Haulotte is the third largest producer of access platforms in the world and the largest in Europe. Haulotte has a presence across the world and we are rapidly expanding across various continents. Mature markets like North America, Australia and Japan have shown rapid growth. Emerging economies like Brazil and China have shown impressive growth in the recent past. We definitely see India featured prominently in this coveted list in the near future, says Souma Ray, General Manager - India, Haulotte Group. Excerpts from the interview.
Brief us on Haulotte Group and its core competencies.
Haulotte is a global leader of people and material lifting equipment. The group designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of products focused on aerial work platforms and telehandlers. Haulotte machines have been working in India in different sectors for many years now, and it is a known name in both the end-user and rental segments. Haulotte enjoys a formidable market share in the end-user segment and is rapidly growing in the rental segment.
Haulotte has grown rapidly to be the leading world-class European supplier in Asia including India for the Access Work Equipment. Haulotte Group is fully committed to our customers with a strong and ever-growing presence in Asia.
What is the market potential for access equipment in India? What is Haulotte's India-specific strategy?
We at Haulotte see a bright future for access equipment in India. India has been privy to the introduction and later phenomenal growth of various construction equipment, the best example being that of the backhoe loader segment. From 125 machines in 1985, today the market size is over 20,000 units per year. We see the future of access equipment in India on similar lines.
Haulotte Group is clear in its objective to become the most preferred and leading brand in the access equipment market of this country.
Tell us about the product range and services Haulotte offers to Indian customers.
We have seven product ranges and more than 60 models covering the entire range of access equipment solution from push around, vertical mast, electric and diesel scissor lifts, electric and diesel articulated boomlift, diesel telescopic boomlift and telehandlers.
How do you find the industry practices here in India? Has it matured enough to adapt to newer technologies such as access equipment of various types?
I would say the industry took a turn with the entry of various MNCs in the country. They brought along with them the concept of such equipment during the construction phases and later for operational use also.
India is a fast growing economy with strong focus on infrastructure. In accordance, on a path forward, industry best practices on safe working at heights followed worldwide need to get amalgamated here too. It may be an immature market at the moment but we are steadily progressing on the path of being a major market for such products in the near future.
What are the major challenges Haulotte faces as an OEM and service provider?
The challenge today is that the access equipment industry in India is still in its nascent stage. We would like to term this an immature market as of now. The knowledge about the utility and application of this versatile product line is yet to be spread. Basically, things will get a fillip in the proper direction once we have legislation in place for use of such an equipment for any work at a height. For your information, in Australia there is legislation that for any work over 2 m height, use of access equipment is compulsory. Similar legislation prevails in most developed countries.
Also, the age and condition of machines in use is also very important and hence awareness needs to grow in use of machines which are younger in age and well maintained (in case of used machines) as there cannot be any compromise to safety. We in India also need to value and respect the requirement of safe working. Ultimately, this is what will get us to work faster and more efficiently.
What is the kind of effort being taken on the safety front by companies like Haulotte?
Haulotte access equipment are manufactured as per European CE standards confirming to EN280, which are amongst the most stringent in terms of safety. Our objective is to produce machines which give a confidence to work at heights. We at Haulotte are constantly endeavouring to raise our standards with regard to safety and quality of our machines.
Which are the segments where awareness is fast picking up?
As you are aware, access equipment ought to be anywhere, where you need to work at heights safely and productively. Be it shopping malls, hotels, facility management, construction sites, factories, power plants, ship building, aviation, or defence, you have the need of an access equipment across these sectors. Similarly, telehandlers are finding increasing use in the construction, mining and coal sectors. The use of access equipment is steadily growing across all segments.
How do you view the potential for rental for these kinds of equipment?
The rental segment is of key importance for such equipment. Many end- users prefer to rent rather than buy. The access equipment rental industry is growing at a rapid pace. Besides the local rental players, considering the potential that India offers, we also have the foreign players who have commenced their operations in India.
What do you think about the growth potential in the current scenario?
The growth potential is extremely encouraging. With the way India is evolving to meet the challenges of the future, we need more world-class infrastructure in place. All types of access equipment (scissor lift, articulated and telescopic boom lift) and material lifting equipment (telehandlers) are definitive requirements at all job locations today. We at Haulotte are highly optimistic about the future of this industry in India.
Is there any plan to set up a production facility here in India?
Haulotte has six production facilities worldwide; three in France, one in Romania, one in USA and one in China.
How do you view the competition in this segment and what makes Haulotte different from the competition?
The potential of this segment is such that all manufacturers of such products co-exist in this market. What will differentiate them is their approach and value propositions being offered to the customers. We at Haulotte Group understand the need and provide a fully comprehensive 3S Solution (Sales, Service & Spare Parts) to our customers worldwide.
OBJECTIVE & MISSION