BIG INTERVIEW, Special Stories

Prowessing With Efficiency

The global leader of the roofing industry who have pioneered steel in almost every walk of life – be it infrastructure, institutional buildings, top notch manufacturing facilities, commercial structures or even contemporary residential segments is contributing their best in making steel the prime material of construction.

To speak about the current achievements and future plans of
Tata BlueScope we have with us the man of the hour,

Riten Choudhury, Managing Director, Tata BlueScope Steel…

Read on to know more….

How has been the journey of Tata BlueScope Steel over the years?
It was in the year 2003, when two global steel players discovered an opportunity to collaborate and bring to the Indian market the latest globally accepted technology and products. BlueScope Steel was the global leader in metal coated and color coated steel, with iconic brands like ZINCALUME®, COLORBOND® and LYSAGHT®. They were also the largest PEB manufacturer in North America, with brands like BUTLER® and MR24. Tata Steel was the largest private sector manufacturer of steel in India, with a 100-year legacy.

In 2005 an iconic JV between Tata Steel and BlueScope Steel set the tone for innovative, new age, quality driven steel building products and solutions. Since then, the journey has truly been an exhilarating one. Initially we launched our range of products imported from BlueScope Steel. Subsequently our first downstream facility was setup at Pune in 2006. Facilities at Bhiwandi and Chennai were set up in quick succession. We commissioned our state-of-art metal and color coating lines at Jamshedpur in 2012. The manufacturing plant at Jamshedpur was incorporated with equipment supplied by technology leaders Siemens VAI and was one of the most modern plants within the BlueScope family. With all the right ingredients in place – plants, people and processes; we have constantly been working towards introducing, high quality, well researched steel products manufactured in 4 strategically located facilities; made available through a wide network of sales offices and multiple touch points. Today, you will find Tata BlueScope Steel in almost every walk of life – be it infrastructure, institutional buildings, top notch manufacturing facilities, commercial structures or even contemporary residential segments.

What is your take on the current Indian steel roofing industry?
Indian Roofing industry is witnessing an improved acceptance for steel roofing, majorly dominated by pre-painted coated sheets which contributes around 55 per cent of the total steel roofing market. The products sold in the market include GI, GL, PPGI and PPGL coated sheets. The total market is estimated to grow to 3 million tons by FY25 at a CAGR of ~ 6 per cent. Customers from various segments such as industrial, commercial, institutional and residential are increasingly becoming conscious of quality of the coated steel cladding.

The market which was initially dominated by Zn coated (Galvanized) steel sheets, has gradually moved to Zn-Al coated steel sheets owing to superior performance over various parameters. The selection of profiles is also a key criterion, especially in Industrial and Infra Projects. Due to increase in awareness levels, concealed fix profiles are gaining acceptance over pierced fixing profiles especially in the Industrial segment due to better water resistance and performance. However, the industry is still struggling with non-adherence to correct installation and maintenance practices, which eventually results in reduced life of the structure. Color Coated Steel enables an architect to transform his dreams into a reality. Over the years we have witnessed a surge in the usage of steel for architecturally superior structures.

Being one of the premium roofing solution providers, how do you stand out from the rest?
At Tata BlueScope we have always focused on our end user for addressing their requirements. Through customization for every application or segment, we assure customers, architects, consultants, engineers or even normal house builders about quality and performance-oriented products and solutions. We collaborate with the world’s leading paint companies to jointly develop paint systems which provide eco-friendly, long lasting solutions. The products which are brought to the market have been tested for years under actual site conditions. We make our products available even in the remotest areas of our country through our well-established network of channel partners and currently have over 5000 touch points.

We offer value added services such as design, detailing, construction and maintenance which provide end to end solutions to our customers. The legacy of our two promoters and the product and service experience we offer, has helped us build a strong bond of trust with our customers.

What are the challenges faced by the roofing industry as of today?
Quality – A major concern today is awareness about the right kind of material bought from genuine manufacturers. We have seen a large influx of substandard color coated steel into the country. It has an adverse impact not only on manufacturers but also to the end user. We have come across poor quality imported material being locally branded and shown to be produced by reputed domestic steel companies, thus misleading consumers who unknowingly buy them.

Unorganized sector- Due to low entry barriers, many roll formers are entering markets setting up shops in an unorganized way without proper technical support like design and engineering. Lack of Safety practices and advanced construction capabilities – Due to compromised quality in machinery or equipment sourced, inadequate safety training programs and absence of safety culture, has led to increased fatalities on project sites. Unskilled workforces and inappropriate installation practices affect the overall structural instability, corrosion, leakages and longevity of the product / building in the long run. Material planning – Customers especially from PEB segment expect agility from suppliers in terms of shorter delivery lead times, variety of colors etc. However, steel plants accustomed to produce bulk volumes in standard sizes need to drive a mind-set change to cater to these expectations. At times this affects the overall project completion timelines. Lack of awareness of material storage and handling- While stakeholders (steel mill, reputed PEB manufacturers and roll formers) take complete care of the quality of material supplies. However, when it reaches to the project site (especially remote locations), due to lack of adequate loading and unloading equipment and storage facilities, material may get damaged which adversely affects the overall aesthetics and durability of the building.  Maintenance- Proactive maintenance is a significant aspect which is widely ignored leading to high maintenance costs in the long term. Regular interventions are necessary for greater aesthetics and durability.

What is your take on the latest technology coming into the roofing system?
Roofing industry has undergone immense transformation. Consumers today are moving away from conventional choices and opting for modern, value driven products and solutions. New technologies that promise faster construction, enable ease of installation, are well insulated – sound and thermally, are durable and fulfil green credentials norms; have wooed customers of recent.

With green movement gaining immense attention, solar compatible roofs are the next big trend. Further boosting sustainability are the green roof construction technologies that are lead free and can be used for rainwater harvesting. While thermal efficiency is an important consideration, it can also be achieved through innovative paint system like Tata BlueScope Steel’s THERMATECH™ solar reflectance technology incorporated in COLORBOND® steel that helps reduce inside temperature making it thermally efficient. Our roofing systems are lead free and can be used for rainwater harvesting.

Could you please elaborate about your manufacturing facility and its production capacity?
Tata BlueScope Steel set up its state-of-art manufacturing facility in Jamshedpur in 2012, with a capacity of 250,000 tonne per annum for Metal Coating Line (MCL) and 150,000 tonne per annum for Color Coating Line (CCL) and is fully equipped with Level 3 automation solutions and equipment from global suppliers. Tata Steel’s acquisition of Bhushan steel has further added another 450,000tpa metal coating capacity at a group level.

Additionally, we have 4 strategically located plants in each zone of our country, for roll forming of coated sheets and other building products. This ensures proximity to site locations pan-India, enabling on-time delivery.

What are your plans for the next 5 years?
We are focusing on further enhancing our customer experience by offering differential value propositions. We further plan to augment our mid-stream and downstream capacities for a sustained growth. Over the next three years we plan to double our color coating capacity.

What is your success Mantra that you can share with our readers?
Focus on long term strategic objectives while achieving short term goals and keep customer centricity at the core of your business. Develop an environment of excellence and entrepreneurship amongst employees. Strive to be the market leaders by delivering value to your customers and focus on operational efficacy.