The material handling industry has been kept on its toes thanks to the rapid pace of development happening across the country in this area, and Sany Heavy Industry India has been a key player in this segment. Auto Tech Review recently caught up with Deepak Garg, Director & CEO, Sany South Asia & Sany Heavy Industry India, to get an overall perspective of the company’s operations in India and key challenges facing the sector.
The material handling industry in India is currently in a nascent stage and is unorganised, so there has been inadequate technological movement in the past few years. As a prominent player in this segment, Sany sees this as an opportunity to develop its expertise for the domestic market, similar to its market approach for the mining segment, which it entered last year. Garg said that he aims at bringing the culture of safety, quality and productivity for both B2B and B2C businesses, to ensure higher standards in each of the aforementioned domains.
The products manufactured by Sany are relevant for developed countries where material handling equipment manufacturers operate. What is important is to also make them relevant both from an engineering as well as robustness standpoint, for the Indian context, said Garg. To ensure this, the company offers attachments which are directly relevant to the specific applications required in the Indian infrastructural scenario.
Whether it is ceramics, paper or the agro business, earth moving equipment makers must ensure that their machines find acceptance for any kind of work that Indian customers require. Garg mentioned that all Sany machines are built as per the emission norms and guidelines prevailing in the domestic market. Safety remains the biggest concern for material handling today, especially in less organised sectors like construction, where many risks are prevalent.
THE INDIAN SCENARIO
Being a part of a highly dynamic sector, brand recognition is very important for an equipment manufacturer in India. Most of the export markets already have suitable equipment from local suppliers, who often have a better understanding of local requirements. The opportunity lies in addressing the needs of those sectors that are yet untapped. The company has successfully broken into many countries with its made-in-India products and ensures that brand India is recognised globally. This not only helps promote the company as a trusted name in the material handling space, but also adds value to India-made equipment, which is required to perform multiple tasks with dexterity, Garg said.
Many sectors which use Sany’s equipment currently do not have the relevant exposure to international standards of quality and safety. The automobile segment leads the way, along with the auto component sector in terms of technology and best practices adoption. However, the industry as a whole develops in various forms, at varying speeds and at various junctions. Sany has been on the lookout for opportunities in industries where it sees potential for technology to penetrate. As India transforms itself, the company sees material handling as an opportunity to help other sectors grow and realise their full potential, Garg added.
AREAS OF GROWTH
The segment currently driving infrastructure growth in India is the roads and highways sector, while there are positive developments happening in the irrigation sector in some States as well. As an active contributor to the Make in India campaign, the company is keenly observing the emerging potential in sectors like railways and urban rejuvenation, which are being touted as the backbone of the central government’s Smart City project. In the next one or two years, the company expects the real estate sector to also generate substantial demand, despite the troubles it’s currently going through.
Sany has been operating in India for a substantial period and has diverse experience in terms of operational and implementation challenges. While a lot of organic development has come up in the past few decades, what equipment manufacturers would like is to have multiple and complicated business processes simplified for seamless operation. This would help in accessing markets like India quickly, without the hassles of rampant bureaucratic control.
THE WAY FORWARD
Garg believes that it is heartening to see the competition between States today, which are competing to reach certain standards of technological prowess, which eventually translates into more jobs and higher safety and quality adherence [especially in the context of the automotive industry]. This also attracts substantial investments for the State and creates a talent pool, which is willing to adopt technology prevalent in the global markets. The availability of skilled manpower, both in manufacturing and in operations of the equipment, is another area of opportunity for the construction equipment industry. Garg hopes that the Make in India initiative gains significant ground in the coming years and the material handling industry gets to do its bit for this vision.
It is also important for this industry to ensure cost-competitiveness – the company believes that merely launching a product based on European requirements will not deliver the desired results. Instead, working closely with local vendors, assessing ground-level domestic requirements and providing robust aftersales service will yield success in a market like India. The change of regulations, with greater emphasis on safety and cleaner emissions, will help the company though it will still need to evaluate the cost position and decide whether it can be competitive in this market.
TEXT: Anwesh Koley