"At Multicolor, We Celebrate Colors!”


Rajesh Gupta
If there's one virtue which places Mr. Rajesh Gupta, MD of Multicolor Steels India, above the rest, it's foresight. No wonder, he is one of the pioneers of steel roofings and claddings in India. In a freewheeling discussion with S.D. Khan, Mr. Gupta relives the experience and sheds light on how his brainchild, Multicolor Steels, has become a leading name in steel structures and acquired a monumental status over the years.

Multicolor Steels has over the years carved an unparalleled niche in the market through its premium offerings such as colored roofs. How has the journey been so far and what can we expect ahead?
Well, the journey has been very eventful because when we started our operations way back in 1993, we were selling color coated steels. And over the course of time, we have metamorphosed into the leading turnkey suppliers of roofing profiles in India. Multicolor, ever since the advent of Color Coated Steel sheets in India in early 90's, embarked on a mission to change the landscape of industrial estates with beautiful industrial buildings clad with colorful steel sheets. We started as an associate of Coated Steel manufacturers in 1994 and provided the sales & installation support to Shree Pre-coated Steels, later to Ispat Industries and then to Blue scope Steel. Then, in 1997, we tied up with Butler of USA, which has been a global leader in metal buildings. Initially, we became their Indian partners. With the passage of time, as our clientele expanded, we set up our manufacturing facility at IMT Manesar in Haryana in 2002. Gradually, by adding more products over a period, we developed a complete portfolio of Metal roofing Systems, Steel Decking, Insulated Panels, Prefabricated Cabins, Purlin sections, Ventilation Systems etc to offer complete range of Metal Building Products from one single source to fulfill all the needs of a project. Today, we are proud to say that we have pioneered the concept of complete steel solutions in India and our portfolio will continue to expand with time.

Earlier, when we thought of a factory or an office in India, the preconceived notion was shabbiness and suffocating environs. But the advent of metal applications has changed people's perception of workplace and no wonder everyone wants a 'good' factory environment. How would you like to assess this change in the mindset which has led to a maturing market?
Absolutely true, people want aesthetic and environment-friendly workplaces today. And Multicolor has played an instrumental role in this transition. Infact, back in the 80's, I used to look at buildings and think that why do they look so shabby and unappealing? Can't we initiate a revolution? And then we took upon the challenge of changing the whole concept of roofscapes and buildings. Now, two decades into our operations, we feel that the market has matured by leaps and bounds. Definitely, nothing would have been possible without inculcating the pros and cons of these products in people's minds. So, first we understood the product ourselves and then spread this knowledge at the macro-level. How the market has developed and expanded over the years is quite remarkable!


During the course of time, a lot of technological advancements have taken place in steel PEB and roofing. What's driving these upgradations, rising demand or time & cost consideration?
It's an amalgamation of both the factors. Demand is surely on the rise as the steel PEB sector is growing at a brisk rate of 25-30% per annum. Apart from the fact that steel PEBs and roofs save a lot of labor and time, it's the value for money which they provide is a major plus point. The life cycle costs of steel PEBs are quite economical and they are eco-friendly as well. Now we have reached a point when Designer PEBs will hit the market. And Multicolor lived up to its reputation by taking the lead in this vertical as well. We have now formed a separate entity by the name of MultiStar PEB which will dish out PEBs unheard of till now.

Metal roofs and claddings require skilled installations and, more often than not, Indian applicators rely on cultivated skill rather than acquired knowledge. Whereas in the western countries, you need to be a certified 'roofer' to carry out installations. In that context, how are you bridging this knowledge gap?
Well, I myself underwent both on-site and off-site training at Butler in the USA before passing on this knowledge to future applicators. This reaffirms the fact that we adhere strongly to the training requisites. Today, we have 500 trained applicators and 300 supervisors. It's an ongoing process and an integral component of our endeavors. Shortly, we will start a training centre near Manesar where 15 boys from various villages in the vicinity will be selected and provided training free-of-cost.

Multicolor's clientele is quite vast and ranges from PSUs to educational institutions. How do you tailor your approach with respect to each segment and what are the hurdles?
Throughout these years, Multicolor has gone to the clients rather than vice-versa. We have had a history of meeting clients and apprising them of the benefits of metal roofs and steel PEBs. We tell them that this is what your building looks like and this is how we can transform it. And this helps them in making informed decisions. Throughout our history of operations, we have served innumerable clients in a plethora of industries such as Steel, Power, Tires, Educational Institutions and PSUs to name a few. The approach is structured according to the requirements of each client. It takes some effort to convince them but in the end we are able to build fruitful relationships.

Steel PEB

A word about some notable projects of yours.
We have created a new record of installing roof sheeting of 24,232 sqmt in a month at Vizag Steel Plant. Also, the longest screw less roof sheet of 140 meters was installed at Honda CAR at Bhiwadi. We are also executing a project of similar magnitude at Neemrana in Rajasthan. The salient features of these projects are strategic planning and execution, skilled manpower, and timely completion. Our projects have won accolades all over. Impressed by our workmanship, leading names such as Tata Steel, L&T, SMCC, and Japanese companies have entrusted their faith in us, and we get repeat orders from these clients.

Industry experts lament that when it comes to steel structures, India lacks country-specific standards. How can this yawning gap be filled?
Well, there are India specific standards but they need to be updated. I am sure this will happen sooner rather than later.

Steel is very much in vogue in our country and no wonder the Indian steel PEB market is keeping up pace with the world. Nevertheless, steel PEBs haven't made much inroads in the residential segment. Why is it so and can we look forward to a change in this trend?
India is one of the most promising and growing markets for steel PEBs but majorly in the commercial segment. Why PEBs haven't found considerable takers in the residential segment is quite interesting and has got a lot to do with the mindset! As we all know, once a PEB is put in place, the owner cannot make changes and modifications to the structure time and again. On the contrary, conventionally built dwellings in India undergo periodical changes due to various reasons, for instance, before weddings, festivals etc. This is not possible with PEBs. Secondly, the cost of land is very high nowadays and people want to invest heavily in their residences on account of luxury, appeal and much more. Nobody wants a pre-planned structure to be affixed to his patch of land. However, with the advent of designer PEBs, we can expect a change in this trend. Builders and developers can play a major role in this.