The ongoing Pandemic has badly battered the economy. Does infrastructure hold the key to revive the Indian economy? Your views
Infrastructure is a key driver for the Indian economy and it is highly responsible for propelling India’s economic development. As the nation is recovering from the sluggish economy ravaged by Covid-19 the government’s intense focus on Infrastructure investments have proven precedent for a revival of the Indian economy. In an effort to speed up economic growth, the government has also given a massive push by allocating Rs 111-lakh-crore to the National Infrastructure pipeline to cover more projects by 2025. The overall infrastructure development will trigger a big multiplier effect, churning the development cycle through industries like steel, cement, technology and construction equipment, etc. Therefore it will also increase employment and improve supply chain efficiency while developing robust public infrastructure.
How are you adapting to the ‘New Normal’?
The pandemic has dramatically changed the landscape of several industries, including the construction equipment industry. As Covid-19 changed day-to-day office operations across the country, Sany embraced the digital technologies, which helped the company adapt to the new normal. In view of employees’ safety, we initiated work from home and held virtual meetings via online platforms. Vaccination drives were conducted at the plant to ensure inoculation of all members of Sany family. Learning the new ropes of digital technology, we launched sales campaigns and addressed customer queries online. Despite the blues, we successfully converted customers’ leads into sales with judicious use of digital technologies. While post-Covid many will anticipate a return to normal but the intervention of technology has increased so much, which will stay with us forever.
How can the government handhold the MHE and construction equipment sector in this Pandemic time?
With unveiling more new tenders and by increasing investment in the country’s infrastructure development, the government can aid Material Handling Equipment (MHE) and the construction equipment sectors from the pandemic. Moreover, giving a boost to the commercial coal mining sector and bringing reforms, the government can attract more investors and revive the MHE & CE industries. As India is evolving as a vital market for both MHE and CE industries, with the government’s intense focus on infrastructure development both sectors are likely to witness a momentous growth in the coming month.
Covid-19 protocol such as ‘minimum contact’ has further expedited Digital initiatives to be in contact with the manufacturing facility, dealers and end-users. What are the digital initiatives you have taken in this regard?
The Covid-19 has dramatically altered the conventional ways and forced industrial enterprises to rethink all aspects of their businesses to survive in the new norm. From workforce mobility to dealers’ connection and providing service to the end-users during the Covid-19 protocols & restrictions have accelerated the rise of Digital technology.
Under the paradigm shift towards digitalization, we developed a digital ecosystem to redefine the work style and customer experience. Keeping in mind the safety of employees and customers, we initiated an online work process. We addressed the customers’ queries and gave virtual demonstrations of equipment through digital technology platforms. In addition, leveraging the digital technologies we connected all our dealerships and improved the delivery market share among the dealers. We also have launched several digital campaigns to woo the customers and successfully turned the leads into sales with the judicious help of digital platforms.
The Pandemic has further expedited technological advancement such as minimum human intervention by integrating IoT, AI. Towards this, what are the R&Ds going on at your end?
Undoubtedly the pandemic has expedited technological advancements such as IoT in construction equipment. Sany offers the latest technology such as the Telematics system as a standard feature with mini excavators in the country; we are striving hard to introduce more latest technological advancement in its (CE) equipment. In fact Sany India is one of the few OEMs in the country, which spends around 7 to 8% turnover on Research and Development and which keeps us one step ahead of the competition.
How is the exponential increase in steel prices affecting the CE manufacturers and Sany India in particular? Are you renegotiating with steel players for a fixed-price annual contract?
The sharp rises in raw material prices of steel have impacted the recovery of the construction equipment industry, battered by the pandemic. OEMs and as well as the vendors largely MSMEs are currently facing adverse impacts on the cost competitiveness due to the escalation in project costs, as a result of increased steel prices. As the CE industry is struggling hardback to normalcy - the equipment manufacturers are finding it difficult to absorb this high-cost burden. It would be tough to sustain our export orders if the prices do not reduce. However, the government has assured to take appropriate measures to tame rising steel prices by reducing the logistics cost and import duty. We hope that they will provide relief to the CE manufacturers and MSMEs, which has been hit hard amidst the raging pandemic.
Concerned about the same, we also have tried to negotiate for a fixed-price annual contract from our suppliers. But as the current circumstances are also not in favour of steelmakers and they are incurring heavy losses due to inflation. It seems impossible right now to finalize such a deal.