As the market leader in skid-steer loader market in India, Doosan Bobcat has taken up various initiatives to further expand its reach in the market. Manjunath S, General Manager and Sales Head, Doosan Bobcat India, shares more on the market and the company's future plans.
How is the performance this year? What are the market development plans?
We have done better this year in skid-steer loaders (SSL) as we are about to surpass the annual sales target. As the market leader of SSL, we have created more new markets and segments with the help of various attachments. We have introduced a Segment Application Market Management (SAMM) concept and a designated SAMM demo truck which could carry S 450 with seven different attachments. This demo truck covered all across India to give demonstrations at all significant potential pockets to provide awareness to customers about the versatility of SSL. After the completion of one round pan India, we are planning to repeat the activity once again and cover the entire country. This is one of the initiatives we are doing for market creation and reach in India. Another aggressive step is providing attachments to customers on rental basis through our dealers. Buying more attachments along with the machine by single customer needs higher initial cost of investment, which may not required for rental customers. Buying on rent will help the customer do more jobs and increase working hours of SSL with less investment.
What are the key features offered in your range of SSLs?
We are taking our skid steer loaders towards the most versatile ones. It can do a lot of multi-purpose jobs which a backhoe loader cannot do due to narrow work spaces. Our main endeavour is to increase the number of working hours of SSL per day, so that it would increase rental income to hiring customers which can be done by using various attachments for different applications. For skid-steer loaders, Bobcat is offering more than 70 different attachments. You name the application, we have the solution.
What are your future expansion plans?
We plan to improve our market share for skid-steer loaders by selling more attachments so that SSL could work for more hours, which would increase income for hiring customers.
We have supplied 38 skid-steer loaders to Patna Municipality recently. Chennai also has 60 units of S450 Bobcat SSLs working for the last eight years with complete operations and maintenance contract (AMC). We want to be the top player in the compact equipment market with skid-steer loader and mini excavator. Our new plant near Chennai will be ready for production in October 2019 and we would also start to offer backhoe loaders to India market. We also plan to localise the production of skid-steer loaders in India. The demand of small machines like SSL is rapidly increasing with urbanisation where small machines can enter the space constraint areas and do the jobs easily.
What are the major challenges faced?
Today municipalities are investing in skid-steer loaders and purchasing low-cost machines by seeing technical specification on paper through tender on L1 basis. In fact, they should buy equipment after thorough validation by seeking references and history before making purchase decision, instead of looking at initial cost alone which would be waste of money because of non-performance. If you want good equipment which would last long and perform well, meeting the purpose in at least 7-8 years, you need to buy equipment with good track record.
What are your suggestions on improving the market for SSL?
Customs duty exemption for government purchases would help the government procure better quality and reliable equipment which would be handy to perform the job at a reasonable cost and high speed.