The investment of over a trillion dollar has been proposed for the development of infrastructure till next Plan period. What prospects do you see for CE industry as a result of this? In this scenario, how do you see JCB evolving itself to take advantage of this big opportunity?
India's infrastructure needs a tremendous boost for atleast next few decades make it adequate for the basic requirements of citizens. The proposed investment of over a trillion dollars will be used for building urban and rural infrastructure.
The construction equipment industry on its part will have to meet the particular technological demands of the market.
The focus on infrastructure presents JCB with a tremendous opportunity. We keep upgrading our products in line with the requirements of the Indian market. We have dedicated designed facilities in Ballabgarh and Pune where talented young designers are on the job to develop and test new features for our existing products as well as develop entirely new products for our market. Also, with strategic investments in place for manufacturing, we have the right kind of facilities and can upscale to levels of production whenever required. Finally, we do pride ourselves with the quality of our highly dedicated dealer principals and their teams across the country.
Sometimes back, JCB launched its globally advanced fuel efficient engine; how will the application of this innovative indigenous technological input at JCB's end result in saving fuel cost for its customers? Any feedback from the customers about its success rate and further plans to induct this engine in company's other product line?
The launch of JCB engine ecoMAX in April this year coincided with the change in emission norms for wheeled construction equipment from Bharat Stage II to Bharat Stage III. It is the first engine in India developed specifically for off highway applications and thereby provides easily the best fuel efficiency for our customers. The EcoMax is powered by 16 valves unlike 8 for most other engine manufacturers.
JCB manufacture engines in the UK however the technology was present within the group. The engines are tailor made for JCB machines and depending on the application and machine model they result in fuel savings of over 12% to the end users. The engine underwent thousands of hours of testing and a rigorous seeding program in arduous climate and terrain conditions before it was launched in India. Hence we were very confident of its performance and our customers have appreciated the engine's performance. We have several customer testimonials that signify that the machine's performance has been better after introduction of ecoMAX.
In CE, Backhoe space is crowded. To differentiate and stand out from the rests, JCB incorporated important technical improvements. What has been the market response to this? Don't you think that JCB portfolio is loaded heavily with backhoe though there is a demand for its other heavy productsline and the time has come to aggressively promote products like excavators, rollers, vibratory compactors etc whose demand could perhaps grow more than that of backhoe in the near future?
Incorporating technical improvements is an ongoing job at JCB as I've mentioned earlier. The backhoe space has several players simply because it is the largest share of the CE pie.
JCB is perceived to have a product portfolio heavily loaded with backhoe loaders. However, we have an entire range of tracked excavators, wheeled loaders, vibratory compaction equipment, pick and carry cranes, skid steer loaders and telescopic handlers. We are equally focused on all product categories and have dedicated design facilities and parts and technical training to support the heavy equipment as well. Our facility in Pune is a world class manufacturing plant dedicated to manufacturing the heavy equipment.
There is no doubt that the Indian market will use more these heavy equipment in the future as these are specialized machines and imperative for big projects and unamended deadlines and JCB has geared up for this change.
For quite sometime, JCB has been focusing on emerging market opportunities in South-East countries. Is there any break- through, particularly on building consumer confidence in these countries leveraging on price and related technological advantages JCB has over others?
To export equipment, there needs to be a synergy between domestic and the targeted overseas markets. There are several factors one must consider. Some of the important ones are the equipment usage pattern, climate and terrain. South East Asian markets are suitable for machine manufactured for Indian conditions and these machines are able to compete on the price front as well with products manufactured in other developed countries. We currently do export to SAARC countries and some other Asian markets like Indonesia. However, we are exploring other opportunities as well.
As the competition hotting up in the CE market; how does JCB propose to protect its market leadership and maintains its high level brand position?
JCB always keeps customers at the heart of everything it does. All our efforts, be it the innovative marketing strategies or the advanced levels of quality control to name a couple, are focused on creating customer delight. With the best team in construction equipment proudly in place, JCB is sure to maintain its brand position and create the best value propositions for our customers. Further, we have the most extensive distribution network in the industry with over 400 outlets, so that we are close to our customers. We will continue to increase our outlets in the critical areas which are close to construction and mining sites.
What are JCB's plans to have a strong base of component suppliers and current status of its option to tie up with mature automobile vendors to manufacture spare parts for JCB products?
India has in place an excellent supplier base that meets world class levels of component manufacturing. JCB works very closely with its suppliers, many of them are strategically located close to our manufacturing plants in Ballabgarh and Pune. Many of our suppliers have grown with JCB and have reached levels of excellence in manufacturing and supply chain management and are at par with the mature automobile vendors.
A word about JCB distribution channels and plans to strengthen the same to have a further improved and smooth distribution.
What are your plans for Excon 2011 and products planned to be introduced?
Excon is the largest construction equipment, technology and services exhibition in South Asia. It is a great opportunity for companies to showcase their product portfolio and also a great way to showcase India's might in manufacturing world class construction equipment. JCB, as always, will be the biggest exhibitor. Our dancing diggers show will enthrall the visitors at BIEC and we will have on display our entire range of machines and technological innovation. For more details you are invited to visit our pavilion at Excon 2011.