Steelbird is one of the major players in the Indian helmet and riding gear manufacturing sector. What is its future product strategy? How Steelbird aims to expand its business?
India is the largest two-wheeler demography in India. The country has the largest motorcycle and scooter rider population. This eventually comes with the sad fact that a wide number of people die every year due to road accidents, and a large chunk of this is attributed to motorcyclists. A key reason behind this is not wearing helmets or flouting basic and crucial safety norms.
Steelbird is one of the major players in the Indian mass market helmet manufacturers. Team AFT spoke to Kashish Kapur, Director of Steelbird Helmets, to learn about the current situation of the helmet industry in the country, Steelbird’s future plan and strategy etc.
Edited excerpts are below.
Q: How do you see Indian riders positively opening up to using safety measures like helmets?
The early trend of helmets in India was not inclining safety measures as compared to today, whether in terms of cost or safety. But the enforcement of the Motor Vehicle Act brought a change in the sentiments that mandated the wearing of the helmets for both the rider and pillion, and the helmets need to meet the ISI standards issued by BIS.
Q: What is the current investment value and capacity of manufacturing of Steelbird helmets?
Starting in 1964, Steelbird survived a bumpy ride and emerged as one of the top helmet makers in India with a wide global footprint. We had started by making auto components and then dabbled into the business of helmets over the next few years, with a primary target of nobody should die wearing our helmets.
Steelbird used to make 5,000 pieces every month. The market for branded helmets was picking up, and consumers were willing to pay a premium for good quality. As of today, Steelbird has a production capacity of around 40,000 helmets per day and is currently producing 22,000 helmets every day. The company has the production capacity to meet the growing demand. The gross block is above 300 cr of investments in the group.
Q: What are your plans for consecutive years to persist networks in the market for upcoming years?
Over the next two years, Steelbird has aggressive expansion plans and aims to open 1,000 more Steelbird Riderz Shoppes in different geographies in India and across the border. We will continue to expand its network in this way.
Our goal is to deliver top-notch riding gear and a wide selection of ISI helmets right to the consumer’s home. In due course, the company will continue to launch new models of helmets and high-tech bike accessories in these stores. The company will become even closer to its current and future customers through network growth.
Hence, the major goal of expanding the Steelbird Riderz Shoppe is to promote the use of ISI-certified helmets and offer the best riding gear with a wide selection of products.
Q: How is the company leveraging technology for better and safer products?
The rise in the growth of technology in helmets has given plenty of choices to upgrade, which Steelbird has fully utilized in terms of upgraded technology in helmets. Technology has always been a forte for Steelbird. We have introduced many innovations in helmets like Air Ventilation systems, NACA duct airflow systems, Photochromic visors, night vision visors, Hands-free devices inbuilt helmets, etc. Our helmets meet the highest safety standards like ECE 22.06 and DOT certifications which are tested in our state-of-the-art in-house laboratory, making our products safer and better.
Q: Brief us about the company’s future perspectives regarding new products and manufacturing capacity expansion.
A step in this approach has already been taken by Steelbird, a company committed to high-technology research and development as well as addressing the rider’s safety concerns. The business has acquired 8836 square metres of new property for the EPS plant, which will be up and running shortly.
By the end of 2022, the new EPS plant in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh, which will have a built-up area of 60,000 square feet, will be completed. The factory will have a daily production capacity of 22,000 EPS on average. Over 150 people will have direct employment thanks to the new EPS plant facility. The highly automated factory will use cutting-edge production techniques. With the addition of this facility, Steelbird will now have eight production facilities in the nation, including plants in Noida and Baddi.