Consider some facts about SITC: 600,000 hours of software development since 2012; more than USD5 million in cost savings in 2016 alone; and major contributions to cutting-edge development programmes like the Gripen E. These are some of the results that SITC can proudly look back on as it celebrates five successful years in India.
Saab CEO, Håkan Buskhe, talking about Saab’s successful collaborations in India, said, “I see potential in finding more areas in which SITC can contribute to increased competitiveness and profitability. By conducting development in India, with Indian engineers, we show our customers that we fully support the ‘Make in India’ initiative, which is an important prerequisite for our business activities.”
Working with Saab
The Centre is staffed with 150 consultants from Tech Mahindra, working in the areas of mechanics, stress calculations, software development and verification, Numerical Control Programming and technical publications.
“About half of the consultants have been at SITC for more than three years,” says Bengt Rydh, Head of SITC, highlighting the job satisfaction among SITC’s employees. He continues, “via the Centre, we have access to a security-demarcated subset of Saab's IT infrastructure, which means that despite a distance of 7,000 kilometres, we can work efficiently.”
Combined Team and The Factory
Saab brings its unique style of working to India. The SITC works with two kinds of development assignments. The Combined Team and the Factory. The Combined Team is a good example of Transfer of Technology, whereby Saab and SITC engineers work together in an integrated environment, regardless of the geographical distance between the teams. This kind of assignment is suitable for the entire life cycle of a project, and saves about 30 percent of the total cost.
The Factory method is suited to well-defined repetitive tasks that are carried out in a continuous flow, like conversions or verifications. These assignment save up to 50 percent of the previous cost, making the Swedish-Indian partnership highly sustainable.
"Among Saab’s Business Areas, Aeronautics and Surveillance account for the most hours, but other Business Areas are also discovering SITC to a higher degree," says Bengt Rydh.
NC Programming, Mechanics and Door Plugs
The five-year collaboration is not just financially viable, but has managed to harness fast growing cultural ties and exchanges among employees from both the countries. This is exhibited by the smooth and efficient workings of NC Programming, one of SITC’s flagship areas of work. A mechanics team with 12 to 14 members works with Saab Business Area Surveillance, in Gothenburg, and is collectively carrying out the project successfully.
"A good example is the door plug project that Aerostructures is delivering to Airbus. SITC's participation in tendering was essential for the profitability of the project," says Rydh who notes that work has also begun with Saab Grintek in South Africa to support deliveries in India.
Next Step for SITC
The Centre’s office in Hyderabad recently celebrated the five-year milestone by organising music, dance, fashion and theatre shows and performances along with games, at a celebratory dinner at the Taj Krishna. Rydh goes further in outlining the next steps for SITC in 2018 saying, "The goal is to increase from 17,000 hours per month to 25,000 delivered hours during 2018, which means that we can also reduce our hourly rates and save cost. We're also aiming to support Saab's small and mid-size production deliveries to India, which can entail everything from local adaptations to support solutions for end-customers."
SITC has proven that Saab’s Transfer of Technology model can create capabilities within India, resulting in cutting-edge development work. As Saab looks at making Gripen in India, there is plenty of evidence to show that its model of industrial cooperation can indeed lead to the creation of a defence and aerospace ecosystem in India.