JCB, the world's third largest construction equipment manufacturer has 18 plants in four continents: 11 in the UK, three in India and one each in the USA, China, Germany, and Brazil. Continuing the JCB heritage, Sir Anthony Bamford, Chairman, envisaged the India growth story back in 1979 and set up a joint venture company in the country to build machines which would eventually help build India’s growth. In 30 years, the company has grown to become a household name for all involved in the infrastructure industry. In any corner of the country, one is never far from a JCB. What has led to this huge success and sales of over 90,000 machines in India? NBM&CW's editorial team had the opportunity to interact with the higher echelons of JCB, Mr. Vipin Sondhi (CEO & MD), Mr. Arjun Mirdha (Executive Vice President, Sales & Marketing) and Mr. Amit Gossain (Associate Vice President, Marketing & Business Development) to know the evolution of JCB and how it's becoming a household name in country's infrastructure space.
Explaining how JCB India has been able to maintain and sustain such a position and simultaneously fulfilling the expectations of its parent company in adhering to JCB global engineering and manufacturing norms, Mr. Vipin Sondhi said, As India's infrastructure has grown so has JCB and vice versa. While an exact similarity may not be appropriate JCB definitely has been there right at the start of the infrastructure boom. There are various reasons enabling JCB to maintain its position in the market. The most important is the JCB team, the JCB family. The founder of the company always used to emphasise the importance of a 'Sense of Urgency' that is required to get things done. This 'Sense of Urgency' runs in the DNA of Team JCB and is the driving force behind the company's sterling performance in India. As team, JCB does not only mean JCB employees but also its exceptional dealers spread across the country and its world-class suppliers as well.
JCB India continues to command and manage a good cycle of performance, productivity, higher business with enlarged capacity. JCB has constantly invested in upgrading its own infrastructure to help build the nation's infrastructure. In April last year, JCB upgraded its Backhoe manufacturing facility at Ballabgarh to the world's largest and best equipped Backhoe manufacturing facility with an investment of over INR 300 crore. Backhoe has been and will continue to be India's largest selling construction equipment. However, to meet the shift towards specialised equipment JCB put a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at Pune that manufactures tracked excavators, compactors, and wheeled loaders. In 2008, we sold our 75000th machine, highest for any manufacturer in India. Investment in training has always been a top priority for us and hence India's largest parts and technical training centre was set up at Pune. JCB India dealers have also constantly upgraded their facilities to world-class levels, explained Mr. Sondhi.
JCB has continuously upgraded its products and innovation and technology with new product launches. The versatile and efficient JCB backhoe loader is the highest selling construction equipment in the market today. We will continue to focus on making this best even better in future. As the Indian construction equipment market matures, the role of heavy equipment like Excavators is bound to grow considering large construction projects across various sectors like mining, roads, irrigation, ports etc. The Government continues to dedicate significant portion of India's GDP to planned expenditure in infrastructure upgradation in the country. Therefore, large earthwork and the use of heavy equipment will see an increase. JCB has a strong market presence in these segments and will continue to focus on further improving market share and customer satisfaction in future. There is a large amount of highways and rural roads planned. Compaction equipment is expected to do well in the near future. JCB has also entered into the market for pick and carry cranes by launching the JCB Liftall with unique JCB design features that make it an asset to the customer.
On the company's expansion plans, he elaborated that with their three modern manufacturing facilities in the country offering a diverse range of construction equipment products and services, JCB India aspires to be an important manufacturing hub for SAARC. The Indian sub-continent along with other SAARC countries have a similar terrain, climatic conditions and usage pattern of the machine which makes the Indian machine suitable for these countries as well. We are closely studying opportunities in South East Asia for India but have no concrete plans at the moment.
About the need for market to get consolidated due the need for more standard products services and high capital cost required to place these products and services in the market, Mr. Sondhi opined that he did not foresee a problem as long as import of second hand equipment and inferior quality new equipment is controlled by the Government. If these two factors are not considered then the industry may face the problem of low quality cheap products being sold to the cost sensitive customer which may not live up to their promises. Today, India's R&D and manufacturing capabilities are at par with the best in the world. The domestic manufacturers are well equipped to serve the country's equipment needs, except few very specialised equipment which may have to be imported.
Sharing JCB stance on adopting the right corporate social responsibility practices he said that it has helped the company to bolster its image with key stakeholders, and that in turn links to good performance as well as societal benefits. Saving the best of the environment for future generations is a responsibility of everyone without exception, be it individuals, the Government or companies. JCB has always been in the forefront with its numerous 'Go Green Drives'. JCB has adopted villages and schools at Jharsetli, Ladiapur and Ambi. Apart from imparting education we also take care of sports, computer skills and means of livelihood like stitching, spinning yarns etc.
JCB is known globally for its excellent at work of dealership at superlative customers services and their this tradition continues with JCB India. Talking about JCB India dealers ' network, Mr. Arjun Mirdha said, "Our strength is our dealers. The dealers invest heavily in getting their manpower trained so that they can serve their customers in the best possible manner With 50 dealers and over 330 outlets spread across the country JCB is undoubtedly best placed to serve its customers." Further, this figure is going up at an enviable pace. While JCB machines are famed for their reliability, the dealership spread across the country minimizes machine downtime. There is a professionally trained army of skilled engineers and mechanics ready to ensure that JCB machines are always ready to serve their customers. The sales teams have trained demonstrators to showcase to the customers how to extract best possible mileage out of their equipment.
JCB machines are made to be very simple and easy for their owners to operate and maintain. The engines are the most modern and reliable with advanced electronically controlled hydraulic systems for easy operation. Small details like powder coating on the entire external surface ensure that these productive warriors always look smart and efficient. "JCB has continually invested in upgrading its facilities. Our factories at Pune are dedicated to manufacturing heavier equipment viz. tracked excavators, compactors and wheeled loaders", says Mr. Mirdha.
Elaborating on the range of products being manufactured by JCB India, Amit Gossain said that JCB now offers a complete range of construction machinery with a wide range of tracked excavators, wheeled loaders, pick & carry cranes and compaction equipment etc., equipped with a range of special attachments like rock breakers, 6-in-1 buckets, earth drills, etc., to make them even more productive. JCB can offer a complete package of equipment solutions for almost every application. JCB machines account for about half of all the medium and heavy construction equipment operating in India. "While the backhoe loader continues to be our highest selling model our widest range of high quality & productivity machines viz. wheeled loader, tracked excavator & compaction equipment markets ensures we are one solution to our customer's needs," he said.
With roads being a major focus for the Government, JCB in 2008 introduced its range of compaction equipment. The VM115 soil compactor has compaction boosting parameters like very high amplitude of 1.95 mm, best in class centrifugal force, maintenance-friendly with a lifetime lubricated centre joint, comfortable operator station with weight adjustable seat, and zero greasing points. The 8.5 tonne tandem roller VMT 850 has exceptional standard features like dual amplitude and dual frequency to meet most of the requirements of asphalt and soil compaction, dual drum - both driven by hydraulic motors for superior traction and reduced rolling resistance for a perfect finish.
JCB's motto is – We Care That's Why We're Everywhere. Wherever you go in India you are not far from a JCB machine. These yellow machines working tirelessly in all kinds of terrain are a very positive indication of the nation's growth. JCB offers the best package to its customers with a versatile & rugged product, exceptional after sales service, best in sector team to serve the customers and widespread availability of genuine parts. The company also recognizes the challenge of availability of trained operators to run these machines and hence runs Operator Training Centres across the country. What started as a pilot project has now grown to a group of 10 such schools across the country and 15,000+ operators have already gone through this program. It also provides employment to Indian youth.
JCB’s foray into newer segments continues with its leadership position in management of solid waste through its offering of a host of attachments. Realizing the importance of creating awareness of the importance of waste management among the public & private sector; JCB together with CII recently held the JCB-CII awards for excellence in solid waste management in Hyderabad. The good work done in this field was recognized during this event.