CASE introduces fuel efficient Fiat engines in its backhoe and compactors

CASE: Steadfast All Along

Abhijit Gupta
"We will launch new products in future but that is subject to vision, planning, and our growth strategy in India. We possess the technical knowhow and robust R&D, but everything moves in accordance with a structured growth route, which we have chalked out. The whole idea is to make country specific machines rather than duplicating a product in every country. Our decision to invest Rs.40 crores in 2014 to carry out improvements in our products is expected to strengthen our brand," avers Mr. Abhijit Gupta, Head of CASE Construction Equipment, India in an interview with S.A. Faridi.

You have recently joined as the Head of CASE's Indian operations. How do you plan to wade through this tough economic scenario which has impacted the entire CE industry? Will you prioritize on retaining the market share or will you look forward to expand wings?
Well, the best way to counter the economic scenario is to be patient and optimistic without compromising on hard work. On the technical side, we are doing a lot of things in the manufacturing and operations, improving our efficiencies in terms of costs and profitability. In terms of market share, we are trying to strengthen our connect with the customers by delving deep into their requirements and devising solutions and applications where we are not present, and have a holistic view of the parts and machinery.

Case Construction Equipment

One of the most notable innovations that CASE has made to its machines is the incorporation of Fiat engine. How will this make your machines more fuel-efficient and economical thereby leading to customer satisfaction?
Talking of the Fiat engine, what goes in our favour that it comes from our own factory in India, and therefore we can tailor it in accordance with the ever changing customer requirements and industry trends. Experience of manufacturing millions of such engines worldwide and thousands in India is in-fact a great testimony to our capabilities and proves that we are totally in control. The new engine gives a run for the money, is fuel efficient, and is much superior to the ones available in the market.

Beyond fine tuning your existing products, what are your plans to add new products to your range?
By the way, we don't think that it's fine tuning. Changing the engine is akin to changing the heart of the machine, and with this, the entire parameters change completely. Talking of adding new products, we have already widened our portfolio. We have also introduced a new soil compactor 1107 DX. In terms of adding new products, we have imported and started marketing in the country products which include grader, skid-steer loader, and wheel loader. So as of now, we are a multi-product company and that in itself is a big achievement. It's prudent to consolidate right now rather than hurrying up and launching new products.

We will continue to launch new products in the future but that is subject to vision, planning, and our growth strategy in India. We possess the technical knowhow and robust R&D, but everything moves in accordance with a structured growth route, which we have chalked out. You see, CASE being a leading global manufacturer of construction equipment, boasts of production facilities all over the world. The whole idea is to make country specific machines rather than duplicating a product in every country. Our decision to invest Rs.40 crores in 2014 to carry out improvements in our products is expected to strengthen our brand. We are importing some machines and marketing them here now, and once we are sure that these machines are ideal for India, we will start manufacturing them locally.

Case backhoe Loaders

For vendor development, we have a process of selecting vendors and hand holding them. CNH follows a structured vendor development process all over the world and we are following the same in India as well.

Let's talk about backhoe loaders wherein there are ten manufacturers operating in the market with almost similar products. But the only distinguishing factor is how closely a company is able to connect with the customers. Rental companies are one of the major first time buyers of backhoes. So how are you planning to reach out to them and other customers in an innovative way?
In the backhoe loaders segment, we have both the models; the stock and sale model for dealerships, and the other model for the first time buyers. We have been in this segment for more than two decades and have been able to establish long-lasting bonds with our customers, be it through joint ventures or through our own network. By the virtue of being an experienced player in this segment, CASE understands the needs and requirements of customers, and constantly strives to better its relationship with them. It's a continuous exercise that will continue to be a part of our growth strategy.

You said that you are importing loaders both skid steer and wheel. Won't this be quite challenging for you as there are many local manufacturers in this segment?
It again depends on how the customer perceives our product in terms of features and value-for-money. What we offer is in the premium bracket and we are sure that customers will realise the true worth of our offerings. As far as manufacturing is concerned, we are keen on consolidating upon what we have done during the last two years rather than hurrying up. We want to do justice to every product.

The Road Sector is not that badly hit as other sectors. So how do you see the market for compactors in the coming year?
Being a leading player in the compactor segment, we have observed that demand in states such as Madhya Pradesh is constantly increasing and similar is the CASE with various other states. As a result, we have been able to generate sales and maintain our number one position.

What are your plans to reach out to Kashmir and the Northeast where a major chunk of the projects are coming up? And what about the neighbouring countries of Nepal and Bhutan where Indian CE manufacturers are quite active?
Well, we already have strong customer base of 20,000 in the entire Northeast including the seven sisters and West Bengal. And we are constantly expanding our reach in these promising regions. We are also present in Nepal and Bhutan.

How is the decline in Rupee against the Dollar impacting CASE?
Well, one of our most noteworthy endeavors is that right from the very outset we focused on localization be it our design or manufacturing. When we started our operation in India, we launched an engine for agricultural applications primarily for North/Western India. And within a short span of time the engine was localized. Today, we are completely localized, so we are not at all impacted by the declining Rupee.

Based on our observation, there hasn't been any major movement in the CE Industry, and we believe that it will remain the same for the next two years. What's your take on this?
Well, there have been surges in the past. While some of those surges have remained at a plateau, others have fluctuated. But overall the CE Industry has constantly grown since the beginning of 2000. The past year was an exception. Now anything that grows reaches a saturation point at one stage. I anticipate that the market will not completely mature in the next two years, but will definitely be in a better position. Next year looks quite promising and demand for CE equipment will grow.
NBM&CW January 2014
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