We are focusing on predictive maintenance; each of the problems are being analysed by our quality team in Hosur and then preventive action is taken for future products, says Viraj Parthi, Country Manager, Terex Mobile Processing Equipment. Excerpts from the interview.Terex Finlay enetered the Indian market in 2004. Eight years on, how do you look at the evolution of the crushing industry in terms of products, technology, customers’ buying patterns?When Terex Finlay entered the Indian market, mobile crushers (tracked) were popular in only the iron ore segment and like everyone, we were also mainly focusing on this segment. After the 2008-09 recession, the mining segment could not recover due to various issues. But the aggregate market has started to evolve slowly and customers have started realising the advantages of tracked plants. In the last two years, most of our business is from the aggregate segment only.Indian customers are very sensible and they always seek technology which will help in reducing the downtime and improve production. One recent trend is that retail customers are also showing a lot of interest in tracked plants.As a manufacturer, the margins are very low in the aggregate market as compared to the mining segment but the volumes have started to pick up.How do you rate your success in terms of penetration and number of units installed in the country?As mentioned earlier, Terex Finlay manufactures only tracked plants. In the last two years, we have strengthened our distribution network and now we have a very active presence across India. This is well reflected in the rising demand for our products. The focus of the entire team is on customer service. If we are able to meet the customers` expectation for service, the sales will automatically happen. We have achieved a growth of more than 50 per cent from 2010 to 2011. For 2012, we have a goal for 35 per cent increase in the revenue over 2011.What is the growth potential for crushers in the mining sector which has been dormant for some time now?The mining sector has huge potential for growth sooner or later. In my view, it is not going to happen in the near future and again when it will happen, it will be in a more restrained way than earlier. It will take some time for the customers to gain back the confidence to make huge investments. We should also look at the other mining sectors apart from iron ore, e.g. bauxite, coal, etc.How do you look at the demand-supply scenario in the aggregate sector?The construction and road building segment is promising but political instability is a big hurdle against improvement. The demand for mobile plants is increasing but the rate of increase could be better. Again, the finance has to be more active for the road sector. Right now, they are too cautious and take a long time to disburse.What are the latest products you have launched?Terex Finlay has launched a 3- deck screen 684 recently and we are in the process of localising it from our Hosur plant. It will be a perfect combination with our jaw crusher J 1175 and cone crusher C 1540. We also plan to introduce a new cone crusher this year.What kind of products have higher acceptance in Indian market, and why?The Indian customers are very sensible. They always go for products which give them value for money. The product must be simple to operate and maintain and the cost of maintenance has to be low. Since this equipment often must work in remote aresa, the customers want a reliable product and quick response in terms of services.The end-user fraternity was categorically specific that noise and dust reduction features in the plants are not satisfactory. What is your take on this?I agree with the view of the end- users and there is a scope for improvement on this. We are continuously working on these aspects to meet the expectations of the customers.Apart from the engines, we are supplying the same features in our equipment as that of the units being supplied to the Western market. Along with the normal features, keeping in mind the extreme weather conditions in India, we also include the hot climate lubrication kit with our product.How do you look at the trends in the customer segment, especially customers at the bottom of the pyramid where even financing is an issue?At present, for the financiers, crushing plants are not as preferred equipment as much as excavators or BHLs. So at times it gets very difficult to arrange finance if the customer belong to the bottom of the pyramid, but if we need bigger volumes, we have to cater to this segment. Leasing can be an option for such customers which is very popular in other markets of the world. Though in recent times the financiers have been very conservative with the CE industry, I am hopeful that this will change in the near future.How do you view the impact of the recent Union Budget on the equipment sector?It is not going to affect us in a big way, as we are focusing more on localising our products and manufacturing them in our Hosur plant. In my opinion, the excise duty should also be reduced accordingly so that local manufacturing can be encouraged to invest more in India.How do you address the issues of rising cost of funds and fluctuating input costs?The fluctuating input costs do impact our margins but more than that, the fluctuating exchange rates effect us as we import a lot of components. The performance in the last two quarters has been good and we expect to meet our targets for the coming fiscal. The only thing that worries me is our margins.How do you look at increasing competition from global and domestic players?Competition is always good as it helps you to become more efficient. We have the advantage of having our local manufacturing set-up and a good distribution network. Now we need to capitalise on these strengths and provide a better solution to the customers.How is Terex Finlay geared to meet the fast changing service parameters which clients look forward to from OEMs?The regular training to our service engineers, the reach through our distribution network and the local availability of spare parts will help us meet customer expectations. Now the customer will not have to wait for the parts to come from Europe, and the downtime will be minimum. We are also focusing on predictive maintenance and are actively involved with our engine supplier. Each of the problems are being analysed by our quality team in Hosur and then preventive action is taken for future products; dealers are fully involved in all this process. We have also launched our hotline number which is provided to all our customers.