Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Interaction – Mukul Dixit, Director Of Sales And Marketing, Caterpillar India

Caterpillar is known for applying technology to machines and job sites in ways that improve customer efficiency and productivity.

Caterpillar has always been a company giving lot of emphasis to innovation & technology. The Cat 120 GC Motor Grader is configured with some of the industry-defining features combined with reliable performance and cost-efficient owning and operating. In an exclusive interview to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES, MUKUL DIXIT, DIRECTOR OF SALES AND MARKETING, CATERPILLAR INDIA (GLOBAL CONSTRUCTION AND INFRASTRUCTURE DIVISION), speaks about his company’s motor grader, emphasis on innovation and a lot more.

Give us an overview of the Motor Graders industry in India, latest trends and market dynamics

We believe the construction industry in India will continue to grow in the long term.  The government is also focusing on infrastructure development, including railroads, roads and highways, rural electrification, water supply etc. Together, all these developments and projects would lead to a parallel growth of the construction equipment market across the rural as well as urban segment of the country which implies that there will be a strongly growing demand for Motor Graders along with other equipment for supporting these developments.

Our teams are constantly working with our dealers and customers to understand better what they expect from Caterpillar products. We prefer that our clients succeed with our machines, and we continually create better products, technologies, and solutions in support of that motto.

With high-end Cat machines, we are well prepared to cater the progressive demand in the identified sector of the economy. For decades, Caterpillar has been serving customers in India and contributing to the progress of country’s infrastructure by providing equipment to support critical projects with equipment durable and versatile enough to handle demanding conditions.

Tell us about the range of Motor Graders offered by you, in terms of types, capacities and applications. Have you launched any new products or launching new products in the near future.

Customers expects the product solutions to be equipped with technologies that provide them improved fuel efficiency, increased productivity and increased dependability and Cat 120 GC Motor Grader is designed keeping customer preferences in mind and with the possibility to customize the machine to specific uses.

Our Motor Graders are highly configured with some of the best industry defining features. The Cat 120 GC Motor Grader combines reliable performance with cost-efficient owning and operating. It works on low cost-per-hour operation mechanism to enhance fuel savings with standard features such as ECO mode. Easy Machine Servicing with grouped filter locations, Extended maintenance cycles, cab comfort options, simple-to-operate, quick and accurate hydraulic controls.

Cat Motor Graders are easy to own and operate. These machines provide precision grading by controlling the blade using the lever controls of the cab and ensures maximum productivity and reduces rework.

Cat Motor Graders are equipped with AccuGrade™ Grade Control System enhances grading accuracy and virtually eliminates the need for survey stakes. The revolutionary Caterpillar solution is factory integrated, sensor-independent, and features a suite of products which includes cross slope, sonic, laser, Global Positioning System (GPS), and Automatic Total Station (ATS) technology etc.

Intelligent machines, telematics and IoT are becoming a trend with equipment, your comments. Cutting edge technology featured in your machines. What distinguishes your equipment from competitors.

We are committed to understanding the needs of our customers and delivering pioneering products by growing our reliance on services with a focus on digital-enabled solutions and aftermarket to increase customer loyalty thereby strengthening our relationships with our customers.

Our technology solutions combined with the unmatched support and experience of the Cat dealer network help customers maximize their fleet efficiency and profitability. Cat® Product Link™, along with GPS connect, which not only help improve traceability and visibility but also enable the systems to observe, identify and understand different facets of heavy machinery operation without human intervention and improves the maintenance and operation of machines.

Cat® Grade with Assist for excavators uses machine position sensors and operator-defined depth and slope parameters to automate boom and stick movements for more accurate cuts with less effort to help increase operator efficiency.

Cat Motor Grader equipped with AccuGrade™ Grade Control System enhances grading accuracy and virtually eliminates the need for survey stakes. The revolutionary Caterpillar solution is factory integrated, sensor-independent, and features a suite of products which includes cross slope, sonic, laser, Global Positioning System (GPS), and Automatic Total Station (ATS) technology etc.

With more than 1.4 million connected assets capturing and reporting machine operating data, customers are now availing solutions like Cat Productivity and VisionLink® to help increase uptime and maximize profitability. VisionLink connects customers with a comprehensive overview of their entire fleet to optimize equipment performance and gives the customers confidence in their operation and access to actionable information.

Cat Productivity, a cloud-based productivity management tool helps to deliver real benefits for customers such as fuel reduction, cost reduction, improved productivity, optimized efficiency, improved utilization, and payload reporting. The improved analytical and service capabilities such as telematics, inspections, SOS Services, as well as eCommerce platforms like www.Parts.Cat.Com, and other dealer specific mobile applications are making it easy for our customers to own, operate and maintain the equipment at a click of a button.

All these features represent Caterpillar’s commitment to leveraging technology and innovation to improve sustainability of products, services, and solutions for its customers. Every product and service get one step closer to fulfilling the purpose to help customer build a better world.

Detail us on your company’s emphasis on Research, Design and innovation.

Caterpillar is a technology leader in the industry and has a 90+ year history of product innovation and development. The company’s technology strategy is determined by its assessment of how and where its machines will be working over the long term. Based on this assessment, we focus on solving customer problems by making the machines smarter. Our products are ahead of time and aimed at increasing productivity for its customers. As we invest in research and development, our teams are constantly working with our dealers and customers to understand better what they expect .

We focus on embedding sustainability into the design, manufacture, and delivery of everything we do. We consider sustainability in our technology development strategies and new product introduction (NPI) process. Through R&D efforts, we develop new and more sustainable products and services for customers.

Tell us about the indigenisation efforts undertaken by the company to meet the market requirements? What is the company’s approach to implementing the ‘Make in India’ drive?

Caterpillar Inc. is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, off-highway diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. Caterpillar does business on every continent, principally operating through three primary segments – Construction Industries, Resource Industries and Energy & Transportation – and providing financing and related services through our Financial Products segment.

In India, Caterpillar has been active since the 1930s and at present there are over 7,300 people work at Caterpillar and about 4,000 people work at Cat dealers. Our presence in India includes state-of-the art manufacturing facilities, high-tech research and development, as well as numerous global support organizations.

We make a range of equipment in India that includes Off-highway Trucks, Large Mining Trucks, Hydraulic excavators, Motor graders, backhoe loaders, Skid steer loaders, Wheel loaders, engines and gensets etc. Caterpillar team and Cat dealers are spread across hundreds of locations in India to serve and support our customers and respond quickly to their needs.

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

Caterpillar is known for applying technology to machines and job sites in ways that improve customer efficiency and productivity. An equally important goal is using technology to manage and mitigate safety risks for people in and around our machines. These technologies vary in complexity, beginning with ergonomic improvements inside equipment cabs such as more intuitive controls, easy-to-read displays, and noise and vibration suppression systems that reduce fatigue.

For example, the Cat® Detect suite, an innovative solution for improved safety. The Driver Safety System (DSS), a fatigue detection technology that uses eye- and head-tracking cameras that sense when a fatigue or distraction event occurs, even for a moment. An event alerts the operator immediately with an audio alarm and seat vibration inside the cab. The new stylish cab integrates ROPS and FOPS to protect operators and give them a safer environment in which to work. Standard machine comes with spacious cabin, suspension seat, new display, and ergonomic controls for fatigue free operation.

We are constantly developing new technologies that help keep workers safe. We take a “big picture” approach when it comes to technology, helping customer’s operations run better, every step of the way.

Aftermarket services as a strategic differentiator.

As a company, we are committed to understanding the needs of our customers and help them achieve the optimal product and jobsite energy lifecycle, allowing them to maximize value and minimize their total cost of operation by delivering pioneering products and by growing our reliance on services with a focus on digital-enabled solutions and aftermarket to increase customer loyalty thereby strengthening our relationships with our customers.

We offer ‘Aftermarket Performance Customer Value Agreements’ (CVAs), to support hassle-free service to customers at any point in the machine lifecycle to help maximize machine performance and utilization. This includes dealer technician support using genuine Cat parts for certain planned maintenance and fluid health management to help identify issues before they cause unexpected downtime. Customers can contact their dealer to know more about CVAs and other offers. Long-standing Cat dealers, Gainwell Commo Sales India Pvt Ltd (GCPL) and Gmmco Ltd have all the technical information, training, access to the latest updates to provide reliable services to our customers.

The improved analytical and service capabilities such as telematics, inspections, SOS Services, as well as eCommerce platforms like www.parts.cat.com, and other dealer specific mobile applications are making it easy for our customers to own, operate and maintain the equipment at a click of a button.

Are you tied up with any equipment financing companies to help potential buyers with equipment purchases

We offer comprehensive product solutions to our customers which are a combination of technology, financial and aftermarket services.

Our Cat Financial services help customers in making the best choice to support their business no matter how big or small, whether it be for new or used Cat machines or for repair/rebuild options to keep their current machines operational. Cat Financial provides retail and wholesale financing solutions and extended protection products to Cat customers and dealers for the complete line of Cat machinery and engines.

Whether the customers are looking to finance equipment, acquire working capital, improve cash flow, or protect their investment, Cat Financial understands the customers’ businesses and has the solutions to fit their needs.

We offer quality service throughout the life cycle of equipment including purchase, protect, manage, and resell.

Rentals are growing, your strategy to tap opportunities and outlook for the rentals market.

The rental business in India is not an organized sector. However, 50 to 60 percent of construction equipment owners, particularly in the retail area, rent machines like backhoe loaders and mini excavators, to other customers for their projects.

India already has a sizable informal rental sector. There is an opportunity for people to have an organized rental ecosystem. Our dealers, GMMCO and Gainwell offer a range of rental fleets for customers across India for specific requirements. 

Future outlook on the industry and from a company perspective?

According to International Monetary Fund (IMF) India’s economy is expected to grow at 6.8% in the current fiscal year, making it one among the highest and fastest growing large economies in the world. With the increasing population and income of the people, the development will happen multi-fold.

The Government of India through initiatives like Prime Minister Gati Shakti, National Infrastructure Pipeline is significantly increasing its investments for the construction of infrastructure, including roads, railways, ports, airports, affordable housing, and urban planning (smart cities), among other things. Also, there will be technology-driven progress in the future keeping in mind the demands of the young tech savvy customers.

With large investments currently being made in the infrastructure sector, the customer today is keen to complete the job quickly and efficiently to capture more opportunities. Shifting priority from initial price to life cycle costs, our customers today demand equipment that are efficient, safer, and environmentally responsible, and we will continue to focus our efforts on delivering the integrated solutions to meet their needs and help build a better world. To keep the momentum, the authorities are striving to implement faster execution of top priority projects and have formulated various schemes to boost the development process along with sale of equipment necessary for the same.

Thus, we at Caterpillar stand ready to serve our customers for timely completion of projects with products & services. We are committed to achieve long-term market leadership in India. We will continue to explore and develop products that will meet Indian market requirements and leverage regional and global product strategies to allow synergies with our Indian strategies.

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