Top 25 MEP Contractors Rankings 2019 #1: AR Suresh Kumar at Voltas

Voltas is utilising 15% year-on-year revenue growth to get the very best out of its people.

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AR Suresh Kumar, head of international operations – business group, and VP of operations, says specialised systems are in place to ensure staff are best equipped the carry out their roles.
AR Suresh Kumar, head of international operations – business group, and VP of operations, says specialised systems are in place to ensure staff are best equipped the carry out their roles.

Revenue of $1.1billion in the financial year 2018-2019 puts Voltas in a commanding position as the Indian-headquartered firm sets its sights on the future.

The Tata-backed company is involved with notable ongoing projects across the region, including Expo 2020, Fujairah International Airport, and the Latifa Hospital extension to name just a few.

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Not content to rest on its laurels, and recognising the need to maintain excellence across its workforce, Voltas is utilising additional income to get the very best out of its people.

Year-on-year revenue growth of 15% has allowed the company to invest heavily in its staff, signing off on training initiatives worth $850,000 over the past 12 months.

AR Suresh Kumar, head of international operations – business group, and VP of operations, says specialised systems are in place to ensure staff are best equipped the carry out their roles.

He explained: “Voltas has a system of competency assessment (technical, behavioural and HSE) for each employee trade/job type, and thereafter we develop the training need identification (TNI) for each employee.

“We have developed in-house test centres and an assessment tool on an IT platform to help us map the skill gaps for each employee against this pre-defined skill matrix.

“Based on the evaluation results we recommend specific and customised training programmes for our employees, which can be taken at internal training centres or through external training which we arrange for them.

“After completion of training we also assess the participants on their understanding and learning gained from the programme.”

Spend on technology and corporate social responsibility was a combined $3.6million ($1.8m each) in 2018, further underlining Voltas’ credentials as an international powerhouse.

Key digital initiatives under implementation for the coming year include automated project performance dashboards across all operations; a rollout of computer aided facilities management solutions for Voltas’ FM business; and a vendor management system for the purchase-to-pay cycle.

While current choppy waters have sunk some rival firms here in the Middle East, Voltas has more than just stayed afloat, and is now charting a course into areas previously occupied by competitors.

“There has been a shakeout in the MEP industry and several of the previous majors are no longer on the scene,” said Kumar.

“Voltas has, however, maintained its position, resources (people and financial) and engineering capability, and is well positioned as MEP contractor of choice for any major development.

“We are also able to contribute substantially on value engineering efforts for the benefit of the project and clients.”

It is safe to say Voltas isn’t taking anything for granted, particularly at a time of market volatility.

According to Kumar, the key to avoiding any bad weather that may be on the horizon is co-ordination and collaboration.

“We find that due to budget and fund constraints there are delays on decision and award of contracts, which in turn also leads to pressure both in quality and execution time,” he said.

“We, however, look forward to working in a co-ordinated and collaborative way with authorities, clients, consultants and fellow contractors in the best interests of the MEP and wider construction industry.”

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