Ajax Fiori's new facility to manufacture Agro series of self-loading machines would be a big draw at Excon 2011. We will also launch the “self-loading articulated site dumpers” hitherto never seen in the Indian market says Mr. Debasis Bhattacharya, Head – Sales & Marketing, Ajax Fiori, in an interview with S.A.Faridi.
You have started 2011 with the opening of Ajax Fiori’s 3rd plant in Bangalore; what has been the strategy behind this investment and how much this new facility will enhance your market share and profitability?
The rationale behind opening our 3rd plant was to have dedicated manufacturing units separately for “Self-loading Mobile Concrete Mixers” and “Batching Plants.” The new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility will triple our installed capacity of “Argo” series of self-loading machines, which will in a large way facilitate us to meet the burgeoning demand for these machines across India. We will dedicate our existing unit for manufacture of our entire range of Radius Lift Arm type, Dragline type, Compact Bin type and In line Bin type Batching Plants to cater to the demand for these products line.
Recently, you have launched Dragline Batching Plant; what has been the response so far?
The Dragline type Batching Plant DLP 30 has been very well received in the market and we have geared up to meet the product quality and delivery requirements/expectations of our customers. The USP of our DLP 30 is the planetary pan mixer manufactured in-house under collaboration with Eurostar, Italy. This provides a considerable advantage over similar dragline plants being sold in the market today.
Despite demanding quality and high end equipment, Indian customers are very sensitive on the pricing; how are you maintaining equilibrium between affordability and quality? What steps you are initiating to motivate customers to go in for quality?
The infrastructure industry has been undergoing considerable changes for the past one decade. The need for faster and timely completion of projects without compromising on quality is the need of the day. To add to it, the availability of labor is becoming increasingly scarce across most job sites. At Ajax Fiori, we have always promoted innovative products thanks to our strong engineering capabilities, and have backed it with an efficient product support network. In doing so, we sell a product offering, which adds value to the customer. However, we respond to the price sensitivity of the Indian customers by an ongoing process of Value Analysis and Value Engineering.
What sort of innovative strategies the company is evolving to stave off the toughening competition scenario in the country?
Our strategies to be competitive are oriented around ensuring the highest product quality and reliability in our class of equipment as well as impeccable product support which has always been a trademark of our organization.
Rental and leasing of equipment is also getting momentum in the country; how do you see this trend in concrete equipment sector and what are your plans to tap this opportunity?
Rental and leasing of equipment on a modest scale is prevalent in concrete equipment with transit mixer and concrete pumps leading the way. We foresee a very bright future for the rental market for our “self-loading mobile concrete mixers,” since these mixers are finding use across varied job sites in irrigation and canals, tunnels, concrete roads in rural and semi-urban areas, bridge and underpass, buildings and factories, windmill, transmission line and sub-station foundations, etc. Today, we have been approached by major corporate construction companies for availability of these machines on hire, and accordingly we are in the process of strategic tie-ups with major rental companies.
Due to ever increasing input cost, higher interest rates and induction on Bharat III engine; how difficult it has been to keep the equipment price stable?
In addition to the above factors, we are also facing a heavy burden on account of appreciation of foreign exchange, due to which our costs have increased considerably over the past six months. We have tried our best to shield our customers from these cost increases to the extent possible.
How do you see the growth of CE market in the next two-three years in general and concrete equipment in particular?
The CE market looks promising at least for the next five to eight years, since there is a huge demand of infrastructure across major sectors, viz. roads, power, telecom, airports, to name a few. Concrete equipment in particular has seen an unprecedented growth of 25% year-on-year over the past decade, and should be able to maintain this growth rate over the next decade as well.
What are your plans for the forthcoming mega event Excon 2011, any new product/service planned to be launched during the show?
We will showcase the next generation “Argo” series of self-loading mobile concrete mixers in the Argo 1000, Argo 2000 and Argo 4000 version. They will be loaded with some value-added features, as part of our product differentiation strategy, to enable meet the demands and requirements of future projects. We would also launch the “self-loading articulated site dumpers” hitherto never seen in the Indian market.