Taking over the reins of Schueco India in 2011, Mr. Antony runs the show like an ace leader in sync with fellow board members nominated from Schueco KG Germany and is helping build the Indian business unit together with the New Markets Steering Committee based at Schueco’s HQ in Bielefeld, Germany.Having an experience of over 20 years in the Building Materials and Associated Industry, Mr. Antony has always been associated with European Multinationals in India. As an electronics engineer with Master’s degree in Business Management and international work experience with best management practices on various projects spanning Switzerland, Eastern Europe, North Africa and Middle East, his most enjoyable stints however have been those when working within project business in India.
With a spurt in growth of construction industry and rising awareness and subsequent demand from the user side for the high quality façades, a whole gamut of system companies from around the world have forayed into India to tap the huge potential that lays hidden here.
Schueco, the world’s largest building envelope / Aluminium doors, windows and façade systems company headquartered in Germany with over 4800 employees and 12,000 partner companies, first recognized the pulsating growth potential of India in 2009. They set up their liaison office in Bangalore and India became one of the 78 countries which the company operates in.
Schueco – The Company:
With intent of market research and analyzing the growth potential with respect to settling up permanent operation here, Schueco liaison office continued to function till 2012 when they commenced their full-fledged operations as a 100% subsidiary of Schueco International KG. Headquartered in Mumbai, Schueco India has offices in Bangalore, Pune, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Chennai and also a state of the art warehousing, QC laboratory and training facility in Bangalore. Mr. Rajiv Antony, Managing Director Schueco India, is spearheading the Indian operations since he took reins in his hands in joined in 2011 and has been instrumental in building the team and launching the specialized system – TropTecTM
Schueco – The Brand
Worldwide Schueco is known to have a consumer connect by their impeccable branding and market positioning efforts. Being relatively a beginner in India, Schueco is increasing awareness towards the brand amongst the target audience. “Branding creates therecognizable platforms for the customers to get a firsthand experience of the products.” – iterates Rajiv Antony. Various launch events and exhibitions, dialogue with the Industry through round table conferences, related event and seminars, print media vehicles etc. are being extensively used for advertisements, advertorials to enhance public relations by Schueco. Newsletters and other forms of online engagements are also carried forth.
“Any marketing effort bears results only after a certain period of time and it will be too early to judge the outcome simply based on sales figure growths, however, according to our recent extensive market research, we have found a positive inclination from customers towards the brand Schueco. With the progressing awareness levels, the perception towards GermanSystem Companyis also taking a positive turn” – explained Mr. Antony when asked how the brand positioning is helping them in conservative Indian market.
Commonly perceived as a brand for the metros, Schueco is not very widely seen in smaller cities. As a strategy they are focusing on the markets in and around Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. This seems to be an apt approach for the start-up as they believe, venturing in smaller cities would require increased bandwidth internally which is something the company is still working on. They are increasingly training and developing quality partners (fabricators) as per highest standards who would eventually pave way for deeper penetration into the smaller cities and would open up the B2C route as well. “It’s very important to have equilibrium between the service/product delivery and the client expectations, which is critical for the brand value” – said Mr. Antony
The key product offering for Indian market from the huge kitty of Schueco is the Schueco TropTecTMwhich is a range of aluminium doors, windows, sliders and unitized façade systems. Unlike the EU nations where the insulation from cold temperature and retaining the heat inside and conserving energy is the key focus, Indian context portrays a stark difference. The commercial space and premium residential segment is rather entirely dependent on the use of air conditioning. The weather outside is a mix of dust, humidity, smog and on top of that unrestrained noise. Whether it is the typical metropolitan urban landscape or the coastal areas or the soaring temperatures of Northern India, the Schueco TropTecTM range of products are excellent performers on all these above parameters and are an optimum solution for the developers and end users looking for high quality and performance.
These non-insulated high performance aluminium systems give the perfect blend of performance (wind load resistance, water resistance, and sound insulation) whilst giving the architect or the builder a lot of flexibility in terms of design since these are customizable products. Unlike European market where standardized product selling is a general norm, Indian scenario is totally different and requires tailor made solutions.
TropTecTM stands for Tropical technology and apart from India, it is being offered in other tropical climate zones of South East Asia, Chile and Brazil.
As a standard Schueco sells engineered Aluminium systems, complete with Aluminium extrusions, EPDM gaskets, accessories, hardware and consumables. The Schueco TropTecTM has a mix of extrusions which are sourced locally, from the Gulf and from Germany. In India as well, they have qualified select extrusion partners that conformto the highest international norms.
When asked whether the Schueco classic series which is so popular the world over, is available in India, Mr. Rajiv Antony quipped – “The Schueco Classic series of products are also available in India and are being used in a quite a few projects. These are extremely high performing premium systems with further, heavier technical parameters like thermal break/insulation and many other features which take the system several notches above of what the Indian conditions generally require.” Therefore, the TropTecTM range of systems which is designed for India/tropical climate is a perfect blend of price and performance. It gives value for money to the developer and end user and provides an architect and façade consultant just the right option to recommend in form of a reliable and tested system at optimal cost.
However, there are a few individual apartments and Villa projects in and around Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Chennai where the clients’ require very high performance windows and are ready to shell out the money as well. There we have used Schueco Classic series.
Developers and end users who are looking for tested and certified high quality systems for curtain wall and glazing, have the option of using the highly reliable Schueco TropTecTM stick systems namely the SC 50 NI and SC 50 SG NI. Also we have tested and certified TropTecTM unitized system namely the UC 65 SG NI covering a wide bandwidth of design and performance requirements that can be met.
Schueco – The Projects:
Within a span of just a couple of years in India, Schueco has executed many big curtain wall projects for developers, corporate clients and the IT Sector. Some of the noteworthy references on Façade jobs are, Sobha Developers Head Quarters in Bangalore, Infosys Chennai, BKC One and Raheja Legend in Mumbai. Apart from these, Formula One Race Course Grand Stands and Bayer Building in Delhi NCR are a couple of other projects worth mentioning besides a lot of individual villas and apartments.
Schueco – the System:
With a fundamental belief that all the system components have to work in harmony and have to be perfectly compatible, Schueco supplies and sells the whole range which is tested and certified to the highest norms, as a package. Whether it is the gaskets, hardware, screws or even the adhesive and silicones, Schueco has a plethora of options to choose from with respect to design and color of handles to type of gasket etc. But sometimes, an architect may want something really specific in terms of design or shade, for thattoo Schueco is well equipped with an extensive experience of over 60 years of creation. And provided the volumes justify the costs involves, Schueco can also provide customers with specific signature and excusive deigns as well.
“Schueco is fostering in Indian Market successfully the philosophy – bring the best from the West, understand the local needs and customize the products to suit the Indian conditions” – said Mr. Antony.
Schueco – Partners
Fabrication quality is one of the key areas where Schueco focuses its attention and energies. Schueco provides in-depth training sessions to its fabricator partners at its dedicated training center in Bangalore which is fully equipped to handle theoretical and practical sessions. Schueco engineers based out of Bangalore and Mumbai train the fabricators and certify them. Thorough first level checks andrepeat onsite and in-vivo inspections ensure the top of the notch quality at the end. The partners are provided full support in terms of training and supplies which leaves them satisfied.
Schueco – Quality Uncompromised
When confronted with a question of substandard quality when it comes to system designed for India, by a German company, Mr. Rajiv Antony clarifies with a fantastic example which leaves no room for any doubts whatsoever. He says “if you look at European automobile manufacturers in India, you can find over a dozen cars in India which have lower horse power and torque figures as compared to what they have back in Europe, this doesn’t mean that their technology, chassis or build quality is compromised. It’s just that they have to be acclimatized to Indian condition and user needs. Honda Cars in India are launched keeping in mind that all users in Indian subcontinents will not get high octane petrol. Similarly, Schueco has developed the system TropTecTM for Indian market. Certain adaptations in the system were required keeping in mind the local conditions – in this case, the product is designed as such that it is suitable for other tropical climatic zones as well. There is absolutely no change in terms of quality of materials, accessories used, fit and finish since the product is designed and developed after extensive market research at the Schueco design center in Bielefeld. The underlying fact remains that the built quality is not compromised and the product is capable to handle way more than what meets the eye”
Schueco – Outlook for India
Aluminium fenestration market currently is growing at the rate of approximately 7 percent which is expected to touch 8 percent next year. With the figures in mind, Schueco’s commitment to constantly deliver value to the customer and introducing newer products for the market looks quite promising, especially when they are considering expansion to newer geographies as well.