Chinese intrusion was a veritable set back for domestic smartphone manufacturers, but slowly and steadily they are trying to make a comeback. Xolo, a subsidiary of Lava mobiles recently invited us to a factory visit where we got to see things from a smartphone makers perspective, one that’s trying to work its way up in a hyper-competitive yet promising Indian smartphone space.
All Xolo Production and Design is now in-house
Of course, to gain acceptance Xolo will have to make more reliable phones. And to do so, the company has progressively been working on taking the entire control of the smartphone manufacturing process in-house.
Xolo now has a separate Hive team working on the software, its own design house in China and two manufacturing plants in Noida. A third PCB manufacturing plant will soon be operational as well. The second Noida plant, the one we visited, has a capacity of manufacturing 2 Million phones every month, 40 percent of which are smartphones. Xolo employs more than 8000 employees worldwide and has an R&D team of more than 600 personnel.
The company claims that it’s the only Indian brand who has managed to take 100 percent production in-house.
Smartphone manufacturing in India
At the plant, we walked through the Era 3X production line. The assembly line has been designed with a special emphasize on quickly identifying and eliminating faulty pieces. That’s particularly important because most of the processes are still not automated and have room for human error.
The process carried out at any stage is re-verified and inspected at the next stage, thus adding quality control to all stations. To enforce effective implementation, the team implants a defective piece in the chain on purpose every 2 hours.
All assembly stages are carefully monitored, tracked and tagged (to ensure that the defects can be traced back). The company also follows standard practices like Kaizen keeping auto-reformation and long-term improvement goals in mind.
So, how well has this worked? Xolo claims that it has managed to reduce failure rate by 40 percent, which certainly sounds like significant progress.
Preparing to Go Global
Xolo believes that by taking control of the Software development, manufacturing and design process, they have successfully laid the foundation of building a global brand. The bigger challenge for the brand, however, will be designing better phones and to include more sophisticated automated processes in its assembly line.
We have known Xolo to experiment and innovate. Back in the day, they were the first OEM to launch Intel and Nvidia powered phones and tabs, but for now, the company wishes to focus on its smartphone and feature phone business.
In at most 5 years, mobile manufacturing in India will grow many folds and major global component suppliers are expected to set shop in India. When this happens, Xolo wants to be one of the few brands that’s well equipped to manufacture for the world from India.