For many decades now, we have been proving in the market that all our products offer the lowest cost of operation. We have been able to do this for customers who operate our machines on a continuous basis, even up to over 20 hours, mostly in the mining and quarrying segments, says AM Muralidharan, President, Volvo CE India. Excerpts from the interview.
Is it lack of product differentiation that pushes you to innovate on value additions?
Not necessarily but I won´t say the product differentiation is not there anymore. As manufacturers, we continue to work on product differentiation and that is one of the reasons we recently launched the new D-series excavators.
How fuel-efficient is the D series excavators?
The new D-Series excavators from Volvo CE offer up to ten per cent greater fuel economy than their predecessors. The D-series offers greater efficiency and operator comfort through a new electro-hydraulic system and improved controllability. Increased power and digging force as well as faster cycle times offer operators the prospect of greater productivity. Compared to the previous models, the hydraulic pump flow has improved by up to five per cent while digging force, swing torque and tractive force have increased by as much as six per cent. Volvo´s unique integrated work mode system now includes the G4 mode for optimum fuel efficiency and machine performance. Operators can choose from a selection of five work modes idle, fine, general, heavy and power max mode ù to suit the task at hand.
What are the value additions on the service front?
At Volvo, we continue to offer more and more value additions both on the products and services front. For example in 2011, we launched Reman, hydraulic component remanufacturing; in 2012, we launched CareTrack, and conducted a lot of education programmes to create awareness among the customers. In 2013, we came up with the Customer Support Agreement (CSA). We also continue to offer more soft products to our customers. For example, the D-series excavators are available with a comprehensive choice of service plans from Volvo´s dedicated dealer network, ranging from routine wear inspections to full service agreements and eco operator training.
How do you look at concepts like faster ROIs, low lifecycle costs, etc?
For many decades now, we have been proving in the market that all our products offer the lowest cost of operation. We have been able to prove this for customers operating our machines on a continuous basis, even up to over 20 hours, mostly in the mining and quarrying segments. The customers value these concepts. So these concepts of faster ROIs and lower cost of operations is fit for medium to large-sized products. We also give product differentiation in the smaller size where the reliability and fuel consumption is very important even if a machine is used for maybe six hours a day.
Is the market of value-added features OEM driven?
It is not OEM-driven anymore, though it used to be. Today there is much more understanding among the customers on product applications and usage patterns, etc. If earlier, customers were worried about the initial investment, now they want to know the complete lifecycle of the machine. There is lot of awareness now.
In any market you have different type of customers. In the excavator segment, you have almost 50-60 per cent looking at the value additions for the long term, whereas 30-40 per cent still is looking at the initial investment.