Paving The Way for More Efficient And Timely Construction & Manufacturing Processes

Qubik Group
Transformation of the infrastructure industry is vital for mitigation of climate challenges and the Blue-Green infrastructure offers a sustainable and self-healing solution for the problem at hand, informs Nikhil Jain, CEO, Qubik Group
 

Why is the blue-green infrastructure necessary for the globe?

Transformation of the infrastructure industry
It is true that the last century has been witness to an industrial revolution and massive urbanisation, marked by exponential growth of infrastructure, mobility, and connectivity, especially in the last decade. It is also true that our civilization was short-sighted when it came to evaluating the environmental consequences of our actions. Today, our carbon footprints far exceed the safety marks, resulting in hazardous levels of trapped carbon in the earth’s atmosphere, which endangers the lives of both humans and animals.

The pace of urbanization, coupled with the apathy towards ecological consequences, has posed challenges to the ecosystem’s equilibrium. Production of traditional Portland Cement, the most widely used substance on the planet for construction of infrastructure, emits a huge amount of greenhouse gases that cause extreme damage to the environment.

Blue-Green infrastructure offers a sustainable and self-healing solution. Green infrastructure includes construction of elements like parks, roof gardens, vertical and horizontal gardens etc, while Blue infrastructure is often considered as that which makes green infrastructure resilient as it focuses on building an infrastructure that can improve the quality of water supply as well as magnify its magnitude. Both these infrastructure in the blue-green model work in tandem to promote harmonious coexistence between development, urbanisation, and the biosphere.

In your opinion, what are the primary factors contributing to delays in infrastructure construction and manu- facturing processes in India?

Transformation of the infrastructure industry
As the nation is still reeling from the aftermath of the pandemic, we notice that even though a lot of infrastructure projects are awarded by the government, only a few are completed on time. At least 821 out of 1449 projects, each worth more than 150 crores, were postponed until April 2023, according to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. All these projects were suspended during the lockdown during which a crisis in the supply chain also arose. But the industry recovered more quickly than most, perhaps because it was accustomed to supply chain disruptions. Today, the major challenge that we are facing is the consequential shortage of labour.

Moreover, large projects take years to be completed, and given the unpredictability of inflation, the initial budget often falls short. Cost overruns cause a massive delay in the construction process. However, not all the projects are delayed. and we are slowly increasing the pace through the integration of technology. As a matter of fact, in 2021, India made three Guinness World Records: one of them was the construction of a 2.5 kms 4 lane concrete road within a day and a world record in 2022 by constructing 75 km of road in just 5 days.

What potential solutions or strategies do you believe could effectively reduce delays in the construction and manufacturing processes? Are there any noteworthy international best practices or successful case studies from which India could draw inspiration?

Addressing delays in construction and manufacturing necessitates a comprehensive strategy. Incorporating sophisticated project management methodologies, such as Lean construction principles, is pivotal. This approach focuses on minimizing inefficiencies, optimizing processes, and fostering continuous improvement—a blueprint for enhanced efficiency. Germany’s success in precision scheduling, characterized by meticulous project planning and execution, serves as an exemplary model for time-sensitive industries.

Technology assumes a crucial role in mitigating delays. The implementation of real-time monitoring systems, Building Information Modelling (BIM), and automation can significantly improve accuracy and expedite decision-making processes. Employing collaborative platforms for streamlined communication among project stakeholders is imperative to prevent misunderstandings and enhance overall workflow. Equally crucial is the emphasis on workforce training and upskilling, aligning competencies with the latest construction methodologies and technologies.

Transformation of the infrastructure industry

On an international scale, Singapore’s construction industry stands out for leveraging innovative technologies and stringent project timelines. India could consider fostering partnerships and knowledge exchange programs with leading international firms to assimilate best practices.

Lastly, the adoption of modular construction methods, inspired by successful implementations in Scandinavia and North America, has the potential to reduce project timelines by enabling parallel work streams and standardizing components. By amalgamating these strategies, India can pave the way for more efficient and timely construction and manufacturing processes.

What services is Qubik Group providing in the infrastructure construction and manufacturing sectors?

Transformation of the infrastructure industry
Qubik Group, founded in 2015 with its initial focus on independent infrastructure projects, has evolved into a leading project management consultant for the broader infrastructure and manufacturing sectors. Beyond traditional consultancy, we actively support and promote aspiring small-time project contractors. Central to our approach is the provision of raw materials at the most competitive prices and facilitating access to working capital.

In collaboration with our esteemed partner, PNC, we offer tailored solutions. We specialize in procurement of raw materials, and in alleviating the capital burden associated with such acquisitions. Through an approach that encompasses both backward and forward integration, we ensure a reduction in the capital requirements for our clients. For instance, when a company seeks raw materials for its manufacturing processes, Qubik Group steps in to procure these materials and organize the entire supply chain, ensuring that the finished goods are not only readily available but also open to optimal transactions, including bill discounting.

Today, Qubik Group is serving over 100 companies across 20 states in the country and has registered an annual turnover of 500 crores. A key facet of our expertise lies in reducing production costs throughout the supply chain for companies aiming to enhance operational efficiency and financial resilience.

How does Qubik Group ensure the quality of materials and equipment supplied to construction companies, such as builders, contractors, and developers?

Transformation of the infrastructure industry
Since Qubik Group directly procures materials from manufacturers and eliminates intermediaries, it ensures materials of the highest standard. Our nationwide quality control team ensures real-time resolution at deliveries, and undertakes continuous monitoring, collaboration with manufacturers, and strict adherence to industry standards.

As a reliable and quality-focused construction supplier, the company is providing transparent logistics tracking and expertise in meeting unique procurement needs. The punctuality in the delivery of raw materials has significantly bolstered our clients’ profits, contributing to savings on storage costs. This efficiency allows for maintaining lean inventory and reallocating capital towards expansion rather than sustenance.

How does Qubikwise help in customizing financing as per client requirements?

Transformation of the infrastructure industry
To facilitate quicker turnaround time and cash flow cycles for companies, whether in the public or private sector, Qubikwise provides financing solutions through a suite of products designed to meet the diverse needs of our clients. It optimizes working capital management through solutions such as Business Term Loans, Bill Discounting, and Working Capital Limits.

Our Business Term Loans cater to long-term capital needs such as expansion and production enhancements for businesses. Our Bill Discounting Solutions help businesses to optimize cash flow. For instance, a leading manufacturer who utilized our Bill Discounting Solution, managed their credit period with raw material suppliers, allowing them to access additional credit. By further discounting the bill with Qubikwise, the manufacturer gained an extended credit period, enabling them to realize the complete Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) without injecting additional self-funds for production.

Working Capital Limits provide a flexible credit line for day-to-day expenses. For a HealthTech startup, we financed doctor payments, ensuring smooth operations and expanding the business size. Our commitment is reflected in transaction limits, dynamically increasing after three successful transactions to align with evolving client needs.

We analyze unique challenges and opportunities to provide tailored financing solutions that meet immediate needs and contribute to long-term growth. As a dynamic financial partner, we drive innovation in working capital management across diverse sectors.

Please highlight some of the prestigious brands, sectors, and projects where Qubik Group has contributed its services.

Qubik Group has played an important role in various brands belonging to different sectors. Some of them include Proost (beer start-up), MeduLance (ambulance firm), Carelan (a tech-driven start-up that provides facilities to surgeons and their patients), Paronomic Episodes (event management company based in Goa), Pay Me India (VoIP provider), GSBA Builders and Woodbarn (real estate and construction companies). We aim to be a part of thousands of startups in the future.

In what ways do you envision the construction and manufacturing sector contributing further to India’s economic growth and creating employment opportunities?

Construction and manufacturing sectors drive sustainable economic growth, create employment opportunities, catalyze overall development and expansion of infrastructure, bring in advanced technologies, and attract Foreign Direct Investments.
  • Infrastructure development: Large-scale projects such as roads, bridges, and urban development, contribute directly to economic growth by enhancing connectivity and creating a conducive environment for businesses. The involvement of Qubik Group in the steel supply chain has positioned us as a key player in supporting these infrastructure initiatives.
  • Job creation: Both construction and manufacturing are labor-intensive sectors, providing significant employment opportunities. Continued investments in these sectors contribute not only to the creation of jobs but also to the upskilling and training of the workforce. Qubik Group’s operations, particularly in steel supply, contribute directly to employment generation within the manufacturing and distribution segments.
  • Technology upgradation: Embracing technological advancements in construction and manufacturing enhances efficiency, reduces costs, and contributes to economic growth. Qubik Group is actively adopting and promoting different technologies in steel manufacturing and supply chain operations, thereby contributing to the sector’s overall productivity.
  • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI): A thriving construction and manufacturing sector attracts foreign investment and increases the rate of economic growth. Qubik Group, by maintaining high-quality standards and efficient supply chains, contributes to creating an environment conducive to foreign direct investment, thereby augmenting the overall economic landscape.
By being mindful of the broader socio-economic impact, collectively we can play a vital role in shaping a sustainable future for India’s construction and manufacturing sectors.

Skilling is a major issue in India; how do you address it, considering that skilled and competent labor/operators are essential for extensive infrastructure development?

The Qubik Group maintains a robust in-house labor force, and provides training to new additions to our workforce, especially in expanding geographies. As we venture into new geographies, the experienced members of the Qubik family take on a crucial role in training and guiding the incoming workforce. This ensures a seamless integration of new team members, aligning them with our established standards.

Internal knowledge-sharing fosters consistency and quality across various projects, irrespective of geographical diversity. In essence, our commitment to retaining and upskilling our in-house labor force enhances our ability to expand and adapt to new challenges in different regions.
ICCT, NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2023
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