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SCG Group aims for tech-driven infrastructure solutions via sustainable means



New Delhi (India), January 19: Urbanisation has been an essential component of economic growth and contributes significantly to every nation’s economy. Our cities are predicted to contribute 75% of India’s national income by 2030, according to a joint report by CBRE and CREDAI. As a result, the Indian construction industry is anticipated to capitalise on significant opportunities in the coming years.

Let us understand more about the biggest JV between SCG group and Big Blocs Construction Ltd. in providing necessary tech-driven urban infrastructure solutions through sustainable and cost-efficient construction practices.

In conversation with Mr. Abhijit Datta, MD of SCG International, on how an Iconic brand is all set to pave the way for urban infrastructure through the most advanced technologies and materials.

1. Could you throw some light on SCG, as an iconic brand in the construction industry?

A- SCG started in the year 1913, a 109-year-old company. We started as a cement company and expanded into the building materials and chemical business. We have 54,000 employees, out of which around 17,000 are outside of Thailand. We have Lots of operations outside of Thailand.

SCG has 3 major businesses, building materials, chemicals, and packaging. We occupy the leading market positions in chemical & packaging. The combined revenue of SCG- is 16.5 billion USD$, half of the revenue is from Thailand and the remaining half from other countries.

We add high-value products, we develop service solutions and products. SCG International is the number 2 player in the world for ceramics. SCG International has a reasonably large FCB manufacturing facility, which we also supply to India. We also have a wide range of products in cement and building material space too.

SCG International takes its sustainable practices very seriously in fact we consistently rank in the Dow Jones sustainability index, ratings too. SCG International commits to achieving net zero by 2050 and as progress, we have also committed that by 2030 we will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 28%. Our commitment also lies in reducing the withdrawal of underground water by about 23%. Hence we always keep a tab on the environmental impact of our practices and devise ways we can improve.

2. Can you kindly share more specifics of this partnership?

A- We believe in having long-term partnerships since time immemorial. SCG has always had great partnerships with big brands in the world such as Toyota, Mitsubishi, Dow chemicals, Mitsui chemicals, Chandra Shri, VC, Delta Labs, Kubota and so on.

In India especially because we do not know the local business practices and the market. But we bring the strength of products/solutions and best industry practices. Thus by partnering with local business leaders, we can take advantage of both strengths in bringing innovative building materials to India.

3. How will this partnership impact the customers of both organisations?

A-This partnership is envisioned to solve some crucial challenges in the Indian construction market. The major challenges include:

  • Speed of construction
  • How do we make sure our construction sites are environmentally sustainable

4. How do we make sure we get better quality

Over the last 100 years, SCG has acquired a lot of experience in building materials manufacturing & innovation. We have achieved excellence in process & technology and would like to introduce them to the Indian construction market. What we envision is to bring products that are SMART i.e: the products need to be fast and achieve faster outputs. EFFICIENT i.e: more productivity, fewer labourers and CLEAN Construction Sites, i.e: environmentally sustainable construction sites and business practices. To achieve this we believe we need to grow more & more modular.

5. Why did SCG International choose Gujarat and Big Bloc for starting the first manufacturing facility in India?

A- Gujarat, has a positive work culture, availability of resources & raw materials, and electricity is not a problem. More than anything it is a great partnership with Big Bloc that helped us decide on starting our first wall panel facility in Gujarat. Trust is the foundation of a partnership. There is an element of trust and a common vision of what we want to achieve in India and how we want to have a synergy between our common strengths.

6. What are the reasons for investing in the Indian market?

A- First, there is a rapid growth of construction in the Indian market. Many professional groups have projected that India will become the number 3 construction market by 2023. The long-term growth is very strong. Second is rapid urbanisation and people moving to bigger cities, construction is going up.

Third, we believe there is a gap and a potential to improve construction technologies and practices in India. This is where we foresee using our strengths.

7. What customer problem/solution does this partnership address at large?

A-Wall panels can save labour costs and time, they are faster than bricks /blocks and are installed with tongue and groove. The Panels are solid, strong and long-lasting. The fire rating is very good, we are exporting to Australia and fire in that country is a hazard. The energy saving is good because it’s aerated and therefore it works as thermal insulation so the energy cost is less. Light weight around 53 kg/sqm and easy to carry.

8. What is SCG International and how is it related to SCG?

A- SCG International is a subsidiary of SCG group and when we enter emerging markets like Africa, India, the Middle East and Bangladesh, SCG starts with SCG International.

We come in and test the waters and explore opportunities. We do end-to-end supply chains in 20 countries in the world. We have started the green EV business in Thailand and are looking to make it an impactful one.

9. How do you see your vision for India with this new JV and its impact?

A- To achieve our vision of this partnership, we need to combine our strengths with a local partner. The vision is to bring a strong partnership and bring this new way of construction into the Indian market.

The first product is the AAC wall panel, produced in Thailand under the brand name Q-Con. It’s present in the Thailand market for about 25 years now and has investments in Indonesia as well.

We have brought it to India under the brand name ZMARTBUILD. Registered in India as our Trademark and marketed as ZMARTBUILD Wall Panels.

10. Now that the land acquisition has taken place how long will it take for the commercial production of the wall panels to start?

A- We have more than 3100 projects of Wall panels in Thailand. With the increase in a high-rise, residential buildings in Thailand faced an issue of on-time project completion with cost savings. Q-Con wall panels solve just that.

In India, we have started supplying the wall panels since it was shipped from Thailand. The freight charges were high. Looking at the construction trends and projecting the wall panels demand in India we decided to start the manufacturing facility here.

Currently, we have 10+ projects, namely in Jaipur, Rajasthan, Pune, Gujarat and many others in the pipeline. We estimate that by the 3rd quarter of the financial year, the facility will be ready and more ZMARTBUILD Wall Panel products will be available for the Indian market.

Disclaimer: This article is a paid publication and does not have journalistic/editorial involvement of Hindustan Times. Hindustan Times does not endorse/subscribe to the content(s) of the article/advertisement and/or view(s) expressed herein. Hindustan Times shall not in any manner, be responsible and/or liable in any manner whatsoever for all that is stated in the article and/or also with regard to the view(s), opinion(s), announcement(s), declaration(s), affirmation(s) etc., stated/featured in the same.

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Your Company’s Responsible Guide to Staying Profitable in a Recession



Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The recent trend of easy money and exorbitant valuations has skidded to a halt amid recent economic volatility. Understandably, many companies rode that wave as long as they could, but in doing so many prioritized growth over sustainability and sound leadership. Layoffs continue to ripple through the tech ecosystem, so employees both in this sector and elsewhere are feeling the consequences.

Having to let go of staff members is all but unavoidable in a company’s lifecycle, but there is always more that can be done to keep businesses afloat while preserving morale. Strategies can include responsible budgetary decision-making, thoughtful and prudent responses to external pressures and transparent dialogue with employees, to name a few. Such actions can help companies remain healthy, productive and profitable, even as they navigate challenging waters.

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This is What You Need in Your 5-Year Marketing Plan



Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

We’ve all heard the interview question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Marketers routinely take that question and apply it to their marketing strategies. They figure out what they want to achieve and then develop actionable steps to get there. Keep in mind, these plans aren’t designed to be all-encompassing. They serve as a guidebook for different scenarios while getting the team thinking about what they’d like to accomplish long-term.

Your five-year plan is a way to build an overarching metric for how you’re doing — or how you plan to do over the next half-decade. There are many things to consider when building your plan — here are a few to look at carefully:

The 3 key buckets

A successful five-year marketing plan should fixate on three main questions:

  1. What assumptions can you make about the next five years within your company?
  2. What goals do you want to achieve?
  3. What are the metrics you’ll use to measure those goals?

Assumptions are what you think won’t change in the business over the next five years. For example, you might assume that you will continue using particular vendors or that packaging costs will remain stable. From there, you can determine your goals — like boosting sales by 50% or converting 10,000 new customers. The metrics that measure your progress might be units sold or your company’s market share. It’s essential to include both readily-accessible metrics — such as website views — and brand metrics that might be a bit harder to come by, such as the associations your customers have made with your products or company.

Importantly, there’s no “right” or “wrong” when it comes to answering these questions. Every business has its own vision, resources and position, which all influence its marketing strategy. The aim is to develop a plan that will produce the most desirable outcome for you, rather than worrying about what other businesses have the capacity to do.

Related: Use These 5 Steps to Create a Marketing Plan

Narrowing your focus

Just like consumer preferences, marketing tactics are constantly shifting. Social media demonstrates this well. Because social media platforms have skyrocketed over the past two decades, marketers no longer rely solely on traditional platforms such as print or television ads. And even within social media, things aren’t constant. TikTok has become one of the fastest-growing platforms, quickly overtaking Facebook.

With so many options, your marketing plan must keep a narrow focus. For some companies, TikTok doesn’t matter. They can’t yet measure the return they’re getting from the platform, so this isn’t exactly a feasible opportunity. Don’t be tempted to try everything or be everywhere. It’s a matter of isolating what you practically can use to give you the insights that will help you.

Two questions will help focus your strategy:

  • How do your goals compare to last year?
  • What are you striving for (e.g., enhancing the brand vs. increasing brand awareness)?

How you answer those questions will help you identify where and how to focus your efforts so you don’t get lost in a bunch of small, irrelevant tactics.

Using your budget

Most people think of budgets as being stable or hard data — but almost all companies work with unknowns. In reality, the best they can do is come up with an educated guess that seems to make sense – a ballpark range. Because nobody can plan with certainty for every scenario — and because it’s so easy to become overwhelmed with an infinite range of outcomes — it’s advisable to lean on a few key financial assumptions and build a strategy around those.

Once you have a budget figure to work with, create high and low projections for everything you want to do. Let’s say the aim is to get to 50% brand awareness. What would your plan look like if you exceeded that and got to 75%? Alternatively, what would you do if awareness went down to 25%? Creating these high and low projections will let you design a more flexible approach and avoid being caught too off guard.

As you come up with your main scenarios and high-low projections, think about the key internal drivers you’ll need to address next year. Consider the risks, and assess whether you’ll have the data, technology and skills to develop and maintain what you expect to put forward. Keep in mind that it’s more important to pivot when issues come up than to predict what’s going to happen accurately.

Related: 4 Tips for Developing a Marketing Plan That Will Actually Grow Your Business

Paint flexibly within your broad strokes

A five-year marketing plan paints a broad, long-term picture of how you’ll communicate with your audience while giving details about your projected products or services. It includes assumptions and factors that aren’t necessarily static, so you have to approach it with a grain of salt and be ready to shift gears if the plan doesn’t work.

Even so, if you stick to three key buckets (assumptions, goals and metrics), keep your tactical focus narrow and incorporate multiple projections in your budget, you should end up with a strategy that blends the data and flexibility needed to strive in a changing world. Because annual marketing plans need to connect to your long-term marketing vision, let the annual marketing meetings serve as check-in points to keep your longer-term marketing plan relevant and viable.

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Lauren Sánchez Is Heading to Space on a Girls Trip



Sorry, Jeff — this one is for the girls.

Jeff Spicer / Stringer I Getty Images

The Amazon executive chairman’s girlfriend, a former journalist who collaborates with him on philanthropy, is bringing a girl gang to space

Jeff Bezos’ girlfriend, Lauren Sánchez, said in a new interview with the Wall Street Journal that she planned to take an all-female trip to space with the Amazon founder’s space manufacturing company, Blue Origin.

Five women will join her on the journey.

“It’s going to be women who are making a difference in the world and who are impactful and have a message to send,” she told the outlet.

The mission is set for early 2024, and the passengers’ names will be announced at a later date.

The WSJ’s report was Sánchez’s first solo interview, the outlet noted, since her relationship with Bezos went public in 2019, shortly after his divorce announcement from now ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott.

The interview also talks about Sánchez’s relationship with Bezos and the business advice he’s given her (keeping meetings under an hour, speaking last as a boss).

Sánchez is a former broadcast journalist and a helicopter pilot who founded her own filming company Black Ops Aviation, per Insider.

“Right now, I’m immersing myself in philanthropy and strategic giving,” she told the outlet. She also has a new production company, Adventure & Fellowship.

Bezos and Sánchez also work together on picking the winner for the Bezos Award for Courage & Civility, which was awarded to Dolly Parton in 2022, giving her $100 million to dole out to charities as she pleased.

But don’t expect Bezos to crash the girls’ trip. “He’ll be cheering us all on from the sidelines,” Sánchez said, adding that Bezos is “excited to make this happen with all of these women… He’s very encouraging and excited, and he’s thrilled we’re putting this group together.”

Sánchez’s nonprofit work includes This Is About Humanity, which helps give supplies to kids separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, supporting the Bezos Earth Fund, which fights climate change, and working with the Bezos Academy, a system of free Montessori schools.

Bezos told CNN in an exclusive that aired in mid-November that, like many other billionaires have pledged to do, he would give away most of his money.

Ex-wife Scott, meanwhile, has donated over $14 billion since 2019, much of it coming from the settlement with Bezos.

Bezos has always planned on giving his money away, Sánchez told the outlet.

“Jeff has always told me since I’ve known him that he’s going to give the majority of his money to philanthropy,” she said.

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