Saturday, October 31, 2020

Interaction-Jasmeet Singh, Head - Corporate Communications, JCB India

We have been in the Make in India scheme of things for over 35 years


Global digger manufacturer J.C Bamford Excavators, UK, aka JCB, has left an extraordinary imprimatur on India’s construction sector consciousness since its foray in the country in 1979. From manufacturing only Backhoe loaders, JCB India Limited, the fully owned subsidiary of J.C Bamford Excavators U.K, today manufactures seven product categories including Backhoes, Excavators, Wheeled Loaders, Skidsteers, Loadalls, Compaction equipment, Diesel Gensets and their own JCB engines from its five world class manufacturing facilities. Jasmeet Singh, Head - Corporate Communications, JCB India, offered SHRIKANT RAO a close up view of his company’s contribution to the Make in India movement on the sidelines of the landmark event in Mumbai. 


So how has this particular exhibition been for you?

It has been a good experience for us. This is the first exhibition on Make in India which is completely based on manufacturing and is focussing towards taking India to a global level in terms of a manufacturing destination. For us the experience has been very positive. The exhibition has been very well organised with a very healthy turnout.


What kind of enquiries have you received?

This is a different exhibition. The forum is to showcase JCB’s commitment to manufacturing. However being a stand of this size, we are getting a lot of enquiries also which is a bonus for us. But the underlying reason for us to be here is to showcase our commitment in manufacturing


Give us a sense of JCB’s contribution to the ‘Make in India’ programme leading up to this event?

We have been in the Make in India scheme of things for the last 35 plus years. From one Backhoe Loader in 1979 today we manufacture 43 different products in seven product lines. What does ‘Make in India’ actually speak about? It talks about factories which is manufacturing, about innovation which is design and engineering, it’s about zero defect, zero effect, skilling and basically of generating employment through manufacturing.

So if you were to evaluate the JCB story we have been present in all these areas. We have a Design Center in Pune, which has over 300 engineers which does design and innovation work. JCB machines are manufactured at our 5 different factories across the country – two at Pune, two in Jaipur and one at Ballabhgarh, which is also the world’s largest Backhoe loader plant. These five factories produce 43 different products in seven product lines. Today we are into Backhoes, Wheel loaders, Compactors, Excavators, Diesel gensets, Diesel engines, Skid steers and Telehandlers.

Each of our 5 factories manufacture products of one global quality. If you visit our factory you will see what is being made in India for India is the same as what is being exported into over 60 countries now. 60 countries is a lot and that also speaks a lot of Zero Defect Indian manufacturing and how it has reached a global level; the products that are made in India are performing well in all parts of the world, a true example of Sell Everywhere.

Make in India speaks of skilling as well. Our Jaipur facility has a welding training school where we train young graduates, both boys and girls in welding. All of that is hard core manufacturing and those jobs were traditionally male dominated and were in the areas of manufacturing such as welding or assembly. So if you come to Ballabgarh you will see lady engineers  assembling engines and if you go to Jaipur you will see them doing world class welding. Over the years JCB India invested about Rs.2,000 crore in India and today employs over 5,000 people in its Indian operations. It has a network of 63 dealers and over 640 outlets throughout India which provide parts and product support to customers. Over 6000 professionally trained people are employed at these dealerships. JCB also has strategically set-up large parts warehouses across India (Pune, Chennai, Faridabad and Kolkata) for supporting these dealerships.

With 14 Operator Training Centres, JCB has collaborated with the Government’s skilling initiatives to create employment and entrepreneurship through a one month certified training course of machine operations and maintenance. We also have a 16 week detailed induction program for ITIs and diploma institute graduates at the welding training school in the premises of the JCB Jaipur facility. The objective being not only to impart the technical skills but also help the graduates develop soft skills. These skills have helped young men and women to progress in their careers, especially lady engineers who now work in the traditionally male dominated areas of manufacturing such as welding and assembly.



Since the government made its Make in India announcement in September 2014 has there been any specific plan formulated by JCB to be in tandem with the national programme?

We recently inaugurated a factory in Jaipur in 2014 with an investment of Rs.500 crore. However there is a change in the way governments and corporates are now interacting. Never has had you seen a platform like ‘Make in India’ ever happen, where there is a healthy exchange of ideas. The government is talking to corporates, they are willing to listen, take suggestions. That is a welcome change As far as the government is concerned their job is to give people an environment to manufacture and they are doing that.


From now on what is JCB’s plan to scale up on the Make in India front?

As far as JCB is concerned we are now ready with capacity as and when the markets pick up. The market has been declining since 2011 and it is only now in the last 3-6 months that we have seen a bottoming out trend and that we can see some green shoots. So the first priority is to have the current capacity utilised since it’s a U shaped recovery. We will have to wait for a full recovery to take place. However, at JCB we have always invested in the downturn, in 2008 we went ahead and invested in the Ballabgarh plant ramp up to a 100 machines a day facility; in 2014 again in the middle of the downturn we invested in the expansion at Jaipur.



JCB has been a leader in innovation and design. What are its plans there from a Make in India perspective? What are the new developments on the engine front?

Our design centre is a shining example of what cooperative working is because it caters to Indian requirements and also works in tandem with the other JCB designing agencies in other parts of the world, so this innovation will continue to take place. At Excon 2015 we introduced the JCB 220 LC xtra, we also launched the JCB 455ZX wheeled loader and came up with “Livelink” an advanced Telematics technology which puts customers in control of the equipment. It also puts users in control of their machines in terms of theft and other information about the equipment. We have now also started supplying engines to third parties as OEM so that concept is now open and we will continue to ramp it up.



Is it possible to talk about the takeaways of this landmark event?

Make in India is not a standalone program. Make in India is a journey and I think it has to keep continuing. DIPP has already said that for us to grow we need manufacturing to contribute substantially for the next 25 years. For that period of time people have to be committed to manufacturing, generate employment, involve in upskilling, and most importantly innovate, so this process is not going to end anywhere soon as this is a journey.

As far as JCB is concerned we are fully committed to the Make in India program and to the country’s development for the long term. We are very optimistic about its prospects.


Was there any product line that people were particularly interested in?

We recently launched two new product lines the Telehandler and the Skidsteer. Both these have been received very well. We feel material handling is going to be another very important industry. As markets mature you will have palletisation, have a focus on vertical spaces, you will have areas were you will need equipment in compact spaces. So if you see a Telehandler it is capable of handling loads at a height safely and productively. Safety is going to become a very big focus area that is why we launched a Loadall which is a very safe way of handling aggregate at heights. Similarly for Skidsteers we feel as cities mature space will become a major constraint.  It is a small machine, manoeuvrable and compact. So both the machines are being appreciated very well and that is very heartening for us.

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