Sanjay Kumar Khemka, Managing Director, Pinax Steel. In an Interview with B2B Purchase. 

How do you evaluate the growth trends of PEB business this year, amid pandemic? 

With many countries on earth trembling in the 3rd Wave of Covid Pandemic, India too is no exception. Going by the nightmarish experience during the last 2 calendar years of 2020 and 2021, everyone in business is anxious. Industries from big corporates, to SMEs like us, are struggling to keep the boat afloat on a rough sea full of uncertainties. PEB is a capital investment; growth in PEB industry is directly proportional to growth in infrastructure segment, manufacturing sector, and logistics to a great extent. Although we see rapid growth in logistics in the last few years, thanks to better highways and increase in online shopping during Pandemic, unless our infrastructural and manufacturing sectors go for large-scale investments and new projects or expansions, trends of PEB business will remain sluggish this year as well. 

How are the fluctuating pricing factors impacting the project quality and execution timelines? 

Since November 2020, steel prices have remained very high compared to prevailing years. And, there is still no sign that prices of various grades of steel will come down to the level where those were during mid-2020. Different grades of steel constitute almost 95 percent of any PEB. Therefore, any fluctuation in steel must have a direct effect on pricing of PEB. PEB being a capital investment, any increase in steel price, shall adversely affect the budget of any project, either in planning stage or in execution stage. If the project is still in the stage of CAPEX Approval, most likely it will be deferred or shelved for good, depending on the situation. But, if the project is under execution and has been finalised at earlier rates, there starts a tug-of-war between the PEB supplier and the customer. We have ourselves suffered badly owing to such fluctuations in steel prices. If the customer is reasonable and pragmatic, they usually agree for price escalation. Unfortunately, such cases are few and far between! In most of the cases, PEB Suppliers are at the receiving end. If they walk out on the pretext of losses owing to increase in steel prices, they run the risk to be blacklisted. On the contrary, if they move ahead to keep their commitments, they have to bleed profusely. Situation becomes dicey for PEB Suppliers. While bigger players in PEB Industry may hedge losses in one project with profits in another, as they have many orders in hand, and can hedge their losses owing to fluctuation in steel prices by maintaining substantial buffer stock, SMEs like us have to bear the brunt! Steel Mills don’t give credits and hence, supply gets delayed as procurement of steel is hampered owing to increase in steel prices. All these collectively affect project quality and execution timeline. 

What are your offerings in terms of product and services in the PEB segment? 

Although primarily we are into designing, manufacturing, supplying and erecting PEB anywhere in India, we are ready to offer design and drawings for civil foundation as well, if the customer supplies the latest Soil Test Report of their site, from any NABL Accredited Laboratory. We have our in-house design team, which comprises qualified and experienced design engineers and draftsmen. Our production unit has all the latest automated machineries for Plasma Cutting of Steel Plates, Automated Submerged Arc Welding for I-Beam Sections, Press Break Machine for Z-Purlins and C-Purlins and Profiling Machine for Roof Sheeting, Wall Sheeting and Deck Sheeting.

What kind of R&D is being carried out to maintain efficiency in standardised operations, and technology Upgradation? 

We are planning to implement ERP Software to maintain raw material stocks, design estimation, production planning, quality, dispatch and site execution, more efficiently and seamlessly. In terms of having technical advancements, our production and purchase departments are constantly looking for advanced machines. Also, our engineering department is procuring new design software, and training our engineers and draftsmen for better performance.

What kind of eco-friendly, tailor-made cost-effective products and solutions do you offer in this segment? We are into design, manufacturing, supply and erection of pre-engineered steel buildings which are popularly referred to as PEB. The very concept of PEB itself is eco-friendly, tailor-made and cost-effective. Broadly 95 percent of the components used in any PEB are made of various grades of Steel, which itself is a ‘Green Material’. 

Steel is locally available, recyclable, and is non-hazardous. Therefore, anything made of Steel has to be eco-friendly only! As regards customers and their requirements are concerned, every PEB and its design are unique and can’t be replicated. To suit the varying requirements and usages, we design every PEB separately. In this way, every PEB is customised and tailor-made. Cost-effectiveness is one of the most unique attributes of any PEB. In today’s competitive world, every Customer wants to save on investments and expenditures. Although in some cases PEB comes out to be costlier compared to in-situ fabrication or RCC structures or conventional steel structures, owing to the saving in project completion time in case of a PEB, customers can occupy the floor for production or warehousing much earlier compared to other alternative solutions. This helps the customers generate revenue much faster. In this way, PEB is the most cost-effective solution for any commercial and industrial structure, whether the structure is an ordinary warehouse or a factory with heavy-duty cranes or a multi-storied building. To sum up, PINAX STEEL is offering an eco-friendly, tailor-made and cost-effective solution in the form of PEB, to anyone who wants to construct a warehouse or a factory or a commercial high-rise. 

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