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Insights from the Indian elevator market with award-winning CEO Manish Mehan

In India, construction is booming and, with it, the elevator market. The government has been making investments in affordable housing and smart city programs, while also making it easier for international companies to do business in the world’s second-largest national elevator market. In this environment, Manish Mehan, CEO of TK Elevator India, has led his company to even greater success in the market, a feat which helped him win the Master Entrepreneur Award at the 2020 Asia Pacific Enterprise Awards (APEA). Below, Manish shares his insights into the Indian elevator market and his own personal tips for success.
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Published on 25.03.2021

Rising with the market

The Indian market for elevators, escalators, and moving walks is the second largest in the world and it is expected to grow steadily over the coming years. It’s an environment in which a talented businessperson was able to rise with his company, become CEO, and achieve an impressive turnaround in the market that helped him earn a prestigious award.

Manish Mehan started his career at a leading firm for charted accountants. While there, he worked as a consultant for TK Elevator India in 2002 and joined the company that same year. At the Indian elevator company, he took on various roles in finance and operations, such as Chief Financial Officer, until he was appointed CEO in 2019.

In his free time, Manish, who hails from Delhi, the capital of India, enjoys spending time with his family and keeping fit by cycling and swimming.

“I’m proud to have the opportunity to work towards a smarter, sustainable, and innovative future and to take TK Elevator to the next level in India. Every day brings new and exciting challenges. Without that, life would be too boring!”
Manish Mehan
CEO, TK Elevator India
Manish TKE CEO India

Insights into the Indian market

URBAN HUB sat down with Manish Mehan to learn more about what makes the elevator market in India so attractive. He explained: “The Indian elevator and escalator market is the second-largest market in the world. India is one centralized strong market as opposed to many smaller countries that all have varying regulations and business climates.”

The market is expected to witness strong growth at a CAGR of 4.5% to 2025, largely driven by development in the transportation and social infrastructure sector, with a focus on projects such as Smart Cities Mission and AMRUT.

Mehan adds, “These ambitious plans include housing for all, metro rail projects, and the development of bullet trains. However, this growth will primarily be fueled by development in the tier-2 and tier-3 cities because the construction boom has already reached a saturation point in major cities. These changes will significantly propel the demand for maintenance and modernization throughout the industry in India.”

Delhi International Airport: many TK Elevator highlights

Doing business in India

Manish advises that, while India is doing a lot to make it easier for international companies to enter the market, “doing business in India can be a troublesome endeavor, and having local help can really make the difference in the success of your venture.”

Manish goes deeper: “India is going through a period of unprecedented economic liberation, opening its vast consumer base to international firms. It is an enormous country with vast economic potential, but traversing the diverse and complicated corporate landscape can be a daunting task without the right help on board.”

Manish says that India, as one of the fastest-growing countries in the world, is granting overseas investors increased access to its vast and varied market. He explains: “Political stability and broad consensus on reforms is also a big pull for expanding companies, and the well-developed banking system and vibrant capital market highlight the maturity of its financial system.”

Mumbai Sigma IT Park
Bengaluru Ascendas Mall

Left: Mumbai, Sigma IT Park – Right: Bengaluru, Ascendas Mall

Keys to success and the Master Entrepreneur Award at APEA 2020

Recently, Manish received the Master Entrepreneur Award at APEA 2020. The Asia Pacific Enterprise Awards (APEA) is an entrepreneurial award organization spanning 14 countries with the goal of honoring and promoting entrepreneurial excellence in Asia. The Master Entrepreneur Award, which Manish received, recognizes “outstanding entrepreneurs who have demonstrated entrepreneurial attributes that serve as role models for emerging entrepreneurs, including the tenacity and perseverance to continue innovating”. Below, Manish shares some of his secrets to success.

What set you apart to win the Master Entrepreneur Award?

It’s hard to say as such awards are an acknowledgment of several years and decades of work. I believe my role in transforming the business at TK Elevator India and my long and remarkable journey with TK Elevator played a part.

What do you do differently than other business leaders?

I think there are no shortcuts on the path to success. It’s always achieved with grit, determination, hard work, and relentless pursuit of your goals.

How would you describe your style of leadership?

I believe in being an inspirational leader who builds authentic dialogue and encourages open communication. For me, collaboration and respect among teams is an extremely important factor instead of adopting a top-down approach.

Left: Bengaluru, Sheraton Hotel – Right: Mumbai, Rustomjee Athena

Do you have any advice for other entrepreneurs in the Asia-Pacific region?

I think all successful people think alike and they have several common traits. Generally, they are decisive, adaptable, reliable, and have the ability to engage various stakeholders.

What were some of the key factors in your success?

The capacity to manage rapid change, along with the right interpersonal and leadership skills, have been the biggest factors in my success story. As the head of TK Elevator India, my focus has been on improving sales and productivity, streamlining operations, and developing talent, as well as improving safety and quality. I have had extensive experience in business turnaround, controlling and regulatory, strategic planning, global business development, risk and compliance, and more.

Can you share some success stories and what factors helped you win the APEA award?

I have steered some key strategic initiatives, such as “elevate India” – a business transformation project that led to improved business performance – spare part business excellence, segment-specific business growth, and process improvement through digitalization and automation. I also focused on business restructuring, in terms of organizational changes, leadership changes, and strengthening of the branches to build a lean and sustainable organization.

The award also considers social responsibility. What have you and TK Elevator done here?

We are committed to improving the quality of lives of people in the communities in which we operate by actively adhering to a corporate philosophy of living and working together for common good. Over the years, we have dedicated resources and time towards various social causes, such as education and training to underprivileged children, employability enhancement programs, and environmental sustainability programs, as well as nutrition and healthcare programs.

 
Doing business in India

A positive outlook in India despite Covid-19

Although the Covid-19 pandemic has hurt many people’s livelihoods and purchasing power, it will not eliminate the need for housing in India. Despite the situation and its many uncertainties, Manish sees a bright future for elevators and escalators in India.

He says that, despite the pandemic, India remains a growing economy with great potential for infrastructural development: “The elevator and escalator market size in India has the potential to grow by USD 659.2 million from 2020 to 2024, and the market’s growth momentum will accelerate during the forecasted period due to the steady increase in year-over-year growth. Indian’s are known for their resilience. They are opportunity creators. There’s a strong resolve to bounce back stronger in the post-COVID-19 era.”

Video Credits

Doing business in India by TMF Group, taken from youtube.com