Jean-Christophe GirouxJean-Christophe Giroux
P.P. Basistha spoke to Mr. Jean-Christophe Giroux, President & CEO and Mr. Antoine Chazelle, VP Sales, Asia, Manitou Group on the sidelines of the meet organized by the company recently with its dealers and customers to learn about the company’s future business plan in India.

Please tell us about Manitou’s presence in India and how do you look at this market for your products?
We, the French material handling equipment major, who have entered into distribution collaboration in India, intend to expand our products presence through the wide network of our dealers coupled by the versatility of our product offerings for different applications.

We are planning to increase our footprint in the country through our wide portfolio of materials handling products. Our business expectations are immense from the Indian construction and mining sectors as burgeoning infrastructure development programm are taking place in the country. Led by the fast pace development, the Indian contractors are looking to acquire equipment which are high on productivity as well as versatile for different applications. Our telehandlers with various attachment options along with an option to work at increasing heights above 18 meters synchronized with the new applications requirement in India. The equipment are being promoted by dealers such as ECEL, Dozco and Gemini who have marketing expertise in their own areas. While ECEL has expertise in construction equipment business, Dozco has a presence in mining sector and Gemini has presence in industrial product applications. The wide network of our dealers, pan India along with their ability to provide requisite products support gives us with much room for optimism towards increasing our sales in India in future.

What are the USPs of your brand and offerings?
Antoine ChazelleAntoine Chazelle
Reliability which has been acquired in our products ever since our inception in 1957 is the main element that allows us to maintain our brand equity. It has further been complemented through the acquisition of Gehl and Mustang which had its origin in 1859 and 1888. Reliability has allowed us to deliver products to customers that are higher on products availability, low on operating costs, and safe to operate & maintain. Products reliability has been assisted by our dealers.

Ever since its inception, Manitou has delivered 700,000 machines across various verticals. The equipment have completed 120,000,000 hours of operation. The manufacturing of reliable products has been ensured by our 5 R&D centers employing 7 percent of our staff. The R&D centers have been making data available to our suppliers to make reliable products, which allow us in turn to provide our customers total cost of ownership.

Manitou has been making customized products based on the understanding of the applications nature besides, the feedback from its customers and experience in equipment manufacturing gathered through the various brands across 330 years. The products are configured to match the requirement of the customers and are most versatile in their entity with over 40 work platforms as attachments. To focus on further customization, products innovation is being carried out across the products value chain.

What are the products support services offered by the company and its investment plans?
We are planning to increase our presence in the Indian construction and mining sector by providing necessary support to our dealers and by organizing regular training programm on the usage and maintenance of the equipment. Investments will be made by us in view of the same in regular intervals. The broader intention will be to increase the presence of our product line by making chain of the distributors and also increasing the presence of our products in the dealers’ product portfolio.

How do you balance the act when the dealers are also selling similar products?
We understand that our distributors have their marketing foothold through their own range of products offering backed by sound manufacturing integration like ECEL for its pick-n-carry cranes. We are refraining from taking on the products range of our dealers. Instead we are planning to complement the products offering by assisting our dealers increasing their product offerings through our versatile products.

How will you interpret total cost of ownership for an advanced product in India which is in nascent stages of mechanization as compared to other advanced markets?
We will increasingly look to promote the reliability element of our products by highlighting the numerous features of our materials handling equipment that go on to characterize safe operation and higher productivity. Products reliability will be interpreted in terms of lower owning and operating, lesser downtime costs and higher resale value as compared to conventional products offerings. We perceive, it is a novice marketing concept in India and we will look to bank on the same besides, pointing out that one of our prime competitive marketing edges is providing total cost of ownership through our versatile products across our other markets in various parts of the world.
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