindrical roller bearings, spherical roller bearings and large diameter bearings.

Even though the aftermarket vertical contributes 20 per cent to its sales pie, the percentage will be further increased as NBC has the largest network of retailers in the country.

“Based on the scale, we have around 25,000 retailers. Beyond that, we have 500+ stockists. It is a continuous exercise of augmenting the base. We are mapping the country as to where we can make our presence felt,” revealed Mr. Saboo.

Exports

Currently, NEIL exports to nearly 23 countries, including the developed markets of the US and Germany. “We started our exports about 5-6 years back and the response was overwhelming. Last year, we had the rare distinction of being the number one bearings exporter from India. Last year, around 16 per cent of our output was exported, and this year it is going to be 20 per cent. In the next two years, we expect exports to touch 25 per cent of our overall turnover. We are exporting to various nations, with the US accounting for the maximum chunk, followed by South Africa, Germany, Peru and Asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, etc. The next big destination is likely to be Europe, and we are already shipping out our products to Turkey,” said Mr. Saboo.

The company was presented the prestigious Deming Application Prize by the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers (JUSE) and several other prestigious awards by ACMA and other industry bodies.

Business outlook

NBC is very close to being the number one bearings manufacturer in India as the Savli plant goes on stream. As far as taper roller bearings are concerned, it is already the numero uno player.

“We have grown from a mid-growth company to a high growth company, recording a CAGR of approximately 17-18 per cent over the last four years even though the automobile market was not growing rapidly. This is because of our concentration on high growth customers and buoyant exports”, signed off Mr.Saboo.

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