Quick chat: DCServe

General manager Rennie Sequeira talks district cooling trends

INTERVIEWS, MEP

What new products have you introduced this year?

DCServe is built on trust and a long-standing tradition of offering cutting-edge solutions to our customers. In line with our vision to be a one-stop solution provider in district cooling application, infrastructure and service, DCServe has added new lines of products targeting the HVAC and district cooling industry. We understand the pulse of the market and needs of our clientele through in-depth technical discussions and workshops with our stakeholders. Currently we have added iTap valves for HVAC and plumbing applications and Cryogel Ice thermal Storage and STF self-cleaning screen filtration systems for district cooling applications.

In the last two years we have extended the range of products to cover the industrial and infrastructure segment, but a lot of work is yet to be done here to reinforce our position. You will see a major push from us in this direction in the coming months by offering the complete range of products to cater to this segment. This demonstrates our commitment in understanding and addressing our customer’s needs and also our ability in offering engineering solutions to our clientele.

What have been the main market opportunities?

We have been experiencing new avenues of growth from retrofitting, refurbishment of cooling equipment and a whole lot of balancing and control valve requirements for fit out projects. We are also seeing a push from clients/consultants in optimisation and improving energy efficiency and operational management of the system. This is creating new opportunities for energy management firms and also solution providers like us in offering our technical expertise in refurbishment of equipment to improve energy savings. Recently we have been awarded a contract on Mall of the Emirates and Wafi Mall to refurbish the cooling towers which have been in operation for the last 10 years. We have also been called to retro-commission the chilled water system on a shopping mall in Dubai, owing to our expertise in hydronic systems.

Moreover, the industry is experiencing a major shift towards energy efficient products and cutting-edge renewable energy technologies like geothermal systems for cooling, solar thermal systems for heating and energy storage solutions, to reduce carbon footprint.

What have been the main market challenges?

During a period where the region is experiencing growth as the infrastructure is developed to meet the demands of Expo 2020 and 2022 FIFA World Cup, sadly the biggest challenge the market is facing today is the deteriorating financial health of companies and their ability to pay in the agreed time period. Delayed payment problems with our customers has been on the rise and this is badly affecting our cash flow as we are forced to offer extended credit periods or hold back depositing the cheques. Funding of projects is an additional burden we are forced to shoulder in addition to fulfilling our contractual obligations on projects.

On the technical side, the tendency of our customers to evaluate a highly engineered product as a commodity and then simply select a lower priced alternative is hurting us. Often we come across a situation where competitors’ products are introduced in the sourcing process that has similar product features but not the same product that meets the most demanding project specifications. This is done to put pressure to reduce prices or offer additional services at no extra cost. That’s why in this day and age, it is important for distributors like us who represent reputed manufacturers, to present not only value engineering solutions but also highlight differences between products to minimise risk to the MEP companies. However, we remain positive on the long-term market outlook.

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