“CASE Endeavours To Bring Innovations And Advances In The Equipment Category To Be A Differentiator”
Mr. Puneet Vidyarthi shares his views with Civil Engineering and Construction Review, on the changes in the construction equipment sector and CASE India’s preparedness for the same in context of strategies and products.
Mr. Puneet Vidyarthi
Civil Engineering & Construction Review: India’s Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has for the first time introduced non-road Bharat Stage (CEV/Trem) IV and V emission standards for regulating both agricultural and construction equipment. What is your opinion about this and what is your preparation in regard to the forthcoming norms?
Puneet Vidyarthi: Following government directions, all wheeled construction equipment have to change to BS IV CEV norms by October 1, 2020 and the tracked equipment, which operate in stone-breaking and quarrying, have to meet the norms by April 1, 2022. So, currently we are in the transition stage.
We are working very closely with our R&D team to incorporate the required technological changes into our machines and make them stand out in the market. The BS (CEV) IV standards are in general alignment with the European Stage IV standards for diesel engines used in non-road mobile machinery. Our R&D centers and manufacturing plants in Europe offer us know-how advantage for the new technology and help us remain ahead of the competition in this transition phase.
CE&CR: What is CASE India’s strategy at a time when technological disruptions are rapidly redefining businesses?
Puneet Vidyarthi: CASE endeavours to bring innovations and advances in the equipment category to be a differentiator. To make the products more efficient and stand out in the market, the company has introduced the advanced Eagle-Eye-Telematics solution in its Loader Backhoe range. This Telematics solution is a GPS monitoring system, which offers unique ‘Geo-fencing’ feature. Geo-fencing feature helps the user to keep a track of his machine and sends an SMS alert if machine operates outside the designated area.
The CASE construction equipment range has been using new-generation engine - developed by CNH Industrial subsidiary FPT Industrial, the world-leading manufacturer of engines, transmissions and powertrains – providing outstanding performance, fast response times, and best-in-class fuel economy. Furthermore, our R&D team constantly endeavours to add innovation in machine operations and keep machinery equipped with the latest technology.
CE&CR: What are the various products offered by CASE India, which have helped automate the construction process?
Puneet Vidyarthi: The latest technology/offering is CASE India’s revolutionary EAGLE EYE telematics solution, present in CASE’s loader backhoes, compactors and now in our newly launched excavators, for enhancing the performance and efficiency of the machine. Our construction equipment range has been using new-generation engine - developed by CNH Industrial subsidiary FPT Industrial.
CASE graders are equipped with CRDI electronic engines for on-board diagnostics, having laptop connectivity to download the entire data log, and analyze the past and ongoing operations; they also get to the root cause of any failure that may occur during operation. This technology offers an advantage over any mechanical engine grader, which gives more control and more visibility on the usage of the grader.
In the loader backhoe segment, we have 770 EX OL, 770 EX PRO, CASE 770 EX Magnum PRO and 851 EX PRO. PRO series is equipped with Eagle Eye Telematics System, a real-time vehicle tracking and communication system based on GPS technology, which keeps a track of the machine, as a result, controlling the overall activity of the machine.
The range of versatile soil compactors is technology infused, compaction meter, where on screen operator can check amplitude, frequency and ICV (intelligence compaction value), which is related to density of soil compacted. This ICV value will be different for different surfaces. Once desired density is achieved, it indicates a green signal on screen so that the operator can stop compaction and avoid over-compaction, eventually saving fuel, time and avoiding damage of surface.
CE&CR: Do you offer lease/rentals of your equipment? Are you associated with any equipment financing companies to assist probable buyers with equipment purchases?
Puneet Vidyarthi: The equipment financing segment in itself is at such a nascent stage, and it is still trying to establish itself in the market. The current rental market is growing rapidly and is said to be around 7-8 per cent. The customers mostly go for rental because it helps them in cutting down on equipment acquisition cost and protection from market fluctuations, eliminating storage and transportation issues.
CASE India helps the customers by their ‘Capital Mitras’ policies. Capital Mitras function as a financial advisor to the customers, to educate customers on various financing related issues, such as ‘kind of finance’ 6 months instalments/quarter instalments, ‘best scheme’ and help them in their journey. CASE India also has a financial arm present in India called CNHi Capital, which provides a comprehensive range of services, including wholesale and retail equipment financing support for customers in the market. The service helps our customers and potential customers in their equipment’s purchases. Equipment finance also helps the acquisition of equipment on easy terms and enables regular cash flow, avoiding business cycle fluctuations for customers
CE&CR: To what extent does India’s manufacturing policy promote expansion of CASE India?
Puneet Vidyarthi: At CASE India, we believe in consistently working on the following aspects: Customer feedback implementation and quality production, to develop safer and environment friendly machines, Mapping value, zero-defects and proper testing. As a result of this manufacturing policy, the CASE brand has been India’s market leader in vibratory compactors and a leading player in loader backhoes for over 25 years.
Doing Business 2020 policy of the current government ‘Make in India’ initiative, which focused on attracting foreign investment, boosting the private sector - manufacturing in particular - and enhancing the country’s overall competitiveness, helped us in fostering growth by touching customers locally by establishing 74 dealers and 300+ touch points. CASE India has a manufacturing plant which operates at Pithampur, Indore (Madhya Pradesh), where we produce world-class compactors and loader backhoes range for Indian market as well for export to various countries. The Pithampur facility serves India’s road and infrastructure sector and exports its products to some 30 markets. The manufacturing plant is also certified for ISO 9001:2000 quality and ISO 14000 environmental standards.
CE&CR: After importing metals and machineries from developed countries, India is now importing skilled labour for infrastructure projects to meet the perennial shortage of skilled construction equipment and mining equipment operators. According to you, what needs to be done to fill the gap?
Puneet Vidyarthi: This is a shortcoming, which the construction industry needs to follow up on. The construction industry offers a lot of employment opportunities but most of the candidates lack the proper skill set required in the industry. The unavailability of skilled manpower and trained operators is the major challenge faced by CE makers at the job site. To operate the technically advanced and hauled machines like motor graders, there is requirement of skilled operator, trained manpower and an understanding of the machines. One solution for this problem would be skill development programs and centres operated by the government or CE manufacturers to encourage the labourers to upgrade their skills.
CASE India sees this as a major challenge and addresses it by providing training programs all around the year and making the machine interface in a way that it can also be operated by semi-skilled labour. We also have a group of trained operators who are deputed at various sites to train customers along with a group of skilled service manpower to train onsite service team.
CE&CR: What does the market growth of construction equipment industry look like in a few years?
Puneet Vidyarthi: The slow economic growth, infrastructure and construction activity have plummeted to lower levels. In the beginning of 2019, owing to a number of factors including NBFC crises, elections and extended monsoons, construction equipment sector was moving slowly. Additionally, continued slowdown in project awards, payment delays to contractors and the overall uncertainty in the economy led to a sharp decline in expenditure on roads in FY2020. The Industry had been facing a tough time due to tight financing environment as well. This sluggishness hovered around the sector till the end of November 2019; however, this paved way for new policies and investment plans of government to add the required boost to the sector.
Recently, our Prime Minister took notice of the sluggishness in the sector and directed all ministries and departments to expedite pending payments to contractors and construction companies. Similarly, in the recently concluded EXCON 2019 in Bangalore, the Honourable Road and Transport Minister Mr. Nitin Gadkari, added to the hope of the construction industry by stating that the Centre will be investing Rs 2 lakh crores in the upcoming year, and within the next five years, the total government expenditure on the road infrastructure will be about Rs 17 lakh crores. To cite some more initiatives by the government to promote the sector, the government has set up a task force to draw up plans for building infrastructure worth Rs 100 lakh crores ($1.4 trillion) over the next five years. Highway ministry will also line up projects worth Rs 50,000 crores to be awarded by the next year.
We believe that post this sluggish phase, our industry will boom with maximum growth in volumes and investment, revival in public and private sector expenditure on infrastructure projects, and execution of national and state highway stretches after proper payment to the contractors’ sector. As the government is bidding for high investment in infrastructure growth, we as a company, foresee 2020 with an encouraging future
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