BKT: wheeling with Indian tires in global highway
With over 25 accomplished years of global presence in the off-highway tires segment, BKT has undoubtedly become a pioneer
Identifying an existing trend (socio-economic and market) and selling accordingly is a traditional way to become successful in business world. However, only a handful thinks differently and dares to go beyond. Those handful companies not only create just success but also an unprecedented niche for themselves. They become pioneers and go on to build, along with a strong company, a robust business culture that lasts for generations.
With over 25 accomplished years of global presence in the off-highway tires segment of world business, Balkrishna Industries (BKT) is undoubtedly one such company.
Back in the early 1990s when the other tire companies in India were busy producing highway tires for mass use, BKT foresaw a unique opportunity in international business and audaciously initiated production in the off-the highway segment. BKT’s products, owing to their state-of-the-art make and unmatched performance, found immediate recognition in world markets, and there began an unending story of BKT’s triumph and innovation.
Today BKT enjoys principal presence across the world, encapsulating a staggering 130 countries. It is the preferred supplier to international OEMs in industrial, construction and agricultural tire segments, and has grown into a diversified industrial conglomerate, exporting its expansive range of off-highway solutions to the world.
We wish to achieve a global market share of 10 per cent in off highway tires market by 2015 and by then we expect sales of about $ 1.3 billion or Rs.6,000 crore.Arvind Poddar, Chairman and Managing Director, BKTGlobal presenceToday BKT is a global player and enjoys a strong presence in a 130 countries and over along with India.
Quality conscious users which adhere to stringent conformity standards in countries like Europe and America prefer BKT as their supplier, thus implying that every BKT product is superior most in creation and delivers expected performance.
“BKT products are known for their reliability and have the lowest claim ratio in the industry; each product passes over 450 stages of tests,” informs Rajiv Poddar, Executive Director, BKT.
BKT has three functioning state-of-the-art manufacturing plants spread across India. Fourth plant in Bhuj, Gujarat is expected to start production by the end of 2013. Currently, BKT provides over 2,100 different SKUs (stock keeping units) for various applications.
The company has products from 5-inch rim diameter to 54-inch rim diameter for vehicles ranging from Go-cart, trailers, forklifts etc. to technologically advanced machines like high horsepower tractors, combines, harvesters, GPS-controlled vehicles, articulated dump trucks, high-speed cranes, sophisticated port vehicles and container handlers etc.
In addition to BKT’s state-of-the-art factories, we possess an in-house mould design and a production plant which enables us to achieve production flexibility and frequent changeover in production cycles as per demand
Dilip Vaidya, President and Director-Technology, BKTOne-stop shop for mining and industry needsBKT has ventured into the production of all-steel radials since 2008. BKT is one of the first tire companies in India to produce the all-steel radial OTR tires. An all-steel radial plant in Chopanki, Rajasthan is now functioning on full throttle, producing top of the line radial tires for OTR vehicles, ranging from rigid dump trucks to snow manoeuvring vehicles.
This is a result of years of research and innovation by the R&D department at BKT, which has developed tires that can encounter the toughest, most hostile terrains faced during mining and industrial activities.
The tires under all-steel radials segment range from a 20-inch diameter tipper truck size to a giant 51-inch rigid dump truck size in both radial and bias make, thus covering clients’ every requirement for industrial use as well as mining.
Recently, BKT has launched an ultra advanced range of tires, especially for high-speed cranes. The tire 445/95R25 enables heavy high-speed cranes to journey at an unprecedented speed of 80 km per hour. BKT also plans to unveil a more enviable, capable range of sizes for OTR solutions soon.
Port tiresBKT has established itself as a one-stop shop for all OTR solutions, be it for mining, industrial or OE applications. Staying true to the image, BKT has initiated production of port tires. Once again owing to excellent product performance and make, these tires have found tremendous users not only across ports in Asia but around the world.
There is a wide gamut of tires available in this line, ranging from port reach stacker sizes to RTG sizes. BKT has been selling tires to major companies like Kalmar Sweden, which is the world’s leading reach stacker machine manufacturer.
R&D: a normAt BKT, R&D is not just an initiative, it is a norm. The company has invested heavily into research and development of new products and advancements in their existing line. BKT’s R&D team is touted to be one of the best in the country and has many advancements and original creations to its credit.BKT has a modern dedicated R&D facility equipped with state-of-the-art technology which can develop various types of rubber compounds required for manufacturing tires for various applications. Their testing labs are one of the most advanced in the country and match up to the ones abroad. BKT is also associated with various testing facilities across Europe.
“We invest heavily every year into R&D to upgrade our plant facilities and develop new products,” informs Arvind Poddar, Chairman and Managing Director, BKT. “Our competition is with global tire giants, so we always have to have an edge over technology if we have to compete with them. If you look at all steel OTR radial tires for mining, we are the pioneers from India.”
Rajiv Poddar adds, “We are the first Indian company to get REACH compliant. Our R&D team not only develops products, but also continuously improves the quality of existing products. In January, we did a test in our in-house laboratory and able to improve the quality of compound for our radial tires which will enhance the life of our tires by 40 per cent.”
New solutions for new worldBKT is at the forefront when it comes to new product development. BKT develops about 150-160 new SKUs every year in response to the ever-changing requirements of their consumers. The company has its own mould plant which enables them to have the fastest turnaround time.
Dilip Vaidya, Director and President-Technology, BKT says, “In addition to BKT’s state-of-the-art factories, we possess an in-house mould design and a production plant which enables us to achieve production flexibility and frequent changeover in production cycles as per demand.”
OE: the futureThe tire markets in Asia have witnessed a strong surge in recent years with India and China leading in growth and development. The Asian tire industry revenues have increased from $ 5 billion in 2008 at a CAGR of 22 per cent during 2008-2012.
Indian tire companies are no longer just manufacturing tires for commercial vehicles, but the market has expanded encapsulating high-end consumers with heavy OE needs for industrial, construction and mining purposes.
With demands for fuel efficiency and continuing requirements for extended hardware durability, it has become increasingly important for big market players like BKT to not just provide solutions for OE machinery but also be involved with its development from the beginning. BKT is working intensively to be at tandem with the emerging needs of its OEM clients and has the shortest response period amongst its competitors when it comes to delivering a new product while keeping the costs low and efficiency high, adhering to the stringent most international standards.
Highlighting the company’s increasing concentration on OEM segment, Arvind Poddar said, “Worldwide our major sale is in replacement market. Directly and indirectly we supply almost 25 per cent of our productions to OEM’s, and the rest 75 per cent comes from the replacement market. Going forward, when the availability gets improved, the ratio will get enhanced where supply to the OEM’s will be 30 per cent.”
India: future hubIndia over the past decade has emerged as one of the most competent tire markets in the world, essentially due to the availability of raw materials (natural rubber) and increasing use of modern machineries and technologies. There has also been a stupendous increase in interest from global markets due to companies like BKT, which are available across the globe and have earned a good name for India by providing the best quality in their products and services.Today the Indian automobile market is valued at about $ 58 billion. Over 39 tire manufacturing companies with 60 production plants have made India one of the largest markets for all kinds of tires. All these factors have resulted in opening enormous prospects for exports for India, which only a few companies lead by BKT are tapping into. Then there is the niche of the off-highway segment and OEM solutions carved and nurtured by companies like BKT primarily, which again has only seen a rise since its beginning in the early 1990s.
Talking about the future target for domestic market, Arvind Poddar said, “We wish to achieve a global market share of 10 per cent in off highway tires market by 2015 and by then we expect sales of about $ 1.3 billion or Rs.6,000 crore.”
Going greenBKT has been very conscious about protecting the environment since its inception. Energy conservation is a top agenda at BKT. A sizable part of its energy requirement is fulfilled through non-conventional and renewable energy sources, where BKT has invested heavily. “We have windmills set-up in Rajasthan for generating green power which fulfil almost 40 per cent of all our energy needs in the northern manufacturing units,” says Arvind Poddar proudly.
Bhuj plant: a greenfield projectThe manufacturing plant in Bhuj, Gujarat is the 4th manufacturing unit set up by BKT in India. The project complex comprises of about 300 acres of land, just a few kilometres away from the Mundra port, offering logistical advantages in transport of raw materials, which are mainly imported and the export of containerised tires.The site foresees a large warehouse for with efficient storage solutions. The specific area of about 25 acres dedicated exclusively to research and development with testing facility at the plant is equipped with indoor and outdoor testing areas for the products. The special testing track has been constructed to provide for test runs and on-field tests for the tires. BKT has invested over $375 million in this plant which will enhance BKT’s total capacity by 75-80 per cent. For BKT, Bhuj plant means an extraordinary increase in production which will add about 120,000 tonnes per year along with its 180,000 tonnes obtained from the other three plants.
“There are plans being made to modify the Bhuj plant and extend its production capacity to the level of 280,000 tonnes,” says Rajiv Poddar.
This is a greenfield project and will focus on developing a wide range of BKT’s radial and bias tires. “This facility will also produce ultra large and giant OTR tires up to 51-inch rim diameter,” reveals Dilip Vaidya.
WOW campaignBKT has recently launched its new campaign titled ‘WOW’ to promote its super efficient industrial, mining and OTR tires under the sub-brand Earthmax. The campaign is created in-line with the performance and efficiency of the Earthmax products which are bound to evoke a sense of wonderment in its users.
We are the first Indian company to get REACH compliant. Our R&D team not only develops products, but also continuously improves the quality of existing products
Rajiv Poddar, Executive Director, BKT