CAT manufactures world-class CE products in India; what is its unique selling pointdifferentiator so far as the competition from domestic and other international players are concerned?
According to our customers, Cat product’s key differentiators include reliability & durability, technology and solutions along with our dealers. These results in lower owning and operating costs to our customer’s typical business model.
A word about CAT Connected Worksite (CW) programme. How does it enable to get higher productivity, better equipment availabilityand other related manifold advantages for the users of its equipment?
Our customers in India have various opportunities to quote on multiple projects across the country. Along with this opportunity comes challenges that include skilled manpower both in terms of project /site management and operators. In addition, the financial model of operation and profitability expectations is evolving as the government focuses more on BOT type of projects. The need for quality & velocity in completion of road projects is becoming of paramount importance now and more so in the days ahead. Customer is looking for cost effective solutions that would result in better quality project deliverables, built to the right specifications without rework and assistance in enabling the work of his operators easier.
Caterpillar Connected Worksite (CW) is a mix of technologies, products, solutions and dealer support that helps a contractor achieve higher productivity, better equipment availability, lower operating costs, enhanced safety and a lower carbon footprint. The Connected Worksite gathers timely information about the location, status and performance of the equipment – and delivers it where and when needed – thus helping a contractor make more informed decisions about the management of his fleet and his entire business. CW can also provide automated control and guidance for some of the equipment. The CW actually extends beyond the job site itself. It connects the contractor’s equipment, business offices and Cat Dealers to create a scalable, customized integrated network that helps make all operations more efficient and productive.
AccuGrade is just one offering within the connected Worksite space and is available in Track Type Tractors, Excavators, Motor Graders and Compactors. The AccuGrade™ Grade Control System brings to the customer an increase in productivity by up to 40% while reducing their site costs dramatically [savings in fuel consumed 40–45%]. The revolu- tionary Caterpillar solution is factory integrated, sensor-independent, and features a suite of products, which includes cross slope, sonic, laser, GPS, and ATS technology.
We understand that productivity and our customer’s bottomline depend on moving material accurately, quickly, and safely first time. Maintaining consistent grade is difficult, labor intensive, and challenging for even the most experienced operators. By combining digital design data, in-cab operator guidance features, and automatic blade controls, our AccuGrade Grade Control System actually enhances grading accuracy and virtually eliminates the need for survey stakes.
Has CAT ever been able to finalize its plans to initiate remanufactu- ring activities in India? How has it worked so far to create awareness about the benefits of remanufactured products and services?
Caterpillar provides replacement parts which can be either new or remanufactured. Using proprietary core management systems, 6 Sigma methodologies and patented technologies, Caterpillar produces and sells remanufactured parts worldwide under the brand name of "REMAN".
Caterpillar remanufactured goods have the same appearance, performance and life expectancy of new products and carry the same warranty as new parts. The only practical difference to the consumer is that REMAN parts cost approximately half as much as new parts. So, for local Indian customers (such as Coal India) who are interested in high quality and keeping the operating costs down, REMAN parts are the preferred path to that goal. At present, we are working with various stakeholders and Governmental authorities in identifying a viable plan to initiate remanufacturing activities in India.
Caterpillar has received a license to import Cat Reman products and we are currently testing the market in India.
In the beginning of 2011, there was a clear indication of good demand for CE and the sector was very optimistic to attain 20% growth. But now the concerns are there about the second spell of recession emerging in. Do you think it would drastically affect the Indian CE growth story, given the national and international economic headwinds looming large on industrial horizon? How is Cat’s business in India proposed to handle such situation?
As India keeps focussing on Infrastructure development along with sustainable inclusive growth, the growth for Construction equipment will continue to be strong. Today, the major challenge for the road construction and mining sectors is the uncertainty regarding environmental clearances. We welcome the recent cabinet change, which we understand was made in part to drive a more balanced approach to environmental clearances. Caterpillar in India is investing for the future. We believe that we are positioned well to meet the growing expectations and needs of customers.
Do you think that increasing competition among products imported from low cost countries is a challenge, which needs to be addressed more proactively to ward off market distortions?
The Indian customers are shifting priority from initial price to life cycle costs. With large investments currently being made in the infrastructure sector, the customer is keen today to complete the job quickly and efficiently to capture more opportunities. Caterpillar focuses on partnering with the customer, through dealers, to help them understand the options available, and the capability of the machines. What we offer are integrated solutions, right from the kind of purchase that is possible [outright buy, finance option or rental] to the support services needed. Furthermore, technology additions such as machine control and guidance system has clearly demonstrated greater productivity and increased the efficiency of the customer.
What are CAT’s plans to participate effectively in the forthcoming mega event–Excon 2011 and its new products, services and marketing resolves proposed to be unveiled?
The message for the Excon 2011 is "Today’s Work. Tomorrow’s World." Our work today ensures the world of tomorrow and Caterpillar is proud to partner with many Indian customers in building India’s tomorrow. The world-class 770G Off Highway Truck will be on display along with many road construction and utility equipment. Also on display will be customer support offerings that Caterpillar and our dealers (GMMCO & TIPL) can deliver. We will showcase our product support solutions, rental & used equipment solutions, and Connected Worksite offerings apart from a Cat merchandise stall.
Do you think thatthis mega event would pep up the market sentiments?
Excon is yet another forum that provides opportunity for Caterpillar, its dealers GMMCO and TIPL to strengthen and build relationships with its customers and understand their needs and expectations. We are able to showcase our offerings and solutions that ensure our customers complete their projects meeting the quality standards they are measured by, within the time constraints that they face, profitably. Such avenues for interaction would definitely be of help to our customers as they target new projects and opportunities and to the whole industry in promoting collaboration and exchange.