18 November 2019

Interaction-Ramesh Babbar, President & Dir, Columbia Machine Engg

We see a buoyant sentiment in market


Columbia Machine with over 20 years of presence in India, offers a complete range of products to suit the requirement of the market that you simply can’t get from any other manufacturer. From importing the machine from USA in the late 1980s to starting of manufacturing by 2000 and having over 200 plants by the year 2015 in India, Columbia has spread all over the country from Kashmir in the north to Kerala in the south. RAMESH BABBAR, PRESIDENT & DIRECTOR, COLUMBIA MACHINE ENGINEERING (I) PVT. LTD., in an exclusive interview with CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES, speaks on the company's contribution to Make in India, expectations from BAUMA CONEXPO 2018, technological innovations by the company and the company’s performance this year.




Briefly tell us about your product offerings and the key features/USPs that have contributed in strengthening and maintaining your stronghold in the market?


Columbia Machine is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of concrete products equipment, serving customers in over 100 countries. From mixing and batching to automatic cubing and splitting, Columbia builds a complete line of equipment to outfit entire concrete products plant. The Model SPM20 which is for Indian market, can be used to produce a wide range of high quality concrete products such as hollow blocks, paver blocks, retaining wall blocks, flyash bricks and kerbstones. All these features have provided substantial profits and quick payback on investment to over 200 users in India alone.




What is your company’s focus on R&D and technological innovations and aftermarket services offered by your company?


Columbia pioneered the first semi-automatic, hydraulically operated block machine over 80 years ago with the unique Columbia Vibration Technology (CVT). No other concrete products equipment supplier can match the versatility, economy and quality of Columbia.


Our experienced local sales and service network, along with our easily available local spare parts, moulds and training facilities, provide unmatched world-class support locally.


Our team of experienced engineers can design a plant to fit local production needs as well as provide installation support and training for plant personnel.




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


Today, with over 15 years of local manufacturing at Vadodara in Gujarat, we offer the most versatile, innovative concrete products equipment in the industry. In India, our existing Concrete Product Machine Model SPM20 provides our customers a plant with an ideal combination of a high technology machine with medium capacity and low investment in pallet and product handling. Its simplicity and ease of installation/dismantling makes it an ideal solution for project works.




What is your marketing strategy in a price-sensitive market?


India is still a price sensitive market. Customers do see the value for their money while investing into such machinery. We try to maintain our prices in line with market conditions however, we find our customers are satisfied with the output of the products being produced on our machines and they do get their returns more than their expectations. We understand their needs, create a value proposition, we focus on the benefits not the features, which catches the customer’s eye. We assure a good customer service to build lasting relationship.




In which sectors do you expect demand for your products in the coming years?


Our products are such that customers who buy our equipment produce concrete products being used by builders, developers and mostly individual entrepreneursdoing projects so we see a big chunk of our business falling under infrastructure for buildings, commercials, road projects. The market is witnessing a substantial growth due to various infrastructure push initiatives of government like smart cities etc. We see a lot of growth coming from BhartmalaPariyojana.




As a company, what will be your focus at BAUMA CONEXPO 2018. What will be the theme at your pavilion?


BaumaConExpo is the largest show for Construction Machinery in North India with a good number of local and foreign Exhibitors. It is well marketed and has been able to attract a significant number of visitors from the relevant industry segments. Our aim would be to meet all those prospects who are keen to enter into this business and brief them about our latest offerings to meet their requirements and provide complete solution.




Tell us about the various products/equipment you will be displaying at BAUMA CONEXPO 2018. Are you planning to launch any new products?


We shall be displaying our newly designed and manufactured PLANETARY MIXER in this show. This is a new equipment to our range and is exclusively made in India from Technology from our group Company TECHMATIC of Poland.




Please offer your assessment of the importance of shows like Bauma CONEXPO INDIA for companies such as yours and tell us of your own previous experience? Expectations from hosting venues?


A show like BaumaConExpo provides us a platform to showcase new technologies and products to the industry in a specific geography/region. It also provides an opportunity to connect with existing customers, producers and competitors and exchange notes and views with them. It brings the entire industry together on one platform in India. Apart from walk-ins from all over India, we also had visitors from neighbouring countries which is a good sign. We have been participating in all editions of Bauma in India. Our previous experience with Bauma has been quite good and our association has been quite fruitful. It is also organized in major countries across the globe and it has created a bench mark of high-quality business environment.




With 2018 coming to an end, tell us about your company’s performance this year and your outlook going forward?


We are 100 per cent Indian subsidiary of Columbia machines Inc USA. The last few months have seen excellent growth in the volume of our core business i.e. concrete block making machines when compared to last year same period. We see a buoyant sentiment in market. We would certainly be ending up our year with very positive outlook. We at Columbia have a clear mandate to meet both current and latent needs of the customers under our ‘customer satisfaction’ strategy and with this in view we shall be able to do in most effective manner.