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We are investing in digitalization

We are investing in digitalization, says Anil Lingayat, EVP and Business Head, Godrej Material Handling

With the unabated growth of e-commerce industry the need for MHE products in warehouses have changed drastically. Keeping with demand and customer’s feedbacks which are the MHE products you have launched for warehouses in the last three years? 
The Indian Material Handling Equipment (MHE) sector is poised for rapid growth and a quantum leap in terms of growth and penetration. From favourable governmental policies to consumption-led growth, everything has contributed to this optimistic outlook. In past three years, we have launched path breaking products like the 3-Wheel BravoElectric Forklift and SKUtro. 
3-Wheel Bravo Electric Forklift can be counted as one more step in Godrej’s mission to provide its partners with a complete intralogistics solution. It’s a dock-to-stock model which can move material from a container to the rack. This indigenously developed machine can maneuver around tight corners with one of the best turning radiuses available in the industry. It has the best in class safety features to prevent harm to person, property or goods.
SKUtro, our latest product is a first-of-its-kind mobility-cum-transport solution. SKUtro brings quick mobility in manual transportation of light loads economically; across warehouses, factories, malls, hospitals, offices without compromising on safety. It helps in the faster turnaround time.This innovative product, which is available pan India, addresses the problem of low productivity and fatigue in employees. It helps to increase productivity by 25 percent and reduces fatigue, as material handlers can conveniently move packages from one point to the other while riding SKUtro instead of walking long distances. 
Articulated Forklift is a unique product dock-to-stock offering which combines the robustness associated with forklifts with narrow aisle performance of warehouse trucks. The Godrej Articulated Truck can reach heights of up to 12.5 metres and work in as narrow an aisle as 1800 mm. With the narrowest aisle and ability to work under tough surface conditions, the Articulated Truck is a warehouse workhorse and delivers results right from day-one.
What are the features of these products (including IoT, telematics, clouds, automation, etc) and how are these products helping in delivering the desired products in record time?
Latest technology such as telematics, IoT used in the material handling space provide real-time information of the equipment’s performance, location and the usage which is continuously analyzed through cloud computing, allowing value across the chain to all stakeholders. For example, a customer will know the location of his equipment, its usage, fuel consumption, an accident occurrence and more, thereby allowing him to take corrective action.  A manufacturer who is continuously monitoring the truck can trigger a service input to the customer for preventive and predictive maintenance. They can also reach out well in advance before any equipment failure occurs and use this data for continuously analyzing, improvingand providing solutions for their future models. This allows for a win-win situation across the stakeholder chain. We are investing in digitizing our customer experience, by providing connected smart services at affordable prices and have plans to offer this as our standard offering in the near future. This will be applicable only for all the new trucks which we will produce and sell but also we will create solution kits which can be retrofitted on our existing trucks in the market place for customers to drive value from the earlier investments made.
Please takes us through your tie-ups and partnerships with various organizations to provide better products to the customers?  
We are partners with Crown since 1996 for its entire range of products right from basic hand pallet trucks, powered pallet trucks, stackers, reach trucks right up to man-up Turret Stock Picker which can reach lift height of 17+ metres. Crown, like Godrej, is a family owned business and a global leader in Electric Warehouse Trucks. Our partnership with IMER is since 2010 for its range of Aerial Work Platform which includes Scissor Lifts, Articulated Boom Lifts and Crawlers. These equipment are used for enhancing safety of men while working at heights as high as 18 metres.
To maneuver these products requires a definite set of skills. What are skills developments training you conduct for your operators?
In an attempt to bridge the gap in skill sets, we began offering vocational training in October 2012 as part of ‘Good & Green’. Good & Green - the Godrej Group’s CSR initiative - aspires to create a more employable Indian workforce by training one million rural and urban youth in  different skills across various sectors, that will enhance their income earning potential. We registered with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for the Skill Council in the Logistics sector and were the first Indian OEM to receive accreditation as a training partner with the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal VikasYojana (PMKVY) to impart MHE operating skills. We began with three training centres in Bhubaneswar, Pune and Chennai, which provide free training to youngsters. The syllabus focuses both on theory and the practical aspects of handling equipment and trainees also receive support for job placements. Over 500 operators have received training in the past five years and more than 60 percent of these have been employed by corporates, rental companies, and in the Middle East. These trained operators have been earning between Rs. 10000-15000 per month, which is a huge differential over an untrained workforce. The training centres have also helped boost the local economy and have created employment opportunities for youth in the surrounding areas. 
To keep ahead of the competitors an organization has to innovate and improve on its products. What are the R&D efforts you are taking in this regards?  
We are investing in digitalization to enhance customer experience by providing connected and smart services. This shall enable customers to have visibility of their fleet in real-time, especially those spread across multiple locations. We aim to empower customers with data, information and historyof their Godrej machines, while on the move.
What are the after sales services you offer for your warehousing clients?
At Godrej, we believe in customer satisfaction, hence, we not only makeproducts that keep our customers’business moving but also give the bestafter sales service and make sure they arecomfortable and satisfied with theproduct. We have a strong network ofover 100 qualified, trained, andexperienced field force comprising ofengineers and technicians spread across15 branch locations across India. Theyprovide prompt and competenttechnical assistance and intervention.This is supported by a wide network of 54 dealers present in over 70 locationsfor spare parts and technicalinterventions. The team is managed bya specialized Technical Cell at Mumbaito train, guide and support this largefield force. Spares’ stocks maintained atMumbai, various branches and withdealers ensure a high degree of partsavailability.
Economic downturn and NBFC crisis have aggravated the purchasing power of customers. What are the rental and financial schemes you offer and also tie-ups with various financial institutes? 
In the Material Handling Industry, capex in equipment is only 13 percent of Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) to a consumer.So in July 2019, we launched Godrej RenTRUST, our new rental solutions brand to address the balance 87 percent of the TCO pie and provide end-to-end solutions to our customers. We are the first Indian OEM to provide end-to-end rental of material handling equipment that serves 3PL, retail, E-commerce, airports and manufacturing industries across India. Along with the equipment, it also offers fuel, service and trained manpower for a variety of applications 24x7. The facility comes with real time facilities such as a digital monitoring system and IoT enabled fleet management system that enables customers to have a transparent view of the equipment deployed at their facilities, submit and review logged requests along with customers to track the equipment status, fleet productivity, fleet utilization and  equipment uptime. We have tied up with a few financial institutes which provide easy loan schemes to customers. This option has been given to dealers to infuse capital in their dealership. We have seen an exponential growth in the market and such programs have helped channel partners to keep pace with the growing market.
Please take us through your dealer’s network?
As a market leader, we have been a front runner in the market for various initiatives. We began appointing dealers right from the early 2000s and presently, have built a strong network of 54 dealers that are present in over 70 locations across India. We acknowledge them as an important stakeholder in our ecosystem which has enabled us to retain most of our channel partners since their inception.
What are your growth plans for your organization? 
Having a steady stream of new products and technologies to introduce to the market is one of the things that has kept us ahead. While products are important, so is service. We have developed a range of service offerings ranging from simple annual service contracts to complete operations and maintenance contracts and beyond. We also offer forklifts on rent to our customers who want to stay asset light or need additional equipment to meet peak demand. We have also been making significant investments in our manufacturing facility for capability and capacity expansion.
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