Deputy General Manager,
Volvo Trucks stands as a leader while driving progress in the Indian transportation industry through premium quality products, services and professional approach to a customer’s needs. Deepak Agrawal, Deputy General Manager, Volvo Trucks, shares that the company would continue to remain committed to quality products and services
What is the current growth performance of your company?
We, at Volvo Trucks, are celebrating 20 years in India now. We have been here since 1998 and are doing quite well. We are quite strong and stable. And we are well-versed to grow. We are in that kind of a situation from business point of view. For instance, if you see our mining application or BC application, we are today the No. 1 choice for a customer.
Now, we are looking at how we can take our value proposition to other segments beyond mining and over-dimensional cargo (ODC) and offer a good solution to the customers for growth which is in sync with the overall growth in infrastructure that we are seeing in the country.
You are talking about the product line which you are targeting at the mining industry. Are you looking forward to growth in other verticals too?
Yes, we have already taken couple of steps in this direction. We have already identified certain segments where we are looking at for growth. We are looking largely at large infrastructure projects. For example, projects like the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway, besides large irrigation projects. etc.
Now that the government is going ahead with the implementation of BS6 emission norms in 2020, how is it going to affect your overall business?
Volvo is well geared for such an implementation. From the BS6 perspective, Volvo as a global player is well prepared. We already have the technologies with us. As needed by the government, we are fully geared up to introduce those technologies in India. We only see it is a good decision as environment is one of the core values for volume. And delivering solutions to the customers which are less polluting is definitely is in line with the Volvo Group philosophy globally.
Can you specify any particular instance where a contractor has come to you saying that he needs 10 tippers or trucks and you had conducted the recce of the project and recommended to go for 8 trucks?
There are, in fact, many instances which I can quote. For one of our customers in Pune who was looking forward to purchasing 12 trucks for work in a stone quarry. We conducted the recce and did our calculations. We proposed that he could complete the work with just 5 trucks alone. It is almost two years now, the customer is extremely happy. Also, in the past two years, I think there is hardly any breakdown of trucks, which are running hassle free. We give them support at the doorstep. We have many examples like these actually. Every member of our sales team is trained to work like this. This is how they are supposed to work. If somebody says I brought an order, we ask them these questions that where this truck is going to be deployed, which is the project, why the customer got from you, what is the costing you have done and how will you prove the value. We ask these questions to every sales person with respect to every order that they bring. There is a set parameter. If you look at our brochures, this is what we have done for construction. If you look at how we have designed it also here is my product range which is there.
Here is my global strength from Volvo Trucks in construction. Here is my strength in India, what are the segments and customers where we have sold the truck. Here is what are the things that a customer gets benefitted from when they are looking at truck, time, productivity, fuel efficiency and safety. Then we start talking about the segments what are the unique selling points (USPs) that we are providing to them. We basically build the whole thing like that. This is how it is discussed with a customer. This is in the DNA of all of us.
Do you offer consultancy services to a contractor? How do you approach them at the right time?
We approach them much before when they are looking for a truck in the market. We look at the project and its potential. You are not only playing the role of a seller but also as a consultant to your client. This is something which is important for a contractor.
What are the products which have been launched in bauma Conexpo India and the application area you are targeting?
We have launched FM 380 8×4 for the construction segment. The target application, as I told you, are the large infrastructure projects which could be in any areas, including roads and bridges, airports, irrigation, canal work and large quarries. It is because the nature of work remains the same. Wherever you go, you have to move some material. So fundamental remains the same. We look at the work, which has to be sizeable enough and be demanding as well. The people who are involved in exhibition of work also should be demanding us that the product has to deliver higher standards of efficiency and they are also willing to improve the overall standard of efficiency. Then we get ourselves involved and we work with them closely and deliver.
How sustainable has been the growth for in the last three years? What are the target for 2022?
The last three years have been good and encouraging for us. Since we started working in this area, we have been adding customers all across the country. Many people have been associated with us and bought the trucks. Now we have introduced this new truck. Definitely it should help us in adding more customers to our portfolio and giving trucks for projects. Plus, the kind of growth we are seeing for road infrastructure, a lot of new large projects are coming up. So that will open up opportunities for us. It is kind of a reference market. When I keep the trucks to a good customer who is using, other people also see them as references and they follow the best practice. We should also have advantage of this initial stage that we have
done till now.
In our industry, apart for corporate communication, sales and marketing, we have very few women representing the workforce. How can we create an environment for more women to come into the production line?
We always encourage gender equality. It is never a factor for us to decide any candidate for a role. We have many opportunities in the brand and marketing and corporate communication. There are a lot of work we do on market intelligence. We track what is happening in the market, we have people who are handling a lot of operations in the office. We always encourage women employees to also come and join us. Volvo provides such a wonderful working environment and we have so much of focus on safety. When we say safety, it is not just the equipment or the mind safety alone, we also talk about the personal safety, safety at home and those kinds of things. We provide a quite safe, reliable and positive work environment. We are consciously encouraging. We consciously encourage that we should have diversity in our workplace from all perspective.
Considering that your products are quite highly advanced, do you face problems in terms of lack of skilled operators?
Generally, drivers love this automated truck as it is a very comfortable to drive and operate. We give shift gears and there is no clutch paddle. The driving experience of this truck is as good as riding a quite advanced luxury car.
We have the dedicated focus on driver training. We have a driver training centre at our facility in Hosekote in Karnataka. We encourage people and we get actually a lot of people who come from an open market. They get training with us and they find the employment. On the successful completion of training we do provide a certificate.
Are these drivers certified by you?
Yes, they are certified by us. Then they go and find jobs. We also make them employable in a better way and a driver plays a big role in the overall efficiency of the truck. We keep a very high focus on them. We work with our customers also to educate them about how they can focus on the skill-set of a driver and help them to perform better. We always encourage them to provide better and good facilities for these people. It is kind of we try to create a win-win situation for everyone here. It is a very good point and sensitive one, too. Our focus on driver is very high. In fact, if you see our material also, we talk about specifically what we are selling.
What is the tagline of Volvo Trucks?
Our tagline is when you need more, you use a Volvo FM380 truck. When you need more profits and more productivity and when you need more efficiency, this is the solution.
When you need more, go for a Volvo truck solution for your infrastructure projects. When we say more, we say more productivity, more efficiency, more uptime, more safety, which actually is 100% more profits and more savings for customers. Basically, a customer can do more with this truck in terms of more projects, more work, and more revenue in less time and also he can still make more money. That is how we propose it to the customer because it is a different solution. This solution we should not match with a regular truck that somebody might be using. It does not have a match with that. It is a different solution altogether. This solution is seen in terms of delivering efficiency and finally the cost per cubic metre or cost per tonne. That is how, we sell on the basis of lifecycle costing. That is what we are trying to explain through our tagline also.