For Atmus, India is key to next phase of global growth – ET Auto

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The Pune global capability centre will be one of the key pivots for this objective and will employ advanced analytics to develop cutting-edge filtration technologies.

The CEO of Atmus Filtration Technologies, Steph Disher, believes that India will be a strategic growth lever going forward.

“India is very important to us as a business. We have a very strong position here with our joint venture of 35 years, Fleetguard Filters. It is a significant business with very strong manufacturing and distribution capabilities, strong customer partnerships and we have been successfully operating and growing it,” she said during a recent visit to inaugurate the company’s global capability centre in Pune.

“I actually see India becoming one of the fastest growing markets in the world for us,” added Disher. It is now well over a year since Atmus was spun off from Cummins as part of an effort to to strengthen its focus as a standalone entity on filtration technology and fuel additives.

The Pune global capability centre will be one of the key pivots for this objective and will employ advanced analytics to develop cutting-edge filtration technologies to meet the needs of trucks and buses as well as sectors like construction, mining and power generation. It will support the company’s global business functions of engineering, product management, IT, supply chain etc.

High passion levels

“It is so energising for me to come and visit this team at the global capability centre where the levels of engagement and passion are just so impressive,” said Disher. Beyond the fact that women account for nearly 40 percent of the workforce here, there is the added advantage of attracting talent and “opening up the aperture” to the Indian population.
“There is just so much diversity in the team and, more broadly, in terms of the regions of India that they come from. I experienced a rich display of all the cultural differences across the country presented in dances and it just shows that we are really drawing talent from all across the country,” said Disher.

Avani Shah, Atmus India Global Capability Centre Leader, added that the “amazing talent” pool had a large chunk of women coming from engineering backgrounds. “With the kind of support that we provide to the entire group, we can do more in terms of using the skills available in India. I clearly see a lot of growth opportunities for employees in Atmus India,” she elaborated.
Disher reiterated that the global capability centre was not just about the India market but in building a team and capabilities for the global business. “We have engineering, technical and IT capabilities that we are building and exploring as a new company. We will then look at expanding these from the India team to the rest of our global operations,” she said.

Challenging times

On the realities of increasing global volatility and uncertainty in businesses and politics, Disher admitted these were difficult times for a CEO though it was now pretty much par for the course. “I would say we have had tough times in recent times. I moved my family to the US in the midst of Covid and took on the new role of running the global filtration business at the time, which was Cummins Filtration,” she recounted.
One of the company’s major customers was upset because “we had something like $200,000 of back orders” which became “much, much bigger than that” and going into millions and millions of dollars as the business headed into early 2021. Additionally, there were supply chain challenges and significant constraints in raw material products such as steel “which is a primary part of our product range”.

Everybody across the automotive ecosystem was then faced with extreme challenges and Disher recalled having having regular reviews and escalation calls with suppliers. “We were having to really look at deeply the resilience of our supply chain and when you come through something like that, you realise just what you and the organisation are capable of,” she explained.

Greg Hoverson, Chief Technical Officer of Atmus, added that there were many changes also happening across markets where emission norms were seeing a transition to different types of vehicles. “Our technology is around separating contaminants from fluids, and regardless of which type of zero emission vehicle there is, there are still some levels of fluid and cleanliness required. This is an opportunity for us to continue to transition our technology to be able to deliver products in those spaces,” he said.

Improved filtration levels

According to Hoverson, there would be a wider variety of alternative fuels usage during this transition. Hence, whether this was compressed natural gas, LNG, biofuels, hydrogen etc, all these options would “really drive the need for improved levels of filtration” for the fuel systems to run properly and deliver the same service intervals.
Atmus, he added, had the ability to respond to different emission regulations across the world in terms of the timing of technology transition. From the company’s point of view, this would mean an adoption of technology to be able to serve different electrification markets.

“Our technology does not have to be reborn, so to speak, but we have to tailor it to be able to provide, say, the gearbox filter for a battery electric vehicle which is not distinctly different from a technology point of view than loop filtration products that we make today,” said Hoverson.

If the world or a different region of the market transits more quickly to fuel cell vehicles, the cathode air filters or deionised water filters in that space are “fairly similar to some of the products that we have in our fuel and air filtration product spaces today”.

  • Published On Mar 14, 2024 at 02:07 PM IST

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