Low downtime of the machine is a major factor under consideration while buying new equipment. We have a very strong and focused after sale service with a very efficient and trained service staff. We are also looking into new initiatives like SAP enable part support in all our design and mobile service, says Anil Bhatia, Director Sales and Marketing, Case India. Excerpts from the interview.
The off-take of equipment has come down so drastically during the past couple of years. What is the impact of this on Case?
Due to slow land acquisition, high interest rates and slow environmental clearances, the infrastructural growth has gone down. The demand for construction equipment is aligned with infrastructural growth so the construction equipment market has also been deeply affected by this. The long-term growth story of India is still intact and we expect a revival in the coming times.
We have a focused sales and service team along with a strong dealer network across India. We also have a strong vendor base with most of the quality components available in India. Case in India manufactures product that can compete with best in the world. Our focus exports markets are Africa, MiddleEast and SAARC.
At present which are the verticals that drive the demand for compactors/backhoe loaders?
For Case, the main demand driver for the products will be the road construction sector and general construction, basically housing. In fact, the products are utilised in all the sectors of infrastructure development. Our vibratory compactors are used for road construction, irrigation projects and for making channels.
Backhoe loaders which are extensively used in all the sectors of infrastructure development, are demand drivers. I would say that growth in every sector in the infrastructure portfolio will be a demand driver for the range of our product portfolio.
What is the impact of the devaluation of rupee on Case's performance and how are you addressing this issue?
The rupee depreciation makes the imports costlier, impacting the production cost. On the other hand, it has also made the exports more attractive. The depreciation in currency has affected most of the major companies.
What are the value-for-money propositions from Case?
Our equipment is one of the most reliable, fuel-efficient and productive in the market. The Case soil compactor and tandem compactor have the lowest per hour owning and operating cost, which make them very attractive to all our customers.
Has this economic slowdown given you a chance to focus more on servicing the clients?
Low downtime of the machine is a major factor under consideration while buying new equipment. We have very strong and focused after sale service with a very efficient and trained service staff. We are also looking into new initiatives like SAP-enabled part support in all our design and mobile service.
What measures have you taken to augment the dealership and spares availability?
We have a very strong and focused sales and services network across the country. The organisation's focus is on the providing hassle free service and part support. The customers today have realised that if they are purchasing these costly equipment and if they get their machines serviced and purchase parts through an authorized service centre, then it gives better life, lesser downtime and hence more productivity.
What is the overall market and demand-supply scenario for compactors/backhoe loaders?
Government investments in infrastructure are sure to pick up to meet the ambitious growth target of the nation. With infrastructure investment set to go up, demand for construction equipment will rise further. The market for loader backhoes has registered a decline of almost five per cent so far but the market is expected to hold steady for the rest of the year. The growth in the compaction equipment segment has almost been flat with Case strengthening its leadership position.
What are the latest product/technology trends in compactors/backhoe loaders?
The equipment up-time is one of the major factors which customers consider while deciding on the machine. Time-bound projects need reliable machines. Considering this fact, all equipment manufacturers are trying to innovate and adapt latest trends and are in the continuous process of improving the productivity of the machine.
Case 851, the backhoe loader in the 96 HP category has a dual stage pump with load-sensing system which results in higher productivity with fuel efficiency. The 4-wheel drive version of this model has gained good acceptance in the tough hilly terrain of the north-east and Nepal due to higher wheel torque and force.
How do you assess the performance so far in 2013?
We expect the demand to go up in the coming two years, from 2015-16. We expect the growth rate to be much higher than or equal to what it was before the slowdown, and I would say that we will catch up with the overall demand forecast in 2010, for the years 2015-2017. From Q4 2014, we expect a huge spurt in the demand of construction equipment.
What are the major challenges Case faces?
There are challenges like delay land acquisition, high interest rates, regulatory approval and environmental clearance for all infrastructural and road projects. These directly affect demand in the construction equipment sector.
How do you see Excon 2013 as a platform?
Excon is the biggest platform in India for all construction equipment industry players to showcase their products. Case will showcase its entire strength at one place to its customers and business partners. It is also an opportunity for us to know how the construction equipment industry is changing, and the expectations of our customers though feedback and various products showcased during Excon.
Excon is an opportunity for us to know how the construction equipment industry is changing, and the expectations of our customers through feedback and various products showcased.