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Be in a state of perfect imperfection: Jawa of Daikin

Investing in local manufacturing has helped Daikin Airconditioning India scale up in the country, says Kanwal Jeet Jawa, Managing Director, as he outlines his growth strategy to Dipak Mondal. Excerpts:
twitter-logo Dipak Mondal        Print Edition: August 2, 2015
Kanwal Jeet Jawa, managing director, Daikin Airconditioning India.
Kanwal Jeet Jawa, managing director, Daikin Airconditioning India. (Photo: Vivan Mehra)

Q- What are your strategies to stay ahead of the competition in the segment?

A- With value gaining more momentum than price across many categories, the pressure on global brands to stay ahead of the customer expectation is paramount. At Daikin, we believe in doing simple things but doing them exceedingly well with a view to stay ahead of not only the competition but from consumers aspirations. Speed in thinking and execution is the cornerstone of our success.

Q- What are the new technologies in air-conditioning that can give competitive advantage?

A- Daikin changed the rule of the inverter AC market when it came with the new refrigerant, an environment-friendly, low GWP (global warming potential) refrigerant, R32, about two years back in Japan. It is very energy-efficient as it takes less than 5 amp current compared to 10 amp current consumed by ACs with existing refrigerants. After Japan, R32 AC was also launched in India. Today of the 400,000 ACs sold by Daikin, 32 per cent are R32 ACs.

Q- How do you keep your employees motivated?

A- I have a very simple theory that I keep sharing with over 1,600 Daikin employees: To remain in a state of perfect imperfection. Striving for perfection is not the same as trying to do the best you can. Try your best is an attempt to make the most of your potential, trying for perfection is an attempt to meet goals and ideals that have no set definitions. Even if you are able to score a 'perfect' goal in a game, there could still be something lacking in your technique. What is perfect to you may not be perfect to others. The search for perfection is as old as human history.
I am someone who enjoys what I am doing and I do it with a lot of love and passion. So I urge my people to move away from static perfection and open their mind to seek beauty and progress that lies in imperfection.

Q- What are the future plans of the company?

A- My dream is to make Daikin India an epicentre of manufacturing that would eventually service the Central Asia and SAARC nations. We are looking to commence our second manufacturing in India to fuel this expansion and invest in a sub-R&D centre too.

Q- You are saying Daikin will soon be the number one air conditioner player in the country. What gives you such confidence?

A- We are on the path of becoming number one air-conditioning player in India primarily because we have technologically superior products. We have 14 per cent of the market share compared with 19 per cent of the market leader (Voltas is the number one player in the air conditioning market). We are globally number one and we have the processes to be number one. We do backward integration. We have our own large factory base, where most of the components are made in-house.
Look at the way we have grown in the past five years: in 2009/10, our revenue was Rs 440 crore; in 2014/15, we reported revenue of Rs 2,600 crore. The last two years were particularly bad for the air conditioning business, but we converted all adversities into our advantage because we had local manufacturing capabilities. The decision of the leadership to set up a plant in India bore fruit when exchange rates became adverse.

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