The vision statement of Vev Ventures goes like this: To be a dependable distributor for construction equipment and attachment in the market, they operate by distribution and after support of products of such quality to ensure maximisation of profits of all the stake holders. “The products we sell are carefully chosen and are basically very established brands across the globe,” says V Karthick, Founder and Managing Director, Vev Ventures. Excerpts from the interview with Equipment India.Which are the major companies you deal with? Tell us about your product range.Our major customers are from mining industries starting from small quarries to iron/coal/limestone mines. We represent NPK, Japan (hydraulic rock breakers) and Dongnam, Korea (quick couplers) in India. We also represent Sumitomo Construction Machinery, Japan (excavators and asphalt pavers) in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. In Tamil Nadu and Kerala, we also represent Eimco Elecon, Gujarat (front-end wheel loaders). Rock breakers from Doosan, Korea are sold and serviced in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.Tell us about the services offered by your firm.We offer pre-sales consultancy to the customers on selection of right machine for the right job. We play the most crucial and critical role to provide the most effective after-sales service. We also extend AMCs to discerning customers.How do you tackle the issues of downtime and availability of spares at the right time?Firstly, the products we sell are carefully chosen and are basically very established brands across the globe. Secondly, we strongly emphasise on training before commissioning so that the products are used and maintained in the exact manner prescribed by the manufacturer. With these, unforeseen failures, which are the major reason for extended downtime, are mostly avoided. Thirdly, we have identified parts that are prone to failure by abuse, estimated approximately the life of wear-and-tear items and stock the parts depending on the population base. We also educate customers to keep emergency spares to reduce downtime. We have branch with service vehicle in the centre of maximum population area. All these efforts go a long way to increase the uptime and availability of machine and the profit to the customer.How do you help your customers get finance?We have fairly good rapport with all the leading NBFCs and depending upon the customer profile and location, we recommend NBFCs for financing customers.Do you offer trained operators to your clients?We presently do extensive training to the operators on the finer points of operation. We have a plan to offer trained operators to customers in the near future.What is your geographical spread?Though we are pan-India distributors for some products, we have confined ourselves to the south for the time being. We have offices in Chennai, Bengaluru, Kottayam and Pondicherry. Our Hyderabad office is to be established soon. All offices normally have 3-S facilities. The plan to expand to other regions will be implemented in due course of time.How was the company’s performance in the last two quarters and how do you look at growth in 2012?The last two quarters were quite challenging in view of steep depreciation of the rupee against the Japanese Yen and US dollar, which resulted in our landed cost going up considerably. We are sure that 2012 is going to be a very challenging year for many in the industry.To what extent have the inflationary pressures and the devaluation of the Indian currency impacted your business?The Indian rupee has depreciated by a whopping 114 per cent since June 2007 till date against the Japanese Yen which is of great concern to us. There seems to be no end to this freefall. (In the past 39 years, Yen has appreciated over 2,000 per cent!) The Finance Ministry and Central Bank are mute spectators to this constant erosion of the value of rupee which is impacting our business negatively. How many times can we revise our prices? We expect the inflationary pressures to encourage customers to postpone purchase decisions which will subdue sales. We also feel the liquidity crunch already all around.The excavator market being very competitive, how do you look at the potential for Sumitomo excavators?In the most popular range of the 20- tonne category, no other excavator in India currently can match specifications of Sumitomo excavators which offer superlative productivity, reliability and durability. We are trying to offset the high price by longer credit to the customers leveraging a low Japanese interest rate. Eventually, the best will win the race as in all competition. Sumitomo excavators have the best specification which endows them with excellent productivity. Though the number of excavators sold is less, the customers are very happy about the performance. We are bullish but at the same time practical about growth prospects.How do you assess the market for demolition equipment, especially the NPK range of hydraulic demolition hammers?NPK Japan is a 90-year-old company in the excavator attachment industry and they design and manufacture only attachments in their state-of-the-art facility in Osaka. There is no match for productivity and durability of NPK breakers. There are some 200-odd NPK breakers in India which are more than 15 years old, and some around 20. That is something unheard in the field of breakers which goes to prove the product quality of NPK. NPK enjoys a fairly good presence in Kerala which is one of largest market for breakers. These key factors of productivity, reliability and durability are a result of the unique design of NPK breakers which is time-tested across many markets in the world.How successful have you been in the loader market especially with AL 120? Also tell us about the growth envisaged in this product line.AL120 is another wonderful workhorse which is compact and extremely productive. We have stiff competition from the Chinese brands but we are betting on our ability to support the product more effectively. In view of its compactness and swiftness, we anticipate reasonable growth in ready-mix plants and small quarries.How do you assess the multiple dealership channel and what determines its success in a highly competitive market?It helps to package an offer of a range of generic products for a customer who will then have only one contact for all after sales support requirements. By the same token, the distributor can also extend better after sales support. Proper matching of products wherever necessary can be done better. The synergy, if exploited well, can lead to a successful multi-product distributorship and result in maximisation of the customer’s profitability.