With a professional graph spanning more than 25 years, Shrinivas has been central to robust businesses across industries and countries. Reimagining possibilities and recalibrating new horizons, he has led diverse teams in different functions. Currently, as the Global Head of Himel–a leading Fast Moving Electrical Goods brand, he is driving the vision of ‘Access to Safer Electricity for All’. His current focus is on crafting the brand’s niche for emerging markets with continuous customer education, market communication, and engaging extensively with the channel ecosystem.
In an exclusive interview with CXO Outlook Magazine, Mr. Shrinivas Chebbi sheds light on the upcoming trends to watch out for in the electrical industry, Himel’s role in accelerating the transition to safer infrastructure, his future plans for Himel’s expansion, pearls of wisdom for aspiring professionals, and a lot more. Following are the excerpts from his interview.
Electrical is bedrock to industrial innovation. What is next big thing you see happening in electrical industry itself?
The electrical sector pervades every aspect of the business. Apart from Industry 4.0, the next big thing I see coming up is in residential segment. In new normal, the concept of a living space has evolved. Homes are not mere resting and playing pads, they are offices, classes and kitchens. How we evolve electrical infrastructure of places where we spend days at a stretch, safely and happily—the role of electrical industry to support efficiency in homes will be the defining trend in years coming up. We are already seeing increasing demand and adoption of smart products that facilitate automation and power saving.
The next likely trend will be the adoption of advanced metering infrastructure. Not only it saves utilities’ significant time and money but also sets the stage for operational improvements and scalability. The conformance of metering and monitoring products will be definitive here. Sub-par quality products often lead to measurements that vary substantially between manufacturers. To gain insights and act on electrical metrics, the metering peripherals need to be standard conformant. Controllability and reliability are going to be the mantra in 2023.
We are noticing a big drive towards electrical safety from governments and businesses. How Himel plays a role in accelerating the transition to safer infrastructure?
As decision makers increasingly realize that safer electrical infrastructure is central to efficient businesses and industries, there have been systemic and concerted efforts, top-down, to build and upgrade infrastructure that ensures electrical safety. We are not only talking about mere operations continuity. The focus is on deep redesign so that our homes, facilities, places we shop at, or work become safer.
Himel’s goal is to make quality assured electrical products accessible to homeowners, project developers, and original equipment manufacturers. Our product price competitiveness, robust local network and deep expertise allows us to speed-up switching to safer electrical infrastructure.
We have strong portfolio of quality assured and certified switchgear and power distribution products, that can deliver new value to existing and future establishments. Our supply chain is uniquely positioned to support growing economies. For example, our manufacturing facility can deliver 1.3 million Miniature Circuit Breaker poles in one day.
Also, Himel is driven by a purpose. We believe that equity in electrical safety is key to economic development that encompasses everyone—a modest home and a big manufacturing facility alike. Our strong focus has been educating consumers, developers, or electrical consultants through initiating conversations around electrical safety. Where everybody is talking about development – we draw parallelism by educating that business stability and reliability need electrical safety, achievable through better products.
Our local teams have deep understanding of regional electrical regulations. This is critical because climate concerns and grid distribution technologies are evolving.
You are an ardent advocate of equity in electrical safety. What do you think will be the biggest driver to achieve it?
Electrical safety in communities and businesses has been close to my heart. In my experience, a top-down initiative for rigorous product testing and quality assurance can bring out a big change. This requires cohesive effort from manufacturers, policymakers, and electrical products brands along with consumer education. Adopting long-term infrastructure development strategies and cross-sector collaboration will definitely scale up equity in electrical safety.
Additionally, manufacturers need to acquire a customer lens to see their products. Will a product be safe if it is used by X customer in Y situation? Historically, design and manufacturing have been done from the perspective of provider. For ensuring safety on ground, manufacturers need to have the perspective of consumer so that safer power continuity is achieved.
How do you think strategic approach such as value engineering can accelerate development in emerging economies?
Worldwide economic integration is possible with energy parity. Electricity is like universal energy currency and therefore electrical safety is important to bring power parity. Value engineering enables us to provide necessary functions in product, application, and project through cost-efficient design, procurement, production and supply, at the lowest cost. It facilitates cost-inexpensive products without compromise on quality or durability, which is a key demand from emerging economies. At Himel, we have delivered cost-effectiveness by leveraging principles of value engineering in several projects.
We often focus on next—the development. But if you reflect on recent situations like pandemic or extreme climate, we need to focus on contingency and recovery as well. Value engineered electrical products can play a bigger role in how well and sooner the electrical infrastructure can adapt or spring back from a setback.
What do markets look like for a brand like Himel? Do you observe a potential uptick in demand?
I believe, 2023 can offer growth opportunities for electrical in both emerging and mature markets. For Himel, great impetus has been coming in from strategic importance of electrical safety. There is a wider consensus that transformation of power provisioning can’t go without high-quality electrical products that will eventually improve operations applications, metering, customer-facing applications and control systems. So, yes. Demand of value engineered electrical products will increase.
What are your plans for Himel to expand presence in market?
Emerging economies are experiencing exponential growth rates. We are positioned to maximize our ability to rapidly seize market opportunities through strategic ecosystem partnerships and operations. Expanding local market presence and responsiveness with global coordination will be our driving mandate. We will continue building on our multi-domestic strategy—’think global, act local.’
Himel has a portfolio of 22K+ products, certified for international and regional quality parameters. Our comprehensive product baskets with specialist offers are positioned to facilitate the building of robust applications. Be it power distribution or industrial control or home electric—we have the range that industries need. In 2023, we will ramp up delivery as per regional requirements and keep lifting up the bar with easy access of our products—on and offline.
As a seasoned global leader, what is your advice to career professionals in your vertical?
Don’t let volatility put your goals in the corner. Move boldly and don’t postpone tough decisions. It is not a guarantee against failure. It is about being able to nimbly adapt in the dynamic business environment and creating a whole that it is larger than its discrete decisions. Mostly it comes when you have a vantage point. Couple it with the courage to take the calculated risk and you win.