What new in management the pandemic has taught you which you have implemented in your organisation?
The Pandemic has taught a lot of good things both at personnel and professional level. At the personal level, the pandemic taught us the importance of hygiene and self-discipline. At the professional level, we learnt the importance of social distancing to keep the Pandemic at bay. With travel restriction in place, we at Wonder Cement, held most of our meetings through video conference, which not only helped us follow the Covid-19 guidelines but also reduced travel time and cost. The meetings start with a clear agenda on time and ended on a positive note on time. We encouraged our officers to work from home.
During the Pandemic, we took care of our employees’ health. Special medical care camps were organised for our employees through video conferencing. Business continuity meeting with Senior leadership team use to happen on daily basis to understand criticality of Covid cases.
At our factory, entry was restricted to outsiders. Those workers who were required for factory operations were allowed after checking temperature with temperature scanner. We followed all the Covid-19 guidelines like mandatory wearing of masks, sanitising hands and wearing gloves. We strictly maintained and ensured high level of hygiene at our workplaces. These are some of the protocols we followed during the Pandemic that helped us to be free from Covid-19 positive cases in our plants.
Economists opine a ‘V’ shape recovery is on card. Taking this into consideration with pandemic restriction still in force, what are the operational strategies you would be adopting?
In some places the restrictions are still there. But there is demand for cement and Steel. Government is pushing very hard for the infrastructure projects. There looks to be overall growth in coming days. Keeping this in mind, we, at Wonder Cement, have taken step to expand the existing capacity of our plant. We are setting up a brownfield plant at Nimbahera and further, have plans to set up new grinding units.
On the operational front, improving working capital is very important. It largely depends upon how quickly the economy is going to revive. As of now, we are working on a strict working capital, with more focus on inventory control. We are ensuring raw materials & fuel for our plants are available on time so that plants operations are not held up and it also does affect our working capital. We have also introduced stricter pay time and collection. These are a few strategies we have implemented on the operational front.
To save the planet from further environmental degradation, Cement manufacturers are keen to shift to renewables sources of energy. What are the initiatives you are taking on this front?
We are very much concern about the environmental degradation. We, at Wonder Cement, have left no stone unturned to save the plant from further degradation. Like other cement manufacturers, we are also using industrial wastes as alternative raw materials, as well as alternative fuels. We have ambitious plan to substitute 20 percent of fuel by Alternate fuel in coming years. In this current financial year, we have capex to increase AFR consumption for which work has already started. Currently, we are using wind and solar as the renewable source for our plants. We have set up waste heat recovery systems in our plants to convert the heat generated from cement kilns to power. The new unit which is expected to commission during middle of next year is with WHRS. Our Existing and new plants are of latest Technology with lower power and heat consumption. There is strict control over fugitive dust and stack emissions. Lot of thrust is being given on greenery in the plant as well as in the surroundings.
There is a pragmatic shift towards better utilization of technologies (IoT, AI, Industry 4.0) during the Pandemic. How have these technologies and innovations helped the company to plug sinking revenue if any, especially in supply chain?
We are fully aligning with Industry 4.0. At our manufacturing sites, across the plants we have installed surveillance cameras and auto plant system to improve efficiency. In our plants, we have installed modern maintenance technology which gives alerts to maintenance operators, so that they can take corrective actions. As far as logistics is concern, IoT based solution has been deployed to automate the In-Plant Logistics operations, wherein the end-to-end process has been made completely man-less & paper-less, even, when the vehicle is out from plant for shipment, the complete tracking is done through GPS system, & real time visibility is also given to customers/partner for their shipments. To take this to next level, we are also working on AI/ML models to automate the order allocation to packing plant. Drone technology based solution for Quantitative analysis of Mines material & other stock piles in plant IoT based solution for environment monitoring in and around our plants. We have developed an App to get feedback from our dealers and business partners regarding transactions and the receipt of cement in their warehouses. All these informations are available to us through this App and we take necessary strategic decisions based on the information provided.
In India Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology is still in its emerging stage. What are the initiatives you have taken to reduce CO2 emission right from the manufacturing stage?
We have aligned ourselves to minimize the impact of CO2 emission on environment. We have taken lot of initiatives to minimise Carbon emissions such as reducing clinker factor per tonne of cement produced. Roughly about 950-960 kg of CO2 is emitted per tonne of Ordinary Portland Cement is produced. When we are producing PPC, the CO2 emission is about 550- 600 kg per tonne of cement. To further reduce CO2 emission at our plants, we have alternate source of power, such as waste heat recovery system, solar and wind. These are a few steps we are taking to reduce CO2 emission from our manufacturing site. As far as CCS is concerned, it would be the next step.
In past few couple of years, cement manufacture are on a spree investing and installing waste heat recovery systems (WHRS). Please share with us your investment plans and commissioned WHRS?
All our clinkerization units at Nimbahera are with WHRS and generating approximately 30 MW power. The fourth plant which is going to be commissioned in the mid of 2022, will generate additional 12MW power from WHRS.We have plans to set up two more integrated units and these units will also come up with waste heat recovery system. In future waste heat recovery system will be part and parcel of our plants.
Lastly, is there any plan for plant & market expansion, new plant, acquisition in the offing? Are you planning to bring more green cements in the market?
In the last two to three years, we have expanded our market share. Rajasthan being our core market we are leaders over there. We have operating units in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana. We have zeroed on these states, including Rajasthan to further expand our market share. We are focussing on increasing our market share by introducing new products which we are working on. Our green-base plant, (clinkerization plant) is under execution and is expected to be commissioned in another six to eight months. We have plans to set up grinding units to consume new line clinkers. These grinding units are on fast track. We will start the work after receiving all the approvals from the government.