LiuGong´s Pithampur plant, the first construction equipment (CE) manufacturing unit in India with 100 per cent FDI, is on track to become a leading manufacturer of CE in the country.
Guangxi LiuGong Machinery Co Ltd started its journey in 1958 with its impressive range of equipment. It is worthwhile to mention that LiuGong as a group has on offer 15 product lines including wheel loaders, excavators, bulldozers, motor graders, pavers, cold planers, skid steers, backhoe loaders, rollers, forklifts, truck-mounted cranes, crawler cranes, pipe layers, mining dump trucks and concrete equipment.
In 2009, the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chauhan laid the foundation stone of LiuGong India´s manufacturing facility at Pithampur, in presence of eminent dignitaries who included Kailash Vijaywargiya, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Arun Yadav, Ministry of Heavy Industry, and Zeng Guang´an, Chairman, LiuGong Group.
On entering the 44-acre premises, one is greeted by the LiuGong cultural and training centre which prominently displays LiuGong´s impressive Moto ¨WE NOT ONLY GO TO EXTREMES, WE DO OUR BEST WORK THERE¨ Within a short span of six years, despite all possible challenges faced by the start-up factory, the company has succeeded in establishing an impressive unit, replete with all the essential ingredients required for a world-class facility like a highly skilled workforce, state-of-the-art shop-floor, lean assembly line, in-process quality control, quality improvement through Kaizen, R&D, a spare parts depot, 100 per cent product testing prior to dispatch and also a LiuGong cultural and training centre.
The facility commenced production in 2009 starting with the assembly of LiuGong 3 and 5 tonne wheel loaders, and then in 2012, manufacturing of motor graders, in 2014 - manufacturing of 2 tonne loaders. Subsequent years saw the entire process reverse-engineered to add other required fabrication facilities. Currently, the extent of localisation is 30 per cent which includes all steel-fabricated items, tyres and rims along with hoses and hydraulic components and engines from Cummins India. All powertrains, axles, electronics and control systems are imported from China. The company is now implementing a revamp of its plant infrastructure to accommodate manufacture of the 922 hydraulic excavator from within the same facility.
Interestingly, the initial training is imparted to the dealers, technicians and operators by using scale models of LiuGong equipment working under various simulated operating conditions and applications. Thereafter, practical on-machine training is provided along with classroom sessions.
State-of-the-art manufacturing and testing
It was obvious during the visit that the equipment manufactured in the plant is rigorously tested. The test track conditions are close to the actual environment at project sites. As a matter of principle, LiuGong tests 100 per cent of its equipment; after initial testing, all non-conformities are addressed by a team of highly skilled technicians, prior to finishing and painting of the equipment and making them ready for dispatch to customers.
The manufacturing set-up comprises neat, clean, safe and well laid sheds starting from fabrication to final assembly in various stages. LiuGong strongly believes in visualisation of the process performance for all to see through numerous displays strategically placed in every area of production. It also uses standard easy-to-use templates for ensuring manufacturing accuracy at each stage followed by in-process quality checks, which are documented in the related tags.
A vigilant Prasad Vaishnav, Director Operations, an industry veteran, maintains a strict control on all aspects of productivity and quality. He says that the current assembly system is under modernisation to make it lean and adaptable to accommodate different family of products like wheel loaders and motor graders from the same assembly line to meet increasing business volumes in line with long term strategy. The transition time is estimated at one year without compromising the existing production requirements. Initially excavators will also be delivered from existing facilities (after revamping of facilities). Later, as the production volumes grow, there is adequate land to build new production sheds.
The entire operations and aftermarket support would not have been possible in the absence of a high-end spare parts depot within its premises. Maintaining an adequate parts inventory, it delivers parts to the end-customers through the pan-India dealer network of LiuGong. For regular monitoring of parts response time and other related parameters, the team is in a mode of continuous improvement.
Driven by a strong and committed leadership and having all the ingredients in place, LiuGong India is on the right track to face the future of the CE industry in India and export markets. Its quality deliverables are designed to meet global standards of the group to achieve the best possible customer satisfaction. As it is, the company exports to countries like Oman, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Togo from this facility, and it has more growth potential.
Committed leadership is the key success factor
¨Face the market and competition to pull my whole system to meet India boom or India era.¨
- Wu Song, Managing Director
¨Within two years, we will develop this facility to deliver multiple products to our customers by completely revamping our manufacturing processes with lean manufacturing systems.¨
- Prasad Vaishnav, Director - Operations
¨Our mandate is do market research to select which equipment models from LiuGong´s range will best suit the Indian customers; assist in improving the existing products and localisation.¨
- Srinivas Rayudu, DGM - R&D
¨Our major task is to develop as many components (as possible) in India. We have now achieved close to 30-35 per cent localisation wherein the vendors are audited jointly with QC and R&D departments.¨
- Chandrashekhar Patle, DGM - P&L
¨We maintain adequate inventory, comprising fast moving, maintenance and insurance parts for all equipment supplied in India, which are in turn distributed through our dealer channels.¨
- Krishnapal Singh Tanwar, Head - Spare Parts
¨My challenge is to work out the best possible product costing, considering all the tax regulations in our country combined with forex variations.¨
- Paresh Agrawal, DGM - IMD
¨Our focus is on people development. If we succeed in this critical aspect, we will be able to deliver everything and also attract talent from outside.¨
- Vijay Kumar Singh, Head - Admin, HR, IT
¨At LiuGong we believe in quality assurance instead of quality control.We are continuously transitioning towards assurance in line with our objective of exceeding customer satisfaction.¨
- F Muthukumar, DGM - Quality Assurance