O/E/N India: Powering Ahead in Precision Technology
“We make electronics work”, is O/E/N India’s proud logo – and that is precisely what this innovative and highly successful company has been doing since 1968. Set up by the visionary entrepreneur K A Mathew, O/E/N India started off as a joint venture manufacturing electromechanical components like relays, switches and potentiometers. The other stakeholders were the US-based OAK Electro/Netics Corporation and Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC).
The Pioneer: The demand for electromechanical components was huge in India in the early 1970s. Appliance manufacturers, the defence sector as well as industry and aerospace companies were tapping the global market to meet their needs. Public sector units like HAL, BHEL and HMT also depended heavily on imports. O/E/N was thus a pioneer in this segment and was able to effectively capture the market with its first-mover advantage.
The company was also a trailblazer as far as innovations and indigenisation was concerned. While initially dependent on its US collaborator for its designs, K A Mathew’s insistence on R&D resulted in the company developing its own high quality product range. This persistence on setting the bar high has paid off and the company’s managing director Pamela Anna Mathew has been proudly quoted in interviews as saying, “If it does not work, possibly it is not an OEN brand relay.” (1)
The Infrastructure: Given the response to its products, the company has been the market leader for electrochemical components. Over the years, it has invested in developing a production infrastructure that ranges from state-of-the art manufacturing plants, research & development labs, tool rooms and quality assurance labs.
Today, the ISO 9001-2008 company has 20,000 square feet of factory space spread over manufacturing facilities in Kochi and Bengaluru. The machinery in the assembly shops includes everything from the latest welding machines, hydraulic presses and calibration stations. The fabrication shops for pressed parts, plastic moulded parts and electroplating facilities are equipped with high speed presses, multislide machines, automats and moulding machines. The captive tool design centre produces high precision tools and moulds and has special purposes machines.
The O/E/N R&D facility is recognised by the central department of science and technology. Manned by skilled and expert professionals, the lab has developed high precision miniature electromechanical components and various allied subsystems. The strong R&D has helped the company to transfer technology to various business partners.
The infrastructure advantage has enabled O/E/N to become a big player in contract manufacturing. The company produces branded electronics and electromechanical components for various customers. This focus on contract manufacturing has inevitably resulted in an enormous degree of product expertise, thus enhancing the company’s core competency.
The Management Philosophy: At the helm of affairs at O/E/N is the managing director Pamela Anna Mathew, daughter of KA Mathew. She joined the company in the 1970s and has with her dynamic leadership and management philosophy been responsible for ensuring that O/E/N builds and retains its leadership position. The management of the firm is built on the principles of Rethink, Redesign and Rebuild and the ability to manage change and uncertainty with confidence.
One of the heartening features at O/E/N is the opportunities given to women. The HR policies are gender-sensitive and women form a large proportion of the work force.
A highly evolved customer service has also been one of the cornerstones of O/E/N’s success. The company views itself as the customer’s link to the future. This belief has helped O/E/N build up a substantial and loyal customer base over the years. The inherent policy of continuous quality improvements and innovations has also resulted in lessening the gap between consumer demands and the products delivered.
O/E/N’s success is a tribute to the spirit of entrepreneurship in Kerala. Its growth over the years reiterates the fact that Kerala’s industry has the skill and professionalism to match the best in the world.
(1) : http://www.hindu.com/mp/2009/03/07/stories/2009030752480600.htm