Ratan Lal Kashyap, Sr. Vice President – Procurement, GR Infraprojects Limited. In an interview with B2B Purchase

Covid impacts on road development projections The industry has learned to live with Corona periodic pandemics hitting humanity in the form of different variants. Even the variants of the pandemic haven’t impacted or damaged the industry at large. Even on the site operations front, we could see continuity in the process throughout this time, as the teams have been trained enough to be cautious and have been in lieu with all the COVID protocols laid down by the government. We even have medical infrastructure deployed at all our sites, especially to train our staff to handle such emergency situations. Due to various geographically localised lockdowns imposed by local authorities and the state government, the supply chain from vendors has been mildly impacted. The international supply chain has been disrupted as a result of the global spread of COVID, as the availability of shipping vessels and international air cargo has been severely impacted, resulting in a massive gap in demand and supply, which has increased shipping costs many folds, severely affecting the cost of all imported items.

Leveraging the government’s infra push to enhance roads and bridges development Such a huge fund allocation to the infrastructure sector will give a big push to the industry’s growth. This investment in various infrastructure projects will help the government push forward with making in India/ AtmaNirbhar BHARAT as the advanced logistics infrastructure will leverage the development of industrial corridors all across the highway being built up. Better Connectivity, reduction in transportation time and travel time, advanced facilities on way side amenities for reduction of travel fatigue, access controlled highways will lead to development and push the government’s long-term vision to be global manufacturing for various commodities and machineries. This investment will help the upcoming smaller contractors get opportunities to participate in tenders, develop technical capabilities, and contribute to national growth.

Maintaining quality through advanced technology, equipment, and solutions Indian construction companies have been very open to benchmarking the best construction methodologies and acquisitions of best-in-class equipment with future-ready technologies built into the equipment. Stringent tender conditions for better quality roads with long defect liability periods and cut-throat competition have compelled contractors to use the best in class of items being used in road and bridge construction. However, the appetite to invest in future-ready plants and technologies has always been a constraint for smaller contractors due to the long term investment required. Technologies like GPS, fuel management systems have helped optimise the equipment utilisation. 3D technology use in grading systems has brought accuracy in paving, reducing the overall time of contracture. Level sensors in paving have helped maintain the desired level with gradient, improving the riding quality of commuters. LIDAR technologies have brought in ease of design with accurate data. IOT on equipment has helped the central P&M team monitor live operations, preventive maintenance, remote technical assistance to breakdowns, monitor driver efficiency, monitors cost operations, etc. Technology adoption has contributed to the company’s profitability.

Creating a concrete future of roads and bridges With continuous technological advancement, the world is moving to a digital world. Therefore, it’s a compulsion on all industry players to bring in change management by adopting the latest technologies and being front runners with changing times. To survive in the industry’s cutthroat competition, every company must have a digital roadmap with milestones.

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