Japanese multinational construction equipment maker Komatsu has been present in the Nepali market spanning a period of nearly three decades. The world’s second largest heavy equipment manufacturer which has been selling a wide range of machines through its Nepali distributor Continental Trading Enterprise recently introduced the KOMTRAX system, a satellite monitoring technology. The system enables the operators of the Komatsu machines to monitor the overall status of the machines remotely through their computers and smartphones. Kiyoshi Mizuhara, Managing Director of Komatsu India Pvt Ltd was present during the launch in Nepal. In an interview with New Business Age, Mizuhara talked about Komatsu’s market in Nepal, prospects and future plans. Excerpts:
How do you see the market in Nepal for heavy equipments?
The construction industry is one of the backbones of any economy. The construction sector here contributes about 10 to 11 percent to the country’s GDP. As per our prediction, demand for heavy equipments in Nepal will see a 20 to 25 percent boost this year compared to last fiscal year mainly due to the increasing construction of hydropower, irrigation, airport and real estate projects.
Various heavy equipment brands have entered the Nepali market in the recent years. What competitive strategies is Komatsu employing here?
Many brands have emerged in the Nepali market over the last couple of years due to new government policies and development plans. Komatsu’s competitive strategy is always to deliver the latest technology and high quality equipment enabling our customers to work smartly in any working condition globally. We are different from others because of the Komatsu Way (K-Way) in developing operator skills, training customers on safety operations, continuously improving productivity and operating costs, promoting brand value and fulfilling customers’ vision and mission in the long term.
How is the introduction of the new Komatsu machines benefiting your customers here? How are the new models different from their predecessors?
With an impressive state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Chennai, we are manufacturing new variants ranging from 7 to 45 tonnes class of machines that suits the application. The introduction of the Komatsu PC210-8M0 model here is one of the best in the 20 tonne class, which comes with KOMTRAX technology (Remote Monitoring System) enabling customers to make fact-based, strategic business decisions regarding the machines and their operations. This pays off in increased productivity and availability, proactive support, smarter management, and much more.
What are Komatsu’s plans for the future in Nepal and globally?
Recently, Komatsu announced its acquisition of Joy Global, a US mining equipment manufacturer into our portfolio. This acquisition is to strengthen the core mining equipment business in an effort to achieve sustainable growth.
Here, Komatsu is planning service support strategies for our equipments such as proactive customer care on ICT, value addition on fuel saving techniques, recommendations on overhaul of components, life cycle cost studies while also advising on cost reduction, encouraging customers by offering Annual Service Contracts (ASC) and Machine Care Programmes (MCP). We are also focusing on introducing various solutions and concept programmes to our Nepali customers through our distributor.
What areas will you focus on in Nepal and what are your growth strategies for the next 5 years?
In Nepal, most of the growth in the construction industry is likely to come from road, irrigation and hydropower projects. Komatsu will concentrate on developing new product ranges and various special attachments according to the market requirements and work closely with our distributor to have better returns on investment for our customers in Nepal. Apart from this, we also have plans for product upgradation, reinforcing the spare parts business and service networks through our authorised distributor. This is a part of our KAIZEN activity (Japanese way of continuous improvement).
As compared to your global presence, what quality assurance practices do you implement in your Indian manufacturing plant?
The fundamental principle of MONOZUKURI (Manufacturing Craftsmanship) lies in Komatsu’s commitment to quality and reliability. Through this philosophy, Komatsu introduced competitive DANTOTSU (unrivaled) products into the market and provides services and systems with substantial features globally. Quality at Komatsu India begins with the formation of QC Circles for each aspect of production. All our machines are put on test tracks for trial runs to ensure quality and safety. Quality is a process, not a condition, so we have developed explicit processes for every step on the production chain from order receipts to delivery.