Uno Minda Keeps Pace With Rapid Changes By Cultivating Forward-Thinking Mindset

T Murrali
13 May 2024
07:00 AM
3 Min Read

Technological advancements are accelerating, and the cycles of technological change are becoming shorter, therefore, it is essential to acquire the right skills.

Uno Minda

From a modest beginning about 65 years ago, making switches and horns, Uno Minda Group has transformed into a formidable player in the auto component space.

Today, the companies under the group manufacture and supply over 20 categories of automotive components and systems to leading Indian and international OEMs based in India, Asia, South and North America and Europe. Its manufacturing operations have expanded to over 73 locations, with factories in Indonesia, Vietnam, Spain, and Mexico. The Group's product range currently includes automotive switching, lighting, acoustics, seating systems, and alloy wheels, among others.

Simply put, the Group has become a premier supplier of automotive solutions and systems, successfully navigating numerous challenges and effectively harnessing technology.

Speaking to Mobility Outlook, Amit Jain, CTO & Executive Director of Uno Minda, said the Group's trajectory from a component maker to a comprehensive automotive solutions and systems provider is a testament to its keen foresight and adaptability. Yet, he noted that staying relevant in the constantly changing automotive industry requires ongoing assessment of challenges and the development of new capabilities.

Technological advancements are accelerating, and technological change cycles are becoming shorter. To keep pace with these rapid developments, it is essential to acquire the right skills and cultivate a forward-thinking mindset. Identifying which technologies to invest in is key, as some may become obsolete before they fully mature.

H2 Emerges While EVs in Nascent Stage

'We must plan and strategise with a 4-5 year horizon in mind. Classical example is while EVs are still at nascent stage, people have started taking about hydrogen fuel vehicles,' he said.

Traditionally, vehicles have been hardware-centric, but there has been a significant shift towards a software and content-driven approach. Enhancing software capabilities and integrating them seamlessly poses a unique challenge for auto components companies. Recognising the increasing significance of electronics and software in automotive technology, 'we have established two dedicated verticals within our central R&D unit, CREAT (Center for Research, Engineering, and Advanced Technologies): the Global Centre for Embedded and Software Technologies (GCEST) and Advanced Engineering & Technologies. These specialised divisions will bolster our focus on cutting-edge technologies, including software development, he noted.

Amit Jain

Jain mentioned that global supply chain disruptions, particularly concerning the volatility of imported electronics pricing, require careful management. To safeguard profit margins, he emphasised the importance of strategically increasing the local production of sub-components.

Talent Management

Talent acquisition and retention pose significant challenges for leadership in a competitive market for skilled technology professionals. Securing experts in AI, machine learning, electronics, software, cloud computing, and cybersecurity is becoming increasingly challenging.

'The evolving automotive landscape presents a wealth of opportunities for Uno Minda. Leveraging our existing technological prowess and unwavering commitment to innovation, we are well-positioned to not only navigate these changes but also emerge as a leader in the future of mobility. Jain added that embracing these advancements and strategically expanding our capabilities can solidify Uno Minda's position as synonymous with cutting-edge automotive technology.

New Mobility

Uno Minda has developed a robust portfolio of electric vehicle-specific products, spearheading the automotive industry's transition into new mobility. According to Jain, the Group embarked on its electrification journey 4-5 years ago with a two-pronged strategy. Firstly, it focused on enhancing its existing products for electrification, such as replacing bulb-based headlights and taillights with LED ones, adapting high-current switches to low-current switches with connectivity, and increasing the operating voltages of its ECUs. Secondly, it nurtured the development of several new products tailored specifically for EVs, including onboard chargers, DCDC converters, and Smartplugs.

'We have now built one of the most formidable EV-specific product portfolios, with over ten plus products for E2Ws and E3Ws, most of which are under production and going into OEM line fitment. With such a strong portfolio, we have won multiple orders from established 2W OEMs as well as new-age 2W EV OEMs.

The Group has established two manufacturing plants dedicated to electric vehicle (EV) products in the past year. The first plant, located in Farrukhnagar, Gurugram, Haryana, is a joint venture with Germany's FRIWO AG. This facility specialises in producing EV-specific components like Battery Management Systems (BMS), Onboard Chargers, Off-Board Chargers, Body Control Modules, and DC-DC Converters. The second plant in Bawal, Haryana, manufactures traction motors through a joint venture with Germany's Buehler Motor.

'We are extending our EV product portfolio to 4Ws with a technical licensing agreement with StarCharge to manufacture and sell electric vehicle supply equipment,' Jain concluded.

Also Read:

Uno Minda Launches 4-wheeler Rear View Mirror In The Aftermarket

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