Upgradation in technology and high emphasis on cost analysis leading to low wastages and economizing are primary changes seen in cement industryPuneet Arora is working as a Deputy Executive Director-Central Project office for the Dalmia Bharat Group. He has been associated with the group for the last 6 years. During his tenure, he has successfully undertaken the setting up of a cement plant in Kadapa, Andhra Pradesh and Ariyalur, Tamil Nadu with a production capacity of 5 million tonnes. He has also been instrumental in setting up a captive power plant in Ariyalur and OCL Kapilas grinding unit for ensuring easy availability and timely supply of cement to customers in the coastal area of Odisha.In his previous stint, he worked with Engineers India Limited (EIL). He was associated with the company for 16 years. He has completed his B.E Industrial Engineering from Thapar University and has done his MBA from Symbiosis Institute, Pune. A tete-a-tete with Puneet Arora...What have been the challenges you have faced in your career?There are challenges as regards granting of environmental clearances. Though quantum of projects has increased in the recent years, there has not been a marked improvement in skills needed to execute them. There are also issues of non availability of space and manpower. To some extent, skill sets of design and supervision staff have also failed to keep pace with times. The cement industry works on individual principles. The ability of an organisation to execute projects is dependent on a single point leader. Other industries are comparatively more process driven.What have been the achievements in your career?The achievements have been executing several projects within a set time limit and the allotted cost parameters. We have also employed the best technology inputs in project executions.What have been the changes you have witnessed in the Indian cement industry over the years?The primary change which the cement industry has seen in recent years has been an upgradation in technology. Earlier, people would not put a high onus on technology. High emphasis is also laid on cost analysis for a project leading to low wastages and economizing. Since 2006, the Indian cement industry has undergone an expansion phase in terms of production capacity. In the last four to five years, plant capacities have been expanded from one to one and a half million tonnes/year to two-five million tonnes per year. The cement industry has played a critical role in the Indian growth rate.Please comment on the competitiveness of the Indian cement industry vis-à-vis the industry in other countries.The Indian cement industry has been acknowledged as the best in the world in terms of efficiency levels. We produce cement at low energy bands, power and cost. The world over, cement producers depend on high calorific material like coal for manufacturing the commodity. The Indian industry has come closer to using not very high calorific fuels. However, the European cement industry is technologically advanced than the Indian industry. We do not have a tendency to spend too much on technological developments.What efforts are needed to upgrade HR skills?Skill levels need to be developed from a project view point. Training programs need to be formulated for increasing the number of skilled manpower. Training skills in disciplines like welding have been evolved by companies like L&T and ACC. As an industry and as end users, we need to invest time and efforts in supporting these endeavors. Emphasis should be focused towards on job training.