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The Cooper Corporation has been in existence from the last few decades and is an important component manufacturer as far as engines and critical vehicle parts are concerned.
The anti-China sentiment seems to be on a high. Especially after COVID-19’s roots being Chinese and the border infiltration by Beijing. Similar sentiments are being echoed in the Indian automobile industry with several states withholding the Chinese investment in the name of security reasons. Express Drives happened to have a conversation with Farrokh Cooper, the scion of Cooper Corporation. The latter is well-known for making engine components and currently supplies to OEMs like Maruti Suzuki, Nissan, Yamaha, Ford to name a few. Crankshafts, flywheels, as well as an entire range of 2, 3, 4 and 6-cylinder diesel engines that will power anything from an agricultural or defence equipment is also made. Farrokh being an industry veteran, was the right person to ask a certain set of questions and as the headline suggests, his answers were equally fiery.
Express Drives (ED): How has the Cooper Corporation dealt with the BS6 transition?
Farrokh Cooper (FC): At present, we do not yet supply complete engines to car manufacturers. However, from the overall industry perspective, I believe that the transition from BS4 to BS6 was smooth compared to the previous one from BS-III to BS4. The overall auto industry needs to be applauded for the kind of effort that has been made to switch swiftly to BS6. Moreover, in the last few months, the overall auto sales have been on the rise and the industry is now getting back on growth track.
ED: China is the main supplier for EV components. Now with the pandemic, how much will OEMs shift from China and what opportunity does it give India?
FC: Today, global manufacturers have begun talks with Indian firms to explore the possibility of shifting part of their supply chains from China as they aim to diversify their operations following the outbreak of the COVID-19. A lot of companies are interested in purchasing automotive components and electronic products from India. Part of the demand also comes from Indian companies for the supply of components, which was heavily dependent on China, that had become a manufacturing powerhouse over the years.
I firmly believe that it is time to reduce our dependence on China and request the government to ban imports of all Chinese engines, power tillers, agricultural pump sets, tractor engines, marine engines, etc. Cheap Chinese products are sold in India only on the basis of price and not quality. Currently, India is also taking a number of steps to attract many international companies to set up their base in India.
I think people should realise that massive government money is being spent on protecting our borders, which were illegally invaded by the Chinese. This alone is enough motivation for us to stand up.
ED: How have your manufacturing facilities adjusted to the new normal? What are the protocols being followed for employee and investor safety?
FC: The pandemic has given a new dimension to safety systems. Social distancing, usage of the mask, and sanitising hands frequently became the new additional requirement. We leveraged the IT technology to extensively sensitise COVID-19 precautions at all levels of the workforce including the blue collars.
Further, the COVID-19 occupied a central place in all safety procedures including material handling, transportation and visitor management. The health declaration was made mandatory and frequent body temperature monitoring with health checkups become the regular norm. Keeping a tab on the spread of COVID in city and micro containment zones and accordingly controlling the access of the manpower in the plant is being done dynamically. Rejoining processes are set up and strictly followed to avoid any risk. In short, the COVID-19 scenario became an integral part of the business continuity plan and safety management system.
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