The history of Kolkata-based Tractors India Limited (TIL) dates back to the year 1944, when the company was established to manufacture cranes. Since then, TIL has strived to establish itself both as a manufacturing entity for cranes meant for construction, industrial and port cargo handling application on one end and being distributors of Caterpillar’s construction equipment products on the other end till date.
During its beginning years, TIL was the distributor of Coles mobile cranes of U.K. Later, Coles was taken over by Grove, the largest US crane manufacturer. And it has been till now that Grove has remained the prime technology partners of TIL enabling the latter manufacture cranes for customized applications for infrastructure and core industry. The present CEO of TIL is Sumit Mazumder.
TIL Product Range and Manufacturing Facilities
TIL manufactures cranes at the range of 5 –100 tonnes and claims to have a market share of 75 to 80 percent in R.T.G and hydraulic mobile cranes. The cranes are manufactured at its plants in Kolkata, Sahibabad near Delhi and at Pondicherry with state-of-the art manufacturing facilities. The purpose built plants are equipped with computer based design, CNC control etc. The manufacturing system conforms to ISO-9001 standards.
The range of cranes manufactured at its plants consist of mobile cranes for industrial applications at the range of 8 tonnes to 20 tonnes, truck mounted cranes having capacity range of 30 to 40 tonnes. In addition to these, rough terrain mobile cranes beginning from the range of 20 to 80 tonnes, reach stackers for port container cargo handling operations at the capacity of 8 to 45 tonnes are also manufactured. The other high capacity mobile cranes for rough terrain manufactured by TIL consists at the range of 20 to 300 tonnes. TIL also makes truck mounted loader cranes at the capacity range of 2.65 tonnes to 36.0 tonnes Product range from TIL also includes, aerial work platforms, safety systems and crawler cranes.
The new products of TIL comprises of defense logistic vehicles, rubber tyred gantry cranes and electric level luffing cranes.
TIL’s cranes are equipped with hydraulic mode load sensing systems for providing more hydraulic power to the cranes and also in concurrence assisting the cranes consume less fuel. The cranes have powerful weight lifting capacity as being equipped with technically improved booms, says Bhatnagar.
Having the cranes equipped with advanced technology enables TIL to have a product USP and in turn derive a competitive edge in the market. He adds, “altogether the brand TIL draws its USP from its ability to manufacture cranes for customised applications.”
Sustained adoption of advanced technologies has been the operational criterion of TIL. This in true sense has enabled the Company to sustain in the market for long and carve a niche for itself as a reputed manufacturer of cranes.
The Company at present is in the process of executing orders of sizeable numbers of 30–40 mobile cranes for Reliance’s upcoming greenfield Jammnagar refinery at its Kolkata manufacturing unit. The cranes would be required for undertaking construction of the refinery for lifting construction materials and equipment. The supply for the cranes would be completed till the year 2008.
TIL’s Procurement Policy
TIL procures components from globally renowned companies. The axles are sourced by TIL from Kessler, Germany. Engines are sourced from Volvo and Caterpillar. The hoist units for the cranes are procured from Poccard and Braden of US, both are suppliers to Caterpillar. The hydraulic motors are procured from Bosch, Germany, while the automated programme controller for lifting applications in cranes is from Japan. Components are also sourced from France by TIL.
Mr. Bhatnagar mentions, “procuring key components from globally acclaimed vendors enables us to maintain high quality standards in our final products, at par with our global counterparts.” He clarifies further, “the reason behind procuring important components from abroad is because there is deficient number of quality vendors at home.”
Though TIL is trying hard for import substitution but it has met with little success as of now with only engines of truck cranes being fitted with Ashok Leyland engines.
The Company is positive towards the demand forecast of cranes for various applications. But it forecasts a large volume of demand for cranes would come from the construction sector alone.
He explains, “With thrust to finish projects fast especially that inpower, refinery and pipeline projects heavy capacity cranes in particular, would have an important role to play by lifting heavy items at a faster pace. This is a factor which is being well understood by the construction industry and it would be an important criteria which would drive the demand of cranes from the construction sector in a large way adds Mr. Bhatnagar.”
TIL’s Sales Synergy
The Company has been the distributor of Caterpillar’s construction equipment and mining products for the last 61 years. This is in addition being successfully promoting its own products.
The dealership tie up of TIL with Caterpillar goes back to the year of the formers inception and this has gone from strength to strength over the years,” asserts Mr. Subrata Paul, President, Construction Equipment Division of TIL, looking after the sale and distribution of Caterpillar products.
TIL is looking after the distribution of Caterpillar products in East and North-Eastern India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Myanmar. And an important construction project where CAT construction equipment are under use in the North-East India is Subhansiri hydro project in Assam undertaken by Punj Lloyd.
Though the basic collaboration arrangement of the tie up of TIL with Caterpillar has remained the same but in order to meet the emerging changing requirements of the market certain amount of fine tuning is being carried out in the collaboration. As per this, the amount of training has been enlarged by Caterpillar to TIL engineers for better marketing and serviceability of the products.
To strengthen the collaboration arrangement, TIL is setting up a new workshop at Asansol in West Bengal for servicing Caterpillar products.
For better marketing of the products TIL with assistance of Caterpillar would be providing thrust in organising road shows. With greater strengthening of the tie up TIL would be providing emphasis for marketing varied range of CAT products particularly those having potential for the Indian markets in a bigger way.
According to this, Mr. Paul informs with large number of road projects coming up there is a potential for road construction equipment. Taking this into consideration, TIL would give focus in promoting paving equipment, motor graders, asphalt and vibratory soil compactors etc. Emphasis would also be given in promoting wheel loaders of various capacity, 20–30 tonnes excavators, pipe layers, track loaders.
Through better tie up arrangement, it is expected that TIL would be able to promote assorted range of equipment from CAT’s stable in a better way in the market for the time to come.