Started operations in India in April 2013 joining hands with Apollo Group, Ammann Group has come a long way in a short span. Hans-Christian Schneider, CEO, Ammann Group shares more on the Group's operations in Indian market and the way forward.
When did Ammann Group enter Indian market and how has been the journey so far?
Ammann Group entered India in April 2013 by forming a joint venture with Apollo Group. The journey so far has been smooth, with customers in India accepting Ammann- and Apollo-branded products wholeheartedly for their quality, performance and after-sales support. These customers are seeing the overall value of the products and acting accordingly.
How important is the Indian market for Ammann Group?
The Indian market is a priority for the Ammann Group, and you need to look only at the recent investments to prove that point. We have established a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, which is a great physical manifestation of that commitment. But we are also continually working to strengthen after-sales support and make sure it's easier for our customers to access. Training is another investment we made to help our customers improve their profitability.
What has been the company's investment so far in India?
The transformation of the Apollo facility in Mehsana, near Ahmedabad, began in 2014 and was completed this April. All told, the location now houses manufacturing facilities, administrative offices, a training centre, a compactor testing centre and a painting and sandblasting shop. The 120,000 sq m facility will employ
The first phase was initiated with the partnership of Ammann and Apollo and included construction of two halls for the manufacture of asphalt-mixing plants for the Indian market. That portion of the upgrade was completed two years ago.
The second phase, which was just completed, has been even more extensive. Old production halls were removed and replaced with new buildings. Additional structures were built to house administrative staff and accommodate key product training
All production is now occurring in the new, state-of-the-art facility. The expansion also provides an opportunity to include several outside operations into a single location.
Manufacturing for both local and export markets includes all Apollo asphalt-mixing plants, pavers and related products. Ammann products that will be manufactured at the facility include ARX 91 and ARS 121 compactors; AFT 500 pavers; ValueTec and UniBatch asphalt-mixing plants; and core plant components. In addition, Ammann Elba concrete-mixing plants will be manufactured at the facility.
The production facilities feature better layouts, and therefore higher efficiency. The processes are more technologically advanced as well, with modern robotics used for welding as one example. Customers will see products delivered even more quickly because of the increased efficiency. The robotics processes, as well as a new paint shop, are expected to improve quality.
Could you explain your association with Apollo Group? How did this help the brand Ammann to consolidate presence in India?
Ammann India is a joint venture between the Ammann Group and Apollo. Both parties have specific strengths in road construction plants, machinery and equipment. Ammann is a global leader in equipment for sustainable road construction and Apollo is the market leader in road construction equipment in India, well known for its 'optimum value for investment products'. This combination provides many benefits to Indian
and global customers. In fact, this joint venture has put the Ammann Group into the Indian market's leadership position in road construction equipment.
Could you elaborate on the new integrated plant that was inaugurated recently in Ahmedabad?
A complete new manufacturing facility has been built by demolishing the old factories to streamline the material flow, add new processes like laser cutting, structural steel processing, submerged arc welding boom stations, robotic welding, world-class paint shops for all manufacturing lines - and more - to ensure the highest productivity and quality through process improvement.
How do you look at the current construction industry scenario in India? What are the challenges you faced in the market?
The road construction industry in India is buoyant with the government's emphasis on road building, backed by the investments that the government is committing to roadsû direct as well as through the public-private partnership model. The main challenge is to retain our leadership status in a highly competitive environment.
What is the scenario of technology adoption in Indian construction projects? What is the customers' approach toward new technologies?
Technology adoption in India is rapid with the government forming expert committees with eminent academicians and industry experts to recommend the latest technologies that can be adopted for road construction in India. Customers' approach to new technologies is positive, and we offer technologies that benefit all.
What are the emerging opportunities for Ammann Group in Indian construction industry?
There are many opportunities. If I had to highlight a few, I would say emerging opportunities include high-end asphalt batch plants, mid-size tracked pavers and compaction equipment as the new opportunities for Ammann Group
How is Ammann Group gearing up to take benefit from the new market opportunities?
Ammann India is fully prepared to take advantage of the opportunities by offering true value for customers with products that are future ready. The modern manufacturing facility set up by Ammann India to contribute to the Prime Minister's goal of Make in India will mean the latest European technology products will be available to the Indian customers at affordable prices. We feel it is an industry poised for growth, and we look forward to helping our customers take advantage of these opportunities.