In today's digitally enriched life, wires and cables play an indispensable role across many applications and industries. From PCs and mobile devices...to appliances and automobiles..to data communications and construction...and more, wires and cables are the necessary components that make the world go round.
Did you know that wire and cable constitutes roughly 40% of India's electrical industry? That's right. And with India's infrastructure development project, there will be a growing demand for power, light and communication that will drive the demand for wire and cable.
In an exclusive interview with Wire Bulletin India, Marti Nyman, President and Strategic Growth Leader of NDC Technologies, elaborates on a wide range of topics, including new products, growth plans, tackling the pandemic-driven slowdown and emerging markets.
Could you provide an updated overview about the company and its products?
NDC Technologies is a global company and we’re very proud of our 50-year heritage. And our capabilities, depth of innovation experience and global reach has been growing ever since. As a leading provider of intelligent, connected measurement and control solutions, we’ve deployed over 100,000 systems that have amassed more than 1 billion hours of operating experience. Over the years, NDC Technologies has played a dominant role not only in the wire and cable industry but also in other sectors producing products that touch people’s lives everyday such as food, bulk materials, tobacco, plastic film, pipe and tube, coated products and metals. We solve some of the most challenging measurement and controls applications using an array of technologies from our deep portfolio of solutions including laser, ultrasonic, near infrared, nucleonic, optical and other measurement methods. This capability enables us to truly deliver the “right solution for the right need” to customers so we can uncover new efficiencies, ensure quality and add value wherever our products are installed. The legacy of our applications expertise coupled with our proven performance is what truly sets us apart from other companies.
On another note, we recently released our new Vision statement “Intelligence that transforms the world” and Purpose statement. This marks an important turning point for NDC Technologies because these statements more closely align with who we are today, the value we offer to industry and where we’re going as a provider of intelligent measurement and control solutions. They reaffirm our commitment to excellence and lend even greater support to our long-standing passion for serving our customers around the world. You can visit our website to read the full statements and a blog that describes our exciting journey.
How has the company been faring in view of the virus pandemic impacting the wire and cable industry across the world?
Like all global companies, NDC Technologies' business has felt the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of our customers have taken necessary measures to ensure their viability, and as such have reduced/furloughed employees, delayed capital (and operational) investments and attempted to pivot and remain flexible to adapt to the changes and demands in key end markets. However, there are several attributes to our operating model that have enabled us to moderate the impact presented by the pandemic. This includes the diverse range of wire and cable customers we serve, from both a geographic perspective as well as the end-products produced. As a result, where we’ve seen slowdowns in one region, in many cases that’s been somewhat offset by activity in another region. The same applies to product diversity. One of our clients produces medical tubing used in ventilators and other healthcare applications, and we’ve been seeing a strong demand from this sector -- again helping to offset softness in other areas. Lastly, with wire and cable customers instituting stringent safety precautions to prevent the further spread of COVID, our traditional model of face-to-face delivery of sales and service support has had to shift to more “virtual” delivery models. We’re continuing to conduct product demonstrations, address application needs and remotely monitor/diagnose gauge issues – all through the use of these remote technologies. And we’re grateful that we’ve been able to continue supporting our customers as they go through this very challenging time.
Has the company put into place a strategy to counterbalance the effects of the slowdown?
Since the onset of the pandemic, NDC Technologies has been actively assessing what changes are being imposed upon our customers and broader wire and cable markets. Some of the steps we’ve taken I shared in the previous question, while there are mid- to longer-term initiatives that are currently underway. We believe that one of the clear impacts the pandemic has had on the industry is the need for plant operators to maintain production with fewer resources – whether it’s due to a temporary reduction in their production workforce or a broader need to reduce operating expenses in order to more effectively compete. The technology and solution roadmap that NDC is developing includes creating and delivering intelligence. While historically our solutions have provided highly dependable and accurate gauging for wire and cable manufacturers, we know that the future will demand that the company provides not just measurement data but a higher level of intelligence that enables our customers to produce a consistently high-quality product, reduce scrap and improve overall operating cost efficiencies. This effort is not only serving to address the effects of the slowdown, but it’s setting the course for where we enable the industry to advance to this next level of performance and profitability.
What are your expectations from the forthcoming Wire 2020 trade fair to be held at Dusseldorf?
As with all participating companies, our first concern is to ensure this is a safe event for all attendees -- which I’m sure is the key focus of Wire 2020’s organizers. Attendee and exhibitor safety and protection aside, we’re excited about the opportunity to engage customers face to face, hear about the challenges that the pandemic has created for their businesses and discuss creative and cost-effective ways to overcome them. We look forward to exhibiting at this global event as it’s the prime venue where we get the opportunity to engage with current and prospective customers across all wire and cable manufacturing sectors. It also gives us the platform to exhibit and reaffirm NDC Technologies' innovation and leadership position in the industry.
What are the company's growth plans overall and, in particular, for India?
India is a key growth market for all NDC Technologies' product and service lines. We’re particularly proud of the team in India who have demonstrated the customer-centric, responsive level of support that our customers demand and deserve. They’ve been particularly effective in helping our customers navigate the challenges of operating their plants while dealing with lockdowns and travel restrictions. Through this team and with the support of our corporate functions, we’ll be identifying new customers and solution needs for the India market. It’s from this work that we’ll be basing our continued growth for the region.
Do you feel that the Indian government's emphasis on infrastructure development will trigger growth for the company?
Most definitely. As you know, India plans to spend US $1.4 trillion on developing a sustainable infrastructure which includes investing heavily in the transportation, communications and renewable energy sectors. The government also aims to significantly boost the manufacturing sector. NDC Technologies is uniquely positioned to support the needs of wire and cable manufacturers during this huge growth initiative with our comprehensive portfolio of products and services. India’s infrastructure development initiative provides an opportunity for us to expand the delivery of solutions across a number of applications including datacom/telecom, power, building and specialty cable. Our measurement systems provide the precision, performance and value required by manufacturers to meet the most demanding quality specifications so they can produce superior quality products – while realizing greater production efficiencies. And we’re poised to deliver a range of customer service support programs that can be scaled to meet the growing needs of customers to ensure business continuity. We’re an ideal solutions partner for companies seeking to provide the next generation of wire and cable products for the infrastructure development taking place in India.
Is the company engaged in any research and development activities? If yes, could you provide some details?
Yes, it’s a vital part of our business. Because of the pace at which our end-customer’s markets are shifting and the demands they face continue to change, it’s critical that our products evolve to follow this dynamic. What we’ve learned is that what may have been an acceptable level of accuracy 10 years ago is now at the low end of customer expectations. Increasingly, they’re looking for more – more accuracy, more reliability and, perhaps most importantly, more intelligence from their measurement and control solution providers. While I can’t detail the specifics of our research and development (R&D) efforts, I can say that we are actively exploring how to best meet this demand. It may be in the core sensing technology, the way our measurement solutions are configured into a production line or it may focus on ways in which the measurements can provide a higher level of value and insight into improving production quality and yields. For over a half-century, NDC has committed to finding new and innovative ways to enable our customer’s success and a sustained investment in R&D is one of the cornerstones to our approach and success in the marketplace.
What are the new products in the pipeline and how will they benefit the global wire and cable industry?
We’re currently working on several new products that are in the pre-production stages, and we’ll be introducing some of them at the upcoming Wire show. Unlike anything on the market today, these innovations tackle some of the industry’s toughest measurement challenges. For instance, our new LayScan Pro system enables manufacturers to precisely monitor and control the lay length of twisted-pair Cat cables as they are being made inside the bow of a twinning machine. We’re the only company offering this type of solution and it will significantly improve product consistency and quality while driving cost efficiencies. Our new AccuScan Pro Multi-Strand system provides 100% on-line inspection of multi-strand wire. It does this by accurately measuring the diameter of multiple wires simultaneously and instantly detecting any missing and broken strands. While released late last year, we’re also debuting our new, innovative LaserSpeed Pro M Series gauge for the first time at Wire. This innovation accurately and reliably tracks the length and speed of “hard-to-measure,” bouncing, moving products during the production of wire, cable and rod. The industry has been struggling to accurately make these types of measurements on long cylindrical products. Companies will now realize considerable savings by minimizing scrap, loss in productivity and process downtime.
[Courtesy of Wire Bulletin India, Vol XI, Issue IV, October 2020]