Mr Mario Schmidt, has been the Managing Director of Lingel Windows and Doors Technologies since 2006. He is also the Company Director of Fensterbau Lingel Germany Gmbh. With his immense knowledge in Mechanical Science he has been able to add more value to the company’s innovation plan and has helped launch various new products. Mr Mario Schmidt is the President of uPVC Windows and Doors Manufacturers Association (UWDMA). He is a voracious reader and an orator who can speak on various topics related to the industry. #SurfacesReporter engages in an enriching discussion with the leader.
Please tell us something about the journey of Lingel Windows in the industry. Also, share about your association with the brand.
Lingel set foot in India in 2006. The market was very promising but at the same time, very few were aware of uPVC and its vast benefits. We take pride in the sound background of building-construction projects, and cutting-edge technology and services. The products offered to play a critical role in helping conserve energy in a world that is growing in population, with the ever-increasing demand for water,
food, shelter, sanitation, energy, health services, and economic security.
I joined as the Managing Director with a meager workforce and little experience of the nascent Indian Market and it wasn’t a cakewalk for me to achieve the heights. In 1994, after completing my education in Mechanical Science, I realised that I have a great interest in fenestration and decided to learn more about it. Lingel was the right place and my association with the company since then has only been growing in India. Last year I was promoted as the Managing Director for Lingel Germany.
What were some of the key issues and challenges that you faced during the brand’s journey in India?
The market had potential but awareness about uPVC and its vast benefits was very less. Also, many small brands were present selling inferior products. This became a challenge. But over the years, the customer has become aware of the product and the brand.
How have you seen the market for uPVC evolving in India and in your opinion, where does it stand currently?
When Lingel started in 2006 in India there were very few players in the market and in the past 13 years, the industry has grown tremendously. The industry which was disorganised initially is now beginning to take shape, thanks to the efforts put by UWDMA members who are ensuring that the guidelines are followed. So, not only quality check but also skill development is taken care of. No doubt there are lots of inferior quality products in the market and awareness needs to be created so that the customers know what they are getting and don’t get cheated.
There are multiple players in the market for uPVC doors and windows. What are the key differentiators for Lingel that allow it to stay ahead from the rest?
In the next 6 months, though the competition is getting tough we are pretty sure of achieving more than our target. We are a brand that is known for product quality, innovation and after-sales service, so we will keep up to that and offer much more in terms of new product categories. Also, we are hoping that a standardised market is set, such that all follow the same quality check. We follow the guidelines of UWDMA which ensure good quality and pricing is also in accordance with the product we sell to our customers.
Tell us something about your association with uPVC Window and Door Manufacturers Association or UWDMA?
UWDMA is a non-governmental organisation formed by industry leaders to promote and propagate uPVC windows and doors and its benefits to the Indian construction industry and the general public at large. UWDMA provides knowledge to help upscale the segment related to uPVC windows and doors. Our primary focus has been to create effective interaction for all stakeholders. We are committed to offer a platform making one and all in the industry speak in one voice. I am the founder member of UWDMA since 2008. From 2008 to 2016, I was the Technical Head and in 2016 I became the President of the association. So, it has been a long, enriching journey.
How much is R&D important for Lingel Windows? What is your latest innovation?
In the next few months, our latest innovation will be available to our customers. Smart Li, which works on wi-fi is going to make people's life not only comfortable but also secure. All information from weather conditions to security will be received on the mobile phone. We have recently introduced our new colour collection for uPVC. The Snow White windows which are stark white. This will surely enhance the décor of the home for the ones who love to play with this kind of décor. Research and Development is always something Lingel works towards. We always wish to offer our customers what is best for them. The product range of our own Alu System 6.0 launched in 2018 is getting wider and bigger. Lift & Slide, Slide and Fold, Tilt and Turn windows are also now available with us. By the end of this FY, we are going to launch our first own Slimline System. Further to that, we are happy that the demand for window Roller shutters
is also picking up.
What is Lingel’s philosophy about its people?
We have about 200 employees PAN India. So, it is one big, responsible family where each one knows that Lingel comes first. Proper training programs are held where the teams are skilled and trained. Many are even sent to Germany for special training. Lingel has only managed to build this since 2006 because of its consistent, strong leadership, skilled and dedicated team. Being a 60-year-old German brand we have judiciously built it with constant and consistent efforts.
What is your leadership style?
Being a leader is not an easy job. You have to always set examples so that your team can emulate. You have to be dedicated, focused and also knowledgeable enough to share it with the team. I believe in the phillosophy that everything has to be done on time, and so follow the motto of ‘On Time, Every Time’. I also have a strong belief that the customer comes first. My customers can contact me anytime through an email, and I ensure that they get a response.
What are the future expansion plans of Lingel Windows? Where do you see the brand five years from now?
We are surely planning to make this a 100 crores business and though we are present in every strategic location and have a vast sales team we are hoping to create a vast dealer network. But of course, being a very responsible brand in the industry, we also believe in giving back through our campaign of 'Waiving off our carbon footprint.' We have commenced our first initiative at Manesar and with the help of our customers and team, we will create more awareness in times to come.
About Lingel Windows
Karl Lingel Fensterbau GmbH & Co.KG is a leading manufacturer of doors and windows in Europe. Since its inception in 1959, Lingel has grown multifold and has made a strong mark in the building construction industry with its unmatched quality uPVC doors, PVC windows, glasses, and other home accessories. The company perfectly meets with the requirements of industrialists, builders and residential homemakers looking for high-quality uPVC windows and doors as well as glasses and other accessories. Premium uPVC windows and doors make your home healthy, beautiful, energy-efficient as well as dustproof. These are perfect for extreme climate conditions of countries like India.