Caterpillar´s vision is to be recognised as the leader everywhere we do business. Our strategy in India is to win by delivering quality products, services and solutions to our customers, says Ajay Shankar, Country Manager, Caterpillar India. Excerpts of the interview.
Can you brief us on the unique features and advantages of 320D2 series excavator? Building on the solid performance of its 320D predecessor, the new 320D Series 2 hydraulic excavator is an exceptionally reliable and highly productive machine that lowers operating costs through reduced fuel consumption and simplified routine maintenance. This machine features a new engine, powerful hydraulic system, durable main structures and a refined operator station. Depending on the region, the 320D can be configured with a standard or a long undercarriage.
Caterpillar´s new 320D Series 2 excavator is designed and manufactured with the customer in mind. With a robust engine that works with a low pressure fuel system with an electric governor, the 320D2 is suited for inferior fuel in emerging markets. This system is less susceptible to inferior fuel. This 7.01 litre engine system also contains an electric fuel priming pump circuit and is automatically activated to improve serviceability and reduce downtime.
How fuel-efficient is the 320D2 and which are the application areas? 320D2 is a versatile and robust machine in its range. It is configured in a way that is suitable for all applications.
With an Eco-Mode« power setting in this new engine system, this series of machine is capable of reducing the fuel consumption by up to 15 per cent in heavy duty application. This machine is easy on fuel and hard on dirt.
Cat 320D Series 2 comes with a smaller and high efficiency pilot pump and newly designed main pump that boasts a hydraulic efficiency increased by 3 per cent. Efficiency is increased by minimising extra gap between gears and gear case in order to reduce oil agitation.With the growing need in construction and quarry in India, we see a good demand from this segment and also from the retail segment for value proposition.
Can you elaborate on VisionLink and the benefits it offers to the end-user? The Cat 320D2 is equipped with PL522 which is a cellular-based Product Link and is equipped with the latest release of VisionLink« 2.7. This intuitive user interface provides customers a mobile optimised web application, the ability to schedule automated delivery of VisionLink reports, and remote access to on-board payload system information. The mobile application is available on iOS, BlackBerry, Android/Chrome and Windows operating systems. Functionality enables viewing the location of assets on a map, tracking scheduled services, viewing fault codes and open alerts, and accessing idle, working and runtime through a smartphone.
In addition, VisionLink now provides timely visibility to the information a business needs through daily, weekly and monthly reports scheduled in advance and delivered via email to those who need information. Cat Product Link is a robust remote monitoring and asset management solution, enabling powerful tools that transform data from an entire fleet into the essential information required to boost productivity, reduce costs and manage risks. VisionLink makes it easy for a manager to monitor data from the whole fleet and then to zoom in for a detailed look at individual assets.
At Caterpillar, we manufacture machines that last for the lifecycle of the machine. It is built to last a lifetime, as the machine can be used, refurbished, re-manned and made as good as new.
What are the demand drivers in the prevailing scenario? A growing global and Asia Pacific population needs more energy, water, roads, schools, housing, power systems, airports, dams, etc. Significant investments are taking place in India in 2014 for developing ports, airports, roads, railways and real estate. To give an example of the rising demand, the Union Cabinet recently approved a declaration of about 7,200 km of state roads as National Highways (NHs). There would also be adequate funds available for taking up improvement of the remaining existing NH network of 21,271 km, not covered under any programmes so far. Another example is a $700-million industrial town project being set up close to Chennai.
How positive is the growth sentiment from the retail segment, especially from plant hirers? The growth momentum of the equipment sector depends on the growth and outlook of the infrastructure industry. In general, globally, rental is an important component of the construction business. Contractors having several projects in hand find it difficult to buy a number of machines due to reasons such as increasing capital expenditure, and managing and operating fleet. Therefore, for a variety of short-term and long-term projects, contractors explore rental options than buying offhand. Caterpillar´s rental business model is an industry benchmark and the offering in terms of range, scope and breadth of services makes for true customer delight.
What are your India-specific strategies? The Caterpillar vision is to be recognised as the leader everywhere we do business around the world. Our strategy in India is to win by delivering valued quality products, services and solutions to our customers who provide the lowest total owning and operating lifecycle costs. This value proposition is enabled by our unmatched customer support through our dealer network partners - TIPL in the North and East; and GMMCO in the South and West of India.
320D2 is currently being manufactured in a state-of-the-art facility in Thiruvallur. All the assembly and test processes and procedures are world-class and in line with other Cat excavator manufacturing facilities around the globe.
Our long-term fundamental is to remain positive for the Asia-Pacific region and we are well-positioned to compete and win in this critical market.
Could you brief us on the value additions offered by CAT on product and service front? We offer Customer Service Agreements (CSAs) with the support of our dealers, where we handle some or all of the customer´s equipment management needs. Effectively executed CSAs have proven to be one of the best methods to lower customers´ total owning and operating cost, improve customer loyalty and increase dealers´ parts and service sales.
We provide tailor-made offerings to suit different customer requirements which are classified into several categories. We also offer services like rent to purchase, trading of existing machines, and short-term rentals.
With our strong and growing dealer coverage across India, we will be offering after sales and service for excavators. Most of the heavy fabricated components for after sales will be from the India distribution centre.
With a robust engine that works with a low pressure fuel system with an electric governor, the 320D2 is suited for inferior fuel in emerging markets.