Monday, June 21, 2021

Interaction - Ashish Vashist, Target Market Head – Waterproofing, Sika India Private Ltd

Being consistently innovative is one of the core values of Sika


SIKA is one of the pioneers in the construction chemicals industry globally. SIKA India with its range of construction chemicals and solutions have brought in lot of innovations in the Indian market. In an exclusive interview to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES, ASHISH VASHIST, TARGET MARKET HEAD – WATERPROOFING, SIKA INDIA PRIVATE LTD, speaks about the latest trends, his company’s offerings, his company’s approach towards innovation, environment and sustainability.



Give us an overview of the CC &Waterproofing chemicals market in India, latest trends and sector challenges.

CC industry continues to be on accelerated growth path. With increased bandwidth of products, complimented by awareness of usage in both retail as well as in project segment ensures that the growth momentum is there to continue in near future. The industry has seen consolidation inrecent years where in there have been mergers and acquisitions. There have been new entrants from allied industries like paint and cement. Waterproofing segment, is witnessing growing acceptability to adoption of newer technologies. Use of thermoplasitic preformed membranes and polyurethane based liquid applied membranes has increased manifolds in recent years . Modified bituminous sheet membrane however still has highest share in the pie of waterproofing segment. Application practices and use of right set of tools still remains to be a challenge in this industry. However the latest challenge that we feel is that the CC industry is also starting to be inundated with products imported from China and marketed by Indian companies. Specially in HDPE based sub grade waterproofing system. This is leading to fierce price based competition with quality consistency at risk.



Detail us on the range of CC & Waterproofing chemicals and its applications offered by your company.What are the USP’s of your products/solutions Vis-à-vis competition.

Sika is aligned to market with offering ranging from basement to roof. With product range that Sika offers ,we are able to service customer at each stage of the project starting from excavation to the finishing items like tiles/flooring. Our product ranges find usage with customer in new as well as in refurbishment works. Be it be concrete admixtures, basement waterproofing, Joint waterproofing , wet rooms , expansion joints , industrial flooring , tile adhesives or roof waterproofing . For repair and rehab works we have full range of products like repair concretes, repair mortars , Injection grout, chemical anchors, fibre reinforced polymers supported with full range of complimentary products. We have product offering from a 500ml pack to that of big sized industrial pack . So, we are positioned to serve a big project sites to small retail outlet. Sika having experience of construction chemicals for 110 years now , it gives lot of confidence to the customer on quality consistency and reliability of products .Our waterproofing products like Sika Top seal 107 which is sold all across globe is in existence for 40 years now , Sikadur combiflex for joint waterproofing is there in market for last 50 years. So, Sika is a one stop shop ,an experienced manufacturer offering reliable proven products.



What is the company’s approach towards innovation, environment and sustainability?

Being consistently innovative is one of the core values of Sika. As a group Sika spends considerable percentage of turnover on research and development .More value - less impact” - that’s the name of the Sika sustainability strategy. With the aim of “enhancing utility and reducing impacts”, Sika pursues six strategic target areas, focusing on sustainable solutions, climate performance, community engagement, energy, waste/water, and occupational safety. Sika is member of UN Global compact since 2009 . It has sustainability advisory board in place since 2016. Substantiality for Sika is an integral part of the innovation process and development of new products.



Challenges faced in terms of availability of skilled labor in your industry and how to overcome them.

Skilled labor still remains as one of the key challenges in CC industry. There are literally no entry barrier to being an applicator /installer in this field. Price pressure with limited to no entry barrier often leads to high probability of insufficiently trained manpower deployed at site. Although no manufacturer will be able to overcome these challenges altogether ,however as a measure to mitigate the risk Sika has in place a dedicated technical services team .The team organizes application training workshops to train applicators in various technologies. On site trainings are also organized to showcase as reference the best demonstrated application practices to be able to proactively avoid application flaws.Further , understanding this paucity of skilled manpower and limited applicator investing on high end tools, manufacturers needs to come up with product range which are relatively easier to install/apply and are more forgiving without compromising on performance. At Sika as we continuously strive to innovate. Recentlyin waterproofing range we have come upwith product named Sika Bit W 15 , its wet bonded modified bituminous membrane easy to install and requires minimal surface preparation and can use in versatile application areas .Such innovations along with continuous drive on training shall help to overcome challenges related to availability of skill manpower



As a manufacturer tell us about the critical challenges faced while introducing high end products in India? To what extent does cost influence a customer’s purchasing decision?

A product with good feature with high initial cost is likely to economical on life cycle cost basis. However ,In Indian market there has been increased inclination towards too much of commercialized selling of engineered goods. Manufacturers using guarantee as sales tools hinders the real technical based offering to customer. For example, a manufacturer in trade for say 5 years throwing away guarantee of 10 years.The credulous customer gets wooed away by these guarantees filled with disclaimers and fails to arrive at holistically evaluated buying decision . High end products will always have limited customerbase , unless it’s a prestige good. With lower turnover of such products ,inventory management becomes critical .Products with high end benefits comes at higher initial cost and cost remains to be a big influencer in buying decision. However with growing awareness and acceptability of newer technologies relatively more customers have started to take informed decisions and thus high end products have started to find place in the market. As the customer becomes more aware the cost per unit based buying decision will shift towards life cycle cost based buying.



Brief us on your manufacturing facilities.

Sika India has 7 state of the art manufacturing units strategically located in all regions to serve customers all across. Our biggest plant is at Jagadia, Gujarat, which is about 7000 sqm in area has a state of the art R&D center to develop further products. Sika is the only multinational having a dedicated plant for manufacturing bituminous sheet membrane. All our plants are ISO certified and manufacture product under stringent quality control norms.



Future outlook on the industry and from a company perspective.

Use of construction chemicals in terms of percentage of total cost of construction is quite low in India as compared other Asia pacific countries like like China and Asutralia .The rapid infrastructure development and increased thrust of quality of construction will fuel the growth of cc in India. The industry is estimated to grow at close to 6% CAGR over next 10 years. It will be long before the industry becomes sluggish and the growth curve flattens. Sika as a group registered a positive growth even during challenging last year . With innovation as one of our core value we strive to penetrate deeper into market delivering newer products with improved features and driving profitable growth.

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