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Betting big on rural road development

Betting big on rural road development

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Manjunath S,
General Manager-Sales,
Doosan Bobcat India.

Road equipment segment will remain positive atleast for the next decade says Manjunath S, General Manager, Sales, Doosan Bobcat India. And this potential market will enable the company to be in the leading position in compact road  equipment segment

 

What is your take on the general market scenario of the construction equipment segment?

A lot of infrastructure needs to be developed in India, right from roads and airports to warehouses. Considering India is a large country with a huge population, there is a continuous demand for improvement of
existing infrastructure and development for the next 20-25 years with roads being the primary driver of growth. So, we feel that there is a bright future ahead for the next 20–25 years in India with enormous scope to grow for the construction equipment sector.

 

Where do you see more development happening in the urban-oriented space or in the rural-oriented area?

It will happen simultaneously. If you look 20-25 years back, there were not even proper mud roads available for the villagers. Today, if you see, we have proper roads which are wide and of better quality.

But, the pace and volume of work may differ in rural and urban areas. The quantum of development may be more in the urban and comparatively less in rural. But recently we have seen Government pushing last mile connectivity in rural areas.

In the recent past, we have seen the compact equipment segment picking up a little more. Could you elaborate on that?

BOBCAT is a well-known brand globally as well as in India in compact equipment segment. We are the market leader in Skid-Steer Loader and Top 2 players in Mini-Excavator in below 5 Ton category. Adding to that, we are coming out with a Backhoe loader, which also will be part of our compact equipment portfolio.

Our vision is to be the number one in the Indian market for compact equipment, thus contributing to the growth of the country at the same time. Though it is not going to be easy with a lot of players for the product line, our products are superior in quality, reliability, performance and fuel efficiency. So far, we have been importing and selling, but by this year-end, we will start selling our Backhoe Loader rolled out from our new manufacturing facility at Chennai.

2018 backhoe loader market size has reached around 48,000 units which are quite significant. This is the second fastest growing equipment after commercial vehicles. We want to be the market leader in the compact segment – all equipment put together (Skid-Steer Loader, Mini-Excavator, Compact Track Loader & Backhoe Loader)

What is your current market share, and what is the timeline you are looking at?

We have more than 60% market share in Skid-Steer Loader. And, in under 5-ton excavator, we have quickly gained leadership position and our market share is more than 20% in the mini-excavator.

What is your target for the current year?

Our target is to maintain the leadership position in both SSL and Mini Excavator (less than 5 Ton). Competition is growing fiercer from the local players. Our equipment is priced at a premium. However, our machines are superior in providing the best value to our customers.

The government has announced an investment to the tune of Rs 7500 crore of rural road development till 2022. Where do you place yourself in this?

We have a significant role to play in this. The road construction in rural areas may not be as wider as what we see in the urban areas. They are single lane roads. However, the construction is being carried out without disturbing the traffic on such roads and our skid-steer loader comes are the best solution because of being compactness.

What are the advantages of your products for road construction compared to conventional offering in the category?

Bobcat solutions for road construction are Skid Steer Loaders and grader attach-ments, which are low investment solutions and a perfect fit given the compact size and versatility.

Most of the rural roads are between 3.0 -7.0 meters in width. The manoeuvrability of large equipment in such narrow roads is limited and this results in traffic congestion and reduces the pace of road construction. Bobcat Skid Steer Loaders are compact which can turn 360 degrees within their footprint and has excellent manoeuvrability to work at tight spaces. There are two options of grader available based on the width of the blade – 7 ft and 9 ft.

Bobcat Skid Steer Loaders with attachments can be used for multiple applications including grading and levelling – grader, material handling- multi-purpose bucket, road cleaning – sweeper, erection of road crash barriers – auger, pavement repairs -planer, bush cleaning in road sideways- brush cutter, and many other jobs without hampering the traffic. This versatility of Bobcat Skid Steer Loader increases the utilization of machine at road construction jobs site and helps in covering a wide range of job site requirements with a single machine and attachments. The replacements of attachments take only a few minutes. So, this solution saves time at the job site and decreases the hassle involved too.

What are the added features in your machine which enhances fuel efficiency?

Bobcat Skid Steer Loaders have certain features which make it more efficient. Smart Cooling system of Bobcat loaders features the exclusive Smart FAN that only turns as fast as needed resulting in reduced load on the engine and increasing fuel efficiency. Axial piston pump is used for the drive system which is highly efficient compared to gear pumps. The weight distribution is optimal in Bobcat machines which further re-sults in better fuel efficiency.

What is the major challenge you face as an equipment manufacturer?

As the government has laid out stricter rules in the tenders on the types of machines to be used. Contractors in order to bring down the cost, buy a tractor and attach a grader to it and specify it as a grader.

However, there is a vast difference in the performance between such machines and our product. This is a significant challenge and we are trying to educate the customers about the benefits of our Skid-steer loader with attachments being multi-purpose.

What are the future plans for the market?

Doosan Bobcat’s vision is to be No.1 Player in compact construction equipment in India. We have already taken an important first step in that direction by setting up our Backhoe Loader Facility in Chennai. As the economy moves towards a developed economy, the demand for Compact equipment’s like Skid Steer Loader and Mini Excavators will increase rapidly as labour cost increase will drive mechanization of manual work.

Though Chennai Facility initially would be manufacturing for Backhoe loader for domestic requirement, eventually the plan is to make this a global hub for exporting not just Backhoe Loader but Mini Excavators and Skid Steer Loaders besides catering to robust domestic demand. The idea is to first grow the Backhoe Loader volume to make the factory sustainable and leverage that to localize Skid Steer Loaders and Mini Excavators. We are looking at also developing the Engineering and Design talent to support the plans and eventually make it a centre of excellence.

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