Indian Experience Taking Vermeer to Greater Heights

Indian Experience Taking Vermeer
"Our journey in India is full of experiences in helping us become a better organization during its course, starting in 1997 as a one man team to multiple teams taking Vermeer to greater heights. Our future plans include aggressive marketing of the trenching and surface mining products from Vermeer. India is definitely on our radar for opening our factories," says Mr. Navneet Mathur, CEO, Worldwide Machinery Solutions in his interview with S.K.Khanna.

Please tell us something about Vermeer Corporation, how over the years it has grown from a one person operation to its present stature of an international organization manufacturing agriculture, construction, environmental and industrial equipment.
Vermeer recently celebrated its 60thAnniversary as manufacturer of infrastructure development equipment. Vermeer started from a small town called Pella in the state of Iowa in the mid west United States, and was established by a young enterprising farmer by the name of Gary Vermeer. Since 1980’s his children Mary Vermeer Andringa and Bob Vermeer have taken over the management and have grown the company to its current size and transforming the manufacturing facility to a global enterprise, with sales from North America to Africa and Japan.

What are Vermeer’s important business areas and its products range to serve the industrial market? Where are its manufacturing facilities located and manner it operates worldwide?
Vermeer currently manufactures a wide range of Trenchless Technology Equipment, Environ– mental Equipment, Surface Mining Equipment, and Trenching equipment that are useful in installing the pipelines in the ground. Each range of machinery has several models depending on the type of project that needs to be successfully executed. In Trenchless Technology, we offer solutions from small machines that are used for Fiber to Home applications all the way upto large machines that can install a 48" steel pipeline for more than 2 Kilometers in a single stretch. When it comes to installing Kilometers of pipeline in hard rock, Vermeer trenchers have been the most proven solution for past several years, ensuring the job is done efficiently and economically. Vermeer range of Environmental Products are now assisting the Bio Mass and Land Clearing applications in India and worldwide, making the renewable energy electricity production a growing industry. Vermeer Surface miners in past four years have created a revolution in the mining sector. Vermeer Terrain Levellers have been successfully deployed worldwide in mining applications to ensure the most environment friendly excavation of the minerals without blasting.

Vermeer has two production facilities as of now. Vermeer’s state of the art and over a mile long manufacturing facility is located in Pella, IA, United States where we produce the finest and most innovative machines in the world. Also about a year ago, Vermeer established a small manufacturing facility in China to produce the low cost Directional Drills, Trenchless Technology machines for the Asian market. This manufacturing facility currently manufactures two models for Drilling Machines only.

Vermeer has been successfully operating in India through its exclusive arrangement since 1997 with its sales and service outfit in Ajmer. What are Indian exclusive outfit’s dealership, sales and services facilities?
We started in 1997 as exclusive dealers for Vermeer and since then it has been a journey full of experiences helping us become a better organization during its course. We started as a one man company and today we successfully employ a team that has taken the name of Vermeer to greater heights with exceptional customer service and after sales support to its clients, who have been more demanding than ever. We currently operate from Ajmer, New Delhi, Kolkata and Banglore, and also with sales people strategically located in various parts of the country. Ajmer is our largest hub and is equipped with a highly sophisticated workshop and spare parts distribution center. Our regional offices are doing the sales follow-up and we have service technician located out of these offices respectively, which are available on one call to the customer on 24x7 basis. We have been identified as the best service dealer in our field of business and that has resulted in the repeated orders from our valuable customer’s throughout these years. We have been consistently adding the service team members to our organizational chart and the single objective behind this is customer care. We believe if the machine are up and running all the time, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the next purchase order from our customer will have Vermeer name in it.

Based on its successful operation so far in India, what are company's future plans to serve the growing infrastructure market for construction and mining equipment. How do you look at increasing your market share through new plans for the next three-four years?
Indian Experience Taking Vermeer
Indian construction Industry has been on an upward growth curve for many years now and we are anticipating the same upward curve for atleast another decade, beyond which it is very difficult to speculate the future. For the Trenchless Technology and Trenching machines Vermeer has been the number one in sales in India and we will have to work harder and smarter to continue to hold the top spot, we are facing very stiff price competition from very poor quality low cost manufacturer’s from China and Indian government must look in the details of these very low priced manufacturers as they are ignoring the important environmental and safety issues, Indian buyer is price sensitive and hence at times they get in the trap of such products and eventually pay the heavy price at some point or the other. We have to protect such buyers by implementing and enforcing strong quality norms, especially for products from China.

Our future plans include aggressive marketing and demonstrations of the Trenching and Surface Mining from Vermeer. We have imported a few strategic models for these ranges of products to ensure that we get access to the opening markets of pipelines and mining sector. In addition to this, we are already expanding our geographical reach for the trenchless products and have started to notice the larger growth in this segment is coming from smaller towns; hence our focus is now on areas that are growing fast like, Lucknow, Kanpur and similar level cities. Market share is something that we have been looking for a long time now and are determined to improve our numbers through consistent demonstrations and product awareness. We work in some very niche areas that unlike general construction equipment, we serve clients who have very specific job requirement. We are very excited about our future plans and are paying very careful attention to the need of evergrowing demands of our customers and in general customer expectation. We would be expanding our team strength in the mining sector with a dedicated regional office for the mining customers. Other than this, we also have significant amounts allocated for the advertising and marketing promotions, we are hopeful and expect to get favorable response from the market.

Are there plans to have Vermeer manufacturing facilities in India with the rich experience gained through sales and services network forged so far since 1997?
At this point of time the focus of Vermeer for manufacturing facilities is on the Chinese setup, and we are working hard to deliver the same quality and reliability to our products from the Beijing factory. As you know China has a wide variety in quality and we have decided to place ourselves at the topmost bracket of quality. India is definitely on the radar and we are carefully considering our options and when the time is right we will take the decision.
NBM&CW October 2008
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