The Finished Window
With the acquisition of Star Alubuild, our aim is to bring LIXIL’s international expertise in making windows to the Indian market and provide a wide variety of choice and best-in-class quality products with the right technology, finesse and comfort, says Sandeep Mathur, GM & Director, LIXIL Window Systems.
Please tell us about LIXIL Window Systems Private Ltd.
LIXIL has set up the new entity LIXIL Window Systems after acquiring 100% stake in DLF’s arm Star Alubuild. Under this new entity, we plan to service both retail and institutional projects in India. In line with the Government’s ‘Make in India’ vision, we will manufacture products for retail business locally in our Manesar facility, which will also cater to the market for premium homes and villas in India, which require customized products and short delivery timeframes. The projects’ business segment will import products from the Tostem Thai Co. Ltd. (TTC) facility in Thailand. This model will be best suited for large residential projects which require well engineered products, from a single source. This will also ensure last-mile quality since the windows are pre-engineered (supplied in a box), making assembly and installation at site quick and easy.
Our aim is to improve consumer experience by reducing the complex site work and expediting the speed of installation and ensure guarantee in terms of last-mile quality. Another benefit of mass manufacturing is that even the largest projects can be completed at great speed from a single source.
What are LIXIL’s manufacturing strengths?
LIXIL (Tostem) is one of the earliest companies in the world to start manufacture of windows in large volumes using industrial processes. The TTC in Bangkok is an integrated complex dedicated to manufacture of aluminum windows. Starting with product design to casting, extrusion, surface treatment, coating and window fabrication – all processes are carried out in-house. LIXIL has the second integrated window manufacturing complex in Vietnam, besides many other countries.
Our approach to window design is different from other manufacturers. Understanding the difficulties developers face in completion of large projects, the Tostem window is completely manufactured at the factory. Since the quantum of work to be done at site is much reduced, it becomes possible to work at high speed and yet achieve last-mile quality.
What are LIXIL’s plans for the Indian market?
By introducing our Japanese legacy to the Indian market, we are creating world-leading technology and constantly engaging in innovation to make high quality products that solve every day, real life challenges. Japan is the most advanced bathroom and home market, where the process of making end-to-end journey for the consumer has already been done.
In India, we wish to bring ground-breaking Japanese expertise into the market with an aim to transform end-to-end home solutions, making them easy, enjoyable and of true value for the consumer.
Our aim is to create a consumer-centric business with an understanding of the evolving needs of Indian customers and how LIXIL products will add value to their lifestyle. We plan to offer the entire gamut of solutions across segments in India. We will be manufacturing the finished window and not essentially follow the fabricator route. This will ensure consistency and reliability in terms of quality, which will be 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 to ensure returns.
How has the concept of fenestration evolved in India?
The needs of Indian consumers are evolving. Being a pioneer in the water and housing technology solutions, LIXIL continuously focuses on adapting existing technology and dovetailing it with local consumer preferences to cater to local as well as universal consumer needs. At the core of LIXIL’s design philosophy, is solving real life challenges with breakthrough Japanese technology and innovation. We focus on meaningful design with a concentric focus on innovation at our core.
The window today is much more than a safety and weather barrier. It provides real comfort to the customer against rain, water, dust, and noise. Being a structural element, it has to be safe against the higher wind pressure experienced in high-rise buildings, especially during the rainy season. Japan has cold and cyclonic climate and the windows are designed to protect inhabitants from air and water ingress.
Windows for long has been an artisan product. The common material was wood, which is reducing in popularity due to less availability and high cost. Metal and aluminum windows are becoming more popular due to their greater strength, finish and low maintenance. The manufacturing process, however, has remained suited to batch process and low volume production.
What business prospects does LIXIL see in India for its products?
“The current outlook of the industry is optimistic. The diversity of LIXIL’s business in India can be seen with its two power brands: Grohe and American Standard, and business units (LWT, LHT), which makes India a profitable market. Rapid urbanization, rise in disposable income, coupled with the government’s education programs on safe sanitation, are fueling demand for sanitaryware in India. Growth in the commercial segment is also likely to grow manifold in the near term, due to an upward growth trajectory of the hospitality sector in India.
In India, we wish to bring ground breaking Japanese expertise into the market with an aim to transform end-to-end home solutions, making them easy, enjoyable and of true value for the consumer. We plan to offer a full bundle of solutions to every segment of 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.