We are hopeful to see movement in the infrastructure sector in the second half of the current financial year. The new Government will have to start by unleashing a wave of reforms in multiple sectors particularly in the Infrastructure sector. The primary agenda is to debottleneck stalled infrastructure projects on ground and increase investments in the sector.The infrastructure industry hopes that mechanisms will be put into place to ensure that the top 20 projects of National importance are implemented expeditiously.
Vipin Sondhi, Managing Director & CEO of JCB India shares his views with Sandeep Sharma about his company, core competencies, product offerings, verticals targeted for material handling equipment, need to train manpower and what needs to be done by the Government to boost economic growth. Edited Excerpts...
Could you tell us about your company and core competencies? Could you share with us details about your existing manufacturing base, capacity and production process?
In 1979, JCB entered the Indian market with the firm commitment to deliver best-in-class machines targeted for specific uses. World class products, finest manufacturing facilities and best distribution network are the three key cornerstones of JCB India.
JCB has 3 operational manufacturing units and two upcoming units in Jaipur. The first unit was set up in early 1980s in Ballabgarh, Haryana, an era when infrastructure growth was not the priority for the Government and today, our Ballabgarh unit is the world’s largest Backhoe Loader plant. This plant also manufactures the Liftall, our ‘pick-&-carry’ crane and JCB “ecoMAX” engine - first domestically built world class, fuel efficient, state-of-theart, BSIII, 16 valve diesel engine which is high in fuel efficiency. The Ballabgarh facility has the manufacturing capacity of 100 machines per shift.
Spread over 100 acres, we have two facilities in Pune; the first plant manufactures exports oriented fabrications and components and the second plant manufactures state-of-the-art Heavyline machines (Tracked Excavators, Wheel Loaders and Compactors) with a manufacturing capacity of 4500 machines per annum.
JCB recently showcased the new manufacturing facility in Jaipur which is JCB’s fourth - and the largest - facility in India. The two plants are in the final stages of construction in Jaipur, Rajasthan, with a combined floor space of over 700,000 square feet. We will initially begin with Fabrications and will continue to upscale its production facilities as per the market requirements. Lean manufacturing principles are followed through JCB Production system. The manufacturing process of the engine plant works on the ‘no fault forward’ production model. To maintain high quality standards, the engine is verified at every stage of production using cutting edge technology, cameras, and sensors providing optimum engineering value to the manufactured product.
You are one of the largest manufacturers of earthmoving, agricultural equipment and material handling equipment in India? Could you talk about your top selling range of products, technical superiority, design, features and client preferences?
JCB offers the widest range of Construction Equipment -27 variants in 7 product lines - ranging from Backhoe Loaders to Compactors to Tracked Excavators, etc. and continues to innovate, to design industry leading products.
JCB India understands the need to constantly innovate, keeping its existing product line abreast with latest technology. Our aim is to make our machines better, more productive, more efficient based on the customer feedback.
JCB’s flagship product Backhoe Loader is just getting better with each passing year. Given its ability to multi-task and its excellent maneuverability, Backhoe Loader is practically used at every construction site – like for building dams, multi-level flyovers, power plants etc. JCB introduced a new version of JCB 3DX - the new “JCB 3DXcellence” Backhoe Loader. Regarded as the most fuel efficient Backhoe Loader on earth, this machine provides the best return on investment to our esteemed customers.
The benefits that this new generation machine specially designed for Indian customers are immense with 20% lower fuel consumption in excavation which will result in fuel savings worth Rs 2.6 lacs per year at current diesel prices, the best engine in the construction equipment industry and a spacious, comfortable and livable cabin. JCB offers an unmatched range starting from 3T operating weight (JS30) to 36T operating weight (JS 360LC) to serve the plant hirers, earthmoving and quarrying customer base. JCB Excavators are fitted with industry leading cab, structure, reliability and are most fuel efficient.
JCB products are manufactured on the company philosophy of “One Global Quality”. Our products are a testament of our drive to continually manufacture the most technologically advanced products.
Which are the verticals do you target for your material handling equipment offerings? What is the scope of customization offered with regard to your product and solutions?
JCB offers a wide range of “pick & carry” crane - Liftall 1253, Liftall 1202, Liftall 1553, and Liftall 1554. Our “pick & carry” cranes are extensively used in for erection work, pipe laying, material handling and industrial jobs.
JCB plans to expand its material handling segment by introducing a new machine – JCB Loadall which will help in increasing the overall efficiency of the material handling process through palletization. We feel there is a lot of scope for mechanization especially in this segment because mechanization leads to easy handling of the material during construction, completion of projects within stipulated timelines, increases productivity.
JCB offers multiple variants in the same product category to ensure that our customer get the right machine for the right application. Further, we offer a wide range of attachments also for various purposes which enhances the versatility of the machines eg. Rock breaker, 6-in-1 bucket, Extending Dipper, etc. JCB attachments offer great versatility and productivity to JCB machines thus, making them suitable for several kinds of applications.
How was the CY2013 in terms of business generated? Do you have any hopes for market revival in CY2014?
We are hopeful to see movement in the infrastructure sector in the second half of the current financial year. The new Government will have to start by unleashing a wave of reforms in multiple sectors particularly in the Infrastructure sector. The primary agenda is to debottleneck stalled infrastructure projects on ground and increase investments in the sector.The infrastructure industry hopes that mechanisms will be put into place to ensure that the top 20 projects of National importance are implemented expeditiously. The need to remove the severe infrastructure deficit across the country is evident and imperative. The industry witnessed a slowdown in 2013 but JCB successfully expanded its market share across multiple product lines.
What’s your take on the need to train manpower using material handling system /equipment’s in India?
Availability of skilled manpower for construction equipment is becoming an issue in India, with a potential shortage of around 20 percent anticipated by 2015. If the industry grows as predicted, the gap could widen to 30 percent by 2020.
The need is to ensure OEM-level collaborations and tie-ups with industry bodies to provide affordable vocational training for aspiring employees. JCB India along with its dealer network has set up 12 fully functional Operational Training Centers across India (Ballabgarh, Chhindwara, Jamshedpur, Madurai, Patna, Kathmandu, Jalandhar, Pune, Raipur, Silchar, Kendrapara and Kharagpur) and has trained over 20000 young men as operators till date.
What needs to be done by the Government of India to boost economic growth?
The new Government is expected to instill a fresh perspective in an economy which is currently battling issues like decline in the infrastructure output growth, high inflation and weak growth etc. It will have to focus on building up investors’ confidence in the Indian Infrastructure market which has drastically gone down in the past two years.
Formation of Cabinet Committee on Investments (CCI) and Project Monitoring Group (PMG) to de-bottleneck and fast track big ticket infrastructure projects has helped and it needs to be mirrored at the State level as well with a regulatory body to carry out active monitoring and to streamline end-to-end coordination. Implementing the Goods and Service Tax should also be on the agenda for the Government in-charge. It will give the necessary boost to country’s economy by breaking tax barriers between States and integrating India through a uniform tax rate. This will boost investor confidence and help in increasing domestic as well as overseas investments in India.
Moreover, the Government should work towards creating employment in the Manufacturing sector to ensure equitable growth. To help meet India’s GDP targets of the manufacturing sector up to 25% from the current 16%, the need is to revisit and implement the National Manufacturing Policy. Reviving up the manufacturing sector is a key for an overall growth in India as it will lead to immense employment generation.
About Vipin Sondhi
Vipin Sondhi is an alumni of the Lawrence School, Sanawar (1976) Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (1982) and the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (1984). He is the Managing Director & CEO of JCB India, India’s largest manufacturer of Construction Equipment. He is also a member of the JCB Global Group Executive Council. He has worked with Honda Power Equipment, Tata Steel and Tecumseh Products. He is also actively involved with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and is an elected member of the CII National Council. He is currently the Chairman for EXCON 2013 (one of the largest Construction Equipment Exhibition in Asia), and has headed the previous three editions as well. He has also been Chairman of the CII Water Council and the Manufacturing Council in the past. He was recently awarded the CEO of the year Award at CEO India Awards 2014. Additionally, he was awarded Confederation of India’s Young Manager’s Trophy in the year 2000 and conferred with Udyog Rattan Award by the Institute of Economic Studies in 2011. He has been nominated for the Best CEO Multinational Company amongst five MNC CEOs in India by Forbes India magazine in 2012. He is a keen Sportsman; Golf being his favorite. He also plays the violin as a hobby. He lives in Delhi with his wife and daughter.
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