Ravin Mirchandani, Cryolor Asia Pacific Managing Director, enthuses, “Cryolor’s love affair with India dates back more than two decades – longer than any other cryogenic tank manufacturer.”
He says that Cryolor tanks imported into India were quickly associated with Honda’s early slogan, ‘Fill it, shut it, forget it’ thanks to the long-lasting vacuum and stainless construction that has since become the industry standard.
Since 1994 Cryolor has served the Indian market from its commercial office in Singapore and through an exclusive partnership with a local representative, Nayan Pandya. After more than 20 years as India’s leading imported tank, Cryolor decided to build a state-of-the art, purpose-built cryogenic tank facility in the city of Chennai, south India. Cryolor Asia Pacific Ltd. is a wholly-owned foreign entity and 100% Cryolor subsidiary.
Commissioned in October 2010, Cryolor Asia Pacific phase one will produce a wide range of cryogenic storage tanks, as well as repair and refurbishment. Built in two phases, Cryolor Asia Pacific will boast a 10-acre (40,000m2) production site and over 15,000m2 (165,000 sq ft) of covered production space.
The second phase of expansion will include an additional plant to manufacture the complementary product lines for which Cryolor is so well known.
Developing local capabilities
Mirchandani joined Cryolor in 2007 to build Cryolor Asia Pacific and develop local capabilities.
“My team at CAP consists of local management that is responsible for daily activities and a dedicated project support team that is responsible for technology transfer and operations development support,” Mirchandani explains.
“We have tapped some of the best technology transfer resources in Cryolor to support our growth in India.”
Based in France, the project support team spends significant time supporting Cryolor Asia Pacific. The subsidiary’s local organisation is similar to most foreign companies in India with a “young, smart staff keen to develop their career.”
Most of Cryolor Asia Pacific’s employees are less than 40 years old and have been at Cryolor for less than two years.
“The strength of Cryolor Asia Pacific’s organisation lies in the development of our local team thanks to the breadth of experience made available to the local staff and their determination to develop specific capabilities to grow with us,” affirmed Mirchandani.
Reaching out to emerging markets
Mirchandani says that Cryolor Asia Pacific’s goal is to be a leading manufacturer of quality cryogenic equipment and services.
“Cryolor sees India as a very attractive area to set-up a manufacturing base to supply the rapidly growing emerging markets in the region,” he says. “With India’s gas industry expanding at a rate close to 10% per year, today it’s difficult for even domestic tank production to satisfy domestic demand.”
In addition to providing a strong foundation for growth in India, 50% of Cryolor Asia Pacific’s output will be exported to South East Asia and the Middle East. Cryolor Asia Pacific’s local presence and capabilities will allow Cryolor to capture a large portion of this growth. Mirchandani tells us that Cryolor Asia Pacific expects to more than triple the current number of tanks Cryolor supplies into the combined region of South and Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
Competition in this part of the world is continually evolving and the concentration of cryogenic equipment suppliers is certainly higher here than anywhere else in the world.
“Businesses have to adapt in order to survive, and differentiation is critical,” Mirchandani explains. “Our customers tell us what differentiates Cryolor is the quality and reliability of our tanks, which translates directly into lower total cost of ownership, time and money saved, and no worries.”
To reach its goals, Cryolor Asia Pacific proposes products that offer a competitive advantage to its customers that set industry standards for quality, service, and value. A good example of competitive advantage is illustrated by such innovative features as Cryolor’s exclusive one crane lift, transport cradles and lifting lugs in stainless steel, all of which contribute to savings and the lowering of overall lifetime costs.
Cryolor believes that consistent quality and enhanced safety at a competitive price have been the key reasons for its success. At Cryolor Asia Pacific, Cryolor will use the same designs, materials and high quality manufacturing standards and techniques as the Cryolor plant in France.
To summarise, Mirchandani insists, “We must provide the same superior quality from Cryolor Asia Pacific.”
Focus on safety & quality
As the major gas companies move into the emerging markets, they bring with them an increased focus on quality, safety and efficiency, which in turn spills over to the tank manufacturing industry.
With this trend likely to continue, and although Cryolor’s customers have many supply options in Asia and even in India, Mirchandani remains confident that the industry will continue to demand world class quality.
“Safety has always been one of Cryolor’s core values – both in the design and operation of our products and of course in our own manufacturing facilities. From the beginning, the importance of safety, quality and efficiency are engineered into Cryolor products. Cryolor was the first company to use a full stainless steel construction – including valves and piping, as standard,” Mirchandani says.
“When it comes to quality, customers should ask themselves ‘Are the products delivered meeting my expectations? Do our suppliers require consistent follow up, audits and visits to ensure quality? Are our products delivered on time?” he says.
“In the end our customers will continue to support us only if we meet their expectations in particular in terms of quality and safety at a competitive price.”
“Being at the heart of the emerging markets, our customers, like us at Cryolor Asia Pacific, are working relentlessly just to keep pace with the market. If we can help make life easier for our customers and allow them to sleep at night knowing that their installations are safe and reliable, growth in India and the greater region will come naturally.”
Sustained activities in Europe
Mirchandani says that because of the sheer size of the European market, “as a market leader, Cryolor continues to invest in substantial development programmes to optimise our product lines in Europe. Cryolor is very well positioned to continue to meet those needs for many years to come,” Mirchandani insisted.
To conclude, Mirchandani suggests that customer confidence is ‘built in’ to Cryolor’s products – and with over 90% of Cryolor’s business coming from repeat customers, it seems that many in the industry would agree.