Spartan has always been a trendsetter in bringing hoists with world class designs and internati¡onal safety features. Our multi-functionality approach to hoists has put us in the big league of innovative, value added products, says Vikram Mehta, Managing Director, Spartan Engineering. Excerpts from the interview.
What has been the performance of Spartan Engineering Industries in the past three quarters of 2013?
The economic scenario as you are aware, is not too healthy for any business as of now; in the construction and infrastructure industry, it is not very supportive at all. The hike in dollar currency has further dampened sustainability. Many projects in India are either halted or closed down due to the slowdown or government policies. But I believe these situations test the best against the rest and the best will come out a winner. We have taken this slowdown as an opportunity to bring in new machines which will revolutionise the way man and material handling solutions are provided. We are sure we will pass over this tough time with our soon to be launched promising range of man and material movement equipment.
Have your products proved to be as eco-friendly as cost-effective?
Even if we are leaders in bar cutting and bending machines, we have never stopped and relaxed. We have developed a new range of cutting and bending machines with value additions and rugged design. Other than these machines, we have a couple of technologically advanced man and material handling hoists. Spartan has always been the trendsetter in bringing world class designs with international safety features in hoists. Our multi-functionality approach to hoists has put us in the league of innovative, value added products. Many fabricated and unsafe machines have been in the market for a long time. Many accidents and mishaps on construction sites have been making headlines for some time now. Indian construction sites see various hazardous and unsafe methods of construction, in order to save on cost and unskilled labour.
We have identified all this and have come up with these machines which have numerous safety features for both the material and labour. Our machines are eco-friendly on various fronts of energy consumption. The Unique uni-case gear box design ensures less wear and tear in gear box and low noise during operation. The gear box and motor used is one of the best in industry, delivering 94 per cent efficiency. It has a minimum of less than six per cent loss in power conversion, has and a highly efficient 9.2 KW motor, which ensures low power consumption.
How has the fall of the rupee impacted Spartan's business operation?
The fall of the rupee has certainly impacted Spartan as it has done many other companies. We have already taken some steps. We have focused on the manufacture of indigenous machines and parts. Thus there will be minimal dependence on imports and the constant rupee rate fluctuations. We have initiated various actions like revamping the manufacturing processes at our Atgaon plant on the Mumbai-Nashik highway. We are also extending the current factory at Atgaon for tower crane manufacturing. We have invested and upgraded our manufacturing facilities by adding CNC machines for precision in production of critical parts like shafts, gears, etc. For a better and long lasting finish, we have installed a shot blasting and painting booth. A lot of such in-house manufacturing activities would certainly make us less dependent on market fluctuations.
What are the special features of the products launched recently?
We have taken various steps taken to make our cutting and bending machines more efficient, economical and with world class safety features. We have re-engineered the machines to sell at the most competitive price, too, thereby increased savings on initial cost, operating cost and maintenance costs. We have considerably reduced spares rates and further offer more discounts, after signing the Spare Rate Contract. We insist on our customers signing the contract, which would save them time, money and unwanted paperwork. We are seeing a positive response from our customers and hope to further evolve.
Please brief us on your operators training programmes and other related services.
We are amongst the few companies who have a fully dedicated Customer Delight Department. AMC (Annual Maintenance Contracts) and PMC (Preventive Maintenance Clinics) are conducted for all our machines for better life and less downtime for the machines. Spartan has recruited and trained more than 150 engineers spread across India and have armed them with bikes to reach sites immediately. We conduct operator training programmes at our customers` sites on a periodic basis. Our engineers are well trained; we have various presentation kits for every product, which is shared with them and every minute feature is explained to them, the safety norms of the machines as well as how to avoid breakdowns and to increase the life of machine. So far, we have received various acknowledgements for the same.
What are Spartan's plans for Excon?
We plan to launch a couple of multi-functional man and material handling hoists at Excon 2013. I would like to introduce our whole new range of material and passenger hoists: the SPM 100 and 150, which is a Spartan passenger hoist with 1 and 1.5 T carrying capacity machines; the SMH 100 and 150, which are a Spartan material hoist with 1 and 1.5 T carrying capacity machines. Research and feedback from more than 500 customers using our material hoists for more than eight years have inspired us to introduce these machines. The multi-functionality of our machines has been the main feature of our machines. By multi-functionality, we mean our machines can carry various types of material used at construction sites. The cage can carry material like sand, mortar, cement bags, etc.
The revolutionary horizontal rebar attachment can carry various sizes up to 9 m length rebars. The roof attachment can carry ten to 12 labourers at various heights, and all these at the price of a single machine. Hence, it is the best alternative to the expensive tower crane, and also saves on purchasing, erection and dismantling costs. Our design team has studied and researched many Indian and European machines, and this is the result of our survey and learning. We have erected these machines at various sites in India, on a test basis, and received very positive and motivating feedback.