"Wirtgen’s strategy to stay ahead is by offering innovative solutions to our customers in India. We are already market leader in some segments in the country, like concrete slipform paving, asphalt pavers, cold milling machines and surface miners. With this new facility in Pune, we have entered into the market for Hamm range of Vibratory Compactors. In due course, we would do the same for Vogele Pavers and Kleemann Crushing and Screening plants. With this new facility we have started our journey to become the market leader in mobile road construction machines," says Mr. Ramesh Palagiri, Managing Director & CEO, Wirtgen India, in an interview with S. A. Faridi.
Recently, Wirtgen has inaugurated its new facility in Pune;what prompted you to manufacture your products in the country and what is the strategy behind this investment?
The Wirtgen group has been in India since 1995 and for us to have our due market share for certain high volume and competitive products like Vibratory Compactors, we had to setup this facility in Pune.
The new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, would give us a competitive edge, in terms of offering value to our customers. The manufacturing standards will be the same as that in our parent companies in Germany with similar quality control measures being adopted. This facility is an integrated set up complete with a well equipped training centre for our operators and technicians, and a workshop for refurbishing our old machines.
In due course, we would offer more products from this facility.
Do you think that with new facility just inaugurated and with your strong product lines - variants of soil compactors, double drum tandem roller, Vogele brand of asphalt pavers etc, Wirtgen India’s journey to be the market leader in road construction equipment across India has commenced?
Wirtgen Group is the global market leader in mobile road construction and Rehabilitation equipment. In India, we are already market leaders in some segments, like concrete slipform paving, asphalt pavers (in the 9m and above class,) cold milling machines and surface miners.
With this new facility, we have entered into the market for Hamm range of Vibratory Compactors. In due course, we would do the same for Vogele pavers and Kleemann crushing and screening plants. Yes, with this new facility, we have started our journey to become the market leader in mobile road construction machines.
The intention to fully utilize our new facility is based on strong demands from the road and mining sector. The demand for new technology from the Infrastructure sector, coupled with entry of smaller players like first time buyers and contractors will create further demand for our products. Also our quality products with the latest technology, have created their mark in the road equipment sector. We also offer complete solutions for road construction with application support.
What has been themarket response to company’s Hamm 311 Soil compactor, manufactured at Pune facility?
The market response for the 311 Soil Compactor has been phenomenal. The customers have been impressed by the compaction performance and the lower operating costs. The offering of a German engineered product with full involvement of engineers from India has been well accepted by our customers. This is the first product in the Wirtgen group where the engineering has been done in both Germany and outside (in this case it was India). The customer feedbacks have been encouraging.
Tell us something about the launchof Kleemann brand of crushers in India. Will this product be able to compete comfortably with thoseavailable in the market? What are its main technical attributes different from the rests and its application areas apart from mining?
The Kleemann brand of crushers would also be launched in India, in the near future. Owing to its superior technology, the Kleemann products would be positioned among the premium offerings.
Kleemann crushers would offer value to customers who demand exceptionally good performance.
A word about Wirtgen India’s dealership, spare parts support services network to increase its footprint covering all regions in the country.
We have after sales/spares/service support in strategic locations, across the country and as of now are available in 15 locations. Essential spares are available at the projects sites, with well equipped service vehicles and a trained team of engineers/ technicians.
We not only sell the machine, but also offer a full maintainence contract throughout the life span of the machine. Total Solution is the concept and application engineering backed by after sales and spares support is our Forte.
Remanufacturing is fast catching up withsome of the important OEMs in the country. On the one hand, it is being touted as the most economical manufacturing route, on the other hand apprehensions persist that it would finally lead to dumping second hand products in the market. What could be a balanced view keeping its long-term impact on the indigenous technical growth of CE sector in view in the country?
Remanufacturing when done by the original OEM like us would offer value to our customers and Wirtgen India would also be getting into this segment.
At present, CE sector has opportunities before it due to Government focus on infrastructure development as well as challenges-troika of rising input costs, higher wages and higher interest rates – all putting the sector on the backfoot. How these macro and micro head winds need to be managed effectively for the future growth of CE sector in the country? What would be WirtgenIndia’s strategy to handle the situation to stay ahead of other in business?
In addition to the challenges what you have mentioned, the biggest challenge for the road sector is land acquisition. This single factor is primarily responsible for the delay in execution.
Our strategy to stay ahead is to offer innovative solutions to our customers.
What are Wirtgen India’s plans to participate in the forthcoming mega event - Excon 2011. What are the new products and services that are being proposed to be launched at this mega event?
Excon offers “on ground” experience for customers who come from various parts of India and abroad. This gives an opportunity to interact with many of our existing as well as potential customers on a one to one basis and further understand the market requirements.
This year, we have a 1634 sqm, space with a double storey pavilion and 15 of our products including certain new launches, displaying latest technologies, including the 311 Soil Compactor, built at our new production facility.