Universal Record Buoyancy Amid Recession

Ranjeet More
"Event during slowdown Universal has developed new products, network, setup exclusive stores and appointed distributers at many locations. The company has gone deeper in market like North Eastern States and focusing at small location where SBU I products are more required. In addition, we are also in discussion with European player to launch luffing cranes in India soon," says Mr. Ranjeet More, Managing Director, Universal, in an interview with S.A.Faridi.

How do you see the demand trends for the CE market in 2013-14 considering the government's more proactive approach to infrastructure development and the company's assessment of its growth in the same period?
Construction Equipment Market during 2013-14 will gradually go upto almost 10%-15% rise than financial year which I think was the bottom. The government has a very proactive approach towards the infrastructure but at the same time will also have to clear the pending dues of the contractors as it may affect next year. Universal has the plan to grow by 25% in the next year by adding the new product line & new market.

How is the company dealing with the current slowdown spell to maintain positive business performance and sentiments within and outside?
Universal has managed to float well this year, though the original plan was to grow by 30%. It has in this period developed new products, its network & other activities like we have setup exclusive stores in more than 5 locations, appointed distributers in more 10 locations etc. Within the company, there is lot of restructuring done to make it lean & effective.

What according to you propelled buying decision in the country during the current recessionary phase - the price, the value addition, the brand, or the efficient back up services?
Sentiments are low within the industry. People are becoming more conscious but still continuing to work. They are currently looking for efficient right price & size of equipment which will help them to be more effective and efficient. For example, people prefer to buy 20 CU.M/HR Or 30 CU.M/HR Batching Plant rather than going for a 60 CU.M/HR. as small batching plant consume less power and saves money.

Universal Tower Crane
After launching tower crane successfully and enhancing its portfolio, what is the status of your plan to come up with Luffing cranes in collaboration with European partner?
Universal plans to settle down and stabilize tower cranes market and is not going for Luffing Crane at this moment. Simultaneously, discussions are going on with European Players on Luffing Cranes for Joint Ventures.

Apart from above product line, is there any plan of developing other CE products to extend construction equipment range of the company?
Universal always considers its R&D unit as its backbone and has recently developed Batching plant for Manufacturing Cellular Light Weight Concrete which is the 1st integrated plant with the provision to use it as a Concrete Batching plant, thus making effective use. This will mainly be helpful in Tier II cities to produce CLC blocks as well as to sell Ready Mix Concrete in local market.

What are the technical pre- and post-market services provided by the company? Do you think that offering effective customer support services will help to vivificate your business?
After Sales Service Support is really vital to sell construction equipment throughout India as the industry is unorganized, the customer depends a lot on manufacturer for service even for small matters. Universal through its wide network, offers onsite service and also provides certified operator training.

Transit Mixer

How many products from the company have made their footprints in the domestic and international markets? Are you targeting specific areas or vying for a more widespread presence?
Universal market share in Portable Concrete Batching Plant has now gone up however, the quantity went down. There are more loyal customers who are repeatedly buying Universal products and opt for Upgraded technologies. This time, Universal has gone deeper in market like in North Eastern States, and will start focusing on spreading market at small locations where SBU I Products are required badly.
NBMCW November 2013
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