Interviews

Atlas Copco : “We will retain our mar...

Nitin Lall
Dip in mining and quarrying activities has kept the demand of hydraulic rock breakers almost flat during the pasttwo consecutive years. Low demand has intensified the competition with apprehension of brand substitution ruling high among breaker manufacturers. Certain visible traction in the market based on recent, although nascent emerging slow off-take from aggregate sectors, led by demand from road construction projects and railways ballast from parts of the country has intensified the competition further as almost 50 plus manufacturers, known to be present in the Indian market, with their distributors rush to fill up the demand gap. The fresh lease of competition has accentuated fears of brand substitution wherein the equipment owners will have tocut down on operating and owning costs. However, Mr. NitinLall, General Manager, Construction Technique Business Area, Atlas Copco, is confident of retaining the company's presence in the breakers market through its product placement and supporting services amidst stiffening competition. Excerpts of a recent interaction with P.P. Basistha during his visit to company's Pune plant.

What will be the strategy to hold back market share?
Atlas Copco Breakers
We ensure that the market will not go away from Atlas Copco's hand and for this, will keep offering varied, supreme quality products, built on European standards, based on the assorted requirement of the Indian mine and quarry operators. We ensure that the breakers will keepdeliveringtotal minimization of ownership costs of the operators as operating costs continue to mount in the face of squeezing job margins. Focus on compatibility with the excavators will continue to be emphasized. Application trend continues to remain unspecified for usage of breakers in India both by quarry owners and hirers. It has been one of the major reasons for doing business of breakers as volume based in India. However, priced higher as compared to other contemporary products offerings, Atlas Copco's business strategy has always been to target users having well defined application orientation for the products. Our offerings are quite wide as compared to others, so as to take care of varied, yet targeted applications. We have small range of beakers that can be mounted on 3-12 tons of excavators, medium range for 13-30 tons excavators and heavy range for above 30-120 tons excavators. Equipment integration is ensured through technical cooperation with our OEM buyers. We're planning to expand and retain our market presence by adding more dealers to our network. With the array of wide and quality offerings in place added with supporting services to OEM's and individual buyers, we expect to retain our captive base of customers.

Breaker Manufacturers
What will be the counteractive strategy for base machine manufacturers offering their own brand of breakers as a complete package to the quarry owners? Wouldn't you agree the base machine manufacturers with the total package offerings have been able to gain share in recent years?
The new development has been a challenge for individual breaker manufacturers. However, to reassert, with our focus remaining towards delivering quality products for niche customers, we have been successfully able to neutralize ourselves from the new market development charactering higher competition. Further, our best ability to offer value proposition to our customers through our 50 plusdealers supported by fully trained personnel, we have been able to offer parts and product support on time. This has reinforced our market presence further.

How do you propose to bring down cost of your breakers with appreciation of dollar rates?
Our offerings to minimize total costs of ownership makeAtlas Copco breakers competitive as a product offering despite its higher costs. However, we have started localizing our breakers as per the European standards. Though we import the breakers at higher costs to India,at the same time, we also export a sizeable number of products for different markets which allows us a natural hedge if done in the same period of time.

NBMCW May 2014

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Vascon Engineers: Optimism is the Ultim...

Santosh Sundararajan
"We are optimists, as otherwise you can't survive. I think we all have seen a long enough bear market. But now the bull is just around the corner and the future is exciting. Once optimism sets in and the overall economy is on the growth path the demand will pick up and there will be delivery pressure on projects. Innovations both with respect to mechanization, construction friendly designs, and sustainable methods are all happening and lot of them are waiting to happen. We are excited at the prospect of creating new landmarks and leaving these bear years behind us," says Mr. Santosh Sundararajan, Chief Executive Officer, Vascon Engineers Ltd. in an interview with Maria R.

A word about the evolution of your company 'Vascon Engineers' since 1986 from a mere Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) services to real estate Development Company.
You are right. We started as an EPC company way back in 1986 and then made our entry into premium residential real estate development in 1989. Since then we have continued to grow in both fields of EPC and real estate. In real estate we boast of many prestigious landmark developments mostly in the city of Pune. This includes Marigold in Kalyani Nagar and the Weikfield IT City on Nagar road, and Suzlon's headquarters in Hadapsar among many others. In the EPC space we have executed landmark projects like the MLCP at Terminal 3 in the new airport in Delhi which is the biggest MLCP in Asia, as well as the Ruby mills tower in Dadar which is among the tallest buildings in the country.

The Group has established its credentials and specialization in undertaking EPC projects. How is your EPC business growing and the revenue the company is generating from there?
The EPC business saw a very tough time over the last couple of years with the overall sentiments on infrastructure projects and real estate projects taking a beating. Heavy inflation in labour and construction material coupled with delays in projects due to labour shortage as well as clients inabilities to pay on time created a very turbulent situation for us. Barring the last couple of years, EPC in the past has been a profitable business though the margins in this field are never high. Going forward we are concentrating on projects where we can add value with our design and engineering capabilities and are shying away from labour intensive projects. We do hope to grow in this sector from here after taking a breather for the last two years.

What, according to you, is sustainable construction and how have you incorporated this essential ingredient in your prestigious projects like 'Suzlon One Earth', and the 'Multi Level Car Parking' at Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi and others?
Sustainable construction is two fold: Sustainability of the design of the buildings for the long term usage is one most important aspects. The other aspect is sustainability of the methods of construction, during the construction period. In Suzlon One Earth we were fortunate to have a client who had a clear business interest in sustainable energy themselves. So they understood the benefits of capital expenditure to create a green building. There are many aspects to making a building sustainable. Sustainability is a new field still in its nascent stages. Daily there are new innovations that promise to reduce the carbon footprint. We did our best in Suzlon and MLCP with the innovations available at that point of time.

Going for green means investment in terms of more initial cost; do you think in India clients are giving you the flexibility to spend extra amount on the project?
This is definitely an issue. Even before we can make that decision, the exact cost savings in long term for certain capital expenditure to be incurred are not clear to us even today. As I said there are innovations daily in this field in all aspects of building construction, and evaluation of each innovation with its cost benefit analysis in the long term is tough. Only time and real usage will give the true report cards for many of these innovations. However some techniques or innovations have their cost benefit analysis proven over the last few years and the industry does accept these long term benefits. A client who is a single owner of a premise and who is educated in this aspect of sustainability normally encourages us to incur these capital expenditures. However when we make buildings with multiple clients, like residential even, the increase in capital expenditure becomes an issue. However, step by step I think tested and proven techniques of reducing energy consumption in the long run will become a norm and the capital expense will get accepted.

Vascon Suzlon One Earth

In the given scenario of massive construction activities, there is a constant threat to the environment. How does your company policy address this concern in your projects? What are some innovative practices you have introduced in the field?
We are an ISO 14001 company. We have set our own internal norms to be followed during construction. Trying to reduce transportation during construction is a simple way to reduce threat to environment. Simple efforts to design using local material, and to use techniques of design that consume lesser material help in this aspect. We have set our own standards to steady the usage of wood based construction material as well.

According to a report by Cushman & Wakefield, tier-II and tier-III cities are being reckoned as the growth engines of the future. How do you see this market and which segment is most promising in these cities?
Growth will definitely continue to happen in tier I cities as well. Growth will of course happen in tier II and tier III cities as these cities have a bit of catching up to do in terms of quality infrastructure. As of now the low cost housing segment seems to be the most promising in these cities with a good demand for budget homes. But with slight optimism in the markets overall, soon the demand for slightly higher quality premium spaces will be generated in these cities as well.

Vascon Suzlon One Earth Panorama

What according to you are the obstacles hindering project completion on stipulated time which also lead to cost overrun?
Obstacles have been shortage of labour and non timely payments from clients as far as EPC is concerned. As far as real estate is concerned, approvals have been a major dampener. Also the velocity of demand has been on the decline. Large wholesale commercial spaces have close to zero demand in many locations. Retail sales are slow. Once optimism sets in and the overall economy is on the growth path then demand will pick up and there will be delivery pressure on projects. Then mechanization and smart designs will be inevitable. Labour shortage can be dealt with designs that employ more mechanization and standardization. But this will happen only when there is immense pressure for delivery for which the overall sentiments have to revive.

What is your company's take on the infrastructure development being witnessed in the country and how do you look at the future business of the company in the next 3-4 years?
Windermere Vascon Engineers Ltd

We are optimists, as otherwise you can't survive. I think we all have seen a long enough bear market. The bull has to be round the corner and the future is exciting. As I said, innovations in our field both with respect to mechanization, construction friendly designs, and sustainable methods are all happening and lot of them are waiting to happen. The best projects happen when there is immense delivery pressure. For this to happen of course the finances for the project completion would have to be in place. The bull will bring along many such projects. We are excited at the prospect of creating new landmarks and leaving these bear years behind us.

The company has numerous awards/recognition to its credits for quality, excellence etc—can you name some of the important ones?
We have constantly received awards from various bodies for our quality of construction. Suzlon One Earth is of course a landmark, we are very proud of which it received many awards. Most projects executed by us have at least been nominated in some category for an award. We recently won an award from CIDC for, "The Best Professionally Managed Company". This was also satisfying and a change from the awards for our construction.

NBMCW April 2014

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Everest Engineering Getting Excellent R...

P V Ramdev
Started as a professional service provider for tower crane, passenger hoist and rack & pinion platforms in India, Everest Engineering Equipment is today, the authorized partner of major overseas companies such as GJJ, SYM and FINEHOPE in India. "We are getting excellent response from all over India for these brands even at the current downtime due to the reason that now corporate customers understand the need of high quality machineries rather than cheaper machineries. We have recently bagged 57 Units of GJJ Flat top travelling type tower crane order from B. G. SHIRKE, which is the biggest quantity order in India," claims Mr. P. V. Ramdev, Managing Director, Everest Engineering Equipment Pvt. Ltd in an interview with Maria R.

Could you please begin with a short introduction about Everest Engineering Equipment, its various joints ventures partners of global repute, operation, and overall journey so far?

Everest Engineering Equipment
Everest Engineering Equipment started as a professional service provider for tower crane, passenger hoist and rack & pinion platforms in India. Considering our best services on time, SYM has inked an Exclusive agency agreement for their tower cranes in India. After few months of our successful journey, GJJ also signed an Exclusive partner agreement for passenger hoists, platforms and tower cranes. The overall performance of EEE is widely accepted in realty, Pre-cast, power, cement and steel sectors and expected to double the turnover in this fiscal.

What are the global products being distributed by you in India and aftermarket support services especially for the critical construction work sites of power, cement, precast building etc, being offered by the company?

We offer FINEHOPE Luffing / Gantry cranes, SYM tower cranes, GJJ passenger hoist & Platforms with close support from proper selection to the end of the project. We also offer the prompt and on time services / spare parts to these products to reduce the downtime drastically.

The training of personnel to operate sophisticated products is an important pre-requisite in the performance of products. Do you impart training to operators to handle your technically upgraded product range effectively?

GJJ passenger hoist
Yes, the proper training on these high technology products are really a critical issue. We have developed a dedicated team under the guidance of OEM Engineers to conduct onsite training, and they will ensure that the site personnel are trained well on proper operation and maintenance. We also provide well trained operators & maintenance technicians.

What has been the response of Indian construction market towards your various products and services? Based on your successful operation so far, what are your future plans to serve the growing infrastructure construction sector in the country?

We are getting excellent response from all over India even at this down- time. Now some corporate customers understand the need of high quality machineries rather than cheaper machineries. They experienced the cheaper machinery downtime is very high and the calculated project delay / loss is much higher than the machinery cost.

Is the company looking for any new association collaboration with foreign players to introduce new products in its portfolio in the near future?

Platforms
Not now, we are now focused on these worldwide accepted brands of GJJ, SYM and FINEHOPE to get a wider acceptability in Indian market as well.

What is your take on the prevailing difficult economic conditions and strategies adopted by your group to avert pessimism within the company and in the market place?

We are happy to see that our services are well accepted in the market, which increased our market share. EEE as a dedicated team worked very hard to find positive ways. And finally could turn around the down time.

What would be the business outlook of Everest Engineering Equipment in the current twelfth five-year plan period? Anything else you would like to share with us?

We have planned to attain 1000 units of this high quality, reliable machineries in the Indian market. EEE is also planning to enter into the machinery rental business. All major cities must have our offices along with the existing service set-up.

We have bagged 57 Units of GJJ Flat top travelling type tower crane order from B.G.SHIRKE, which is the biggest quantity order in India, added another feather on our services.

NBMCW March 2014

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Comprehensive Project Management Policy...

Raj Kalady
"Currently, India does not have a comprehensive policy or directive on project management standards. A government intervention will strengthen the growing trend among corporations, which are following global norms, have begun insisting on professional competence along with experience. As India needs a transformational approach to rise above the challenges and prepare for a stronger economy and a brighter society, Project Management can be that transformational tool. For the infrastructure sector, transformation means embracing newer methods, adopting best practices from other sectors, building transparent and trust relationships with all the stakeholders, and employing sustainable policies for long-term benefit", says Mr. Raj Kalady, Managing Director, Project Management Institute (PMI), India, in an interview with Maria R.

Could you please throw some light on the evolution of Project management (PM) in India, its needs, progression in its adoption so far and also its prospects?
In the world of project management, the only constant is change. Amid the ever revolving external and internal business environment, meeting the increasingly high expectations of project stakeholders has become a challenge even for seasoned project managers. With the growing complexity and size of projects, as well as a shortage of skilled professionals, organizations are seeking innovative ways to overcome this challenge. In today's complex global environment, the organizations that thrive are the ones that value project management. Because these high-performing organizations emphasize strategy, improve efficiency and cultivate strong talent resources, they reduce their risk and see increased success.

With progress in research and developments, the field of project management continues to evolve in terms of knowledge and practice. Globally, new project management skills are continuously upgraded and successfully implemented across industries. However, the Indian Infrastructure sector, which holds an important position in the Indian economy, has faced resistance in adopting new project management techniques. Over a long period of time, the sector has witnessed very few changes in terms of new technologies and advanced methods. Non-deployment of project management techniques has resulted in significant schedule and cost overruns for the sector.

A word about the criticalities of PM in achieving success in today's competitive business environment? Why do companies need to adopt a strategic approach to PM?
Every strategic initiative is essentially a project or program, and that all strategic change in an organization occurs through projects and programs. John Kotter, acclaimed author and former Harvard Business School professor, who wrote recently that "Strategy should be viewed as a dynamic force that constantly seeks opportunities, identifies initiatives that will capitalize on them, and completes those initiatives swiftly and efficiently." He recognizes the inextricable link between strategy and execution, which is where project, program and portfolio management deliver unparalleled value to organizations.

"The delivery of business outcomes is realized through the success of projects, and in essence that is the way that project management strategies drive organizational success."

Larson Toubro

When organizations continue getting better at executing their projects and programs, they drive success. But when organization executives undervalue the benefit of effective project, program and portfolio management—strategic initiative management—they put real dollars at risk, and perhaps more. PMI's Pulse of the Profession™ research, which is consistent with other studies, shows that fewer than two-thirds of projects meet their goals and business intent (success rates have been falling since 2008), and about 17% fail outright.

Failed projects waste an organization's money: for every $1 billion spent on a failed project, $135 million is lost forever... unrecoverable. So if the project that fails is one of the strategic initiatives that is expected to drive organization success, it will most certainly have a financial impact on the bottom line. And if expected benefits aren't realized, competitive advantage can be squandered, efficiencies lost, and organizations cannot function in a "do more with less" business environment.

What is the importance of PM in the India's infrastructure industry and level of differences being gauged and witnessed after its adoption?
Infrastructure is the basic physical and organizational structures needed for the operation of a society or enterprise, or the services and facilities necessary for an economy to function. This is particularly true for developing economies where investments in Infrastructure Development promotes growth, improves lives and help reduce poverty. India has invested heavily in infrastructure development and in order to realize the benefits, it is vital that the projects are implemented as per the approved plan and within the budgeted time and cost.

The infrastructure sector is slated to grow manifolds in coming years supported by strong plans from Government. However, there exists strong deficiency of skilled professionals in the infrastructure sector, particularly in project management field, which could be detrimental for the growth of the sector. To overcome this issue, the Government has to play a more proactive role. It should consider recognizing vocational or skill training institutes as part of the main stream.

Hence, the infrastructure sector has started accepting the concepts such as Project Management Office (PMO) for independent reporting and ensuring project management excellence. Project teams that have adopted PMO feel that it helps in ensuring successful implementation of projects through deployment of project management best practices. PMO also helps in proactive risk identification and provides adequate guidance and information for timely decision-making. The government is also realizing the importance of project management capabilities. In the Twelfth Five Year Plan, the Government has plans to focus on improving the project management skills across the country to get better returns from public investment in infrastructure and also in the social sectors.

Currently, India does not have a comprehensive policy or directive on project management standards. Don't you think that a government intervention is important as project management is crucial for infrastructure projects?
Currently, India does not have a comprehensive policy or directive on project management standards. A government intervention will strengthen the growing trend among corporations, which are following global norms, have begun insisting on professional competence along with experience. However, in its 12th Five year plan, the planning commission has stated the importance of project management in the infrastructure projects. "'Project management' capabilities must be improved for the country to get better returns from public investment in infrastructure and also in the social sectors. Project management, with a view to deliver on time and within cost, is a learnable capability that can be institutionalized, as demonstrated by the development experiences of Japan, Korea, Singapore, and China. A nation-wide drive to improve project management must be an integral part of the Twelfth Five Year Plan," says report. Also Department of Personnel and Training (Training division) is considering to introduce a course on Project Management in public services in the induction/in-training service training programs of various training institutions, both in the government and in the public sector undertakings will help in inculcating principles of project management among officers engaged in various stages of implementation of public sector projects.

As the Indian economy expands global companies will become an integral part of the nation's development. Thus, formulating a policy to guide the planning, execution, and accountability of projects becomes desirable.

Project Management Institute
Today, India needs a transformational approach to rise above the challenges and prepare for a stronger economy and a brighter society. Project management can be that transformational tool. For the infrastructure sector, transformation means embracing newer methods, adopting best practices from other sectors, building transparent and trust relationships with all the stakeholders, and employing sustainable policies for long-term benefit.

A country poised for growth can achieve its target only with concerted effort from all corners. India today needs the public and private sector to manage its infrastructure projects on time and within budget, which in turn will facilitate the development of other sectors. The need of the hour is a collaborative approach between the government, the private sector and academia to build a talent pool of skilled and certified project managers to deliver projects successfully and contribute to the transformation of the country.

According to Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) Flash report December 2012, out of 566 central sector infrastructure projects (costing more than INR 150 crore) about 46% were delayed resulting in cost overrun of about 18 percent (of original cost). Thus, it is in the interest of the Government and private sector to promote project management techniques in the infrastructure sector to achieve the envisaged vision.

Many infrastructure projects in India are suffering due to the dearth of competent and experienced project managers and project professionals. This is due the lack of focus on project management courses in India's education system. How do you think this education system can be promoted in a big way to get top-class project managers in India?
Many infrastructure projects in India are suffering due to the dearth of competent and experienced project managers and project professionals.

Lack of highly skilled professionals becomes critical to address as per the PMI KPMG report on – Infrastructure – Study on project schedule and cost overruns.

The survey suggests that there is a dearth of manpower across categories; however, non-availability of highly-skilled professionals can have an adverse impact on the project delivery and cost. By 2022, Indian infrastructure sector is expected to have a shortage of around three million project professionals including project managers, civil engineers, planners, surveyors, safety professionals, etc. Hence, it is imperative to increase investment in training and mentoring to develop the requisite skill set in the professionals, deployed across various departments.

Further, to meet the incremental demand of project professionals, it is important to introduce project management in the curriculum of engineering, management and other technical institutes. Moreover, the Government should play a more proactive role by recognizing project management, vocational or skill training institutes as a part of the main stream education. In many of the advanced industrial countries, vocational training is considered at par with university education. However, this is not the case in India. As a result, vocational training is not sought after by the bright and ambitious students. One of the primary reasons is that these institutes cannot offer a 'degree' – which seems to be a critical requirement for any further formal education in India and across the globe. It is important to understand the manpower and skill requirements of the industries before we begin our reforms in the vocational training area. The rapidly growing Indian needs trained manpower now more than ever. There are multiple sectors, Government organizations, support institutions that need manpower to support them.

The introduction of project management curriculum in main stream education is rapidly becoming global. India is expected to benefit immensely by adopting global standards and allowing globally renowned institutes to set up training centers in India. In the short run, it will help some of the best global construction companies to work efficiently and effectively in India and contribute to the richness of workforce in India. In the long run, it will help the Indian labor to be world-class and claim higher salaries and wages.

Please brief us the role of PMI India and its various initiatives to get recognition and acceptance within governments, organizations, academia and industries.
The PMI India office fosters the advancement of standardized, professional project management principles through the advancement of its leadership development and certification projects.

As India globalizes and is on the growth trajectory with rapid developments taking place in both the private and public sector, we see a need for formal project management principles. The growth of the business process outsourcing industry continues to drive India's services sector. Large and mid-size firms from around the world have adopted the practice of outsourcing non-core business processes to business partners based in India. This practice has been notably beneficial to the ICT, pharmaceutical and automotive industries in India. Indian ICT firms have transformed from simply a low cost provider of services to strategic partners that are now accountable for entire business deliverables that act as extensions of their client organizations. In return, client firms are no longer just outsourcing to reduce cost but now seek innovation and product development from their India partners. In-turn, Indian IT firms are now growing by acquisition and global expansion, thereby raising the complexity of the global distributed service delivery model.

Taking into consideration the above, project management will be even more imperative than before and PMI India will continuously reach out to organizations in private and public sector in its advocacy efforts and bring out the importance of certifications and standards in project management.

There is also a very strong need for focusing on government relations efforts for embedding project management in government contracts via legislative/regulatory advocacy. Also, PMI India will continue to educate government leaders about the benefits of project management and target government leaders for awareness building and public relations activities, particularly related to the need for project management on infrastructure projects.

Also, PMI India has specific initiatives focused on advancement of project management through partnerships with colleges and universities and driving the importance of having project management as part of the curriculum in engineering and MBA colleges.

With India's burgeoning economy, there exists a strong need for project management in every single sector. From Aerospace, Financial, IT, social sector, manufacturing, defense, telecom, government and practically all industries, the role of project management is becoming immensely vital.

The focus of PMI in India would be to increase the emphasis on professionalization of PM practices, and inculcating a PM culture within the establishments. We aim to do this in a three pronged strategy targeting the government, the academia and the industry.

Over the last few years, we have had several informal discussions with various government bodies and regulators – both directly and indirectly. Our objective has been to spread the principles of project management and demonstrate how this will have a positive impact on projects in India – enabling them to be completed on time and within budget. After our discussions, the Department of Training, DoPT is of the view that introduction of a course on 'Project Management in Public Services' in the induction/in-service training programmes of various training institutions, both in the Government and in Public Sector Undertakings, will help in inculcating principles of project management among officers engaged in various stages in the implementation of public sector projects.

Project management is applicable across industries. IT companies were quick to adopt it and have reaped the benefits. Other industries in India are adopting the PM practices gradually, but the trend is bound to accelerate in the years ahead.

Construction Projects

Below are 28 academic institutions offering PM courses:

In addition to the above there are 3 Institutes who are PMI REPs (Registered Education Providers) viz.
  • SP Jain Institute of Management & Research, Mumbai
  • Karunya University, Coimbatore
  • Symbiosis Centre of Information technology (SCIT), Pune

PM training is a vital element for achieving timely completion and reduce cost overrun in any infrastructure construction projects. Your views on this.
The completion of construction projects in a timely manner is often a critical factor and measure of project success.

There is no focus on implementing project planning, which in fact should take place first." It is common in India to start a project without a plan that accounts for all facets of the project, unforeseen circumstances, stake holder management, risk management, end-to-end funding etc. The lack of trained project managers is another concern area. Individuals with technical knowledge rather than project management skills manage projects in India, thereby leading to inefficiency in management. The dearth of qualified white collar professionals in India is a key challenge for the infrastructure industry. Alternative career options in lucrative industries such as information technology and financial services have become a more attractive proposition for the fresh engineering talent in the country. The situation is expected to aggravate further as the current education system is unable to deliver the required number of specialists across the project management value chain. In addition, there is a shortage of experienced engineers with the desired project management skill sets to take up larger roles. Furthermore, India's vocational training curriculum needs to be further strengthened and based on global standards.

Hence, today there is a more urgent need to train managers in project management than ever before. If India has to reach its ambitious growth targets, projects have to be completed on time and within budget. Projects have to incorporate best practices from the public and private sector to see better outcomes. Organizations need to develop a deeper understanding of project management and the capabilities that it can unlock in the workforce. "In India, people do not continue to educate themselves after becoming a project manager. Like a doctor or a lawyer, a project manager needs to update and upgrade himself/herself with the latest tools and methodologies. Getting a credential is not the end in the game, but beginning of a new journey. It is important for project managers to be aware of the developments around them and be able to see the big picture.

Although things are changing now and basic project management knowledge has been embedded in higher education curriculum, India still has a long way to go.

Around 72% of the respondents of PMI KPMG report consider internal training programs such as developing in-house Project Academy / 'Center of Project Management Excellence' for training and certifying project managers as the pertinent step to enhance the quality of talent available in the near future. The report suggests the following steps for formulizing project management training for professionals:
  • Further strengthening India's Vocational Education and Training program to impart project management knowledge to working officials having varied experience.
  • Foster collaboration and cooperation with educational institutes to counter the insufficiency/shortage/paucity of professionals well equipped to handle infrastructure projects
  • Encouraging further development of in-house academies and structured training programs.

NBMCW December 2013

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ACE – A Dominant Player in Crane Segm...

Navdeep Singh
"As a dominant player in crane segment, ACE has been responding with speed. The policy of responding with speed and expertise has been rewarded over the years in the form of repeat business resulting in constant growth making us the leading company in the Mobile Cranes, Tower Cranes, and Construction equipment sector in the country. ACE invented New Generation Pick-n-Carry cranes which have strong technical fundamentals. Our growth has been due to the versatility of our equipment to satisfy a vast range of possible applications. Our equipment have been successfully used in many sectors of infrastructure construction projects such as road, metro rail, Power, Ports etc. We have also set up dealerships in UAE, Qatar, Iran, Bangladesh, Egypt and South Africa to provide support to our equipment working in Middle East Asia, South East Asia and African countries," says Mr. Navdeep Singh, Business Head - HED, Action Construction Equipment, ACE in an interview with S. K. Khanna.

Over the period, ACE has emerged as one of the most successful home grown companies in CE market with considerable presence in important infrastructure projects through its products and services. What creative business ethos has been enshrined in the company to turn its CE business vision into a reality as we see today?

Action Construction Equipment Limited (ACE) is India’s leading material handling and construction equipment manufacturing company with a majority market share in Mobile Cranes and Tower Cranes segment. In addition to Mobile Cranes, ACE also offers Mobile/Fixed Tower Cranes, Crawler Cranes, Truck Mounted Cranes, Lorry Loaders, Backhoe Loaders/Loaders, Vibratory Rollers, Forklifts, Tractors & Harvesters and other Construction Equipment. ACE has a consolidated presence in all major Infrastructure, Construction, Heavy Engineering, and Industrial Projects across the country.

ACE is a dominant player in the cranes market having introduced from time-to-time innovative crane solutions / products. Recently, it invented its New Generation Pick-n-carry cranes. What are its important technical attributes giving it an edge over others in this class?

ACE invented NEW GENERATION Pick-n-Carry cranes which have following features:
  • These cranes use industrial driveline from Trucks resulting improved gear shifting, more operator comfort, and higher speeds.
  • Cabin is in front and at lower height. Operator sits just like sitting in car. He has excellent all round visibility. Moreover, operator moves with Load providing safer operation.
  • Overall machine height is much less as compared to present m/cs resulting lower CG and hence improved stability and very low chances of m/c toppling.
  • Less number of structural parts known as Front and Rear Frame which are joined by pins having SELF aligning bearings providing flexibility in structure.
  • Rear Frame is connected to axle through Leaf springs which acts as a suspension and provides jerk free ride.
  • Luff cylinders are positioned in a way that the cylinders move away from load when the boom is lifted and hence more safe operation and it can lift steel plates and long pipes.
  • Wheel Steering is standard just like cars and hence operator-friendly and easy movement of crane.
  • Covered tool box is provided additional to open space for keeping goods.
Expanding its crane portfolio, ACE launched higher capacity tower cranes. What has been the response of the market to this initiative?

Tower Cranes
We have been offering Tower Cranes up from 5t to 25t capacity in the market. We have been market leader in Tower Crane segment. Traditionally, we have been very strong in 5-6t segment for both Inner Climbing version as well as Outer Tower Cranes. We have got good success in 12t, 16t and 20t segments. We have a very versatile range of cranes with jib length varying from 35 mtrs. to 70 mtrs.

The 12t and 16t cranes are more popular in Pre-cast segment. Most of the Developers have started building projects with precast segments because of higher speed of construction. Our tower cranes, which are known for their reliability and efficiency, are in good demand for such projects.

How does ACE look at the crane market evolving, competition getting stiff, pressure on pricing mounting, quality products taking off, demand and supply, sustainability maintaining etc, as the CE market breathe easy?

The policy of responding with speed and expertise has been rewarded over the years in the form of repeat business resulting in constant growth making us the leading company in the Mobile Cranes, Tower Cranes and Construction Equipment sector in the country. Another factor driving our growth has been the versatility of our equipment to satisfy a vast range of possible applications. Our equipment have been successfully used in many sectors like Infrastructure Construction, Power Projects, Ports & Shipyards, Dams, Metro Rail, Roads, Mining, Steel Industry, Engineering Industry, Railways, Cement, Petroleum, Defence, Chemicals & Fertilizer Plants, Warehousing, Logistics, Building Construction etc., to name a few.

What is the imported content of ACE products range? Will there be any impact on its import bill due to the fall in rupee value. How does ACE plan to slash its import bill so that shall not affect its business performance?

ACE has insignificant dependence on imports as it has its own state-of-art Research & Design facility which ensures best technology availability indigenously. However, there is some impact on imports bill due to increase of the dollar value, which ACE would be able to counter through quick indigenization.

A word about ACE dealership network, pre- and post market services and development of a sound vendor base.

ACE equipment are used throughout the country and to cater to this wide spread and to provide effective pre-sales and after sales service, the company has developed a network of Dealers and Area Offices operating out of 100 Locations and supported by 15 Area / Regional Offices based in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Pune, Jaipur, Raipur, Bhubneshwar, Lucknow, Indore, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Vizag and Cochin. These area / regional offices are in turn supported by the Marketing HQ based in Delhi and a dedicated Product Support Division based in Faridabad.

We have also set up dealership in UAE, Qatar, Iran, Bangladesh, Egypt, and South Africa to provide support to our equipment working in Middle East Asia, South East Asia, and African countries.

What is ACE assessment as how the CE market in the country is expected to unfold as normalcy set in, may be in the first or the second quarter of the next year?


ACE Cranes
The growth of the Indian CE industry is dependent on three factors: the first being the focus on infrastructure investments in terms of roads, ports, power, housing and real estate construction. The second is industrial production and capacity expansion by manufacturers in terms of new facilities and upgradation of existing facilities to meet the ever-increasing demand. The third is seeking the emerging growth areas in terms of leasing and rental of equipment, exports, increasing the use of refurbished equipment, and most importantly, providing timely service to the clients.

As per the study, new areas are emerging that hold good growth potential for the future, especially in rentals which currently contribute just about two per cent of a market which is expected to grow. Equipment leasing is another sector, and is expected to grow, then there is financing and end-to-end services where some of the large players are looking at providing end-to-end services to the users throughout the equipment lifecycle - financing, user training, maintenance and buy-back of used equipment.

Finally, there is export scenario where exports of CE from India should grow, and is expected to sustain this growth in future.

The key success factors for the future depends on innovative financing and value-added services where the focus is on increased penetration of financing leasing and rental services, providing adequate maintenance to equipment and training to crew, and facilitating immediate repair and refurbishing of equipment. The study also points out the importance of R&D and innovation in terms of appropriate product technology and pricing, product customization for different applications, product reliability and ease of use, and last but not the least, post sales support in terms of service and training infrastructure, focus on maintenance of equipment, ensuring the availability of spare parts and widening the distribution network to service the client better.

Despite the prevailing global uncertainties, rising needs of better infrastructure, modernized methods of agriculture and growing complexity of mining/manufacturing methods will boost demand for technologically advanced equipment in these industries. Moreover, looking ahead, the growth path widens for the emerging and developing nations, which will inevitably be attractive destinations for machine makers worldwide.

According to the World Economic Outlook Update published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in January 2013, the world economy is projected to grow 3.5% in 2013 (versus 3.6% projected in October 2012) and 4.1% in 2014. Growth in advanced economies and emerging and developing countries are projected at 1.4% (versus 1.5% expected earlier) and 5.5% (versus 5.6% expected earlier) in 2013, respectively. In 2014, advanced economies are projected to grow 2.2% and emerging markets 5.9%.

NBMCW November 2013

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Ajax Fiori’s New Generation ‘Agro...

Debasis Bhattacharya
"To keep pace with current and future requirements and to meet the demands of accuracy, Ajax Fiori will showcase its New Generation "Argo" series of mixers with the new "Concrete Batch Controller" and other superior technical attributes at Excon 2013. Our focus is to streamline our business operations to have proper focus on Batching Plants wherein we shall be opening a new factory exclusively for manufacturing batching plants. We have also entered into collaboration with a major Concrete Pump manufacturer to manufacture and distribute their range of Concrete Pumps, Boom Pumps, Line Pumps, and Placer Booms, in India," apprises Mr. Debasis Bhattacharya, Head- Sales and Marketing, Ajax Fiori, in an interview with Maria R.

From time-to-time, Ajax Fiori has been adding new products to its basket and upgrading its offerings. The latest being upgrading of the existing series of Self-loading Concrete Mixers and Self-loading Articulated Site Dumpers. What are the important technical attributes of these additions and how have the market responses been so far?

We, at Ajax Fiori, understand the needs of the customer and deliver cost-effective and value added solutions to all end-users. Our "Argo" series of Self-loading Concrete Mixers have attained unprecedented growth, thanks to its productivity, mobility, and labour savings feature. The demand from varied application sectors and semi-urban geographies has propelled the "Argos" to be positioned as a combined Mobile Batching Plant cum Transit Mixer for small to medium concrete requirements.

New Argo Series

To keep pace with current and future requirements, and meet the demands of accuracy, Ajax Fiori is now pleased to showcase the New Generation "Argo" series of mixers with the new "Concrete Batch Controller" with the following technical attributes:
  • Batching of up to 7 defined aggregates
  • Water batching by electromagnetic pulse meter in auto and manual mode
  • Additive batching by electromagnetic pulse meter in auto and manual mode
  • 8 bit, 128 KB Microcontroller with LCD display
  • Integrated adjustable real time clock.
  • 12 Tact-tile multifunction keys with numeric (0-9) and function keys
  • External interface for data downloading on to a computerised database
  • Printer connection through RS 232 port
  • Calibration & Tare function
  • Printout of daily reports, periodical reports, batch reports, and consumption reports
  • Record of batching data along with batch ID, machine ID and real time basis
  • Storage facility of data for at least 500 batches
  • Setting of mixing time with alarms
  • User-friendly operator interface
  • Diagnostic test screen for trouble- shooting
  • Error display and fault alarms
These new initiatives are appreciated well by Contractors wherein their Client insist for Batch reports for every concrete pour.

What is the impact of fall of rupee on the company, since in the manufacturing of your products, the company may be using a number of imported components?

The appreciation of Euro almost to the extent of 20-25% has had a substantial impact on the costing of our SLCMs, since value wise almost 50% of the components used for manufacture are imported. We have to a large extent borne this impact; however, over the period; it is being increasing difficulties for us to sustain the same pricing levels of our products.

What is the system placed in the company to have an effective dealership arrangement to facilitate products distribution and initiative taken to develop a strong vendor base?

We strongly believe in reaching out to the customers directly and hence we have our own network of sales and product support engineers spread throughout India. All our products are distributed from our two manufacturing units near Bangalore. We are presently having seven regional/area offices, five warehouses and one workshop-cum-training centre. Over the next year, we intend to have another three warehouses and two workshop-cum-training centres. This apart, we have our widespread team of resident engineers stationed in all major states in India. Today, we have over 50% of our employee strength directly on to customer interface.

Markets, it is said need greasing during dull phase. They bring in the desired results once they take off. What are company's current marketing initiatives to dispel present pessimism in the market place within the company and outside?

We have been witnessing the dull phase since June this year due to a combination of factors like rise in project costs due to delays, increase in interest rates, early advent of monsoons and the tight money position in the market. During such phase, our focus is on cost optimization and effective utilization of resources. We have been working closely with our customers to ensure that their machine utilization is at optimum levels. We have also been offering attractive financial package to ensure that our customers get a better deal even in such difficult times.

Summer has seen a dull market phase for CE sector. The winter could be harsher. The spring time next year could bring in some cheers, say the analysts. What is Ajax Fiori's assessment of the market as normalcy sets in?

Concrete Batch Controller
The infrastructure industry has matured a lot over the last couple of decades and by this time we all know that there will be downturns in the economy. It is for us to gear up in such phase and take all the smart steps to ensure that we reap benefits when there is a turnaround in the industry. We have had a very good summer, wherein during first quarter of FY 13, we registered a 20% growth over last year. The monsoon period has been quite flat for us, but we anticipate registering growth even during the winter and beyond.

At Ajax Fiori, we cater to multiple application sectors, semi-urban geographies and different customer segments which ensure our vast exposure in the market and enable us to deliver decent business results even during such dull phase.

What are the company's plans to participate effectively in the CE mega event - Excon 2013 - to be held in Bangalore during November, this year? What are the new products and services expected to be unveiled here. Do you think that Excon-2013 will pep up the CE market?

Excon has always been one of our flagship promotional events and Excon 2013 shall be our mega event. We have been going through a branding exercise over the last six months and we shall be showcasing our refreshed brand identity during Excon. We have always been a very strong player in the concrete equipment market, but we also understood that we had a few product gaps which we needed to address. Internally, we streamlined our business operations to have proper focus on Batching Plants wherein we shall be opening a new factory exclusively for manufacturing batching plants. We have also entered into collaboration with a major Concrete Pump manufacturer to manufacture and distribute their range of Concrete Pumps, Boom Pumps, Line Pumps and Placer Booms, in India. Excon 2013 will witness our refocused approach to Batching plants and the launch of our Concrete Pumps.

NBMCW November 2013

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PMP Industries, The Application Special...

Pozzo
After sales support and customer service are very important elements to the PMP strategy. We think the customer support is a key factor to win the market. We are working hard to design hi-tech and innovative products tailored to the Indian market's specific expectations and needs. Our new Chakan plant of PMP Drive Systems India will be ready early next year with both an assembly and production lines. With reference to export, we decided to create PMP Drive Systems India in order to serve not only the local market, but also all the Middle East and the SAARC countries," says Mr. Pozzo, President, PMP Industries, in an interview with Maria R.

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PMBec, compact mixer drive
What is the focus of your participation at Excon-2013 and what products are you going to launch/display at the show?
In November 2013 we are going to present to the Indian market the new PMP Industries high-tech complete solutions, designed to be used in several mobile applications. At our booth (Hall 2, upper level, booth no. 478-480) mixer truck manufacturers can closely appreciate the PMB series, world known mixer truck gearboxes that made PMP the global market leader, and discover the new compact patented solution, the PMBec. This breakthrough in the mixer drive technology is 55% shorter and 40% lighter than the traditional solution. Excavator manufacturers will find absolutely amazing the features of PMCI integrated travel drives series equipped with PMTE swing drives series with hydraulic motors designed specifically for working pressures up to 450 bar, and for hydraulic excavators up to 50 ton. Heavy duty equipment manufacturers will find interesting PMC gearboxes available with the new plug-in variable displacement (PMH MKV), or fixed displacement (PMH MKF) motors. These plug-in type axial piston motors are designed for high pressure (up to 450 bar) heavy duty applications, and feature the most compact design with several valve options available.

Do you think that participating at Excon would help in promoting the company's marketing objectives and infuse a new dimension to its business areas?
We have been working in the Indian market since 2003. We started selling directly from Italy, but now have an assembly and production plant which will be ready in early 2014. Anyway, we are still "young" in the market and we need to push our Brand and PMP strength and values to be better known by the local markets.

Excon is a must-attend event for us and for the relevant players of the sector. The show is one of the most important events for the Indian market and has become a leading event in Asia, especially with reference to the Construction equipment and technology sector. Furthermore, the show is important as a meeting point: considering the wideness of India and the consequent difficulties in meeting in terms of time and distance, Excon is a platform to easily reach customers, suppliers, partners, and to build and develop strong business relations and partnerships.

Travel Drives With Motors
PMCI, travel drives with integrated motors PMH MKF, fixed displacement plugin motors

In the construction equipment industry, how difficult is it to implement the marketing and business development strategies in the current tough economic scenario?
The current scenario creates challenges every day, and causes PMP to continuously check and improve strategies to adapt to the market's trends and developments. We strongly invest in R&D: even in these difficult years where the performance of the economy is unpredictable, PMP has always invested heavily in the development of new high tech products to meet at best market needs. Having the most advanced technology in both the products and production process is one of the winning strategies to face the difficulties of the economic scenario. It allows PMP to always have products with plus value, as compared to the competitors.

In addition, more than in previous years, market data collection and analysis is definitely an important factor to make the right decisions. Meeting customers, suppliers, and partners, to understand their needs, is a key factor to understand market trends awareness and set proper strategies and operations.

What is PMP Drive Systems India's foremost business development strategy for the current competitive construction equipment market?
Main strategy we are carrying out at this stage in India is working hard to design high-tech and innovative products tailored to the Indian market's specific expectations and needs. More than in other markets, in India, innovative and tailored solutions are needed. Products easiness of use and reliability are essential. Flexibility, prompt adapting capability at market needs, and local technical support are the strengths of PMP Drive Systems in India.

How has the fall of Rupee impacted your business operations? What enabling steps are you taking to minimize the impact? Don't you think on increase in localization and export to SAARC and developing countries, can be an option?
Fall of rupee had minor impact on our business operations and abilities to compete though we are still importing some components, and in some cases complete products, from abroad. This happens because most of our competitors are also importing as well.

PMP Industries is setting up its local production plant: the new Chakan plant of PMP Drive Systems India will be ready early next year with both assembly and production lines. With reference to export, we have decided to create PMP Drive Systems for India in order to serve not only the local market, but also all the Middle East and the SAARC nations. Future plans are to consider Indian production of components to serve global markets.

Please tell us about the USP of the company's offering.
PMP designs and manufactures such products specifically studied by the internal technical department, to meet each customer's specific requests. The R&D and technical development resources are based in Italy, where all the information about customers' needs gathered in the world markets, are studied to design, develop, and manufacture products that best fit market expectations. This concentration allows us to have an overview of the market's needs and common technical problems in order to find quick effective solutions. We have two teams dedicated to the development of drive systems and hydraulic systems, that work together to provide the customers with best complete solution for each application.

By being also a local player, PMP can gather information directly from the customer and join this with its high-technology products, to provide complete and superior solutions.

Swing Drives with Hydraulic Motor
A word about the developments that have taken place so far at your Chakan's production unit? When will it go on full stream?
At the moment, we are still working in a small rented plant where we carry out some assembly activities, and have a quality office provided with CMM machines. At the same time, the construction of the new plant in Chakan is going on and will be finished within the first quarter of 2014. The target is to start the production in June 2014. In the new plant, we will have both further assembly lines and complete production cycles of drive systems and hydraulic transmissions.

Also, please brief us about the customer support services offered by your company and its distribution network?
After sales support and customer service are very important elements to the PMP strategy. We have planned two development stages: in the early stage we will have an internal structure that will take care of the after sales service to support and find best solutions to satisfy the customers. At a later stage, we create an after sales office network: at the beginning there will be one in the North (Delhi), another in the South (Bangalore or Chennai), and then the network will develop further. We think this aspect is even more strategic in India even more than in other countries. Customer support is a key factor to win the market.

NBM&CW November 2013

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Powerscreen: Gears Up to Meet CSE Deman...

Rajen Khoda
"We have a strong brand, a good product, and a well-trained team that understands the industry requirements and is able to quickly put together solutions. As a market leader, our priority is always to serve best to our stakeholders. Whether it is our customers, sales team, trainers or the operators, we train them since we believe it is important to have knowledge of the products and safety comes first for us. With strong fundamentals at our command, we are well geared to meet demand for CSE," says Mr. Rajen Khoda, Director of Sales – South Asia and Middle East, Powerscreen, during an interaction with S.K.Khanna.

Powerscreen is one of the dominant players in crushing & screening equipment space. What is company's forecast of CSE demand in the next 2-3 years in view of the current slowdown spell?. What products and services are expected to drive the demand?
The past 18 – 20 months have been very challenging for our industry. Mining & Infrastructure are the key demand drivers of our products and these segments were amongst the worst hit. We were also addressing the aggregates market where we are dominant players; however growth in infrastructure is a driver for this segment. The infra projects too have not taken the ambitious route that was envisaged; hence the demand has slackened in this segment too. We don't estimate any drastic changes in the market and expect a flat year in 2014 as well.

Screening Equipment

In a market like CE facing cut-throat competition and buyers overwhelmed by numerous options available to go in for a product; what determines the success or the failure of a brand. How does your company strong brand motivate the retention or addition of the buyers compared to other brands in the market place?
A product or brand is as good as the experience it can provide to its customers. We do not only have a strong brand and a good product, but also have a well-trained team that understands the industry requirements and is able to quickly put together solutions. Our sales are through a dealer network; our dealers are companies that dedicatedly work with the mining, quarrying and construction industry. They are spread across the country and are able to reach out to our customer's whether it is to provide a solution or to provide services and spare parts. Our dealer teams undergo frequent training by our solution experts from India and abroad. Investments like these ensure that we are constantly engaged with our customers.

What is the likely impact on the fall of rupee on your company, import bill for importing critical components for CSE?
The volatility in the rupee has been detrimental to the industry and has negatively impacted all companies that have large value of imports. It has definitely impacted us too. However, we have been manufacturing from our plant at Hosur and over time have been working on localization of components.

What are the issues and problems confronting CSE sector and how are they proposed to be articulated to have an enabling business environment for this sector?
As mentioned earlier we don't expect the markets to see drastic improvements till a clear policy roadmap is put in place. In our estimates, the markets will remain flat through 2014 as far as demand for our products is concerned. Going by what NHAI'S and Road Ministry plans which have announced numerous concessions recently and if it becomes a reality then this will definitely trigger demand for CSE equipment.

Powerscreen Crushing

Financing to small and medium contractors has become an issue as banks and financial institutions have become very selective in lending loans. How are you helping genuine buyers in getting finance?
We are aware that the cost of financing is very high and this impacts both buyers and sellers. The government and financiers are trying to address this issue but don't see any immediate answer to this till overall economy improves.

Unorganized nature of aggregate industry is a big concern for organized manufacturers as trained operators and technicians and preventive and periodical maintenance play a big role in equipment performance; please brief us on your services.
Indian Construction Equipment Manufacturers Association (ICEMA) along with Government of India has set up a skill development council. Though this is in a nascent stage but in couple of years, the industry will yield favorable outcomes.

As a market leader our priority is always to serve best to our stakeholders. Whether it is our customers, our own sales team, our trainers or the operators, we train them since we believe it is important to have knowledge of the product and safety comes first for us. We have various training programs each specifically designed for different teams like we provide regular training to operators on machine functioning and we have rigorously classroom and on-site training for our sales team to understand our product so that they understand customer need.

The recent illegal mining of sand at large scale and its hoarding are causing demand –supply problems and has compelled the construction industry to think about its alternatives, including large scale manufacturing of m-sand in the country by setting up plants. Is Powerscreen fully equipped to supply turnkey technical solutions in the shape plants and machineries to the interested parties to undertake production of m-sand in the country?
Yes, we are fully equipped to address this application.

NBM&CW November 2013

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Normet: A Superb Solution Provider for ...

Rajeshwar Singh
Normet has always been a solution provider for the underground mining and tunnelling process. Normet people, tools and programs take good care of your machine worldwide and keeps it performing productively and safely with predictable costs. "We plan to start a workshop in the first quarter next year for refurbishment of machines which have completed 1/2 projects under tough conditions at the tunnel sites. As Normet machines have been made for tough jobs, the refurbishment of such machines would help customer complete another 1/2 projects at reduced capital investment," says Mr. Rajeshwar Singh, Director, Normet India Pvt. Ltd., in an interview with S.A.Faridi.

Waking up from its policy paralysis phase, the government has cleared/announced a number of new infrastructure projects where Power and Mining sector got the most attention besides roads. How do you link it to some revival and how these steps are likely to improve the CE market on the ground?
As per the information, one in every 2 central mega projects is delayed, despite government efforts to fast track infrastructure projects.The reality is no improvement is visible at the implementation levels. In my personal opinion,the CE market is not expected to improve till the elections get over which are due next year.

Normet imports its equipment; how has the rupee devaluation against major currencies affected Normet business? What steps are you taking to minimize this effect?
Many customers have delayed their procurement process with the rupee devaluation. In order to minimize the effect we have taken steps in the rental of certain model of equipments such as spraying equipment which has been very popular with our esteemed customer due to high performance and after sales support made available very close to site.

Don't you think localization could be a good option to offset the rupee problem and to offer products at a reasonable price where you can ward off stiff competition? What are your plans to set-up your manufacturing/assembly facility here in India?
We plan to start a workshop in the first quarter next year for refurbishment of machines which have completed 1/2 projects under tough conditions at the tunnel sites. As Normet machines have been made for tough jobs, the refurbishment of such machines would help customer complete another 1/2 projects at reduced capital investment.

Normet calls itself as a solution provider rather than an equipment manufacturer. Can you elaborate on your products and services?
Normet has always been a solution provider for the underground mining and tunnelling process. Normet has a range of Equipments Viz Concrete Spraying, Concrete Transport,Charging,Lifting and Installation,Underground Logistics, Scaling, Chemicals and Rock Reinforcement. Normet with its age old philisophy involves in the customer process and provide a solution for optimizing the project cost.

Underground Mining

Our Life Time Care Division provides perfect after sales service. Normet people, tools and programs take good care of your Normet machine worldwide and keeps it performing productively and safely with predictable costs.
  • We start with complete operator and maintenance instructions, spare parts manuals.
  • We are where you are. Normet sales and service companies and contracted partners cover whole world. Downtown Stockholm, Sweden, outback of Australia, Himalayan or Chilean mountains or Siberian cold. We are there.
  • Maintenance, repair, rebuilding, tunneling process expertise. Or something else? Experts at your service. Short term or long term.
  • Training, from the introduction how to use up to complete education program for your staff to work with Normet machines. Our training covers also working processes like concrete spraying, charging and transportation. Normet has EFNARC Trained Spraymasters with Artificial tunnel and Simulators for training of the spraying operators.
  • Spare parts needs? Normet Global Parts Logistics makes them available. Quality parts with quality deliveries.
  • Modify, modernize, need new features or components. From Life Cycle Products there is sure the option to choose and use.
  • Warranty. Life Time Care is your partner in the case of the unexpected. Extended warranties are available on request.
How is your chemical business a compliments to your flagship business of concrete spraying equipment business?
Our Chemical business under the flagship of Normet with two factories at Rudrapur (Uttaranchal) and Howrah (West Bengal) has been a strong compliment to our spraying equipment business. Customers as HCC, Leighton, Coastal, Megha, Vedanta are all satisfied with Normet equipment and chemical where we have provided solutions suitable to their needs.

Your machines work on remote areas across the nation where road connectivity is very poor, hence providing service and spare parts would be a big issue. How are you addressing these issues?
Under Normet philisophy, "We are, where you are," we have a dedicated service team at the site itself. We have a large warehouse at Noida where we have improved our spares parts availabilty to customers around 85% at any time. We have expanded our warehouse at certain new locations: Udhampur, Siliguri and the third one at Udaipur by end of this year.

Depending upon project needs at many times we have a container at the site with required spares to keep the machine running on 24x7 basis.

Trained operators and technicians and preventive and periodical maintenance play a big role in equipment performance; please brief us on your services.
Agree but lot of investment needs to put in for training of our own operators and technicians. Normet has a full fledged Training Department whose role is to assess each technician capability and have a training programme executed on indivual needs. Normet deputes atleast 6 technicians to Finland every year for training and adopt international standards in preventive and periodical maintenance. Normet Finland deputes Service perosnnel at our remote locations on regular basis round the year and ensuring the best practises being followed by our as well as customer technical team.

As spraying operator is very important in the shotcrete process, we train the customers' operators at site by our EFNARC trained Spraymasters. Normet India has also established their EFNARC Trained Spraymaster. Normet India has established an artificial tunnel at Rudrapur factory for training of operators with machine.

A word about Normet participation in the 7th edition of Excon 2013. How do you perceive this mega CE event as an appropriate platform for showcasing your company strength, enabling the customers to get a hand on experience of the performance of your products and services? What are the products and services expected to be unveiled in this mega event?
With a slow down in the market globally, we had showcased our products and chemicals in Bauma 2013. Excon is a big event in India and looking forward to participate in the near future.

NBM&CW November 2013

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PROMAN's VSG Has Invoked Good Response

R S Raghavan
"There has been a very good response to PROMAN's VSG and the special screens. We guarantee the operation and maintenance cost to our customers and work closely with them to make them understand on the total real cost of the system so that they are fully aware of their profitability," says Mr. R S.Raghavan, Managing Director, PROMAN in an interview with Maria R.

How do you view the first two quarters of this fiscal for PROMAN and what are your assessments for remaining months of 2013-14 fiscal?
The first two quarters were better than expected for PROMAN. The market has been subdued and will remain to do so. PROMAN with its strategic plan to focus on solution providing and also being in key select sectors should be able to manage an overall growth of 5%.

What are the trends you see in crushing market and its outlook for the current fiscal?
The trend which is openly visible is that the number of players in the crushing equipment industry is very high. Be it multinationals or the Indian companies, there is a general trend to undercut each other which is not healthy.

Innovative service and solution providers will always have an edge and we at PROMAN are focused on the same.

How has the market response been to PROMAN's newly launched VSG (Vertical Shaft Grinders) machine and special screens?
There has been a very good response to PROMAN's VSG and the special screens and we are executing a couple of projects which will further make PROMAN a niche player in the crushing and screening segment.

Operating cost plays a big role while buying a machine; please tell us about fuel/energy efficiency of your machines. Also tell us about the other inbuilt features of your crushers like reduce vibration and noise or dual power system etc.?
PROMAN guarantees the operation and maintenance cost to its customer. We work with the customer to make him understand on the total real cost of the system so that he is fully aware of his profitability.

Vertical Shaft Grinder

Waking up from its policy paralysis phase, the government has cleared/announced a number of new infrastructure projects in mining along with taking necessary steps to fast track their implementation like restarting mining in some regions. How do you link it to some revival and how these steps are likely to improve the market on the ground?
Whatever has been announced is not enough. We hope the government will move swiftly to streamline the policies and gain the confidence of the industry.

Financing small and medium contractors is becoming difficult as the banks as well as the companies have become very selective in their financing approach. How can financing to the genuine buyers be eased and ensured?
Crushing Equipment
This problem is the after effect of abnormally aggressive pressure to sell or lend and the manufacturers, customers and financiers are all equally responsible. Bringing in the adequate initial investment by whosoever takes a loan will solve the problem to an extent.

Unorganized nature of aggregate industry is a big concern for organized manufacturers as trained operators and technicians with preventive and periodical maintenance play a big role in equipment performance. Please brief us on your services.
PROMAN through its associate company is able to supply, erect, operate, train and handover its crushing plants to its customer. There is a choice for our customers to choose our services based on their skills and resources.

NBM&CW November 2013

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