Dr Greg Pasley, Vice President, Tata BlueScope Building Solutions
When the going gets tough, the tough get going! Despite the current slowdown in the manufacturing sector, Tata BlueScope Steel has not only maintained its uncompromising stand on quality but is ready for a turnaround to cater to business that will flow in from emerging sectors. In an exclusive interaction with HUNED CONTRACTOR, Dr Greg Pasley, Vice President, Tata BlueScope Building Solutions, provides an overview of the company's current status and what lies ahead.
Could you give us an overview of Tata BlueScope Steel?
We are an equal JV between Tata Steel and BlueScope Steel in the fields of metallic coated steel, engineered steel building solutions and related building products. Tata BlueScope Steel has three business divisions: coated steel, building solutions and building products. The company has six state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Pune, Jamshedpur, Sriperumbudur and Bhiwadi in India and one in Sri Lanka, supported by a wide network of regional and sales offices.
The building solutions business designs, manufactures, supplies and erects engineered steel building solutions. Our premium brands include BUTLER® Building Systems and ECOBUILD™ Building Systems. At our Pune plant, we make and supply roll-formed roofing and wall cladding solutions and related building components. Primary structural frames as well as supporting purlins and girts are manufactured at our plant in Pune. This plant was commissioned in 2006 and we have completed in excess of 1,000 projects. Our metal building solutions have been used for industrial, warehousing, commercial and infrastructure applications across various locations in India.
What is the current scenario of the pre-engineered building (PEB) industry in India?
While it cannot be denied that there has been a global slowdown since 2008 that has affected businesses, the PEB industry has continued to grow at a good rate of about 10 per cent. It does seem that there is a kind of waiting period now because of the elections but our reading is that things will pick up after that and the economy will move forward. Therefore, we are quite optimistic about the PEB sector.
What is the USP of the building solutions division of Tata BlueScope Steel?
We believe that effective building solutions go a long way in helping our clients realise their business goals.
That is why our solutions are carefully engineered and customised to meet the unique requirements of our clients. For one thing, our systems and processes established across the project lifecycle facilitate on-time delivery. Moreover, our leak-proof roof systems protect our customers' investments and, above all, our safety techniques assure peace of mind. Our FM-approved MR-24« Roof System is probably the only fully floating standing seam roof system currently available in the market. Other roof options include BR-IIÖ roof system, TRIMDEK« and CUSTOM ORB« profiles. Speaking of safety measures that only our company employs, our SKY-WEB« II is a unique fall protection and insulation support system.
Surely your competitors must also be delivering such products. How does that impact your business?
Over the years we have seen that while there is intense competition, other companies do not give the kind of attention to details like we do. This is why we are able to support our customers with a 10-year, leak-proof performance warranty on our MR-24« roof system. We bring the same attention to detail into our manufacturing process, and our operating philosophy is strongly anchored to serving markets looking for the highest standards of engineering excellence, superior quality of products and workmanship, and timely completion of buildings. Also, providing excellent service backup is crucial to the success of any business. That is something we strongly believe and practise, thus giving us an edge over our competitors.
What is the production capacity of the Pune plant and how do you plan your manufacturing schedule?
We have a capacity of 33,000 tonne per year as of now, which can be expanded to take care of an increase in demand. As we offer customised products and solutions, the manufacturing schedule is dependent on the order requirements and flow. The production output is determined by orders and deadlines.
What is the market potential vis-a-vis the manufacturing capacity of PEB in India?
It does appear that India has greater manufacturing capacity than the existing demand. Therefore, a lot of PEB companies have decided to add heavy structures and multi-storied buildings to their portfolio. But here at Tata BlueScope Building Solutions, we remain committed to our core focus area of engineered steel building solutions.
So, what are the challenges that you are facing as of now?
The Indian market has become very competitive with a lot of cost-conscious buyers as well as companies who are willing to slash prices through compromises in quality and safety. That apart, the slowdown in certain sectors, like automotive, has caused a dip. Our plan is to grow in a sustainable manner. We are definitely here for the long haul and we will ride over this phase.
Which sectors hold business potential in the near future?
In my opinion, warehousing will create fresh business opportunities. While manufacturing is certainly a primary activity, an equal amount of importance is being given to stocking goods without causing any damage. It is here that our leak-proof systems will find increasing usage.
As of now, most of the business comes from Maharashtra and Gujarat, but South India is beginning to hold a lot of promise too. As for expanding outside India, we are not really focusing on that now. But yes, there have been inquiries and we have also done some exports.
What about R&D?
Most work related to developing new technologies and products is taken care of by our R&D Centre in the US but we do indulge in certain development-related areas like testing of products in the Indian market and providing feedback to our technologists. Each project we undertake has its own specific parameters and that does involve a bit of R&D to provide the client the best solution.
What are the company's future plans?
The short-term plan is to enhance our construction capability because we need to constantly improve safety standards. The long-term plan is, of course, to be ready for growth in the market, continue to build on our brand name, and expand our footprint.
Case Study: India's First Free Trade and Warehousing Zone (FTWZ)
The visionary project aims to create FTWZs in India, which will give the country the much-needed impetus to drive its economic growth to the next level, while truly leveraging the nation's vast domestic market. Towards this goal, Arshiya International appointed Tata BlueScope Building Solutions as a partner to develop FTWZs that will be located at strategic locations in India, with a total building area of 81,886 sq m. The project in Panvel was the first to be completed.
Scope of work
Tata BlueScope Building Solutions has offered structural steel design, manufacturing, supply, project management and erection of the pre-engineered steel buildings in Panvel and Khurja by using the highest quality of materials and proven technology. On-time deliveries, leak-proof roof, aesthetically pleasing as well as a functionally superior solution with low cost of maintenance were the key needs of Arshiya International Ltd.
Arshiya International's team wanted an aesthetic and functionally superior structure that could deliver a higher value to their customers.
The key challenges of the project were:
A large column-free area (11,450 sq ft) for efficient warehousing operations.
Multi levels of mezzanine floors for storage of high-value and perishable goods.
For this challenging project, Tata BlueScope Building Solutions recommended BUTLER«Building Systems, which come with MR-24« roof system warranted for 10-year, leak-proof performance. The buildings have a bold architectural form exclusively designed for Arshiya International Ltd. The solution proposed by Tata BlueScope Building Solutions was able to provide superior functionalities that included higher column-free space, two additional levels of mezzanine floors for perishable and high-value goods storage and better ergonomic design.
Commenting on the partnership, Ajay Mittal, Group Chairman & Managing Director, Arshiya International Ltd, says, "We believe there can be no better partner than Tata BlueScope Steel Ltd to help build such pioneering logistics infrastructure. Our partnership will create a revolution in the way logistics infrastructure is developed and operated in India."
Location: Panvel, Maharashtra and Khurja, Uttar Pradesh
Project size: 81,886 sq m
No. of buildings: Eight (five at Panvel and three at Khurja)
Client: Arshiya International Ltd and Arshiya Northern FTWZ Ltd
Architect: Stup Consultants (P) Ltd
Pre-engineered steel buildings: Tata BlueScope Building Solutions
Civil work: L&T-ECC Ltd
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