Construction Times in conversation with Navneet Saraf, Director, Technocraft Industries, who explains why formwork matters when it comes to quality, efficiency and cost
How has your experience been this year at bauma?
Good. We received some quality enquiries and since we are launching our monolithic system for the 1st time we found that the clients are very very interested in that. It seem like there is a mismatch in the demand and supply. We are eyeing for a 10000 square metre monthly capacity in our factory. We are setting up all Greenfield new plant near our existing factory in Murbad which is in Thane district. So the work is on and we have already started taking orders. So far, so good.
You mentioned about this monolithic system. Could you please elaborate?
Its a monolithic aluminium formwork is basically an aluminium facing formwork which is excellent for mass construction, its excellent for high rise building, high rise towers. The product is basically a product in which in one go you can pour, you cast the whole slabs, the walls, beams and everything can be cast together in one go. That is the beauty of this product.
How sustainable is it in terms of quality?
The quality is amazing. You can have 200 repetitions of aluminium, nothing happens to aluminium unless its manhandled, otherwise it can go for very long. See the reason why this product is successful or has a wide scope in India is because of our current government pushing for mass housing. You can see there is Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, a scheme by government of India, where there are houses for everyone by 2022. You cannot have these houses with the stereotypical old ways of construction. This can be achieved only through mass housing system and for that you need a modern formwork. Its already happening in India in the parts of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana where the government is pushing for a huge number of houses and the same is replicated in other states as well. This system is basically for the same reason and other oart is high rise. Now since again the government is pushing for vertical cities; they don’t want cities to expand horizontally, they are pushing it vertically. Like you have seen it in Mumbai where we have 30 storey, 40 storey, 50 storey, 60 storey. So for that you have the repeated slabs and number of towers are huge like 5 towers, 6 towers, 7 towers. Again government is encouraging for township projects wherein they are reducing the stamp duty and all. So overall considering all these factors there is a wide scope for monolithic aluminium system.
How cost effective would you term your product line? How does it help to make housing not just affordable but very affordable that lower income groups can afford it?
The affordability lies in repetitions. If you use it for single stand alone building then its not affordable. You use it for 100 towers, 50 towers, you use it for thousands of same kind of houses then the cost comes nothing because the same thing you are repeating again. This is a form, ek dhaacha hai (there is a skeleton or structure) for the concrete and get the final product. So the cost is very low as you increase the repetitions.
With the introduction of RERA, as you know they have to complete the construction with in
the stipulated time. Secondly, an issue which all the contractors are facing apart from the regulators is the labour. Labour is not readily available
with the desired skill sets that the contractors are looking for. In such scenarios what can really help the contractors is a modern formwork system and that is where the aluminium formwork comes into place. Now the contractors need a system or product or something which they can rely upon and they want something which is closely connected and is manufactured close to the sites can be modified in the future course of time and in fact in future any replacement comes, any refurbishments come, anything comes it has to be close to the site. So in that case technocraft has a big advantage compared to any other aluminium monolithic supplier because the technocraft factory is located in Mumbai where the city is growing vertically and secondly it is also not far from south India where the government is pushing for the mass houses. So in future course of time technocraft will be much much better compared to any other supplier of this system.
Again my question would be the same. How much time a real estate contractor can save on an average?
In aluminium monolithic one slab, the whole slab, whole floor plate can be casted, removed, taken to the next level and done within 7 days. I don’t mean only the slab, it’s the whole walls, beams everything can be casted, made and removed within 7 days dot. So in that way 30-40 storey building doesn’t take much time; may be will be completed in on year.
That is the whole point I wanted to ask.
You can comply with RERA and they can save a sizeable amount if money. Another point is there are no complaints of leakage.
When the slab is done there are no complaints of leakage, there is no requirement for outside plaster and therefore the cost saving doesn’t lie on one factor. There are multiple ways in which a contractor can save money.
And another very important point is the customer can sell it at a selling point that we are using aluminium monolithic and it can be a
It can be the USP for the contractor but developer because customers these days are highly aware about these systems. They ask whether you are doing it in a conventional way or in aluminium monolithic way.
You mentioned the no leakage factor. So how does it actually happen? You have some monitoring system? Some IoT which is being monitored by some system? The reason why I am asking this is because normally cannot come to know about leakages when the concrete is in port. So how it is being monitored that you say there is 100% no leakage?
It is not monitored at site. It happens only after once the customers or the residents check in the property. SO far this system is fool proof and there are no cases of leakages. And since everything happens at one go there are no defects and no chances of leakages because everything is in concrete, there are no bricks and no plasters. Why leakages happen is because the brickwork comes into play and in brick works there are always chances of water voids, air voids and once the air evaporates, the air moves out then the leakages happen in the rainy season but this is concrete. Nothing can pass through.
My question would still be pertaining to that. I would like to ask one more question related to it. The reason why I am asking about it is that because when I ensure about my technology this is a physical product. Now I am talking about an advanced product you can work on. If suppose I have some devices where there are no leakages on that part, are you working towards that anything on the R&D level or have you even thought of that or there is no requirement?
See currently I think this is the most modern product and the product is in great demand and every 2 years in Bauma we are launching one or the other product. Now this year we are launching this product. Last year in Bauma we had Mark deck system, now we have come up with a Mark one aluminium monolithic. We have lot of products in our pipeline which will come out at the right time.
Yes. I think it will help because that will be a great thing when someone pours a concrete and it comes to a zero response on the display. Suppose this is your product, you have a display system and it says that it has 100% failed, no chances of leakage. In that way I am talking. Apart from that you said about the application aspect on the real estate segment: commercial, residential, hospitality sector and all. SO does your product serve the infrastructure sector?
The new product does not serve the infrastructure sector. However we do have different product line for the infrastructure. We are already supplying to all the metros. Peer cabs, igirder segements all these kind of products we already have launched and our customers are happily using it. We have a monthly capacity of 1000 tons and we are looking forward to increase it further because with the kind of infrastructure development that is happening currently in India looks like we will be a very very nig player in infra products.
You mentioned your planned factories in India and china. Any specific reasons to put up factories in China?
In China we have a factory which is catering to a different segment. See Technocraft is not an India specific company. We are still an 80% exports company.
Yes. We are still an 80 exports company. Whatever we manufacture, 80% of it we export. We are catering to a different market. The company was established in the year 1977 and its a long way we came up from just a drum closure manufacturer to an integrated formwork solution and manufacturer. So China factory was for a different application. It is serving US and Australian markets. We are mainly making there some scaffoldings, drum closures as well as steel planks. Considering the closeness from the markets like USA and Australia in terms of shipments and also having some advantages of raw materials and skilled labours there (in China) we felt a need to have one factory in China.
If we segregate from the real estate and infra segment, totally how much turnover they contribute to each other?
In terms of volume its like currently infra is catering to almost 60% and real estate 40% but going forward the percentage is going to change with the launch of this product. Its a volume product and this will add to the company’s top line. One more thing I need to add to the domestic Indian market is we are also giving our mark deck system on a rental model. Currently we have a sizeable stock on rental availability and we are serving all the top contractors of India, PAN India.
So how you serve them? You have a distribution network? Touch points?
We don’t have any distribution network but we have a team of salespeople who visit the sites, different clients. We have representatives across India. We have someone looking after the North Indian Market, someone looking after the south Indian market. We do not have any distribution network; however, we are open for that. If in future some opportunities come up we can set up some distribution centre somewhere in India, most likely in the south (South India).
What is total team strength on your payroll?
If you are asking about the labour then it is 1200 in the factory.
On payroll I think we have office staff in HO (head office) only around 200 people but currently we have around 12 supervisors for this particular product alone in domestic market (Indian market) who are in charge of different sites across India. This is specifically about India; I am not talking about Australia or USA and other markets.
How strong is your after sales service?
Basically we have people in the factory. In case any complaint arises we have a ready team available which can immediately
visit the factory, resolve the issue. The major advantage is we have factory in India to serve the Indian customers which is not the case with our competitors. If any issue arises we are very quick to respond and resolve it. Be it replacement of any parts (spare parts), shortage of parts or anything we are quick to resolve them.
What is your projected turnover for India?
We are eyeing a turnover of around 400 crores for India.
What was the year on year compared to the last three years?
So far we are around 100 crores currently in Indian market with our current products. With the launch of our new products our target will be around 350-400 crores.
So there will be an almost 100% jump
Yes. As I said because it is a volume product; even one order is sizeable. It will give major revenue to the group.
So what is your stand ? where will the company stand? Who are your major competitors and where do you stand in present position as a brand value?
Three years back Technocraft was a new brand in India as we awere more focused on global markets but now we are supplying to all the leading contractors in India. And with this mark one product we are hoping to reach to the developers which is a category which we did not cater to so far.
So we definitely expect to reach more and more clients, specifically developers. Contractors already know us but with the new product we are expecting to reach the developers as well which will give us a better reach, that will also add more value to both the products i.e. daking system and
Is there anything you would like to add, which will help the readers because your target clients are our readers. Sixty per cent of our readers are developers. Is there anything that you would like to convey to them
I would definitely ask the customer whenever they decide to buy a property in any project specially in metros like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore or Delhi they should ask that what kind of formwork system the contractor is placing. They ask so many questions like taxation, possession
etc which is also important but additionally they should also ask about the formwork has been employed by the contractor which is also very important. That will put pressure on the contractor to build better systems because lot of issues after construction happens in due course
because of the poor choice of formwork. And the normal laymen won’t understand it.