Kone Elevator India – Why Do You Lift Me Up?
We learn how KONE is offering India global standards with a distinctively Indian twist.
As a global leader in the industry, KONE provides world-class elevators, escalators, and solutions for maintenance and modernisation, adding value to the life cycle of any building. KONE’s mission is to make the best of the world’s cities, buildings and public spaces.
“We are the leading elevator company in the world with close to 60,000 employees globally and over 5,000 employees in India alone,” explains Amit Gossain, the Managing Director of KONE Elevator India. “We have factories, the latest technology and offices across India.”
Across India, KONE has been providing excellent service coupled with innovative design to support the local construction industry even during difficult political and economic times.
“Our unique selling point is our service,” Gossain says. “We provide the service ourselves. Our customers are in construction, so they value that support. We are also one of the most innovative companies in the world, and the only elevator company that has made it to the Forbes list of 100 most innovative companies in the world, not once but eight times. Our innovation focus is very, very high.”
The economy has been tough for all Indian businesses lately, and KONE is no exception, but through high levels of service and innovation they are able to succeed and take their customers with them.
“The big challenge we face in India is probably in the various political and economic challenges that occurred here,” Gossain admits. “We were faced with demonetisation; introduction of GST and we’ve had regulatory issues. The market has become challenging in the short term, though these are good measures for the medium to long term. But what we did to counter the short-term challenge was to introduce new products to the market.”
Global Innovation, Indian Inspiration
Responding to this market slowdown has led to some fascinating and inspirational new products from KONE.
“Our products are very much taken from global designs but brought into the Indian market from an Indian perspective. We look at things from an Indian perspective, using global designs but locally made with local solutions,” Gossain explains. “It’s a strategy that’s coming out of the kind of slowdown in the market we’ve seen.”
These new products take inspiration from a range of places. One source of inspiration is the “Vaastu Shastra” or “Science of Architecture”, a traditional Indian system of architecture that describes principles of design, layout, measurements, ground preparation, space arrangement, and spatial geometry.
“It’s very important when buying a house in India to pay attention to the positioning of architecture, and our buildings are built on that science of architecture,” Gossain says. “We took the elements of that relating to which direction the elevator should be installed to bring positivity and so on, and we put it into our design so people could relate the building to the Vaastu concept.”
Another aesthetic that KONE has drawn from, is the Navaratna, or “Nine Gems”.
“We designed elevators based around this style with striking visuals inspired by Navaratna, the nine gems,” Gossain says. “It’s got a lot of very Indian design features, combined with designs coming in from the global company as well.”
This mingling of aesthetics and cultures is in response to what the market demands.
“We have had a lot of surveys from Indian companies saying what they need from an Indian perspective and what adds value to their buildings,” Gossain says. “It’s something we pay attention to so that we add value to buildings, giving people what they need. We’ve been in India for 35 years now and it’s important we understand the needs of the Indian market.”
Powered by People
But that innovation does not happen in a vacuum, and KONE is constantly working to recruit and invest in the talent that makes it a reality.
“We’ve kept investing, innovating, and training people. We’ve had challenges in the market, but we are addressing those challenges through investments,” Gossain points out. “We have various training centres across India, including one near New Delhi where we train our technicians. There’s continuous development, with our staff’s competencies being constantly upgraded.”
This is done through a dedicated department whose goal to foster talent within the business and provide their people with the support they need.
“In terms of talent, we have a department that looks after talent acquisition as well as training. We always a have a list of high potential people within the company,” says Gossain. “In general, we always measure the happiness index like a pulse to see how people are doing year-on-year. We focus on that and we think if our employees are happy the customers will be happy. We have a lot of programmes to support our staff. Our acquisition team is keen on finding the right people. Attitude is extremely important in hiring and our interviews and tests are focussed on that.”
Giving the Future a Lift
Moving forward, KONE’s continuous innovation and constant investment in technology and new ideas put them in good stead to face a rapidly developing future and the challenges that come with it.
“From a technology perspective it is important our customers have that peace of mind on safety and quality,” Gossain tells us. “We are in the process of elevators becoming part of the Internet of Things, and we have launched 24/7 IoT Connected Services for Elevators and Escalators. Using the latest technology, the elevators and escalators can now speak their minds and keep technicians one step ahead of what’s happening. We’ll continue to invest in talent, in people and in technology.”
While the Indian economy has had its share of challenges lately, Gossain is confident that things are about to turn around.
“I think the real estate market has really been really challenging in India for the last three or four years and we think it has finally bottomed out and is now coming up,” he says. “We’ve seen recent growth, but as real estate picks up, that growth will accelerate. There will be a lot of focus on real estate because it is one of the largest employers in the country. So, I think that will happen within a year or so, and our company is going to grow much faster.”