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“The Core Values of Our Company are Innovation, Trust Worthiness and Customer Satisfaction”
By: Satya Subram
NCL Buildtek Ltd. is one of the well-known Companies in the Building Materials Industry. Tell us Briefly About your Journey with the Company over the Years?
In the modern era of depleting natural resources and environmental imbalances, the introduction of alternatives for traditional wood with other products is much necessary and becomes a social need. Our visionary Leader K. Ramachandra Raju anticipated this very early and introduced colour coated galvanised steel windows and doors 25 years back in India. In 1986, he started looking at various alternatives and started this company with technical collaboration of industry Secco S.p.A of Italy.
The core values of this company are innovation, trustworthiness and customer satisfaction. During 2008, when the market was looking for alternative energy-efficient products, we brought down value engineered UPVC window and door systems to Indian market, and today we are the number one producer of uPVC profiles in joint ventures with VEKA AG, Germany. We believe that our success is due to our strong service team and value-engineered products. Today, we are the premium player in India in terms of more door and window installations. We undertake end to end solutions from design to installation.
Please Brief on the Major Success Stories of your Company in India in the Recent Past?
We are the largest windows and doors supplier in India who deals with different environmental friendly material like colour coated steel, uPVC and Aluminium. We have installed windows of approx. 72 lakh Sq ft during 2018-19 financial year. Our colour coated steel windows with brand name of Winspire have been extensively used in Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) schemes in Andhra Pradesh. Winspire model is a unique model designed by our R&D team which is having the strength of steel and looks of uPVC windows.
What are the Products Offered by NCL Buildtek Ltd.?
Collectorate Building, Salem
There are four major verticals in our company. The coatings division manufactures putties, textures & paints; Windoors division deals with Colour Coated Steel (CCGI) doors and windows, uPVC windows & doors, ABS doors and premium aluminium doors and windows. Walls division manufactures Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC) blocks, dry-mix mortars and tile adhesives. We also have a dedicated service division, that handles the installation of doors and windows and painting works. We are providing a wide range of eco-friendly building materials and we provide end to end solutions.
Throw Some Light on your Company’s Facilities and Services?
We believe in a client-driven business model that delivers optimum customer value. NCL Buildtek was founded 25 years ago with a contrarian spirit and a vision of introducing mass production efficiencies to meet customer’s individual needs.
It was understood and believed to be true that custom windows and doors were built exclusively by master craftsman who required much more lead time and cost, considerably more than the window companies that manufactured standard windows/ customised windows at the factory with established sizes and details. The accepted trade-offs for custom windows and doors were no testing or engineering, longer delivery times and considerably more expense for the flexibility of a unique design or wood species.
It was that old-school approach to the business which inspired the concept to challenge the status quo. Using a concept introduced by the Harvard Business School called ‘Mass Customisation’, this production process combines the elements of mass production efficiencies with design components that are adapted to meet a customer’s individual needs. We would deliver improved value by selling windows directly rather than through traditional networks.
Simply put, no two items are the same. By writing our own unique software and integrating the state-of-the-art flexible computer-aided manufacturing systems, we have been able to create a business model that provides the architect, builder or homeowner the flexibility of a custom mill workshop, but with the efficiencies, quality control, delivery disciplines, and testing you would expect from a large mass production company.
Well, 25 years later, after substantial investments in software development, with modern equipment and lots of bumps and bruises, we can confidently say we offer our customers an unmatched level of flexibility, tested product designs and dependable delivery. But that’s not the only way we deliver better value. Coupled with the introduction of mass-customisation, we also challenged the real value the customer was receiving through the traditional window and door model.
We have a pan India presence. Our main factory is located at Hyderabad and we have 10 fabrication facilities across India. Our fabrication units are in Hosur, Trichy, Tirupathi, Guntur, Vishakhapatnam, Bhubaneswar, Pune, and Delhi apart from two separate facilities in Hyderabad. We have a strong franchisee and dealer network close to 200 across India. Our services division is having close to 500 manpower, who takes care of installation. We have plans to open another 5 fabrication facilities to cater growing demand.
How do you see the Fenestration Industry Evolving in India?
Windows form the major input in the construction industry. The Indian market, which is traditionally driven and culturally bonded, housing becomes a major insignia for taste and living habits. Wood continues to play a major role in the housing industry. As said earlier, in the era of depleting natural resources & with calls for saving the environment getting louder every day, the introduction of alternatives to wood is the need of the hour.
We at NCL anticipating it very early introduced colour coated galvanised steel windows and doors 25 years ago in India. We strongly believe that much needs to be done in marketing of these products by showcasing the advantages of these products to the builders, architects and common man which includes the major advantage of energy saving i.e. reduction in air conditioning bills up to 20-30 per cent, as well as saving of wood (in turn-forests).
Today windows are expected to perform various functions such as letting in light, keeping out heat/cold, noise attenuation, as well as being aesthetically attractive, needing lower maintenance and using energy-saving/efficient materials/ processes in place of scarce/energy efficient conventional materials. Sustainable design principles have a wide range of applications, but their objectives are simple, reduce the use of non-renewable resources and minimise environmental impact.
Recognising that we are just one part of a collaborative process, NCL has responded to these important challenges with a common-sense approach that maximises both economic and environmental performance. Steel is renowned for its strength and durability, steel is also the world’s most recycled resource. Compared to other materials, steel requires relatively low amounts of energy to produce and has the longest product life of all window substrates. Being a green building product, the demand is growing for NCL Colour coated GI WINDOWS replacing wood and aluminium.
Worldwide, as an alternative to wood, colour coated GI roll-formed sections with intricate shapes are extensively used in manufacturing windows, doors & glazings. The section to section overlap and double gasket system will add value and will reduce the load on AC and hence NCL Windows are one of the most energy-efficient windows.
What has been your or your Organisation’s Contribution in bringing about the Current Revolution in the Fenestration Sector?
Previously, the concept of fenestration was confined to having wooden windows and doors in the Houses. Over a period, the economic conditions of the country improved, lifestyles changed and innovative techniques in the construction industry and materials evolved, which leads to the establishment of the façade and the fenestration industry.
As per industry estimates, the current market size of the fenestration industry in India is Rs. 15,000 Cr and witnessed an annual growth rate of 20 per cent due to rapid urbanisation and increased demand for office and other high-end glass façade buildings. Wooden and steel frame material was in high demand and fast-moving materials in the Indian fenestration market during the 1990s to early 2000s. From past 5-10 years, aluminium and mainly uPVC frame materials are witnessing high demand.
As per market sources, uPVC accounts for only 10 per cent of the fenestration market and is estimated to be INR 1,500 Cr. Aluminium is widely used in the market as it is available at lower cost and production is faster compared to uPVC. It holds 50 per cent share and dominates the fenestration industry. Due to the green building practices that inhibit products with qualities of energy efficiency, eco-friendliness, and recyclability, the low-cost aluminium market is being replaced by uPVC, and customers are looking for value-engineered products. High-end aluminium systems are preferred by the highend apartments and villa markets. We are providing solutions for all the segments with our range of products.
In the door segment, wood is still a very popular material, especially in the traditional and luxury markets. The door in this segment is almost always a wooden door with intricate artwork on it. However, with the innovation happening, alternative material doors that have the look of traditional wood garner even more interest than their authentic counterpart. The robustness of these materials plus the water resistance technology with attractive pricing is making them more acceptable in the market. One such material is ABS doors made of Acralatike, Butadiene straides.
Unlike conventional wooden doors, ABS doors are waterproof, decay proof and UV resistant. They never expand or contract, crack or fade and they never need a coat of paint. Their durability is legendary. They look as good as new for 15 years and more. These doors applications are mainly for internal room to room door, and bathroom doors.
Overall the windows and doors market shows very interesting and positive trends and we are happy as manufacturers and suppliers of colour coated steel and uPVC windows and doors and ABS doors that it gives us a huge scope in both new construction as well as replacement market.
As per your view, How Important is the Role of Fenestration in Achieving Optimum Building Performance Acoustics and Thermal Insulation as well as in Achieving Maximum Comfort for the Occupants?
Most of the people are becoming conscious about the multiple benefits of thermal insulation. Thermal insulation results in considerable savings on electricity bills. Over 25% of the heat from home and public buildings escape through windows.
Good insulation keeps energy bills low. Factory produced windows are insulated so effectively that the greater part of the sound pressure cannot pass through. Selection of proper hardware, right material and appropriate glass are key elements and a good system supplier will consider all the factors and thus optimum building performance, acoustic and thermal insulation to achieve maximum comfort for the occupants.
How well aware do you Think are the Decision-Makers like Architects and Builders about the Availability of the Fenestration Products, its Functionality, Categories and Standards Followed for Windows and Doors?
Decision-makers like architects /builders are very particular about the fenestration products nowadays. They are insisting on good hardware expected to perform more functional beyond simply looking good. Selection of hardware and sections are based on the style of the door, its purpose, weight, size and height of the door. In view of RERA, they are insisting for minimum of 5 years guarantee.
What is the Emphasis laid by your Company on R&D of Fenestration Products and Technologies, Especially for the Indian Market?
NCL uPVC Windows in Hombale, Kaniminike Project
All our ranges of products are value engineered to Indian market conditions. We brought European technology to India and our R&D team value-engineered the European products to suit the needs of the Indian market. When we brought colour coated steel windows from Italy to India, there was no concept of grill and mosquito mesh systems.
Our R&D team designed different sections to accommodate Indian customer needs. We can proudly say that, in casement windows, our windows cater all the needs of the customer, be it a grill or fly mesh or complete sealing, all the feature are available in one system and with zero maintenance cost. Our uPVC sections are designed to take care of different wind loads and UV resistance and, we do have different ranges of sections for villas as well as high-rise apartments.
What do you see as the Main Challenges Faced by the Industry?
A major challenge faced by the industry is going to be with labour and market outstandings. In view of the banking policies, cash flow is going to be a big challenge for the majority of builders and a possibility of compromising on quality to reduce the overall project cost. Most of the small players in fenestration industry may not bother about the wind load calculations and imports from china sections is going to put pressure on the selling prices.
High inflation may lead to higher borrowing costs for businesses and most of the mid-size builder’s construction cost will increase. They will look for cheaper alternatives and some may compromise on quality which will affect the players like us who give high priority to quality. A rise in inflation can affect our business in many ways as costs for our business rise squeezing margins. This often necessitates having to increase our prices to our customers and so inflation perpetuates. However, a rise in inflation is usually taken as a direct hit on profit margins. Companies will have to raise wages as a result of the tight labour market.
Tell us about your Company’s Channel Expansion Strategies in the Market?
At present, we are having a strong presence in all the south Indian markets with our franchises. We have plans to triple our current turnover by expanding in the north and west markets. We are planning another five fabrication units to serve the growing demand.
What Keeps your Company Ahead of its Competitors in Terms of Products and Services Offered?
We are the only system company for the last 28 years, offering different material windows and doors and we have the capability to execute the works across India as per the customer’s requirement.
We do value engineering with all our range of products so that a project cost for our customers will come down and with a better service. To summarise, we are onestop solution providers for all doors and windows requirements. All our range of doors and windows are strong, durable and are maintenance-free products. They are termite-proof, and give perfect sealing and are eco-friendly products. As we are involved in designing to installation, we stand guarantee for 10 years for all the manufacturing defects. We have 10 fabrication setups and hence our deliveries are quick and with in-house service division and a dedicated dealer network across India, our services are top class.
Satya Subram, the Executive Director of NCL Buildtek Ltd., has more than two decades of experience in the Advanced Building Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) degree and is an MBA (Marketing) from a premier institute. Subram has served the company in various roles for a long time. He is responsible for the overall working of the WINDOORS Division and is instrumental in making strategic decisions for the company. Besides this, Subram is an eminent individual and is part of various R&D Projects initiated by the company. Satya Subram talks elaborately about his company’s growth journey spanning over 25 years, the key factors behind their success, also about their facilities, services, value engineered products, and on the trends in the windows and doors market. Info : firstname.lastname@example.org