Concrete equipment manufacturers across the value chain are looking to provide innovative service support packages. P.P.Basistha
takes a look.
Bygone is an era when the sole responsibility of concrete equipment manufacturers in India was restricted only to deliver the equipment at the job site. With job complexities gaining ground, preparation and placement of concrete is increasingly becoming a challenging task, dovetailed by the fact when work schedules are increasingly becoming time restricted. To meet the new operational order, concrete equipment manufacturers are collaborating with contractors to provide greater value to the equipments through customer support.
"Newer project requirements is making it prerequisite for concrete equipment manufacturers to provide value added customer service support for enhanced equipment availability," says Mr. Nagesh Kudva
, Director, Conmat. He adds, "customer service support on the part of manufacturers assumes importance as customer knowledge on the operational parameters of the equipment is incomplete in newly emerging demand pockets."
Conmat provides complete customer support for erection, commissioning and dismantling the concrete equipment being delivered by it. Mr. Kudva informs, "as a part of operational support our service engineers provide complete assistance in providing training to operators for a period of 15 days, post commissioning the equipment. Following this, our service engineers pay a quarterly visit to the contractor’s job site and provide necessary recommendation for preventive maintenance free of cost. Additionally, the service engineers also check the health of the machine and recommend spares for replacement." Mother warehouse for component support is located in Gujarat. Mr. Kudva said, "we post permanently our service engineers in operational pockets for the equipment population is quite substantial." The company has a large population of eighteen machines working at Nagpur, Lucknow & Indore. Besides, it has good number of machines working all over India.
The company provides service support pertaining to operators training, erection and dismantling through its own service engineers. The company has strength of 36 service engineers. Sales of the concrete equipment manufactured by Conmat are undertaken both by itself and through dealers appointed by the company. Conmat has five dealers based in Bengaluru, Pune, Mumbai Jaipur and Kolkata. The company has its own marketing offices in Hyderabad, Gujarat, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi and Indore.
Mr. Kudva mentioned, Conmat would be shortly launching hi-tech concrete paving machines during the period of August 2011. It also plans to launch in-built slope compactor concrete machines for construction of irrigation canals.
Customer support is also vital for Allen Buildwell says Mr. P. Arunagiri
, COO, Allen Buildwell Pvt. Ltd adding that the prime element of our business strategy is to provide appropriate customer support. Our customer support is complete in its character. Following delivery of the equipment at the job site, our service engineers undertake erectioning and commissioning, as training is provided to the operators for a period of three weeks. To facilitate appropriate erectioning, commissioning and training, our service engineers are further supported by our managers and technical support team. He adds, the service engineers undertake preventive maintenance of the machines periodically by visiting the site and checking the plant for lubrication, life of liners, calibrating the machine etc. However, information is also provided well in advance to dealers, customers and equipment operators by the service engineers on steps for preventive maintenance. Allen Buildwell’s customer support team consists of eight service engineers and 12 technical support team members.
Further Mr. Arunagiri informs that to ensure optimum equipment uptime, we provide in-house training to operators through our testing modules and to get them accustomed with the functioning of the concrete machinery deployed at the job site. Ensuring timely component support, Allen Buildwell provides list of spares to customers to be maintained at the job site and also at some critical remote sites the company has maintained spares on site at our own cost to ensure timely service to customers. The company has its mother warehouse at Navi Mumbai, he added.
Allen Buildwell manufactures concrete batching plants under its own brand. It also represents US brands like Allen Engineering USA, Power Curber and Power Pavers for concrete paving apart from representing G&Z. To provide enhanced performance for the equipment marketed, our service engineers are regularly trained in USA, he said.
Allen Buildwell Headed by Mr.Ashok.A.Rao as Managing Director was the pioneer in bringing up the portable concrete batching plant technology in India with Reversible Drum Mixer and now Allen Buildwell is re launching 20 cum - 60 cum mobile concrete batching plant shortly with more advanced features for portability, he revealed.
Value on Service Support
Value in customer support is also claimed to be offered by Apollo Infratech Pvt Ltd. Apollo Infratech manufactures wide range of concrete equipments. According to Mr. Mitul Patel
, Managing Director, Apollo Infratech, "To ensure complete equipment performance availability to contractors, we provide complete operators training ranging from a period of fifteen days to one month."
Mr. Patel says, "We have in place tailor made customer support package. Under the package we provide option to customers to operate and maintain the equipment through our own service engineers on chargeable basis. The option is quite attractive for those contractors, who do not have skilled hands for operating and maintaining the equipments." He said adding that the option provided in maintaining and operating the equipment, the contractor can remain focused on his core activity in monitoring the different elements of construction for getting the job executed in time, while operation and maintenance can be left with us." The charge for operating and maintaining the concrete equipment is through a fixed charge on per cubic metre output or monthly basis.
For timely component availability, the company has in place its mother warehouse logistically linked to its dealers. The company has a network of fifteen dealers across India.
Mr. Patel informed that Apollo would launch new products during 2011. The new equipment would comprise S-Valve stationery trailer mounted pumps having an output of 50 cubic metre per hour, fixed form concrete paver and mobile concrete plant with an output of 30 cubic metre capacity. Mr. Patel said, "mobile concrete equipment would be one of the prime focus area of the company."
Customer service support is being looked to be offered by making price of products competitive by BHS-Sonthofen, German concrete equipment manufacturing major. According to Mr. Neelesh Desai
, National Sales Manager India, BHS-Sonthofen, "Providing competitively priced equipment is one of our key strategies to provide customer service support in India. Followed by placing economically priced products we would look to strengthen our engineering support to the products." BHS which has got stretch of land in Hyderabad is planning to set up 7000 Sq. ft. warehouse as further stage of long term investment in the Indian operation.
BHS first line product for the concrete industry is consisted of mixing products. The product line under this category involves, twin shaft batch mixers, twin shaft continuous mixers, single shaft continuous mixers, and asphalt batch mixers. The company has sold three hundred units of twin shaft batch mixers in India. For enhanced customer support, BHS has expanded it’s service team and sales team.
Mr. Desai informed, "To make our vertical shaft impactors (VSIs) economical in India in comparison to those imported from Germany, we are contemplating to assemble them at our plant in China. Having the equipments assembled at Chinese plant, would make them cost competitive at least by 20% thus enabling us to have greater foothold in India." The company’s other product line includes crushing products covering VSI’s, horizontal shaft impactors, rotor shredders and rotor impactors for E-waste recycling. While the third product line has filtration products comprising, rotary crushers, vacuum belt filtration, and candle pressure filter.
BHS is also exploring Indian market for their E-waste recycling plant, which at present are only marketed in developed countries. Mr. Desai informed that BHS would be interested to join hands with local Indian company to indigenize structural components and fabrication of such plants, which will result in cost benefit for the clients.
To provide better support in terms of component availability, BHS maintains stocks worth of three and half crore rupees at its mother warehouse in Hyderabad. Logistical support for timely availability of components is provided by Gati to BHS at present.
Focus on operators training and commissioning remains key for good number of concrete equipment manufacturers. As per Mr. Sailesh Surelia
, Director, Surelia Engineering Works, "As a part of customer support, we provide entire support for commissioning the equipments. We provide one week of operators training for the equipments." Surelia Engineering Works has four service engineers. The company is in the process of setting up a new plant. Sales of the products is undertaken by the company’s dealers based in Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Kochi. Product offered by the company includes, concrete batching plants, concrete placers, walk behind vibratory rollers and batchmix plants.
Emphasis on operators training is also given by Sicoma. Mr. Vinayak Gajendragad
, Area Sales Manager-Indian Operations Sicoma says, "We provide due emphasis in training the operators of the OEM’s to whom we supply our mixers the training is given to provide preventative maintenance at the job site through our pan India presence." He says, "Our concrete equipments are both price and engineering wise competitive as they are manufactured through intense value engineering." Products made available by Sicoma includes, concrete planery mixers and twin shaft mixers. The products are imported from Italy.
While customer support can be provided by equipment manufacturers through engineering and component support. However, for increased availability of the equipments, it would be advisable for contractors to follow the operators manual to undertake preventive maintenance of the machines.