Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Interaction- Deepak Shetty, Deputy CEO & MD, JCB India




JCB India has always remained committed to the infrastructural growth and development of the country



JCB India Ltd has grown to become a full-range Construction Infrastructure Equipment Partner offering indigenous, innovative and versatile solutions to one-global quality. The company’s range of excavators are innovative and intelligent machines that exhibit the blend of technology and digital innovation to meet the demand for world-class machines to build India’s Next Gen Infrastructure. In an exclusive interview to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES, DEEPAK SHETTY, DEPUTY CEO & MD, JCB INDIA LTD speaks about the excavator industry, impact of Covid- 19, smart technologies and a lot more.






Give us an overview of the excavators’ industry and its current demand.


COVID-19 has had an unprecedented effect on several industries and it resulted in an extremely challenging period. All infrastructure development projects had come to a standstill in April and May due to the unforeseen pandemic and it had a deep impact on the excavators market and its demand.


Excavators are an important part of the development activities in the large scale Infrastructure growth story of India. These machines are used in large infrastructure projects and also in Mining and overburden removal. The months of June to September have some revival of infrastructure projects in the country. Resultantly, the demand for all products, including excavators has improved. Our range of machines starts from the 3 Tonne to 38 Tonnes, each of these machines are used in the creation of Infrastructure in Rural and Urban India in different applications.


From a manufacturing standpoint, the supply chains which were disrupted by the national lockdown and the subsequent intermittent lockdowns, have now re-booted. Additionally, measures and reforms announced by the government including stimulus packages helped stabilise the impact on the economy and especially, the construction and manufacturing industry.


These are unprecedented times and it is very early to say anything. The situation can change quickly, it is quite uncertain and everything depends on how the pandemic plays out. For instance, if one part of the country goes under a lockdown, the same can have a cascading effect on the supply chain. Hence, it is important to see how the second half of the year goes ahead. The momentum must remain.



What has been the impact of Covid-19 on the business and what are your strategies to overcome these sluggish market conditions and expand market share?


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry has gone through a challenging and testing phase and several businesses have been affected. The Construction Equipment Industry has seen some green shoots in the months starting June till September. We are encouraged by this revival and are hopeful that as more infrastructure projects start and resume work, we could see more growth and recovery. With sustained focus and investments in the sector, the second half of the year looks positive.


We are adapting to the new normal and encouraged by this phase of revival, we are re-instating our plans to cater to the needs of the evolving market dynamics. Work has restarted on new product launches. These also include products that are due for up gradation in the upcoming months. We always invest back in the business to deliver innovative solutions to our customers.



Tell us about the range of excavators offered by you, in terms of types, capacities and applications.


JCB India has always remained committed to the infrastructural growth and development of the country. In its four decades of successful operations in India, the company has grown to become a full-range Construction Infrastructure Equipment Partner offering indigenous, innovative and versatile solutions to one-global quality. JCB today manufactures over 60 different products in eight different categories, which include Backhoe Loaders, Excavators, Compactors, Telehandlers, Wheeled Loaders, Skid Steer Loader, Mini Excavators and Generators. All these products are designed for different and specific activities, catering to the varied demands of infrastructure projects.


JCB has a wide range of excavators which start from the smaller 3 Tonne category, Mini Excavators to the larger 38 Tonne machine. Our Mini Excavators cater to the niche segment and are being used for different applications such as Urban Development projects or projects that demand compact machines to work in confined areas. With infrastructure being developed in many urban sites, these compact Excavators are finding great utility.


JCB has made significant investments in its Excavator range. We showcased our intelligent NXT range of machines in the 14T to 24.5T category and the Robust Quarry Master Range in the 14T to 38T category at EXCON last year. We are committed to being a full range infrastructure equipment partner.


The new Quarry Master range of Excavators introduced includes model ranging from JCB 140QM to 380QM. These include the 14T, 21.5T, 22.5 LC and the 38T machines. They come with choice of power modes for a variety of excavation capacity requirements. The 20T-21T models save up to 32% fuel saving in the Economy mode vs outgoing models. This advanced machine range have robust dig end and X-type frame and is designed for arduous quarry applications.


The JCB 225QM with 8 power modes enhances productivity, giving the operator flexibility to work in a variety of applications. The variable power modes provide operators with complete flexibility in selecting the right mode for the right job.


With world-class ecoMAX engine, the machine produces 170 hp and provides excellent torque of 695 Nm. The model comes with a reduced maintenance cost and a warranty provision of 2 years or 5,000 hours of operation. With deep section boom design, improved hydraulic filtration, heavy duty track chain assembly it offers high durability. With heavy duty cab guards it offers high level of safety to the operator.


JCB NXT range of excavators, designed around high productivity, comes with 10 working modes and increased efficiency of up to 32% in the Eco mode on JCB NXT205 & JCBNXT215LC. The NXT series stands for fuel efficiency and ‘intellicontrol’, a Livelink enabled solution that gives critical information about the operations of the equipment remotely. The low maintenance excavator range offers a standard warranty of 2 years or 5,000 hours. The deep section boom and hydraulic filtration features give the excavator range increased durability.


JCB NXT 245 HDLR, a model from the JCB NXT range, can dig depth up to 40 feet and reach up to 51 feet. Equipped energy saving JCB eco Hydraulics, the model stands out as an extremely fuel-efficient one. Furthermore, its strong X-type frame coupled with preinstalled hose burst check valve for boom and arm make the model one of the robust and safest excavator models.


We also have our range of smart mini excavators in the 3T to 6T category with models - 30 Plus, 50z, 51R and 55z. The 50z and the 55z come with Zero Tail swing design for high performance and versatility in confined spaces. These models have a wide range of attachments like soil drill, rock breaker, etc., and give operators the option of customised mode selection - light, eco, heavy and heavy+, depending on the work purpose.


Through innovation and customization as per market demands, JCB India will continue to help India’s Infrastructure projects to grow further and at a fast pace, offering best-in-class productivity, fuel efficiency and operator comfort.


Our Excavators are designed in India. We have a world class Design Centre and XP Facility in the country and our Engineering stays very close to the market. We are clear about the application and operator requirements which are included in the design.



Factors such as safety, operator comfort, ease of operations are crucial in any excavator. Additionally, aftermarket services in the industry act as a strategic differentiator. What are the steps undertaken by you for providing the same? Tell us something about JCB’s state-of-art and cutting-edge technology – Livelink.


Customers today want utility and efficiency of the equipment without compromising on safety. Newer concepts like Telematics, IoT, Big Data Analytics along with Machine Learning can play a major role in meeting customer demands and increasing the efficiency of the sector.


JCB India has been innovating continuously to create smarter machines that efficiently fulfil this demand. Our vision is to ensure that our customers get technologically advanced and innovative ‘Made-in-India’ products, thereby also contributing to making India a global manufacturing hub. Through this indigenous manufacturing of globally competitive products, we are also ensuring our support to the Government’s AtmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.


Enhanced fuel efficiency and smart machine management can be experienced in these machines through LiveLink - an advanced telematics technology that benefits operators in better fleet management through remote monitoring. It helps users increase productivity, control costs and ensure asset safety. Till date, approximately 1,50,000 LiveLink enabled JCB machines have been sold. These machines can be monitored for – security, operations and service (SOS) on mobile devices.


Machines can be geo-fenced, time-fenced and can be located anywhere. Customers get to know about the machine’s health, fuel level, battery conditions, etc. – almost all critical parameters of the machine on their mobile device. It also gives out service reminders and the history of the machine.


We have pioneered the integration of digital technology in our ‘Intelli’ series of Construction Equipment. This has improved productivity, reliability and efficiency of our machines to ultimately benefit our customers with ease of operation and cost profitability.


JCB has also pioneered the integration of digital technology with its digital initiatives for customer support, which are an industry first, in its kind. The JCB genuine parts application enables customers to order parts of JCB products on their mobile.


Further, an internal tool – Smart Serve has been developed to help dealerships support engineers to improve efficiency and productivity, thereby improving profitability. JCB India also provides the widest after-sales service to its customers through 700 outlets and over 60 dealers. Since these machines work in far-flung areas, well-connected product support must be offered to customers to minimise the downtime and maximise productivity.


JCB uses state of the art technology to provide the industry’s finest customer support for its esteemed customers. This facility develops exciting new technologies of the future and works on Global and Domestic projects. Thus JCB India, Innovates, Designs, Manufactures and Exports from India.


The technology has been transforming the way Machine-to-Machine and Machine-to- Customer business is being done. All vital information about the machine is available to customers on their mobile devices through a web browser or also through the ‘Livelink’ mobile application. Additionally, the system also sends out alert SMSs to registered mobile numbers.


LiveLink benefits customers in better fleet and fuel management by enabling remote monitoring and management of their machines. JCB LiveLink incorporates GPS, Telecommunications, Machine Electronics and IoT, enabling the equipment to remain in contact with owner, dealer and JCB.


Livelink is further integrated with JCB’s new ‘Intelli’ series of Construction Equipment. With this, the work done by the machine can be assessed in real-time. This has improved productivity, reliability and efficiency of our machines to ultimately benefit our customers with ease of operation and cost profitability.


Enhanced fuel efficiency, performance, and smart machine management can be experienced in these machines through LiveLink. Accurate monitoring of machine-hours and service alerts improve maintenance. Technical alerts and maintenance history data helps customers manage the health of the machine. Early warnings with detailed machine history enable users to plan work. LiveLink helps manage machine health to keep your machines running or maximum uptime and return on investment.


LiveLink, can help lower servicing and running costs by ensuring machines are operated to their optimum performance, reducing fuel consumption and unnecessary machine wear. By monitoring idle time and real-time fuel consumption, LiveLink helps manage whole life cost of ownership, driving down costs, driving up productivity.


LiveLink helps keep machines safe and improves control over machine misuse. Alerts can be set up for when a machine is moved out of or into a predetermined zone, these geo fences are customisable to the space required.


With the government’s increased thrust on infrastructure, big-ticket infrastructure projects are coming to the fore. These not only demand the best quality output but also work on tight timelines thus, creating a need for specialised, intelligent and technologically advanced construction equipment.



Which sectors are going to be major growth drivers for your excavators in future?


With the phase-wise unlocking and recommencing of economic activities, we are seeing a revival of construction activity in the country. Infrastructure projects are restarting which is leading to green shoots in the construction equipment industry. A strong focus, along with a sustained spend on infrastructure development would result in multiple long-term benefits.


The Government’s impetus on the construction of roads and highways has always played a pivotal role in the growth of the sector and that must continue. Infrastructure creation opens up opportunities for allied industries like raw material, quarrying, equipment manufacturing etc. while also creating jobs and livelihoods.


Two key sectors are set to emerge in the coming years – first being Infrastructure development in Rural India and the other in the creation of a world-class Health infrastructure across the country. Rural India, is set to emerge as a strong growth driver, especially with the recent push by the Government through schemes such as MNREGA and better connectivity due to PMGSY projects. Additionally, the movement of migrant workers will allow creating a better rural-urban re-balance. Schools, colleges, industries will need to be created and segments like municipal waste, village roads, rural infra are set to grow.


The Government’s reforms in the coal sector is a move in the right direction and are expected to be a key growth driver of the economy. This move will not only boost the sector but will also increase demand prospects for the construction equipment industry. With the rise in coal mining activities, the demand for large excavators is expected to increase.


The Government has also committed an investment of INR 111 lakh crore in the National Infrastructure Pipeline. This proposed plan must continue as the growth of the infrastructure sector will create demand with a multiplier effect and will also contribute to the spike in urban demand.


At a national level, Railways, Irrigation and large projects like Sagarmala should also be given the impetus. This will strengthen logistics and develop requisite infrastructure enhancing capacity at ports, improving operational efficiency and connectivity. All of this would require the use of smart construction equipment.


From a healthcare infrastructure perspective, we need to revolutionise the sector with world-class on ground Health care facilities built across the country. Hospitals, Institutes, research facilities etc. will need to be scaled up, all of which would again require the use of smart construction equipment.


Thus, with the revival of consumer sentiment in urban areas and the increasing demand from the rural regions, we are hopeful of a brighter future. Additionally, the focus on creating 100 new airports, Smart cities and Metro projects will certainly open up newer opportunities for all our Construction Equipment including Excavators.



Future/long-term outlook of JCB India.


Despite the global economic breakdown, we remain positive and hopeful for the future. As the thrust on infrastructure creation continues to be a priority for the government, we are optimistic of a strong recovery. Rural India, where we have a significant presence, is also set to emerge as the new growth driver for us in the coming days. With over 700 outlets in India, JCB India is staying as close to our customers as possible.


We have introduced products that deliver a combination of value, new digital technology and world-class quality. Supporting the government’s vision of ‘Atmanirbhar’ Bharat, we aim to continue to bring global technologies and skillsets in India, through indigenous manufacturing and competitive products. We believe that we are stronger together.



Your strategy to play in a price-sensitive market.


Customers all over the world look for a value proposition. Especially in products such as earthmoving and construction equipment where customers will retain the product for a fairly large amount of time. While the price is certainly an important parameter but it is often not the only decision making factor when it comes to finalising a product. We need to look at the entire life cycle of the machine and the support required during that period.


Product support is where JCB has invested a significant amount. This is purely so that our customers can ensure equipment uptime and should have the convenience and peace of mind of ensuring that their machines are well looked after.


All these points lead to higher productivity e and greater returns on their investment. Machine downtime can severely hamper the profitability of a site and also of the equipment involved. Thus, with over 700 parts outlets and 60 plus dealers, we have ensured that there is a tremendous focus that customers get world-class product support at their work sides.


Profitability at the worksite can only be achieved if the equipment performs at optimal levels at all times. To achieve this there is a combination of the product, its design and the support. At JCB we have tried to align all these three important parameters in favour of the customer. Our Machines are built to One Global Quality and have been exported to over 110 countries.



Any new model launched or being launched. Detail us on the same.


We are encouraged by the revival of the earthmoving and construction equipment industry after the lockdown. JCB has remained committed to the India growth story for over four decades and will continue to remain so. We introduced various new products in Excon 2019 last year.


About new product launches, we are working very closely with the requirements of our customers and will be introducing new products and solutions in the months to come. As always JCB products will provide solutions to the challenges being faced by our customers. This will ultimately lead to better performance and profitability of infrastructure projects.


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