Global Business interest in India

The India story has been a profound shift in gear and direction during the year 2006. Though many have referred to the growth story as centered around the country’s outsourcing activities the arrival of India as shaping force on the global markets is clearly picking up pace .

As global business interest in India keeps growing, so does the expectation that Indian companies must play and be seen to play by rules that are clear to international investors. Demands have long been heard for greater transparency in the way Indian companies do business, especially those firms that are keen on expanding their global footprint. But how does one go about living and conducting business in a networked world with distributed business interests?

In a world with seamless boundaries, where a European car manufacturer designs parts of its car in India, out sources its components in a dozen companies and assembles its car in China, the growth story could falter at various points. As much as business has internationalized for the car marker, the business has got more complex for its vendors.

Not only do they have to bid for orders on the internet. E-bidding is now a way of life for large corporations. Most have to be prepared to source raw materials from any part of the world to keep their costs low and sell to faceless customers in any part of the world. This calls for speed and connectedness, having a well-oiled communication and distribution and supply mechanism in place the best of the situation.

Enter Indian business, which have all that and more. The Internet appears to have provided a new lease of life for small firms and businesses to effectively use the medium and supply chain for their businesses. Moreover, steered by India’s sophisticated engineering skills, established production lines, a thriving domestic industry and competitive costs, global majors are also rapidly ramping up the value of components they source from India, whether it is in the area of pharmaceuticals, the automobile sector, and Information technology or even in the gems and jewelry industry.

Take the pharmaceutical sector, for instance, India is fast emerging as the pharmacy to the world. Globally, the Indian pharmaceuticals industry ranks fourth in terms of volume and thirteenth in terms of value. Pharma exports from India in 2006-07 stood at Rs 24,600 crore and are expected to surge ahead with a projected 30% growth this fiscal. It is forecast that Indian pharma exports would grow to Rs 112,275 crore by 2012.

The world’s topmost generic companies and leading over the counter (OTC) brands are also turning to India for contract manufacturing facilities. India is emerging as the global hub for contract research and manufacturing services. Many small and medium sized Indian businesses have got onto the automatic supply chain initiatives, so that they are too late to the global supply chain party.

At ICI Paints, the entire manufacturing process from dumping of raw material in precise quantities into dispensers to filling of final product in cans or containers, everything is totally automated. ICI Plc, the parent company in the UK, developed a software i-house. For many other Indian companies, it is a similar story.

With a turnover exceeding $10 billion, BPCL is listed in the Forbes International ranking. BPCL has over 5,500 petrol pumps 2,000 kerosene dealers and 3,400 LPG distributors. The company also supplies fuel directly to hundreds of industries and international and domestic airlines. One of the primary concerns was the need for communication mechanism to cut down on the response time and to facilitate communication and information dissemination within the organization. What was born, was a messaging infrastructure and an intranet facility. BPCL was amongst the first to use the internet to reduce turn around time, besides expanding its customer base.