We are constantly working on improving our dealer network for service & parts and helping customers in keeping downtime to minimum levels. The expectations from customers have also increased and we trying to gear up to meet them, says Viraj Parthi, Country Manager, Terex Finlay. Excerpts from the interview.
What was Terex Finlay's performance in 2012?
Our performance in 2012 was far better than what we achieved in 2011 and most of this came from the aggregate sector. We are satisfied with the performance and there is always a scope to innovate our business models and look at a win-win situation for the customer and Terex Finlay. The first quarter of this year has gone well for us and we have been on track as far as achieving forecasts are concerned. I am hoping to see some positive growth in the next few quarters.
Brief us on the fuel/energy efficient technologies used.
We are always educating our customers on how to use crushers and screens in a way that it will be fuel-efficient. We have not made any major technological change in the recent past, but the method of using an equipment plays a major role in improving productivity.
For example, we always tell our customers to keep the cone crusher choke fit so that the crusher is uniformly fed and there will be no fluctuation in power and no fluctuation of load on engine. That helps them in saving fuel. Again, to keep the cone crusher choke fit, the feeder of the jaw crusher has a variable speed so you can control it which helps in keeping the cone crusher choke fit. This is one of the examples which help the customer in getting real mileage.
What are the features inbuilt to reduce vibration and noise, especially in the crushers?
The main advantages of Terex Finlay jaw crushers and cone crushers are that they are one of the most robust and strong crushers in their range. For example, our jaw crusher model J1175 has an approximate weight of 52 tonne, whereas our nearest competition in the same range have their jaw crushers weighing 8-10 tonne less. This helps in reducing vibration. We use Caterpillar 39 engine on crushers with Tier III norms which generate less noise as well.
How do you assess the move towards customer profit-based solutions from product-based solutions?
There are two or three different things which we try to do for customers to maximise their profit. One is, before supplying the machine we study the applications and suggest correct solutions for them. Second, once the machine is installed and commissioned at the site, we train the operator team to use it in the most efficient way. Third, we are providing annual service and annual maintenance contract to customers through our distributors to keep their cost down. And most importantly, our team at the factories and dealerships are just a call away for the customer to reach out.
How do you look at the usage patterns of these sophisticated machines?
In India, the basic issue is getting a good operator team. Our training focus is mainly on training operators and this is delivered by a team of experts who deliver programs that help operators and site engineers to understand the technical details of the product.
The Terex Finlay service personnel make proactive visits to the sites and keep monitoring the usage of the machine whether it is being done in a correct way or not. We have also started providing dos and don'ts to the operating team. The partnership is beyond just selling and commissioning. We believe in customer retention and therefore partner them in building their business.
How do you assess the role of pre- and periodical maintenance in achieving optimal use of machinery?
It is most vital thing to maintain machines properly because these are technically advanced and high cost equipment. A lot of other machinery depends upon crushers and screens. So, if you ask me one point which is vital, I will suggest it is periodical maintenance and always go for something like preventive maintenance which will help in reducing downtime.
What are the major technology/product trends in this sector?
In the long term, there can be a demand of dual power kind of equipment to track the equipment needs diesel engine; once it is set, you need electrical power to run it. That may be one of the trends but it will need a lot of work from the government to provide electricity in remote locations. Once it is available, people may go for the electrical option and again it will depend on the cost of electricity.
In last two to three years, the market has been improving for track plants and slowly, the market will be so, in the total crushers being sold at least 40 per cent will be track plants, which is now at 20 per cent. So, the market will move more towards the track plants. I cannot rule out wheeled plants or static plants altogether but track plants will be more required for certain infra projects.
What is your take on the increase in competition and what makes Terex Finlay different?
Competition is always welcome because it helps us in bringing out the best in ourselves and it will keep us on our toes to do whatever is best for customers. Technology-wise, I rate Terex Finlay as one of the best in India. The challenge for us is to keep continuously improving the after-market service for customers, which plays an equally important role as that of technology. Good technology is of no use if we cannot back it with good support from our side. We are constantly working on improving the dealer network for service parts and helping the customer in keeping downtime to minimum level. The expectations from customers have also increased and we are trying to gear up to meet their expectations.
This is a very exciting time for the crushing and screening business. Right now things may not be smooth but it will be better in the coming years. A lot will depend on how agile and flexible we are to the changing needs of customers. That will be the key to all-round success.