R K Steel Manufacturing Company Private Limited is a prominent manufacturer, wholesaler, and exporter of assured quality hot rolled tubes, black steel tubes, pre-galvanized tubes, and precision tubes based in Perundurai, Tamil Nadu. R K Steel makes continuous efforts to serve its customers in different market segments. Critical market analysis coupled with customer feedback has allowed R K Steel to expand its product range and the company is planning capacity expansion from present 15,000 TPM to 25,000 TPM by incorporation of additional five tube mills. In a recent interaction with Tube & Pipe India, Mr. Pramod Bhalotia, Managing Director, R K Steel Manufacturing Company Private Limited, shared the company’s overview, manufacturing capabilities, sectors catered, recent developments, and the company’s future plans. He also discussed many other topics such as current trends in the Indian tube and pipe industry.
Tube and Pipe India: Please tell us about your journey, major milestones, and crucial achievements.
Pramod Bhalotia: R K Steel is a family-owned business that strives to build relations and serve its customers with high quality products. Mr. Pramod Bhalotia, Managing Director, R K Steel Manufacturing Company, was a steel trader. He shifted to Chennai in 1984, where he worked in service for 2-3 years and then opened his own trading firm. With hard work and perseverance, I laid the foundation of a manufacturing company called R K Steel Manufacturing Company Private Limited in 2006. When the company started in 2009, we had a production capacity of 2000 TPM only. Gradually, the company progressed and opened another mill in 2017, in Perundurai, which is today at a production capacity of 15000 TPM. This facility is still in the expansion stage.
TPI: What is the manufacturing set-up and production capacity of your plant?
PB: Upon the establishment of our Perundurai facility in 2017, we initially operated with four tube mills. Subsequently, in 2019, we successfully introduced a cold galvanizing line into our operations. Building upon this progress, a year later, we integrated a cold rolling mill. Currently, we are in the stages of implementing an expansion initiative which entails the incorporation of an additional five tube mills.
These new facilities are projected to enhance our production capacity, from 15,000 to 25,000 tons. At present, our manufacturing capabilities encompass the production of CR, HR, GP/GI tubes. Furthermore, we are well-equipped to cater to the demands of the oil and gas industry.
“Today we are one of the leading manufacturers of pre-galvanized tubes, black tubes, and precision tubes with two total plant capacities of 2,50,000 MTPA.”
TPI: Could you shed some light on the product portfolio and major clientele?
PB: Our size range in precision pipes is 15mm -173 mm OD. In GI pipes, our sizes range from 0.5 inches to 6 inches OD. We cater to industries like the fire protection industry, furniture industry, automobile industry, hospital industry, transformer industry as well as the general fabrication industry. Moreover, we are also planning to venture into the gas industry. Our major clients include L&T, Adani, IOCL.
Today we are one of the leading manufacturers of pre-galvanized tubes, black tubes, and precision tubes with total plant capacities of 2,50,000 MTPA. R K Steel was able to expand its global presence to Sri Lanka, Bhutan, East African countries, and Bangladesh through its strong and widely spread distribution network, good customer relationships, high quality, and flexibility. Furthermore, with the changing times, we have also incorporated backward integration in our processes. Today we have a cold rolling tandem mill, coil galvanizing line, and state-of-the-art tube mills. Our high level of automation allows us to give high quality pipes and tubes that are suitable for projects and cater to stringent quality needs of the industry.
TPI: Tell us about your distribution network and its key features.
PB: Our distribution network is set in a way where we have one distributor present in each area. Sub-areas and villages have certain critical retailers that have been appointed by us. Our other USP is that our wholesale and retail networks are very streamlined and we ensure that our distribution network does not clash with their retail network. This allows not only RK Steel but our customers to grow with time. If any wholesaler is connected with us we make sure we do not approach his client. For retailers, we make sure our retailers are not buying from our wholesalers. As the two networks are not interlinked, people are happy with our company. All our employees see themselves as a team, and they take their work very seriously as a responsibility, which allows smooth running of our operations.
TPI: Have there been any recent developments at your company, if so kindly share them with us.
PB: Presently, we are trying to bring in bundling systems to facilitate convenient material storage. Additionally, we have successfully integrated backward integration strategies within our operational processes, obviating the need for meticulous management of various SKUs of tubes and pipes. Our uninterrupted raw material supply extends to a 24-hour cycle, leaving our primary focus directed toward optimizing our manufacturing capabilities.
TPI: What according to you are the factors behind the growth of the tubes and pipes industry in India?
PB: Speaking in terms of South India, infrastructure is developing greatly, for example, in the gas industry in the north, every house gets gas supply through pipelines but in the south, it is still very dependent on the cylinder system. So the growth in infrastructure in the north has to reach the south. So by 2030-35, the southern pipe industry will be thriving very well.
Secondly, in the north, there are many suppliers and the south has less suppliers because infrastructure growth has been stunted in the south. So as the infrastructure grows, the pipe industry will be thriving in South India by 2035. We believe that a company that can keep their services updated and supply their customers on a timely basis, customers are willing to pay them even a premium amount as they can rely on the company.
TPI: What are your vision and plans for your company’s future?
PB: We are trying to venture deeper into the northern market. We also have plans to evaluate both east and west regions to see which is a better expansion option. We aim to achieve faster delivery to the customers, where the products reach the customers within 48 hours. Our motive behind installing nearly ten tube mills was that for any order we receive, we can provide fast delivery to our customers. We are expecting this development to be completed by the end of the next calendar year.