Stories

This entrepreneur is going green by making ozone-friendly insulated panels for coldstores

November 9, 2018

Company: Pioneer Coldstore and Cladding

Founders: S Vasudevan

Place: Villupuram, Tamil Nadu

Turnover: Rs 47.5 crore

In the early 2000s, S Vasudevan was supplying insulated panels and accessories for coldstores in Dubai. A coldstore is a refrigerated room or building to store goods at a low temperature and is typically located near import/export centers.

Vasudevan says he realised the market for insulated panels serving the coldstore and cladding (applying materials over one another for insulation) had great potential back in India.

“Back in Dubai, I was working for a company which supplied insulated panels to prestigious projects including the Dubai International Airport, Dubai and Sharjah Vegetable markets, Dubai Industrial City and more,” he recalls. “But I wanted to do something unique with the experience I had collected.”

Wanting to leverage his experience with coldstores, Vasudevan moved back to India in 2010 and launched Pioneer Coldstore and Cladding in Villupuram in Tamil Nadu.

Vasudevan says his business clocked a turnover of Rs 47.5 crore last year, and produces over 1,20,000 square metres of insulated panels per month. So far, he has invested over Rs 13 crore into the business, which now seeks to set up a new facility in North India to cater to customers from that region.

Excerpts from an interaction with SMBStory:

SMBStory: How did the company grow and diversify into different categories?

S Vasudevan: I conceptualised the company in 2008 and started constructing the factory in 2010. The factory is located in Industrial Estate, Tindivanam, Villupuram District, about 100 kilometres from Chennai. It is a state-of-the-art production facility with modern infrastructure and large production capacity.

The facility uses latest technology to manufacture the highest quality industrial panels in large quantities and on time. Because of this facility, we are able to manufacture products such as insulation panels, profiled composite panels, cam lock panels, insulated doors and refrigerated truck cabins. We supply to different sectors such as food and beverage, pharma, healthcare, chemicals and manufacturing.

SMBS: What were the key milestones in your journey?

SV: After establishing the company in 2010, we implemented a SAP system for transparency in our business. The year after that, we installed an automated production line at the facility and won an SME award from Dun and Bradstreet India.

Later, we implemented digital payment, order tracking, SMS services, QR codes and mobile app for our customers and sales and logistics departments. We consider all these to be our milestones. This year, we also launched ‘Pentene’, our new technology, which leaves no ozone deposits on production of our panels.

SMBS: How are you differentiating from the competition?

SV: There are seven to eight major players in the market, and we have around 15 percent of the market share. We are unique because of our fast delivery, customised solutions, large capacity, and regular payments to all vendors.

SMBS: What are your challenges in terms of sustaining and growing the business?

SV: The main challenges have been large geographical distances and high delivery costs for transporting products to northern regions in India. This is why we want to setup a facility in North India. Apart from this, any new player should always be aware of the changing market conditions and risks. As long as this happens and a company has quality products, it can succeed in this industry.

At the same time, we also expect the government to boost export promotions and keep a check on iron and steel prices.

(This story is published in partnership with the MSME Ministry to showcase success stories of SMEs)‍

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