We have secured enough orders, but those did not materialise in terms of delivery due to delay in project execution.

Ketan Shah,
Managing Director, MFE Formwork Technology India

MFE, a specialist in formwork system for building projects, has introduced a self climbing system for safe working at height, informs Ketan Shah, Managing Director, MFE Formwork Technology India.

What is your projection for 2017?
The year gone by was not as good as 2015 and we hope that the year 2017 has something in it. The things will not be easy as a result of the after effects of demonetisation and other factors. We are an industry that is dependent on the real estate market, which is perceived to be worst affected due to demonetisation. Hence unless the real estate sector improves, which could be at least next 4-5 months the business will be challenging.

What are the challenges that were faced by you during the past year?
There is a slowdown in the launching of new projects. So the demand of formwork has come down. A lot of players have entered the market; hence the competition has also increased.

What per cent of variance in demand have you observed?
It was a strange situation in 2016 till November! It was not that there were no orders. We had secured enough orders, but those did not materialise in terms of delivery due to delay in project execution. The orders might have dropped by 5-10 per cent. However, the execution has dropped by almost 30-35 per cent. We were expecting a growth of 25 per cent year-on-year, which we missed.

So what’s your revival strategy?
We are completely reviving our business strategy with value engineering. We are redesigning or products and production process to bring down the end-product costs as pricing is one of the major criteria in today’s market. With the introduction of stir friction welding which is so far being used in aviation industry, we are able to give far better quality at lower cost.

Isn’t it the right time to introduce a new product to current industry demand?
Our current focus is to reduce the final product costs by applying various innovative measures. We are also exploring various other products. However, it is too early to say anything as of now.

How do you look at the industry in the mind- and long-term?
Once the demonetisation wave settles, the industry will move upward. However it may take at least next two quarters and we can expect some positive movement third quarter onwards. The government’s focus on mass housing projects may result in some breather for us as our formworks are used only in building development projects.

Did you develop any new product?
We have developed a self climbing system for safe working at height. We completed the testing of this product in a project in Malaysia and now we have put it in the market. The product will be delivered for a Mumbai project which is expected to start in January. We are expecting few more orders.

What are the advantages of this system?
Safety is a very important factor when it comes to working at a height of say 40 storeys. It also puts lots of psychological pressure on workers. Unless you provide a safe working environment for the worker, it is very difficult to get desired output. The self climbing system gives complete safety as it has perforated MS wind screen all around the building. A labour can walk freely with complete peace of mind and perform his work even when wind speed is high.

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