We at Putzmeister spend a lot of resources on educating customers about the importance of pumpable concrete. We regularly organise customer awareness programmes, especially in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities to educate customers, says Wilfried Theissen, Managing Director, Putzmeister Concrete Machines. Excerpts from the interview.
How do you assess the recent budget and its positive implication on the CE sector?
Actually, we had high hopes from this year's budget. The construction industry is not doing very well and we expected that some significant measures would be announced. But there was no such significant announcement or policy announcement. In my opinion, it was a normal budget. It was a balanced budget but we feel that it did not contain any special scheme for the CE sector.
What sort of overall growth were you expecting for concrete pumps?
Last year was not very encouraging for our industry. This year we expected a growth to happen in concrete pumps market. But to our disappointment, we have not seen that happening till date. The first quarter is almost over and the situation is very much the same as last year. Now we are hoping that April onwards, the demand for concrete pumps should pick up.
How do you look at the potential for concrete pumps from the RMC segment?
RMC segment has emerged as one of the big customers for concrete pumps. Due to many benefits offered by RMC, people are fast moving towards it; especially in Tier 1 cities, the RMC segment has emerged as a very big customer for modern concreting equipment. We consider RMC segment as a very important vertical for our business.
What is your take on the increasingly intense competition?
In my view, the market for modern construction machines is bound to increase in India. There will be enough market for all companies to have their own share. But only those companies who have good back up of spare parts and service, will be able to sustain themselves. Customers will not prefer to buy from companies who operate like fly-by-night operators by dumping machines and not providing service and parts support.
Is there any shift in terms of technology trends and user patterns in the concrete pumping industry?
People are willing to upgrade from stationary pumps to boom pumps. They now understand that the benefit of using boom pumps is more than just the cost factor as compared to stationary pump. Also other concrete placing equipment like placing booms and telebelts are catching the attention of customers very fast.
Is the choking of concrete pumps still a major issue?
The problem of choking of concrete still exists in Indian market. It is not because of any issues with the concreting equipment, but is primarily due to the lack of awareness and knowledge about pumpable concrete. We at Putzmeister spend a lot of resources on educating customers about the importance of pumpable concrete. We regularly organise customer awareness programmes, especially in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.
What advantages does the boom pump have over stationary and line pumps?
Boom pumps are very easy to use. There is no time waste in installing the pipelines at job sites. Also, the number of manpower required to operate and manage a boom pump is drastically low as compared to stationary pump. A skilled and trained operator can easily operate the whole operation of a boom pump. The boom pump is mounted on a truck, so it can very easily move to different job sites on its own without the requirement of towing.
How have you addressed the issue of skilled technicians and operators for these products?
We train operators at our factory and also at job sites on our machines. Then we provide employment to these technicians and operators at various customer sites.
Tell us about your after sales and service.
We have parts warehouses all over India, so that we can supply parts very fast to our customers. Our master warehouse is in the Goa factory. We have service helpline numbers on which customers can log their service requests. Our engineers are posted all over India, so that lead time in reaching the site is less.