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Integrating Operations: Aksh Optifibre leverages telecom to improve efficiency

December 31, 2013
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Established in 1986, Aksh Optifibre Limited is a leading manufacturer of optic fibre, optic fibre cable (OFC) and fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) rods. The company manufactures two key raw materials, optic fibre and FRP rods, which account for 70 per cent of the total cost of OFC. Since it manufactures these two raw materials in-house, Aksh has emerged as one of the most cost-effective OFC manufacturers in the country. Currently, it is among the country’s largest FRP rod manufacturers, supplying to leading OFC companies in 56 countries across six continents.

The company has two facilities in Rajasthan – at Bhiwadi for manufacturing optic fibre and OFC, and at Reengus for supplying FRP rods. Being a technology company, Aksh recognises the important role of IT and telecom in fast-tracking and streamlining the company’s operations and manufacturing processes. Over the years, the company has taken several initiatives to upgrade its telecom infrastructure.

 Communications infrastructure

Initially, Aksh used wide area network technologies such as dial-up connections and ISDN lines for meeting its communication requirements. ISDNs provided faster connectivity and higher bandwidth for running applications such as video- and audioconferencing. The company also deployed high speed broadband services for meeting its growing connectivity requirements. Later, it shifted to a LAN, supported by fibre termination boxes. Currently, the company uses bandwidth of 1 Gbps at its offices and a fibre-based network for accessing high speed broadband services. Further, Aksh has sourced leased lines from operators such as Bharti Airtel and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited, which also offer broadband services at a speed of 2 Mbps.

According to Chetan Choudhari, managing director, Aksh Optifibre, the company uses several mobility solutions for supporting its business processes. In the early days, the employees fed data manually into the system. It adopted an in-house enterprise resource planning (ERP) system in 1998. Since then, it has been leveraging ERP for operations like automatic computation, inventory planning, dispatch, billing and storehouse management. Currently, 70 per cent of the company’s employees have access to the ERP system.

Talking about the benefits of the ERP system, Choudhari says, “With the company’s growing business needs, it was becoming critical to have access to various processes from a single location. This called for the implementation of an advanced system such as ERP to allow an integrated view of the company’s functions.”

Besides the ERP system, Aksh introduced software for its marketing and service division in 2007, which functions like a customer resource system and ensures easy access to data. It also paved the way for establishing a centralised database system. The system enables company officials to view and use data at any point of time from anywhere. In addition, Aksh has put in place a strong mailing system and has established safer communication channels to ensure data security. Through fibre-based networks, the company has not been able to improve connectivity speeds and overcome issues related to data redundancy.

With regard to the financial implications of upgrading its legacy system, Choudhari asserts that the benefits of an advanced IT and telecom system far outweigh the capital invested in it. “Large-scale changes in the telecom infrastructure and introduction of mobility solutions have facilitated workflow within the organisation. Employees are now better equipped to deliver improved results using advanced IT tools,” he says.

 Challenges and the way ahead

Being a leading technology solution provider, Aksh is well positioned to address any technical challenges associated with the deployment of fibre-based solutions and other communication systems.

The company is looking to introduce several new applications. It plans to deploy SAP as it is an open and advanced mobility platform, which would facilitate communication among its growing employee base and ensure direct reporting of each internal process to the management. Further, it will enable communication across locations, manufacturing plants and the corporate office.

Aksh is geared up to leverage telecom and IT systems to create a more dynamic and employee-friendly workplace.

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