Policy makers, industry leaders and professionals should work together for the economic revival of the sector and the country, as a whole, says Mr. V. Senthilkumar, Managing Director, Propel Industries in an interview with the Construction Times team.
What are the key continuing challenges post easing out of lockdown in stages?
The challenges are aplenty. These include disparity in demand and supply and unemployment. The road to recovery will be bumpy but I am optimistic. The pandemic-induced economic challenges vary from industry to industry. The construction equipment industry is showing up shoots of revival, thanks to the many private and government projects which have been lined up. Travel restrictions and standard operating procedures (SOPs) are making the journey difficult but we are marching ahead. We have learnt to make the best use of the available resources and serve our customers better. One classic example of this 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.
What further measures should be undertaken by the states / central governments?
The CE sector contributes significantly to the GDP. The negative impact of the pandemic on the sector can be minimised by launching a course correction by the public sector which can increase the infrastructure investments directly. Policy makers, industry leaders and professionals should work together for the economic revival of the sector and the country, as a whole.
How do you see the impact on the investment scenario in infra projects?
The final report on the National Infrastructure Pipeline projects investments worth Rs 111 trillion between 2020-25. Projects worth Rs 44 trillion are already under implementation while projects worth Rs 33 trillion are at the conceptual stage and projects worth Rs 22 trillion are still under development.
On August 10th, the Finance Minister inaugurated the NIP Online Dashboard which will be a one-stop solution for all stakeholders looking for information on infrastructure projects in India. The dashboard is being hosted on the India Investment Grid (IIG) which is an interactive and dynamic online platform that showcases updated and real-time investment opportunities in the country. Such efforts are sure to boost the infrastructure development in the country.
Post pandemic era how do you envision the transformation of manufacturing processes etc.?
Irrespective of departments, we have to become more digital and the pandemic has left us with no option. Industry 4.0 is all about making the best use of digital solutions. Industry leaders have started implementing control-tower and have taken the approach to increase end-to-end supply chain transparency. Many have also taken to automation to handle worker shortages. We are doing the same. We are working towards transforming our operations to deliver products and service to the customers in lightning speed.
What is the current scenario in terms of R&D?
We are driven as much by our core values of customer focus, teamwork, integrity and professionalism as passion. When the world was reeling under the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, we decided to design and manufacture PVS 201, an automatic emergency ventilator. PVS 201 is being tested in Coimbatore hospitals. With additional inputs from the medical fraternity, we have developed a second model which is being tested at Kalam Institute of Health Technology, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. We wish the product goes through the testing processes and comes into use soon, for the benefit of the society. A research and development lab is being planned for testing the properties of rocks and minerals. The lab will be commissioned shortly.
This interview was first published in the 6th anniversary edition (November 2020) of Construction Times.