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: “Indian banks are reluctant to allocate credits to the construction industry”
Putzmeister Concrete Machines Pvt. Ltd. was founded in Verna Industrial Estate, Goa (as a wholly owned subsidiary of Putzmeister Concrete Pumps GmbH) forming the manufacturing, management, sales and after-sales service centre for India. The Indian market has one of the highest growth potential, but is also one of the less profitable markets in the world, notes

 
Wilfried Theissen, MD, Putzmeister Concrete Solution as he talks to EPC&I about the company’s products while giving an overall market view.

As an established leading player in the Construction Equipment market in the country, what is your opinion on Infrastructure development activity in the country?
Between 2012 and early 2015 the market for construction equipment manufactures shrunk by more than 30 percent. The infrastructure development initiated by the current central government had started to show its positive effects for the industry in late 2015. The sales of construction equipment in comparison to 2015 figures, has risen by an average of 30 percent between Q1 and Q3 of 2016 and Q4 is looking good too.
 
While some research analysts and economists claim that it is skewed more towards road building activity, development of power plants, ports, airports, etc. continue to lag behind. Do you subscribe to this view?
This is unfortunately true. Current focus is definitely on the development of roads, bridges, flyovers…the other major development sectors like power plants, ports, airports are lagging behind. In my humble view the two main reasons are problems in land acquisition and availability of financial resources. The Indian banks are cash weak and also still very reluctant to allocate credits to the construction industry. However, I’m confident that it will be solved over the coming years.

What would you say are the main growth drivers in a highly competitive market?
We at Putzmeister put our customer needs and expectations in the centre of all our activities.
That’s why Putzmeister is the natural choice for existing and new customers.
 
How have the policies and initiatives taken by the government to develop the country’s infrastructure reflected on your company’s growth?
As mentioned before the policies and initiatives taken to improve the country’s infrastructure have had a positive impact on our business and allowed domestic sales to grow substantially.

What are the company’s expansion strategy and potential segments in Indian construction equipment business?
Putzmeister India is geared up to fulfil the upcoming needs of our customers from the best performing and reliable machines over to high quality after sales support as well as on site and application support for all construction sides including finishing. We are constantly monitoring the future needs of our customers and adapting not only our product portfolios, but also our expertise.

In the face of aggressive competition putting strong price pressure, coupled with the liquidity in the market which will impact cash flow and profitability, what are the transformations that leading companies such as yours need to bring about to ensure that you not just grow at a predetermined rate but grow substantially?
The Indian market has one of the highest growth potential, is also one of the less profitable markets in the world. As you said, prices are low, competition is fierce, and since nobody has cash the cash flow is a real headache. Therefore, Putzmeister is continuously striving for excellence in customer satisfaction which in return makes us their preferred supplier.

Many manufacturers in the country are making innovative strides to modify their existing lines to enable them to deliver higher production outputs, improving the productivity and, simultaneously, offering a good RoI. What are your plans on this front?
Putzmeister India’s products are manufactured in our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Goa. Continuous improvement and a lean manufacturing set ups are historically well imbedded in our factory. Our machines are high-tech products and not mass products. Every machine is individually designed and manufactured to fulfil the specific customer needs.

Based on requirements of Indian OEMs’ array of individual products and standards, how are the equipment’s featured and designed to have complete equipment integration?
Putzmeister plants and machines are designed and manufactured to be able to work alone or in combination with any type of construction equipment in any complex job side from infrastructure to real estate. For example, at the biggest refinery of the world, in Jamnagar, Putzmeister had over 40 truck mounted boom pumps running in harmony with many other manufacturing equipment on the same side.

How do you ensure installation flexibility?
Putzmeister plants and equipment are 100 percent mobile and easy to install. Many of our customers either pull our stationary pumps or drive our truck mounted pumps daily from one job side to the other doing sometimes more than 100km/day. Even our Batching plants can be dismantled and reinstalled on another job side in less than one week.

How is the technology placed to suit Indian requirements taking into consideration that the equipment works for extended duty cycles and adverse conditions within the country?
Putzmeister plants and machines are designed to cope with any conditions around the world from -50 C in Siberia, to + 50 C in the African deserts from the heat of a Delhi summer to the heavy rains during monsoon in Kerala.

OEM support and cooperation for future product upgradation is important. How are aspects like prototype performance assessment in varied working conditions being addressed based on the emerging requirements of the Indian customers?
Our RD in Germany takes the inputs of our local RD in Goa to meet the specific requirements of the complex Indian market before designing any new equipment. New products go through stringent and rigorous test bench and field testing before they are introduced into the market.
Furthermore, Putzmeister gives full job side support to our customer to make sure he gets the best performance.

How are you addressing issues regarding affordability, business expansion and retention?
The high performance, quality and reliability of Putzmeister plants and machinery as well as their low depreciation makes our equipment affordable to many customers. Our reputation of quality, performance reliability, expertise and customer support are the main pillars of our expansion and the loyalty of our existing customers.

What would you say are the primary challenges going ahead?
The primary challenges will be skilling the people to operate the equipment needed to realise in a timely manner the infrastructure and real-estate projects, facilitating credit lines to builders and contractors as well as facilitating land acquisition. Putzmeister with other members of the industry is a driving force in the IESC helping to skill India’s workforce. Another important challenge will be the profitability improvement of the CE manufacturing industry in India.

What is your forecast of CE demand in the days ahead?
Putzmeister’s order book and future demands are very strong.

Lastly, any new products and services expected to be launched at bc India 2016?
There will, for sure, be some surprises, but please allow me to give the “primeur” of this information to our customers, but please do visit us at our stand, you will certainly be enchanted.

“The primary challenges will be skilling the people to operate the equipment needed to realise in a timely manner the infrastructure and real-estate projects, facilitating credit lines to builders and contractors as well as facilitating land acquisition.”

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