Hiten Kapadia, Head - Road Construction Equipment, Atlas Copco India.
Atlas Copco, with its continuous product development and maintenance commitment, is definitely geared to serve the future demand for the road construction sector, says Hiten Kapadia, Head - Road Construction Equipment of Atlas Copco India. Excerpts from the interview.
How do you assess the current construction equipment (CE) market scenario and its growth prospects?
The CE market is still seeing low demand and the overall activity is sluggish. We saw some positive enquiries in the last quarter of 2013 and we hope that the same continues in Q1 2014. We are expecting a very slow Q2 in 2014 in light of the upcoming elections. However, if stability comes after the elections, then we should see some good growth in Q3 and Q4 of this calendar year.
What about growth potential from the road sector?
Surprisingly, although road sector project developments are next to nothing, we have seen a drastic increase in CE for the road sector. This pertains to more of earthwork and repair work of roads which definitely affects the supply of major equipment like pavers. But again, there should be some rays of light in the Q3 and Q4 of 2014. The major areas which need government intervention are land acquisition and faster redressal of contractor grievances.
What is Atlas Copco's strategy to keep costs competitive?
The global strategy of any company would be to decrease cost by value engineering and increase the price levels in the market, and this is definitely being followed by Atlas Copco, aggressively. Atlas Copco Dynapac being a premium brand with premium quality products and world-class service, needs to define and benchmark prices every year.
What are Atlas Copco's value adds?
Atlas Copco's core focus has been on superior product quality and providing world class service to its customers, to ensure the value addition which is necessary in the current tough demand-supply scenario.
What was Atlas Copco's overall performance in 2013?
I believe overall, 2013 was better for every player in road construction including Atlas Copco. As I mentioned earlier, the last quarter was a great pull but yes, when demand decreases, there will be an impact on the bottomline due to the drop in market price.
What are the sales trends for road equipment, especially for compactors?
The last quarter of 2013 was unexpectedly good in terms of demand. We foresee that this demand may be continued in the first two months of 2014 but then, till June, I think there could be a drop in demand.
What gives your products an edge?
Reliability, fuel economy, safe equipment and operating comfort are some of the major strengths of Atlas Copco Dynapac products worldwide.
Brief us on Atlas Copco's initiative on skill and capacity development.
We organise frequent training for operators, dealers and our own team members, to keep on improving the skill of operating Atlas Copco Dynapac premium equipment.
How do you foresee growth potential in another three years?
We believe that if India has to grow, then the first step would be towards establishing infrastructure to support growth. Atlas Copco, with its continuous product development and maintenance commitment, is definitely geared up to serve the future demand for the road construction sector.