We have not rushed into the market but have invested time to listen to the voice of the customer, to evolve world-class pro¡ducts and service offerings as a total package. This fills the gap between the customer's needs and what is offered by the existing players in the industry, says Kamal Bali, Chief Executive Officer, LeeBoy India. Excerpts from the interview.
Since your entry into the Indian market in 2010, how do you chart your success in terms of geogra¡phical penetration, and sales and market share?
The market response to the LeeBoy motor grader 785i has been extremely positive since its commercial launch in mid-2012, with LeeBoy already capturing over six per cent share of the Indian market in motor graders in 2012. These units have been deployed in India across sites located in Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and across global sites too, located in Maldives, Qatar and Sri Lanka.
The versatile motor grader 785i is a best-in-class product and is engineered to deliver power, performance and durability for all applications like building a road, cutting a ditch, moving mud or doing site work and fine grading.
What has been the response to your initiatives like PSC and ORM from the end user segments?
Continuous insights dialogues with our customers have only re-emphasised a core pillar of our business model, which is a comprehensive Post Sales Care (PSC) proposition. PSC for us at LeeBoy goes beyond just after-market support. It encompasses three critical areas of CRM, ORM and Training.
CRM: We offer the customers a direct and single-window interface from within LeeBoy India as part of our customer engagement framework.
ORM: The Operations-Repair-Maintenance (ORM) is our endeavour to deliver maximum machine availability by providing the customers with a professional solution for the operation and maintenance of this equipment at a fixed fee.
Training: Skilled manpower to operate and service these machines is an essential part of the CE ecosystem to ensuring that mechanisation and benefits of technology can be fully utilised. LeeBoy has invested in setting up an exclusive training school, The LeeBoy EDGE (School for Expertise Development, Growth & Excellence) where the Operator Technicians (OTSs) will undergo intensive training not just on operating the equipment competently, but also focus on preventive maintenance and troubleshooting to ensure a longer lifespan of the equipment, higher uptime and lower maintenance costs. We have also offered this training facility to our customers' operators and service technicians which is proving to be very beneficial to them.
What is the demand-supply scenario for motor graders for different tonnage and horse power?
Motor graders are mostly used for in the road construction and maintenance sector where the 125-174 hp range accounts for over 75 per cent of the market share. LeeBoy's 785i model which is a 150 hp has been able to meet the needs of this sector well. The government focus on infrastructure is a key enabler. While all the right signals are being given out by the government in recent times, there still exists a vast scope for the government to aid the industry and act as an enabler by bringing in the necessary reforms (land and financial reforms in particular), transparency and removing road blocks.
Also, the Indian customer is a discerning one. They are increasingly looking at ownership and lifecycle costs and hence reliable and sturdy construction equipment that are not only cost-effective but extremely productive with minimum downtime are the need of the hour.
Brief us on features inbuilt that makes the model energy/fuel efficient. At the core of the LeeBoy motor grader 785i is technology that is driven by innovative engineering and brought to life by only the best aggregates, proven globally, like Cummins, ZF, Dana Spicer, Walvoil, Casappa and Safim to name a few.
Fuel efficiency is something that has been taken care of right at the design stage of the 785i. Not only does the 785i uses an efficient Tier III (BS III) Cummins engine, it is also equipped with an axial piston pump with load independent post compensated, flow sharing valves with over-centre valves on all functions along with an electro hydraulic, computer controlled, variable speed (on demand) fan drive system, which has auto reversal as a standard feature. This hydraulic system provides exceptional responsiveness to multiple hydraulic functions and an improved fuel economy.
The fully automatic power transmission which is a standard feature in the 785i also offers probably the best heavy-duty, tandem power drive system and 6-speed automatic power-shift transmission, lock up clutch and stator freewheel. The automatic transmission optimises the fuel consumption.
How do you view the shift towards the health monitoring aspects of the machine?
There is a gradual movement towards monitoring the maintenance and health of the machine. This is pertinent for not only the big players but also the smaller ones as it helps proactively prevent breakdowns.
The 785i has always had an advanced electronic display via an electronic LCD display mounted in front of the steering column with multiple screens for unobstructed visibility of the operator. This display has critical gauges on the default screen, day/night modes, heat exchanger inlet temperature sensor parameters on alternate screen and service reminder warnings.
This is now being complemented by telematics that can show the location of the machine on Google Maps along with the fuel level, hours run, some engine parameters, faults, service records etc. This will enable LeeBoy and our customers to track and manage the machine's productivity, maintenance and health.
How do you look at the increasing competition in the grader market?
Our approach to the market is very clear. First, we are here for the long haul. Second, we are not here simply to produce stock and sell equipment. We have not rushed into the market but invested time to listen to the voice of the customer to evolve world-class products and service offerings as a total package that fills the gap between the customer's needs and what is offered by the existing players in the industry. The ORM initiative and the LeeBoy EDGE Training Academy are just two examples of some of our initiatives towards this.
So, while this is a highly competitive industry, we are confident that we would be able to create a niche with our cutting-edge products and innovative customer-centric approach, where our products and services will positively enhance our customers' productivity.
Fuel efficiency is something that has been taken care of right at the design stage of the 785i.