UNIVERSAL Gearing up for Bigger Role Universal is gearing up to meet the challenges by expanding its network in India, enhancing manufacturing base/facilities, investing in its human resources, broadening of product portfolio etc. All in all Universal is going hand in hand with growth of the country and its expansion plans are aligned with expected growth in this industry, says Mr. Ranjeet More, Managing Director, Universal Construction Equipment in an interview with Swati Kulkarni.
Tell us something about your Company, its manufacturing facilities, products range, and market share domestic and export?
UNIVERSAL is an ISO certified, India’s one of the largest construction machinery manufacturers. We have structured around four strategic business units to ensure focus on technology, innovation and service quality across its product range and in turn help maintain and enhance our market leadership.
Universal manufactures wide range of equipment which varies from range of concrete mixers, batching plants, passenger lifts and compactors. Universal has accordingly set up four business units to cater this wide variety.
First SBU is focusing on equipment related to mass concreting, Second SBU emphasizes on range of reversible mixers, mini batching plants, mini dumpers of varying sizes and capacities etc. Third SBU caters to general equipment required at any of the construction site and earth compactors. Fourth SBU concentrates on equipment like passenger lifts, work platform, suspended platform etc. All across SBU’s, Universal manufactures around 50 products.
Universal has three manufacturing plants, one near Pune and two around Satara district in Maharashtra. It’s investing around 234 crores in these facilities to make them self–sufficient in every respect. These manufacturing facilities are now recognized as Mega projects by Maharashtra State Government for which company has signed MoU with Maharashtra.
As per the survey conducted by A. C. Nelson, in the domestic market, four key products - reversible drum mixer, mini dumpers, 20 & 50 Cubic meters capacity batching plants and concrete mixers are number one in market share in India. Universal is also the number one exporter of these equipment from India.
Universal has been well recognized in the export market. What are the important international markets where its products have been exported?
Universal is exporting its equipment through 11 overseas distributors to more than 25 countries. Middle East is one of the major export markets for the company. Universal has its office in Dubai to cater the demand from Oman, UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Frankfurt is the base to look after requirements from European countries. South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zambia are few of the African countries where Universal products are distributed directly from India.
Apart from these, USA, Netherlands, Fiji, Germany, Australia, and are the countries where Universal has exported its products.
Universal is continuously expanding its product range. Last year it has introduced novel rack and pinion technology driven lift for the first time in India and recently it has launched the inline hopper feeding concrete batching plant. What response the company is getting for these premier products?
The rack and pinion technology driven passenger lifts are extremely popular even compared to any of the imported product due to safety majors provided and extremely smooth operations. It has found corporate clients from every corner of India including Hiranadani, B.L. Kashayap, Taj group etc. Apart from this it has found clients in cement industry to cater to their expansion plans.
The inline hopper feeding concrete batching plant is the leader and can be considered as future in its category. Currently, Universal manufactures 30 and 50 cubic meter capacity batching plants and shortly we will come out with 60 cubic meter capacity batching plant. Many international customers have opted to buy this product after visiting our facilities and response received is very good.
Is there any new plan to widen your products portfolio matching the growing requirements of construction industry?
Universal is consistently innovating and widening its products portfolio. This quarter company will come up with three new products in the market.
In concrete mixers category, it is introducing, first time in India – “Generation Next Concrete Mixer”, which is a small concrete mixer with all the features of batching plant like weighing of aggregates, sand, cement and water content etc.
Universal is also introducing ‘Special Batching Plant’ which will have the recording system, it will enable the user with information like utilizations of space etc. and this prior intimation will help user to reduce breakdown and in turn increase efficiency.
In the passenger lift segment, we are introducing ‘Twin Cage Passenger Lift’.
Tell us something about your R&D.
Universal considers R & D as its backbone and has to its credits indigenously developed products to suit specific requirements. Research and Development unit works in three different sections that is development of new product, modifying or enhancing the existing product as per the customer requirement and developing jig’s fixtures to improve quality related aspects of products.
We have in house team of 22 people, who are exclusively focusing R & D of the company and ensuring innovations in each vertical.
Construction Industry is proliferating at an unprecedented rate in India, what are the new strategies and future plans of the company to be at the forefront of this revolution?
Past five years, we have experienced phenomenal growth of the construction industry and we expect it to remain so for next fifteen years. We also expect that in next five years, around $350 billon will be invested in infrastructural development of the country. Universal is gearing up to meet the challenges by expanding its network in India, enhancing manufacturing base / facilities, investing in its human resources, broadening of product portfolio etc. All in all Universal is going hand in hand with growth of the country and its expansion plans are aligned with expected growth in this industry.
Universal has conducted several joint ventures with the International biggies for tower crane, transit mixer and so on in accordance to enhance the construction standard. Any new technical collaboration being planned by the company?
Universal is in advanced talks with an Italian company for tower crane manufacturing, soon Universal will come with tower crane in the Indian market. We were also looking for a JV with one German company for transit mixers, however products offered by German company were more suitable for German / European requirements and company’s own R & D come out with better product that was suitable for Indian requirements. We are also talking to one UK based company for getting into different segment i.e. earthmoving equipment / spares and we are looking at utilizing this JV for distributing Universal’s products in Europe. Also our focus for joint ventures is to supply products in global markets, talks are on to tie up with an American company to distribute Universal’s products like transit mixers and batching plants in Middle East, Africa & South America.
What is Universal’s vision to increase its sales turnover in the next two-three years encashing in the emerging opportunities in the construction industry?
We have the plan for next 3 years ready with us. Universal has its own stockyards at all the four zones of the country i.e. North/South/East/ West and company will have its own assembly units in all these four zones very soon.
What are the sales and after sales services offered by the company?
Company offers its sales and after sales services through 75 dealers and 7 regional offices all over India. Company is trying to fortify its network by setting up 5 new regional offices in the eastern part of the country apart from enhancing its dealer network all over country. Service van is an innovative concept run by the company. The van is equipped with all set of spare parts and an expert, which gives a door step service for the owner. Universal takes pride in being first Indian construction equipment company, to provide such kind of service for its range of products.
Does Universal impart training to creative skilled manpower?
Universal’s strength lies in its experienced and highly qualified team of engineers and staff mainly devoted skilled workers. Universal with CIDC (Construction Industry Development Council, New Delhi.) sharpens the skills of workers to cater the demand of the company as well as the construction industry.
Our central training institute train operators to use construction machinery such as Batching Plant, Concrete Mixer, Mini Dumper etc. The centre also issues a certificate to these people and as a result he gets a better prospects in future carrier. Till today we have provided training to more than 500 service center person within the organization as well as outside the organization.