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Construction : Feature | February 2017 | Source : Equipment India

Piggybacking earthmovers growth

Tippers and dumpers are the future gold for the industry stakeholders driven by fast tracked developments, fuelled by growth in construction and mining.

Transportation of raw and processed materials to the desired location is the next but most essential activity arising out of earthmoving. In the infrastructure space, 5-35 tonne payload capacity tippers and dumpers are extensively utilised for this purpose. Technology is the main driving force amongst all suppliers to offer the most efficient and cost-effective transport solutions to this huge market, where numbers dictate the game. Many foreign suppliers have established advanced and high-tech manufacturing facilities within India to offer next-gen and often futuristic transport solutions on new vehicle platforms. Erstwhile established suppliers are maintaining pace with the latest.

Market trends
GV Rao, Director - Product, Brand and Marketing, Volvo Trucks India
, explains, ´Volvo Trucks is present in a niche segment of high-performance trucks in Indian market. Being present here for over 18 years, leading through high-technology and innovative products and services solutions, Volvo has consistently commanded more than 60 per cent market share in high performance premium segment. Recently, Volvo ended calendar year 2016 with 67 per cent market share in more than 400 HP premium truck segment. Volvo is primarily present in heavy duty mining segment through our 8x4 and 10x4 ranges, which constitute about 80 per cent of sales in India. Most of Volvo customers are either contractors or Mines Developer and Operators (MDOs) who own the truck by themselves. Though many of these customers are long term players in the mining segment, Volvo recently saw a trend of new players venturing into mining field; some of them are already established players in other segments. Among other application segments, Volvo is a prominent player in heavy haulage segment for Over-dimensional/Weight Cargo (ODC/OWC) movement. Volvo tractors are also sold in applications like petroleum and chemicals, bulk cargo, construction etc, and as tip-trailers in applications like coal haulage.´

Siddharth Kirtane, Head Sales & Marketing - Value Trucks, Mining Business, VE Commercial Vehicles, elaborates on the market trends by highlighting, ´Eicher Pro Series continues to make inroads into a variety of mining applications. Considering that coal is the largest volume of mineral mined in the country, Eicher´s majority of volumes are also coming from this segment. Eicher is also present in iron ore, limestone, clay, manganese and other applications. With the newly introduced Pro 8031 XM, we are expecting to strengthen our position in the coal overburden application. The Eicher Pro Series is developed with a vision of relevant modernisation. Built-in collaboration with Volvo Group, the Eicher Pro Series delivers the best-in-class fuel efficiency, and is designed for robustness and productivity requirements in mining.´

According to RC Mangal, Senior Vice President - Sales & Marketing, Truck and Bus Division, Mahindra & Mahindra, it would be difficult to split volumes in terms of owners, hirers and transporters because most of the time, roles are switched/changed depending upon the transportation being taken up. He explains, ´Mahindra has a wide range of products to meet the requirements of each and every operation/application. On heavy commercial vehicle (HCV) platform, Mahindra commands about 3.5 per cent market share. Within this category again, Mahindra has offerings in terms of haulage tippers and tractors. Mahindra´s acceptance of tippers has grown over a couple of years and command about 5 per cent market share.´

Market opportunities
Roads and mining are merging as the prime opportunities for the growth of this market. The most popular range is 25-35 tonne payload capacity dump trucks while multi-axle configurations are steadily gaining traction in the market. It would be appropriate to note that use of multi-axle tippers ensures compliance to the RTO load regulation of 9.8 tonne load per axle without compromising on load capacity. As a result, the traditional practice of utilising two-axle trucks with overload in excess of 50 per cent of the rated and permissible capacity, to achieve transportation economics can be penalised by the authorities and curb this operational malpractice.

Rao explains, ´Current trend shows the maximum traction coming from multi-axle tippers in the Indian market. For the FY 2016-17 (April-December), where overall tipper segment grew by around 31 per cent, it was mostly contributed by strong growth of around 36 per cent in 25 tonne and 31 tonne tipper segment. Multi-axle tipper provides the advantage of higher productivity per trip without much compromise on the fuel efficiency; therefore it becomes a preferred choice for transporters with continuous load movement requirement. With Indian market poised for all-round growth in road, infrastructure and power sector, there will be continuous upsurge in mining and construction application segments, leading to growth in demand for heavy-duty tippers. While both 25 tonne and 31 tonne tippers have their own set of competitive advantage, in future we foresee the strong growth for 31 tonne tippers. I am glad to share that Volvo has also pioneered in introducing 10x4 dump trucks for mines into Indian market, which provides dumper-like productivity at tipper-like efficiency.´

´In mining, the application suitability of the product is very important. The product selection depends largely on operating conditions like duty cycle, underfoot conditions, depth of mines etc. For example, in tough and demanding applications usually tippers/dumpers of 400 HP and above are preferred; however, this is a niche and small market. For mineral transport in mines, or soft mining applications, the 180, 220/230 and 280 HP tippers represent the majority of the volumes. The 180 HP tippers continue to represent a major share while the market for 220/230 HP tippers is emerging. This shift is driven by requirements of greater productivity, and overall economics of operations,´ mentions Kirtane.

´Due to better operating economics, currently 25 tonne and 31 tonne tippers are getting maximum traction,´ opines Mangal. He adds, ´There is a lot of investments happening in infrastructure. Apart from this, mining sector is also opening up. Both factors combined have seen high year-on-year growth in volumes for tippers and dumpers.´

Cyclic business scenario
Large and medium fleet owners tend to operate their equipment in the prime efficiency life cycle to extract maximum productivity and operational economy. After operating the trucks during this period, the fleet owners churn their fleet and acquire new one. The ball park life cycle is five years, give and take one year. As a result, major acquisition of new trucks is cyclic and most reputed manufacturers suitably customise their production commensurate to these cycles. It is important to note that since this is an ongoing business activity, it is user-specific and such cycles do not get accumulated in one particular fiscal. However, dynamics like India leap-frogging to BS IV emission norms by 2020 is probably a one-time unique opportunity for the manufacturers and should not be treated as a precedent.

Rao is not particularly disturbed, ´Since we are primarily a mining segment player, our business is largely correlated with progress of mining sector. Last couple of years, due to few delays in government policy reforms, there has been stagnancy in the sector, however, we expect a high growth potential in the coming years with recent new policies and faster clearances in coal block auctions. Our other segments like ODC/OWC movement were impacted negatively over the past few years due to overall slump in infrastructure development in India, but it is picking up at good pace from 2016.´ He further adds, ´With the government´s ambitious plan on investment on building roads, infrastructure, and power, we expect the demand for movement of industrial equipment will increase, leading to growth in ODC/OWC heavy haulage segment.´

Kirtane explains the linkages, ´Our business is closely linked with the power sector, steel and construction segments. The demand for coal, iron ore and cement are the key drivers of tipper business in mining.´

On the other hand, Mangal is focused on the dependency aspects and mentions, ´CV industry is largely dependent upon the economic activity and has quite a direct link to GDP growth as well. We have seen that with the boost in economic activity, overall CV industry expands in terms of numbers. Also, during these times customer acceptance of newer products and brands improves.´

Key drivers: Customer perspective
Indian customers have transitioned from mere buyers to highly educated, prudent and information-based decision makers, in all walks of equipment industry. The age-old paradigms like ´buy the cheapest´ or ´cheap is the best´ or ´buy based on acquisition price based comparison´ are history. Today´s customers conduct fact-based cost-benefit analysis centric to their defined requirements or business models, thereby compelling the vendors to make transparent offers commensurate to their requirements. For the tippers and dumpers segment, it is a huge challenge because of scale of business as well as entry by multinational majors in this arena. Earlier, the choice was either Tata or Ashok Leyland while currently more options like DICV, Volvo, VECV and Scania are significant options to choose from and the customised offerings accompanying each type of product or range.

Rao comments, ´There was a time when purchase of truck was completely driven by the product price. However, over the past 10-15 years, Indian market has clearly evolved, wherein customers have started looking into Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of the truck over its lifecycle instead of its sticker price. Volvo has contributed significantly in changing this mind-set by introducing high technology products able to deliver a lot more value to the customer as compared to the then competitors. In the current market scenario, particularly in tipper and dumper segments, productivity, fuel efficiency and uptime stand as the three key differentiators impacting customer´s purchasing decision, as these have maximum impact on customers´ top-line and bottom-line. While productivity and fuel efficiency is largely driven by product, the uptime is contributed maximum by the service network. And these are the three areas where Volvo scores higher as compared to its competitors, e.g. on product side, we have Volvo FMX 440 8x4 which is considered as a benchmark for a heavy duty mining tipper; on service side, we have more than 200 service touch-points spread all across the country, including some of the remotest mining locations, to support our trucks, which itself is testimonial of our wide service reach. Our premium quality product, supported by wide service network delivering premium services to our customer at their doorstep has helped us create large set of delighted customers in our segment.

´The large mining contractors are primarily driven by overall cost of ownership and excellent aftermarket support. Optimum power and torque as per application and higher fuel efficiency and uptime are the key drivers for these customers. These customers are also looking beyond the product and prefer a partnership approach with OEMs who have expertise to help them optimise their operations,´ joins in Kirtane.

´Customer needs are always evolving and being a new player, we are always looking for new insights and unmet customer needs. Mahindra has several firsts on this platform, starting from customised service package, extended warranty schemes, AMC package etc,´ says Mangal. He goes on to highlight, ´With BLAZO series, Mahindra has gone a step ahead, where customer has option to change the engine power as per the requirement through the world first FUELSMART technology which gives the control of varying the engine power in the hands of driver, and based on road and load conditions, he switches between LIGHT, HEAVY and TURBO modes.´

RTO regulations and GST
Upcoming RTO regulations are expected to drive the manufacturing industry for making product corrections to meet the new dictates. Secondly, higher payload capacity trucks meeting the new RTO norms as well as customer expectations of economy, emission compliance and others will witness higher demand.

On the other side, all manufacturers have created regional and sub depots in every state as part their of product distribution value chain. They are further burdened by dealing with as many variants of tax regulations as the number of states in the country. In simple words it is nightmare with far reaching ramifications to their business. The government has recognised this problem area and has proposed introduction of GST.

The industry talks about both critical issues and their level of preparedness. Kirtane informs, ´At Eicher, we are working ahead on meeting the regulatory requirements. Our base engines are capable of being upgraded to meet BSVI requirements. Currently, we are offering BSIII and BSIV tippers. Our mining tippers also meet the DGMS requirements through standard and accessory fitments. We believe that the new regulations are in the interest of the overall industry and consumers.´

Mangal opines on RTO regulation, ´We are ready with BSIV range across our product portfolio which is to be implemented from April 1, 2017 across India and also the range complies with the upcoming HVAC (air-condition) regulation.´ On GST, he says, ´The announcement of GST has created a bit of confusion. Consumers do not know what would happen to the price of trucks. There is a little bit of uncertainty. The business model itself will change because of GST. There will be a move towards higher tonnage trucks. People are still contemplating whether they would buy a 25T or a 40T truck. As GST rolls out, many stockyards will get consolidated. All these factors have forced transporters to be on a wait and watch mode.´

Mangal observes a significant decline in sales across all automotive categories, after the demonetisation initiative. ´We are hoping that GST and Budget would help boost consumer sentiment and improve consumer disposal income.´

Rao joins in, ´We are excited about the introduction of GST in India because, it will eliminate many bottleneck elements from the transport system, making the process of movement of goods much more efficient. This will eventually create demand for high performance truck to be able to do more trips in a given time. Also, the stricter RTO regulations to stop overloading, will lead to shift towards higher capacity multi-axle truck wherever the other operating condition permits. As the market moves towards high capacity and high performance trucks, it would create more opportunity for Volvo trucks in the long haul segment where we have a global leadership position. It will have overall positive impact on our business.´

New technology adoption and adaptation
Technology is and will continue to drive the future. As a result, all suppliers are introducing new trucks packed with high-tech and sophisticated features and systems like onboard diagnostics, Telematics for vehicle tracking, driver assistance systems, load and energy management systems, high end transmissions, latest generation fuel efficient and pollution compliant engines and so on. Most such developments are already in vogue in advanced and developed nations.

Relevant to India, these technologies need to be adopted in the country but in term they have to be adapted to suit the country´s climatic and operational environment. As such the game changer will be how the new technologies are adopted by the manufacturers and adapted at affordable costs because everything said and done India will continue to be a price or cost sensitive market.

Kirtane expounds, ´With the market becoming increasingly competitive, mining contractors and transporters need new ways to enhance their overall economics. The truck needs to be designed for higher productivity not just for itself, but for the men and machines around it. With availability of competent drivers becoming a challenge, there is a need to both eliminate human error as well as provide a comfortable, safe and productive environment to the drivers. There is now a visibility of automatic transmission being used in premium mining trucks. Engines are increasingly failsafe with engine protection system such as the one in Eicher Pro Series. Telematics enables the customer to use data to manage operations more efficiently and therefore requires a back-office in place to translate data into meaningful insights for operations. To sum up, Indian markets are price sensitive and therefore choose to adapt proven technologies which deliver value, while early adopters continue to try out technology to do business better.´

Mangal agrees, ´Since businesses are rapidly moving towards online platforms and focus on Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) in management of the fleet, customers are adopting new technology.´ He adds, ´In Mahindra, ´Technology focus´ is an integral part of our growth. Right from the beginning, we have successfully established ourselves as a technologically advanced player. Our newly launched HCV series ´BLAZO´ comes with FUELSMART, a unique system where truck drivers have the option of choosing the power of vehicles based on load and terrain, thus optimising the operating costs. In medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks, there is a tendency to be slow to adopt technology for a number of valid reasons, like ´show me mentality´, ´smaller margin´, ´limited credible data´. We also believe that by building higher awareness of the benefits of these new technologies, we will be able to accelerate their acceptance and adoption.´

Role of Connectivity and Telematics
Connectivity and Telematics are essential sub sets of technology for adding value to the customers by the manufacturers. Each manufacturer has developed their own version to serve its customers.

Rao informs, ´With customers growing bigger in their business, having larger number of fleet size, becoming more systematic and professional, the demand for fleet management service is going to increase. The Telematics has enormous advantage in improving the fleet management. By remotely knowing about the location of your truck, tracking its performance like engine hours, mileage, fuel efficiency etc, tracking driver´s performance and many more possibilities that come with Telematics, customer can control their operation, continuously work to improve its efficiency and can have better fleet management. That´s the reason - the demand for Telematics in the CV industry is going to only increase. Additionally, the expectation from customer in terms of what all the Telematics should deliver to them is also going to increase, e.g., remote diagnostics, push-information to customer on various other parameters, better service planning etc. Therefore it is imperative that OE manufacturers are ready for further technical advancement in Telematics solution. Volvo´s Telematics solution named Dynafleet is a big step towards providing the customer all they want.´

Kirtane talks about the importance of connectivity and Telematics from the customers´ standpoint, ´Connectivity is catching ground. There are a large number of third-party Telematics providers in the country catering to specific requirements such as fuel pilferage or vehicle tracking. Currently, the consignee/consigner primarily puts the demand for the Telematics on the transporter. As observed in the developed markets, proliferation of connectivity in commercial vehicles will get a major boost with active participation of OEMs by standardising Telematics and enabling services which help their customers to assimilate information and create insights for operational improvements.´

´The acceptance of Telematics in India is growing at a faster rate. There was always an inherent need of truck operators to identify and locate their truck on real time basis. GPS-based systems first tried to address this. Going forward, customers are seeking value-added features through this platform which will contribute in enhancing productivity and will help in increasing savings. Currently, it is being used mainly to track and trace, and the level of adoption of this feature is encouraging.

We have already taken a major initiative in this direction with the introduction of DIGISENSE, which is a Telematics platform that enables operating the equipment remotely to communicate the operating parameters and preventive maintenance aspects, thus ensuring that uptime is maximised. This also has the potential for communicating with other equipment for effective collaboration,´ informs Mangal.

Leadership initiatives
Some interesting initiatives by the suppliers to sustain market leadership actually explains the market dynamics leading to maturity in addressing the market´s needs to achieve the highest level of customer satisfaction.

Rao details, ´Volvo has the widest range of technologically advanced mining trucks of different capacities to meet different customer requirements. Volvo´s promises and delivers the best fuel efficiency in its class. Wide service network to support the customer´s truck at his doorstep, even in remotest of locations.´ On the market approach, he says, ´Our unique approach to the market û We offer wide range of value service offerings like tailor-made service contracts, operational consulting, financing and insurance, fuel advice, driver training etc, which enables us to work towards offering total solution to the customer needs and not just selling the truck. Along with our group companies û Volvo Construction Equipment and Volvo Financial Services - we have an excellent opportunity to offer an end-to-end solution to our customers to meet their diversified requirements.´ Explaining on Volvo´s understanding on the market, Rao says, ´Our understanding of the market - More than 18 years of our presence in the market and having worked in close association with customers with our vast and direct sales and service network, we have good understanding of the customer current and upcoming needs and demands, and are in a better position to cater to it.´

Kirtane dwells on relationships, ´Our relationship with our customers, innovative products and services that focus not only on the essential drivers of transport economics but also on delivering a premium experience, are our strength. We shall continue to focus on learning more from our customers and offering them the right solutions to meet their current and future needs.´

Mangal elaborates on MTB´s range, ´Our new BLAZO product line in heavy commercial vehicles of 25T to 49T, with our DISRUPTIVE Customer Value proposition of Mileage Guarantee (get more mileage than your existing truck or give back the truck) and service guarantee (back on road in 48 hours or we give customer Rs 1,000 for each extra day) is gaining in popularity and have caught the imagination of very discerning HCV customers. This will surely be our growth engine in coming times.´ ´MTB is also present in light commercial vehicles (LCVs) from 3.5T to 6T for several years and we will further consolidate our strong position with double-digit market share, in coming times. We are venturing into ICV range of products and shall be introducing our brand new offering in near future. We are well on our way to do all that is necessary to become the full range CV player and eventually, the most trusted CV brand of India,´ he adds.

What lies ahead?
According to Rao, the market is expected to move towards high capacity high performance trucks. He elaborates, ´The tipper segment is expected to be primarily constituted of multi-axle tippers with a mix of 25 tonne and 31 tonne trucks and specialised 10x4 dump trucks for niche segment. With government´s focus on creating better road and infrastructure and improving power generation, the demand for high productive machines is also expected to rise for mining and construction segments, creating good market for high capacity dump trucks and articulated haulers.´

´Tipper trucks are making steady inroads in Indian mining and construction sector. The growing acceptance of rigid multi-axle tippers is owing to complete engineering makeover the tippers have undergone in recent years, in response to change in usage which requires multiple utility to be delivered at the sites,´ joins in Kirtane. He adds, ´The new range of tippers are delivering both haulage and dumping solutions. Both multi-axle tippers and dumpers find its own space depending on site, work to be carried out, with more output required per day demand for multi-axle tippers will grow, as it helps fleet owner flexibility to reduce fleet size and carry more load same time. Other factors which augurs well for multi-axle tippers is shortage of good drivers, stricter overloading regulation enforced by different state for transport minerals to end-user, hence more demand for multi-axle tippers with higher load body will grow as rigid multi-axle tippers can do job effectively and offer customers better cost per tonne/km.´

Mangal also talks about articulated trucks, ´Multi-axle and articulated tipper segment has good growth potential. The shift from 16T (2-axle) to 25T (3-axle) took a long time. Shift from 25T to 31T (4-axle) took about seven years. Further, shift from 4-axle to 5-axle (37T) happened in less than half for period. Operating economics has always prevailed in this shift and going forward, we expect the shift to higher GVW category to be rapid. While this shift has been witnessed in haulage trucks, the same has not been as rapid in tipper category. This is largely on account of better operating economics on 25T tipper. Articulated tippers while currently available, aren´t accepted very well on account of higher unit investments.´

The market future is buoyant, double-digit growth year-on-year is on the cards and customer maturity will drive technology, innovations, new products, new configurations and total solutions by the suppliers.

Game Changers
The focus on manufacturing, implementation of infrastructure projects and meeting the power requirements are expected to be the game changers in domestic consumption. Further, focus on active and passive road safety, curtailing overloads, road infrastructure and emissions are expected to propel the demand for high performance trucks.

Siddharth Kirtane,
Head Sales & Marketing - Value Trucks, Mining Business,
VE Commercial Vehicles

The market is rapidly evolving. With several regulatory changes, we expect technology would be a major game changer. Apart from this, we can also expect Telematics to play a major role in being a game changer.

RC Mangal,
Senior Vice President - Sales & Marketing,

Truck and Bus Division, Mahindra & Mahindra
´Technology is the main driving force amongst all suppliers to offer the most efficient and cost-effective transport solutions to this huge market, where numbers dictate the game.´

- Shankar Srivastava

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