- Antony Parokaran, CEO, Schindler India
We move over 1 billion people per day,¨ claims the company with pride. Indeed, founded in 1874 in Switzerland, Schindler manufacturers, installs, services and modernises elevators, escalators and moving walks; it has over 1,000 branch offices in more than 100 countries, and production sites and R&D facilities in the US, Brazil, Europe, China and India. Asserting that the company in India is growing much faster than the market, Antony Parokaran, CEO, Schindler India, says, ¨This is owing to the products we offer, our project management skills and the service set-up Schindler has.¨ Nevertheless, he sees the Indian market growing at about 8-10 per cent this year, from the 6-8 per cent growth last year. He shares more on growth drivers and the company´s offerings in conversation with SHRIYAL SETHUMADHAVAN.
Tell us about the company´s project management skills.
We are the only organisation in the elevator industry with four dedicated world-class training centres located in Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru and Noida. All our training centres are equipped with elevator shafts, where our people - be it Schindler fitters or subcontractors - who do installation at site are trained. They first install elevators under our guidance and are certified, after which they are allowed to do the installation at site. So, we ensure that the elevators are done right the first time in the fastest possible time.
Professional project management is the key to timely completion of project with proper coordination with all concerned agencies. For large projects, we have dedicated project managers who monitor the site, interact with different agencies and are a single-point contact for customers. The project manager ensures that all the required resources such as skilled manpower and materials are available, monitors the installation progress and communicates regularly with our customers. He also ensures the safety and quality at job sites, further ensuring the overall completion of the project without time and cost overruns. Finally, it is about understanding the customer´s requirements and delivering as per their expectations.
What efforts are taken by the company to understand the customer´s needs?
Elevator is literally the lifeline of a building; breakthroughs in elevator technology have made it possible for the buildings to grow tall. The important part here is to plan for the correct number and specifications of elevators, considering the type of building, its tenancy, population, etc. This is crucial because once the elevators are installed, it is extremely difficult to change or add more elevators without making substantial changes to the building structure.
We have a specialised team that is fully-equipped to do a complete traffic study of the building with Schindler´s advanced traffic analysis tool, based on real-time simulation. The company adds a lot of value on this front, by helping customers plan for the optimum elevator configuration while designing their buildings. So, with details such as the number of floors, kind of occupancy in the building, etc, we work out the optimum number of elevators required.
How can wrong planning disrupt the entire movement of people in a building?
Today, the passenger wants to travel in the most optimal manner in the fastest possible time. And, it has to happen in an energy-efficient way. We can do a lot to help in people management through what we call the ´destination control system´, which manages people flow in an optimal manner. It groups people travelling to the same floor and allocates elevators accordingly. Schindler´s Miconic-10 hall call destination system optimises people mobility within buildings and leads to reduction in energy consumption. Our third generation - the revolutionary PORT transit management system - now interconnects the entire building and provides architects with new possibilities in vertical mobility management and security planning. Some of our key reference installations of DCS enabled elevators are Cyber One-Navi Mumbai, Imperial Towers and Lodha I-Think at Mumbai. We have also installed this while modernising elevators in the Bombay Stock Exchange, Navin Vidhan Bhavan, in Mumbai.
Where does India stand today in the race of high-speed elevators?
If you look at the fastest elevators running currently in India, they are Schindler installations. Imperial Towers at Tardeo and Mukesh Ambani´s residence, Antilia, have elevators that run at 6 m per second. Also, The World Towers by Lodha will eventually have elevators with a speed of up to 8 m per second, which will then be the fastest. At present, the average speed of most elevators in India will be in the range of 1 m to 1.5 m per second. But the elevator speed really depends on the height of your building, the number of people in the building, and the accepted waiting and travel time.
What are the current growth drivers?
We are looking at a huge growth in urbanisation. Today, the urbanisation rate is 32 per cent and is expected to reach about 40 per cent by 2030. With this, the requirement for tall buildings is paramount. ´Housing for All´ is an initiative that will necessitate taller buildings and the development of 100 smart cities will be a huge boost to ensure an increase in the number of smarter buildings that will require smart elevators.
Do you have specific offerings for affordable and low-cost housing projects?
Our S 3100, S 3300 product lines are machine room-less (MRL) elevators, which are extremely cost-effective. It can cater to elevator requirements of buildings upto 25 floors. Our gearless and MRL elevators are preferred over the traditional ones, which require machine room on top of the building. This offers more flexibility to design the building, and ensures an overall saving in cost and time for the customers. The cost range depends on many factors such as passenger capacity, number of stops required, finishes chosen, etc.
How is Schindler contributing towards the government´s Make in India initiative?
Schindler opened its state-of-the-art elevator factory at Chakan near Pune in 2014, with a clear commitment to customer focus, sustainability and growth. The Schindler factory campus is 200,000 sq m, which includes an elevator plant, our corporate R&D centre with a 70-m-tall test tower and upcoming escalator plant. The elevator plant is certified by BVQI for ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System and awarded with the IGBC Gold rating. Today, most of our elevator products supplied to India and the South Asia market are sourced from this factory, which has an annual production capacity of about 10,000 elevators.
How do you view the current market for escalators?
The escalator market depends on the development of shopping malls and infrastructure projects. With the growth in economy, we expect this market to pick-up. However, the proportion of escalators to elevators in India is low as compared to the rest of the world. Schindler is the market leader in escalators, with many prominent projects such as the Mumbai International Airport T2, Chennai Airport, Kolkata Airport, Mumbai Metro, Mumbai Monorail, and many commercial and retail projects across India.
Anything you would like to add on the company´s vision?
Schindler will continue to grow at a rate faster than the market and maintain the highest standards of safety and reliability. With our growing team of highly skilled and motivated employees, the company is truly poised to further strengthen its leadership in the market. Inspired by the vision of being the best service provider in the industry for its customers, we will continue to develop highly innovative and user-friendly mobility solutions, making Schindler the first choice for our customers.
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