The great convergence
BY Jayashree Mendes
When a construction equipment (CE) manufacturer announces that they have rolled out the 1,000th excavator and 1,001st transit mixer machine from a single plant alone in a short span of nine months, and this at a time when the CE market has not been kind to equipment makers, it is a remarkable achievement.
“There has been a substantial improvement in the equipment market last seven to eight months,” said Sanjay Saxena, vice-president & BU head, heavy equipment & concrete, Sany Heavy Industry India.
Saxena says that it is the Group’s vision to be the Number One in five years in construction equipment in India. It has also set its sights to grow more than 60% year-on-year. And they seem to have done their math.
In order to achieve such targets, early this year, the China-based heavy equipment major committed to invest $4 billion for setting up manufacturing units and wind farms in India. This is a new sector for the company and it seems to be gung-ho about it. In this light, the Indian team is happy that its hard work is paying off.
It was a visit to the Sany India plant at Chakan in Pune that revealed all this and more. Spread over 80 acres, the company has invested over $100 million in the Chakan plant alone. There are ambitious plans for the plant too. Besides manufacturing 2,000 excavators per annum and roughly 30 units of transit mixers per month, and has set up capacity to make up to 50, the plant also serves as the company´s global training centre.
This was the first big Chinese investment in Maharashtra and also the first overseas investment for Sany Group.
It is generally a trend among heavy equipment major MNCs in India to import a large chunk of components from their foreign counterpart and source smaller components from local players. Sany India prefers to deal with local players for a large part of components. It continues to source the hydraulics from Kawasaki in Japan, but the engine is sourced from Cummins, Mitsubishi and Isuzu.
Since commencing operations in the country in 2002, Sany India´s product offerings include batching plants, excavators, truck cranes, and transit mixers, among others.
The company has a production capacity of 5,000 units and has recently ventured into production of truck cranes.
The primary reason for such large capacity is that the company expects a spurt in growth from sectors such as roads, ports, and mining. “There has been a growth in excavators,” says Dheeraj Panda, vice-president & BU head, excavators, Sany Heavy Industry India.
As manufacturing plants go, the Chakan plant comes as a surprise. The red and yellow colour combinations throughout the plant stand out and there is a neatness about it that is rarely seen anywhere else. No components scattered and lying out of place, the workers conduct themselves meticulously in terms of sourcing components from the bin.
The company has also placed its warehouse within the plant and also ensures that world-class spares worth over Rs 50 crore are made available for immediate replacement.
The Pune centre serves as headquarters to Southeast Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific, and also as an export hub for the regions.
Going for growth
Considering the government’s emphasis on infrastructure, there will be a commensurate growth in sales of construction equipment. Over the past 20 years, Sany has seen an increase in sales by 100 times and most of this has come from excavators, heavy equipment machinery, and concrete equipment.
Last year, the company´s sales touched 425 units, and it expects to reach 1,200 this year. One segment that the company has seen growth is in the long reach (LR) excavator segment with 52% market share in the country. In fact, in Maharashtra alone, the company enjoys a 62% market share, which is the prime market for the LR segment of excavators. LR excavators are primarily used in applications like well digging, river or canal cleaning and metro construction. And, its piling and drilling rigs have been used in the Kolkata and Chennai metro projects too.
Keeping with the motto of ´Quality changes the world´, Saxena says the company’s belief stems from its decision to reinvesting about 5-7% of annual sales revenue in R&D every year so that they can stay at the cutting edge of technology. This has resulted in 5,000 authorised patents — the first in the construction machinery industry.
When in 2015-16, several construction equipment makers increased their product range, Sany built a 3,600-tonne crawler crane and manufactured eight units of truck-mounted cranes in India last year. “The Pune plant also manufactures truck cranes of 25-, 30- and 40-tonne. The plant also saw the production of a new range of transit mixers of 6 and 7CBM; batching plants of 30 and 60 CBM; and a 38-tonne excavator,” says Saxena. It is also looking to set up manufacturing facilities for wind projects in the country.
Going forward, Sany India plans to introduce a 48-tonne excavator, truck cranes up to 75-tonne, motor graders, tower cranes and dumpers and wind power turbines. In the road machinery segment, it is looking at launching three motor graders in India – 120, 160 and 200 – as well as enter the pavers market.
With the number of contracts the company has been signing, it is not surprising to know that Sany India might reach its target to grow sales to 6,200 units with a market share of 18% and market size of 34,000 units by 2020.