Monday, June 21, 2021

Interaction- S K Jaruhar, Advisor- Support Services, KOBELCO CE India


      Customer support has been a prime focus globally for KOBELCO




KOBELCO has been focused on delivering greater VALUE to the Customer through innovative features and solutions. The company recently launched the SK220 variant of the Generation 10 series of it’s highly popular SK220XD or SK220XDLC Excavators. In an exclusive interview to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES, S K JARUHAR, ADVISOR – SUPPORT SERVICES, KOBELCO CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT INDIA PVT. LTD. speaks about the excavator industry, impact of Covid-19, aftermarket services and a lot more.






Give us an over view on the excavators industry, latest technology trends and market dynamics. What are the types of excavators currently in demand?


The Excavator industry has been struggling through most of this current financial year. There is a very gradual and slow revival which is still well below the numbers of the previous year. The overall market sentiment is still sluggish and many OEMs, who had lined up plans for ramping up capacities to meet increasing demand, have backed off.  Possibly the industry has gone back a few years.


As far as technological trends are concerned, some of the OEMs have introduced new versions of their popular models by down-scaling some features to reduce prices and attract more buyers. Consequently, a new segment has emerged between the High-end and Low-end players. It’s like a ‘Mid’ segment comprising of down-scaled versions of High-end models as well as up-scaled versions of ow-end models.


Incidentally, it is this ‘Mid’ segment, especially in the 20-24T category, which seems to be gaining popularity as they perceived to be more cost effective.



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


The impact of the pandemic has been severe and across the board. We had to revise our business plan for the year. We have worked on improving our internal systems and processes thereby raising efficiencies in our operations. The Company as well as the Dealers are committed to stay invested and improve competencies to provide higher satisfaction levels to the customers. Use of online/ digital platforms have risen manifold with buyers accessing these options for making their choices.



Tell us about the range of excavators offered by you, in terms of types, capacities and applications. Cutting edge technology featured in your machines. What distinguishes your excavators from competitors.


We have been offering models in the range of 11-14T Excavators right up to 80T+ Excavators which covers the major part of the market. Recently, we have introduced the Mini Excavators in the 3-5T range. Our machines are used in various applications like Earthwork, Mines & Quarries, Irrigation, Metro Rail, etc. besides several special applications where special attachments are used.  We have also introduced an Infra version of our 22T Excavator which caters exclusively to common applications in Infrastructure Projects.


The USP of our Excavators are high Productivity, High reliability, and the latest Japanese technology. They provide the best-in-class ROI.



Factors such as safety, operator comfort, ease of operations are crucial in any excavator. What are the steps undertaken by you for providing the same.


Safety of the machine, the Operator as well as the immediate surrounding environment are all important design considerations. Besides the provision of safe entry/exit, the Operator Cabin is a very safe and convenient workstation – with feather-touch controls, ergonomically designed adjustable Seats, excellent view of the work area, climate-control air-conditioning, shock-proof cabin mounts, protective front & top guards, emergency exit tool, etc.  The machine has several operating modes including a fuel-saving Eco mode.



Aftermarket services as a strategic differentiator.


Customer support has been a prime focus globally for KOBELCO. Upon entry into the Indian market, good care was taken to sell machines in areas where they could be properly supported. Dealer infrastructure and manpower were developed to keep pace with the increasing numbers so that the high standards of customer service could be achieved. Training of Operators, Mechanics and maintenance staff are a regular feature.



Which sectors are major demand drivers for your excavators.


For several years, Road Projects have been the main driver for Excavator demand in the country. Mines & Quarries are also adding to the demand especially for the heavier models.



Your strategy to play in a price sensitive market.


Being a Value player, we have always faced the challenge from those who use Price as their selling tool. We highlight the benefits that a Buyer can get from our machines through reduced operating costs, higher productivity,higher machine availability giving extra working hours/ output every year, best-in-industry support both during as well as after warranty.



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


We have launched our SK220 variant of the Generation 10 series of our highly popular SK220XD or SK220XDLC Excavators. As stated above, this variant has all the main features and is specially priced for those willing to experience the High-end equipment.



Do you offer equipment finance or do you have tie-ups with finance companies for the same. Any innovative schemes you have come up to boost sales.


We do not offer any direct financing facility but we do have tie-ups with all the leading Banks and private finance companies. We have recently tied up with iQuippo, a part of SREI Finance Group, who are providing an online platform where Buyers, Sellers and Financiers can connect and transact online/offline.



Your outlook for the rentals market.


The Rental market has grown for various reasons though in an unorganized manner. Many of the large Construction companies are opting for using machines on Rent instead of owning them for financial considerations depending on the status of their balance sheets.



Future outlook from an industry perspective and company ?

The CE industry has been holding out a bright and promising future but somehow there are some glitches which derail the progress of Infra building every now and then. The years 2015-16 to 2018-19 saw good growth but again the last year has taken the industry back a few years. We need a period of at least 5 to 7 years of sustained progress to catch up with the backlog.

The Company’s business outlook, being directly linked to the industry’s trend, follows the same trend.


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