The next five years will see a lot of changes in the Indian trucking industry and the one who is more innovative is going to lead the market,´ says Sudhir Chaudhary, General Manager - Sales, Hyva (India). Excerpts from the interview...
Under mining, construction and ODC segments, what are your major products and services for HD trucks?
In the mining overburden, we have developed products on various platforms, which are suitable for 6x4, 8x4 and 10x4 chassis platforms on rigid trucks. Overburden also comprises abrasive materials for which we have developed rock bodies. Today, we have rock bodies of various configurations in different capacities - starting from 12 cu m to 24 cu m and chassis platforms of 6x4, 8x4 and 10x4. With these solutions, we are trying to bring down the total cost of ownership for the customer where earlier they had to use dumper trucks, which was very expensive. Now there is a solution with rigid trucks on 8x4 and 10x4, which would replace the dumper. For coal applications, we have developed a series of high volume bodies for transporting coal to the power plant or transporting imported coal from port to power plant.
Brief us on your new tipping solution that you are about to launch globally - Alpha Series?
Being a market leader, we need to innovate and bring in new things. We have developed a new technology for hydraulic cylinders. We design these technologies, keeping in mind that all our stakeholders are able to gain out of this as Indian customers look for more benefits in terms of value for money. We have done something which will increase his/her revenue on a per day basis. The cylinder could be made more effective on per-day basis and will help generate more revenue for the customer.
From an OEM perspective, who sells a fully built tipper, we have done some innovations on how they can reduce the cost of the tipper unit. From Hyva perspective, we have brought in new technologies, materials, and an efficient way of working, so that it will bring in all the three stakeholders together.
What capacity of trucks will feature this solution? When will this be launched in India?
In India, we have been testing some of these cylinders for more than a year. It has been pretty successful in the Indian context and shall be in the market pretty soon. We are approaching selected customers as we are looking at a series of cylinders for the entire capacity range. We approach OEMs depending on the kind of application and the OEM customer who is present in that application.
Has the slowdown impacted your sales performance?
The slowdown has affected our business. But our customers have been good to us, which means we have [relatively] not been impacted much as some of our competitors. This is because, when downturn hit, customers were more concerned about the quality of the product. Factors such as maintenance cost and downtime erode customers´ profitability during slowdown. The high interest cost also makes it important that the tipper is reliable and durable in various applications. Here the customer finds that Hyva products add much more value to him. What we offer is not just a product, but a complete range of service system and back-up support everywhere in the country. If the end customer has a problem with a hydraulic or a tipper, he first contacts a Hyva service person in the field. We have a very strong network across India.
How do you look at the growth potential in the coming years?
The new Government at the Centre has focussed a lot on infrastructure development. This has bought a lot of growth potential for tipper truck industry. The Government has also declared its intention to increase road development substantially, which in the past five years has been languishing due to various issues. So, we really see the new Government´s intent to push it hard and give clearances. Once the road infrastructure develops, the economy related to roads also goes up. So, road is one of the key factors, which will stimulate the economy.
We also see the Government´s emphasis on power projects. Once power generation goes up, coal mining also should improve. Since India has surplus deposits of coal, thermal power plants would be the most looked at power projects. The iron ore mining sector, which has been gripped in various scams and litigation over the last 2-3 years, will see some doors open in the next six months or up to a year. Iron ore mining itself will come back to its earlier glory. This will spur demand for tippers. The manufacturing sector is also going up.
Elaborate on your transport efficiency solutions with TQM approach.
Total Quality Management (TQM) approach is something we practice in all facets and it starts right from our design stage itself. We design the product based on the trends in the markets and the usage patterns of the customer. So, the basic design itself is robust enough as it will be able to address certain abuses, which happened time to time in the actual operating conditions. We are conscious that our equipment gives robust life to the products of our end-customers. Before we introduce a product, we make a prototype, test it and validate. Only after a successful validation, we get into the production. In the production, we follow stringent quality norms. We follow TQM right from the purchase of components and every end-product is tested by us before we sell it to the OEM or end-customer.
How do you assess concept of total cost of ownership (TCO)?
We mainly supply only the tipper body and hydraulics to the OEM, and not the complete truck unit. For an end-customer, the TCO belongs to the whole vehicle. But from our perspective, we find the failure rate from our equipment has been almost negligible. Our end-customers patronise that the cost of ownership of a Hyva product is value for money for them as there are minimum breakdowns and maintenance along with aftermarket support all over the country, thus reducing downtime substantially in the event of breakdown. Quality of our equipment ensures that customer achieves high level of productivity.
What is the grade of steel used for tipper bodies? Is there a shift towards very high grade steel?
We use different grades of steel for different applications. We use ST 52 steel for construction application, wear-resistant steels of different grades for mining applications. We are also in the process of developing special Hyva grade of steel. We are in the process of firming up those specifications. There are various other quality grades, but for Indian market, we have to consider the cost factor. Since Indian market is very cost conscious, there needs to be affordability to the customer.
How do you look at the long-term potential?
A lot of changes have been happening in the trucking industry, as new players are coming in and new technologies are being brought in. The duopoly which was there in the market has definitely gone with new players, technologies, amalgamations and joint ventures that are happening. I would say that most of the European players are there in the Indian market, directly or through joint ventures. They are selling products in the market and have gained market share along with Indian players.
What is missing is American manufacturers. In the coming years, the European players will bring in advanced technologies and solution to Indian market, which will increase the productivity. The next focus will be on how to bring down the cost of this technology. That´s where we see players from countries like China coming into India and looking at giving similar technology at better cost. We may also see Indian players developing their own technologies, which will be much more cost effective. So, next five years will see a lot of changes and new things shall be happening. The one who is more and more innovative is going to lead the market.
Hyva India started operations in 1998. Prior to Hyva´s entry into the Indian market, the complete tipper range comprised under-body cylinders. Hyva brought in the concept of the front-end cylinders and has pioneered the business. Then the concept of fully built tipper evolved. At that time there were no credible manufacturers who had the necessary capability to design a tipper properly and build a complete tipper. Hyva entered into this domain and initially worked with Volvo, and then with Tata Motors. Along with them, the company entered into designing tippers for Indian market. Hyva introduced complete solution, which was tried, tested and validated. Thus, OEMs entered into selling a fully built tipper, earlier they were selling only chassis. Subsequently, Hyva extended different types of technologies for construction and mining industries. Within mining, Hyva brought in technologies suiting to coal and iron ore applications. Hyva introduced rock body to handle boulders and similar hard and abrasive materials. For wet iron ore handling, Hyva developed a new technology in which the floor of the entire tipper is heated up so that when the entire load is tipped without sticking the load to the floor of the tipper. This helps the truck operator save fuel and get maximum revenue. For coal handling, Hyva introduced bigger volume tippers in U-shape. For the construction sector Hyva introduced special steel (ST 52) in the place of normal steel.