23 February 2020

Interaction- Jasmeet Singh, Associate VP-Corp Comm & Corp Relations, JCB India


Rise of Digital Tech in machines will be a major trend in the coming years




JCB has the world’s largest Backhoe manufacturing facility in Delhi-NCR and in addition to this, it also manufactures Backhoes at its latest facility in Jaipur. The company is fully committed to ensure that JCB remains close to its customers. JASMEET SINGH, Associate VICE PRESIDENT - CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS & CORPORATE RELATIONS, JCB INDIA LTD speaks to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES, about the backhoe loader market in India, the upcoming opportunities in the sector, drivers in the market and the consumer behaviour in terms of cost equation.








How do you assess the backhoe loader market in India, what are the cost/quality equation, sector challenges, and growth prospects?


In my view, the industry was at its highest in the CY 2018. As far as 2019 is concerned there will be some disruption in the market as the year is an election year. In the usual sales cycle for this year, the first half has been flat as compared to last year. The industry is hopeful that the second half of the year will have a better turn out. There are liquidity related challenges as well which are adding to the overall stress.



The government is keen on completing the awarded projects within the next two to three years. How is this as an opportunity for JCB?


The award of new projects and the completion of existing ones are extremely reassuring for the industry and for us at JCB.


At JCB, we already have 5 factories in India and the 6th is coming up in Gujarat. We are into manufacturing of backhoe loaders, mini-excavators, excavators, wheel loaders and skid steers in India. The upcoming factory will be into manufacturing of components and service assembly products that will be exported to our other companies across the globe. In terms of capacity, we are fully equipped; and with the kind of skills, technology and the manpower required, we will be able to make the most of the opportunity.




In terms of cutting edge technology for the backhoe loaders, has there been any upgradation from the previously introduced products and technologies?


In terms of new technologies, in the 2017 edition of EXCON, we had introduced the NEW ECO Excellence of backhoe loader that had 30 new and innovative features. Out of these, five are the world first features on a backhoe in India. We are now offering features such as AMT (automated manual transmission). Also, for the operators, we are working on upgrading the operator experience. We have ‘Follow Me Home’ lights. We also have a Bluetooth dongle using which the technicians can learn about the fault, if any.



Backhoes are multi-purpose and multi-functional machine that can perform a variety of tasks at sites and is primarily used for digging, dozing, levelling and in general site applications. There are two operating modes in the backhoe- Power and Economy. Also, our backhoes are 10 per cent fuel efficient and 30 per cent easier to maintain. Through Telematics, we have connected over 1 lakh machines that can be monitored through an app.


We at JCB are focussed on coupling digital technology with the traditional mechanical engineering. This is testimony to the fact that India is a major market for JCB.




Detail us on the Safety features and operator comfort in your machines.


Safety is the most important feature of our products. Amongst the world’s first five features, we have the ‘Follow Me Home’ lights. With the work going on throughout the day, this feature helps the operator during the night, especially when there is low visibility. The cabin of the operator is another area that requires safety. Our cabins are the biggest in the industry with plenty of room space. Further, we are now looking at AC cabins for the operator’s safety and comfort.



What are the challenges that the industry faces in terms of sales for the backhoe loaders?


The sector that is leading the industry currently is the ‘Construction of Roads and Highways’. The government is keen on building more roads and highways and spreading the network. The main challenge here is that only one sector is thriving. We, as industry player need more number of growth drivers.We are hopeful that the upcoming Budget will continue the focus on Infrastructure sector.


New growth drivers can come in the form of irrigation, interlinking of canals, railways, mining, and real estate. Also, urban rejuvenation is a huge opportunity for India. This is because a lot of products in our industry can overlap with the products used for urban rejuvenation. These are actually not challenges but opportunities for us which in due course of time, if are focussed on by the government, will be good for the industry in terms of maximising the number of growth drivers.



With EXCON 2019 coming up in a few months from now, do you plan to introduce any new features or products?


EXCON is a big event for us. Hence, we will be coming up with new technology and bring up something exciting for the market. However, as of now, it is under wraps and we are working in that direction.





What are the drivers in the market and the consumer behaviour in terms of cost equation?


At the end, the purpose for which the machine has been bought is the crucial aspect. Manufacturers have to check that the user gets the best service, the machine has a higher up time and also we should have devices that can give a higher value during resale. The operating cost includes fuel cost and maintenance. Fuel cost and maintenance cost reduction is a major positive factor in the machine. Improving site efficiency, machine efficiency, reduction in the fuel consumption and maintenance cost adds to the positive mindset for buying the machine.


Additionally, a major trend that we are seeing in most construction industry is the advent of digital technology in machines. We forget that as a country we have a massive number of mobiles, internet connections and data usage. Customers demand for digital technology in the machines that can help them keep a tab on the machine from wherever they are. Also, the parts of the machine can be bought online. The parts app can help them get the part similar to the present e-commerce websites. Hence, I strongly feel that the rise of digital tech in equipment is going to be a major trend for purchase in the coming years.


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