We will have to be ever-prepared for the surprises and challenges the pandemic might throw at us, says Mr. V. Senthilkumar, Managing Director, Propel Industries in an exclusive interview to CT Today (Construction Technology Today) team.
Past 3 years Crushing/Screening industry is facing a crisis due to taxation revision problems or pandemic. How do you see the future of the Crushing/Screening segment in India when there are ample opportunities arising in India and in the international market?
It has been a tough time for all industries. Though a slew of initiatives was announced in Budget 2021, we will have to wait to see how much of it can be brought to the table as the pandemic is throwing up unimaginable challenges day after day.
The Budget focused on construction and CAPEX-led economic recovery and so, there is still hope that we would soon limp back to close-to-normal scenario, in terms of business. The government has initiated many infrastructure and development projects which in turn would open up new avenues for the crushing and screening industry.
I expect the market to open up sooner also because there is an increased demand from industrial and commercial applications. We, at Propel, are finding ways and means to work around challenges and keep our company going ahead.
In terms of international market, we are already present in 14 countries and we plan to take our products to many other countries as well. Of course, we will have to be ever-prepared for the surprises and challenges the pandemic might throw at us.
How is your company dealing with these challenges?
My team at Propel Industries is adept at overcoming challenges and this is certainly one of the key reasons for our growth.
In 2020, when the pandemic struck us, everyone was caught unawares and so, were we. Within a short span of time, we were able to gather pieces together and devise a plan to work around this. Resilience is the key. I have been constantly advocating this to my team.
After the second wave of Covid-19 declines, the road to recovery and economic activity will certainly be bumpy. The SoPs and travel restrictions, will have to be followed to ensure the safety of all. Daily operations will be a major challenge but thankfully, we have already turned to technological means to address this.
More than a year in this fight against Covid-19, we have learnt to make the best use of available resources and serve our customers better. One classic example is when we were able to ship a track machine to Uganda just by connecting to port logistics crew and our customer team through video conferencing. The entire process of loading, transporting, unloading and commissioning happened without Propel staff being there physically. The pandemic-induced restrictions forced us to make the best use of technology and we were extremely successful.
Kindly let us know about the technical advancements your company has recently made in your plants/Equipment?
Prowash V2.0 is the new product we are going to launch soon. It comes with enhanced performance and reliability. There are four models in this product. They are PW 100, PW150, PW 200 and PW 250. We are introducing Rinser screen to improve the sand washing efficiency in our Vibrating Screen models MVS 1540 2 Deck, MVS 1845 4 Deck, MVS 2060 3 Deck & MVS 2060 4 Deck. We will also be introducing vertical shaft impactor in the models AVVI 55, AVVI 75 & AVVI 100 to handle wet feed materials. This ensures dust suppression at the output safeguarding environment against air pollution.
True to our tagline - engineering excellence, we constantly keep updating our products to suit the requirements of the customers and we have a well-equipped R&D lab which aids us in this effort.
How has the Coronavirus affected your company's performance in the past one year?
It was a challenging year but we were able to maintain our performance in spite of all odds, thanks to my able and hardworking team.
My first priority has always been the safety of the employees. In case people fell sick, the work had to be delegated to others. There were customers who needed our attention to keep their business going and we had to help them out in spite of challenges on our side.
Remote monitoring and control is one aspect which are working on rigorously right now, so that distance is never an issue.
The 'new normal' is sinking in and we are game for it.
What strategy has your company adopted to reach out to your customers?
We have become more digital, cutting across department borders. Industry 4.0 is about making the best use of digital solutions and now, we have no option. Many industry players are implementing control-tower and have opted to increase the end-to-end supply chain transparency. Many have also taken to automation to handle worker shortage and we are doing the same. We are pooling in all our resources so that we are able to deliver products and service to the customers in lightning speed. Ever since the advent of the pandemic, we have been trying our best to support our customers in every possible way.
We are holding hands with them so that we can wade through this tough phase without much trouble.
Customers stay connected with us more, these days, through digital means and this is certainly a win-win situation for us. We are able to solve many field issues by guiding the customers over phone. We have upheld the Customer first' slogan always and it will remain so, in the future too. All our plans will be driven by this slogan.
This interview was first published in the June 2021 edition of CT Today (Construction Technology Today) magazine.