Realizing the Dream of Light – K-Lite: An Impactful Player in the Indian Industry

K-Lite

Light is life. From the primal darkness, a spark ignites. Light, the essence of life, surges forth, banishing the night. It’s a relentless journey across the vast canvas of time, illuminating the human experience. But it’s through human innovation that we’ve captured this essence, harnessing its power in filigree filaments to fuel the brilliance of our modern world.

Guiding us in this dream pursuit, K-Lite Industries Pvt Ltd is a significant force in India’s industrial landscape, renowned for its commitment to innovation and quality in the lighting solutions sector. Established with a vision to enhance urban and rural lighting infrastructure, K-Lite has carved a niche by offering diverse lighting products, including street lights, flood lights, and architectural lighting solutions.

According to Ms Sharmila Kumbhat, the Director, in 1977, K-Lite began its journey of innovation in lighting products, chasing the dream of light under the able leadership of Mr Dilip Kumbhat, an electrical trader by inheritance and an outstanding mechanical engineer through his education, and a flair for innovation and commitment to excellence in whatever he undertakes.

Light allows us to realize the possibilities of our imagination,” she says. The quality of light influences the quality of life, and light must combine technique and emotions contemporaneously, defining new values, meanings, feelings, culture, comfort, etc., overcoming the simple light-dark dichotomy.

Comprehensive Product Range

Through its innovative outlook, K-Lite has showcased a whole range of new products under various portfolios. The range is all the more special because of the light source, viz., energy-saving, environment-friendly “green” lighting with LED. K-Lite offers a comprehensive portfolio that caters to various lighting needs. From urban infrastructure projects to commercial and residential applications, their products are designed to meet diverse requirements.

The application with innovative design using LED includes retail Lighting, office lighting, consumer luminaires, industrial Lighting, Architectural Lighting, facade lighting, pathway lighting, in-ground luminaire, tree-uplighting, up-down lighting, vertical light bars, wall washers, area lighting, sports lighting and above all, architectural street lighting, sleek polar lighting solutions. “Our offerings are tailored to enhance aesthetics, functionality, and safety, making them a preferred choice for architects, designers, and urban planners,” adds Ms Sharmila, who started her professional career at the early age of sixteen in a grill manufacturing unit “Metal Craft” supporting her father, Mr Dilip Kumbhat.

An Enlightening Journey

At nineteen, she won the “Best Female Entrepreneur Award” presented by the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Later, she studied at Parsons School of Design in New York, U.S. She widely travelled worldwide. While living in the United States, Ms Sharmila started and ran two successful export-oriented companies. Due to her natural urge to come home to be more directly involved in her homeland company and the emotional quotient of bringing up her children in India, Ms Sharmila joined K-Lite in 2011 as Director of Business Development. Since her joining, K-lite has entered international markets and progressed tremendously, and the company’s turnover has increased multifold.

Commitment to Quality and Innovation

Emerged as a significant catalyst in positively impacting India’s economy, Ms Sharmila says that the guiding philosophy to their success is ‘To make K-Lite an International Brand.’ “We are positively moving forward in this direction. With the establishment of an NABL-accredited optic laboratory, we are committed to R&D and achieving the highest quality internationally.

K-Lite’s products are distinguished by their superior craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology. The company leverages advanced manufacturing techniques and rigorous quality control processes to ensure that each product meets high performance and durability standards. This dedication to quality has earned K-Lite a reputation for reliability and excellence in the industry.

Embracing Digital Transformation

The industrial landscape is in a constant state of evolution. In such times, Ms Sharmila says that the digital transformation in the power sector drove the lighting industry to adopt LED technology to the maximum extent and has wonderfully changed the power consumption pattern due to lighting being upside down. The concept of smart cities, the introduction of smart poles and the availability of many digital devices, including IoT-enabled ones, have simplified the control systems.

Digital transformation has become the need of the hour for the utility sector. It has become extremely significant for utility companies if they are to move with the fast-changing times and be a step ahead of the competition. It is also important to devise solutions to help the constantly changing environment. This can be achieved by modernizing the infrastructure and having a continuous improvement attitude. Innovation comes from interactions and an open-minded approach. “Some of our evolutions are purely the contribution of our employees,” she adds.

To adapt ourselves to make the functioning of each division organized and very systematic in a sense, making the system work, we decided to move from ERP management to SAP so that the Digital Organisation Transformation (DoT) can be realized within the current year.”

Strong Leadership Ethos

Recognized as a driving force behind K-Lite’s success, Ms Sharmila says her leadership and team-building approach is unique. Teams have been formed at various levels, namely leadership team, quality team, production team, interdepartmental team, customer care team, staff welfare team, and facilities team, etc. “Periodic review by each team for its scope is reported to the top management directly through me, and onward follow-up comes from the top.” This arrangement avoids any delay in decision-making, and many achievements happen only through this route.

The crux of company growth hinges on innovative solutions and enhancing the end-user experience. To balance operational efficiency with customer satisfaction is paramount. Ms Sharmila says that in the post-order scenario, customer satisfaction has three components: on-time delivery, failure rate, and luminaire performance as guaranteed. The delivery period is committed by production planning and other inputs. Performance checks through laboratory and physical checking ensure luminaire performance. Failure reports analysis, including root cause analysis and rectification, are under the jurisdiction of the dedicated customer care division under the direct control of the QC head/Director and hence receive top priority attention to prevent recurrences. “This way, we maintain the balance,” she informs.

Sustainable and Efficient Solutions

In an era where sustainability is paramount, K-Lite emphasizes eco-friendly practices and energy-efficient lighting solutions. The company’s product line includes LED lights and other energy-saving options that reduce environmental impact while providing optimal illumination. By integrating sustainable practices into their operations, K-Lite contributes to environmental conservation and promotes responsible consumption.

Ms Sharmila explains that LED as a lighting source is a solution for environmental sustainability due to its lower power requirement to deliver the same output as other lighting sources such as high-pressure lamps, etc. It is a device without the polluting mercury content. “When the application of LED started, we understood the necessity for a fast transformation to the new technology with LED. Switching over from the conventional sources was very costly since we had to scrap much of our stock and tooling. However, the greener future and social responsibility, coupled with the expected demand and growth, made us switch over completely in a record time and contribute to fostering a greener future. We have also introduced green initiatives for packing materials, consumables, and plastic usage.”

Customer-Centric Approach

K-Lite’s success is also attributed to its customer-centric approach. The company prioritizes customer satisfaction by providing tailored lighting solutions, excellent after-sales service, and continuous support. This commitment to customers ensures long-term relationships and trust, reinforcing K-Lite’s position as a leader in the lighting industry.

Thus, the brand has achieved tremendous success. Highlighting their transformative initiatives, Ms Sharmila points to some major projects in India and abroad. “The one in Egypt with smart poles was transformative in the real sense, driving us to such upscale projects with ease.”

LED street lighting with ornamental poles for the entire Varanasi city, illumination of Kota city in Rajasthan with state-of-the-art LED luminaires and controls, Amritsar Golden Temple, and the Smart Lighting Poles for the Egyptian Parliament. These projects, along with an ongoing project for the design and supply of ornamental poles with post-top lanterns and specially designed LED Bollards for the new parliament complex in New Delhi and the recent project in Ayodhya Ram Temple, are examples of their dedication to excellence and innovative approach.

India’s Technologically Adept Lighting Company

Technology plays a pivotal role in enhancing efficiency in the industry. Ms Sharmila says, “We proudly call ourselves “India’s Lighting Company” since we manufacture luminaires with 95% local components and more than 80 % in-house, realizing the ‘Make in India’ dream.” Right from the beginning, quality is built into the DNA of K-Lite. She adds that to achieve high quality, they have invested in proper equipment and deployment of an inspection workforce at every stage. They have state-of-the-art CNC, VMC machines, laser cutting machines, welding machines, automated spinning machines, digitally controlled pipe bending, etc. All their luminaires conform to standards. They have established an in-house optics lab of international standards, which is NABL-approved. “All our products, from the development stage, undergo rigorous testing and validation before being introduced to the market,” informs Sharmila.

A Resilient Team

The workforce forms the foundation of every successful organization. According to Sharmila, for transformational business growth, the challenge for all employees is to enhance their competency and play their roles effectively. “We conduct programs to enhance the behavioural competencies.” Each department has a depth of knowledge of the processes and systems followed in each function. Functional competency transformation through periodical programs in each section is organised to close the gap in terms of transferring knowledge to the person performing the job at present. Also, updates on contemporary practices in the industry are done by relevant experts from outside.

As a leader in India’s industrial landscape, adversities are part of the company’s journey. However, Sharmila says that the way the K-Lite team rose to meet the challenges created during the COVID-19 period and how they converted the adversity into new opportunities through active interpersonal communications and introspection regarding the introduction of new products, new machines as additions/replacements for the existing machines, production process changing and modifications, disposal of outdated stocks, kept them all occupied. “Even during the pandemic (except for the lockdown period), we operated with minimum workers with all safety precautions to meet our export commitments.” Post-pandemic application of what was planned during it resulted in a quantum jump in their performance and production. “We normalized the operation at the very early stage.”

Vision for the Future

In today’s business landscape, companies extend beyond physical realms to incorporate aspects like social and digital marketing. Embracing the modern branding technique to enhance the end-user experience, Sharmila says they leverage their strong dealer network across India. “We also have an outlet in the UK for Europe and Dubai for the Middle East. We connect and interact directly with Architectural associations/Landscape Architects and Lighting Designers for all major projects. We participate in major exhibitions on lighting, including Light + Building in Frankfurt, Light Middle East in Dubai, and Lux Live in London. Our website, www.klite.in, contains all the technical details, including photometric data on all our luminaires. In this way, we remain in constant contact with our customers.”

Looking ahead, K-Lite aims to expand its influence by continuing to innovate and adapt to emerging trends in the lighting sector. The company envisions playing a pivotal role in transforming India’s lighting infrastructure, contributing to smarter, more sustainable urban and rural environments. “Our vision is to be the Top Luminaire Manufacturer in India with International acceptance of the K-Lite brand and a good global market share,” concludes Sharmila.

K-Lite’s journey is a testament to its unwavering dedication to excellence, innovation, and sustainability, solidifying its impact on the Indian industrial landscape. For more information, visit K-Lite Industries’ website.