Uday Kulkarni, president, Schindler – India & South Asia, highlights the company’s plans to capitalise on the growing demand for elevators & escalators in India.
Interviewed by: Mitalee Kurdekar
A recent report suggests that the market for elevators is expected to cross $1.6 billion by 2020. How are you planning to capitalise on this in terms of your product portfolio and marketing plan?
India is the second-largest elevator market in the world after China, with more than 50,000 elevators being sold every year. The current growth rate of the elevator & escalator market is expected to be about 5-6% given the rapid urbanisation in the country. The elevator & escalator market growth is mainly driven by the residential segment and also the activity and initiatives in tier-II & tier-III cities. In the near future, it is likely to become even stronger with a focus on initiatives like ‘housing for all’, the development of smart cities & new infrastructure projects. This creates a need for taller buildings with even more efficient and innovative mobility solutions.
Huge urbanisation potential, relatively young population and increasing educational opportunities should continue the India growth story for years to come. Large metro cities would continue to rise higher, while rapid growth in smaller towns would transform them into new large cities of tomorrow. We, at Schindler, are very optimistic about the long term growth of the elevator and escalator market in India.
Overall, with our growing team of highly skilled & motivated employees, Schindler is truly poised to further strengthen its leadership in the market. Inspired by the vision of being the best service provider in the industry for its customers, Schindler will continue to develop highly innovative and user-friendly mobility solutions, making Schindler the first choice of our customers.
India has recently witnessed a remarkable push to its infrastructure industry. What are some of the recent projects you have contributed to and what is in the pipeline?
Schindler India has, over the years, gained the trust of leading builders & developers across the country. The reason they have chosen Schindler as their partners in large and high-rise projects is because of the organisation’s expertise in managing such projects, through dedicated project management teams. Our four state-of-the-art training centres – in Noida, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Pune – ensure that every Schindler fitter and service technician is trained and certified to work on our equipment. Schindler customers are aware that their elevators are in safe and capable hands.
Schindler has been a partner in several prestigious infrastructure projects in India, like the Mumbai International Airport, Terminal 2; the Chennai International Airport; the Delhi Metro; the Delhi Airport Metro; the Mumbai Monorail; the Kolkata International Airport; as well as the Mumbai, Bengaluru and Greater Noida metro projects.
In large metros, buildings continue to grow taller. The taller the building, the more challenging it is to design and install the elevators. At Schindler, our experts from the Top Range Division work closely with our customers to plan, deliver and install our high-speed elevator solutions, customised to the building needs. Our expertise in high-rise projects is evident from landmark high rise buildings such as Shreepati Arcade, Antilia, Imperial Towers & Omkar 1973 Worli . We are also proud to be associated with the tallest residential building in the world – The World Towers, which will be equipped with high-speed Schindler elevators (S7000), some of them running at a speed of 8 m/sec – the fastest in India.
Could you elaborate on the technical aspects of Schindler’s latest range of smart and energy-efficient elevators?
Real estate developers increasingly prefer gearless & machine-room-less (MRL) elevators over traditional elevators that require the machine room to be on top of the building. This offers them more flexibility to design the building, and ensures an overall saving in cost and time for our customers.
Schindler is a pioneer in developing and applying sustainable technologies for clean urban mobility solutions. To improve energy efficiency, Schindler uses materials that have a lower environmental impact and can be disposed in an ecologically sound manner. The development of much lighter components has resulted in further energy savings.
We have a track record of introducing innovative products. Our machine-room-less and gearless elevators – Schindler 3100IN and Schindler 3300IN – have been widely accepted by our customers. These elevators offer them greater flexibility to design buildings, and also save costs, time, and most importantly, the space that would be needed to build machine rooms.
Schindler 5500, which we have launched recently, takes configurability to a new level. It uniquely combines performance, flexibility and design, which makes it easy to be compatible with the requirements of commercial, mid- and high-end residential buildings.
Schindler’s Miconic-10 hall call destination system optimises people mobility within buildings & thus leads to reduction in energy consumption. Our third generation, revolutionary PORT transit management system, interconnects the entire building & provides architects with new possibilities in vertical mobility management and security planning.
We continuously improve the energy efficiency of our escalators also. With ECOLINE power management, our customers can define whether the escalator should run at full speed during peak times, and automatically slow down or even stop when there are no passengers.
Could you walk us through the manufacturing process – from procurement to supply chain – of your products?
With our customers being at the focal point of everything that we do, Schindler has developed a strategic global sourcing network. Our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, located at Chakan near Pune, is fully functional from the beginning of 2014. This sprawling, world-class campus houses the elevator factory, a 71m tall elevator test tower, the global R&D centre and the upcoming escalator plant. All this is a testimony to Schindler Group’s commitment to the Indian market and our endeavour to be closer to our customers and offer them innovative mobility solutions.
Schindler is the first in the industry to fully integrate all its service tools into one seamless SAP platform. This allows us to make dynamic, real-time adjustments, resulting in improved consistency, reliability and response time. Our service technicians are equipped with iPhones, which act as hand-held, Field-Link devices, and enable them to identify and prioritise the service needs of our customers, and resolve them promptly.
Do you customise products for your clients? If yes, how do you go about tweaking them?
Our product offering ranges from cost-effective solutions for low-rise residential buildings to sophisticated access and destination control for multi-functional, high-rise buildings. We do have customised products for different segments like premium residential, commercial and – most importantly – the public transport segment.
Schindler’s new elevator for commercial and high-end residential buildings delivers unprecedented flexibility, ensuring a perfect fit for both building and architectural design.
The Schindler 5500 anticipates the needs of the building engineers of today. With scalable car sizes, the elevator can be easily adapted to fit shaft dimensions. The Schindler 5500 offers both a machine room-less (MRL) and a mini-machine room (MMR) configuration, with the ability to install the controller on different levels. Additional features like optimised traffic management, enhanced space utilisation and minimised building interfaces are options to increase rentable space and lower building costs.
How does your organisation approach the issue of training manpower?
An elevator is not a plug-and-play kind of product, unlike other building equipment. Just as the design and quality of the elevator is important, it is equally important that it is installed and serviced by trained experts. Recognising the importance of highly skilled workforce, Schindler India is the only company in the industry which has invested in four, full-fledged, state-of-the-art training centres.
The training centres are not merely conventional class-rooms, but engage the technicians in actual installation in elevator shafts, constructed inside each training centre building. Real-life simulators train the technicians on maintenance and trouble shooting. This ensures that customers have peace of mind, knowing that their elevator is in safe hands.
These world-class training centres are providing the best skilled workforce to install and maintain our products. This exceptional value is making Schindler the first choice of major developers and builders in India.