Deepak Shetty, CEO & Managing Director, JCB India
Backhoe Loader sales registered negative growth in FY21-22 primarily due to two reasons: the price hike in steel and implementation of BSIV. How is JCB addressing these issues?
JCB has gone a step forward by simply making certain design modifications in the product along with a change in the engine, to make it easy on the customers’ pocket.
Customers will also benefit by way of Total Cost of Ownership of their machines as we have reduced their maintenance cost and improved the engine’s fuel efficiency. So, despite the increase in fuel and steel prices, our machines will prove to be more affordable JCB is also partnering with some financial solution providers to keep the initial cost of our machines at almost the same price when BS III norms were in place.
Do you think that the mini excavator is slowly but steadily cannibalizing the backhoe market as was evidenced in the FY22 excavator sales figures?
The JCB Backhoe Loader has been popular for the last 42 years since it is a very versatile, and an easy to use and transport machine. It is very suitable for government projects like Gram Sadak Yojana and Har Ghar Jal in rural areas. This is because the backhoe loader is the best machine for reaching remote/rural areas as compared to excavators that require transportation assistance. So, I don’t think that the mini excavator can entirely replace the backhoe, given their different features, usages, and applications.
How has sales at JCB grown during FY’22?
Despite the pandemic, FY 2021-22 was the third best year for JCB till now,. With our best-in-class design, engineering, and manufacturing capabilities in India, we increased our exports by 300% in 2021, and have recently commissioned our new export-oriented factory in Vadodara, Gujarat, where we will produce global quality machines and also support our Make in India initiative.
Even though the industry has shrunk by 8%, the Indian government’s initiatives to boost the economy by pumping funds in the infrastructure industry will give a good momentum in 2023 to the construction equipment sector. It is predicted that the industry will see a growth of 15-20% over last year.
Please enumerate JCB’s sustainable innovation and ‘Make in India’ initiatives.
Innovation and Sustainability are critical to our operations, and we continue to introduce products that significantly limit their impact on the environment. The JCB 19C-1E is the industry’s first fully electric mini excavator in India and is integral to JCB’s ‘Road to Zero’ initiative, a programme that we have been working on for the past few years. The machine has been tested extensively and has various built-in features that enhance safety and performance. With zero emissions and low noise, this new machine is ideal for Infrastructure development in urban areas and in indoor jobs.
Our other sustainable innovation is a Natural Gas-powered Genset. We have taken the bold step of launching a Natural Gas-powered Genset that significantly reduces emissions. This range will be manufactured in India and in addition to catering to the domestic market, will also be exported.
JCB products have been supporting the building of Infrastructure in India for over four decades. Our machines are used to build roads in urban and rural India, schools, hospitals, and airports, among many other applications.
Our Made in India products are at par with the rest of the world and are used in over 110 countries. With operating costs becoming more critical, our products are being designed to consume lesser fuel and have lower maintenance costs, thereby improving our customers’ profit margins.
Our network of over 60 dealers, 6,500+ dealer service engineers, and 700 outlets ensure that our customers are never far away from professional product services and support.
JCB has been at the forefront of digitalization in India. How have your machines impacted infra construction activities?
JCB has always been ahead in digitalization and has its own spare parts portal. About 17% spare parts are being sold through the portal and 75% of the buyers are from rural India.
JCB machines come with the revolutionary technology - JCB Livelink - that gives real-time updates on service operations and security of the machine. The connected machines give critical information on their productivity and operations, which helps in fleet management and gives the opportunity for continuous monitoring of the health of the machines and maximising their uptime.
JCB helped the Border Roads Organization during the Covid-19 lockdown by connecting with its engineers through video calling and training them remotely. The company shares the data obtained from IoT devices fitted on its equipment with its customers so that they can make decisions for higher productivity.
The average age of people operating the machines is coming down and they want data and technology. Machines today have software right from the engine to the fan, since electronics can bring more fuel efficiency and enhance the machine’s overall performance.