Volvo Construction Equipment is one of the most dynamic companies in the industry. Not only have we grown rapidly over the last decade, we have done so without sacrificing the quality of our products, the innovation of our thinking or our close relationships with our growing family of customers, says AM Muralidharan, Volvo CE India. Excerpts from the interview.
What gives your products an edge?
We add value to customers by offering them lowest cost of operation. Our machines give better efficiency in terms of fuel consumption and productivity. On the product side, we are moving towards connectivity of our products through GPS system.
Brief us on your fuel efficiency drive.
Volvo has been one of the earliest pioneers in driving higher fuel-efficiency, and one of the earliest in recognising the environmental issue. We understand that fuel has two adverse attributes to it - one, it costs money and the more an equipment uses, the more expensive it gets; two, fuel consumption creates pollution, and hence, the need to make engines even more judicious.Volvo CE takes a holistic approach to fuel efficiency. We deliver fuel efficiency across all elements of our machines via engines, systems, operator behavior and future technologies while increasing the productivity for our customers.
What has Volvo's performance been like during the last couple of years?
The construction equipment market grew for the first six months of 2012 as compared to 2011, though we finished the year with a flat market. 2012 overall was better than 2011 and we hope 2013 will be a turning point. There is lot of work to be done in this country and for the next 10-15 years, I feel there will be good opportunities for manufacturers like us. I don't see any concern at this point in terms of capacity or equipment utilisation.
Volvo is among the top five and in some products, we are in the top three and top five players. We are happy with what we have done so far. We have consolidated our position in India and we have also created a good customer base. We have around 12,500 machines working today so it's good base to invest more money and make sure customers follow us and at the same time we support our customers in the best possible way.
How do you address the issue of financing?
We have strong financing options available with NBFC (non-banking financial company) and nationalised banks. We also have a strategic alliance with Srei BNP Paribas to launch a private label retail financing programme in India.
Does Volvo possess any distinct competitive advantage?
We are proud to be a brand that has brought in technological innovations to the CE market in India. For example, we have drastically reduced service requirements on articulated haulers; introduced torque parallel linkage and the Volvo Care Cab with advanced features like(Roll Over Protection System (ROPS) that allow operators to feel safe, be comfortable and in control. Volvo CE is the first manufacturer to introduce a telematics system called CareTrack, a telematics system that allows remote monitoring and machine diagnostics by using exclusive Machine Tracking Information System (MATRIS). All of these have given Volvo CE a distinct competitive advantage.
What are the initiatives Volvo has taken for skill development?
Volvo believes in skill development. We have been actively investing in training and competence development to ensure there are trained labour and operators to operate advanced machinery.
We have a operator training centre with all the latest machineries and also with simulators. Volvo has partnered with GMR Varalakshmi Foundation (GMRVF), the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of GMR Group, to offer an Operators Training Course, which will provide free training to under-privileged youth in India to operate construction machinery.
We have always focused on improving and increasing the ways we add value to our customers. In spite of the uncertainties of the market, we have maintained a steady growth, introducing new products, tapping new geographical locations and adding to our customer base. We have achieved this without sacrificing the quality of our existing products. The mantra behind this success is our innovative way of thinking and our close relationships with our growing family of customers and employees.