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“We Provide Tailored Solutions for All Market Sectors”
Andreas Engelhardt, Director, Schüco International, explains how his company achieves excellence under the umbrella of a strong brand through certified quality and award-winning design and has the edge over other brands in India. Excerpts from the interview with WFM :
WFM:Please tell us about yourself and your company – Schüco.
AE: I am a businessman and have over 30 years of professional experience, 25 of which have been in managerial positions for different companies, including some firms also involved in the construction industry.
Together with its worldwide network of partners, architects, specifiers and investors, Schüco creates sustainable building envelopes that focus on people and their needs in harmony with nature and technology. Windows, doors and façade solutions from Schüco meet the highest requirements in terms of design, comfort and security, whilst simultaneously reducing CO2 emissions through energy efficiency, thereby conserving natural resources. The company and its metal and PVC-U divisions deliver tailored products for new builds and renovations, designed to meet individual user needs in all climate zones. Everyone involved is supported with a comprehensive range of services at every stage of the construction process. With 4800 employees and 12,000 partner companies, Schüco is active in more than 80 countries and achieved a turnover of 1.5 billion euros in 2013.
WFM: Please brief on Schüco’s services and its parent company Otto Fuchs.
AE: Schüco’s aim is to provide tailored solutions for all market sectors – from private homes to commercial and industrial projects. But Schüco is more. In addition to technological expertise, there is one factor above all that sets Schüco solutions apart: a willingness to take responsibility, and to provide answers to the most urgent challenges of our time – progressive climate change and dwindling energy reserves. Innovative concepts with thermal insulation and building automation allow Schüco to reduce the energy consumption of buildings.
The limited partnership of Otto Fuchs – founded in 1910 – is a leading globally active company whose products set trends in the aerospace, automotive, construction and general engineering industries. Since 1964 Schüco – founded in 1951 – had become the biggest and most important daughter company of Otto Fuchs.
WFM: Please tell us about your group companies.
AE: The whole group with 4,800 employees in the more than 80 Schüco branches in various countries has the task to improve the window, door and façade solutions continuously for the individual markets, independently of working in the Head Quarters in Germany, in the sales office in Sweden or in the daughter company in India.
WFM: World over Schüco has uPVC and Schüco Jansen Steel Systems also – any plans to bring them to India as well?
AE: Schüco’s current focus in India is only on aluminium systems. Based on various researches done in the past we are convinced that Aluminium is the only suitable product for façade and fenestration requirements in the Indian environment (geographical and climatic conditions).
WFM:In Indian window industry uPVC and aluminium are arch rivals. There’s a virtual war between the two. How does Schüco handle that, being a promotor of both systems?
AE:The fenestration market is fairly large in India and there is scope for both to flourish simultaneously and has its separate segments customer-wise and design-wise. The aluminium systems market is something that we as a company are focussed with our plans to operate in India; aluminium is the material of choice world over when it comes to performance, durability and design freedom it provides especially for facades and high end windows and doors. We sell only tested and certified aluminium systems in India including Schüco accessories.
WFM:Schüco entered India with their classic systems. However few years down the line TropTec was launched. What prompted this decision?
AE: The primary difference between the Classic Systems and TropTec systems are that the later are non-insulated systems unlike the Classic systems which are thermally broken more suitable for cold climatic conditions of Europe.
After a detailed study and various researches, we launched Schüco TropTec which is especially designed and is customisable according to client’s requirements keeping in mind the Indian market and further the other Schüco markets like the South East Asia and Brazil. It is a focused product designed and developed in Germany for tropical climate zone such as India.
WFM: How different is Schüco from other system companies?
All Schüco systems are tested and certified which raises the bar of reliability. All articles constituting a system are supplied from a single source – Schüco. We provide support to all stake holders on the project starting with the design phase, fabrication, on-site assistance, site audits and trainings to our fabrication partners. Each and every component/article that goes into manufacturing a window and façade forming the complete system is supplied by Schüco ( except for glass), thus ensuring the system quality, performance and warranties directly.
We bring to India, over 60 years of our immense global expertise. We hire the best professionals from outside and within the industry and all our team goes through a structured training process on the job in India and at our Head Quarters and Technology Centre at Bielefeld in Germany.
WFM: What is the edge Schüco has as a brand over others – Globally and in India?
AE: Schüco is the biggest name in fenestration across globe and that is because of great marketing efforts and more importantly our products. The core of any brand has to be the product, we take great pride in our systems and people who work to realise the endless possibilities. Every two years at BAU, we exhibit our new product designs and concept to the world which further championed by great brand building and marketing efforts. Our marketing and product design team have won many laurels for outstanding designs; for example, a lot of our products have won the red dot design award which speaks volumes about our efforts. In India, people recognise our brand and that is further strengthened by our focused efforts in marketing and branding in India. We maintain a consistent brand image across globe.
WFM: How do you strategize to stay for long and service this highly price sensitive market of India?
AE: As mentioned earlier, the Indian market is fairly large and has multiple segments to cater to (budget, mid-level and luxury). We operate in the top half of the mid-level segment and luxury segment with our TropTec systems and also further offer our Classic range of products which fall under the luxury segment in India with special design and high end requirements. Building long term relation with our partners and customers is the first step. Our products are second to none and we offer only tested and certified systems according to highest standards.
WFM: Normally major European companies who start operations in India “tweak” the design and specifications to “suit Indian standards and market” (read compromise). Is the TropTec a similar story?
As I already mentioned TropTec is a product which has been designed especially for tropical climate zones, India being one of them. In line with our product philosophy all systems prior to being launched goes through a details engineering process at our technical centre in Bielefeld and only after complete testing and certification are the same launched for commercial sales. The Schüco TropTec systems are currently well established in India with several installed and running references on some of the high visibility projects in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi. For example, Project One Avighna and Rodas Enclave in Mumbai; IREO Projects such as the Skyon, Victory Valley, Gurgaon Hills, Knorr Bremse factory in Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR);Embassy boulevard, Embassy lake terraces in Bangalore; Olympia Panache in Chennai and Western Pearl in Hyderabad.
These non-insulated TropTec systems are a perfect blend of performance and European design language. We offer these products in SEA market, India to name a few.
WFM: Worldwide Schüco is much more than just windows. Golf, Formula 1 and what not. Do you think such a strategy can be beneficial for Indian market as well?
AE: We have finished our global sponsoring strategy in 2013. Nowadays our marketing activities are more focused on the individual circumstances and requirements on the different markets.
WFM: What is your outlook for India? Do you think Schüco can change the way fenestration is perceived in India?
AE: We see India with a lot of positivity and growth opportunities. Schüco is deeply committed to the Indian market and is ready to work hard and collaborate strategically with its partners and customers to realise a win-win situation for everybody. The real estate sector is gradually picking up which is a good sign of things to come.
As an organisation, we are constantly trying to bring in high standards whether it is our systems, fabrication quality or end results. This will definitely up the ante for everybody else. Although it is a long shot, but we are sure that we are headed in the right direction.
Andreas Engelhardt is the company director of Schüco International KG.He is working with the company since 2012. Schüco is a leading provider of high-quality windows, doors and facade systems of aluminum, plastic and steel. Schüco products are used worldwide and they meet the highest standards of design, comfort, safety and energy efficiency. Innovation, partnership, excellence and responsibility which determine the success of the brand. As a technology leader for the whole building envelope Schüco stands for continuous advancement. At the same time, the company is a global resource for investors, architects and fabricators.