03 June 2020

Interaction-Vikram Sharma, Advisor (India & South Asia), KOBELCO CE

Kobelco has always been a leader in Fuel saving, Generation 10 makes it a clear Winner


Kobelco Construction Equipment India Private Limited (KCEI) has invested in a manufacturing facility located at SriCity, in Andhra Pradesh. This factory has the credit of developing the HD series introduced in 2013 featuring several reinforcements and additions to suit Indian conditions and applications. The focus has always been to deliver a reliable and highly productive machine. In an exclusive interview to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES, VIKRAM SHARMA, ADVISOR (INDIA & SOUTH ASIA), EX-MD, KOBELCO CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT INDIA, shares about the company’s offerings, the price strategy, aftermarket services and a lot more.




There are massive projects undertaken under the Bharatmala programme by the government since the last few years. How do you look at the opportunities with the Bharatmala programme?


The growth in demand for construction equipment in recent years has been primarily driven by the Road sector. The Bharatmala programme is also expected to be a major driver for growth in the next few years as well. Construction has been at an increasing pace and augurs well for the industry.




Detail us of your products being used under the Bharatmala program? Also provide details of the projects.


Kobelco’s range of Excavators from the 14 Ton SK140HDLC to the 38 Ton SK380XDLC and including the most popular 22 Ton SK220XDLC have found multiple applications in various infrastructure projects especially those related to road building. This is true for Projects all over the country, even in remote areas like the North-East.




Detail us on your company’s focus on R&D and technological innovations.


Kobelco is a global leader in technology in Excavation equipment design and manufacturing. ‘Voice of the Customer’ is a constant driver for development of new solutions and features. Kobelco has its own dedicated R & D Centre in Japan which is also engaged in basic research in related fields.




Detail us on the new products launched or being launched in the near future


Kobelco launched a series of Excavators and attachments last year starting with the SK220XDLC under the Generation 10 series followed by the SK380XDLC at EXCON 2017. Kobelco also launched the Long-Reach attachment for these two models.


This year Kobelco plans to introduce the new SK520XDLC under the Generation 10 series as well as test the market for Mini Excavators. Several new attachments are also planned for introduction.




What distinguishes your company vis-à-vis your competitors.


Kobelco has always been a leader in Fuel saving for the Customer as well as environmental care. The current Generation 10 series has focused on augmenting the ‘durability’ factor in respect of the structural components as well as the major assemblies on the machine. In effect, the overall productivity and the higher Return on Investment differentiate Kobelco Excavators from the rest.




Aftermarket services as a strategic differentiator.


Kobelco has maintained a clear focus on its network for providing aftermarket support services promptly and reliably. The machine uptime is very critical for all Users and the entire Kobelco team is constantly working to achieve very high standards. The Parts and Logistics distribution is geared to perform most efficiently.




Major demands made by end-users of your equipment.   Is there a shift from initial cost price to TCO in Buyer Decisions?


Buyers’ expectations are always high and continue to rise. Price, though still the most dominant factor, is now accompanied by freebies, service assurances, operating cost assurances, etc.  TCO as a tool is used by limited customers only. However, there is a gradual shift to considering lifetime costs and productivity.




Do you offer equipment finance or do you have tie-ups with finance companies for the same.


We do not offer any financing ourselves. However, most of leading players in equipment  financing are willing to finance Kobelco excavators for their clients.




Your strategy to play in a price sensitive market.


We focus on our strengths – higher fuel savings (Fuel constitutes over 50% of the operating cost), better productivity and longer service life of major components. Our support network is also rated very highly by the existing users leading to a high percentage of repeat buyers and good references.




Future outlook from the industry perspective and company ?


Barring any political changes, the industry can expect a good phase over the next few years as so many of the development projects take shape across the country.