Indian market has been traditionally site mixed concrete. Apart from its many disadvantage it also has a inheretent disadvantage of bad quality leading to leaks and cracks in the building, does not offer proper planning or scheduling of construction, scope for using lesser cement than required, creating a mess in the surroundings and ofcourse plenty of technical issues.
When I started taking the readymix concrete concept forward in the Bangalore market along with my team in mid 1996, it was an absolute uphill task as apart from being a new concept there was also a huge mafia of contractors, developers, and raw materials suppliers who felt threatened. We were literally shown the door every time we approached our prospective customers who were the big names in the construction industry. Almost for months, it was very frustrating for all of us.
One fine morning, in one of brain storming, it occurred to us that one of our colleagues relative is building a small house and wanted to know whether readymix concrete can be supplied for such small quantities and we made sure that not even the supplies were made on time but in fact we stood at site till late hours in the night. We decided to target this segment very aggressively and in no time it started paying rich dividends. That was 1996 and today in less than 10 years, readymix concrete is a full grown industry with turn over in excess of 700 crores per annum in Bangalore alone and it's a sellers market with very same developers, builders asking for an appointment who refused to see us couple of years back.
So what really CHANGED?
Once we realized that there is a segment which would appreciate the quality of readymix concrete and would not mind paying the extra money, provided it adds value to them. Imagine a situation, when you plan to do concreting of roof of your dream house 6 ó clock in the morning and by 9 ó clock the entire thing is over and you are at your office by 10 AM!. In the whole process, you are also assured of the quality of concrete as all technical knowledge is shared with you. This was sort of impossible with conventional readymix concrete.
However we also realized very quickly that to cater to this segment our entire approach should be different and a big CHANGE would be required the way CUSTOMER is treated and believe me this segment consist of very very demanding customers.
So what did we do?
Firstly, we made a strong team of engineering professionals who would visit these sites and would explain to the end users the benefits of readymix concrete. Our team would also help them technically to ascertain grade of concrete, quantity of concrete required, no. of labours and masons required on the day of concrete, type of curing etc. Customer saw this approach as a total package to their requirements. The next task was to remain in touch with customer till the day of concreting ,as there could be a likelihood of vested interests changing his mind. Then comes the day of concreting and this was the most crucial aspects as the delivery has to be made on time and it should be delivered in such a manner that it is in tandem with customers requirements. After the pouring is over, concrete cubes where collected for it's testing for 28 days and the testing is done in the presence of the customers so that he is fully convinced about the strength of concrete. All this required lot of commitment from the entire team and the only way to make it happen was to have the commitment from the top most level. We worked on 24 hours, 7 days for 365 days and were available to our customers round the clock.
So finally Bangalore changed from typical site mixed concrete to RMC in a big way and the concept is a house hold name today with a growth which is unstoppable for years to come.
Moral of the story
Any change is possible, if it is well intended and is for the good of the society in general. To execute the change, one must have a good team around, with common belief and vision. One should also lead from the front and should have the resilience to over come difficulties and the courage to stay on.