21 February 2020

Table of Contents for Post Excon 2017

Interaction- Dimitrov Krishnan, Vice President & Head of Volvo CE India

Indian Buyer is very sophisticated

Volvo CE always possessed the Smart DNA, as seen in innovative technologies and products showcased at their pavilion. In an exclusive interview to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES,DIMITROV KRISHNAN, INDIA HEAD, VOLVO CE, explains strategy to widen their customer base in India and agrees how ‘Buyer is King’ in the Indian market.


Tell us about the new products launched by Volvo CE at EXCON 2017.
For us it was only one launch this year, which is basically the EC200D, which has generated a huge amount of excitement for us, our Dealers, and customers.


Give us a take on the Cost/Quality equation, there is always a tradeoff between both. Your comments on ‘Buyer is King’ in the Indian market.
I like this statement ‘Buyer is King.’ Not only is the Buyer King, the Indian Buyer is a very sophisticated buyer. Many people externally think that the Indian buyer is a low end buyer, I totally disagree. Majority of Indian buyers have a clear understanding of “What they are paying for and how they are going recover it in their business,” because they also operate in a very competitive market space. They have to be very clear about how they are going to pay for their asset they have purchased based on their cash flow. So if the buyer does not understand the value proposition, and how he can make his cost work, he won’t buy a product. If today many buyers are not buying a Volvo product, it’s because our cost equation doesn’t fit their equation. That is exactly the reasonwhile we had a high spec product like EC210D last few years, we have gone ahead and introduced a EC200D which can meet the needs of more CE buyers. With this product we hope to meet their operational needs and at the same time reduce their initial investment. More customers can now see a Volvo product and say am willing to pay a 10 per cent premium on this product because I see the quality is better and I expect better reliability and better resale value.
20 ton buyer is the biggest buyer base in the country. Of the total 16,000 to 17,000 units of the excavator market, close to 12,000 units is only 20 ton excavators. So obviously we as a manufacturer cannot afford to ignore this market, we also need to be reachable to much wider customer base, consider this affordability equation.
So the ‘Buyer is King’ I agree, equally the Buyer is sophisticated in India. So respect that Buyer.


This is the age of NextGen smart machines. Give us a comment on smart technology in your machines.
Smart technologies, new generation infra, these are the buzz words in these times. If I speak about smart technology and new age technology, particularly connectivity solutions, or big data analysis, or anything that is based on services, around the product, aftermarket solutions, etc, the pattern of technology adoption is revealing. Actually you should look at the ICEMA / Feedback Consulting report, there is a very interesting graph in that, where they show that technology adoption across segments. Certain segments have a higher capacity to adopt technology, and also new types of services, those are the applications where the product utilisation is very high. As per that report the most sophisticated segment is mining. Soit is very clear that since Volvo has the highest share in our mining products there is a reason for it. These customer’s understanding of how to use technology to harness the best cost is high. Obviously any solution which will come in next generation in terms of connected solutions that give data analytics to him, whether it is condition monitoring, proactive monitoring, etc help them reduce downtime will get adopted fast. Downtime is the highest cost for Mining customers.
So, Technology adoption in mining is very high. Road construction is also quite strong in technology adoption but not as much as mining. And then you have much more simpler demands, particularly in the rural segment where they are building a tank or something like that, where time is not a big factor, productivity is not a big factor. Generally in those segments you see a lot of used equipment going or low end equipment going, for them cost per hour matters and not so much the cost per ton. Since time is not the biggest constraint, technology adaptation would be much slower.
So if we use telematics for him we have to give that piece of telematics which makes sense for him. What I give him in the EC480 or EC950, the big excavators is too complex for the segment that will buy a EC200D and hencenot valuable. May be he just wants to know every day in the morning how many hours the machine worked yesterday, how much fuel it consumed. So I would call it value telematics, or a telematics solution which is simpler. I think in order for manufacturers to do well in technology adoption, we have to simplify our offer in telematics. We have to go in that direction, make such solutions available.
We have all the ability to capture data, but how it is to be presented to simple user in a simpler way needs to be worked out.


You have been Country Head in other markets in Asia. How matured and sophisticated is the Indian market compared to those markets.
It’s about how you look at it actually. If you ask me, mining sector, coal mining in particular, India is much more sophisticated. It’s at par or even better than many markets in the world. But I would say that in many other areas it’s still on its way, like for e.g. there’s no real wheeled excavator market in India. The wheeled excavator market in the European market, is not sold only with a bucket, it’s sold with so many attachments that one person can do the job of many people. There will not be an assistant staff outside the machine. The person sitting in the machine is doing everything. At a road construction site in such countries you will see at most a few people. Usually there will be more machinery than people. Sometimes one operator goes from one machine to another machine, they are multi skilled guys. There the cost of labor is very high. So that drives the demand for smart machines and smart technology. Indian market it will still take time.


Volvo CE’s strategy for the Indian market over the next five-ten years.
Volvo CE has just completed 20 years of operations in India this month. In this twenty year we have built our business brick-by-brick, and we made a difference to this industry, just not in terms of how we have brought in innovative technology, which forced many others to follow, like telematics we introduced first and everybody else followed us. Similarly the 50 ton excavator, we created the market and everybody else followed us. So we have done many firsts on the technology side, product side, but more importantly we made an impact in this industry by training a lot of people.


Volvo CE is a pioneer in electric powered equipment. Please outline Volvo’s pioneeringefforts in this direction.
Volvo Group has three priorities in investment in terms of; technology for the future, I am not just talking Volvo CE but Volvo Group. One of them is Autonomous Vehicles, the other one is Connectivity Solutions, how we connect, and the third area is Electromobility. These three are the trends on which we are investing in R&D. We had in fact showcased from Volvo CE recently to the world, two major technologies.
One is a hybrid wheel loader which reduces fuel consumption by 50 per cent. The other is an fully electric excavator EX 02, a prototype. So these are the trends we are working on.


Did EXCON 2017 meet your expectations?
EXCON 2017 was a fantastic platform this year. Great expo, huge amount of demand, good amount of visitors, footfalls are fantastic. You look at the crowd standing outside, it’s immense. Particularly our stall has been filled both outside and inside. I haven’t had a moment to sit and breathe, that’s the level of crowds here, which is very great.
As an exhibitor it met our expectations fully. Actually there was a foreign visitor who has been to Bauma China before and he was saying this exhibition looks bigger than China, and qualitatively much better. It wasa great compliment for this show. We believe it’s a great platform to launch products.

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