Abhijit Gupta, Managing Director, CASE India
Excon continues to remain the most anticipated and sought after event in the CE industry of entire South Asia. Pointing towards a possible revival of the industry, Abhijit Gupta, Managing Director, CASE India, elaborates on the company´s plans for Excon 2015 and beyond.
What is the impact of industry slowdown on CASE?
Last few years have been tough on the construction equipment (CE) industry in general. The total industry volume has gone down across segments and has strained many organisations in this space. However, as the maxim goes that adversity is the true measure of the character, CASE Construction, with the support of its parent CNH Industrial group, has utilised this slowdown to prepare itself for the next imminent growth wave. This involved investment in research and development, manufacturing quality, process improvements and in the launch of new market leading models.
This has manifested in the launch of:
On the manufacturing and processes front, we have implemented the world class manufacturing principles in a big way and this is reflected in a much superior quality offering from our India operations for the customers across the globe including Indian customers.
What is the current demand for backhoe loaders and compactors? What is the outlook for these two by 2020?
The highest demand in the construction equipment sector comes from loader backhoes, due to their versatile cost-effective usage, making India the largest loader backhoe market in the world, with annual sales to the tune of 20,000-22,000 units in present times and expected to reach 34,000 units by 2020.
Vibratory compactors is another major equipment category which are a reflection of the progress in the road sector of the country. CASE has strongly maintained its leadership in the compactor segment which is likely to clock around 2,100 to 2,400 units in 2015 and is expected to exceed 3,000 units in annual sales by 2020.
Brief us your view on the Make-in-India concept. Will this provide value-for-money to your customers? What are your plans in this direction?
The government´s ´Make In India´ concept is surely going to garner more interest in the Indian manufacturing sector with concomitant rise in the employability for the masses, which is already showing some traction with the positive intent shown by large MNCs including CNH Industrial.
There is an opportunity to start using India as a manufacturing base in line with the government initiative of Make In India. For this, CASE has introduced globally followed ´World Class Manufacturing´ processes at the Indian CE plant at Pithampur. We have started exports to developed as well as developing countries now that reflects the quality of the products. Going forward, the quality products from Pithampur plant will not only open many export markets for us, but will also benefit the Indian customers with a superior quality offering.
What are the latest product/technology trends in compactors and backhoe loaders?
Our new range of CASE EX Series of loader backhoe in 76/86/96 HP with Fiat Powertrain Technologies engines are highly fuel efficient and reliable. We have also increased the cabin space for the operator by approximately 36 per cent enabling better operator comfort and higher productivity. The ergonomics of components have also been improved making them more accessible and the machine easily serviceable. With regards to compactor segment, CASE has made the following changes and provided market with the upgraded compactors:
Compaction forces: Our compactors develop the highest forces for desired compaction achieved in minimum number of passes. For tandem rollers, the Case 752 develops forces of about 25 tonne while Case 450DX develops 6 tonne. The Case 1107 DX features a compaction force of 34 tonne which is the highest in its class.
Steerability and curb clearance: Turning radius of our machines is the lowest in their class which results in high manoeuvrability in constricted spaces Drum shell thickness: High drum shell thickness results in a robust drum with longer life. Drum shell thickness for CASE 752 is 17 mm while for CASE 450DX it is 12 mm. We also have the highest in its class drum shell thickness of 32 mm in CASE 1107DX Advanced engine and hydraulics: The CASE compactors are equipped with engines that deliver excellent fuel efficiency and add to the machine´s durability. In CASE currently the engines used in vibratory compactors comply with BS III emission norms.
How do you assess the performance of CASE India in 2015? What is the expected growth by end of this fiscal?
Over the past 25 years, earlier as a technology provider, then as a joint venture partner of an Indian company, and finally as a wholly owned subsidiary of CNH Industrial, CASE India has consistently remained a market leader in the vibratory compactor segment and the only company to have sold over 7,500 units in India. With more than 20,000 loader backhoes sold in the country, CASE India is also a top tier player in this product segment.
The year 2015 has been another tough year for the industry as it becomes the third consecutive year of decline in the overall industry numbers. However, 2015 also marks a decline in the rate of de-growth on a YoY basis, which is an indication of certain green shoots in 2016 for the industry in general. The performance of CASE has been in line with the industry and as per our expectations. We have strengthened and improved our market share in the loader backhoe and the vibratory compactor segment on a YoY basis which is a reflection of the inherent strength which CASE India has established over the past 25 years of existence in India.
What are the major challenges and opportunities?
The CE and infrastructure industry faces challenges such as import cost, legal approvals, unavailability of a clear policy framework and allocation of limited funds to infrastructure which cause limitation to match the global standards. In order to boost the sector, Central Government has initiated work on making the policy framework much more transparent and smooth, such as electronic tendering and auctions, opening up of certain sectors to privatisation, etc.
We expect the government to allow a National Registration for construction equipment, removing dual taxation by recognising leasing as either a ´good´ or a ´service´ and setting up of skill development institutes for construction equipment operators that will help in greater penetration of construction equipment in the Indian infrastructure development. Additionally, the Central Government can provide incentives for infrastructure companies to adhere to quality and timelines of a project while moving away from L1 criteria as the sole selection criterion.
What are your plans for Excon 2015? Are there any product launches?
CASE will be showcasing its entire gamut of products in Excon. The industry leaders and customers will also be able to view a variety of attachments which can be mounted on equipment. There will be our own branded rock breaker and trenching bucket which have been a growing demand from our customers in this part of the country.
Expectations from Government