Volvo CE: “We are striving to have distinct brand identity”

Dimitrov Krishnan
Premium Swedish construction equipment manufacturer Volvo Construction Equipment India is at cross roads in Indian construction equipment market that is increasingly getting percolated with equipment manufacturers across the spectrum. On the one hand, the market is getting occupied by strong brands offering technologically tried and tested premium products, but on the other hand, there are brands offering solutions with moderate engineering refinements on mass scale. On top, actual market size of equipment continues to remain subdued with oversupply remaining high compared to demand. Further, with off take showing certain signs of improvement with indications of revival in construction sector, possibilities of brand substitution among customers remain rife. Taking cognizance, Volvo CE India is looking to create a distinct identity for brand recall through ensuring visibility backed by advanced product placements and equipment support services. Speaking to P.P. Basistha during the company's introduction of 75-tons tracked excavators recently, for the Indian market, Mr. Dimitrov Krishnan, Vice President, Volvo CE India outlined the company's plans to drive business for mid and long-term Excerpts:

How do you propose to build up your sales in the contracting excavators market?
The market size of excavators was at 7,500 units during 2013-14. However, during 2015 with certain revival of road construction and mining sector, there are positive indications of fresh off-take between 800 to 1000 units, enlarging the market size. The demand is expected for higher capacity excavators. With our given portfolio of EC 290B, EC 300D, EC 350 D, EC 380 D, and newly introduced EC 750 D, durable, fuel efficient and reliable machines, we will look to gain fair business from the emerging demand. We are working with the customers looking for machines which deliver higher utility and our D-series equipment are well positioned to meet the requirements backed by quality support from Volvo CE. Our highly durable equipment backed by requisite support have enabled us to have brand recall. The recent example is of BGR mining, one of our prominent customers to have acquired our first EC460 excavator ever since Volvo's inception in India fifteen years back. The customer is again first to acquire our new EC750 D, 75-tons excavator, entirely financed by our captive finance entity, Volvo Financial Services. Targeting the quarry segment, we are promoting our 30-35 tons excavators. The higher capacity excavators are able to provide 10 % more productivity when compared to other manufacturers' offerings in similar class. Besides, the machines score better on fuel efficiency and lesser total operating costs. We are targeting specific projects to promote the higher class machines. With a combined application by 8x4 and 10x4 Volvo tippers, users of the higher capacity excavators are able to achieve lesser total operating costs. This strategy provides us an edge in the market.

The 29 tons+ class capacity market is being represented by the prominent competitive brands with tried and tested products in the Indian construction market. How do you propose to retain your brand visibility and remain competitive in the segment offerings?
In my view Indian customers are quite sophisticated while buying bigger and expensive equipment. They have got fantastic capabilities to evaluate the performance of the excavators throughout the lifecycle based on evaluating parameters like fuel-efficiency, reliability, and productivity at par with their advanced global counterparts. With our higher capacity excavators, featuring all the mentioned operating features, we get repeated acceptance from many of our customers with the most recent being BGR Mining.

Volvo SDLG

What is the strategy to expand business of your road construction equipment verticals?
Based on the diverse requirement of Indian road construction equipment sector, Volvo CE has got the widest portfolio of road construction equipment offerings with advanced features. This includes excavators, Wheeloaders, motor graders, soil compactors, asphalt pavers (tire and track mounted), and pneumatic tire rollers. Our SD110 and DD100 soil and asphalt compactors feature variable frequency drives that enable the operators to know the numbers of passes required for the job. The advanced features of the equipment have allowed us to build up sales.

What is your sales coverage?
Enhancing sales coverage is our major strategy to drive growth through our fifteen dealers, who are instrumental in driving sales as they are quite approachable. By understanding service requirements of customers followed by sales, the dealers are able to enter long-term relationship with our customers. The alliance has enabled us to establish our brand in strategic demand pockets. Our strategy now is to establish our brand in pockets, where we have got moderate presence.

What have your distinctive product support initiatives been?
We provide tailor-made support packages to our customers, which comprise support to our existing fleet of 400 wheel loaders, 8000+ excavators, and 1000 SDLG wheel loaders. We have 'Blue' service contracts with our customer for preventive maintenance. There are 'Gold' service contracts for repair and maintenance of the machines on cost per hour. To ensure that the equipment are commercially viable to operate; Volvo CE works with customers through site simulation software to optimize fleet selection and utilization. According to this, site simulation data is collected and contractors are advised and trained to do appropriate site planning, through proper deployment of equipments for their optimum utilization. Further, we have our 'CareTrack' support solutions. Through CareTrack, the customer gets the knowledge and information he needs to make the right decisions about his machine and thereby increase profitability. He can access the information he needs by entering into a password protected website, which gives him detailed information about his machine that can assist towards preventive maintenance and repair.
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