Wacker believes in innovation and spreading awareness about the importance of technology
How long has the company been catering to the construction industry and which are some of the noteworthy projects where Wacker´s products were applied?
We are one of the leading global producers of polymer additives, high-quality binders and silicone-based solutions, used among other industries, in the construction sector. Founded in 1914, the group is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. As early as in the 1920s, Wacker experts developed polyvinyl acetate-based binders used in construction applications. In the 1950s, our scientists invented dispersible polymer powders and started working on silicone solutions for construction applications.
Today, we are a global market and technology leader for vinyl-acetate-based copolymers and terpolymers marketed worldwide under the VINNAPAS« brand, and are the second largest silicone manufacturer in the world.
Renowned landmarks such as the Bird´s Nest stadium in Beijing, Rio de Janeiro´s Statue of Christ the Redeemer, or the Cairo Tower are all built or renovated using Wacker´s construction products.
What is your take on the availability of skilled force in the construction sector?
In India´s modern day construction industry, we do sometimes notice the shortage of skilled labour force. However, modern construction techniques and solutions can save time, money, labour cost and can improve construction quality û but that requires trained personnel who are able to deal with modern materials and applications. There is an acute shortage of such trained personnel who could work on such applications.
Tell us a bit about your training modules. When were they initiated and what prompted you to do so.
The fact that Wacker, as the inventor of polymer powders and a leading producer of silicones, has a key understanding of the market and technology behind these products led to the idea of creating a competence centre for construction-related know-how the Wacker Academy.
Today, Wacker has established a network of training facilities offering a unique platform for advanced training courses and sectoral networking between customers, sales partners and Wacker experts. The Wacker Academy has its branches in Germany, USA, Mexico, Brazil, Dubai, Russia, China, Korea, Singapore and in India.
Catering to the specific needs of the Indian construction-chemicals sector, the Wacker Academy at our Technical Centre in Mumbai provides opportunities to learn about all the relevant aspects of modern polymer and silicone chemistry and related applications. Besides teaching theory, the academy also focuses on the practical side of these methods, thanks to its location right next door to the Wacker´s application labs. We further offer both in-house and onsite trainings and actively organise seminars and symposiums.
What are the kinds of training provided by Wacker, at what frequency and to whom?
To provide the construction industry with, for instance, the necessary expertise in high-quality construction chemicals, we provide both in-house and onsite training sessions. We organise symposia and customer meetings, depending on the market and customer needs.
The main purpose of our training is to educate our customers and partner with regard to modern building techniques, applications and construction chemicals. Plus, they serve as a networking platform for both the company and our customers and partners too. Our participants are our customers and applicators, distributors and potential consumers.
A few companies in the additives business are gradually shifting from product selling, to providing systems (product plus application service). What is your take on this?
One of the biggest missions of Wacker is to improve the quality awareness in India and thus offer not only products but also technical and application-oriented service, for example, educating the market and providing scientific as well as technical support.
That´s why Wacker has established a regional technical centre in Mumbai in 2009. It provides the local construction-chemicals sector with tailored developments and solutions and aims to promote internationally recognised quality standards. Since architectural techniques and building materials vary with culture, climate and locally available raw materials, the Mumbai centre helps customers and business partners to develop innovative products and applications for regional markets.
The centre, for example, runs comparative lab tests on construction products that take into account local raw materials, environmental conditions and regional building methods.
Apart from training, what other initiatives are taken by Wacker to bridge the skills gap?
Apart from trainings, we take initiatives in organising seminars and symposia, which serve as a platform for exchange of information and know-how and lead to enhanced learning.
We organise internship programs with IGCC where we select new talent every year and give them an opportunity to intern with our company. Post this period, selected participants are given a chance to work with us in the future, and be a part of our global team.
Mentoring and Caring at Wacker
The Wacker team puts a lot of emphasis on promoting the intercultural skills of young colleagues. This includes organising courses on living and working in Germany. ´These courses help our colleagues understand the differences between both cultures. For example, in India, being late for a meeting is acceptable, whereas in Germany, it is not,´ says Trikala.
On the other hand, birthdays are celebrated very conscientiously. Each employee is presented with a cake on his or her special day. A big investment is made in the workforce in other ways, too. Happy employees mean higher motivation levels and increased productivity at work.