Samtel Color Limited is electronics based company. It core product is the CRT (Cathode Ray Tube). The CRTs it produces are used by multiple leading Television manufacturers such as LG, Samsung etc, almost all except Sony which manufactures its own CRTs. It greatest completion they have is from JCT.
Samtel depicts backwards integration as it also manufactures electron guns as well as deflection tubes that are the key components of the CRT.
On our visit to their plant, we were told that the organization currently has 5 working plants & we were split into 2 groups; each group witnessed the detailed process of making of a 21” CRT. The plant produces about 3000 units each day & is operating at about 80% of its efficiency.
The company believes in keeping abreast with the market. It started in 1973 with black & white CRTs & has now completely stopped its B&W operations & has switched over to color CRTs. When inquired about the future aspect, they said that their next target is the rural market; they seem to see tremendous opportunity there. They sited that the Tamil Nadu government’s promise of giving away a 14” color T.V. with every ration card helped them see this potential, as the demand for their 14” CRT increased tremendously.
They said that they are planning to involve in extensive research at not just the national but the global level with respect to the rural market, as the urban market is seeing a shift in trend towards LCDs & LEDs. They are not ruling out the opportunities at global level, but, “the next 10 years are for the rural market” they said.
To this, the only thought that came to my mind & later formed words was “So after the rural market is saturated & there is a leader in the new technology prevalent in the urban market, what will Samtel do?”, to this they replied “We survived from 1973 till today, I’m sure we will survive later as well”. This wasn’t a satisfactory answer expected from the leaders of Samtel.