Hitachi Koki: “We'll tap the premium space with sizeable, feature based power tools”

Dattatraya Joshi

Japanese power tool manufacturing major, Hitachi Koki, will position itself as premium solution provider in the Indian market with high demand from the infrastructure sector. Mr. Dattatraya Joshi, Executive Director & Secretary, Hitachi Koki India, spoke to P. P. Basistha, on the company's game plan, to take on the demand, characterizing intense competition from the other premium products manufacturer present in the market and also from large numbers of cheaper solutions providers.

An overview of the Indian Power Tool industry.
Hitachi Demolition Hammer
The Growth of power tool industry in India has been phenomenal more than 7 percent in recent years backed by consistent demand. It is contributed by growing awareness on the benefits of usage of power tools, resulting towards quality output in contrast to usage of manual or conventional solutions among the consumers. This growing awareness is among consumers involved in New Construction, Repair & Rehabilitation of general and industrial projects. Growing consciousness is to a good extent from the construction industry, contributing to the overall surge in demand of power tools in India. As a responsible corporate we have also played an important role in spreading the awareness of power tools among the artisans to improve their productivity and Life styles.

What's the range of power tools made available by Hitachi Koki in India?
Hitachi AC Brushless Rotary Hammer
We're well positioned to offer solutions for industry verticals involving infrastructure, metals industry and even woodwork. For the construction, we have on offer range of power tools with Innovative technology. To cater to the needs of the growing metal industry, which could be for industrial construction pertaining to pre engineered buildings or even for automobile manufacturing, we have solutions for fabrication, drilling, cutting, and grinding. Some of the solutions are screw drivers and wrenches which can be used for panel manufacturing as well as for assembly. Maruti Suzuki India is one of our major customers in this segment. We have on offer 130 products, Maximum among power tool manufacturers to cater the widest range of industry applications.

Based on the individual industry requirements, how are you positioned towards offering your solutions in accordance with the desired specifications?
We have our strong research and development wing in Japan which plays an instrumental role in Understanding the needs of various Industries and designing products for specific industry requirements, incorporating major inputs like the power and torque requirements of the tools.

We have created verticals for Industries who interact with customers understand the local demand and need and shares the feedback of the customer with our design and R&D team.

How do you look forward to leverage your brand identity in the growing Indian construction sector precisely, the pre engineered building industry?
Hitachi Metal Cut Off Machine
As mentioned, to cater the requirements of the construction industry, we have in place entire range of power tools. Leveraging our brand image further, we have introduced anchor fastener for the Indian construction market enabling us to provide solution for construction Industry and enhancing our image as Solution Provider. The products are being made available in India through our distribution tie up with premium Swiss brand, 'Mungo' in September 2014. Mungo is a forty-Eight year premium anchor fasteners Manufacturing Company, with heightened presence in European, Japan and Middle East Markets. Under the marketing alliance, Hitachi Koki India will exclusively markets Mungo Products in SAARC region

To make our presence in the growing PEB industry, backed by our R&D wing, we're introducing variety of products. One of the very recent interventions for the PEB industry is Impact wrenches among fixing products. The product has been made using unique Hitachi's 'AC Brushless Motor Technology' which has significant edge over conventional technology. This technology significantly reduces tool failure and downtime of tool by providing maintenance-free rotor, as there is no carbon brush and no winding in it. Hitachi incorporated the technology taking note that power tools are consumables and equipment failure could result to significantly project delays. We have introduced five products using this technology. Prominent among them are Rotary Hammers drills. We Plan to introduce number of products based on the similar technology in India.

How would you offer your products at competitive price? This is especially when the Indian power tools market is characterized by the presence of both premium products as well as cheaper solutions?
Metal Angle Grinder
The competition among existing, new premium, and non-premium manufacturers is quite intense in the industry and maintaining pricing parity is really a big challenge. To offer competitive pricing of our products, with superior quality, we have begun local assembly of our eight products. During the past three years, we have localized almost 50% components of these products by sourcing them from the local vendors. In next one year, we'll increase the localized content of these products further to 80%. Also during a year time, we'll introduce three more high volume products consisting tile cutters, and grinders. The products contribute 25% of our sales in India and we'll look to localize them here as well. Being high volumes, localization will be viable, making them further price competitive. We have attained critical mass with many of our products, with yearly sales hovering to 30,000 units at present from 5,000 units few years back, providing better position to us in making our products price competitive.

What about appropriate product support, timely availability, and application training?
Backed with our pan India network, involving nine branch offices; we are adequately positioned to offer required product support and parts availability. We will expand and strengthen our market position, through targeting premium customers, who consider quality output and total lifecycle costs as key than the initial pricing. We render application training to our customers, dealers, our 375 intermediaries, who are also our channel partners, once in every six months. Training is also rendered to our sub dealers at our Bengaluru facility, where we show the functioning, operating, dismantling of the equipment and their repairs.
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