Despite the market becoming more competitive with many new players entering the industry, TIPL has continued to grow through value selling and with an objective to garner profits for customers, says Arunava Ghosh Dastidar, AVP & Business Head–BCP, TIPL, in an exclusive chat with EQUIPMENT INDIA. Excerpts from the interview.The sales forecast by Off-Highway Research for backhoes is 36,000 units by 2015 (from 30,000 in 2011) whereas for the crawler excavator alone, the forecast is 35,000 units, up from 2011 figure of 14,500. Is the backhoe’s dominance decreasing?Backhoe loaders in India started as multipurpose equipment, cutting across various sectors, both in urban as well as rural areas.This versatile equipment with an excavator bucket on one side and loader bucket on the other side, has been a popular utility machine triggering its growth over the years, primarily through the local plant hire owner- operators, who provide such machines on hire locally and also take up contracting job as and when required. However, with the focus on India’s infrastructures construction and entry of global construction and mining majors, specialised construction equipment like excavators, wheel loaders, motor graders, soil compactors have gained greater significance. Naturally, the accelerated growth that we had earlier seen in backhoe loader segment may start slowing down.Does this also indicate a growing preference from the end-user community towards specific, application-oriented machines?Equipment acquisition is now driven more by application, project type and project timelines, besides equipment productivity, reliability, safety and after-market product support facilities.There is a school of thought that there is a visible drift from the backhoe market towards the wheel loaders market, especially in the below 10T capacity. Would you agree?The backhoe loader is not a purpose- built wheeled loader but a multipurpose machine that can also be used for limited loading application.However, for specific loading and materials handling application, wheel loaders are more suitable. Both these products have their own utility and can co-exist side by side.In such an evolving scenario, is there any shift in your business strategies? What are the major value propositions from TIPL in terms of fuel efficiency, performance, back-up service, availability of spares, etc?TIPL has always taken an active part in providing customers with innovative and value-added equipment solutions with latest and state-of-the-art Caterpillar construction and mining solutions comprising backhoe loaders, hydraulic excavators, wheel loaders, motor graders, soil compactors, off-highway trucks, and the like.Caterpillar power systems solutions comprise electric power (diesel) petroleum products, gas engines, marine propulsion, and industrial engines.Quality, productivity, reliability, economy, lowest lifecycle owning and operating costs, are the hallmarks of the Caterpillar brand, backed by outstanding product support solutions through an extensive TIPL sales, service and parts network which offers real value for money to customers.Do you think the projected growth in the mini excavator market will impact the backhoe market? Mini excavators are suitable for specific application but progressive growth in deployment of mini excavators may have some impact on backhoe volumes in the long run.What is the demand-supply scenario and how do you look at the growth prospects? The investment by the government in rural infrastructure construction in the coming years will decide the demand- supply gap and further growth prospects of the backhoe.Could you tell us about the range offered by TIPL? TIPL is a fully owned subsidiary of TIL and the company handles the Caterpillar business for the northern and eastern region of India. TIPL provides customers with the best-in-class Caterpillar BCP products - 424B backhoe loader, 2021Z wheel loader, and D5 track type tractor.These products are backed by outstanding product support solutions through an extensive sales, service and parts network.Customers now have easy access to a range of new Caterpillar machines, trusted and reliable Caterpillar rental machines and TIPL-certified used Caterpillar machines. TIPL believes and strives in making profits for customers. Caterpillar has launched the upgraded version of 424B backhoe loader in the 8-tonne class: the exciting new model has features and options suitable for all market segments. The model will provide a demonstrable product differentiation in today’s challenging backhoe loader market.The upgraded 424B is a well-suited model for local contractors in various locations across India and is amongst the best-in-class available in India.The 424B offers features like high rotation backhoe bucket linkage design, spacious cabin with ergonomic interiors for maximum operator comfort, curved boom for easy reach over obstacles, variable flow hydraulic system adjusting to demand and more importantly, with excellent fuel economy. Brief us on the attachments offered along with the backhoe? There are several attachments that can be utilised with a backhoe loader. The popular applications are ditch-cleaning, rock-breaking, grading, material handling, pipelaying, etc. However, the standard machine with different bucket configurations forms the major part of the business. In CAT 424 BHL currently we offer the backhoe with the standard work tools such as standard duty buckets - 0.12 cu m, 0.23 cu m and 0.30 cu m, loader work tools, and general purpose bucket - 1.0 cu m.Does TIPL offer telematics in its backhoe range? TIPL offers telematics through its SITECH division and such control systems have worked effectively in our rental backhoes. However, the demand for such systems has been limited so far, though we expect an increase in demand with the maturity of marketplace.In such a competitive scenario, why should a customer buy from TIPL? The new Cat 424B backhoe loader is now the best in its class and has set a new benchmark in versatility, performance, durability, economy and reliability.The spacious and comfortable cabin with easy joysticks provides unmatched comfort and safety. The popularity of the new CAT 424B backhoe loader is gathering great momentum, driven by fuel efficiency, higher productivity, easy serviceability and enhanced product support network. Given the many challenges in the present economy apart from tough competition, what are the innovative processes you have implemented to counter these issues? TIPL has been the fastest growing construction equipment supplier which would not have been the case without the trust and confidence of our valued customers. Despite the market becoming more competitive with many new players entering the industry, TIPL has continued to grow through value selling and with an objective to garner profits for customers.Quality, productivity, reliability, economy, lowest lifecycle owning and operating costs, are the hallmarks of the Caterpillar brand, backed by outstanding product support solutions through an extensive TIPL sales, service and parts network.
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