JEFF RODRIGUES explains how the company is leveraging new realities to drive the growth of composites.
We live in a fast-changing world, particularly in India, where various initiatives such as GST, demonetisation, greater focus on transparency, more attention to the environmental impact of policies and actions, and greater focus on sustainability and lifecycle analysis are driving a sea change in how we do business. For India to continue on its ambitious growth trajectory, it has to continue making improvements on the Ease of Doing Business index and raise the standard of living for its citizens. Owens Corning India welcomes these initiatives and we feel these will actually help us grow even faster.
Aligned with new realities Owens Corning India is aligned with several new realities in the Indian economy, including driving efficiency via GST, the drive to improve transparency and compliance with standards, the focus on renewables and a cleaner environment, and the overall move towards digital transactions.
On GST and the move overall to a digital environment, we welcome it as a way to improve efficiency and transparency. As an affiliate of an American company, we are bound by the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and any initiative that ensures other companies, particularly some of our overseas or Chinese competitors, are also transparent in their transactions will help level the playing field. In particular, we see benefits in the logistics space in terms of lead time reduction. On GST, we were able to work early with our suppliers and customers and transact under the new tax regime on the third day itself. This will also help us in the construction market, as our channels get more compliant, efficient and less fragmented.
Fibreglass composites, in particular, should have a much larger role to play in the construction industry in future. One of the key attributes for fibreglass is its inherent corrosion resistance, which should help in maintenance and lifecycle cost management. As more structural applications are developed and commercialised for fibreglass composites globally, the scale, channels and product acceptance in the construction industry should increase in a virtuous cycle - a streamlined and transparent channel with compliance and enforcement of standards and specifications will help drive composite usage similar to other parts of the world.
Another key area is the drive in India towards a global leadership role on the environment, which is translating locally into more focus on renewable energy, stricter automotive emissions standards, and focus on sustainable practices in construction. As a signatory to the Paris Accord, India has set some ambitious targets relating to renewables and automotive emissions. Composites are and will play a big role in enabling this transition from a fossil-based economy.
Owens Corning is also helping various government entities and trade associations develop specifications and standards in partnership with other industry participants, and is actively promoting overall composites growth via support for the downstream ecosystem. We recently launched our website www.thecompositeshub-india.com, which helps promote the growth of composites in India via training or case studies on end-applications, helps create an ecosystem for fabrication and installation, and drives new technology adoption via facilitating technology licensing and partnerships globally.
Make in India
Finally, we continue to support the Make in India initiative - we are investing over Rs 1,100 crore to expand our fibreglass manufacturing facility in Taloja, Maharashtra. This will create several hundred jobs as well as support downstream 'Make in India' applications that are critical or strategic, such as in marine or defence, infrastructure, renewable power and pipes for irrigation or clean drinking water.
We are excited about the progress both India has made in recent years, and our own progress and upcoming growth journey in the country.
About the author:
Jeff Rodrigues, Managing Director, Owens Corning India, joined the company in 2011 and was elevated to his current position in 2015.
Prior to joining Owens Corning, Rodrigues was Global Procurement Director at Cytec Industries Inc, a global manufacturer of coatings, polymer additives, adhesives and aerospace composites.