"The strength of QCEL lies in its pan India presence and also being the only infrastructure equipment bank having wide range of equipment, catering to both construction as well as industrial applications. It has seven equipment hubs with another 28 spokes attached to these hubs," says HS Bhattacharjya, Chief Executive Officer, Quippo Construction Equipment and Quippo Valuers & Auctioneers. In an exclusive chat with EQUIPMENT INDIA, Bhattacharjya throws light on the present market scenario with special emphasis on the company's strengths and competencies. Excerpts from the interview. What is the present status of the equipment rental industry its size and value, its potential, and percentage of growth? The equipment rental industry is still in the nascent stage & primarily in the hands of unorganized players in our country. The organized players make 20-25 percent of the total equipment rental market. Quippo Construction Equipment Limited was one of the first organisations to introduce the concept of equipment renting & banking in the country in an organised manner. Promoted by Kanorias, a subsidiary of Srei Infrastructure Finance, today QCEL is one of the largest equipment rental companies in the country with pan India operations. Interestingly, QCEL is estimated to occupy around 30 percent market share in equipment rental market in its domain of activities. We are further anticipating growth of 15 percent on CAGR value. QCEL being the pioneers in Equipment Rental Industry is all poised for a phenomenal growth through the expansion of its operational reach & strategic associations/ partnerships. What is the total fleet in terms of size and value of Quippo Construction Equipment Limited? Tell us about Quippo's strength and core competencies? We have around 450 equipments across the country. The strength of QCEL lies in its Pan India presence & also being the only Infrastructure Equipment Bank having wide range of equipments, catering to both construction as well as industrial applications. It has 7 Equipment Hubs with another 28 Spokes attached to these Hubs. These are spread along the length & breadth of the country further supported by the offices in the major business cities of the country. The company stems its strength from factors like well trained crew, In house Inventory of Spares for the day to day maintenance, well developed infrastructure to provide in-house repair and maintenance & dedicated team of qualified service engineers and mechanics. We are proud that our equipment are contributing in building the nation as these are being utilised in major Infrastructure contracts of the country.Which are the industries serviced by QCEL and also tell us the range of equipment on offer? We cater to the entire array of construction world, be it real estate, road and highway, railways, power projects, metro, port, airports sectors. Our presence as an associate with almost each and every corporate engaged in raising infrastructure through these projects, provide us an opportunity to render service in nation building. Our equipment can be seen throughout the country working on these projects.Brief us on the services provided by your company, please. We are reckoned to be one of the vibrant equipment rental and fleet management company, working on a pan-India level. We provide various types of construction and infrastructure equipment on rent, which help contractors to execute the project in an effective manner and also assist them to adhere to project schedule. Our services include providing trained operators along with the equipment to ensure seamless operation, repair and maintenance of the machine at site, for uninterrupted performance of the equipment. What about the rental scenario for specialty services, and the range of products offered? We are also providing specialised equipment like piling rigs, boom placer etc, for some specific jobs like foundation creation and raising structures of high rise building. With the rapid change in the design and requirement of new projects, the demand is also shifting towards highly technical and sophisticated equipment. Our product range covers the entire spectrum of the infra equipment including earthmoving, road making, concrete equipment, material handling and soil improvement equipment namely hydraulic excavators, motor graders, soil compactors, dozers, pneumatic tyre rollers, wheel loaders, different types of cranes, loader backhoes, sensor pavers, transit mixers, boom placers and piling rigs and many more…What is your geographical spread? We are present across the length and breadth of the country. Our presence through the various hubs and spokes is unmatchable with any other company presently in this business. The machines are parked and maintenance activities are carried out at these locations. All these places are well equipped in terms of infrastructure facilities and security arrangements. We have also equipped these hubs with major overhauling facilities for effective and efficient services. Further, some of these hubs and spokes are located even in the remotest areas of our country which include the north east region as well, there by facilitating our customers in remote and difficult terrains. This facility further shows our commitment towards service to our customers and also relieves the customers of logistic hassles. What is the potential for demolition equipment in rentals? The demand for the demolition equipment is showing a rising trend. The use of backhoe loaders, compressors and rock drill, dozers and hydraulic excavators attached with rock breakers and shearers are commonly used in demolition activities carried out in our country. Further, all the brown field project activities require demolition equipment, which are absolutely necessary to clear the existing structures with in a controlled working space.Presently, we are getting regular enquiries of hydraulic excavators fitted with rock breakers or vibro hammers indicating the demand for these equipment. How do you address the issue of lack of trained manpower in this segment? The issue of the scarcity of trained manpower is one of the biggest challenges in our industry. We are also not untouched from this challenge. But at the same time, we have started various measures to ensure that our operators and mechanics get proper in house training in operation and maintenance. We also encourage our suppliers, mainly reputed OEMs to impart specialised training on proper upkeep and operation of these equipment. Further, our service engineers are involved in quality assurance activities taking place all across our organisation. We have recently conducted 5S and TQM workshop for our service engineers at Hyderabad to encourage the TQM culture throughout our operational activities. What do you feel are the main drawback of the rental industry?Although there are a lot of challenges in this industry, collection of the payment remains an undisputed challenge on account of the money tight market. The multiple tax structures, prevailing in different states of our country further pose challenges in interstate movements of the machines.Constantly rising input costs without any escalation in rentals bring the operations and profitability under pressure.The equipments offered by unorganised players, though do not always bring satisfaction to the customers but can definitely disturb the market dynamics.How do you find the competition in this area?The major resistance in this sector is faced from unstructured players who are actually not very transparent in their dealing and thus compromising on business ethics. Further competition in organised sector is restricted to some of the OEMs who have started offering their equipment on rent and also to some of the contractors who are offering their spare equipment on rent. But in both the cases renting is not their core competencies while OEMs may suffer from operational glitches, the contractors turned hirer may face a big challenge in maintenance of these equipment and arrangement of fleet mix. We are considered as well-organised company that supplies all types of construction equipment and follows a structured procedure in its deals which bring professionalism in our dealing. MAJOR BUSINESS MODULESlEquipment rentallLong term rental or operating lease the equipment is provided on long term lease for a period of 2 to 3 years or matching with the construction time of the project. lEquipment bank this is a concept where in the company accepts the deposits of equipment from various sources, deploys them effectively and provides returns there on to equipment owners.lProviding fleet management services to various financiers for the upkeep of their repossessed equipment and if required, by providing complete repair and maintenance of these equipment to bring them to the workable condition. This exercise adds value to the assets of our customers.lProviding services towards auctioning and valuation of old equipment as per the requirement of our customers.