~By SHUBHAM RAI

JSL Lifestyle Limited (JSLL), a subsidiary of Jindal Stainless (Hisar) Limited, creates spaces using stainless steel as the core ingredient, be it a modular kitchen, in kitchenware, in home and footprint office accessories to cooking utensils. With a product portfolio that straddles the spectrum from uber premium to everyday use, the company is looking to expand capacities and invest in newer technologies to evolve the brand and to offer future-forward solutions to its clientele, Mandeep Singh, Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director, JSLL, tells Steel360. Singh has an experience of over 28 years in providing strategic direction and disruptive business models to leading brands in India and overseas.

Q. How has the journey been like for JSL Lifestyle (JSLL) over the last couple of years in terms of performance and market share?

JSL Lifestyle is a pioneer in stainless steel products, and has evolved as an industry leader over time. Contributing to various businesses, the brand has developed new products and is venturing into diverse segments, including Indian Railways (IR), Metro Rail coaches, infrastructure industry and other retail products. JSLL has worked relentlessly towards achieving excellence in its field and has grown from a INR 150-crore business in financial year (FY) 2015-16 to INR 450 crore in FY2018-19.

The company is expanding across the country and currently has a 10-15% market share in railway stainless steel components.

Q. Walk us through your product portfolio.

JSL Lifestyle offers a wide range of products in both B2C and B2B segments through its different verticals which include JSLL Mobility, JSLL Infra, JSLL Plumbing, JSLL Value Engineering, Arttdinox and ARC.

The company has a comprehensive product portfolio that ranges from retention tanks, coaches, chaises, benches for Railways and Metro Rail to cladding, dustbins and bus shelters. We also provide solutions ranging from toilet and sanitation to pipes and fittings to customised stainless steel products and components for our various partners in retail that range from tableware, home décor, bespoke kitchens, vanities and wardrobes.

Q. Please trace the history of the company. It also has a strong presence in the lifestyle space…

Established in 1970 by steel visionary O.P. Jindal, the Jindal Group has a presence across 50-plus countries, with a global footprint, and is positioned as among the top five business conglomerates in India.

Led by Deepikaa Jindal, JSL Lifestyle (JSLL) is a subsidiary of Jindal Stainless Ltd (JSL), founded 15 years ago and is dedicated to manufacturing ?nished products of stainless steel.

With state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities, JSLL delivers scale, quality and finish of global repute. It provides strategic leadership in scaling up business verticals that include home ware and home spaces, stainless steel plumbing solutions, mobility projects, value engineering solutions (OEM solution) and infrastructure projects.

JSLL essentially caters to the lifestyle segment with its niche brand Arttdinox. The brand provides its clients with finished products of stainless steel. It is committed to creating an ‘aspirational stainless steel culture’ in India in both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) domains. JSLL strives to bring ‘richer life experiences’ by infusing modern functionalities and designs in stainless steel by curating new concepts and matching pace with the latest trends.

Q. Tell us about the procurement of raw material and what are key markets for JSL Lifestyle?

JSL Lifestyle is passionate about maintaining its standards and producing quality products. Thus, the raw material sourced for the products is of high-quality and is procured from its parent company, Jindal Stainless Steel Ltd. Serving the industry for 15 years, Jindal Stainless Steel Ltd is known for producing premium quality products and hence has maintained its position at the top ever since its inception.

Q. Tell us about your company’s manufacturing facilities. Where are they located and their production capacity?

JSL Lifestyle’s manufacturing is backed by three plants located in Pathredi, Rohad and Chennai. These state-of-the-art plants are well equipped with cutting-edge manufacturing and fabrication technologies of global repute and certi?cation for optimum utilisation of resources through cost-effective methods. The facility in Pathredi is spread over a covered area of 30,351 square metres, with a fabrication capacity of 5,000 tonnes (MT) per annum. The plant in Chennai is spread over 8,093 square metres, while the Rohad unit spans 20,234 square metres.

Q. Do you have expansion plans for your existing facilities? If yes, then what will be the estimated investments and how will these be funded?

JSL Lifestyle is a brand with a vision and strives to grow exponentially. Following this ideology, we are further planning to increase the production capacities across all plants and businesses (ranging from railways to kitchen and retail) along with introducing more OEMs and investing in new technologies to evolve the brand and to offer future-forward solutions to our clientele.

We plan to fund our expansion from internal accruals and from potential strategic tie-ups which are currently in progress.

Q. How has been the performance of the stainless steel industry over the past few years? What would be the demand/consumption scenario like in the coming years?

The stainless steel industry has been growing and is a key contributor to the growth of the country’s economy. The graph of India’s per capita consumption of stainless steel is reaching new heights with the latest figures touching a new high of 2.5 kg in 2019 against 1.2 kg in 2010; thus registering a 100% growth in a span of eight years.

Statistics further indicate that the demand of stainless steel is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6-7%, which again, is one of the highest in the world.

Q. How viable is stainless steel as a construction material?

Stainless steel is a viable construction material because of various characteristics. One of which is its higher strength-to-weight ratio. Stainless steel, as compared to other metals, is more durable and has increased endurance. It is also called a green metal since it is environment-friendly apart from having a value-added quality of aesthetics. All these factors make stainless steel a viable material with no maintenance costs and a better life-cycle compared to other metals.

Q. Is JSLL looking to enter any other areas of business or does it have any acquisition plans?

­We are planning to increase our OEMs, invest in new technologies such as larger-sized stainless steel components for Metro coaches and add more capacities for Indian Railways and increase kitchen production capacities. In doing so, we aim to step up the game for our competitors while claiming our space as the industry leader in stainless steel.

Further, we are now planning to invest in new-age technology that would help us become tech-savvy, offering future-forward services and products.

Q. What are the major challenges in the Indian stainless steel industry market?

Steel is a cyclical commodity and reflects the overall market conditions. Demand increases during an economic boom and plummets during a slump.

Currently, the major challenge is continuous dumping of subsidised stainless steel products at irrational prices, which is adversely impacting the domestic market. While the onslaught of imports has squeezed profitability of big producers, the dumping has led several small producers to idle their capacities, turning them from producers into traders. This further raises the need for the government to increase the anti-dumping duty to protect the domestic market, in a bid to further push the ‘Make in India’ mission.

Thus, a level playing field for the bigger and smaller players is required to increase the manufacturing capacity of stainless steel players.

Q. We believe JSLL has a dedicated unit catering to the needs of Indian Railways. Tell us about JSLL’s association with IR and other government stakeholders?

JSLL has been associated with Indian Railways for more than a decade now and has been actively manufacturing various products for it, such as retention tanks, modular toilets, seats and benches. Recently, the brand has set up a dedicated manufacturing plant in Chennai with state-of-the-art technology to cater to the need for rail coaches. The brand also supplies sidewalls, roofs and under-frames for passenger coaches from this factory.

Q. What is JSLL is doing to increase awareness and demand of stainless steel products in India?

JSLL understands the need to create awareness and thus has been conducting seminars, conclaves and brand-awareness programmes through digital marketing. Targeting the right audience, the company is further educating and interacting with people at a personal level as it addresses their concerns in reference to stainless steel.