Given the thrust on roads by the government, India is key market for Apollo and so is the export market. Our products are eco–friendly and fuel efficient. Our action plan for the future would focus on continuous thrust on R&D, technology and new talent to deliver value to our customers. Soon we shall be setting up compaction equipment facility at an estimated investment of Rs 300 million, says Mr. Asit A. Patel, Managing Director, Gujarat Apollo Industries Ltd, in an Interview with S.A.Faridi.
Gujarat Apollo Industries, the flagship company of the Apollo Group, is one of the best homegrown companies in the construction equipment sector in India offering innovative products and servicesto the infrastructure sector for over three decades. What has gone into its making imparting it an enviable status it enjoys today within the country and outside?
Setting modesty aside for a moment, I would attribute our success to our vision and commitment to offer the customer a product that he needs rather than what we have. Today, there has been a lot of talk on this front but Apollo acted on this even in the 80’s. We went in for technology at a time when asphalt plants and paver inishers were manufactured as a cottage industry. We invested in infrastructure, quality manpower and technology from abroad, knowing full well that it will take years to reap the gains. And our commitment to our customers is total. This is evident in each activity of Apollo. We work with the philosophy that any activity that does not add value to the customer is a waste. We do not talk-but we act. That is why we are the supplier of choice to the customers in India and abroad.
What are its important business areas, location of its manufacturing facilities in the country, its important product line and also a word about its technical collaboration arrangements with overseas majorsto deliver quality products and services?
India, given the thrust on roads by the government, is a key market for Apollo. But we realized that domestic market alone cannot sustain our growth plans in the long run and focused on exports. Today, Algeria, Australia, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Africa are our key export markets.
Apollo group has four manufacturing facilities in Mehsana District in Gujarat with the main factory of Gujarat Apollo located at Ditasan, 12 km ahead of Mehsana on the Ahmedabad-Mehsana highway. Although, we have a pan India presence with offices in all the important locations in India for sales and post sales customer care.
All our current products, mainly asphalt plants & paver finishers–are inherited from various former overseas technical collaborations and joint ventures we had in past. Over the period using our internal R&D efforts, the basic machines were transformed and accommodated modern components which are sophisticated, efficient and environmentally friendly.
We have derived the complete value chain product strategy which we call Rock to Roll. i.e. Crushing–Mixing–Paving & Compaction !!
With the latest addition of Crushers and mobile crushing plants from KDS Machinebau (the successor of world renowned Böhringer GmBH) we intend to establish our presence in the rock (aggregate) production and other mineral processing applications. We already offer good quality of continuous and batch mixing asphalt plants which are now undergoing transformation to make them world class. We are near completion and soon starting our new setup for compaction equipment at an investment of Rs 300 Millions. Initially, we will offer 4T and 9T tandem and 15T soil compactors and later add about 5 models to be credible supplier in this space. This coupled with widely popular paver finishers are positioned to be great value for our customers.
Gujarat Apollo is known for bringing about a revolution in India’s construction equipment stream by adding advanced technologies in road construction segment. Please tell us a few significant hi-tech additions made in Asphalt Plants, Pavers Finishers, Compaction Equipment, Crushing & Screening Machines and allied products which go a long way to ensure not only high products and reliability but are also compatible with national objectives of eco-friendliness, material and energy conservation imperatives.
All our products are eco–friendly. Our asphalt plants conform to the stringent emission norms of Europe. Our paver finishers are fitted with Bharat–II norm engines.
From day 1, our focus has been on offering energy efficient products. Today, we offer the best fuel efficiency in the industry. R & D efforts continue to make this even better.
We understand that to offer more comprehensive products and services to the infrastructure sector, the company is set to launch new subsidiaries—Apollo Earthmoving and Apollo Construction Equipment with a huge Investments. What new products are expected to roll in from the new subsidiaries and when will they be in market to compliment and supplement the existing offerings for the benefit of user?
Apollo Earth Movers Limited and Apollo Construction Equipment Private Limited are our existing facilities. We have, over the years, developed “specialist” companies for major product lines. We have always taken pride of the fact that we offer the lowest lead time for deliveries in the industry. Given the increase in demand levels, there is a need to make investments in infrastructure to increase production levels. Yes, we have invested in expansion, not just in these two companies. We have added capacities to our main facility in Ditasan as well. The investments are done with a three fold objective:
- To increase the production capacity of our existing products
- To roll out new products like crushing plants and compaction equipment
- To be the “one stop shop’ for the road construction industry.
The action plan to garner a higher share of the market is:
- Continued thrust on R&D and technology to offer value for money products
- High up time of equipment
- Stay close to the customer-have offices in tier-2 cities
Indigenisation of new technologies and processes require prime focus on R&D and regular upgrading of manpower expertise including induction of new talent. What priority is assigned to these in the company to facilitate this at the workplace for optimum utilization in Indian conditions?
I have talked at length about Apollo’s focus on R&D. Upgradation of the expertise of the existing man power and induction of new talent with cross industry exposure, is an ongoing process. The Executive Director of the company is directly involved in this activity.
What are important technical services including system in place in the company to promote effective customization and back to back customer support?
Most of our products are very much standard offerings. We maintain close contact with the customer and internally track equipment ownership for initial 4 to 5 years. We support customers for off-season factory refurbishment, finding rental opportunities for them if their equipment is idle and also find them customers in case they want to dispose. All of these efforts are so far not intended for the revenue generation. Instead, we take pride in customer.