Sandeep Mathur is the General Manager and Director at LIXIL Window Systems Private Ltd., a subsidiary of LIXIL Corporation, Japan’s Largest Building Products Company, since November 2017. He has over three decades of experience in diverse industries including building products, home improvement, and industrial equipment. Lixil Windows recently acquired 100% stake in Star Alubuild and now eyes to expand its footprints in building products market in India by providing end-to-end solutions. RealtyMyths got an opportunity to discuss company’s forward plans with Mr. Mathur. Here are the excerpts of the conversation.
By acquiring 100% stake in Star Alubuild, LIXIL has clearly shown its bullish approach towards the Indian market. What’s new you are introducing in the Indian market? Any strategic tie-ups you are looking at?
LIXIL has great faith in both the developer segment and private homes. The current outlook of the industry is optimistic. There has always been a demand in the market for good quality products and we are here to bridge the gap for them. Within LIXIL group, Tostem is a major brand for windows. Targeted mostly at the Asian market, the products are well suited for cyclonic weather and offer high protection from water and air ingress. All products are tested as per JIS and offer a higher level of performance as compared to currently available solutions. Another important feature of Tostem products is the ‘pre-engineered’ design. The entire window is manufactured at the factory, using high output precision machinery. All operations are done in-house including preparation of alloy, extrusion, high gloss (patented) anodizing, fabrication and even fixing of hardware. This ensures tight quality controls all through which translate into best in class products for the consumers.
The key benefit to the customer is that ‘site work’ is greatly reduced in complexity, which greatly steps up the speed of installation. Lower site work also means last-mile quality can be easily achieved. Another benefit of mass manufacturing is that even the largest projects can be completed at great speed from a single source. There are duty benefits in import from Tostem Thailand or Vietnam factory- which should help us create a good base of consumers in the Indian market. We are sanguine that this approach will help us really transform the consumer experience in this market.
Please elaborate your product line. As your products majorly cater to luxury housing, how do you plan to capture the Mid-Segment Housing?
The Tostem Japanese design of products is very well suited for mass housing. The products are lean and well-engineered to be cost-effective, especially for low-rise buildings. We are hopeful that our ‘pre-engineered’ product will prove the best solution for mid-segment housing as well. For the premium segment, the approach will be to offer more robust, heavy duty products which can offer additional functionality like ‘lift & shift’ and will suit double glazing requirements. This range of products will be of European design and will be manufactured at our Manesar factory.
In today’s world of advanced digital technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things where you control and adjust your devices at home through the internet, how equipped your products are with these technologies? Do they also help in energy conservation and storage?
Windows is a very simple everyday product. Across world solutions like motorized operation are becoming popular which we can offer for part of our range. Home automation companies offer a range of complimentary solutions like automatic blinds and security systems, which can easily be integrated with our products.
Energy conservation is a major area of work. Unlike cold climates where the focus is on preventing heat loss, in India, the approach is more to stop entry of radiant heat. This can be achieved by using double glass units combined with Low-E glass. Glass also plays a role in stopping noise for which laminated glass is better. The final solution can vary based on the orientation of the building and exact customer requirements. If performance requirements are very high, thermally broken aluminum profiles can be offered from our Shanghai factory.
Please elaborate your expansion plans in India. Are you looking at establishing another manufacturing unit, say in South India, as that would ease out logistics challenges?
We plan to offer a full bundle of solutions to every segment of the Indian market. The fact that we will be manufacturing the finished window and not follow fabricator route will ensure consistency and reliability of quality far ahead of the existing industry standards. As per projected business volumes, we are well equipped with technology and have mapped out our logistical capacity.