Ajay Mandahr - CEO, Escorts Construction Equipment

Ajay Mandahr, CEO
Ajay Mandahr, CEO

“At bauma CONEXPO INDIA this year, we will be showcasing the future of ECE. A new generation of in-house developed equipment in the Material Handling & Road Construction space will be unveiled. On display will be a brand-new Pick & Carry Crane platform, a new 11 T compactor, a rejuvenated mini-compactor and our Jungli brand of backhoe loaders. Also, on display will be the new equipment developed in association with world leaders Tadano, Doosan, and Comansa.”

Mechanisation level is expected to increase from the current 3% to 4.5%.

Demand of Construction & Material Handling equipments has been very bullish for the last 7-8 quarters and we expect FY’19 to close with the highest ever numbers. This demand is primary driven by government investments in infrastructure sector.

We remain optimistic about the CE industry in the foreseeable future. Demand will remain strong and we could see the industry expanding by 12-15% next year. The unprecedented growth that we are seeing today may not be sustainable for long and could cool off by this fiscal year. On an enlarged industry base, this 12-15% growth rates will give substantial leverage to the industry.

Given the huge infrastructure deficit in India, speed of deliveries targeted by the government and improvement in rural economy is expected to further increase in the mechanisation level from the current 3% to 4.5%. With every 1% increase in mechanism, there is likely to be a `10,000 crore worth of business opportunity.

Our product portfolio in the coming years will see solution-oriented launches in every product segment.

We are focusing on continued product development that strengthens the value of our market contribution and lends us a competitive advantage vis-à-vis international players. Our portfolio in the coming years will see solution-oriented launches in every product segment – with a focus on safety, technology, and connectivity.

The industry is doing well and so are we; in fact, our growth in focused product group has been higher than the industry. Overall, we have been growing more than 40% YoY and with increased served market participation and expansion in our product portfolio, we expect to see continued growth.

ECE New EG0A4667

With tie ups with Tadano and Doosan, Escorts continues its legacy of introducing technologically superior and need-based equipment to the Indian market.

Escorts believes in ‘Bringing the global best to India and taking India’s best to the world’, and we continue to live up to our founder’s expectations. As an Indian company, we try to customize global products as per Indian requirements, based on customer insights and foresight, unlike some international players who are offering products in India built with European customers in mind.

Our products enable optimum productivity, operational efficiency and safety, at competitive price points. For instance, under the Escorts Tadano JV, we will introduce products that are conceived, designed and made in India, as per local requirements. They will include Rough Terrain (RT) cranes of 20T to 80T category, and we will also launch 60T and 80T Truck Cranes (TC). Both the RT and TC cranes will be designed as per Indian regulation and market requirements. The first in the range will be rolled out soon.

DX225LC

We are upgrading our customers’ interface with extensive use of IoT, which has become an essential part of all equipment.

With IoT, you can now monitor, control, upgrade or change the operating parameters of the machine remotely or using your mobile phone. Most OEMs are offering telematics as a standard feature, and so are we. But there are more than 100 parameters that you can control on the machine, but all of them are not relevant currently. So, it’s a pick and choose combination of options required by the customer; there is no point in giving more than what is required.

We are upgrading our customer interface with extensive use of IoT and other digital enablers. Connected equipment in the field, use of smart mobiles to track the connected equipment, offering timely preventive maintenance and intelligent use of life-cycle data for a product, are the initiatives that we are taking to optimize our product offerings. It may take time for this technology to reach a certain level of maturity, but we are on it.

Capturing customer complaints, improving response time, ensuring parts availability, and doing all this right with adequate service manpower, skill sets etc., are the areas we have been working on for the past couple of years. We have also set a very challenging response time target. We believe that customer satisfaction is key to success in the future and is a continuous, evolving journey. As mentioned earlier, we are experimenting with some new technology to deliver innovative solutions to our customers.

EG0A5287

Almost all the major products in CE were introduced in India by Escorts.

Be it the Hydra, Safe Cranes, Backhoes, Vibratory Compactors, RT cranes, Excavators, Access platforms etc., all of these were introduced to the Indian customers by us. In fact, Escorts has been a pioneer in bringing the best and most relevant global technology to India, and thus, has a very good brand recall. We will keep introducing specific products and technologies that are relevant for Indian conditions and users.

After-sales support is key to success and sustained growth, and this is one area we are seriously trying to reinvent through actively using IoT and other customer-end tools. We are expanding our customer touchpoints and genuine parts availability to service our customers in the fastest and most efficient way.

Currently, we have about 60 dealerships with 130 touchpoints. We are in the process of further expanding our aftersales capabilities and are looking at doubling our touchpoints this year.

Commodity inflation, fuel prices, and lately, the FEX have been very challenging for the Industry.

Though the market growth has given us some operating leverage, we still could not insulate our business fully from these challenges. We absorbed a major portion of this inflation by improving our efficiencies and have passed on a small portion of the same to the market. Escorts Tadano JV will essentially be building products with maximum locally sourced aggregates, and that is expected to insulate our business from FEX and other global volatility impacting the industry. For our Excavator business, we are evaluating various options, including localization, to make our business model more stable and stronger.

We aim to increase our exports business to around 30% of our revenue.

Our growth in exports was around 30% last year but we are not satisfied as there is a huge potential for exports. So, in the next 3-4 years, our aim is to increase our exports business to around 30% of the revenue. To realize this, we are developing products that will meet global standards. We have added several countries to our global footprints and are test marketing our products. The response has been very positive. In some markets, we are also evaluating the option of contract manufacturing and private labelling. So, the potential to grow our business in global markets is immense.
NBM&CW December 2018
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