Vikram Mehta
Spartan: "The best way to attend to a cost-competitive market is to provide the best value for the cost," says Dr. Vikram Mehta, Managing Director, Spartan.

Seeing the government's intent to boost infra construction, how do you see the growth prospect in 2017 and beyond for the construction equipment in general and your product line in particular?
Intent is always noble. But what is to be seen is the execution and fulfilling of the promise. At this point of time, considering the bold steps being taken by the government, including the demonetization, the industry will be affected at large. Hope the government will come up with better policies and reforms to come out of the current situation. Especially for construction equipment and construction industry, things as of now are skeptical and we are keeping our fingers crossed. Though nothing seems to be easy till the end of the first quarter in the next financial year, i.e. 2017 – 2018, hopefully, things will be better.

Gladiator Series Bar Cutting Machine
Gladiator Series- Bar Cutting Machine
How is the digital revolution helping to control cost and improving efficiency, productivity, and safety of construction equipment?
Considering the design aspect of the machines, we are way ahead in bringing the latest and advanced technology in our machines. Spartan boasts of around 30 in-house design professionals and is well equipped with all the necessary design software and tools like SolidWorks etc. Each machine is manufactured after rigorous design stage, where best machines of the world of similar capacity are researched, studied and then designed to match the international standards. FEA analysis is carried out well in advance while designing, where machines are tested at various heights, in adverse climatic conditions, through a software. This gives a near-to-actual performance of the machine even before manufacturing. Each machine is designed considering its application, site conditions, safety, convenience, ease in operation, etc.

Digital revolution is a saviour, considering the current scenario. It has helped to have a better control on the costs for marketing activities, though, it is too early to fetch 100% benefits out of it. But digital promotion and marketing is here for good. We are seeing a lot of acceptance to our promotions and messaging through media like SEO, SMM, and direct marketing.

Spartan Passenger Material Hoist
Aviator Series Passenger & Material Hoist
Control Panel in the hoist is one of the most advanced features of our hoists which could hardly be found in any of our competitors. It is provided with flash light for easy visibility, joystick for easy operation and emergency switches. The PLC functions cover many indicators like VFD Trip, Limit Switch Failure, Phase Failure Exit Door, Open Entry Door, Rack Search Fault etc. The higher/ premium models also have a display screen, where the actual fault would be displayed for easy identification and repair. It is placed at a strategic position which can be easily viewed by the operator. These machines also come with mechanical lock and electrical sensors in critical areas like entry/exit door, trap door, erection platform, etc.

What has been Spartan's marketing strategy? Are you providing customized solutions?
Construction Equipment market has always been volatile. Lot of 'me too' and substandard cheap imported machineries have been a threat to the Indian market for some time now. But we understand that only a stable and consistent brand will be the winner in the long-term. Price war has always been dictating the orders, but we haven't moved away from being the safest and the most reliable brand in the industry. Being the market leader for more than a decade now, we understand the market requirements very well. Customization in machines has been prevalent for a long time. Hence, we do a lot of survey and site inspection before we suggest any machine to our customers. Every site calls for different challenges and we provide specific solutions which suits the site condition.

How do you make your products cost-competitive to own and operate for the highly price-sensitive Indian market?
The best way to attend to a cost-competitive market is to provide the best value for the cost. We always strive to give maximum value to the customer, so as to compete on the values offered and not on the cost charged. This keeps us above our competitors while keeping the customer's requirement on top of the list.

Bar Bending Machine
Gladiator Series-Bar Bending Machine
We have 'Soon to be Launched' Multifunctional Mini Lift (SML 100) along with attachments and features. There has been a very positive feedback on the same and we are sure this machine will storm the market with its attachments and attractive price.

What was the concept behind the Sparsh Training Meet? What response is Spartan getting?
Spartan believes in having a good relationship and a constant connect with the customers not just for orders, but also to get their feedback, update them on our new products and features and knowledge sharing. These activities we do under our initiative called 'Sparsh'. Under this, we conduct various meets like Sparsh Customer Meets, Sparsh Operators Meets, Sparsh Training Meets, etc. Recently, we conducted Sparsh Hoist Training Meet at our factory at Ambernath, Mumbai. Around 110 people from various construction companies across Mumbai attended the event. These people included Operators, Safety Officers, Third Party Inspectors, Purchase heads and P&M heads. Safety of the operators has been our prime motto. Our core purpose has been 'to enhance the productivity, speed, and safety, by providing advanced mechanized solutions, thereby, saving their money, time, and efforts.' One of the three aspirational core values says 'Contributing back to the ecosystem at large'. With this commitment, we have carried out training meets as a part of our CSR program. Machine demos were also conducted and everyone actually had a feel of it. I am sure, this training session would add to their knowledge and ultimately help organizations with better performance and more awareness about safety precautions and maintenance of their machines. Many departments of Spartan were involved in the event including, teams from Production, Quality, Design, Service and Sales & Marketing. The management took keen interest in the event from personally getting involved in the arrangements to being present during the event.

Sparsh Hoist Training Meet
Sparsh Hoist Training Meet

Please brief us about your operator training and other operational support?
Our role doesn't end at just selling the machines. Rather, it starts after selling the machines. Our main consumer is the operator. We believe in training the operator for the right use, application and performance of the machine. Our machine would perform well only if the operator maintains it well. We conduct training programs at regular intervals after the machine is sold. We follow the principle of 'Train the Trainer'. Our specialized team trains the operator on the usage, application, maintenance, and repair. Though, we assure our immediate attendance on breakdown of the machine, we train them about how to use it efficiently so as to reduce the maintenance to the minimum. The training is conducted at both site and at office. Important training modules are shared with them wherever required, like Dos and Don'ts of using Bar Bending and Bar Cutting machines, etc.

Sky Climber Rope Suspeded Platform
SkyClimber Series of Rope Suspended Platform (SRP)

What are your strategies to increase sales?
We will be able to revolutionize and achieve growth slowly. We have a lot of expectations from the prospects ahead in terms of business for our machineries. Moreover, we are also expecting positive growth from high-rise constructions, which are gaining prominence not just in metros but also in tier-II cities. This also opens new growth avenues. We will be focusing on expanding our reach to these areas by expanding our dealership network. We already have 8 branch offices. We are also focusing on our export business with dealers already in Dubai and Sri Lanka and are getting a good response from these markets.

NBM&CW December 2016