Wednesday, July 6th, 2022
CECR

“Of Late, Most Of The OEMs – Through Their DealersAre Offering Buyback Of Used Equipment That Are More Than 3-5 Years Old.”

Mr. Hemant Mathur
Assistant Vice President – Sales and Marketing,
Tata Hitachi Construction Machinery
Company Private Limited

 

Tata Hitachi is a subsidiary company of Hitachi Construction Machinery Co. Ltd., which holds 60% share and Tata Motors Ltd. holding 40%. The company is focused on capitalizing the opportunity in the domestic arena for which the key market segments are excavators, wheeled products, cranes, and others. Mr. Hemant Mathur, Assistant Vice President – Sales and Marketing, Tata Hitachi Construction Machinery Company Private Limited in conversation with CE&CR, shares his views on the digitalization of the construction equipment sector, the Indian CE market, COVID-19, among other topics.

Civil Engineering and Construction Review: What is Tata Hitachi’s assessment and foresight on the opportunities of transforming the traditional construction equipment sector into a more automated and digitalized one?

Hemant Mathur: Most construction equipment today comes with inbuilt telematics that log what the machine is doing. The telematics and the digital platform interface with the operator as well as the machine owner. The operator gets to see online performance parameters like fuel consumption and gets an update on other machine parameters. The owner has access to more detailed information as to how the machine was used, fuel consumption as well as service alerts.

We do see the possibility of more advances in the field of machines integrating in a digital construction framework so that they are used optimally with less wastage in the overall construction work. In terms of automation as well as prevailing and future construction and manpower trends – more customized machines as well as attachments will be required, going beyond the plain vanilla rock breakers and long reach attachments.

Further, as customers become more familiar with the internet as well as social media, more interaction and engagement will move to the digital platforms that offer complete end to end solutions – from applications, type of equipment, finance as well as after sales solutions. We, at Tata Hitachi, already have all the above-mentioned capabilities, as well as platforms, including our up-to-date website, an exclusive website for parts as well as Used Equipment- launched recently. We are in the process of rolling out more advanced digital customer engagement platforms.

 

CE&CR: Tell us something about the Indian used construction equipment market, especially loaders and dump trucks.

Hemant Mathur: The market for used equipment is still unorganized, with intermediaries largely involved in trade of end of life equipment. However, of late, most of the OEMs – through their dealers – are offering buyback of used equipment that are more than 3-5 years old. This way, a more organized method is emerging in the market for trade of used equipment. As the market matures, a far more organized and systematic platform will emerge so that both the buyer and seller get the best value in the deal.

We do see that the use of used equipment increases in the future, as both the market as well as customers segregate the use of equipment depending on production or more utility oriented to lower overall construction cost. This will further be boosted when the wheel equipment transition towards CEV4 norms in April 2021. We at Tata Hitachi, recently launched an exclusive website for used equipment (www.usedequipment.tatahitachi.co.in ) – an industry first – that gives a one-stop-shop for customers to engage with us as well as others to trade their used equipment. The website has a very intuitive and easy to use features that a customer looks forward to. The website also lists our certified used equipment – that comes with limited warranty – so that customers can access quality equipment at a far lower owning cost.

 

CE&CR: The trend of using various attachments with compact excavators has not caught up. What is your take on this?

Hemant Mathur: As a market, India is still in the early stages of accepting the use of compact excavators. We are still a largely backhoe loader-oriented country for all sorts of light duty applications. Hence, a change from backhoe loader to compact excavator will happen but slowly and steadily, and we are seeing the movement in that direction. The change could be faster if there is paucity and higher labour costs in parts of the country/opening of niche applications.

Regulatory requirement to use compact machines in an urban environment will further give impetus to adoption of compact excavators. Even in backhoe loaders, the predominant use of attachments is largely that of rock breakers. Thus, as the market matures and focus shifts to both safety as well as productivity, the prevalence and use of compact excavators with various attachments will increase.

CE&CR: What is Tata Hitachi’s cost/quality equation in a pricesensitive market like India?

Hemant Mathur: Our comprehensive range of excavators include 2 to 40-ton hydraulic excavators for the infrastructure sector, 45 to 120 tons for the mining sector and the ultra large 190 to 800-ton excavators for specialized heavy-duty mining. These products, amongst others, are a part of our EX super+series and the technologically advanced ZAXIS GI series.

The products are manufactured keeping in mind our customers. We understand that today, our customers realize that they need to be extremely competitive in the marketplace – and to be competitive, they need to reduce operating costs and improve efficiencies.

Keeping this mind, we have developed a two-pronged product strategy – one addressing the value segment and the other the premium segment. The value segment has products belonging to the EX super+series – combining advanced technology and low running costs – to enable a high return on investment.  The superior design of products in this series ensures ease in serviceability, leading to a lesser downtime for maintenance. These EX Super+ Series machines work in a wide variety of applications in various geographies across India, commanding best in class resale value.

For the premium segment, we have the ZAXIS GI series of machines – fitted with industry leading hydraulic technology to ensure unbeatable performance, high fuel efficiency and high durability. The ZAXIS GI series of products provide impressive fuel economy, swift front movements and is easy to operate. Another highlight of this series is the optimized hydraulic system and the improved engine which showcases Hitachi’s technological prowess and expertise.

Our recent offering to the market – SHINRAI – has been designed to meet demanding Indian customer requirements. Major segment of Indian backhoe loader market is hiring; hence, fuel consumption is the major criteria. Tata Hitachi’s SHINRAI boosts fuel efficiency with it EHS (Excellent Hydraulic System), wherein the flow is regulated sensing the pressure of the system. Apart from low fuel consumption, SHINRAI-BX80 also boosts of high bucket forces, dump height and good reaches. Machine tracking feature is provided through INSITE, which helps us as well as the customer keep an eye on the following parameters: machine running, usage, location, critical alerts, and fuel levels.

Similarly, our wheel loader TL340H comes with hydrostatic technology – the 1st in the country in its segment, giving best in class fuel consumption, ease of operation and maintenance. This further adds to Tata Hitachi’s range of equipment keeping the Indian customers’ need of lower owning and operating cost.

We prioritize our outreach to customers through a strong distribution network that aids in the timely servicing and selling of products and lowers the total cost of machines to our customers. Our comprehensive range of support solutions such as full maintenance contracts, annual maintenance contracts, extended warranty, maximize the returns of the customer’s investment by optimizing equipment utilization. It also helps strengthen our relationship through the customer life cycle experience.

For our mining customers who demand a high level of quality, we have full-maintenance contracts through which our customers can avail complete on – site management of machinery. Our service engineers are placed on-site; we also store spare parts on-site and provide them with a fully equipped workshop to address all their requirements. Therefore, we can straddle the entire range of customer requirements across price points and customized support requirements without compromising the quality of engagement with them.

 

CE&CR: When it comes to being one of the leaders in the construction equipment segment, how is Tata Hitachi researching on management’s organization and motivation during the COVID-19 phase?

Hemant Mathur:

− Our priority is maintaining employee health and safety.
− We have created a SOP document and communicated it throughout the organization. This is meant to guide safe operations through the prevention, early detection, and control of COVID-19.
− SOPs cover manufacturing facilities, as well as warehouses, sales and service offices, FMC sites, training centres.
− DOs and DONTs have been visually explained for easier understanding.
− Declarations have been secured from all employees to ensure they have understood all measures in the SOP.
− Schedule of people attending plants, offices clearly understood and implemented to maintain 33% strength.
− Top management is continuously engaged with the entire organization so that we are in touch with our employees spread across the country.
− One advantage is that, we seamlessly transitioned from an office environment to a WFH environment during the lockdown in March, April and May, and this digital platform has enabled us to reach out and engage with far more employees than we normally do in a lot of events that company organizes. We continue to leverage this medium so that each employee is touched in some way and people stay connected all the time in work as well as outside work.
− Several training programs was conducted during the lockdown – that is always a challenge to undertake during normal times. This was done to make sure our teams are fully equipped and motivated in their day to day work. This has been a big inspiring factor, especially in these difficult times.

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