The electro-plating industry in Pimpri-Chinchwad, which depends heavily on Tata Motors, has witnessed a nearly 40-45 per cent drop in its business.
Of the almost 250 electro-platers in Pune, 100 are in Pimpri-Chinchwad. These are small-scale units that employ 10 to 20 employees. Nearly 70 per cent of their business comes from Tata Motors. Since May, as Tata Motors started witnessing a slump in its business, the electro-plating units also felt its impact.
Tata Motors observed a block closure from August 28 to 31, the second one in August. The next block closure is slated to take place next week as the demand for its cars and heavy vehicles has dropped significantly
Sanjeev Shah, CEO of Parshwanath Metal Processors (I) Pvt Ltd, Indrayaninagar, said one of his units had to be shut down for two days during the block closure period of the auto giant. “One of our small-scale units, Electro Glitter, has been hit badly. The business is down to only 20 per cent. In the other unit, the business is down by 50 per cent,” he said.
“Earlier, we used to get orders worth Rs 8 lakh every month from Tata Motors. The orders are now down to Rs 2.5 lakh per month,” said Shah.
The electro-plating business involves plating of auto parts like nuts and bolts or metals to prevent corrosion, improve the appearance of the plated material and improve wearability. “The business has gone downhill since the last five to six years after Tata Motors started shifting most of its business … it has shifted the manufacturing of some of its popular models to these places. As a result, the small-scale units in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad had landed in a spot. And now the block closures have made things worse,” he said.
Srinivas Rathi, managing director of Plate Masters, Bhosari, said his business was down by at least 40 per cent. “We used to manufacture 500 products for Tata Motors. Our monthly turnover was around Rs 2.5 crore, which is now down to around Rs 1 crore,” he said.
It is not just the electro-plating business which is facing a crisis, said Rathi, who is also the vice-president of Pune Metal Finishers’ Association. “The slowdown is affecting various sectors… business is down by around 40-45 per cent,” he said.
The situation was, however, not as bad as the recession that shook Indian industries a few years ago, said Shah, “The situation is not as bad as it was five to six years ago. This is because after Tata Motors started shifting its major work to other places, the small-scale units in Pimpri-Chinchwad started relying on other major players like Bajaj Auto and Mahindra,” Shah said. “So, we can’t say that the small units are in deep trouble. Business has been hit, but not completely shut,” he said.
The units have also retrenched their temporary workers and non-performers. “We have laid off non-performers. Why would a unit pay someone when the business is down and the employee is not productive,” Shah said, adding that at least 20 per cent retrenchment has taken place in the business.
These units have also stopped giving overtime as they don’t have enough work in hand. “But this is again a temporary arrangement. When things look up, we will get our temporary employees back,” said Rathi.