ECE Elevator - Q&A
ECE Elevator - Q&A

“We see a huge advantage in our being an Indian elevator brand”

ECE Elevators is one of the oldest Indian elevator manufacturers in India from the BK Birla Group of Companies. Its first manufacturing facility came up in Kolkata in 1961 followed by another in Ghaziabad in 1971. thyssenkrupp acquired ECE Elevator Division’s field operations in 2002 with a non-compete agreement for a period. Manish Sikka, President, Elevator Division, ECE Industries Ltd, offers Shrikant Rao a close up view of his company’s rise and future growth agenda.

Briefly give us an understanding of ECE Elevators performance in 2016 -17, your market share, operations pan India and new product introductions?
The company started the full-scale pan India revival of its elevator division in 2015. We experienced a 76 per cent YOY rise in order value in 2016-17 and a top line growth of 46 per cent. Our market share doubled to 2 per cent. In the last two years we have now expanded our geographical reach to 23 branch
locations across most major markets and cities in India. The phase wise expansion continues.

We started as a geared elevator product company with a very strong presence in the industrial sector. In the last two years we have launched our complete gearless range of elevators suitable for all applications up to 2.0mps. We recently launched a home elevator, which works with almost no pit and is best suited to villas. We are soon launching our 2.5mps gearless range. Our range of products and technologies are developed and made in India for the Indian market.

Which are the main infrastructure and construction projects supported by your products?
How would you characterise the current market conditions and the demand and supply scenario for your products?
Our revival process started with our products getting mostly into low and mid rise real estate projects and mid and high rise industrial projects encompassing steel plants, cement plants etc. We are now proud partners of many infrastructure and real estate development companies and our portfolio includes doing large-scale projects, our largest involving 83 MRL gearless lifts in NCR. We are now the preferred partners to a famous hospital chain, which is expanding pan India. In the industrial sector, which requires reliable, well engineered, high rise application, robust and a long life cycle product suited to dusty, hazardous atmospheric conditions we are a choice of the majority.

Demonetisation and RERA have had their share of large-scale short-term impact on the real estate market and while there is a tail wind to complete existing projects, which supports our growth, there is a head wind on launch of new projects for some time. The effects across India vary and with real estate at many places sitting on a excess unsold stock of homes we see a sluggish market situation in the short term but this will change for the better in the long term as the industry realigns to the growth areas supported by the government policies and focus on infrastructure and affordable housing.

Please talk about your range of elevator and escalator and other vertical mobility products and the special features and services offered which make them stand out?
Our product basket currently is one of the biggest in the market, which covers all segments of the market across all tier cities: gearless and geared machines, with machine room or without machine room, with auto doors or with manual doors, home lifts, office lifts, goods lifts, automobile lifts, glass lifts, villa lifts, low, mid and high speed lifts.
We offer standard and build to suit; we offer automatic rescue device for power failure rescue as a standard, we provide security access controls, we allow and provide for smart building compatibility, we offer trends in finishes and cab designs, we offer to integrate interiors to amalgamate with building schemes, we offer green, LED is a standard, we focus on energy savings through our product design.

Could you offer details of your manufacturing units, their current capacities and investments?
We have a fully integrated manufacturing facility at Ghaziabad NCR, our campus is spread over 2,50,000 sq ft and has the capability to manufacture almost all components in house. Our current capacity has been augmented to 1200 lifts per annum and the existing set up can be extended to a capacity of 3000 lifts as we grow. We are also ready with our new modular shed in the same campus to cater to expansion beyond 3,000 units in the future.

We have invested over the last two years on our current capacity and we will continue to invest to handle our growth plans. In our next phase we will target 3,000 lifts capacity. Tell us about your company’s emphasis on sustainability and green as reflected through the medium of your products?
All our new products use permanent magnet gearless technology resulting in one of the most energy efficient machine offering in the industry, LED lights is a standard across all segments, auto off and
on for fan and lights helps reduce the power usage, smart control systems enhances the transportation efficiency thus saving on round trips and hence energy, braille buttons as a standard for all lifts types; all this is towards our goal of going green and being sustainable. We are also envisaging opportunities to use our factory footprint to generate solar power.

As a noted Birla company and a key domestic elevator and escalator manufacturer what is your marketing strategy and USP when it comes to facing competition from multinational giants?
Having not been present in the real estate boom period has provided us with one of our biggest challenge: which is to be re-recognized as a brand in the very competitive and crowded elevator
space. The journey towards building our brand is tough and we are very focused on building our human capital to be the best in class in service delivery, which will enable us to compete through superlative service performance.
We see opportunity in current conditions not only to increase our market share from the organised market as done in the last year but also the equally strong market catered by the hundreds of small-scale lift companies operating in local neighbourhoods where customers look for affordability and users for safety, reliability and service cost.
While brand remains one of the most critical buying criterion for large developers there is ample opportunity for us to offer ourselves as an alternate in tough real estate market conditions. Another big target area for us to venture into is government sector spends and we are in the process of registering ourselves into this market space.

Our marketing strategy is simple: penetrate the market across all states and segments, position ourselves as a company which offers products and services that takes care of the industry customers and users pain points, offer a superior product in terms of life cycle cost which benefits both: the builders and the users and to be seen as a company that offers value for the money spent: capital cost and service cost. We also see a huge advantage in our being an Indian elevator brand and we hope to build up a performance culture that will enable the growing mindset of young Indians wanting to work for, work with and buy Indian brands.

What are your company’s plans for 2017-18?
We are staring at tough market conditions that we consider as our best bet and have a very positive outlook for 2017-18. Our growth plans are pegged at 50 per cent YOY growth in top line and we are well on the way with our first goal of breaking into the top ten in terms of market share. Our aggressive growth strategy makes us remain on investment mode and we will continue to invest on people and products. We have plans to launch a few more products designed to cater to specific client segments, which is not being served well by many.

How do you view the future of the elevator business?
The future of the elevator business is very bright as can be seen by the investments being made by most in India’s elevator market. We are equally excited about the future with the focus now shifting to affordable homes, which is the next big volume market.
The government is investing heavily in affordable housing and we see it as an opportunity to make sure we become part of the grand story of the great initiative to help all Indians to have homes by 2022. While being affordable these home lifts will face big usage pressure and the reliability requirements of the product will be huge while keeping the price points competitive. Those companies who do best there will win the race. We intend to fight this race well and fair and believe we understand our customers well and are agile enough to remain ready to serve the ever-changing market needs.