Our goal is not just supplying the OTR tyre but providing the additional value for the custo¡mers on top of the OTR tyre supply, says Tomio Fukuzumi, Managing Director, Bridgestone India, in an interview with Sudheer Vathiyath. Excerpts from the interview.
What is the current Indian market situation for Bridgestone's business?
The current economic situation in India is a bit down but it is a global trend now. Compared to other markets such as Europe, US, etc, we expect market recovery will be much faster in India like it was after the Lehman crisis.
What is the demand-supply scenario in the current condition?
The after-market demand is more or less steady. However, since OEM production is down, the demand from OEMs is slightly down. The replacement market is growing, though at a slower pace. I am waiting for a sharp increase in this segment in the near future.
Do you provide products and solution for the OTR segment?
In the OTR segment, we provide tyres to OEMs such as Caterpillar, Komatsu and some Indian OE manufacturers. For the replacement market, we are supplying OTR radials to the customers in coal or iron ore mine, cement, construction, ports, etc. We supply OTR radial tyres produced at our plant in Japan and also provide solutions.
Do you have plans to produce OTR tyres in India?
Currently, we have no plans to produce OTR tyres in India. The Indian market is using smaller OTR tyres compared to other major markets like the US and Asian countries like China and Indonesia. Since we manufacture bigger size that caters to these markets, we import the tyres according to the requirement of the OEMs here in India. However, we will definitely expand the market for OTRs as the potential of Indian market is huge.
How do you look at the current global market for OTRs?
The current market for OTRs is not growing as per our expectations at the moment due to the slowdown in major markets like China and other Asian and European countries. However, in future things will improve and the market will bounce back.
How do you view the challenges - the rising input cost, hardening of interest rates and the devaluation of currency?
It is a really tough situation. We will try our best effort to minimise such impacts by lean operation. At the same time, we will provide more after services in order for our customers to enjoy longer tyre life. If we look at the market, many customers do not have enough knowledge about proper maintenance which is the key for the superior performance of OTR radial. We will guide our customers to achieve the best performance which is worth the OTR radial.
What is the current demand scenario in the mining sector?
The current demand in the mining sector is low. The public data also shows negative growth in the mining sector. However, the market situation in 2014 is expected to be better than 2013 in various aspects. The suspended mining activity will resume and the other sectors like construction/ports will also be more active.
What is your strategy to sustain for this difficult time?
We have two strategies, namely to expand our territory and to increase the value of our tyre. We started the Replacement OTR business from 2011 but there are still some areas where we have not yet penetrated. We will increase the sales volume and cover those undiscovered area.
While expanding our territory, we will also increase the value of our OTR tyre by developing the quality of our service. This is because our goal is not just supplying the OTR tyre but providing additional value for the customers on top of the OTR tyre supply.
We will provide more after services in order for our customers to enjoy longer tyre life. We will guide our customers to achieve the best performance which is worth the OTR radial.