“The buying patterns of the end-user in India are quire unique and different from other markets, such as Europe or even southeast Asia, for that matter. The market is sensitive to price and productivity is still not the key criterion,” says Raghavan Ramaswamy, Head, Construction Segment, India, Sandvik, in an interview with Equipment India. Excerpts from the interview.
How is Sandvik placed in this evolving scenario, specifically in the Indian context? Mining and construction is and will remain a sunrise sector since it is directly related to the growth of a nation. In all developing nations and especially India, this sector is looking up, albeit at a slow pace which is a direct co-relation of the depression in Europe and other parts of the world. Sandvik Mining and Construction is already doing very good business with the best armour of technology and talent available. We are further improvising on the equipment and customising them for the local market. Since right talent is critical in our kind of industry, we are also training engineers to handle these machines for our customers so that they get best productivity.
What has the growth pattern been so far, and how does Sandvik look at ending this fiscal?The growth pattern has witnessed an upward trend. This has been mainly due to the rapid infrastructure growth in roads, tunneling projects, hydro and powers projects, etc. SMC in India is ready to cater to the requirement of a resurgent Indian market. Sandvik will partake in the growth process of modern and developing India. We hope to end this fiscal on a positive note.
What sort of topline growth is Sandvik looking at in the next five years? We at Sandvik see ourselves as one of the leaders in the equipment industry. We see our growth coming from the high-technology automated equipments used in quarrying and tunneling projects. These pieces of equipment are not only much more productive but also safe to use.
Brief us about your R&D spend. Every product is backed by extensive R&D, application expertise, a network of authourised dealers, on-site service and training and aftermarket support. SMC India has a dedicated pool of engineers who work on product development and customisation. Our select pool of engineers also enables us to design and develop advanced features for emerging markets.
How do you look at the buying patterns of the end-user segment? The buying patterns of the end-user in India are quire unique and different from other markets such as Europe or even southeast Asia, for that matter. The market is sensitive to price and productivity is still not the key criterion. Also, safety is an important aspect which still needs to get a hundred per cent acceptance. However, I am very optimistic seeing the latest trends which show markets inclination to high-technology and safe equipments.
What are the challenges this industry faces, and your suggestions to iron those issues out? The biggest challenge is the technical know-how and lack of expertise. The only way to iron this out is to impart trainings to the customers and their teams. Sandvik is very active in this and has set up several training programmes in this calendar year to minimise the gap.
Is there a move towards more affordable product lines? Sandvik is a niche brand. We have high-technology products, and technology and productivity demand a price. Having said that, I would like to reiterate that Sandvik equipment have a wide acceptability in the Indian market, since its equipment productivity and performance is unmatched.
How do you look at platforms such as BC India? BC India is happening in India for the first time. Sandvik and Bauma organisers have a long association over many years. Sandvik has participated in all Bauma shows and has received lot of positive response from the visitors. Bauma shows are professionally managed and the target audience is also very well managed, with right screening and invitations. I sincerely hope that our participation in Bauma India will bring us lot of positive response.