Monday, November 29, 2021

Interaction - Anil Banchhor, MD & CEO, RDC Concrete (India) Pvt. Ltd.

Many of the products that we develop are not decided by us, but decided by the customer’s need and their pain points.

RDC Concrete (India) Pvt Ltd has emerged as India’s largest non-cement RMC company. It has 52 plants across India clocking annual turnover of over 1000 crores. In an exclusive interview to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES, ANIL BANCHHOR, MD & CEO, RDC CONCRETE (INDIA) PVT LTD talks about the trends in the RMC sector, impact of Covid-19, the company’s offerings and outlook for the RMC market in India.

 

Give us an over view of the current readymix concrete industry, present growth trends in the RMC sector in India?

The ready mix concrete industry made its entry into the country in the 90s but it has picked up pace only in the last decade and half owing to rapid infrastructure development. RMC industry is developing at a rapid rate driven by the demand from metro cities with upcoming infrastructure projects such as the Metro rails, flyovers, high-rise buildings, etc. The industry has grown to all parts of the country including the metros and the Tier 2 and 3 cities. Though the RMC sector in India is growing rapidly at a pace of 15-20 per cent annually the business is yet to mature – the gap between the organised and unorganised sector is wide. Cement is a prime material in ready mix concrete and in the coming years the Readymix Concrete industry is likely to consume more than 30 per cent of the cement produced from the current consumption level of around 15 percent. Despite these hurdles we can expect more than 25 percent growth in RMC Sector in coming years.

 

Many states have now eased the lockdown, has there been a uptake in sales for your company, provide details with regards to the current situation of the industry and what are your strategies to overcome these challenges.

We are now reached Pre-COVID Level of our business in terms of Sales and we can see more growth in coming days. Initially after ease of lockdown in last year major challenge was non availability of labours at various construction sites but slowly it has improved now. We have increased our focus on Commercial and Infrastructure projects to increase the sales.

 

Tell us about the RMC products offered by your company. Please share details about your manufacturing units – location and capacities? In which sectors do you expect demand in the coming years?

RDC Concrete has a proven reputation for delivering cost-effective and innovative building solutions to meet a plethora of requirements of customers. We are having wide range of product portfolio for providing high quality tailor made solutions for various needs. Smart city need to be energy efficient, sustainable with eco-friendly features. We have Greenrete concrete of various grades up to M60 with lesser embodied energy and contain more eco-friendly materials. Duracrete is another product offering longer life and lower life cycle cost than normal concrete due to its better durability properties and least maintenance. Crackfree concrete makes it impossible for water to penetrate and therby reinforcement is well protected from possible corrosion causing external factors. We have Naturecrete for paving in walkways, which allows water to percolate to the ground and increase water table, instead of going to drain. We also have dry & wet concrete bags to address the small repair work requirements. These bags will satisfy the need of quality concrete for smaller applications in areas, where it is difficult to carry normal concrete. Selfcrete is one product which is largely being used in multi-storeyed building in congested columns or with aluminium formwork due to high flowability and ability to fill complicated structural members where congestion of reinforcement is high and it also speeds up the rate of pour thereby saves time. Tempcrete designed to reduce the core temperature of raft foundations, Supercrete designed to achieve high compressive strengths up to M100, Fastrackcrete to achieve high strength in matter of hours, Fibrecrete with new generation poly propylene fibre or with steel fibre.

RDC Concrete is a front runner in use of technology. From inward logistics involving raw material, manufacturing, distribution to customer service, it has put into place fully digitized platform with least intervention of People. At any point in time there is complete visibility of movement of Raw material and finished product. This is resulting in Operational excellence by which it beats competition in every efficiency parameter. RDC Concrete is having fully integrated, microprocessor controlled batching Plants with capacity ranging from 30 m3 per hour to 120 m3 per hour.

 

Is India’s construction sector ready for high-end RMC products having niche applications. Which RMC Grades have maximum demand. What are their applications.

The construction sector sees a gradual rise, and it evolves into most optimum solutions for the end users. High- end RMC products like High Strength Concrete, High Durability Concrete, Self compacting concrete are seeing upsurge in demand, but gradually. Each of these products are the solutions for some perennial problems which are aggravating each day. For example, some cities have run out of land, due to which they are growing vertically to accommodate the rising population, this helps the entire economy and ecosystem in a positive way. When you accommodate more population in smaller area, the cost of travel for the people reduces as the offices and homes come closer to each other. It reduces burden on the resources in a huge way. But for all this to happen, the basic requirement is High Strength concrete which will support the demand for these kinds of upcoming cities. All the Metro cities have already started using High Strength Concrete, and also the average strength of concrete has increased, serving as a good indicator for the trend we are in right now. On the other hand issues of depleting Limestone, makes it also a kind of non-renewable resource, for manufacture of cement. In such cases High Durability Concretes will serve not only for high life of structures, but also in making critical structures safe. The construction Industry across the world is seeing decrease of skilled manpower to work with concrete and to compact it well enough. Moreover the construction quality traditionally is dependent on a highly variable factor of manpower. This has led to birth and implementation of Self Compacting concretes, which literally does not require a single hand for compacting it, or working with it.

To sum it in a nutshell, Construction Sector is not just ready for High End RMC products, but has actually started using it, and the growth rate is exponential, where we see initial slow demand, but beyond a tipping point the demand just sky rockets. RMC grades are rising with time, and right now it is M40 which is highest in demand.

 

Tell us of the new products you have introduced or plan to launch in the near future.

We have many products that we have launched over the years to solve the challenges faced by the construction fraternity. Many of the products that we develop are not decided by us, but decided by the customer’s need and their pain points. Meaning, it is the Solution for construction challenges that they face, and we develop products addressing these challenges. For example, Road construction companies face challenge of concrete settlement in Dumpers during transportation, leading to lot of re-tampering and wrong construction practices, like spraying water on dried up concrete from the bottom of the dumper. This further leads to cracks and abrading out of road surface, and huge repair costs. We in collaboration with our partner Contractors have developed concrete for PQC which does not settle in Dumpers despite the jerks and compactions. The concrete maintains it’s homogeneity, leading to smooth and fast execution of Quality Concrete roads. On similar lines we are planning to launch Crack free Concrete which is able to resist formation of cracks at early ages of curing; 0 Cure concrete, which does not require water for its curing and hydration serving for issues of non-availability of water and manpower, Impact Resistant Concrete for defence and related structures which is able to withstand even the missile attacks.
 

 

Please tell us about the Green Virtues of your RMC. Howeco friendly are your products?

Concrete by and large itself has been the most green thing to happen to the construction Industry.  All other options other than concrete are not sustainable or Green. Right now the economy desires more of green factors in this very concrete, in terms of reduction in embedded energy costs and efficiency of the concrete in terms of service life mostly. On the other hand, the Green virtuosity of RDC though has never been an issue, but it has been the challenges in demand of Green products which are right now determining the Green virtues of our products. The policies have still not been aligned enough to encourage higher usage of Green products. In other words, concrete can be tailor made into more Green products, by basically going away from the traditional norms. Despite these challenges we have developed the Eco friendly products which not only have the least carbon foot print but are also outperforming all the structural requirements demanded by the Designers.

 

 

Tell us about the USP’s of your products vis-à-vis your competitors.

While we can vouch for RDC concrete products, we do not want to compare it with any other competitor. RDC Concrete has a robust system of quality control in place, which is able to mitigate the challenges by any RMC player due to ever changing raw material properties. We have the cleanest plants and storage facilities across the industry, thereby having least issues in Product Quality and Health and safety of our employees and associates. We believe in developing our team to be the best in the Industry, who further make our business go places, for which we have the best training facilities in place.

 

 

What is your cost/quality equation in a price sensitive market like India

The Cost of Quality is our prime focus. For the RMC business, the equation is an ever changing formula due to volatile market dynamics, in addition to variation in raw material quality and prices w.r.t. time. Having said that, our External failure costs are minimum, since that has cascading effects on many aspects of the business. But this again comes at a cost leading to high prevention and appraisal costs, while very low internal failure costs.

 

 

Major problems faced in maintaining consistency of quality in your RMC products.

The real challenge at the root for maintaining quality consistency is multifold. Raw Material inconsistency is the most underlying challenge for Quality of concrete. It won’t be wrong to say, that we face challenge of inconsistency in Cement even from reputed players, which is the major factor deciding the quality of concrete. There have been numerous instances of Concrete Quality issue due to poor Cement. Coming to the next factor, it is the gap between the skill set required for the manpower and the skill set available. The academia hasn’t yet aligned to the demands of construction sector. Our Industry sees new challenges every day, for which neither the Academia nor the national standards have proper solutions. The solutions are being scientifically generated first on field, like always in the history, and then it comes into academia. While ideally it should have been the other way round. When we say Academia and Real world application has gap, we just don’t imply challenges of new problems, we also mean the capability of engineers to resolve the most fundamental challenges of concrete production.

 

 

What kind of government policy will foster growth of the RMC sector?

Faster urbanization of major cities will need RMC plants to be set up within city limits as the product is highly perishable product. In fact, this should be part of urban town planning. RMC usage should be encouraged by making it mandatory to use as sustainable and durable concrete for increased lifespan of the construction. Site mixes with untrained manpower should be stopped as such poor workmanship  is responsible for poor quality construction. Use of RMC will also reduce pollution and wastage of raw materials and help in early execution of projects.

The government must ensure growth of the construction industry by making RMC a mandatory item in the specifications for all government jobs and any private project of value exceeding 10cr. It should also pass regulations for all metro and tier 2 cities to use RMC and stop piling of construction materials like aggregates and sand on public roads at construction sites.  Currently, in major metro cities, movement of trucks is restricted due to no-entry for certain times of the day. We feel that the Government should provide some relief for RMC carrying trucks in cities to enable faster construction activities.

 

Future outlook on RMC in India, from industry and from a company perspective.

Currently RMC Sector is growing at a rate of 15-20% YOY and we expect that this will go above 20% YOY in upcoming years. Currently we are growing at 26 % CAGR and expected to grow at the faster pace in coming years. In India, the use of RMC is still at a relatively nascent stage as compared to that of many developed countries. Therefore we can see increase in use of RMC in coming years. India’s infrastructure development is going up as per latest budget announcement and government plans to restructure the national highways, airports and Metro rail projects. This bores well for ready mix industry.  We have proven expertise in the Infra, residential, commercial Projects including roads and low cost housing. All these will help us in capturing such projects in future. We are also planning to grow towards north Eastern states.




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