A slew of new products in the form of vaasthu-compliant to ‘navratna’ to 24x7 connected elevators have shown promising outcomes. “We introduced our innovative range when the market was flat and we have grown faster than the industry,” Amit Gossain, MD, Kone Elevator India, tells DTNext, as he shares details of the Indian operations.
The supply-demand gap during the pre-demonetisation period and a 30 per cent downturn have not impacted its elevator business. “We did see a slight de-growth but we grew again to reach 8 to 9 per cent mark. Even when the realty sector saw single digit growth, we brought in new range of products. These are globally-designed elevators customised to suit the domestic customers,” he said.
Kone has a plant in Chennai, where it has invested Rs 450 crore, with a scope to offer direct employment to 6,000 people. It has a 1,000 member strong technical centre in the city and a smaller centre in Pune.
The vaasthu project took off in 2015 with variants launched subsequently in 2017. “Indian buyers pay a lot of attention to the positioning of architecture, and our buildings are built on that science of it. We took into consideration the elements relating to which direction the elevator should be installed to bring positivity and so on, and we put it into our design so people could relate the building to the Vaastu concept,” he sought to explain.
Similarly, navratna elevators are based around this style with visuals inspired by the nine gems. “This mix of aesthetics and cultures is what the market demands - adding value to buildings, giving people what they need,” Gossain said.
In its efforts to focus on safety and quality, the company removed collapsible elevators from its portfolio. “We took the decision last year and to our existing customers, we have even offered to replace them at a special discount. Our connected elevators are built on IoT platform by collaborating with IBM and this helps in predictive maintenance immensely,” he said, noting Kone avoids participating in infra tenders consciously owing to the lowest bids factor, that may result in compromises.
It has a market share of 20 per cent with a dispersed spread across west, south and north. East is a smaller market, but with a lot of promise as it is a gateway for catering to nations such as Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh, he said.
Gossain said its fastest-moving elevators are in the Rs 10 to Rs 25 lakh price point. Pegging the people movement business to be around 55,000 elevators, he said the escalator segment (3,000-4,000) has been growing, it is dependent on the fruition of Metro projects. While Kone is strong in the residential segment, backed by its service component and also upbeat about commercial space.