‘India is a big growth story waiting to happen’

Zoomlion TCT7527-20 flat top tower crane installed at NCC Thermal Power Plant, Nellore.

Tushar Mehendale

It has been only 36 years, and ElectroMech has already made its name as the largest industrial overhead cranes manufacturer in India. With a significant presence in more than 25 countries, the company has been carrying loads across industries. In an exclusive interview, Tushar Mehendale, Managing Director, ElectroMech, talks about ElectroMech brand and why we’re at the beginning of another growth phase in India.

What are ElectroMech’s most demanding products?

It’s very difficult to say because we cater to different industries and each industry has requirement for different types of products. For example, gantry cranes, which are used more in construction industry or outdoor yards, are one of our top selling products. Then we have single girder and double girder cranes which are used within the workshop. Construction companies have their own workshops for the maintenance of their own equipment. CE manufacturers have their own workshops for manufacturing their equipment. If you go to JCB, Caterpillar or Putzmeister, you’ll see a lot of ElectroMech cranes.

How does it feel when other big name equipment manufactures believe in the ElectroMech brand?

It gives us feeling of more responsibility, and we try our best to ensure that we don’t fail in our responsibilities. We are happy to say that majority of our business is repeat orders from our clients. Somewhere we might be doing something right.

You have studied in USA, came back to India and led your family business to a new height. How has the time changed since you started operating business in India?

The one thing is for sure that the industry has evolved drastically over the past 15 years. The scale has increased; the complexity has increased. The customer expectation has increased because they are getting access to better, stronger equipment, day by day. The things that were considered exotic or extraordinary 15 years back are now considered necessity. If someone was considered fantastic 15 years back, the same fellow would be considered mediocre today if the fellow hasn’t upgraded his business or products.

PM Modi’s “Make In India” initiative has turned one this September. How successfully has this initiative been helping India become a global manufacturing hub?

Indian manufacturing sector has never catered to the global requirement, apart from handful of global companies which have set up their plants here in India. The entire global requirement had been taken up by China. With the rising costs in China, the Chinese manufacturing has become non competitive, whereas the Indian manufacturing has become competitive. It’s easier doing business in India because of democracy. It’s easier to find right people here in India.
Then there is communication. If you go to a country like China, communication is a big problem and a lot of things get lost in translation. India doesn’t have that problem. Inherent efficiency of Indian manufacturing sector is definitely much higher, and it’s about time that global companies starts talking note of it, and that’s what “Make In India” is all about. It’s all about market forces which will ensure that investment in manufacturing will happen in India in a big way.

In 2011, the urban population was 377 million, or 31 percent of the total population. By 2025, 42.5 percent of the population is estimated to be living in cities. How it altering the dynamics of construction equipment industry?

Dynamics are definitely going to change because you have to build taller, better quality buildings faster. For doing this, you have to change your methodology completely. You can’t rely on older technology. For construction equipment, India used to be a dumping ground for obsolete equipment. Now it’s no longer the case.

Where does ElectroMech stand in exporting “Make In India” products?

Currently 35-40 per cent of our revenue comes from export. We are exporting to more than 40 countries with our ElectroMech products. We have our partners in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria. Then we have our own companies in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. We are actually strengthening our wings to go out and export.

What policies are you expecting from the government to reform the construction equipment industry?

Well, the expectation is always going to be more. That’s our human nature. Things are definitely moving at a faster pace. It’ll take some time for general public to realize what exactly is happening. When you move a little to the top, it takes some time for that action to percolate down to the bottom. I have confidence that things are definitely moving as long as everyone keeps working towards progress and moving towards the right direction, the nation can get benefitted from that.

Where do you see the India in general and your company in particular by 2020?

In the next 5 years, India will be a different place. We’re at the beginning of another growth phase in India. As long as we have FDI and good facilitation with the government in terms of easier taxation, India is going to grow as China grew from 2000 to 2010. India is a big growth story waiting to happen.

As far as ElectroMech is concerned, we’ll be at lease 3-4 times of what we’re today.

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