India's multidimensional construction market
Recently, a high level business team from Hilti Corporation, Liechtenstien, headed by the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dr Pius Baschera was in India to explore and churn the growing construction market in the country. Dr Baschera talked to S. A. Faridi and S. K Khanna about India being a good business opportunity for the Corporation's business growth in the growing construction market; its core business value to qualify for this and its plans to strengthen Hilti's operations in India for a larger pie of the construction business.

India's multidimensional construction market, he said was growing very fast, much faster than that in Europe and elsewhere. So the global companies engaged in this sector, are very keen to develop their market share and are flocking to the emerging developing economies such as China, India, Russia and Brasil where the current focus is on infrastructure development. For Hilti, India continues to remain an important destination for its products and services.

growing construction market
On Hilti's presence in India and the market response he said "we have been operating in India through our own 100% subsidiary for the last 15 years. We offer the same products to our customers here which we sell around the world. The technology offered is the same and we do not want to deprive or deny the Indian construction industry of the innovation in our products. Having said that we do realize that the needs would vary across markets. The entire products portfolio of Hilti i.e. measuring, drilling & demolition, cutting and grinding tools and consumables, installation and fastening and insulation products etc. is available to our customers here except the Direct Fastening products as there are regulatory issues with that products range. The response to our products and services as I am sure you would know has been very good and we are pretty happy with the progress we have made in India. We are very bullish about the future of Indian construction industry and are more than ready to capture the opportunities it offers.

The Indian operations have been doing pretty well despite the "slowdown" we see in the Indian economy. What is seen as a slowdown in India would be considered a healthy growth in other markets. We see opportunities here and are poised to contribute with our innovative products and services in the coming times. In fact, we are working with our Indian customers to understand their needs better so that we can become better partners in improving their performance. During this visit itself, we met few very important customers and understood the challenges they are facing and how we can make a difference.

When asked about areas where Hilti can offer its expertise he said "We see a deficit in the infrastructure availability in India especially in the areas like power, oil and gas, airports, urban transportation etc. Hilti would like to offer its innovations and technology which improves productivity and safety during the entire life cycle of the projects. We have created dedicated teams to understand these opportunities particularly in the energy and urban transportation sector where India has a need to fill the gaps."

"As a matter of fact, soon after my interaction with NBM&CW, I would rush to meet the Union Minister for Urban Development, Mr. Kamal Nath to apprise him of my views and also get his views on urban development, the ongoing schemes and future schemes so that we could re-orient our plans of action befitting into these schemes. Urban development activities are set to create extensive construction activities in the country where we can fit in," said Dr Baschera.

To further strengthen its Indian operations on next benchmarks he avered, our presence in India has been extremely fruitful and on expected lines. we have interesting investment agenda and plans for it –not in terms of bricks and mortars, but in terms of strengthening human capital. As a matter of fact, India is a significant source of talent supply chain and is a good market for enriching human capital. Our plans are to make India a priority center around human capital, enriching it and to generate greater employment opportunities for the locals. Hilti's corporate culture, he added focuses on upgrading and strengthening human capital which ultimately is a decisive force for the growth of an organization.

Dwelling extensively on Hilti's corporate culture and business values, he said that its corporate culture is founded on integrity, courage, team work and commit- ment to its customers. Two-third of its employees work directly for the customers in sales organization and in engineering. The Corpora- tion pursues a policy integrating the interests of its all partners, suppliers and actively honors its social and ecological respon- sibilities for long-term benefits to all connected with it. In addition, the Corporation focuses on training and retraining of its employees in corporate culture spending around $15 million every year.

Indian construction industry
Elaborating on Hilti's aftermarket support in India, Mr. Pankaj Gupta, President, Hilti India said that the aftermarket support services we provide in India is indeed unique to the way we function in the other markets we operate in. In all the other countries, we have a centralized repair facility where the tools are brought in from across the country and sent back after repairing. In India, due to the infrastructure constraints and the federal structure, we have established our own service centres at more than 25 locations. In this manner, we are able to reduce the turnaround time of the tools to enhance our customers productivity. We also have our own residential training centre which is used to train all employees at the time of their joining as well as later on. Further our Market Reach team is always in the field demonstrating and training operators of our customers on how to use the leading edge technology which we incorporate in our tools. We have also been associated with CIDC (Construction Industry Development Council) which is a quasi-government undertaking involved with training of construction workers. We also partner with large construction companies who have their own training cells and train their workers on how to use our products and improve job site efficiency and safety.

On Hilti's products application areas he mentioned "our products and services have practically reached all leading construction projects in power, refineries, commercial building, tunnels, roads and highways and railways sector, generating a positive response. Our engineers and specialists render technical support to the clients in developing application-oriented solution.

Hilti Products

Mr. Gupta added that its manufacturing unit in Gujarat is now an important subsidiary called Hilti Manufacturing Pvt Ltd, to manufacture products like Diamond Coring, cutting and grinding products for extensive application in construction market in the country as well as around the world. Offering a wide range of solutions for the construction industry, Hilti India has acquired the status of One-Stop Solution provider for the important industries in the country. To take advantage of emerging business opportunities in the construction business, we are all set to increase our staff strength in next few years. This along with our manufacturing facility in Gujarat would add new muscles to our strength in India to further grow our business.
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