Market for imported machine tools not encouraging

“It is possible to sustain in the market if one is competitive, offers unique technology to generate better quality at higher production rate, and keeps the cost of component as minimum as possible.”
– Mukund V. Puranik, Director, Universal Engineering Consultants
Universal Engineering Consultants is a sales and liaison service provider started from January 2013. It is a new venture started by Mukund V. Puranik, immediately after the superannuation from a limited company. In this exclusive interview, Mr Puranik shares why starting own venture was bit challenging but definitely a positive step forward.
Products and solutionsUniversal Engineering Consultants represents a long list of CNC machines from reputed European and South-East Asian machine manufacturers. It offers liaison services as per the need including sales promotion and project management. The company provides machines at competitive prices with good application, tooling and service support. It also assists manufacturers in registration for e-tendering required in various government organisations as well as in e-tenders and reverse auction at a nominal price. Its other services include valuation of plant and machinery, project management and certification of chartered engineers to various customers starting new ventures or buying, selling, and replacing existing assets.
PerformanceUniversal Engineering Consultants is in infant stage as it is started just 6 months back. However, the company is successful to tie up with reputed manufacturers in short time, covering a range of machines, and initiating interactions with various customers to offer its products and services. In spite of market trends which aren’t encouraging at present, the company is expected to deliver and should come out with good results in short time.
Shortcomings in last 1 yearThe market for imported machine tools is not very encouraging. Because of greater emphasis on indigenous manufacturers by government companies, it is possible to sustain in the market if one is competitive, offers unique technology to generate better quality at higher production rate, and keeps the cost of component as minimum as possible.
Civil foundation construction is still a responsibility of the manufacturer, and it’s next to impossible for any foreign manufacturer to know, interact and execute such work without local support through agents. Same is also applicable for other local items like compressor, voltage stabiliser, isolation transformer, first fill oils, etc. This should be preferably handled by the Indian customers. This will also help reduce the order value in foreign exchange and ease to machine manufacturers as well as customers.
It has been also observed that in view of L1 criteria strictly followed as per CVC guidelines, the delay in commissioning for imported machines is a major issue. Customers should ensure that only technically competent companies are shortlisted and then decide on L1 basis. Similarly, ordnance factories and many other government companies don’t allow agents, although these agents work in background invariably. Instead agents should be allowed. However, there should be 5 per cent security deposit from agents till the warranty period. This will ensure that agents are responsible till warranty period and don’t promote just cheap, unreliable manufacturers to get orders.
Not so simplified tendering systemTendering system is still a bit complex and can be further simplified, especially in global tenders. For example, manufacturers who register with OFB for e-procurement have to register with specific ordnance factory. This can be very well simplified. In fact, there should be one central agency for registration and same reference should be valid to any government company and public sectors, including railways. This will also help various government companies: if one government company bans a supplier, it’ll be automatically banned for all government companies.
Performing well in industryThe most important measure is to ensure that machines are the most reliable and competitive to the customers’ satisfaction. The component, types of accuracies, production rate, and machine life are the prime considerations before suitable machine is suggested to the customers. The strong application, tooling, and service support will be given emphasis. Regarding government tenders, recommend manufacturers offer machine only when suitable machine can be offered at the most competitive price. Manufacturer should also work on small margins to be competitive and increase volume to generate good turn over than few machines with higher margins.
Actions to counter constraintsA company should promote only technically sound, competitive machines with strong support in application, tooling and execution. It should also offer other liaison services at nominal price and expands scope in other types of machines and materials. Additionally, the company needs to tie up with a few strong, reliable partners. It needs to work through only committed, reliable professionals. This should help the major constraints faced by many at present. It also take corrective actions on constant feedback obtained from customers, manufacturers and professionals involved in the project. It also needs to encourage out-of-box ideas from all which will help improve the business.
New initiativesUniversal Engineering Consultants wants to maintain the minimum overheads and expenses. It hires services case-to-case basis. The company also uses electronic data transfer, Internet, and Skype conference for fast, easy communications at low cost. Universal focuses on uniform justice to all who are involved in the project to ensure high moral and keeps total transparency among manufacturers, customers and professionals. Additionally, the company maximises indigenous component to bring down the foreign exchange contents and develops the company as the most reliable with value for money.
Manufacturing growth of 25%The manufacturing growth of 25 per cent in GDP is not impossible but difficult to achieve unless the mindset of all including directors, executives, staff, workmen, suppliers, customers especially from government and public sectors is improved to a large extent. Chinese, Korean, and Taiwanese people are very hard working and highly disciplined workforce and offer machines and equipment with reasonably good quality at short delivery as well as competitive price. They are the big threat to Indian manufacturers today. The need of hour is to keep in mind these factors, keeping behind the personal interest. India too needs to work in the way Koreans and Chinese work. There is no reason why India can’t achieve the manufacturing share to 25 per cent of GDP from present 15 per cent. Last but not least, India must follow the principle of lion to achieve our goal: “No matter the economy of the jungle, I can never eat the grass. It is not pride, it is just who I am.”

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