Manitowoc has more than a hundred years of experience in manufacturing cranes.Our global competence means we produce cranes of the highest quality that have a proven track record on an international scale, says Raman Joshi, President, Manitowoc Cranes India. Excerpts from the interview.What has been Manitowoc strategy in the not too promising current scenario?Like any market, fluctuations in demand and changes in activity are normal.But we have worked in India for decades and have a well-established presence.That is not going to disappear overnight.We have established long-standing relationship with our dealers and customers.Our brand is well known and our cranes are working on some of the largest projects currently underway in the country. While demand is not necessarily on the rise, it remains at a sustained level and we expect this to continue with a good outlook for low-level growth in the next year. How has the company been addressing issues like devaluation of rupee, high cost of funding, and the ever-increasing cost of input materials?The changing value of currency, struggles to secure funding and increasing costs of materials are concerns around the world, not just in India. As a global corporation that operates in just about every country, we are used to dealing with such issues. While they have impacted demand a bit, we are using our purchasing power to try and secure the best possible materials prices and to work with local finance partners to try and help customers secure the funding they need to invest in Manitowoc products. Considering the intensive competition, and not-so-rosy demand-supply scenario, what has been Manitowoc's focus in providing value additions, especially in terms of service support?Manitowoc Crane Care is a big differentiator for our company and it's a major reason that customers invest in us.Our latest development with Crane Care is a new telephone Contact Centre in India that gives customers 24/7 support for their Manitowoc crane.We also use superior engineering, innovative design and excellent customer service to ensure customers choose Manitowoc. When do you expect a revival in the market and which verticals are expected to drive the demand?We do not feel that the Indian crane market is suffering too badly, but it's fair to say it's slightly depressed. India remains one of the world's leading developing markets and there is a huge variety of large-scale projects, many of which our cranes are already working on.Projects are from a variety of verticals but energy and infrastructure are the most active and are likely to remain so. Is there a shift in trends towards application-based cranes in India?Traditional pick-and-carry cranes will remain popular in India in the foreseeable future.However, as the market continues to develop and projects become more ambitious, companies demand more from their machines.They need cranes that can perform larger lifts and a wider variety of lifts.This can mean choosing a stronger and more versatile all-terrain crane over what may seem a more cost-effective option that is far more limited in its capability. What is your take on the existing safety norms? Brief us on the steps initiated by Manitowoc.Different countries impose different levels of legislation, and these can even vary from region to region.More can always be done to improve safety, but it must be led by the government and policed correctly. As a manufacturer, we play our part too, ensuring our products are built to the highest possible standards.As a global corporation, we implement the same levels of safety procedures in all our factories.Our factory in infrastructure, for example, features some of the latest technology and precision machinery to ensure its manufacturing processes meet the standards we have set for ourselves. How do you address the issue of lack of skilled operators? Are there any training programmes initiated by Manitowoc? Our training programme offered through Manitowoc Crane Care is seeing increased levels of students year after year. In fact, at bC India 2013, we will even be running training courses in our booth. We offer a range of training programmes for different skill levels and for different disciplines – technician, operator, etc.There is still the issue of lack of skilled operators in India but it is changing and we expect it to become less of an issue in the coming years. Tell us about the range of cranes (crawlers, all terrain tyre-mounted cranes and truck-mounted telescopic cranes) offered by Manitowoc.Manitowoc Cranes' product offerings include Manitowoc lattice-boom crawler cranes, Potain tower cranes, Grove mobile hydraulic cranes and National Crane telescoping cranes which are built, sold and serviced at multiple locations on five continents. Each product is designed with features that meet the requirements of differing regions, including international transportation regulations, operational simplicity and efficient performance in the most challenging environments. In India, our cranes are working in industries such as power, infrastructure, construction, residential building and steel plants. For power projects, we offer crawler cranes with capacities of 80 tonne up to 2,300 tonne. Based on customer requirements, we have 4-450 tonne mobile cranes available (all-terrain, rough-terrain, truck-mounted cranes). In India, we also have a strong partnership with Tractor India (TIL) who, besides being our authorised dealer for mobile and crawler cranes, also manufacture Grove rough terrain cranes under licence. Manitowoc's Potain's facility in Pune produces a range of tower cranes ranging from 5 tonne maximum capacity with a 50 m maximum jib length to a 25 tonne maximum capacity with an 80 m jib.What is your take on the unrestricted import of cranes, especially used ones? There was a move from the government to restrict the import, and put age restrictions. How do you view this?The word 'unrestricted' in the world of cranes rings alarm bells. Cranes are big machines that lift big loads. By nature, cranes have to undertake potentially dangerous lifts, so it is imperative that the correct equipment is used at all times. Any new legislation that ensures cranes being used are fit for purpose is something we welcome. We should also say that age is not necessarily always the issue; the real focus should be whether a crane is fit for its purpose. Cranes must be maintained and inspected regularly to ensure they are safe to operate and can perform as expected. Some of our cranes continue working for more than 40 years because they are properly and carefully looked after. But if a crane is no longer fit for its purpose, it should be removed from service immediately. How different is your product from the competition?Manitowoc has more than a hundred years of experience in manufacturing cranes. Our global competence means we produce cranes of the highest quality that have a proven track record on an international scale. Our design teams work hard to develop cranes that suit the latest demands from different markets, be it application or performance. And our technology division ensures cranes are easy to operate but filled with the latest innovations. This range of capabilities produces powerful lifting machines suited to any job with the safety and backing of a global support network that ensures our cranes keep working longer.What is the potential from the hiring and rental segment? We are not involved in the rental side of the business. We leave that to our customers in most markets, but we support them and help them as we can. We believe the rental sector in India will continue to grow. How do you look at the growth potential three years down the line, and how competent is Manitowoc India to meet all challenges?As India confirms its place as one of the world's leading developing economies, we are confident that the next three years will see even more projects get underway and present great opportunities for our business. As projects get bigger and schedules get shorter, we continue to develop cranes of the highest standard that are not only productive but also durable, so they can work harder for longer and meet the demanding challenges of the future. Our company is very well placed in India with factories, customer support offices and an experienced dealer network. We will continue to grow and develop but we already have the structure in place here to be a success.