In conversation with BW Smart Cities' Nivedhana Prabhu, Paul Jones – MD, EMEA & India at Aristech Surfaces LLC and Harsh Upadhyay, Associate Vice President & Head - Business Development, GREENPLY talk to us about their collaboration, skill India initiative, need for infrastructure and the attitude of comprise of quality in the Indian market.
Aristech Surfaces LLC, the largest global manufacturer of continuous cast acrylic sheets headquartered in Florence, Kentucky collaborated with Greenply Industries Limited an Indian Multi-national and market leader in the domain of plywood and allied products in India for a marketing tie up under the new umbrella brand of Greenteriors.
Collaboration between the industries to distribute and market the niche range of 100% Acrylic Solid Surface sheets manufactured by Aristech Surfaces under the brand name of Avonite in the Indian Sub-continent.
At a time when the diplomatic as well as trade relations between both the countries are at an all-time high, the collaboration is just another example of growing bonhomie between the industries of the two nations.
Therefore beginning a new chapter in the history of India US Trade Relations is the significant aspect of the global and strategic partnership.
Infact, U.S. goods and services trade with India totaled at an estimated $114.8 billion in 2016. Exports were $42.0 billion, imports were $72.8 billion.
India is currently the 9th largest goods trading partner with $67.7 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2016.
According to the Department of Commerce, U.S. exports of Goods and Services to India supported an estimated 197 thousand jobs in 2015.
Both the nations believe that the cordial India US Trade Relations will have a long lasting and positive influence on the future international system, promoting stability, democracy, prosperity and peace across the world.
In conversation with BW Smart Cities, Paul Jones – MD, EMEA & India at Aristech Surfaces LLC, spoke to us about the growth of the Indian market, his vision to ensure better infrastructure through the collaboration and was all praises for Prime Minister’s initiative of Smart Cities.
What are your views on the Indian market becoming a hub for global investors?
The strong economic reforms agenda pursued by the Indian government along with the stable economic indicators and GDP growth have made India an attractive market for global enterprises worldwide and Aristech Surfaces foresees a high potential market in the Indian construction materials domain with latent demand which can be harnessed to generate strong revenue stream.
The rate of urbanization, growing populace of affluent middle class and growing segment of working young professionals with higher dispensable income are all positive indicators of growth which can be attained by a versatile and premium product like Acrylic Solid Surface in India. Furthermore, with robust industrial and infrastructure growth which is anticipated as an after effect of robust economic policies, the demand for surfacing products such Acrylic Solid Surface is bound to grown manifolds in the times to come.
“INDIAN MARKET NEEDS BETTER QUALITY OF SOLID SURFACES”
I will be the biggest critic of the solid surface market in India because I believe there is an opportunity to do much better.
While the Solid Surface product has been present in the country for close to 2 decades, the quality of fabrication has been the Achilles’ heel in the growth of the segment. The finish and quality of fabrications done in India are nowhere near to the standards followed worldwide and especially in Europe, USA and Middle East. The major reason for this is low focus of the existing players on this aspect of business. Most of the fabrications in India are done at site by team of fabricators who are ill-equipped and untrained leading to major embarrassments sometimes for the users and below par quality of finished product in general.
Across the world, the fabrication of the solid surface sheets is done in fabrication workshops with state-of-the-art machines for superior finish and finesse in quality. Only the assembly and final finishing is done at the project sites which ensures faster installations, superior quality of fabrication and a long-lasting product performance.
Greenply and Aristech are planning to create a network of fabrication partners across the country and equip them with best-in-the-class machinery and technology along with adequate technical training and skilling of work force to ensure that the end products are at par with international standards when it comes to fabrication.
Share with us your thoughts on smart cities and the need for effective infrastructure?
The concept of smart cities is very similar to what UK had witnessed back in the 1980’s under the concept of New Towns Commission.
Coming to smart cities in India, a strong political will to do something is being witnessed in India due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Ofcourse he has his share of critics but personally for me his reforms and vision remind me a lot of Margaret Thatcher since both of them have a similar outlook that certain things have to be done and now is the time to do so.
Smart cities for me also represent an opportunity because when it is planned from scratch you only spend the money once. But, on the other hand when you do it in an already built environment you are spending the money for a second time which shows lack of administration.
For example, if you visit some of the big cities in the US which were planned you can see how well their infrastructure was planned making it inter-connected at every stage.
The public transport like the trains and buses integrates at a central point, the traffic has been managed in such a way that there are no traffic jams. That goes to show how it was effectively planned to ensure better quality of living for people.
Just as Greenply is committed to embrace sustainable business practices as a core business strategy, Greenply also has initiatives that are committed towards creating a positive change in the society through holistic and sustainable community development programs.
Harsh Upadhyay, Associate Vice President & Head - Business Development, GREENPLY talks to us about the skill India initiative, need for infrastructure and the attitude of comprise of quality in the Indian market.
“WE INDIANS TEND TO COMPROMISE IN QUALITY OF PRODUCTS”
Though India is becoming a potential hub for global investors, it needs to catch up in terms of quality as we are use to comprising. Other countries have an unforgiving attitude towards quality. Infact, people are more like robots when dishing out products as they are extremely quality conscious.
As an Indian market we need to up the ante because we cannot afford to lag behind in terms of infrastructure or even standard of living as a whole due to lack of quality.
“SMART CITIES, A GREAT VISION”
The growth that India is witnessing and is yet to see only focuses on the point that our hunger for infrastructure is a lot more. The vision of smart cities is laudable as the government has promised huge capital in terms of investment for better standard of living.
Though there are various cities with good facilities, the implementation of the same has not ensured any progress. With the sheer numbers our country has, there is immense possibility to bring about the required change.
Could you share with us the association of Greenply and Skill India movement?
Much of the talent pool from rural areas remains untapped, due to poor education levels and lack of awareness towards vocational training programmes.
Many a times this becomes the reason for the unending cycle of poverty and lack of development in rural areas. Greenply CSR believes in promoting vocational training to increase the employability of youth from underprivileged backgrounds. In addition, our initiatives in this direction are designed to provide support and guidance to encourage them to become self-employed, thereby improve their economic standing in the society. Greenply Foundation has undertaken a unique initiative in the area of skill development.
Our initiative in this domain works towards creating skilled and empowered pool of carpenters, equipped with modern carpentry techniques, knowledge of material and skills to improve their livelihood. Our intent with the initiative is to ensure the youth from rural areas gain employable skills for a rewarding life and become essential cogs to the Indian growth story.
So far, our training initiatives have directly benefited over 300 carpenters in various furniture workshops based across New Delhi alone. Our ultimate target is to initiate such programs in the carpentry hubs across India.
The program also ensures that the skills the workers develop at these workshops further enables them to work not only across the country but also in oversea countries like the Middle East.