“Strengthening on Local, Focusing International Markets” Part II

Providing exhaustive details about company’s product basket, projects and candidly believing in ‘Strengthening on Local’, Ms. Kshama Jain, Managing Director, Kehems Technologies, responding in an email interaction with Gopal Anand from Cooling India, asserts her focus on being most trustworthy service provider nationally and globally, in coming times.

Post pandemic, what prospects and market scenario do you envision for HVACR industry nationally and globally, as everything has gone virtual including events and conferences, many postponed? Also, revival prospects seem distant, since new virus strain has hit countries globally, once again extending restrictions and lockdowns?

Change is only constant scenario in life, whether its business, environment, professional aspects or personal life. This new situation has given birth to a concept called “New Normal”.

Business situation across industry, both globally and locally, has undergone a lot of change and resulted into a generation of demand of being more proactive and handling all customer enquiries, queries, complains or concerns with empathy and shortest possible turnaround time. During initial stages of COVID, we have shipped around 30 full load containers to one of the biggest South Korean Health Facility and the change we have noticed here is that system of export was functioning with utmost care and also sense of urgency citing human aspect in business.

Most challenging outcome of COVID is cash flow scenario across the industry, but we hope that with time, it will also get back to normal.

About going ‘Virtual’ is again a new normal, we have to understand the situation, analyse it, accept it and follow the precautions. The ‘new strain’ certainly delayed the revival aspect, but the best part is – that it is not denied and soon after effective vaccinations, the revival shall be at place in six months down the line hopefully. We feel that new lockdown will not be imposed, as people are aware about the consequences of ignorance and self- awareness has to be there to face adversities of possible restrictions. It’s not only anymore a management jargon but reality that ‘Tough Time never lasts but tough People (System) do!’

The manufacturing activities came to almost halt and economy was hit hard due to pandemic caused by Covid-19. Do you observe any recovery momentum in the new normal period with different set of norms for functioning?

Kehems started the manufacturing activities amidst COVID lockdown from April 2020, with a need to stand strong with demands of healthcare segment. Our activities of manufacturing had initiated with special approval from government authorities to maintain the supply chain of heating and cooling equipment.

We had incorporated strict measures of social distancing and all other regulations to be followed.

Yes, the flow of order is not as per previous trends, but an increase in hospital, hospitality and healthcare segment has been analysed. It will not be fair, if we say there is no recovery, but in reality, there is slow but steady recovery across the segments. This tough time also shall pass soon.

Our White Labelling segment has experienced good kick-off during COVID lockdown and we firmly believe that though this situation might take another few years for getting away from Covid or its new ‘strain threats’, but the industry will come back rolling-in next two or three quarters maximum.

Where are your manufacturing facilities located and could you please expand about functional aspects like capacity utilisation, R&D activities and cutting edge technology involved.

Before, drive of ‘Rural Development and Woman Empowerment’ in Industry drew Central Government attention, right in late 1980’s or precisely in 1987, Kehems was born with an emphasis on rural development. The Factory of Kehems is located 12th Mile Stone from Indore on Khandwa Road. Nearly 70% employable manpower has been employed by Kehems. Even the shop floor has the woman man power working in various departments.

Competency development is most important and valuable contribution of Kehems, and most specifically,  the vision, which our Founder Chairman presented and pursued. The most significant aspect or contribution from Kehems towards nation and Industry is the aspect of development of local manpower and competencies – taking products globally, in not only acceptable manner but also most acclaimed in terms of quality and performance.

Kehems has the AHRI Certified Test Lab for screw chillers, for which we have recently received an appreciation certificate from AHRI. We are the only company in India who can show the Test of Brine Chiller on Brine. Testing facility of Kehems is also equipped with positive and negative temperature Thermal Storage System used for simulation of actual ambient temperatures for testing of the units for clients.

Kehems is always appreciated and acknowledged as pioneer in heat pumps, screw chillers, scroll chillers and thermal storage system. This can happen only by giving the respect to demands from market and having competent solution delivery to them. This can happen only due to stable and strong product development and R&D Team.

When we talk about cutting edge or latest development, if needed to be emphasized, then we have just launched second generation spray type flooded evaporators, which are ahead by two generations than its fellow competition.

In short, a stable combination of modern manufacturing system, advanced test labs and effective R & D has been in the DNA of Kehems, since inception of the services to nation and industry by us.

What challenges and growth opportunities are impacting the HVACR industry as a whole and what factors do you perceive will drive market growth in the Indian market? 

Though central government and many state governments are emphasizing on Make-in-India, we have seen however, the lack of implementation of same for CPWD or PWD projects, thus we wish to request from your platform, that unless and until you check the capabilities of Indian companies, how can Indian companies are going to be accepted and will be put on growth path in government projects.

From point of view of growth, we feel that there are immense opportunities of growth in healthcare, infrastructure, data centres and hospitality segment. The factors which will be driving growth are: In- house service capability quotient, value for money, delivery, turnaround time, product quality and tailor made product solutions. From the point of view of retrofit segment, we sincerely feel that in-house ability of doing audit and delivering solutions to client are two major driving factors of the growth.

Indian market has seen tough time and a major impact on GDP during last one year, and measures put forth by government like, building infrastructure, strengthening healthcare Segment  are certainly going to be major driving factors of the growth, provided that Make-in-India will be implemented in reality.

Do you foresee any new trends for HVAC systems and technologies shaping the future of market?

Energy efficiency and energy finance business is poised to take the centre stage in coming days, and concerns towards having reduced CAPEX and OPEX will be another dimension of the industry.

In terms of the products, we anticipate that chillers will again be taking centre stage against VRF/VRV due to OPEX and durability of the system along with low dependability on OEM for expensive electronic spare parts. Chillers have started replacing VRF in many retrofit jobs due to life expectancy of central plants and also easiness to service and maintain them. Ultra-modern controls and technology in Chillers have proved to be motivating factor for Chillers Industry.

Also, most importantly, the segment of space heating and water heating is picking up in great manner and today market is only 2% of its actual demands. Kehems enjoys great advantage of being pioneer and having the biggest range with tagging of most credible brand and product.

What are your future plans in the next three years and what new strategies you intend to adopt for your company?

Future strategy of brand Kehems is very much answered in your first question. That is Kehems is focusing on international markets or in other words, we are following being Vocal about going Global and “Strengthening on Local” as a modified statement.

Kehems has taken a big step of establishing itself as White Labelling solutions provider, and as on today, we have been providing the solutions of four brands, and our plans are giving a supporting hand to MNC brands and Indian Brands by giving them White Labelled Product on their own brand.

Most important plan of Kehems for coming three years is – focusing on being most trustworthy service provider nationally and globally.

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