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Building Trust, Breaking Boundaries

Can you share some key milestones and experiences that have shaped your professional journey in the
PEB sector?
I started my career in 2006 with Phenix Construction – A M&B Group and took charge as Head – HR and admin. The management was agile and allowed me to make a name for myself in the PEB industry and provided opportunities to excel in my capabilities on various assignments like manufacturing and project management as OSD and Head – Sales and Marketing.

There I witnessed the growth of an organisation from 29,000 MTPA to 72,000 MTPA as a key member of the team handling projects. We learnt the value of commitment to self, customer and ethics to do the business. I have been part of many projects during
16 years of association with Phenix – to name a few – GRSE, Renuka Sugar, Mazagaon Dock (MDL), RIL – Super Markets, various projects of Adani, as well as exposure to work with many EPC like – SMCC, Takinaka Minda to name a few.

Recently, I transitioned to Akurai PEB as an Executive Director.

What sets Akurai apart in the PEB industry? Are there any specific values or principles that define your company’s work?
Akurai, a young and energetic company, has the zeal to create a brand name in the industrial sector. I found they are very quick to decide and are risk takers, and have
a vision for the future in
infrastructure business.

If there is something new to be tried, Akurai has been at the forefront. We have a clear vision to increase its presence in the field with strong backward integration. Secondly, the core values are trust and teamwork. You can see the punch line for Akurai is ‘Building Trust’ which we fully believe in. One of Asia’s largest facilities for manufacturing French Fries (Client: Iscon Balaji) – we have delivered before the agreed timeline.

Can you highlight some of the most notable and challenging PEB projects that Akurai has been involved in? What made them stand out?
One such project was Asia’s largest French Fries manufacturing unit, named Iscon Balaji. There was a fire accident, and we received a stringent timeline to rebuild the project.
The project used 900 MT steel and Akurai completed and handed over the project in a mere two and a
half months. Another aspect of the company is that our parental company Kamla Amut has a core business of creating an industrial park. To enhance backward integration within our corporate structure, we established a Pre-Engineered Building (PEB) industry. Building on the foundation of PEB, we expanded our portfolio with the creation of Akuren MHE, a crane manufacturing facility. This strategic move is designed to provide our end clients with a comprehensive one-stop solution.

What are some key considerations while customising PEB solutions to meet the unique needs of clients from various industries?
Of course, different industries will have different parameters. Warehouses require agility due to critical timelines and costs. And, no matter the size of the project, we meet the timeline committed to the client. We are part of complex projects such as creating a locomotive shed for the Government, an ongoing project in Ahmedabad Airport, creating depots for Surat Smart City, and more. This in itself exemplifies our competency to complex projects with regularity compliance. The clients range from investors to Government agencies. So, every day something new is done. In addition to our engineering team in Hyderabad, we have set up a team in Ahmedabad which caters to all the requirements of the client.

Sustainability is a growing concern in construction. How is Akurai incorporating sustainable practices into its projects?
Incorporating sustainability into PEB is essential, and Akurai, is providing its expertise by way of design sustainability, adherence to specifications, and value engineering, with quality-driven products and the timeliness of deliverables.
In the three short years of Akurai’s inception, by integrating these practices into projects, we have
37 per cent of repeat clients.
The client is ready to pay more where they find compatibility and convenience to do the business.

What are the various challenges faced by the PEB industry?
Material availability is a challenge. Previously, PEB was used only for warehouse buildings, but now structurally complex buildings also opt for PEB. Naturally, various stakeholders such as EPC contractors, consultants, and PMCs also become involved in this, each with their own requirements. In such cases, MOQs can create a bottleneck due to the requirement and availability of certain grades. Aesthetics are key in a PEB project because it’ll be judged by the outer appearance; paint specifications play an important
role here.

How has technology transformed Akurai’s design and construction processes?
Technology plays a crucial role in ensuring that designs meet specified standards and regulations. We have 12 Tekla licenses which allow us to work out even the minute details. I am proud to say that we, at Akurai, do not need to rework the design due to a first-time right approach. Further, strict compliance to quality assurance, we are able to minimise errors throughout the life cycle of the project which Akurai not only believes but ensures.

How do you see the role of PEB construction evolving in the face of industrial development and infrastructure projects?
The industry is building for tomorrow. A growing market is seen in data centres, bridge girders and heavy structures. We are also aiming to enter this arena. The infrastructure being developed by the Government in road and rail will give opportunities to the warehouse sector to shape up their facilities. PEB will continue playing a significant role in the face of industrial development and infrastructure projects due to several advantages it offers, such as speed of construction, cost, customisation, and flexibility.

How do you see the scarcity of skilled workers in the industry?
We are working on setting up a training centre in the QC department. The workers stay on the premises, allowing us to train and nurture them. We have workers coming in from all over the country. We provide them incentives to provide recommendations and we train these new people in our process. We have set up a colony where in around 450 workers are residing with more to be added in coming years. There is a scarcity of skilled fitters, welders, plasma operators, and CNC operators, so, we are working to set up in-house training centre.

What is the company’s plan to be future-ready?
We plan to be a one-stop solution company in the field of infra sector focusing on steel, be it PEB, Heavy Structure, Bridge Girder or MHE.
In our future strategy to meet specific requirements and reinforce support for PEB, we plan to establish PUFF panel manufacturing, our own CTL Line, and manufacturing units for various bought-out products.
This initiative aligns with our commitment to strengthen our core business in the field of PEB.

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