The potentials of are Indian construction equipment industry to become superlative in the global market. The leading CE manufacturers and project experts also discuss challenges and solutions in the Indian construction industry, including safety, cost overruns, supply chain risks, equipment innovation, and sustainability.

The procurement of concrete equipment has undergone significant changes in the Indian construction and infrastructure industry in the past decade. Various advancements and innovations, such as robotics, automation, and other mechanised processes, have driven this evolution. These changes have improved cost-effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability in construction practices.

Evolution of concrete equipment procurement in Indian construction and infrastructure
V. G. Sakthikumar, Managing Director of SCHWING STETTER INDIA, says that the procurement of concrete equipment in the Indian construction and infrastructure sectors has significantly changed over the past decade. The government’s investment of $1.4 trillion in infrastructure projects until 2025 has contributed to this change, along with the rising demand for construction projects and technological advancements in the industry.

According to Managing Director of Armix Machinery Limited, Manoj Kumar Pillai, India’s construction industry procurement process could have been more active.

However, the industry is now being driven by multiple factors, including overall economic growth, foreign investments, and government initiatives on infrastructure projects. Moreover, the emergence of startup initiatives, the transition towards digitalisation, and advancements in manufacturing are also being recognised as significant driving forces.

Technology innovation impacting the construction and concrete equipment business
Sakthikumar starts by stating that technology and innovation have significantly impacted the procurement of concrete equipment in the Indian construction industry. He explains that these advancements have led to the development of more efficient and effective equipment, which can improve productivity and reduce costs. Moreover, these innovations have led to more sustainable and environmentally friendly construction practices.

Pillai agrees with Sakthikumar’s perspective and notes that India’s interconnectedness in the global economy has enabled the quick adoption of new technologies. He mentions that India is a frontrunner in various sectors like IT, banking, hospitality, manufacturing, and defence. Construction is the backbone of any economy, and infrastructure development is necessary, and it is crucial to keep pace with the demand while maintaining quality and affordability.

Regarding construction projects and management, Gaurav Soni, Sr. GM, Business Development-Commercial & Finance, KK Gupta Construction Pvt. Ltd., explains that promoters and contractors enhance financial scalability by adopting various methods of cost-saving technologies such as prefabrication, modular construction, and automation. They also implement efficient project management practices such as lean construction to reduce waste and increase productivity. Furthermore, they reduce capital expenditures by utilising equipment sharing and rental services. Collaborating with suppliers and manufacturers to negotiate better pricing and payment terms is also a strategy. Pursuing alternative financing options such as project financing, PPPs, and leasing arrangements is also beneficial. Finally, they are reducing labour costs through workforce optimisation and training programs.

Dealing with the challenges in construction projects in terms of cost, project and personnel safety
Another challenge in steel-framed structures is the need for fall-arrest systems in vertical ladders, which is often neglected during the design stage. Kamarajan M- Head of Education, British Safety Council India, stresses that preventing accidents through design (PtD) involves identifying and reducing work-related hazards and risks during a project’s life cycle. Safety measures should be given proper consideration to ensure construction worker safety.

The biggest safety and security challenges faced by construction sites in India include concentrated loads during construction and the need for fall-arrest systems in steelframed structures. However, with the proper consideration of safety measures, such as PtD, we can significantly reduce work-related hazards and risks and ensure the safety of construction workers.

Soni highlights the significant challenges that cost overruns and timeline issues pose to construction projects. He emphasises that controlling these issues involves several measures. Firstly, construction companies prioritise thorough pre-construction planning, including accurate project estimates, risk assessments, and schedules. Secondly, there is a growing use of project management tools, such as scheduling and resource management software. Thirdly, better collaboration and communication among all stakeholders, including contractors, suppliers, and clients, is being emphasised. To address this, he stresses that companies are adopting new construction technologies like building information modelling (BIM) to improve efficiency and reduce errors. Finally, some companies are adopting the principles of lean construction to control delays and cost overruns. These measures aim to enhance project planning, management, and communication in the construction industry.

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Managing supply chain risks in the Indian concrete business
In the Indian concrete industry, managing supply chain risks is crucial to meet project timelines and budgets. According to Sakthikumar, adopting best practices such as building strong relationships with suppliers, diversifying suppliers, and conducting regular risk assessments are essential to mitigate potential disruptions in the supply chain. Additionally, investing in technology can improve supply chain visibility and enable faster decisionmaking in response to disruptions.

However, procurement managers face various challenges, as Pillai points out. The pressure on pricing compared to Chinese and local suppliers is one such challenge, along with potential delivery and quality-related issues during the project’s completion. Availability of services and parts can also be a concern as primary contractors depend on sub-suppliers to meet project timelines. All these factors can lead to delays and cost overruns, negatively impacting the project timeline.

Innovations to improve competitiveness and cost-efficiency in construction equipment
Sakthikumar emphasises the importance of working with suppliers to innovate and optimise the scalability of concrete equipment. This approach can lead to various benefits, including improved equipment performance, increased efficiency and productivity, reduced costs, and enhanced overall profitability. By collaborating with suppliers, companies can stay ahead of competitors and remain competitive.

Krishan Mohan Sharma, who heads the India Operations at Vollert India Pvt. Ltd offers a different perspective. He states that Vollert plants and machines are equipped with cutting-edge technologies such as robotics, automation, and other mechanised processes to achieve costeffectiveness and maximum efficiency in their products and solutions. These advanced technologies enhance the quality and reliability of products and lower production costs. Furthermore, Vollert’s recently expanded facility was designed after a thorough time and motion study to minimise material handling and energy losses.

The construction industry complies with environmental norms for equipment and project sustainability
Regarding sustainability and environmental efficiency in the Indian construction industry, equipment manufacturers and project managers are increasingly emphasising reducing the environmental impact of construction practices. According to Sakthikumar, technological advancements in concrete and construction equipment are helping to facilitate more sustainable construction practices. “We can use electric or hybrid equipment to reduce emissions and recycle equipment to reduce waste generated during construction,” he says.

For Kranthi Kumar Ravuri, Managing Director of Vibrant Construction Equipment Pvt. Ltd., complying with environmental regulations is a top priority from the beginning of the design process. “Today’s major concern is complying with environmental regulations, so we take care of this at the design stages,” he explains.

Vibrant Construction Equipment’s batching plants have been designed to generate low noise during production, reducing sound pollution. The plant’s dust system has also been designed to control the dust released into the atmosphere. However, Ravuri acknowledges that there is still room for improvement. “Despite all these control systems, a certain amount of dust is generated. This is a continuous improvement process. We are continuously working on reducing pollution,” he says.

Here again, Sakthikumar suggests that compliance with local laws is critical in the concrete industry in India, and companies must ensure that they adhere to regulations governing safety, environmental protection, and emission norms. “Compliance is typically ensured through regular audits and inspections by government agencies and self-audits conducted by companies”, he adds.

Adopting new technologies has improved safety and security measures, supply chain management, and project planning and management. The Indian construction industry faces cost overruns, timeline issues, and supply chain risks. Still, measures such as thorough pre-construction planning, collaboration and communication among stakeholders, and adopting lean construction and building information modelling can address these issues.

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