National Engineering Industries Ltd.: Empowering Movement with Sustainable Bearings

by IS_Indust
National Engineering

India’s Leading Manufacturer and Exporter of Bearings While Advancing Innovation and Environmental Responsibility!

In our rapidly advancing world, sustainability has become a pressing concern for individuals, communities, and businesses alike. With growing environmental challenges and the need for responsible resource management, there is an increasing demand for innovative solutions that promote sustainability in all aspects of life. One area that holds significant potential for contributing to this cause is making movement more efficient.

Excelling tremendously in this area is NEI. Since its inception in 1946, National Engineering Industries Ltd, manufacturer of NBC Bearings (NBC), has been at the forefront of the bearings manufacturing industry. As a proud member of the esteemed CK Birla group, NEI has been driving sustainability and efficiency through its renowned NBC brand of bearings, revolutionizing movement across various sectors.

Receiving the prestigious Deming Grand Prize in 2015, NEI’s commitment to excellence and top-notch quality standards is evident. With over 2800 dedicated professionals and cutting-edge manufacturing plants, including an exemplary R&D center, NEI remains at the forefront of innovation and technology.

Under the President and CEO Rohit Saboo, NEI is not only an engineering expert but also a champion of sustainability. Utilizing alternative energy sources and embracing digitization for enhanced manufacturing efficiency, the company aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2039, highlighting its dedication to creating a greener future.

With a strong presence in India and a vast network of over 550 authorized stockists and thousands of retailers, NEI ensures exceptional customer satisfaction, solidifying its reputation as a go-to bearings manufacturer in India and beyond. NEI’s continued pursuit of excellence and sustainability places it at the forefront of the industry, setting an inspiring example for others to follow.

Below are the highlights of the Interview:

Can you briefly describe yourself and what inspired you to embark on this sector?

As an Engineering graduate from the prestigious Birla Institute of Technology and an MBA holder from the Rochester Institute of Technology, NY, I have cultivated a diverse background in corporate strategy, manufacturing, and R&D. My journey in the automotive, railway, and industrial sectors has been shaped by valuable work experiences, guiding me to my current role as President and CEO at National Engineering Industries (NEI).

At NEI, my primary focus is upholding the company’s legacy while driving growth through increased sales and establishing a formidable global presence. My path at NEI began as the Executive Assistant to Mr. Chandra Kant Birla, a renowned industrialist and Chairman of the group. Working closely with him provided incredible learning opportunities, involving me in various company ventures and decision-making processes, which contributed to my personal and professional growth.

Taking charge of R&D and Manufacturing in 2000 was a transformative moment for NEI. I recognized the need to modernize our long-established practices and improve product quality. Emphasizing research and global standards, I recruited skilled individuals to drive these initiatives, steering the organization toward a promising future.

Central to our success was the implementation of continuous quality improvement techniques, including TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) measurement, optimizing machinery conditions for productivity, and focusing on TQM (Total Quality Management) principles to ensure top-quality products.

Throughout this journey, I have gained valuable experiences and learning opportunities, which have strengthened my commitment to driving NEI’s success and growth in the market. With a vision for the future and dedication to innovation, I am enthusiastic about propelling NEI to new heights of success.

Could you please briefly explain your company and its inception story?

As part of the Birla business conglomerate, Shri BM Birla started several businesses as he wanted to add industries towards helping India to become self-reliant and hence started several projects to pursue this dream. Shri. B. M. Birla founded the company in 1946 with the name “National Bearing Company Limited,” which is now known as National Engineering Industries (NEI). Shri BM Birla noticed there was a huge gap in terms of mobility back in 1946, and bearings played a major role in the mobility of anything starting from auto and railway to any industrial machinery. During then, bearings were imported majorly.

Hence, keeping in mind his vision to help make India self-sufficient and independent, Shri BM Birla decided to start India’s first bearing manufacturing plant in Jaipur in 1946 to help nation building, mobility, uplifting the community, design & develop quality and robust products that cater to the varied needs of the society. This further helped us to make a difference in the world. We have not just developed products; we have worked out initiatives that serve the well-being of the community and bring the best technology to the markets we operate in. A legacy of empowering society, we are amongst the first ones to serve Indian Railways, and even today, our share is comparatively higher than our peers.

In 2020, NBC acquired Kinex bearings in Europe to enhance and diversify to provide best-in-class products to its existing and potential customers. In 2022, NBC opened its Global Technology Centre in Germany to support its global customers and innovation.

What sets your company apart from others in the industry, and could you share some notable projects your company has worked on and their impact?

NBC sets itself apart in the industry with several key factors. We offer a wide range of products, catering to the automotive, railway, and industrial sectors, and have also expanded into the EV market. The company’s flexibility and agility allow us to provide customized solutions that meet our customers’ specific needs. With a global presence in over 30 countries, NBC has gained the trust of its clients. Their diverse product portfolio covers a wide range of applications, from small to large dimensions.

NBC is known for delivering competitive products that offer great value for money. As a preferred bearing brand for both Indian and global Automotive OEMs and Railways, NBC has built a reputation for excellence. We have also received the prestigious ‘Deming Award’ for our exceptional manufacturing and quality management practices. Each bearing is carefully designed and engineered by experienced professionals to ensure top-notch quality. NBC is committed to maintaining quality standards and has in-house testing facilities.

Additionally, NBC actively engages in collaborative partnerships from the early stages of projects, ensuring remarkable outcomes. One of their biggest strengths is our ability to offer flexible solutions, including design, delivery, development, and dialogue. We have a highly skilled workforce and a wide product portfolio that evolves to meet customer demands.

What is your company’s approach to sustainability and environmentally-friendly practices in engineering?

Amidst the echoes of environment, climate change, and sustainable development worldwide, NBC has gone above and beyond boundaries to implement sustainability measures to reduce its carbon footprint.

NBC believes that continuous efforts need to be made to adopt the latest sustainability methods both in terms of building as well as manufacturing. Water and energy being two of the most critical resources, we continue to keep our focus on implementing efficient measures like utilizing solar power, rainwater harvesting, on-site water treatment, and replacing old equipment with more energy-efficient machines and technology. We have also implemented digital energy monitoring systems across the plant to reduce energy consumption significantly. By implementing rainwater harvesting, NEI has been able to save more than six million liters of water in a year. Additionally, the wastewater from the factory is treated in the Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP), and the treated water is used for landscaping and softscaping areas within the campus. This way, there is zero discharge outside the plant.

The Jaipur factory is one of the oldest in the region to be certified with IGBC Platinum rating, one of the highest for sustainable buildings. Similarly, the Vadodara site is also IGBC Platinum certified.

How do you measure customer satisfaction, and what steps do you take to continuously improve your services?

At our organization, measuring customer satisfaction is a top priority, and we take proactive steps to continuously enhance our services. We believe in regular follow-ups with our customers to gather feedback on their experience with our products and services. Additionally, we conduct an annual customer satisfaction survey managed by an external agency, which provides us with comprehensive insights into our customers’ perspectives. This detailed survey allows us to gauge the overall customer satisfaction index and identify specific areas that require improvement.

Based on the feedback received, we form internal teams dedicated to addressing any identified gaps in our services. These teams work diligently to implement necessary changes and enhancements to ensure that our customers’ needs are met and their expectations are exceeded. By combining regular follow-ups and in-depth surveys, we create a customer-centric approach that drives continuous improvement in our services, ultimately enhancing the overall customer experience.

Please tell us about the awards or recognition that accurately highlight your achievements in the corporate niche and your future plans.

We have won several quality awards, some of the significant being the Deming Award and Grand Deming Prize. We are the only bearing manufacturer in the world to get this coveted award.

This recognition reflects our commitment to manufacturing excellence and quality processes. Over the past seven decades, we have set high standards for ourselves and continuously grown with the support of stakeholders, customers, and dedicated employees. Winning this award inspires us to strive for even greater achievements.

As part of our dedication to organic growth, we have expanded our portfolio to meet the evolving needs of our valued customers. We have made strategic investments in new manufacturing lines and will continue to do so to meet specific requirements.

Looking ahead, we have exciting innovations on the horizon. Several of our R&D projects are nearing completion, paving the way for new bearings tailored for Electric Vehicles, including smart sensor bearings and high-speed bearings. We will also enrich our industrial range with spherical and cylindrical bearings. Our strong partnership with Indian Railways will continue as we support their future expansion plans.

In addition, we are exploring opportunities in aerospace, defense, space exploration, and other promising sectors to foster further growth. We have recently launched new offerings, such as condition-based monitoring and bearing training, creating additional revenue streams.

Internationally, our presence is expanding significantly. We already serve customers in over 30 countries, cultivating strong relationships with OEMs in the United States and Europe. The acquisition of Kinex, a European bearing manufacturer, will broaden our market reach and allow us to enter the aerospace and textile segments. We remain open to potential M&A opportunities that align with our vision and contribute to our ongoing success.

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