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We are deeply committed to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, says Mahendra Singhi, MD & CEO, Dalmia Cement (Bharat)

We are deeply committed to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, says Mahendra Singhi, MD & CEO, Dalmia Cement (Bharat)

Digitization, IoT, Robotic process automation (RPA), Automation, Artificial Intelligence, data analytics are playing key roles in the manufacturing sector.  How has the implementation of these technologies helped your organization?
At Dalmia Cement we have been prioritizing investing in digital technologies to transform our business. We are constantly looking at avenues to leverage digital to enhance customer experience and to make our processes lean, efficient and smart. Till last year our focus was to build and enhance digital touchpoints that we have for our stakeholders – dealers, sales force, employees, influencers, etc, and as a result we have been able to move 90% of sales to these digital platforms. This year, the focus is to embed AI in our apps, for example how we help our dealers maximize the incentive programs and how we use algorithms to spot the opening of virtual depots which helps improve our serviceability. Apart from AI, we are constantly investing in enhancing our system of records by deploying state-of-art-platforms – we have implemented Ariba to automate our entire procure to pay and are implementing a Transport Management system. We have four digital workers (RPA) in our organization and using these bots we have been able to reduce the turnaround of our key customer-facing processes like credit limit updation, etc, by 80%. We are also making Dalmia a data driven organization and have invested in technologies like data lake and Datamart and our have rolled out corporate dashboards across various functions and levels. We are also piloting process mining in identifying bottlenecks that exist in processes so that they can be removed and more swift and lean processes can be drawn. Data analytics implementation has empowered us with valuable insights and predictive capabilities, enabling us to make data-driven decisions for process optimization and resource allocation. At the same time, AI is in the initial stages of adoption in the industry and it will start showing results in the coming years with real-world examples from manufacturing process in the core industry. Overall, these technologies are enhancing competitiveness, customer satisfaction, and sustainability in the manufacturing sector.

Supply chain is an integral part of the cement industry, from where a major chunk of revenue comes from. There is enough scope for innovation in the supply chain to plug sinking revenue if any. Over the years how have you transformed your supply chain management?
At Dalmia Cement, we recognize the critical role that the supply chain plays in our industry and the significant impact it has on our revenue. We have embarked on a transformative journey to innovate and optimize our supply chain management to mitigate any potential revenue challenges. Leveraging advanced technologies such as digitization and data analytics, we have achieved remarkable improvements in our supply chain operations. Through digitization we have achieved end-to-end visibility and transparency across our supply chain, enabling us to track and monitor inventory levels, transportation, and logistics in real-time. This has allowed us to streamline our operations, optimize inventory management, and reduce costs associated with stockouts or excess inventory. Additionally, we have collaborated closely with our suppliers and partners, implementing collaborative platforms and systems to streamline communication, share real-time data, and foster closer collaboration. This has resulted in improved supplier relationships, reduced lead times and enhanced overall supply chain coordination. Overall, our transformation efforts in supply chain management have led to increased efficiency, cost savings, enhanced customer satisfaction, and improved revenue generation. We continue to explore new technologies and innovative approaches to further optimize our supply chain, ensuring our competitiveness in the cement industry.

Coal is a depleting resource and a major source of greenhouse gas emission. What are the alternatives and innovations you have come up for manufacturing cement?
We have undertaken various initiatives to reduce our reliance on coal and shifted to alternative fuels to avoid and minimize greenhouse gas emissions from thermal energy use. We have embraced the usage of alternative fuels, such as biomass, industrial waste, and municipal solid waste. By substituting coal with these renewable and waste-derived fuels, we have significantly reduced our carbon footprint. These alternative fuels not only provide a greener energy source but also help in waste management and promote circular economy practices. Furthermore, we have actively invested in renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, to meet our electricity requirements. This shift to clean energy sources has reduced our reliance on fossil fuels and further mitigated greenhouse gas emissions associated with cement production. In terms of innovation, we have focused on developing and adopting new cement chemistry that minimize environmental impact. One such innovation is the use of blended cements, which combine traditional clinker with supplementary cementitious materials like fly ash, slag, or silica fume. Blended cements not only reduce the carbon intensity of cement production but also enhance durability and performance while reducing the use of natural minerals like limestone. Additionally, we are actively exploring carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technologies. These innovative solutions aim to capture carbon dioxide emissions from cement production and either utilize it in other industrial processes or store it underground to prevent its release into the atmosphere. Collaboration and partnerships are also integral to our approach. We actively engage with research institutions, industry peers, and government bodies to drive innovation, share best practices, and collectively work towards a greener and more sustainable cement manufacturing industry. By embracing these alternatives and innovations, we are dedicated to reducing our reliance on coal, mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, and striving towards a more sustainable future for cement manufacturing.

Cement production releases a huge amount of carbon dioxide responsible for environmental degradation. What are the various initiatives you have taken to reduce CO2 emission?
At Dalmia Cement, we are deeply committed to reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions associated with cement production. We have implemented several initiatives and integrated various technologies to mitigate our environmental impact and promote sustainability.

We have extensively incorporated alternative fuels like biomass, industrial waste, and municipal solid waste in our cement kilns. These fuels help in reducing the usage of fossil fuels like coal, resulting in lower CO2 emissions. Additionally, we utilize alternative raw materials, such as fly ash and slag, which have lower carbon footprints compared to traditional raw materials.

We produce and promote blended cement, which involves the use of supplementary cementitious materials like fly ash, slag, or silica fume. Blended cement requires less clinker, the primary source of CO2 emissions in cement production. This leads to a significant reduction in carbon emissions while maintaining the quality and performance of the cement. We have implemented various energy-efficient technologies and practices across our manufacturing facilities. This includes optimizing the process parameters, utilizing waste heat recovery systems, and implementing advanced control systems to reduce energy consumption and consequently lower CO2 emissions. We have embraced renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, to meet our electricity requirements. By utilizing clean energy sources, we reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and significantly decrease CO2 emissions associated with electricity generation. We have been adopting the Electric Heavy Duty trucks and deploying them in our raw material transportation to reduce fleet based GHG emissions.


We are actively exploring and investing in CCS and CCU technologies. These technologies aim to capture CO2 emissions from cement production and either store them underground (CCS) or utilize them in other industrial processes (CCU). These initiatives have the potential to achieve substantial CO2 emissions reductions in the cement industry. We actively collaborate with research institutions, industry partners, and government bodies to drive research and development efforts focused on low-carbon cement production. By sharing knowledge, best practices, and innovations, we collectively work towards advancing sustainable technologies and practices in the cement sector. Through these initiatives and technologies, we are dedicated to minimizing CO2 emissions throughout our cement manufacturing process. We continuously strive to lead the industry in sustainable practices and contribute to a greener and more environmentally responsible future.


With environmental degradation at an all-time low, the demand for ‘Green Cement’ has seen a surge. Which are the ‘Green Cement’ you have launched in the last two years?
Green cement would ultimately mean cement with zero carbon footprint. This option is currently not available through manufacturing alone due to technological or economical reasons for the adoption of the technology and passing on the price to the customers considering cement is the most economical manufactured commodity made in the world and serves the basic human need, such as shelter and resilient infrastructure, in the developing as well as emerging economies. For example, India has more than 60% of cement demand coming from the housing sector and it is very difficult to pass on the cost of deep decarbonisation to the consumer. Hence, a pragmatic approach, ie, clean and green is profitable and sustainable, has been considered as a business philosophy from our side as an investment decision. While we know that carbon-neutral cement will take some time to develop due to techno-economic constraints, it is always preferred to use low-carbon blended cement for a similar application. We have many blended cement brands and produce more than 80% blended cement.


What are your growth plans for your organisation for the next three years? Is there any plan for expansion, new plant, acquisition in the offing?
Dalmia Bharat has set an aim to increase its cement capacity to a range of 110-130 million tonnes (MnT) by 2031. To achieve this, the company has set an important interim milestone of reaching 75 MnT by FY27. By FY24, Dalmia Bharat expects its capacity to reach around 47 MnT. In addition to this, the Company has a vision to become a PAN-India cement player. In this respect, Dalmia Bharat made a notable acquisition of Murli assets in 2021, which allowed the company to enter the western region. The Company is also progressing on the ongoing plans to acquire Jaiprakash Associates’ cement assets of 9.4 MnTPA, which will provide a strong presence in the central region as well. Further, the Company has recently announced a cement capacity expansion of 2.4 MnT along with a 3.6 MnT clinker capacity in the North East region which is one of the highest-growing regions in the country with low per capita cement consumption and a high number of government infrastructure projects in the pipeline. The higher clinker capacity presents an opportunity to further add grinding capacity in the future to meet the rising demand in the region.


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