Manitou: Total Solutions Provider

Hafeez Khan, Managing Director, Manitou South Asia
From widening and upgrading its products to comprehensive aftermarket sales and support, Manitou South Asia is geared up to achieve sustained growth over the new year, says Hafeez Khan, Managing Director, Manitou South Asia.

How is Manitou gearing up to meet global demand for equipment that is more fuel-efficient, environment-friendly, compact, lighter, and hybrid in nature?
The Construction Industry is becoming more and more efficient day by day with new technology and solutions in the equipment. Along with efficiency, users are demanding compactness, environment-friendliness, etc in the machines. As a 60-year old brand, we understand our customers’ demand very well, and we know what suits their nature of work. That’s why we keep innovating and adapting new technology to keep our machines up-to-date to meet the requirements.

Total Cost of Operation for the end-customer is our focus; which has helped us understand customer needs more closely and enabled us to roll out machines that are much more productive and reliable. We have a vast range of Telehandlers to meet the diverse demands of an expanding market. For compact works, our Skid Steer loader is a fine example of versatility. Our Aerial Work Platform comes in both Diesel and Electric versions. Our Backhoe Loaders are equipped with UCH features which makes them one of the most fuel efficient in the industry.

MRT easy 1440
What’s more, last year, Manitou and Deutz joined forces and introduced two prototype telehandlers: one as a hybrid, and another a full electric system machine, to meet the increasing demand for such vehicles. This is the first time that Deutz incorporated prototype electric drives into Manitou equipment, and as a result, the Manitou MT 1135 was launched as a prototype.

More recently, Manitou launched its 100% electric range. The Oxygen line includes a new aerial platform and a pair of telehandler models. We have launched our first electric all terrain aerial platform with working height of up to 20m which works at par with current diesel-powered platforms. Equipped with 48V battery, it can achieve up to one working day on full charge in adverse weather conditions.

The ATJ 200e Oxygen is the group’s first electric all terrain aerial platform. With a working height of up to 20m for a maximum capacity of 230-kg, the model provides the same performance as a diesel-powered version. The MRT 2550 h Oxygen Lab telehandler is a hybrid prototype version of the diesel MRT 2550 model, capable of operating in 100% electric mode. Retaining the same characteristics as the diesel-powered version, it has 25m lifting height for a capacity of 5 tons. We are ready to launch our hybrid products as soon as the Indian market is open for such hybrids.

Please elaborate on the features and improvisations carried out in your products to enhance their owning and operating cost and minimize downtime.
Owning and operating cost is the most important aspect which almost all buyers look for. Choosing the right machine for the right application is the key behind O&O cost. Productivity requires an analysis of soil types, site conditions and support machines. Another key O&O variable that owners have control over is the quality of their asset maintenance. Using spurious consumables may save money in the short term but can result in more repairs and shorter component lifespan over the long term. Operator training and skill also plays a part in component life. We, as an OEM, always recommend our customers to use only genuine spares and lubricants, which in turn give a better and justified operating cost.

Manitou Group believes strongly in innovation and improvement to make operations efficient and safe. In fact, our R&D is a never-ending process. We have developed a wide range of products such as the Skid steer loaders, Backhoe loaders, Telehandlers, Aerial work platforms, etc. We also invest heavily in enhancement of technology and in safety features.

What scope and potential do you see in integrating technologies such as IoT, Big Data, Machine Learning and AI, and what are the challenges?
In this Digital world, it would be a losing situation if we are not making use of technology such as internet-of-things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI). Most companies are making investments in digital platforms, which help improve efficiencies and render more profitable the extant capacity such as adding sensors to products to provide steady data and critical analytics and predict breakdowns, service updates and improve efficiencies.

The challenge today is to educate the machine operator about the latest technology on our machines. The good part is that the youth today are open to learning and are adapting the updated features in our machines and other construction equipment.

200ATJE OXYGEN

How are you preparing to meet the new emission norms which are set to be implemented in October 2020?
In March 2018, MORTH released final rule for BS-4 CEV Emission norms which are in general alignment with Euro-4 and Euro-5 norms. As per the International Council of Clean Technology, India is the first region outside European nations to adopt Euro-V ahead of U.S, Japan and China. This shows the commitment and concern of our nation towards the environment and its conservation.

The upcoming norms from Oct 2020 are clear-cut benchmarks for an OEM to provide the most productive machines with good fuel efficiency. Manitou group is committed to provide the best support in compliance with the environmental emissions; our plant in Greater Noida is working hard to provide machines with the lowest emissions and better productivity per litre of fuel consumed. These machines undergo rigorous field-testing procedures to ensure that the customer receives the best in class product with Manitou’s high-quality standards. We expect to release these machines very soon with engines that comply with BS-4 norms.

As per various surveys/testing done, 35% of the cost of owning a machine pertains to fuel burnt. Hence, regulating this cost will be of major importance for customers. The impending BS-4 emission norms for Construction Equipment is going to have a huge impact on market performance and sales of wheeled equipment. Especially, with hike in prices from engine manufacturers, the price impact on overall machine purchase is going to cascade down to the end-customer. Hence, the importance of productivity and reliability of machines. In short, we can say, getting more value out of every drop of fuel burnt would be the selling mantra, which all manufacturers would be focussing on.

What are your plans to widen your product range and offer total solutions including aftermarket sales and services and operator training, with contractors looking to buy equipment from a single source in order to get the best services and the desired productivity with high fuel efficiency?
Spare parts availability is always a key challenge and determining factor in reducing machine downtime. It is our endeavour to work along with our dealers to have the right inventory profile and increase the availability levels of parts.

Aftermarket support has always been our most important domain where we have always focussed heavily in challenging the status quo and in setting industry benchmarks by delivering a professional and proactive response. Since long, Manitou South Asia has invested in providing direct Sales, Aftermarket & Technical/Training support through its direct outlets (Manitou SSP) which are well equipped with Spare Parts, Training, Service Facilities and a skilled team. We are also in the process of expanding the reach of our parent warehouses to meet the ever-rising requirement for parts.

Our core KPIs are ‘responsiveness, low machine downtime and reduced Total Cost of Ownership for our customers’. We have a dedicated hotline number for any query from our customers.

MXT 840

What steps are you taking to help customers get finance with options for flexible payment for buying or leasing equipment and what are you offering by way of re-engineering or buyback options so that customers get a good RoI?
Major financial institutions and NBFCs already have a business pact/tie-up with us to help end customers obtain the best finance options and at better rates. Our Sales & Financing team is working to provide the best support to customers in terms of ease of machine owning. Also, the buy-back option is one of the best tools to win customer loyalty. With our superior products, best practices and reliable customer service and support, we are looking forward to a fruitful year ahead by overcoming challenges and achieving industrial growth.

Lifting & Specialized Transport, January-March 2020

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