Rajesh Aggarwal, Vice President, Head of Sales & Marketing, Drive Systems India, Oerlikon.
We feel that India will grow and that is why we are here. The advantage we have is that our global leadership is concentrating to present better options for Indian markets, resulting which we have grown above Rs 1,000 crore in India. In spite of the slowdown, we will be showcasing a double digit growth in 2014, says Rajesh Aggarwal, Vice President, Head of Sales & Marketing, Drive Systems India, Oerlikon. Excerpts of the interview.
Please elaborate on your products.
With a presence in three major continents Oerlikon Dives Systems consists of two brands, Oerlikon Graziano and Oerlikon Fairfield which together provides a wide range of products, solutions and innovations from gears and components, planetary drives, axles and engineered drive solutions for intense challenges in agriculture, construction, commercial vehicles, railways, on & off highway and automotive industry. We differentiate our customers in their market place.
We cater to the major demand for wheel loader axles in India with all leading players as our key customers. We also have Torque Hub« from Oerlikon Fairfield, our US-based group brand. Torque Hub® is our core product from Fairfield which we supply all over the world with the US being our major market. With our existing local manufacturing base for Torque Hub® in Belgaum we are confident to develop this market in India.
How do you meet the local design requirements of your products?
We have our indigenised design and engineering department for Graziano and Fairfield which is supported with our global technology experts when need. We customise the products as per regional market requirement. For example, we have been supplying wheel loader axles to JCB, UK for many years. Since in India, the same machine is overloaded and over-used, hence we had to re-design the axle with increased features. Our customer-oriented approach has been continuously applauded by the end-users of these machines.
What are the current market trends, product requirements and demands?
In general, the current market is sluggish due to the policy paralysis and economic slowdown. This being the election year, investments are withheld or postponed as the industry is cautious about the policy changes that may be implemented post elections. So, the overall sentiments are not currently encouraging for the construction equipment sector. However, we are anticipating the market to improve in the second half of 2014, once the new government is in place with some progressive policies.
What is your marketing strategy for this slowdown?
When market is down it is the best time to put on our thinking hats and plan for future. It gives us a good chance to understand what the market would demand and develop new products for it. This is the best time to do it. At the factory level, training people and concentrating on operational excellence is our focus along with making long-term strategies to stay in the market. The favourable currency movement has placed us at a better position than our global competitors in the export markets. Further, we are targeting in a big way the emerging economies across the globe. These markets are projecting good opportunities for us and we are ready to tap them.
How are you going about improving the efficiency of your product range?
There will always be competition and products having different quality levels. If the quality is low, the price will also be low. We believe in quality and we believe in customers who believe in quality. People are ready to invest more money for quality products. The initial investment may be a bit more but the returns are very good with minimum maintenance and less downtime. We support OEMs' aftersales service like in case of any issues in the axle on the field, our engineers immediately reach the site to attend to the case. So, it is the joint task of sales and service, as we believe in providing maximum productivity and zero downtime instead of just a product.
What are the environment-friendly initiatives in your product range?
We are promoting our synchronisers under Oerlikon Graziano brand which generally depend on the type of transmission in the Indian machine. Currently, the horse power (HP) of Indian machines is increasing. Once the HP increases, the transmission has to be much more efficient. So, the synchroniser gives good shifting quality and the users are able to shift the gears much more frequently and transmission is optimised, which results in lower consumption of fuel in the engine. We hold a substantial pie of the market share globally, for this product in our target markets.
How do you look at the opportunities?
Fundamentally, there is a lot of work to be done in the infrastructure sector. We feel that India will grow and that is why we are here. The advantage we have is that our global leadership is concentrating to present better options with Oerlikon Garziano and Oerlikon Fairfield for Indian markets, resulting which we have grown above Rs 1,000 crore in India. In spite of the slowdown, we will be showcasing a double-digit growth in 2014. So this is our strength and when the market revives once again, there could be a quantum jump.
What are your expansion plans?
We are now setting up a new plant in Sanand in Gujarat. We have purchased about 35 acres of land there and the construction activities are going on. We plan to start production from this facility by early 2015. We will produce our existing product range from there, catering to the increasing requirements for both the domestic and export markets. So, to address to the increased requirements of our customers, we have started investing when the market is down. Once the market picks up, we will have everything ready so as to support our customers in meeting their increased requirements.
In addition to finalising our manufacturing strategy for India, we are also planning to invest in other emerging markets where we do not have a manufacturing footprint right now to allow Oerlikon Graziano and Oerlikon Fairfield to be present where the customer is.