Friday, October 30, 2020

Interview-Vinay Shroff (JSW Steel)

JSW Steel’s uniqueness comes from leveraging opportunities, technologies and competencies


The $9 billion JSW Steel is India’s leading private sector steel producer and among the world’s most illustrious steel companies. The global conglomerate is spread over six locations in India and has a footprint which extends to the US, South America and Africa. VINAY SHROFF, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT - SALES & MARKETING AND HEAD – RETAIL, JSW STEEL LTD responded to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES’ queries about his organisation’s initiatives to stay ahead of the curve.


On JSW Steel’s initiatives to boost retailing of steel: Our effort to raise national per capita consumption of steel is driven by the requirement of reaching a vast population of untapped customers. The current consumption is an abysmal 60 kg vis-à-vis world the average of 217 kg. We are looking to sell aggressively in rural and semi-urban areas. With increased spending on construction outside the main metros that is where the future potential lies. In the recent past we have aggressively looked to build JSW as a corporate brand. You would be interested to know that the “Will of Steel” campaign which we launched was very well received leading us to launch product brand campaigns to push retail sales across urban and rural areas. JSW is one of the largest producers of TMT bars in the country, which is used in all construction activities. We have rebranded our TMT bars as “JSW NEOSTEEL – Pure TMT Bars” and launched a unique, emotional, clutter-breaking campaign to connect with the masses. The campaign to build the brand leverages on the idea of home being like our family. As part of the entire campaign process we have organised visits to plants for various channel partners and influencers – you will be interested to know that over 700 engineers and architects have already visited our Vijayanagar Works and appreciated the state-of-the-art facilities. The company is also looking to extend a similar approach to its plain and colour coated product brands – JSW VISHWAS and JSW COLOURON. We have started “JSW Shoppe Connect”- an exclusive retail outlet for selling our products across towns and villages.

On segments driving the growth of steel: Construction and infrastructure segments will continue to drive the growth of steel consumption. Within infrastructure the application of steel has diversified like crash guards, commercial and industrial buildings, concrete expressways and highways. At JSW Steel we are also working to support the government’s “Make in India” campaign to ensure maximum indigenisation of steel, be it high strength low weight steel for auto segment or vinyl and pre-coated steel for home appliance and construction segment or to develop new grade for any other segment. Steel is a versatile and green material and with advancements in technology has found usage in renewable energy particularly in the solar where the demand for panels is bound to increase. We are the largest supplier in India for the high coating mass galvanized and Galvalume® coated steel for the panels. The other areas are affordable housing, furniture and grain silos for agri-produce storage. We are aggressively exploring new segments and adopting new technologies.

On the company’s role to improve quality of construction and awareness in a fragmented industry: As one of the leaders in the country’s steel industry, we believe it is our responsibility to promote quality construction in the country. The construction industry which is currently fragmented needs to evolve by integrating technology which can bring economies of scale and improve quality. It should provide end to end solutions to the customers. As part of this mission we are trying to reach out to masons and the fabricators to improve their skill sets. We have partnered with INSDAG (Institute of Steel Development and Growth) for ESDP (Entrepreneurial and Skill Development Program) to provide training and encourage entrepreneurs. Our assessment is that customers are looking at solutions more than just the products and companies like ours can make a difference by providing what is required. This relates to not just the product but also the fabrication process, designs and assembly. Towards that end we have introduced a solution format branded as JSW Explore to provide customised solutions to construction. We are looking to creating awareness to improve quality and workmanship in the construction sector.


On the growing relevance of steel intensive architecture: As can be seen across developed economies much of the construction industry is moving towards steel-intensive structures owing to it being an environment friendly and green building material. It is also versatile, long lasting and faster to construct and has a high recyclable and resale value. It is my view that steel specific curriculums should be introduced in architecture, engineering and design colleges in India. That will bring about a major paradigm shift in the industry. Steel being a sustainable construction material all stakeholders must make efforts to promote it.


On JSW Steel offerings in the market: JSW Steel is India’s leading private sector producer of specialised steels and the flagship company of the JSW Group. We are approximately a $9 billion global conglomerate spread over six locations in India and a footprint that extends to the US, South America and Africa. We are the first producers of Galvalume® (Aluminium Zinc coated steel) 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 segment. JSW Steel is a pioneer in the use of innovative technology that keeps us ahead of the curve. Not only do we offer the widest product portfolio in India, we also further leverage our capability to customise offerings to match customer expectations. Our business vision is centered on sustainability. 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. With a conviction in our values, we have grown from a single steel mill in 1982 to the large operations that define us today. Our strategy of always staying on the leading edge of technical advancement has led to partnerships with global sector leaders such as JFE Steel, Marubeni Itochu Steel, Praxair and Severfield Rowen Plc. This technological edge has helped our plants rank among the lowest-cost steel producers in the world. The strong focus on innovation and R&D has led to JSW Steel 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 figure up to 50 per cent. Nearly one fifth of our products are exported and we are India’s largest exporter of coated products with a presence in over 140 countries. Our strategic approach to growth has driven the company’s forward and backward integration initiatives. Our steel plants in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have a combined installed capacity of 14.3 million tons per annum. With the objective of touching 40 million tons in the next decade, we are expanding capacities at our existing sites and setting up plants in new locations. On the anvil, are two 10 million ton greenfield facilities in West Bengal and Jharkhand. At JSW, sustainability is the touchstone on which we have evolved our operational processes. Our systems for governance, manufacturing, supply chain management, human resource management, community engagement, mitigation of our carbon footprint and customer engagement, among others, are benchmarked against global best-in-class standards.


On the company’s expansion strategy and collaborations: New ventures and capacity enhancement are regular features at JSW. Our strategy of always staying on the leading edge of technical advancement has led to partnerships with global sector leaders. We have a technological collaboration with JFE Steel, Japan to manufacture Automotive Steel, with focus on import substitution. We have partnerships with companies such as JFE Steel, Marubeni Itochu Steel (for setting up state-of-art steel processing centres),Praxair and Severfield Rowen Plc. for advance construction technology for hi-rise steel buildings. Shortly we will be coming up with new TMT bar mill in Maharashtra with which JSW Steel will emerge as the largest manufacturer of TMT bars in India. It is this technological edge which has helped our plants rank among the lowest-cost steel producers in the world. The strong focus on innovation and R&D has led to JSW Steel being recognised worldwide as a purveyor of high-end, value-added steel.


On the secret of JSW Steel’s growth success: Teamwork is our biggest strength; it is our mantra for successful growth. As a team we are exceedingly nimble footed, fast, agile, and flexible. The company is unique because of its ability to leverage opportunities, technologies and competencies to get things done rapidly and efficiently, and because of a high appetite for risk. Each individual in our company is empowered as an independent entrepreneur to take decisions to achieve organisational goals. Further transparent in business practices and a focused approach have contributed immensely to our success.

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