JCB India Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary of JC Bamford Excavators Ltd, UK, offers 21 different machines in seven product lines such as backhoe loaders, loading shovels, tracked excavators, compactors, telehandlers, skid steer loaders, and pick-and-carry cranes. Vipin Sondhi, in an email interaction with Sandeep Menezes, talks about increasing imports of secondhand equipment and its impact on the sector.
JCB is India’s largest construction equipment manufacturer. Going forward, what are your company’s growth plans?
India has been a successful market for JCB for more than 30 years. The company further plans to strengthen its presence by expanding its wide array of products on offer.
Currently, we have seven product lines with 21 variants. Continual hours put into product development results in upgradation of existing products.
Infrastructure is the key for the growth and it has become a dominant theme across India.
Having launched the new generation 3DX Backhoe Loader, JCB is now focused on penetrating the rural and semi-urban regions to extend its reach and maintain high standards of quality.
JCB will also continue to look for opportunities to expand both the manufacturing footprint and the dealer reach through its outlets.
Last year during Excon 2011 JCB launched six new products. Does your company intend to launch any new products in near future?
At JCB, any product enhancement or upgradation is always based on the customer’s feedback or requirement because all our efforts are focused at not only satisfying the customers but exceeding their expectations.
For e.g. we recently launched a new machine, the all new 3DX, a revolutionary machine which has been conceptualised and designed after carefully studying the customer requirements and hence the features offered in the new machine are all in line with the customer expectations, including a cabin with 20 per cent more space and fuel efficiency at least 20 per cent better.
We will continue to enter the market with revolutionary, fuel efficient and world-class products based on our customer needs.
In spite of having the second largest global pool of engineers and technicians, India still faces an acute shortage of trained equipment operators. What are JCB’s initiatives in this regard?
A skilled operator operating the machine can certainly increase the machine lifespan as he will reduce the risk of errors and will increase the machine efficiency by handling it right. However, the shortage of skilled operators has been the cause of concern for sometime now.
To overcome this issue, JCB took the initiative of setting up Operator Training Centres (OTC) and has 11 fully functional OTCs.
Till date, JCB has trained over 18,000 young men as operators, thus creating livelihood for many. Many young operators, with their entrepreneurial spirit, invested in JCB machines and are today proud owners.
Here is a demand for the formulation of a new policy for imported secondhand equipment. What will be its implications on equipment manufacturers such as JCB?
India has seen a huge increase in the import of secondhand equipment which is having an adverse effect on the domestic manufacturing industry.
The suggested exemption of import duty on certain equipment used for road construction in the Union Budget of 2012-2013 should be reconsidered as it will only lead to dumping of poor quality machines.
We need to realise that major construction equipment manufacturers have invested majorly in setting up the local manufacturing units in India and hence there is adequate capacity available to meet the current and foreseeable demand.
The government should look at putting restrictions on port of entry for such imports, preferably one port on each coast.
We suggest that a special team may be put in place for inspection and supervision of the imported used machinery. It shall conform to the related domestic laws, relevant rules concerning safety and compliance of necessary environmental regulations.
In order to give a fillip to the industry, the government may consider inclusion of certain products under Focus Product Scheme. This will go a long way in upgrading the quality of the products, bring in advanced manufacturing skills in operations and boost the image of India as the engineering hub for the world.