The future of building industry is getting into a zone wherein advanced technologies and products are deployed for efficiency gains, be it time, cost, quality and aesthetics. Under the leadership of stalwart leaders, Visaka Industries’ products are developed in such a way that they can cater to various demands. With innovative products like Vnext, Vboards, VPlank and ATUM, Visaka Industries is taking strong steps to facilitate building of self-sustainable, affordable homes. As the #SurfacesReporter team explores its various initiatives with an interaction with Mr G. Vamsi Krishna, Joint Managing Director, Visaka Industries, he takes us through the journey that has led to such mind-blowing innovations.
Mr G. Vamsi Krishna is a science graduate from Purdue University, USA. He joined Visaka Industries in June 2010 as a management trainee and was later appointed as Chief Business Strategist of the Company. He is very passionately involved in creating the market for Boards Division. In view of his significant contributions in this connection, he has been elevated to the position of Whole-time Director of the Company effective from June 2014.
I graduated from Purdue University with electives from Science & Management. I did an internship, rigorously trained under senior executives much before taking full time position at Visaka Industries Limited. I was not inclined towards one particular Industry but was very open to understand my family business. My father, Dr G. Vivekanand had started Visaka Industries limited 35 years ago with inspiration and guidance received from my grandfather. He started with roofing and moved on to set up a textile yarn, the largest setup of its kind in the world. Keeping sustainability at the forefront, we later ventured into Fiber cement boards under the “Vnext” brand, meeting demands of the construction industry and thereby penetrating all markets.
I have always been told right from my childhood that I am questioning the status quo all the time and been challenging the thought process of every discussion in a dispassionate viewpoint. I think that continued throughout my learning journey, later transitioning me to be a close fit for entrepreneurship. Although I had thoughts of working full time in the USA and there were opportunities for the same, the desire to be driving larger scheme of things and work towards problems led me to take up full-time roles at family business. The journey continued as an entrepreneur expanding the business on a steady growth rate while introducing revolutionary products.
My father, an MBBS graduate aspired to pursue masters in USA. He always looked up to his father, who was working for a cause and larger than life purpose. My grandfather, a veteran in social reforms movement, politics and industry, convinced him to drop the USA plans and take up larger responsibility of setting up the factory in Patancheru in 1983. With the guidance received from my grandfather and along with other professional team members, my father took this company to a level that, today Visaka Industries is positioned in the top quartile by its market share and growth prospects within a short span of time.
My grandfather, Shri Gaddam Venkataswami is fondly known and remembered as KAKA for his social reforms and upliftment of the poor and the needy. He was a member of parliament and worked as a Cabinet Minister under various governments introducing reforms across labour, textiles, jute and other rural portfolios. His notable achievements also include the introduction of PF & Pension schemes in the private and unorganised sector. Some of his reforms took the attention of international communities wherein he was invited to international platforms to speak and guide reforms for labour welfare.
A thorough gentleman, politician and above all, a go-to person for many issues, my grandfather worked towards society and regional development. He actively fought for homeless people and ensured a massive transformation in the lives of 70000 families. His active participation in regional politics and contributions towards the common good was much appreciated across governments. In his remembrance, his statue has also been set up in the heart of Hyderabad city.
I could realise how much people loved him when he passed away in 2014 and the impact he created touching many lives. We are inspired by his work, his outlook for the greater good and that has always been imbibed in the culture of our company shaping the values as we stand today.
Vnext is our new wave of positioning Visaka Industries in the sustainable products space. We are committed to sustainability and our products are marketed under Vboards. These fiber cement boards (V board) are changing the way we use plywood and gypsums boards in the building materials space. Our products have higher density compared to gypsum and plywood and are water, termite, fire resistant; they are eco-friendly too. We also have different solutions from Vnext platform, meeting the construction industry challenges and the applications are used across Wardrobes/ shelves, Kitchen Cabinets, False Ceiling, Partitions, Cladding, Walls and Fixed Furniture. Our Vnext platform has also introduced V infill technology that helps in improving the efficiencies of building a house, while continuing to maintain the standards of excellence.
We all know the majority of building materials space is made of wood and that comes from trees. This leads to lot of deforestation, changing the overall environment and climatic conditions. I feel, we should create an ecosystem wherein the alternate products should replace the traditional wood and that’s where the Vboards come into the play as a sustainable product. Till date, Vboards as a replacement to wood, has contributed to a savings of over 4,50,000 trees and we are the largest in India by our installed capacity.
The Building industry is very dynamic and it has multiple segments under it. Each segment has their unique needs and products should meet such requirements. The future of building industry is further getting into a zone wherein advanced technologies & products are deployed for efficiency gains be it time, cost, quality and aesthetics. Our products are developed in such a way that they can cater to various demands and the whole game is about deployment & awareness. So, we are doing a thorough review on each and every requirement thus allowing our product to fit into the solution. We are also trying to build a complete home with Vnext and the roof with ATUM. ATUM is an electric roof that generates power for your home. So, in the future, you’ll have a self-sustainable, affordable home for less than INR 5 lakh, wherein you need not pay for the electricity bills, as it can be managed from your home.
Since 2010, I am personally involved in meeting people and understanding their expectations on multiple parameters. The products we are launching are challenging the traditional products and the benefits are seen when deployed with solutions. Any such product first needs to get absorbed and adopted by the customers. That’s where the mindset of customers is very important and crucial. The mindset change I am referring here is not just about the market but also about the team I am working with, especially when you are positioning products in the market. To ensure that the team also understands and believes in the product, we designed & created our workstations, walls, ceilings with our products (in our office). We have about 120 people sitting in our corporate office. They are using them regularly; it helped in changing the mindset of the team. When some people visit our office, they can randomly even check the application of Vboards and ATUM within our office itself. It’s a very good substitute for traditional materials and our teams are aggressively positioning it with lot of promotional activities.
The new unit for Vboards at Jhanswa Village in Jhajjar District, in Haryana, has started commercial production from March 2019. The annual capacity is 50,000 MTS. With this plant, we are now the largest manufacturers of fiber cement boards.
The unique thing that we have done with our product is that we can do everything and anything. We have done about 32-35 different applications using our product. And today we have cut it down and concentrate only on 6-10, which are the major ones. You can also give any shape or finish like gloss, matt etc. It can also be adorned with wallpapers, Laminate, Veneer, Paint and Tiles. It can be cut/ engraved into any design using CNC cutting. We are now planning to tie up with artists. My effort is to ensure that people should start using our products most meticulously and creatively.
ATUM is a roofing product. From the last 70 years in India, roofs haven’t innovated at all. I mean you have been seeing the same roofs over the last 70 years. Visaka has been building roofs for the last 35 years. In case of ATUM, we thought of a roof and then a roof which also generates power. That’s actually called the Electric roof. People often put the product in accordance with Solar panels. So, we correct them. We are not into Solar panels; we are a roof first, which also generates electricity. So, that’s our potential differentiator. Secondly, people who install solar panels on the roof actually have to do away with a lot of space since space becomes unusable for any other work. Today real estate is very expensive and giving this entire roof space to solar panels is not advisable. What we suggest is why don’t you raise the roof and put ATUM on top. That way, you will be creating more usable space.
ATUM gives you all benefits of a typical roof while continuing to generate electricity through its solar-powered roof. Conventional solar panel set up has issues with rust, breakages and may also prone to spreading fire with wind due to hot spots. Our ATUM is rust proof and withstands a fire rating of over 2 hours 57 minutes. Most importantly the solar panels do not come with leak proofing mechanism. However, ATUM has a great mechanism in place to take care of that.
We offer many attributes that conventional solar panels cannot provide. Our solar panels are fixed next to each other without leaving any space, thereby allowing you to generate 30-40% per cent more power in the same area.
The smallest area you can use it with is 100 sqm. We are also in talks with the Delhi government regarding the use of this. It saves space and it costs less. It needs almost equal investment as a solar panel installation, but in this case, your earnings will be 4X of your investment & Return on investment is within just 6 years.
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