US-based Otis is the world’s largest manufacturer of elevators, escalators and moving walkways for architects, contractors, developers and homeowners. Sebi Joseph talks about the immense potential for elevators and escalators in India in this interview with Renu Rajaram.
Can you briefly talk about the exponential growth of construction sector in India in general and the growth of the elevator market in particular?
Otis has remained the industry leadersince its inception. Not many companies or brands can boast of continued success in their market. India is an emerging market with tremendous potential for the elevator industry. The residential development sector is a key driver for this growth.
Additionally, rapid urbanisation in India will lead to significant infrastructure development, in terms of metros, airports etc. All this will lead to a tremendous growth potential for elevator service providers. Also, states are now changing the norms and regulations to include technological upgrades for elevators. Over the last five years we have seen four states that have drawn out a regulatory framework for elevators, which is a step in the right direction.
What are your plans to strengthen your presence in the Indian market?
Otis India has come a long way since it installed its first elevator in Kolkata in 1892. We have and will continue to be associated with some of the most ambitious projects in the country. We are committed to increasing our business here and are sanguine about the demand prospects. Expansion of our existing manufacturing facility at Bengaluru, to triple its size, is underway and nearing completion. The factory currently produces elevators with speeds of up to 1 mps and the aim is to increase the range to 1.75 mps and 2.5 mps.
In November 2012, we launched our new, eco-friendly, space-saving elevator system Gen2 Nova for low- and mid-rise buildings in India. It is the first green elevator in the country to address this rapidly growing sector and enables building developers and owners to manage their properties more economically. Otis’ Gen2 Nova elevator system incorporates ReGen drives which reduce energy consumption by up to 75 per cent compared to conventional systems. To add to our repertoire we recently launched the first ever green elevator Gen2 Switch that continues to run even in case of a power failure.
Where do you see the Indian market for elevators and escalators in 2015?
India is the second largest market in the world today with around 43,000 units. By 2016, the India market will be around 65,000 units. As of 2012 China is the world’s largest elevator market with sales of about 400,000 units per annum; India follows with 43,000 units, thus making it the second largest market in the world.
We have a tremendous potential with yearly growth rate in double digits. Sustained GDP growth and rapid urbanisation and the consequent boom in the realty and construction sector in India will fuel this growth. A significant part of Otis’ sales comes from India.
Otis India has been awarded the elevators and escalators contract for Hyderabad Metro Rail Project by L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Ltd. Can you tell us more about this largest single contract in the history of India’s elevator industry?
We have been awarded the elevators and escalators contract for Hyderabad Metro rail project by L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Ltd. Otis has been contracted to supply and install 670 units of elevators and escalators for the project. Of the total 670, there will be 260 units of Gen2 Premier elevators and 410 units of 520 NPE escalators installed in over 66 metro stations, workshops and other buildings at depots. Otis will also maintain the units for 10 years after the warranty period.
We are extremely delighted with the Hyderabad Metro Rail win. It is a project that is considered one of the top 100 strategic global infrastructure projects. This win affirms our position as a major vertical transportation supplier to metro systems worldwide. Our experience with the Taipei Metro System, Shanghai Metro Line 6, Singapore East-West metro line, Tianjin Subway, Beijing South Railway station etc. will all help in delivering the best solutions for this prestigious project.
Can you elaborate on green elevators in the Indian context?
There has been a latent demand for ‘green’ elevators in India for quite some time as more and more people are becoming environment conscious and are seeking to reduce their carbon footprint. The Gen2 Switch is up to 80 per cent more efficient than a conventional elevator.
Additionally, the Gen2 Switch will prove to be a boon in parts of the country which reel under excess power outages as it is battery operated. This makes the elevator safer, as there will be no passenger trap situation when the power trips. It’s also simpler as it uses 230 volts single phase power supply instead of conventional three phase 400 volts power supply, thus making it ‘plug & go’. Its environment-friendly design coupled with its compatibility with alternative energy sources like solar panels makes it truly sustainable.
How does Otis keep pace with changing technology?
Otis’ first innovation, the safety brake, brought the company to the fore. The spirit of innovation has driven Otis for the last 160 years, so the culture is there. Innovation requires diversity of thought, therefore being global is important. This allows you to have inputs of visions from different cultures, different parts of the world, different customers, and allows you to be more innovative.
To fuel the spirit of innovation we encourage feedback from both customers and employees regularly in both formal and informal ways. There are three things we are doing to improve the innovation at Otis: we are asking customers what they think is going to be important for the industry, five to 10 years out; once we define important areas where we want to invest in innovation and development, we have people around the world meet and discuss what we could do in those areas; and we’re also channeling the innovative nature of our employees through an internal webpage where individual employees and teams can come together to comment on new ideas and innovation.