Vinay Shroff, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing, JSW Steel Ltd, believes that a self-reliant India will only be possible through sustainable development.
What has been your mantra for growth?
The biggest mantra that we follow is teamwork. We owe all our success to the spirit of team work. We are also exceedingly nimble- footed, agile and flexible. The ability to leverage opportunities, technologies and competencies to get things done rapidly and efficiently, makes JSW unique. We have high risk appetite. Each individual is empowered to take decisions to achieve organisational goals. Our transparent business practices and focused approach make our every endeavour a success.
What are your new branding initiatives?
IndiaÂ´s per capita consumption of steel is 60 kg vis-a-vis world average of 217 kg. To increase this consumption, we need to reach out to our vast population. The idea is to reach the customer who canÂ´t reach us. To start with, we have focussed on building the corporate brand first with the Will of Steel corporate brand campaign. Simultaneously, product brand campaigns were also initiated. As we know, the project and construction segment contributes to 50-55 per cent of consumption and majority goes as TMT bars. JSW is one of the largest producers of TMT rebars in the country. Hence, our main thrust is on TMT bars. JSW TMT bars were re-branded as JSW NEOSTEEL. A unique emotional clutter-breaking campaign was launched for Neosteel, to achieve connect with the masses.
In product branding, similar campaigns will be launched for roofing sheets. We have also started a JSW exclusive store, a retail outlet. We have come up with JSW Shoppe Connect (an extension of JSW Shoppe) as our retail outlet at the taluka level, launched nationwide last year. To sum up, we have undertaken a 360 degree approach, i.e. strengthening both corporate and product brands.
What segments will drive more growth?
Our focus is to develop newer markets and sub-segments through retail chains, seeing our expansion plans and recent slump in traditional consumption centres. We are exploring newer segments like solar energy equipment manufacturing, affordable housing, grain silos, steel furniture, etc. With government focus on renewable energy, the steel demand in solar segment for panels is bound to increase. We are the largest supplier in India for the high coating thickness galvanized and Al-ZN coated steel for the panels. Along with these, the infrastructure machinery and auto segments will continue to drive growth.
How will you position the brand?
JSW Steel is a pioneer in the use of innovative technology. This keeps us ahead of the curve. Not only do we offer the widest product portfolio, we customise our offerings. The strong focus on innovation and R&D has led to us being recognised worldwide as a purveyor of high-end, value-added steel. Nearly 40 per cent of our products today are high value steels; we intend to take this to 50 per cent. Nearly one-fifth of our products are exported. We are IndiaÂ´s largest steel exporter with a presence in over 140 countries.
We are the first producers of Galvalume (aluminium zinc coating) in India. We are the pioneers of pre-coated and vinyl coated products. JSW also is the first to manufacture high strength and advanced high strength steel products for automotive.
How do you see the construction industry with respect to improvement in the quality of construction?
The construction industry is highly fragmented. We have always seen this as an opportunity. This industry is looking for solutions more than products and services. We believe we can make a difference by providing those solutions. This would not only include the product but the fabrication process, designs and assembly. We have come up with a solution format by the name of JSW Explore that offers customised solutions. We chose the type of steel, customise it and extend our services for the same. We initially began with roofing solutions and now we have moved into all types of segments. There will be a substantial difference in the industry if we are successful in moving in this direction. The construction industry should evolve and start integrating the technology which is available.
What are your thoughts about the relevance of steel in architecture?
People across the world have moved towards steel structures. One of the main reasons is because it is a green building material. In architecture and in academics, using steel as a building material, would be the ultimate choice as it is environmental friendly, long-lasting and faster to construct.
Unlike traditional concrete material, steel has high recyclable value. Steel buildings generate substantial returns if we reuse the material or sell it even after 10-15 years of construction.
There is lack of awareness about the steel as construction material. Educating the masons and fabricators also plays a key role. JSW is contributing extensively in this approach through skill development programmes to promote best practices amongst fabricators and contractors, etc.
Do you see CSR activities as a catalyst in the overall functioning?
We realise that only by creating a sustainable future can we pave the way for our goal of a self-reliant India. This belief has always stood us in good stead as we have not had a single strike in our factories till date. This is one of our greatest achievements. We are also building one of the best sports academies in the Vijayanagar plant with the intention of getting Olympic gold medals for the country. We would nurture talents that truly deserve recognition. We aim at developing the society along with our brand. This is our small contribution to the nationÂ´s growth.
What ventures is the company embarking on in the coming years?
We already have technological collaboration with JFE Steel, Japan, to manufacture automotive steel, with focus on import substitution. We have a joint venture with Marubeni-Itochu Steel, Tokyo, for setting up state-of-the-art steel processing centres. We have also partnered with Severfield, UK, for advanced construction technology for hi-rise steel buildings. Shortly, we will be coming up with a new TMT bar mill in Maharashtra. With this mill, JSW Steel will be the largest manufacturer of TMT bars in India.
In-fact, new ventures and capacity enhancement are regular features at JSW and shortly, we will also be the largest steel manufacturer in terms of installed capacity in India.