Manikandan Mahalingam, General Director, Paschal Formwork (India) Pvt Ltd speaks on how his company continues to attain its business goals unabated in a recessionary climate and the way forward for the construction industry in 2020.

How has the Excon Expo been for you?
It’s a wonderful platform, it gives us a good opportunity to interact with potential clients. It also doubles up as a knowledge sharing platform too since you get to know the emerging technologies that are in vogue. People too get to see the big picture and understand the uniqueness of your product

Pricing and quality are two important factors in the Indian market, how do manage to balance this equation?
Indian market is very price sensitive and at the same time the quality does matter. The mantra here is better quality at a reduced price. Keeping this in mind we streamline our imports, we recently imported new machinery from Germany to cover up more volume of production without compromising on quality. Because of the volume we are able to cut down on our fixed costs which entails a minimum saving of 25 per cent. The shelf life too matters, Paschal Modular Formwork can be used for as long as 20 years, moreover it is the only product in the market which utilises the RFID chip technology. The RFID Chip technology is a unique state of the art process through which the formwork panels are embedded for easy access.

How do you see the present market scenario?
It is easy to pinpoint fingers, but the truth is that the entire world is facing a recession of sorts which has impacted businesses globally. In comparison to last year the slowdown in this business cycle stands at 30-40 per cent. Having said that this phase too shall pass and there will be a steady and gradual growth. We are expecting that course correction in the first half of 2020 itself.

What are your expectations in 2020?
The construction industry needs a steady cash flow. The cash flow needs to be in place and the infrastructure projects need to take off on time. A disciplined approach is need of the hour. In 2020 -21, project release and cash flow will be the two keywords. So if infrastructure projects release on time in 2020-21, and it is also supplemented by the necessary cash flow, then steady growth wil l be there.

In a skyline dominated with high-rises and individual properties, as a solution provider, what kind of challenges do you face?
The skyscrapers cut down on cost by increasing the volume of units. Likewise in a premium area where space is scarce and land prices are high, sky-rises are a viable alternative. Likewise a good deal of India also witnesses horizontal expansion, more so when one moves further away from the city. As a solutions provider we will cater to both the scenarios since our product is a right fit in both the cases.

What measures are you taking to incorporate the factor of safety in your products?
Safety is important for every industry and not only to the construction industry. At Paschal, we are committed to create an environment which is safe and secure for the end users. Our product is designed keeping in mind all the potentially risky situations that arise on site. The international safety parameters we follow as per DIN standards makes our product reliable and safe to use.

In the DIN standard, the safety measures apply right from the production of the product itself; in the production stage apt quality control protocols are in place besides which necessary safety tests are carried out. After production, there is a lab test post which we focus on the design calculations. These calculations take into account important factors like the expected load which can be offset by the formwork and the limitations involved. A detailed report is then passed on to the consultant in charge of the project and the customer too is apprised about it.

Given the current economic scenario, what steps have you taken to ensure to meet your business goals?
Optimizing our resources has been the chief criteria and one of the most viable options to run our business unabated. And we have incorporated it in our entire supply chain. Going forward we can also support the construction industry by offering credit and providing rental services. Right now, Paschal India is not into the rental market. And our software systems too need to be upgraded for supporting the rental market. We are in the process of doing it
and it will be complete in a year’s time.

Could you shed some light on your expansion plans?
Sri Lanka and the North Eastern parts of India are some of the few regions in our radar. In the long-term we are also keen to tap the Middle East market.

Manikandan Mahalingam, General Director, Paschal Formwork (India) Pvt Ltd

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