Takeaway was simple. Every Equipment India (EI) award winner had one person to thank above all: The customer. ¨It´s an honour and I take immense pleasure in receiving another nationally recognised mark as a Bestseller in the compaction equipment segment,¨ said Abhijit Gupta, Managing Director, CASE India. ¨It is a testimonial to CASE´s core philosophy of putting the customer first and high proficiency. Also, it is an acknowledgment of the hard work of the many dedicated and skilled employees who helped position CASE as the market leader in the compactor range.¨
Indeed, the EI awards were instituted to recognise key players, celebrate the fortitude of the construction equipment industry and honour leading companies for their outstanding work. Charting the stormy waters over the past three to four years with patience and prudence, many OEMs and component and aggregate suppliers have been preparing for the much awaited upturn. They have been investing in innovation, diversifying into new product lines, enhancing spares availability and service networks, and even venturing into untapped overseas markets with a clear focus of retaining their customer base as well as extending it in an intensively competitive market.
Welcoming the august audience, Pratap Padode, Editor-in-Chief & Managing Director, ASAPP Media Information Group, briefly touched upon the positive impact of the fall in oil prices on the Indian economy.
¨The good news is that luck is on our side,¨ he said. ¨Oil prices have fallen to last five-year lows helping to rein in our country´s deficit. India is one of the biggest beneficiaries of this oil dip.
At $62 per barrel from $110 per barrel, it has been a huge drop. So while the digital economy makes waves, it is not that the old economy cannot make tectonic shifts.¨
Addressing the awardees and other distinguished guests, Samir Bansal, General Manager-India, Off-Highway Research, the special guest for the evening, said, ¨India offers enormous growth potential for the construction equipment industry owing to the infrastructure deficit in almost every sector, which has a direct correlation with development activities. Except for the North American market, which is growing from a much lower base, opportunities in other markets for construction equipment are limited owing to the slowdown in China, downturn in Japan, a stable Europe and socioeconomic problems in many other parts of the world.¨
Bansal added, ¨The current scenario bodes well for infrastructure as the government has come to power with a development agenda and is the first majority government in 25 years. It is trying to remove all the bottlenecks impeding growth, encouraging bureaucracy to take fast decisions and targeting pension and insurance funds for long-term project financing. Business sentiment has improved considerably and the green shoots of recovery are now visible, although land acquisition and highly leveraged balance sheets of major construction companies are major challenges that need to be overcome.¨
Person of the Year
The accolade of The EI Person of the Year went to Anand Sundaresan, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Schwing Stetter India. Sundaresan was chosen taking into consideration his contributions not only to the company and its customers but in making the Stetter Group invest in India and establish the company as the most enviable player in the concrete equipment segment in the country.
A transformational leader, he steered the business of Schwing Stetter India by introducing best-of-breed products and acting as a catalyst in setting up a design centre to cater to the requirements of the entire Schwing Group.
In his award acceptance speech, Sundaresan said, ¨This award comes as a surprise to me. Having said that, the award indeed encourages me and endorses our focus on innovation and introduction of new equipment from time-to-time to meet the needs of the Indian construction industry.¨ He added, ¨I dedicate this award to over 1,500 employees of Schwing Stetter India, over 8,000 customers, over thousands of equipment operators and all our business partners who have helped us in reaching the position that we are in, this day.¨
The second EI Awards, co-sponsored by Castrol, were given away in different categories of products for their bestselling performance. In the asphalt finishers category under the road equipment segment, Ammann Apollo India was adjudged the Bestseller, while CASE bagged the award for the Bestseller in the compaction equipment category and Caterpillar in the motor grader category. The Bestseller in the wheeled loader category went to Caterpillar again, while BEML received two awards in the mining equipment segment in the rigid dumpers and crawler dozers categories. And in the mobile crane category, Escorts bagged the coveted award. Caterpillar was the silver sponsor of the event.
This year, a new category for award, commercial vehicles (CV), was added to recognise CV majors for innovation and honour fleet owners who play a vital role in the logistics value chain. The EI-Castrol Vectron Trophy for CV Innovation of the Year was jointly won by Mercurio Pallia and Tata Motors. The EI-Castrol Vectron Trophy for The Emerging Fleet Operator of the Year went to Varuna Integrated Logistics while the EI-Castrol Vectron Trophy for Truck Fleet Operator was bagged by VRL Logistics. Summing up on a high note, Bansal said, ¨Off-Highway Research is very bullish on the future of the Indian construction equipment industry and forecasts it to grow by 25 per cent in 2015 to over 58,443 units from a low of 46,755 units in 2014. The industry is estimated to continue growing in the long term and will reach a level of 89,000 units by 2018 at a CAGR of 17.5 per cent over 2014. This growth will be fuelled by increased activity levels in both construction and mining sectors, and increasing demand for all equipment types. The world is looking at India with high expectations and now it has to deliver.¨
The Selection Process
The selection process of winners was highly transparent with an expert jury panel vetting the findings of Off-Highway Research India and Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) with special input from PricewaterhouseCoopers.