GM Mukesh Sharma Tells GB About Şişecam’s Commitment to Quality, Innovation & Community Development
In this interview with GB, the Şişecam India General Manager sheds light on the company’s journey as a global player in the glass and chemicals industry.
Mr Sharma shares insights into Şişecam’s production capacity, investment plans, challenges in the Indian market, and their vision as a leader in the glass industry. Excerpts:
– Please tell us about Şişecam
Şişecam was founded in 1935 to establish the Turkish glass industry in line with the vision of the global leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Today, Şişecam is a strong global player in the fields of glass and chemicals. It is the only global company operating in all core areas of glass production – including flat glass, glassware, glass packaging, and glass fiber. Currently, Şişecam ranks among the world’s top two manufacturers of glassware and the top five producers of glass packaging and flat glass.
With 88 years of experience and more than 24,000 employees, Şişecam conducts production activities in 14 countries on four continents and operates a worldwide sales network extended to more than 150 countries.
The company takes responsibility for protecting the planet, empowering society, and transforming life with its CareforNext strategy, which is compliant with and centred around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
– What is Şişecam’s production capacity in India? Tell us more about your products and how you make them in the country.
Şişecam offers Indian consumers a variety of products from high-performance glasses to ultra-clear glass, from its production bases across the globe. In India, we have a manufacturing plant in Gujarat’s Halol, where we manufacture clear float glass, mirrors (in ultra-clear, bronze, and grey variants) and frosted glass. We have a per-month production capacity of around 18,000 metric tonnes for clear float glass, 200,000 square metres per month for mirrors and 500 metric tonnes for frosted glass.
Our Halol facility deploys the latest technology, automated processes, and quality control systems. We have stringent quality control norms.
Apart from continuous online inspection, glass output is manually checked every two hours based on all major functional and technical specifications.
We are committed to offering our customers the highest quality possible.
To accomplish this, we follow the EN standards for thickness, which have a lower tolerance when compared to IS standards and which are generally followed in the Indian market.
We also believe in an ecofriendly production approach while manufacturing mirrors. Şişecam Mirror Flotal E is produced without using any substances harmful to nature such as copper and lead.
– How is Şişecam’s investment appetite for the Indian market?
We have been actively investing in India over the past few years. Şişecam entered India as an investor in 2013 through a JV intending to meet Indian consumer requirements and understand the market better. As part of our investment strategies, we have built our state-of-the-art facility in Halol.
In 2018, Şişecam gained a 100% equity stake to grow faster. Since then, we have spent a lot of time and resources in understanding Indian customers and their preferences.
We have plans to make additional investments in the country in the pursuit of upgrading the existing float line through the cold repair process.
We are also constantly and thoroughly evaluating the opportunities to increase our product variety to better serve our customers in the region.
– What are the main challenges for Şişecam in the Indian market?
For starters, India has a unique culture and way of doing business that can be challenging. Building relationships and understanding local customs and region-specific norms is important for success in this market.
Additionally, the Indian market is highly competitive, with a large number of local and international players in competition. The Indian economy can be volatile and currency exchange rates can impact business operations. We believe in the government’s focus on easing the complex regulatory environment and improving overall infrastructure.
– How do you contribute to Indian exports with production based in the country?
As a global company with a strong presence in India, we contribute to Indian exports through our high-quality glass that meets global standards. Our products manufactured in India are exported to various countries.
A present, we export clear glass and mirrors to Sri Lanka, Qatar, and Nepal. We have also exported to New Zealand, the USA, and other Southeast Asian countries.
By leveraging the latest innovations and technologies in production facilities, Şişecam aims to strengthen its position as a key player in the global glass industry while increasing its contribution to India’s exports.
Additionally, we are actively collaborating with local suppliers and partners to enhance the value chain and support the growth of the Indian economy.
– What is Şişecam’s vision as a leader in the glass industry?
Our vision can be epitomized by the ‘think global, act local’ philosophy.
Şişecam’s vision as a leader in the glass industry is to continue to innovate and develop new products and solutions that meet the changing needs of its customers and the industry. We aim to strengthen our global leader position in the glass industry by focusing on sustainability, research and development and operational excellence.
As a leading flat glass producer, we are not just powered by a wide product range and production capacities, but also by a strong and long-term relationship-based approach with our business partners. We also aim to provide the right glass solutions for all parts of the value chain and decisionmakers.
When we say partnering with customers, we mean working together to generate demand, engage through transparent trade policies, increase the quality of the products and services we offer, and last but not least, maintain good relationships. In addition to product innovation, Şişecam is also committed to sustainability and responsible business practices.
– What do you think about the value-added glass/performance glass industry in India?
India has a rapidly growing appetite for value-added glass and performance glass products. Respective demand is driven by several factors, including the increasing focus on energy efficiency, the growth of the construction industry and the rising demand for high-quality building materials.
Also, the Indian government has recognised the importance of energyefficient buildings and has launched initiatives such as the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) and the Green Building Movement to promote sustainable building practices. These initiatives are expected to trigger the use of value-added and performance glass further by the construction industry. The focus on renewable energy is expected to boost the demand for solar glass.
Overall, the government’s focus on sustainable development and promotion of domestic manufacturing is expected to provide significant growth opportunities for the value added glass/performance glass space in India.
– Being a late entrant, how do you plan to keep up with other big glass players in India?
As a global glass manufacturer, Şişecam has significant expertise and experience in the industry. We leverage this and our network of manufacturing facilities and supply chain capabilities to compete with other players in the Indian market. Şişecam Flat Glass India keeps exploring opportunities for strategic partnerships and collaborations with local companies to optimize operations and increase efficiency.
We follow EN standards that are stricter compared to IS standards.
Moreover, the focus on continuous improvement of processes and operations enhances productivity while refining product quality. In line with our objective of covering current and future expectations of the market, our R&D policy focuses on highly innovative, environment-friendly, competitive products and production technologies, free from harmful compounds.
Our global R&D centre (Şişecam Research Development and Design Center) is one of the most advanced and among the leading research facilities of its kind in Europe. We also have 5 regional and 9 overseas labs. We invest up to 1% of our global turnover in R&D.
Overall, our product quality, innovations, differentiated service, demand generation activities for our channel partners and relationship driven engagement with them are what gives us an edge over other players.
– What do you think is Şişecam’s biggest brand strength or value proposition?
Şişecam is a diversified industrial group operating in a wide range of sectors. We believe that Şişecam’s biggest brand strength and value proposition lie in its long-standing expertise in glass production and its commitment to sustainability and efforts to create sustainable value for customers, employees, and other stakeholders.
Our products are widely recognized for their quality, durability and design, which have helped establish Şişecam as a leading brand in the global glass industry.
In addition, we are committed to sustainable development. We aim to reduce environmental impact through initiatives such as waste management programs, energy-efficient glass product development and renewable energy investments.
– What initiatives have you taken to ensure environment-friendly processes in manufacturing your products in India?
At Şişecam, we aim to leave future generations a livable planet. As mentioned previously, Şişecam Mirror Flotal E, produced at our Halol facility, does not contain materials toxic to nature like copper and lead. It is manufactured using the latest technology, automated processes, and quality control systems. At the global level, we have implemented many Six Sigma Projects to improve productivity and quality, reduce waste, etc.
We have made further investments to produce highly reflective solar control glass in India which can help improve the energy efficiency of a building, as it keeps solar heat out and reduces the need for air conditioning. It is perfectly suitable for tropical climates like India because its solar control properties provide a comfortable environment in any residential and commercial space by radiating and reflecting away a large proportion of the solar heat while allowing optimum sunlight to pass through a window. Also, the increase in natural lighting reduces the dependence on artificial lighting further enhancing its efficiency.
– Do you plan on having more regional offices in India?
We have offices in Mumbai, Delhi and Halol (Baroda) at present. We plan on expanding into the southern and eastern cities too. Currently, our sales team is operating across the country – from Ludhiana to Bangalore and from Ahmedabad to Kolkata.
– What are the CSR initiatives Şişecam conducts in India?
As part of our vision of improving the lives of the communities around which we operate, we have partnered with the Deepak Foundation for a host of initiatives.
Starting with developing the livelihoods of those dependent on agriculture and related activities, we train farmers in the best practices to develop and diversify high-value cash crops to generate income. We also offer vaccines for cattle and livestock.
The recent pandemic has put a spotlight on health and wellness. Our Mobile Health Units (MHUs) and the Anaemic Adolescent Girls Programme cater to the disadvantaged across villages. With the help of the Deepak Foundation, we have even encouraged women’s empowerment through self-help groups formed to improve Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM).
Last but not least, to pave the path to a brighter future, we are improving the educational infrastructure in places that need it the most.