Aiming Global Heights
Sri Lanka-based GRI has stepped up its drive to become global leader in Specialty Tyres with expended product portfolio and entry into new markets. Managing Director Prabhash Subasinghe has his vision clearly marked for GRI’s future growth
TA News Bureau
What is GRI’s short/middle/ long term? roadmap to future?
With the vision “to be a leading industrial tyre producer in the world.” GRI has gained entry to the world market, established new customers, and grew their business to over 50 countries. In 2016 I decided that we need to step up our game and it was with that decision that we initiated the next strategic move to further expand and diversify our roots in the vibrant Agriculture and Construction Industry, with this resolve I went on to propel and challenge the company, taking it to new heights by developing a comprehensive product portfolio with the aim of becoming a leader in the Specialty Tyre business in the global marketplace, hence our next step is to successfully drive our new product portfolio to the global market and spread the word on the value offered by both GRI and Sri Lanka.
What is the company’s competitive edge in terms of technology and marketing?
GRI has added highly experienced and respected executives to its senior sales and marketing team to increase the momentum of the company’s rapid global expansion, with distinct focus given to our new portfolio of Specialty Tyres. In addition to this GRI makes itself available at all key exhibitions around the globe, and I myself have the privilege of attending these industry events alongside my colleagues, thereby giving me the opportunity to be out in the field and fully assess and ascertain the global environment of the Industrial Tyre industry. We are also known for our incredible marketing campaigns both online and offline. GRI works with an exponential mindset, technology is at our forefront of what we do, our new Specialty Tyre factory is It is equipped with state of the art technology and many of the machines are the first of their kind to be commissioned in Sri Lanka. The team at GRI has utilized some of the most advanced technologies available with globally recognized machines that allow for an increased degree of precision, lower operator dependency and much greater automation. These factors continue to drive GRI forward and will result in enhanced consistency, higher quality, greater efficiency, reduced cycle times and wastage.
Looking to the future, GRI will embark on an even more ambitious and exponential innovation programs. We understand the importance and implications of major technological shifts in our industry – the prevalence of IoT [Internet of Things], the opportunity that machine learning or AI [Artificial Intelligence], Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality can provide in making better decisions. We are now well into establishing an innovation lab that will harness many of these technologies to drive our business forward.
Please throw some light into the company’s innovative strides in terms of product expansion and diversification?
As a company value, we have always worked towards achieving the best results for our customers, our company and ourselves, therefore, with the aim of been a progressive and far-sighted organization with constant and consistent innovation and advancement, we developed and diversified into the business of green field Agriculture and Construction, thereby achieving a comprehensive and wide-ranging product portfolio, hence succeeding in the value offering of all Specialty Tyres.
What drives the Sri Lankan solid tyre market?
Sri Lankan country recognition, as the country has built a robust brand name for Solid Tyre manufacturing, especially with respect to our production of the finest natural rubber partnered with comprehensive technological knowhow, hence profound product expertise and domain knowhow was built upon over the years, allowing Sri Lanka to become the world’s leading solid rubber tyres manufacturer with market share of over 60%.
How the volatility of raw materials prices mainly that of NR impacting solid tyre industry in general and that of your company in particular?
Of course, there is volatility, but I believe it is more on managing the issue than being open to the issue.
What would be the company’s focus in terms of segments of the solid/off the road tyre market-agriculture tyres/forklift tyres/excavator tyres?
GRI’s new factory will comprise of approximately 70% of Agriculture tyre products and the remaining output will consist of pneumatic construction tyres and forklift tyres. GRI’s plant will produce the full spectrum of tyres used in off road applications.
How will the commissioning of the new manufacturing facility enhance the profile of the company in the international scene?
The global agriculture tyre market is projected to reach $ 8.25 billion by 2022, on the other hand the growth rate for the construction industry is expected to be above 5%. Therefore, with the game changer of an enhanced product offering, GRI has now opened its doors to vast volumes of opportunity. Through continued manufacturing innovation and by developing an extremely compelling product portfolio, backed by a track record of quality and innovation that has made GRI’s brands our customer’s top choice. With quality, value and a pioneering spirit at its core, GRI now joins the elite league of global specialty tyre producers.
What is GRI’s focus on sustainability?
To me, living a sustainable lifestyle is a personal goal, I therefore aim to project this goal to GRI. Our new factory is completely self-sufficient and is certified by ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004. GRI’s commitment to sustainability is evident throughout in its 1.2-Megawatt solar panels, biomass boilers and fully recyclable waste and water management systems. This plant is a testament to the pioneering spirit and values embodied by all at GRI. GRI’s values of purposeful action, relentless drive, far-sighted approach coupled with a discovery mindset are evident in every aspect of this plant.
MY VISION INTERVIEW – GRI
1. What is the vision that you have set for GRI and what is the agenda that you are following to accomplish your dream?
To advance the movement of material – speaks volumes. We want to support the world and help move material, whether it be glassware, produce, gravel or bags of wheat. If you look at the environment around you today, nothing would be in existence if not for the machines that make these things available and these machines would be utterly inefficient without the right tyre to support it. We therefore believe that we are imperative in aiding the farmers who provide for the world’s population on a daily basis, the workers who build the structures that surround us and not forgetting that just about everything around you right now has probably been moved in some format with a forklift. GRI will achieve this and will rise to the ranks of a world class company by growing our company with strong business partnerships, broad global outreach, continued manufacturing innovation and by developing an extremely compelling product portfolio, all this is made possible via continuous technological innovation, engineering strength and operational excellence.
2. What are the strategies that you have adopted to enlarge your market share and sustain growth?
GRI has risen to the ranks of a world class company by growing our company with strong business partnerships, broad global outreach, continued manufacturing innovation and by developing an extremely comprehensive and compelling product portfolio, the company also invests heavily and carries out extensive research and analysis on product focusing based on country targeting.
3. GRI has been in the forefront of innovative technology adaptation and has come up with new products to support industrial tyre industry. Please tell us about your emphasis on R&D
R&D is critical for us and we have been at the forefront, just recently we introduced our new product the GLOBESTAR Wide Tread, which was introduced to meet consumer demands of a wider tyre. New formulas and the constant search for alternatives and improvements is in or DNA, we have some of the best minds in Sri Lanka working on this.
4. In view of the changes happening in the tyre industry, how do you see the challenges facing your company?
I think technological changes are key and we are imbedded in this mindset, we have started a new concept called technological revolution which will see us through this phase.
5. What are your views on future specialty/solid tyre industry?
The global industry tyre volume is to reach 2.7 billion units by 2022, with rapid growth in the specialty tyre segment; I therefore think the future is exciting in this space, as this is, in end of the day a niche business I think the foundation of the business is very strong.
6 What unique factors make Sri Lanka a global leader in solid tyre making? Answered above
7. What are the major changes in consumer perceptions that you see evolving among your customers? I believe that it is reliability, when you face the fact, there are a lot of companies out there who have the same product offering as GRI, however, I will state with utmost certainty that GRI tyres are apt and explicit when it comes to the question of reliability and dependability, this is evident in our claim ratio and consumer feedback.
8. How do you align your manufacturing process with “Green” mandates? Answered above.
(Published in February-March 2018 issue of Tyre Asia)