ECEL's new state-of-the-art plant at Ballabgarh would enable us to meet our aspirations on quality, efficiency and technical superiority of our products. The plant is built on the principle of lean sigma and has most advanced fabrication assembly and painting facilities. Our marketing network is most extensive and effective in the country, providing an instantaneous access to market at Pan India level," says Mr. Rajesh Sharma, Vice President Marketing, Escorts Construction Equipment Limited, in his interview with S.A.Faridi.
What is the impact of present slowdown on the fortune of construction equipment Industry and its market? Will the market rebound on various financial stimulus hopes?
In 2008-09, the construction equipment industry has seen a drop in sales volumes over 2007-08.The drop varied from 20% to 60% across the product lines. We all know that it was caused by adverse multiple factors coming in play across the major economies of the world, which led to a massive liquidity crunch in asset as well as project financing and banking sectors, and not because of any fundamental change in the country’s need of developing infrastructure. The construction and infrastructure projects are capital intensive and in the face of such economic melt down the projects simply could not get the funds. As far as future of the industry is concerned, it is bound to rebound as India still requires developing its Industrial, Urban and Rural infrastructure in a big way for a sustainable economic development of the country. The financial stimuli announced by Government are focused on making the funds available to the infrastructure projects–especially PPP projects–as well as to the real estate sector. Impact of these stimuli will be seen within 5 to 6 months.
How does ECEL propose to deal with the present situation? Has it upset its ongoing expansion plans, how the expansions is progressing at Ballabgarh? What are its most advanced technical facilities and when will the proposed new facility be ready to roll new products? What new construction equipment products are proposed to strengthen ECEL’s existing product line?
ECEL has also been affected by the slowdown in the industry but we firmly believe that we are already on our recovery path. The last quarter of the fiscal 2008-09 has registered a significant recovery over the 3rdquarter. Believing in a positive long term perspective of the industry, we have expanded our capacities and capabilities. The new state-of-the-art plant at Ballabgarh would enable us to meet our aspirations on quality, efficiency and technical superiority of our products. The plant is built on the principles of lean sigma and has most advanced fabrication, assembly and painting facilities in the country.
ECEL had has been moving aggressively to develop and introduce new generation cranes. What have been the newer introductions in ECEL’s stables?
The company has developed a new series of Pick & Carry cranes (TRX series). These Next Generation Cranes have added features like unrestricted visibility, fast operations, maneuverability, longer distance runs, high lift duties, higher reaches and advanced safety attributes for higher productivity, versatility and safe.
ECEL also has many other products under development which shall further reinforce its already prominent standing in the industry.
Buying equipment through upfront payment being difficult in the present scenario. Is not the present time a good opportunity to have another business area- leasing and renting? How ECEL would address to this emerging opportunity in the wake of slowdown?
Though we are not directly involved in leasing and renting activities, we work in tandem with leasing and renting companies and enable them with our customized solutions. TVS logistics, which is the largest forklift rental company in the country with a fleet of over 350 machines supplied by ECEL entirely, is one such example.
When the market is down, image and brand power loose its sheen causing pessimism in market place. To counter this, how ECEL would like to keep in sharp focus its image and brand power, including strengthening of its weak brands and exploring new market routes so as to emerge stronger as the market recovers.
We have an image of being the pioneers and innovators in the construction equipment industry. There are many firsts associated with us in terms of introducing new products and technologies in the country. Our focus, in line with our brand image, is on providing innovative solutions which adds real value to our customers’ businesses by making them more efficient and more profitable. We are always maintaining the crucial innovative differentiation on all aspects of our business-be it products or customer support. This approach has helped us in expanding our customer base and in developing new markets. ECEL shall continue with this to maintain its leadership positions in all the product lines that it handles.
ECEL has been very successful in promoting its distribution collaboration and market network with global equipment manufacturers. How has this been a win-win situation for both?
Besides our own manufactured range of products, we also offer a number of solutions by collaborating with leading manufacturers in the world for distributing their products in India. While this maximizes business opportunities for us, as we could offer solutions to customers even beyond our manufactured range, it also helps our partners in catering to demand for their equipment in India with a reliable and efficient sales and service support provided by our marketing network. As our marketing network is one of the most extensive and effective networks in the country, it provides them an instantaneous access to market at Pan India level. We have successfully collaborated in this manner with world leading companies like Dossan Infracore, Altec, IHI, Fassi etc.