Several hundred Potain guests, including customers, dealers, partners, and media-persons, visited the company's new factory in Pune to view Manitowoc's new and improved manufacturing processes embodying 'The Manitowoc Way' of Lean Manufacturing that reduces lead times, eliminates wastage, saves cost, and enhances product quality.
Located in Chakan on Talegaon - Chakan road, Pune, the Potain tower crane factory has 5 individual units for fabrication, welding, painting and assembly work, and a finished goods yard, where ready-to-ship cranes are placed in 6 kits. Designed and operated as per Lean Manufacturing principles prescribed in ‘The Manitowoc Way', the operating system enables the company to continuously improve its processes by eliminating wastage and bringing additional values of cost and quality to its customers. The new factory began rolling out the highly-popular MCT 85 and MC 125 tower cranes with greater efficiency, during the first quarter of 2018.
Lean manufacturing at our new Pune facility is helping us enhance product quality, shorten lead time, save wastage and costs, and speed up delivery to customers
Welcoming the gathering at its new factory, David Semple, Manitowoc's Senior Vice President for the Middle East & India, said that the event gave the company an opportunity to highlight its progress. "We are serious about doing things in line with The Manitowoc Way which denotes our customer-driven culture, led by innovation and velocity. The relocation of our Potain factory to Chakan and its development is in keeping with that very principle. The factory occupies a reduced land area but features new equipment and lean processes that ensure that the MCT 85 and MC 125 are produced more efficiently, faster, and with greater quality, for the benefit of our customers."
With a production area of 9,760 m2, the new factory's manufacturing footprint has been reduced by one-third of its previous facility, but without compromising on the level of production output. Upgrades include a new paint shop and shot blasting machine cells. Production lines are more closely located to each other, thereby decreasing the time taken for transporting materials from the assembly area to the finished goods yard by 68%, and also saving time on transport of material from the steel yard, supplier yard and fabrication area.
Another time-saving advantage lies in the factory's location in the city's industrial belt of Chakan, which offers better connectivity to national highways, thereby enabling faster deliveries to customers, and also facilitating faster export of Potain cranes through Mumbai's seaport to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.
The improvements in our new factory is bringing in more efficiency, profitability, and value for our stakeholders, and we’re continuously working on pricing, product design and manufacturing
Said Prashant Suryawanshi Manitowoc's Managing Director, "Opening the plant in Chakan is an important step in maintaining Potain's long-standing reputation as a market leader in India. A lean philosophy is key to bringing more efficiency, profitability, and value for our stakeholders. The improvements we see at this factory translate into faster delivery times and enhanced quality of our tower cranes. For sustaining our brand value in the competitive Indian market, we're continuously working on pricing, product design, manufacturing processes, and in extending our market reach. We have brought some changes in our business strategy and have decided to let our retail customers be also handled by our dealers/distributors, who are working very closely with our regional managers."
Providing details about Potain's offerings in India and their technical attributes Suryawanshi said that our MCT 85 can lift a maximum of 5 ton or 1.1 ton at its jib end of 52 m. Designed for easier transportation, its entire top portion can travel on just two trucks. Assembly is easier too as most of the pre-assembly work happens at the factory before the crane is delivered to the customer. The MC 125 has a maximum capacity of 6 ton and a maximum jib length of 60 m. It can lift 1.15 ton at its maximum jib end. The high performing, versatile and agile crane is designed for urban and industrial work and has low maintenance requirements.
Every process and component undergo checking at every stage of manufacturing/assembly, and the finished product goes through stringent quality checks before being dispatched
Manitowoc's Operation Director, Vinit Kokil informed that the ISO 9001:2015 certified new factory has advanced MIG welding for delivering international standard product quality. Mast production (Mast Value Stream - VS) is 60%, while Jib production (Jib VS ) is 20% of the total manufacturing activity. Mast value stream covers approx. 2600 sqm area while jib covers approx. 2000 sqm. Mast manufacturing is done with semi-automated fixtures, and jib with imported fixtures beds with dimensional accuracy to ensure fitment and quality at customer's end. The paint shop in an area of approx. 1800 sqm has an automated programmed conveyor system, shot blasting, surface cleaning, primer coat painting, top coat painting and drying processes. All the painted components are then assembled with the crane's mechanisms (winches, slewing motors, control panels – many of which imported from other Potain facilities) in the Assembly VS section, before final packing and shipment. "Every process and component undergo checking at every stage of manufacturing/assembly, and the finished product goes through stringent quality checks before being dispatched," he stated.
Our approach is very customer-centric and providing efficient after-sales support helps us in building customer relations. The Indian market is tough and very competitive, but we are confident of our product quality and performance
Christophe Chatonnet, Manitowoc's After-sales Director - Middle East & India, who over 25 years of experience at project sites, stated that Potain products are very technical, so the ability to understand them thoroughly and provide the necessary support services is key to customer satisfaction. "Our approach is very customer-centric and providing efficient after-sales support helps us in building customer relations. The Indian market is tough and very competitive, but we are confident of our product quality and performance."
"The manufacturing standards that we follow are much advanced since we follow the same European standards for all our markets so our mobile cranes in India are of the most advanced European design. There are many Indian manufacturers who are giving tough competition to us, but we will not compromise on the quality of our products, despite the price war. In fact, we keep improving our production processes to bring down costs, hence, the setting up of lean manufacturing at our new Chakan factory. Moreover, safety is also our key focus, so we give our technicians and operators regular training before certifying them," he stated.