04 July 2020

Table of Contents for Cover Story

Interaction- Vivek V, Country Manager-India & MD, Caterpillar India

Welcome to the Age of Smart Iron

Among global leaders in ECE, Caterpillar has a huge manufacturing, logistics, and R&D base in India. In an exclusive interview to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES VIVEK V, COUNTRY MANAGER- INDIA & MD, CATERPILLAR INDIA PVT LTD., discusses virtues of their Smart Iron and outlook for the Indian market.


Tell us about your Manufacturing Base in India.

Caterpillar has been active in India since the 1930’s. The journey of Caterpillar in India began with Hindustan Motors at Thiruvallur, Tamil Nadu. Caterpillar’s India presence includes state-of-the art manufacturing facilities, high tech Research and Development (R&D), and numerous global support organisations. Caterpillar India has 6 manufacturing facilities, 2 R&D canters, 1 logistics and parts centre, and various divisional offices. Manufacturing facilities are located in Thiruvallur, Hosur, Noida and Aurangabad. Divisional offices are located in Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata.

Products manufactured in India: Caterpillar is committed to offering our customers a wide range of quality products, services, and solutions, that help make progress possible. Some of the products manufactured at our facilities in India include; backhoe loaders, skid steer loaders, hydraulic excavators, diesel generating sets ranging from 500-2000 kVA, internal combustion engines, Genset packages and components; four models of off-highway trucks (40,50,60,100 ton), and small drive train transmissions that assemble into backhoe loaders and small wheel loaders. We have been strengthening our product range as well as manufacturing capacity. Last year, we added a second engine line for the production of the 3406 engines series at our Hosur plant. Furthermore, the $ 150 million Perkins engine manufacturing plant at Aurangabad, will manufacture engines for OEMs and will commence production soon.



Green environment friendly technology in your products.

Building on our legacy of diesel engine expertise and armed with the industry’s largest established dealer network, Caterpillar is leading the industry in meeting the latest emission standards in all the countries that we operate. The technology used to meet these emissions standards is an evolution of existing technologies Caterpillar has used successfully for decades. And, Caterpillar continues to invest in the research and development of cleaner engines and emissions-reduction technologies to meet the new emission standards, while providing ever-increasing value to our customers. At Caterpillar, we set the standard for meeting customer’s technological needs for the future by continuously developing new designs, testing criteria, improving performance characteristics, and enhancing our service and support offerings.



Do you practice ‘Make in India and Sell Globally,’ use your India manufacturing base to supply the global market.

Yes we do. As I have mentioned it above, Thiruvallur facility, which is located about 40 km away from Chennai, has been recently upgraded to manufacture off-highway trucks for global markets. Cat products that are manufactured in our state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in India are ‘Built in India,’ for India and also for export.



Your assessment of India’s manufacturing policy, to what extent does it foster growth of your company.

The Prime Minister has placed great emphasis on manufacturing through his flagship programme “Make in India,” and we are very excited about it. In addition, the Government has approved an investment of `6.92 trillion ($130 billion) for construction of an 83,677 km road network over the next five years. This was later followed by an announcement of a plan by the PiyushGoyal, Railway Minister, to invest over $150 billion in railways.

This would yield positive results for the construction equipment Industry and for a company like us. Resultantly, the industry has witnessed strong growth in the previous fiscal and we expect the trend to continue.



What distinguishes your products vis-à-vis the competition?

We want our customers – big and small – to be more successful using our products than our competitors. We do this by offering solutions beyond machines and combining services and technology, such as data analytics and automation. These combined offerings enable our customers to better manage and track projects, monitor safety and performance, and measure productivity. In brief, they are better equipped to make data-driven decisions faster, resulting in more accurate, safe, and efficient operations, that help them make more money.



Impact of GST on your company.

The introduction of GST has created a one India market. It has had several positive effects on our business. For instance, after the implementation of GST our Dealers are now able to commit an expected date of delivery with more confidence and higher accuracy.



Your outlook for the Indian ECE market. Which sectors will be the major demand drivers?

The Indian construction equipment industry witnessed strong growth in the last fiscal, and according to a report by the rating agency ICRA, the industry is expected to grow by 13-17 per cent in the current fiscal.

The growth in the industry has remained strong on the back of strong investments by the government in infrastructure, such as roads, railways, ports, airports, and urban infrastructure.



Give us an understanding of your company’s performance this year and your outlook going forward?

We recently announced our third-quarterly results for 2017 and our global financial position continues to strengthen. Global sales and revenues stood at $11.4 billion, compared with $9.2 billion in the third quarter of 2016. Third-quarter 2017 profit per share was $1.77, compared with $0.48 per share in the third quarter of 2016.

We continue to see strength in a number of industries and regions and India is definitely a bright spot for the company. We look at what the government of India is talking about in terms of infrastructure and we don’t see that sort of demand anywhere else.



As an exhibitor, what are your expectations at EXCON ’17?

EXCON has always been a great platform for Caterpillar and our dealers like GMMCO and TIPL to showcase our world class equipment and machines. Technology has always been an integral part of all of our machines and equipment. The theme for this year’s EXCON, “Welcome to the Age of Smart Iron,” is apt for us and we are very excited.

The Age of Smart Iron for Caterpillar describes the company’s strategy to be the industry’s leader in bringing digital solutions designed to improve productivity, efficiency, safety, and profitability, for customers. Our focus is not technology for technology’s sake, but technology focused on solving and even anticipating customer problems.  We are taking our machines, locomotives, and engines, and making them smarter to transform productivity, efficiency, and safety, on job sites. Hence we are very excited about the theme and the event.



Cutting edge Smart Technology featured in your machines. Such as engine control, SCADA, PLC, Telematics, IoT, etc. Also Safety and Operator Comfort features in your machines.

Caterpillar is one of the front runners in embracing cutting edge technology. We do not embrace these technologies for the sake of embracing them. Our technology strategy is determined by our assessment of how and where our machines will be working over the long term. Based on these assessment we focus on solving customer problems by making our machines smarter.  For example Cat® machines are equipped with a cellular based Product Link.  This intuitive user interface provides customers a mobile optimized web application, the ability to schedule automated delivery of reports, and remote access to on-board payload system information.   The mobile application is available on iOS, BlackBerry, Android/Chrome, and Windows operating systems. Functionality enables viewing the location of assets on a map, tracking scheduled services, viewing fault codes and open alerts, and accessing idle, working, and runtime through a smartphone.

In addition, timely visibility to the information is provided through daily, weekly, and monthly, reports scheduled in advance and delivered via email to those who need to know.  Cat Product Link is a robust remote monitoring and asset management solution, enabling powerful tools that transform data from an entire fleet into the essential information required to boost productivity, reduce costs and manage risks. Product Link’s intuitive interface, VisionLink, makes it easy for a manager to monitor data from the whole fleet and then to zoom in for a detailed look at individual assets.

In the mining sector, we offer ‘Autonomous Technology’ which is capable of offering solutions encompassing full unmanned mine site operations – a system in which machines, technologies, communication networks, safety systems and software working seamlessly, resulting in huge gains in productivity. Currently, this is being used in mining in remote areas in parts of Australia and Latin America.

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