We have a roadmap which is spread out for almost two years in terms of new product introduction. We have been following that roadmap and you will see launches with more variants of the boom pump and various specifications, for both the Indian and overseas markets, says R Nandagopal, Chief Executive Officer, Construction Equipment Business, Greaves Cotton. Excerpts of the interview.
Brief us on 37 m pump launched during Excon 2013.
The 37 m three-axle truck-mounted boom pump, GCP3709Z is first of its kind. The four-arm Z-fold type boom offers increased flexibility and manoeuverability in areas where space is a constraint. It is best suited for mega projects such as airports, metro projects, monorails, flyovers and high rise infrastructure and residential projects, and provides superior productivity and pumping efficiency, thereby ensuring faster completion of projects, reduced down-time and higher output.
What are the unique features of GCP3709Z?
In terms of features, the first thing we have done is to place ourselves slightly different. The industry spec is now 36 m and we have a pump which is 37 m; in terms of hydraulics, it is state-of-the-art; also for operational ease, we have a very convenient and handy operation which is based on a joystick operation mode. So we have moved up in the value chain and we look forward to this being the game-changer in the industry.
Keeping in line with our product philosophy of introducing products that address specific market demands, the boom pump is designed to provide functional superiority and ease of use. With the Z-fold section of the boom, operators have a myriad of options for placement while shooting concrete up to 37 m vertically, and 33 m horizontally.It has a folding height of 3.95 m for low overhead conditions and a slewing range of 370o to suit demanding job sites. The pipeline used is of DN-125 mm diameter. GCP3709Z comes with a friendly radio remote controlled operating system along with options to switch from slow to fast boom operations.
What has been Greaves' performance in the concrete equipment segment?
We have strengthened our sales network and created a more focused sales network where we have bifurcated our manpower product-wise. Our market share in transit mixers has moved up quite significantly but the volume of mixers has dropped so dramatically that even an increase in market share has not been able to make up the business losses. That is why overall, in spite of doing better on the market share, we are at slightly lower levels than last year. Q3 and Q4 may see post-monsoon activity picking up but economy-wise, nothing dramatically different is expected.
What is the potential from the export front?
Our product portfolio is a substantial one, and that has brought an increase in market play in the Indian market. We have also started to export batching plants and pumps. We have always sold transit mixers well in neighbouring markets. Now, we have started to look at more aggressively at East Africa, Kenya, and Tanzania, as also South-east Asia. We have sent out our first transit mixer to Thailand and we expect repeat orders from there.
Has the business potential for concrete equipment for RMC picked up?
The batching plant market has actually grown. RMC players have realised they need to get into Tier I and Tier 2 cities, and they have started focusing on those places. I know one of the RMC majors who has made investments in places like Coimbatore, Madurai, Cochin, and Mangalore. The market for concrete pumps has also grown. So, we feel that once our new product stabilises, then we will be able to push up our volumes in Q3 and Q4, in those markets. The market has already started to accept our new range of concrete products.
What will be the growth drivers?
I think the entire industry is looking forward to a revival of sentiment and infrastructure. Whichever government comes, they have no choice but to make sure that infrastructure growth kicks off again. We are hoping that it will happen as soon as Q3 of next year. And 2015-16 should be a good year for India.
So Greaves is fully geared to meet the demand?
Yes, we have sufficient capacity for meeting a market size which is double the current size.
Have you invested big, especially in the production of the boom pump?
In capacity terms, we do not need to make major investments. Even for boom pump production, more than investing in capacity, we have tried to optimise our existing capacity utilisation. We have done a lot of work in terms of streamlining the floor, manufacturing process bringing in better concepts in terms of manufacturing technology more precision, repeatability of quality, better processes and work methods. We have actually generated capacity from our existing plants even for putting this new line in place.
This way, we are very comfortable for the next two years in terms of not having to make big investments. Of course, we have made certain investments for improving quality and processes and for material handling methodologies.
Are there more product launches on the anvil?
We have a roadmap which is spread out for almost two years in terms of new product introduction. We have been following that roadmap and you will see launches with more variants of the boom pump and various specifications, for both the Indian and overseas markets.