From component manufacturing to exports, Josh Foulger of Foxconn India has a grand vision to establish India as a global hub of electronics]
In April 2015, Josh was hired by Foxconn to head its India business and operations. Josh has established Foxconn as Number One Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) company in India. With over 30,000 workers who produce three phones a second in two sprawling campuses of Sriperumbudur (Tamil Nadu) and Sri City (Andhra Pradesh), Foxconn is ranked among top 45 companies in India in terms of size and scale, a feat achieved in just three years.
Josh attributes Foxconn’s success to his workforce around 90 per cent of whom are women coming from all the districts of Tamil Nadu. The company enrolls them in special skill development programmes and offers opportunities to pursue higher studies. Josh describes the impact of such engagement on their socio-economic situation.
What’s next in mobile phones
While digital convergence – where handheld devices meet camera, entertainment, fitness tracker, scheduling and connectivity needs – has pushed phones to become faster, more capable, and even sleeker, Josh thinks that the advent of 5G technology, along with advancements in AI and IoT will be a huge game changer allowing greater integration, portability, automation, control and communications between devices. AI-enabled phones are already offering advanced functionalities of image recognition and voice assistance. With 5G, those same phones would become so immensely fast and powerful that they can even drive a vehicle autonomously! IoT market in India is expected to grow significantly, with the number of connected devices expected to grow to1.9 billion by 2020. Domestic manufacture of these IoT devices by EMS companies would not only improve their capabilities but also significantly add to India’s GDP.
Where does India stand?
Although a lot has been accomplished over the last five years in terms of capacity building and policy formulations, Josh rues lack of investments in domestic productisation and R&D. “Information Technology has done a huge disservice to the growth of the electronic manufacturing industry in India,” Josh says. Though India currently has 120 crore cellphones, there has been no focus on R&D or innovation.
Josh remains bullish on the prospect of manufacturing $ 1 trillion of electronics by 2027 and envisions that Tamil Nadu, which is currently ranked # 2 state in terms of mobile production, alone can contribute $ 100 billion to that target.
V Sangita & SV
JOSH FROM JOSH FOULGER
After completing his Masters in Industrial Engineering, with specialisation in Robotics, from the University of Texas in 1994, Josh worked at a Robotics and Automation startup. In 1998, he joined Nokia, USA where he managed global operations for more than eight years. Josh helped establish the Nokia plant which became its world’s largest facility, employed 12,000, producing more than 100 million handsets a year and exporting to over 80 countries. He was then deputed to replicate his India success in Vietnam where the facility today is counted among the top manufacturing sites in the world.