In the excavator segment, JCB offers an unmatched range starting from 8T operating weight (JS81) to 22T operating weight (JS 220LC), to serve the plant hirers, earthmoving and quarrying customer base. At Excon 2013, JCB introduced the JS30 mini excavator and JS360 LC which like all other JCB excavators, offers excellent fuel efficiency, says Vipin Sondhi, Managing Director & CEO, JCB India. Excerpts from the interview.
Off-highway Research is still bullish on the high growth potential of earthmoving equipment, especially crawler excavators. How realistic are these projections?
The excavator market has gained popularity in the past few years and the market will certainly grow in the future, as demand for specialised machinery is on the rise. Currently, the demand for all construction equipment has declined due to the economic slowdown but it will pick up once the infrastructure sector starts to move.
We are absolutely confident about India´s long- term growth prospects and even in these uncertain times, JCB is the only company that has been successful in expanding its market share in the excavator segment. We have seen a considerable increase in the export of our machines in the past few years.
At Excon 2013, JCB introduced six variants of the LC series of excavators. Could you tell us something about them?
JCB India understands the need to constantly innovate, keeping its existing product line abreast with the latest technology. At JCB, product upgradation is a continuous process. Our aim is to make our machines better, more productive, more efficient.
The upgradation in the existing range of excavators has been done as per customer feedback and the new variants come with more reliable and rugged structures suitable for working in Indian conditions. The JCB excavator provides the best- in- class productivity and fuel efficiency.
Operator comfort and safety has always been a critical component in the construction equipment industry and JCB gives utmost importance to providing the best of its operators. For e.g, the JS205LC is fitted with audio and visual alerts in instrumental panel for air filter blockage, belly guard for lower frame and undercovers for upper frame, etc.
JCB is the market leader in the BHL segment and continues to be so. Are there separate dealer networks for excavators?
JCB is a market leader when it comes to backhoe loaders; however, I believe JCB is perceived as a company that offers the most innovative and fuel- efficient machines to its customers.
JCB offers India´s best dealer support its customers. We now have over 555 outlets and 59 dealers to ensure that our customers´ requirements are met in every part of the country. Our dealer principals are extremely committed to provide unparalleled support to its customers and therefore, have set up dedicated teams within the same dealership to focus on different product categories.
Customers today are keener on the after sales services provided by the OEMs. What are JCB´s initiatives in this area for excavators?
We at JCB strongly believe that manufacturing world class products is only half the recipe for success. The other part is providing the best after sales support / customer service, by establishing excellent distribution network.
JCB offers the largest distribution network in the industry. To ensure that prompt service is provided to our customers, our dealers run a service van which offers 24x7 assistance in case of a machine breakdown in any part of the country.
Strategic investments have been made in facility expansion and human resource development by our dealers to ensure a sustainable growth momentum is maintained. JCB dealerships have over 7,000 employees who are trained by us for selling and servicing these machines.
Availability of spares and visibility of the machine are a couple of major factors that determines purchasing decisions . What does JCB do to strengthen these areas, especially for excavators?
JCB products are a testament of our drive to continually manufacture the most technologically advanced products. We provide best- in- class operator comfort through ergonomically placed operator controls, all- round visibility during digging, loading and positioning, etc.
At JCB, we believe in constantly innovating our products and therefore, keep upgrading the products from time to time to ensure that our customers derive the most out of it. JCB has strategically set up large warehouses across India (Pune, Chennai, Ballabgarh, Faridabad and Kolkata) to ensure our customers have easy and quick access to parts of the machine.
Brief us on Livelink. Is it optional? What are the advantages and what has been the response so far?
JCB´s Livelink is yet another innovative technology which allows the user to monitor and manage the machines closely. We showcased this technology at Excon 2013 and the response has been overwhelming. JCB Livelink provides alerts on real- time location, maintenance alerts, machine and fleet hours, etc, putting the user in entire control of the machine from wherever he is. Currently, we are at a nascent stage but as we keep progressing on this, we will add Livelink on all our machines.
What is the market for attachments that goes with the JCB range of excavators?
With growing infrastructure demand in India, JCB has introduced a wide range of attachments for various purposes which will help in simplifying the day-to-day task. JCB attachments offer great versatility and productivity to JCB machines thus, making them suitable for several kinds of applications such as agriculture applications, solid waste management, etc.
JCB rock breakers are extensively used with our excavator range. Further, as the demand for attachments increases with new infrastructure projects, the demand for rock breakers will also go up. We also offer clamshell buckets and orange peel grabs.
What is JCB´s business strategy for the excavator market which is currently dominated by players like Komatsu, Hitachi, Volvo, CaterpillarKobelco and Hyundai?
JCB is among the market leaders in the excavator segment, with a dedicated hundred- acre facility in Pune which manufactures world class, heavy- line machines like excavators, compactors, wheeled loaders, etc.
The JCB excavator range is known for best- in- class output, best- in- class fuel efficiency and the machines are fitted with best in- class safety features. They are extremely easy to maintain as the compact and easy to handle bonnet makes periodic maintenance effortless.
We believe in manufacturing India-centric products for our customers and all JCB products are manufactured on the company philosophy of `One Global Quality.` Our products are backed by world- class facilities, technology and people, therefore, are unmatched in quality and performance.
Along with that, we provide the best after sales support to our customers and that is the reason we have been gaining in the market year on year.
Where do you see JCB excavators ive years down the line?
The excavator segment will certainly witness growth in the long term but the progress in the construction equipment industry is directly related to the demand in the infrastructure industry. Market dynamics and the infrastructural development will play a critical role in deciding the future of the heavy equipment segment.
JCB believes that manufacturing world class products is only half the recipe for success.