Rajinder Raina, General Manager - Strategy and Business Development, Escorts Construction Equipment India Ltd
Following a three-year slump in demand, the equipment industry started looking up from the early 2015. During the later part of that year, the market growth gathered momentum. The growth was stable and looked there to stay to the extent that the OEMs reworked their production capacities and schedules.The fact that a major step of demonetisation and a reform like GST had limited impact on the market demand showed that demand is not a spike but based on certain long-term projects and the will of the government to provide funds, clearances, checks and balances.
The industry is growing at a very healthy rate but it continues to operate at wafer thin margins wherein only a few of the manufacturers have a double-digit profitability to report. The customer expectations are high and with the competition in the market place, the customer is spoilt for choice.
The industry comprises retail and small-time hirers in a fair proportion. They find it a little difficult to get their equipment funded/financed. GST will hopefully rid the industry of hassles and harassments faced while moving the equipment from the manufacturing plant/sales depot to the customer site.
The biggest challenge will remain the sustenance of demand. Manufacturing at OEMs as well as supplier's end, has been ramped up to deliver the projected volumes and it is with the understanding that the demand shall keep growing, at least for the next two to three years.
A platform of opportunities
Excon remains the premier exhibition for our industry, having evolved throughout the years into an event that can match the best in the world. The fact that the top players of the industry are expected to be present with their latest product offerings is a proof of the existing positive sentiment in the market place. The number of visitors expected is big and the business during the five days is expected to justify the optimism within the industry.
Last time around Excon was driven by hope but this time it is optimism.In 2015, the fingers were crossed in expectation of market recovering and this time we are looking for the market to sustain the current momentum. The number of exhibitors will be more and the equipment displayed by them also will be more. The business transacted will surely be up multifold.
We plan to launch two new products at Excon and showcase the products launched in the recent past. All these products are India-specific wherein the technology adapted will deliver high productivity at minimum cost.
The biggest expectation from the expo remains the quality footfall. If it attracts the desired number of customers, it would have justified the effort put in by CII and iCEMA, and give the exhibitors the worth of their money and efforts. Last but not the least, is the weather holding on at least a week before the show, for stable underfoot conditions during the expo.