“The breadth and depth of industrialisation and enterprise in Tamil Nadu are impressive. It is amazing to find so much work done by many mid-sized companies growing at a good clip” – Mallika Srinivasan
Referring to the rich history of industrial development of the state, Mallika Srinivasan expressed her admiration for the intense focus on productivity and quality: “there are impressive innovations in different industrial sectors. There is industrial peace with mature and cooperative trade unions and a peaceful law and order. These contribute to the flourish of many mid-sized enterprises that constantly look for expansion.”
TAFE is the flagship company of the Amalgamations group, among the largest and oldest industrial conglomerates of South India. The group has unique strengths in tractors, automobile components and plantations. Srinivasan has helped build TAFE into the third largest tractor manufacturer in the world.
In the current fiscal, TAFE is slated to produce 175,000 tractors with a turnover in excess of Rs 10,000 crore. A large exporter of tractors, the company targets to export 15,000-20,000 tractors during the current fiscal. TAFE is the single, largest shareholder in Agco Corporation, USA, with which it has been collaborating for close to five decades.
The tractor industry is enjoying a boom year. With TAFE factories operating at over 100 per cent capacity, the company is busy with impressive expansion plans designed to increase capacity by 50,000 tractors. Srinivasan referred to an average annual capital expenditure of around Rs 300 crore made over the last
TAFE’s modern plant at Madurai focuses on exports made to over 70 countries. The company has production facilities at Turkey to service the European markets and China for the production of components and sub-assemblies to feed the manufacturing plants.
Mallika has rich experience in global industry practices. Understandably, she has been looking at opportunities for expansion. Remember, TAFE’s smart move in acquiring Eicher Tractors in 2005 amidst stiff competition? Recently, TAFE entered into an agreement with ISEKI, the largest Japanese manufacturer of agricultural machinery. This will help TAFE further excel in the mid-segment, the 35-54 hp range compact tractors. ISEKI has special puddling capacity for orchards and plantations, land preparation, tilling, inter-cultivation and spraying applications. TAFE will access product technology for manufacturing ISEKI products for the Indian market. Besides tractors and farm machinery, TAFE manufactures diesel engines, agro engines, gensets, stationary batteries, hydraulic pumps, cylinders, plastic components, gears and transmission components.
Srinivasan referred to the extensive use of IT to optimise the capacity of tractors in use. The mobile app J Farm services, offered free, facilitates hiring tractor and farm machinery available with owner-farmers. The latter can rent out or hire their equipment through the TAFE app. Srinivasan mentioned that even the pilot project in Rajasthan revealed 60,000 using the app to place over 100,000 orders
Research at THE sprawling Jfarm…
As part of its social concerns, TAFE has been focusing on education, healthcare, women empowerment, preservation of the rich Indian heritage and propagation of traditional art forms. For decades TAFE has been engaged in research at its sprawling JFarm near Chennai, spearheaded by former chairman, A Sivasailam. Research efforts in crop diversification, productivity improvements for a vast range of crops and the introduction of new varieties have benefited the farming community.
JFarm, Rajasthan, is engaged in adaptive research, agriculture extension services, farm skills development, demonstration and customer experience at Jhalawar. JRehab Centre near Madurai employs orthopedically challenged women for employment.
Srinivasan expressed her admiration for the several recent initiatives of the state government like the single window clearance: “the climate for investment is very conducive,” she closed out.