Indian Manufacturing is Ready to Board the Rocketship
Separator

Indian Manufacturing is Ready to Board the Rocketship

Separator

Parag Chheda, Joint Managing Director, Prince Pipes & FittingsOwing significantly to the Make in India campaign, FDI equity inflow in the Indian manufacturing sector between 2014-2022 reportedly increased by 57 percent over the previous eight years (2006-2014). The manufacturing sector in India is all set to board the rocket ship with a big bang, and no one can take the credit away from Indian manufacturing SMEs. The government of India has a clear vision for the prosperity of the segment. Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme acting as a catalyst in manufacturing production is a case in point. The Indian manufacturing industry currently contributes around 17 percent to the GDP. It is poised to grow to 21 percent in the next six to seven years, manifesting India's potential to offer a wetland to the world.

Parag Chheda, Joint Managing Director, Prince Pipes & Fittings Limited, engages in an exclusive interview with CEO Insights to decipher the latest opportunities and challenges in the manufacturing industry. Parag took over the reins of a modest PVC Piping company, Prince Pipes & Fittings, after completing his MBA in Business Administration from the USA in 1994. Under his visionary leadership, Prince Pipes has emerged over the past three decades as one of India's largest integrated piping solutions providers and multi-polymer processors, with seven state-of-the-art manufacturing plants at strategic locations. 

In conversation with Parag Chheda, Joint Managing Director, Prince Pipes & Fittings

As Joint Managing Director, please share how your leadership philosophy has guided Prince Pipes' growth and success.

At Prince Pipes, our growth has been steered by a vision centered around innovation and adaptability. We've consistently embraced innovative technologies and methodologies, ensuring that we stay at the forefront of the industry. This approach empowers us to introduce groundbreaking products and solutions that set new benchmarks.

A key aspect of our leadership philosophy is centered on fostering a culture of collaboration, creativity, and empowerment. This has been integral to our success.

Customer-centricity has been another cornerstone of our success. Understanding and catering to the unique needs of our customers has been a priority. Our focus on delivering high-quality products and exceptional services has allowed us to build enduring relationships with our customers, earning their trust and loyalty.

At the same time, sustainability and social responsibility have also been integral components of our leadership philosophy. We've been committed to conducting our business ethically, minimizing our environmental footprint, and giving back to the communities in which we operate. This forms an important part of our Mission-Vision Statement. This commitment to sustainability has not only strengthened the ethos of our brand but has also positioned us as an industry leader.

How fast is the manufacturing industry in India reviving itself from the catastrophic effects of the pandemic? What are the challenges that the industry is going through?

The revival of India's manufacturing industry post-pandemic has been a multifaceted journey, with organized businesses boasting healthy balance sheets playing a pivotal role in catalyzing the broader ecosystem's recovery.

The pace of recovery within the manufacturing sector varies across different segments. Businesses equipped with strong financial foundations have exhibited quicker rebounds, leveraging their stability to effectively navigate through challenges. Supportive government policies geared towards bolstering the manufacturing sector, alongside increased infrastructure spending, have acted as vital catalysts for this resurgence.

Yet, challenges persist. Supply chain disruptions continue to pose a significant hurdle, stemming from ongoing issues related to raw material shortages and logistical complexities arising due to the wars in Russia-Ukraine & Israel. Additionally, adapting to evolving market demands and navigating fluctuating input costs remains an ongoing challenge.

What are the current trends and demands driving India's piping solutions & multi polymer industry? 

India’s piping industry is witnessing remarkable growth owing to various factors. These include the country's ambitious infrastructure projects like the Jal Jeevan Mission and the AMRUT Scheme, which aim to provide clean water supply, sanitation, and urban development. These initiatives continue to drive demand for reliable and advanced piping systems.

Additionally, rapid urbanization, a thriving real estate sector, technological advancements in polymer materials, a focus on sustainability, and diverse needs across multiple industries are also collectively contributing to the industry's substantial expansion in India's growth trajectory.

Could you share some insights into the technological advancements or innovations that have enabled Prince Pipes to maintain a competitive edge in the industry?

At Prince Pipes, our commitment to innovation defines our identity as creators of exceptional products. For over four decades, our vision has centered on revolutionizing India's water infrastructure. We continually adapt to evolving needs and trends, introducing new products that adhere to international standards.

For example, Prince Onefit, engineered with Corzan CPVC Technology, stands as an exemplar for industrial use. This product offers high-quality, corrosion-resistant solutions, ensuring operational continuity with minimal downtime.

In our Modern Plumbing vertical, products such as Skolan Safe, HT Safe, and Hauraton represent the breadth of innovative products introduced to the Indian market through global partnerships. Skolan Safe, crafted with the latest noise reduction technology, sets a new benchmark in premium drainage systems suitable for diverse applications, from luxurious residences to expansive commercial spaces, hospitals, and educational institutions.

In the realm of polymer piping technology, skill gaps span not only installation and maintenance practices but also extend to manufacturing processes and product applications

 

The introduction of these products reflects our commitment to bringing world-class solutions to India, addressing the country's evolving infrastructure needs with top-notch technology and performance.

In 2023, we also ventured into the Bathware segment, unveiling a never-before-seen collection of faucets and sanitaryware. This foray opens up another world for technological advancements for us.

Furthermore, embracing technology and digitization is fundamental to our strategy. We're pioneering initiatives like digitizing our supply chain through Distributor Management Systems and implementing integrated Salesforce Automation, all aimed at enhancing customer experience and enabling us to maintain our competitive edge in the industry.

How do you perceive the skill gap in the segment? What are the solutions?

In the realm of polymer piping technology, skill gaps span not only installation and maintenance practices but also extend to manufacturing processes and product applications. Within the manufacturing segment, the shortage of skilled technicians proficient in advanced machinery and polymer processing techniques impacts optimal production efficiency and quality control measures. Additionally, there's a gap in understanding and implementing new manufacturing technologies like advanced composite materials or smart manufacturing systems, hindering the industry's ability to innovate.

On the product application front, a noticeable gap exists in the expertise required for specialized applications of polymer piping solutions in various industries. Professionals often lack comprehensive knowledge regarding the diverse range of applications and best practices for deploying these solutions effectively. This gap impacts the industry's ability to tailor solutions to specific needs, limiting the full potential of polymer piping systems across sectors such as infrastructure, healthcare, manufacturing, and urban development.

Addressing these skill gaps necessitates a multifaceted approach that encompasses comprehensive training programs for both manufacturing and application aspects. These programs should focus on advanced manufacturing techniques, new technologies, specialized product applications, and industry-specific knowledge.

Encouraging collaborative initiatives between educational institutions and industry players to develop tailored curricula and hands-on training modules is essential to equip professionals with the expertise needed to excel in the diverse landscape of polymer piping technology.

What are your expectations and predictions about future market opportunities and changes in market behavior regarding the technology & engineering sector?

I anticipate significant growth opportunities in the technology and engineering sector driven by several factors. The continued evolution of digital transformation, including the rise of AI, IoT, and data analytics, will reshape industries, fostering innovation and efficiency. Renewable energy and sustainability will also drive market changes, with increased emphasis on eco-friendly solutions and green technologies. We foresee a shift towards decentralized systems, with a focus on edge computing and distributed networks, enabling faster and more efficient data processing.

Additionally, advancements in cybersecurity will be paramount to protect increasingly interconnected systems and data. Automation and robotics will continue to revolutionize manufacturing processes, enhancing productivity and precision. The integration of 5G technology will further enable connectivity, revolutionizing communication networks and supporting the proliferation of IoT devices.

Regarding market behavior, I expect a greater emphasis on collaboration and partnerships within the industry, facilitating cross-sector innovation and solution development. Consumer demands for personalized experiences and customization will drive companies to tailor offerings more precisely. Moreover, the workforce must adapt to continuous upskilling, embracing interdisciplinary knowledge and agility in response to rapid technological advancements. Flexibility and adaptability will be crucial traits for professionals in this evolving landscape.

What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs in the industry?

I encourage budding entrepreneurs venturing into the industry to embrace innovation and prioritize value creation for customers by addressing their needs in unique ways.

One must build a robust network of mentors and peers while nurturing a hunger for continuous learning to stay ahead in an ever-evolving landscape. I urge them to be resilient. Temporary setbacks are inevitable, but they fuel growth. Adaptability is key. Hence, it’s vital to stay agile in your strategies and remain financially disciplined.

Let passion fuel the journey – as it sustains commitment and perseverance and inspires the team. Entrepreneurship is a rollercoaster ride—so focus on the vision, stay flexible, and learn from every experience to propel the venture forward.

 

Hobbies: Listening to music & traveling

Favorite Cuisine: Mexican and Thai cuisines

Favorite Book: Coaching: The Secret Code to Uncommon Leadership by Ruchira Choudhary and Harsh Realities by Harsh Mariwala

Favorite Travel Destination: "Anywhere close to nature, where one can experience nature in its resplendent form, like Switzerland, New Zealand, or Pahalgam.