The platform bC India provides is apt to launch our solar light tower with turbine, the ST-9 (hybrid), a new technology introduced by us which is highly economical and utilises the natural resource available in abundance in India, says Ashish Garg, Director, Aska Safety Devices. Excerpts from the interview.
How do you assess the current scenario of construction and infrastructure sector?
The construction and infrastructure sector is the pillar of the country's growth. It also projects the state of the country's GDP and the overall economy. There has been a consistent rise in construction costs and infrastructure development companies are feeling the heat. Various models like BOO and BOOT have brought about the much needed paradigm shift in the construction industry, enabling the infrastructure development companies to rotate their funds more effectively due to recurring revenue year on year.
Though projects are getting delayed and are on hold due to some reason or the other, new projects are coming up and the industry is growing; consequently, Aska is also growing because we maintain our products quality even in the times of inflation.
Which are the major areas to be addressed on a war footing?
Structured planning, speedy and timely approvals, are required to regain the growth of industry. In addition, it is important to recognise the fact that innovation is the key to profitability and companies should not shy away from adopting new business models which are aligned with the government policies and give users greater mileage and long- term business gains, like single window project management and servicing capabilities.
What is Aska's strategy to bring about competitive costs?
Aska believes in maintaining its standard and supplying quality products. Aska has introduced economical models as a result of highly efficient R&D efforts, which have brought about the best of features and specifications with minimal hikes in the overall cost. We have acknowledged that constant R&D efforts deploying efficient R&D engineers goes a long way in addressing problems of rising costs and the devaluation of the rupee.
What is the demand-supply scenario for lighting systems? What kind of market control does Aska have?
The overall demand-supply scenario of lighting systems in India is still evolving; however, Aska always keeps a stock of at least 20-25 light towers ready in its works. Aska caters to infrastructure companies, cement industry, highway segment, power plants, hydro plants and some other critical infrastructure verticals and command a good market share due to its high standards of quality and after sales service.
Tell us about the product range and services offered by Aska.
We manufacture telescopic tiltable mobile light towers starting from 9 m height to 18 m height, and solar powered light towers. We have introduced a new model of light tower, the solar powered light tower with wind turbine. We also manufacture mobile light towers with remote. We have lighting systems for confined areas, too. We have a wide variety of lighting systems catering to a wide range of price bands from Rs 5,000 to 9, 000.
What are the product and technology trends in lighting systems?
Product and technology trends keep on improving. There was a time when bulbs were popular; this was replaced by CFL and now it is LED, solar panel and wind turbines offering a greater value for money. We provide lighting systems which are ideally suited for areas which are completely dark. Working hours get extended with the use of Aska light towers. We keep on experimenting and improving our product quality.
What is your take on the existing rules and regulations with regard to safety?
The overall safety regulations in India have a tremendous scope for improvement given loosely spelt- out policies and a lack of legal framework to penalise the manufacturers producing sub-standard products. This results in the import of safety products from other countries, which impacts the growth of small scale industries in India and does not boost the morale of manufacturing sector. Our product is being manufactured complying with stringent safety rules and regulations; they last for more than 20-25 years provided timely service is given. We have very efficient after sales service teams to take care of the customer's complaints. Adequate training is imparted to technical teams at sites for operations.
How do you view the potential for rentals?
There is a huge potential of renting of lighting systems in India, particularly because the capital investment does hurt some of the users who are not into high value construction projects meant for long-term business gains and solely depend on the sale of the properties. However, the construction companies who are into BOOT (Build Own Operate and Transfer) model do recover the cost of capital investment over a period of time, due to recurring income.
We provide light towers on rental basis. We have provided Aska light towers on a rental basis at the Formula 1 race twice, the most happening and prestigious event in the country. Due to change in economic conditions, corporates now are looking towards rentals of light towers. Many big groups have approached us for the same.
What is the value proposition Aska provides?
Aska is poised to manufacture state-of-the-art lighting products which suit varied market segments and provide real value for money. Different variants are being manufactured which take care of the rising construction costs enabling construction to continue in the night shift. The new models also utilise the solar energy and provide excellent operational efficiency. The Aska Group is expanding and growing in leaps and bounds due to its constant endeavour to introduce new technologies, with focused and dedicated R&D efforts. This has been achieved under the leadership of Ashok Garg, the Managing Director. Management is investing in new products development and striving hard to create a new benchmark in the lighting industry.
How do you look at the competition in this segment and what makes Aska different?
We are proud to be the No 1 lighting products manufacturing company in India. We maintain our quality and keep on improving day after day with the introduction of new technology. There are not many professionally managed construction-centric lighting products manufacturers in India, though we do have a small percentage of imported lighting products trading companies.
What is your take on bC India as a business platform? Any new launch at the show?
bC India is a world renowned exhibition. We are participating in it and our stall number is 408 (outdoor). We are participating in the exhibition to meet new customers and sincerely believe that the timing is apt to launch our solar light tower with turbine, the ST-9 (hybrid). This is a new technology being introduced by Aska which is highly economical and utilises the natural resource available in abundance in India.