A crystal clear vision dreamt with a pragmatic mindset enables an enterprise to become a truly global organization. On precisely similar lines, “With a vision to partner with customers in building New India with concrete equipment of international standards, to become a world-class design and manufacturing facility in construction equipment field, retain leadership position, provide utmost customer support, and fostering a society responsible for the clean and green work environment, SCHWING Stetter established its India office in 1998,” informs Mr V.G Sakthi Kumar, firm’s Managing Director.
A Chemical Engineer and an MBA graduate from the School of Management, Pondicherry University, Mr Sakthi Kumar has been associated with SCHWING Stetter, since its inception in India, playing an important part in its growth story. He has over three decades of industry experience in the Ready-Mix Concrete and Construction Machinery Business. He took charge as Chief Operating Officer in 2006, and since then made significant contributions to the building of the brand. Having consolidated SCHWING Stetter’s position in India, he went forward to establish SCHWING Brand in SAARC and re-established SCHWING Stetter’s position in ASEAN and AFRICA
He adds, “SCHWING Stetter India has been witnessing a steady growth with more than 50% total revenue increase by year since my induction as the Managing Director. We have been generating 1000+ leads monthly since the advent of the digital marketing initiative in which I played an instrumental role.
We have widened the scope of our CSR activities while permanently offering wage and infra support for schools in the vicinity of all our manufacturing facilities. Even in the adverse conditions caused by the Pandemic, we strived to build a world-class manufacturing facility which resulted in the construction of the Global manufacturing Facility (GmH) in Kancheepuram.
The GmH was inaugurated in 2021 and it has gained a crucial role in developing our production capacity to support our global market requirements. Our dedicated training department has also been in collaboration with the Tamil Nadu Skill Development Corporation (TNSDC) by providing specialized training programs for the youth from Tamil Nadu.
The stats at the end of the 2nd quarter of 2022 clearly show that we have already crossed the total turnover of the year 2021 with persistent teamwork and determination.”
It was in this fascinating interview, that Mr Sakthi Kumar conversed with CIOLOOKINDIA’s team. This candid discussion is highlighted here.
Sir, please brief our audience about SCHWING India, its USPs, and how you are currently positioned as one of the best Construction Equipment Providers.
SCHWING Stetter (India) sells and services equipment like concrete pavers, aerial working platforms, all-terrain cranes, cold milling machines, crawler cranes, excavators, horizontal directional drilling, motor grader, rotary drilling rig, tower crane, truck cranes, wheel loader are our various newer range of equipment that have been launched recently from GOMACO and XCMG.
We cater to the requirement of infrastructure developers and act as an OEM supplier to various cement companies that offer ready-mix concrete. Schwing Stetter has its manufacturing units in 12 countries including Germany, Austria, USA, Brazil, Russia, Ostrava, UK, and India supported by sales and service centers in France, Netherlands, Austria, and Sweden as well as representations in more than 150 countries Worldwide.
Our Global Manufacturing facility at Cheyyar is a smart facility and is one of its kind in India. Inaugurated in 2021, our plans for expansion of the facility pans over the coming three years with capital spending on the 53-acre property. With the automation installed in this facility, we have been able to increase our production process to 12,750 units of concrete equipment per annum.
With a huge increase in our production capabilities, our domestic and international markets are catered to without any delays and with upgraded machinery that has zero manufacturing defects thanks to the NABL-accredited Lab that we have incorporated in the facility.
Tell us more about the firm’s offerings and what aspects make it stand out in the cutthroat competition.
At SCHWING Stetter, we believe that the essence of our brand identity is our ability to stay “Connected to the customer.” To further this belief, SCHWING Stetter India has 27 offices and nine service centres in India with more than 500 service and spares’ teams.
We also have specially dedicated team support in special projects such as HSR, CMRL, etc., to provide quick support to customers which will significantly reduce the breakdown time. With a wide network of Pan Indian service centres and branches, we hold and store all wearable and consumable spares distributed in the nearest location of the machines and major components so that the customer can avail of our services and parts promptly. There is a specialist team of more than 40 members in India providing special support and training to customers on an all-India level.
Being an experienced leader, share your opinion on how the adoption of modern technologies like AI and ML is impacting the Construction Equipment space and how SCHWING is adapting to the change.
The construction equipment industry has also been updating its machinery and services to match the fast-paced modern revolution. By incubating most of the products of industry 4.0 like IoT, IIoT, artificial intelligence, cognitive computing, and cloud computing to their machinery and services in the recent past, while new updates to the whole industry like holographic mapping and drone imaging have elevated the level of quality of maintenance services provided by the vendors of the industry.
The introduction of telematics to the CE Industry has been an integral step in leading the industry to the 4.0 revolution. Telematics features added to heavy-duty equipment like excavators, boom pumps, wheel loaders, etc., have augmented the capability of these machines to perform with consistent productivity. The geo-positioning of the machine, various sensors reporting the status updates of work, and the ability to premeditate maintenance needs of the machine have created a healthy work environment for the machine and assured longer life for the machines. This innovation has given clear visibility on the equipment’s utilization and availability, which has been a major factor in adhering to the project timeline.
We offer top-drawer telematics combined with a premium engine, irrespective of the category of tonnage and capacity of the machine. We offer engines with tuned power curves that optimize power consumption and enables our machines to perform in any condition and any ambient temperatures. SCHWING Stetter XCMG excavators and Loaders are also equipped with ergonomically designed noise-proof cabins for extra operator comfort, safety, and ease of operation.
Considering the current scenario, what initial challenges did you face and what are the challenges now, and how you overcome them?
Initially, we faced arduous challenges in the infra-market and with the global supply chain disruption, technical awareness of end users, etc. We have emerged victoriously in the face of these challenges, and we successfully established our brand identity as the leading supplier of Trenchless technology equipment in the Indian Market.
Our Focus for sustained growth in this segment in the Indian Market is to emphasize on dedicated service and provide precisely analyzed, optimized, and customized solutions as per the productivity requirement. With continued effort, the delivery of advanced and user-friendly technologies for balanced economic progress has become synonymous with the work we do in the market.
With the growing trend of technologies in India, unquestionably Trenchless Technology will play a vital role in all-round development. We are planning to keep upgrading in all possible fields to adopt advanced technologies and continuous expansion in after-sales, Stock points and provide all-around project support for our customers. We have also launched a fully fledges E-commerce portal for our customers to select, pay and track their spare parts and genuine SCHWING oil orders through an online portal.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the Construction Equipment space?
The young leaders of the industry have been notably successful recently, but it has to be seen whether they are leaders with superior emotional intelligence, which contributes to self-awareness and self-management. Leading with emotional intelligence brings out transparency, authenticity, and acceptability by one and all. And I believe that such leaders will bring success to the organization quickly and consistently.
How do you envision scaling SCHWING Stetter India’s operations and offerings in the future?
Concrete Equipment Market Continues to grow with promising YoY growth predictions and expansive investment plans under the schemes from the National Infrastructure Pipeline program from Government.
The sanctioning of multiple infra projects, metro rail, high-speed rail projects, and expressway projects have created an immense demand drive in the CE market and the increased connectivity brought by the completion of these projects also brings promises of larger scale infra projects.
Regarding the emerging trends in the field, Boom pumps are finding a significant space in the RMC sector, like never before due to its one-man operation, thereby deleting excess manpower. Due to the increased demand for ready-mix concrete and due to the huge influx of Projects awarded by the Government, clients are opting for higher-output Batching plants, pumps, and mixers rather than equipment with smaller capacity.