For the customer, crane itself is a solution
The Indian crane market potential is very huge, and we are trying to get maximum penetration, notes Rohan Warty, General Manager-Sales & Marketing, ElectroMech Material Handling Systems India Pvt. Ltd.
What mileage did the company derive from Excon 2009?
This is the third time we are at Excon, and it always works as a platform to meet those in the construction industry which is a very important vertical for us. This year almost 30 per cent of our business is coming from the construction vertical. Here, most EPC contractors and construction companies visited our stall. Many of them are our customers so it’s a great platform to meet all of them together. Their feedback helps us to modify and bring innovative features to our products. At the expo we have a very systematic feedback register system which will get forwarded to our R&D team.
What sort of hurdles do you face while selling your products?
Besides the usual hurdles like price and stiff competition one of the major challenges that we face during selling our products to the infrastructure industry is the requirement of the industry to provide “express deliveries”. Most of the infrastructure projects are fast track projects and are awarded to the contractors on BoT basis. This means faster the project is completed better the RoI.
Electromech is known in the market to provide express deliveries and that is one our USP’s. Keeping in mind the extensive demand of the industry we are opening a factory in Chennai which will support the south market and increase our capacity. We are also doubling our capacity in Pune plant. So we are known to provide the fastest delivery in the market and the expansion will reinforce that.
For the past one year, finance availability has been another issue. For finance part we have introduced a finance support scheme called BEEP, which means Buy-Employ-Earn & Pay. We have a tie-up with financiers like Tata Capitals.
How does proximity to customers add value to your service?
This proximity to customers is very vital for us. Earlier most customers looked at material handling products as non-value adding machinery for their final products. So most often they go to a local manufacturer for products like cranes — keeping fast service factor in mind. But now most entrepreneurs are exposed to international market. An entrepreneur realizes the importance of material handling, and he also knows what happens to projects if a breakdown happens to the MH system and RoI. So now customers opt for credible brands. Right now we have around 11 service stations across the country. We are planning to almost double the presence within three years. That’s how our new support division company Cranedge comes into picture. I am sure Cranedge will enhance the image of ElectroMech as a complete service provider and not just product provider.
We are trying to be as close to our customers as by opening up branch offices all over the country.
What have you observed about buying behavior of the Indian market?
The Indian market is totally different from the international market. It is yet to mature. We do sell Abus cranes in India, which is one of the leading brands in the European market. When you look at the European market, customers are very clear about specifications and what they want, so most of the interaction happens through mails or phone. Here we need to do a lot of educative selling in the market. We need to convince the customer that when he buys a crane, he’s not just buying a machine, he buys a solution. When he buys a crane for a particular application it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to suggest the best possible solution to his require application.
Lately it has also been observed that when we are bidding for large projects we come across many consultants. The purchasing cycle in India is becoming more and more a professional. It is heartening to see that some of the Indian technical consultants we have interacted are absolutely world-class. They are executing projects around the world and not only in India. These are the people who have expertise in various fields like mechanical electrical, civil, etc. This makes sure that customers get the most suitable solution.
What sort of knowledge sharing programme you have with your target customers?
We have a forum called ElectroMech Knowledge Forum where we have technology sharing seminars in all metro and mini-metro cities. It’s the first one of such initiatives in India. These sessions share a lot of technical data on MH solutions to improve their practice. These forums are meant for technical consultants and EPC contractors.
What makes ElectroMech stand out from its competitors?
It is the quality in providing a product as a solution. It starts with our sales force. Each and every sales person employed at Electromech is a qualified mechanical engineer and goes through very intensive training on all design parameters of the crane. Being a solution sales person you should know the importance of every technical parameter of the product. We are the only MHE-making company that runs on SAP ERP system. We are also an ISO 9000 certified company. These both are integrated to deliver unmatched quality. We have an excellent quality team headed by an ex-ISO quality auditor. We follow all safety and mandatory inspection norms in our plant. Owing to our large product range we regularly come across all the leading inspection agencies like BVI, Germanisher Llyods, ABS etc.
How do you entertain customers’ feedback on new products?
The best example is our latest development — Remote Monitoring System. Most of the crane suppliers sell cranes and finish it there. An average crane buyer in India gives crane maintenance very little importance. So these cranes break down at one point or another. We had many maintenance personals coming up to us and requesting us to provide a solution where the crane can have 100% uptime and minimum maintenance. That’s when we realized to offer them a solution that will enable our clients to keep a track of their cranes wherever they while sitting at their works stations.
We use GPRS technology for this. Sensors located in cranes will collect data and through a black box the data will be transmitted to the server at Pune, and from there the same will go to concerned recipients. In a scenario where in there is some kind of behavior in the crane other than the ordinary an alarm is triggered and the maintenance person can get this alarm on his mobile/email. Hence the maintenance person can attend to the abnormal behavior of the crane and ensure there is now un planned brake down. This system has been developed completely from various customer feedback.
What is your sales plan in the context of the Indian market?
The Indian market potential is very huge, and we are trying to get maximum penetration. We are planning to sell 800-plus units this year. I believe that this is just a small piece of a very large market which is untapped.
One of our plans is to create better visibility for our cranes. Secondly, create more proximity to our clients by opening offices in major industrial locations. Thirdly, increase the qualified and trained sales force to maximize market penetration. The market slowdown is not an excuse to sell less, but work hard to overcome the obstacle. .
What useful advice can you offer to your customers?
When a customer buys a crane he should not look at it in isolation. A smart customer would always look at his final project cost and not at a single item cost. So it is very important to select the right crane which not only gives you reliability but also ensures that you save on your building cost. Also it is also very important that a customer takes into account the running cost and the effect of brake down costs when he buys a capital equipment like a crane.
For the customer, crane itself is a solution