By Rohit Vaid
New Delhi, Sep 29 (IANS) The Centre backed massive infra creation push has rekindled construction equipment major JCB India’s expectation of a sustained business revival despite the persistent battering by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a conversation with IANS, JCB India’s newly appointed Deputy CEO and MD Deepak Shetty cited recommencement of infra projects as ‘green shoots’ for the sector.
The performance of the construction equipment segment within the capital goods industry is considered as a gauge to measure the overall health of the economy.
Key products such as backhoe loaders, excavators, wheeled loaders and compactors are produced by this sector.
“With the phase-wise unlocking and recommencing of economic activities, we are seeing a revival of construction activity in the country.
“Infrastructure projects are restarting, which is leading to a positive sentiment in the construction equipment industry. A strong focus, along with a sustained spend on infrastructure development, would result in multiple long-term benefits,” Shetty said.
Nearly all infrastructure development projects had come to a standstill in April and May due to the nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are seeing movement in the sector — the months of June, July and August have seen good revival,” he said.
He credited this revival to the Centre’s impetus on construction of roads and highways, which has played a pivotal role in the growth of the sector.
“With the improvement of consumer sentiment in urban areas and the increasing demand from the rural regions, we are hopeful of a brighter future.
“Additionally, the focus on creating 100 new airports, smart cities and metro projects will certainly open up newer opportunities,” he explained.
However, he cautioned that the situation can change quickly, and everything depends on how the pandemic plays out.
“It is important to see how the second half of the year goes. It is critical that the momentum remains.
“We will continue to have a cautious approach for the remaining part of the year and will scale our supply chains accordingly to adjust the demand-supply as per our customers’ sentiment,” Shetty said.
On the sales front, Shetty did not divulge any targets but indicated that some revival in the construction equipment demand has been witnessed in June, July and August.
“As per the initial reports of September, we are seeing some growth and are hopeful that this momentum will continue till the year-end. So presently we are cautiously optimistic about growth till the festive season,” he said.
According to Shetty, mega trends such as creation of rural and healthcare infrastructure across India are set to emerge in the country.
Besides, he pointed out that the pandemic has also accelerated the trend of integrating digital and mechanical technology.
“We have pioneered the integration of digital technology in our range of machines through advanced telematics called ‘Livelink’ almost five years ago. This technology helps in remote monitoring and fleet management of JCB machines which work in off-road and often remote locations,” he said.
“The technology now helps over 150,000 machines communicate real time on machine location, operations, performance, downtime, service alerts and security. Livelink enables better site management and equipment utilisation, thereby improving the operational efficiency and cost-saving of the operations. ‘Geo-fencing’ and ‘Time-fencing’ have enhanced the security for these machines,” he added.
(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at [email protected])