Backhoe loaders have gained paramount importance in the construction industry due to their versatility in operations and compact size. The past few years have favored the use of backhoe loaders in the residential construction sector, owing to rapid population expansion and rise in gross household disposable incomes in the developed as well as developing economies.
In light of this Masterbuilder had one to one chat with Jasmeet Singh, Head – Corporate Communications and External Relations, JCB India Ltd., wherein he shared insights on backhoe loader market, safety provisions and on the demand of backhoe loaders.
Here are the excerpts of the interview.
As a major player in the Indian market, how would you describe the backhoe loader market growth over the past five years? What are the demand drivers and forecast for the near future?
Backhoe Loader continues to be a growing market in India. It has been one of the most widely used equipment in Indian Construction Industry and till date, it can be seen at almost every construction site in the country. Its versatility and mobility is what makes it so popular in the market. The machine has played a significant role in the development of India’s infrastructure since it was introduced by JCB in India almost four decades ago. The Backhoe Loader is JCB India’s flagship product and has proved its importance and utility over the years. Today, over 2,25,000 Backhoes are working across the country in various projects.
The machine finds great to use at almost every construction site, in both urban and rural India. This multi-purpose machine performs a variety of tasks at sites and is primarily used for digging, dozing, levelling and in general site applications. Increase in the execution of infrastructure projects, large or medium scale, have led to the increase in the demand of this world class machine. We see this machine being used in almost every sector project ranging from Roads and Highways, Railways, Irrigation, Rural Roads, Housing, General Construction, and Maintenance etc.
We feel the future prospects are also strong for this product as every construction site requires a general purpose machine which is not versatile but also is mobile. The significant outlay announced by the Government in Union Budget 2018 for creating physical infrastructure in education, health sector, link roads, affordable housing will continue to boost the demand for Backhoe Loaders. Rural Roads also present significant opportunities for this segment followed by areas such as Sea Ports and Airports.
JCB has the world’s largest Backhoe manufacturing facility in Delhi-NCR and in addition to this, it also manufactures Backhoes at its latest facility in Jaipur. With this, we are fully committed to ensuring that JCB remains close to its customers.
Automation, operator comfort & safety and fuel-efficiency are some of the key factors that customers expect from new-age backhoes. What innovations have you introduced in recent times, in order to address these requirements?
Productivity, reliability, profitability continues to be the primary deciding factors for buying the equipment for the customers however, safety and operator comfort are also becoming critical parameters in the overall buying decision. The JCB Backhoe Loaders exhibits a range of class leading features which have been designed and engineered to meet the customer and market requirements.
In December 2017, we introduced the iconic JCB Backhoe Loader – the 3DX Xtra with 30 new innovative features, including 15 industry firsts, and five World’s first including an AMT which is an Automated Manual Transmission called Easy Shift. Apart from this, this world class machine comes with as an SOS switch, Economy and Power Mode, Guide me home, and Smart App machine Diagnostics.
JCB has also taken cognizance of evolving customer needs and has come up with solutions pertaining to reduced Cost of Operation, Enhance Reliability, Performance, Ease of Use, Safety, Serviceability and Design in its new ecoXcellence range of Backhoe Loaders.
Cost of Operation
- 10% more fuel efficiency in duty cycle along with additional savings of 5% in yearly maintenance cost
- Reduce wastage of fuel while idling of machine
- Options of choosing Economy, Standard, and Plus mode – this helps in saving fuel as per the work requirement
- Boom & dipper joint has floating pin design like Big Excavators which enhances its life
- Wider Dipper to make structures more reliable
- Anti-rust coating on stabiliser padlock nuts to enhance the life of internal threads
Ease of use
- A bigger pedal and nearly zero effort foot and hand throttle with no wire control
- Hydraulic Filter clogging indicators to enhance life and save undue repair cost of hydraulic components
- Know exact operation of the machine during the day with trip hour meter switch on a digital display
- Additionally, Digital Speedometer that shows operating speed and gear
- Guide me home’ feature: After parking machine’s external light will switch on after ignition off and switch off automatically after 30 Seconds. In this duration operator can identify his way, belongings, etc. while leaving the machine / site after the parking
- SOS Switch: In case of emergency, if operator pushes the SOS switch for 5 seconds, an automatic emergency SMS will be sent to the Livelink command center / owner’s mobile
- It also has the feature of Data Analytics to know the operational behaviour of the machine
- Higher Uptime due to Quick identification of the problem- Smart app connects with Bluetooth on the machine and can exactly tell which part of the machine has concern
- Audio Visual warning system for any malfunction along with an error code display. Operator can tell the error code to Service engineer while call log so that he is better prepared to address the same before he arrives at site
- Coolant Indicator window on top of the radiator tank helps in the protection of Engine components
- Bolder exterior for new upgraded models
- Bold color scheme inside the cabin to give a refreshed feeling inside
What has been your view on business development, especially given the rise in construction activity and, therefore, demand for backhoes?
The last two years have been exciting for the Indian Construction Equipment Industry. The Government has continued to make infrastructure creation a pillar for sustained growth through significant budget allocations, which have thus created growth opportunities for Construction Equipment.
Presently, the Roads and Highways sector has been generating consistent demand for our Equipment. A significant area of opportunity is to have more demand drivers for our industry for sustainable growth. Sectors such as Irrigation, Railways, and Water Conservation have shown potential and we are hopeful that they will start driving demand in the coming times.
Backhoes continue to be a popular product in India and with significant infrastructure creation opportunities, the demand for this equipment is expected to grow.
How do you collaborate with your customers with regard to tweaking products or developing newer models that are suited to supporting their business requirements? What is in the pipeline in terms of new backhoe products or value additions for the Indian market?
Each product introduced by JCB is a result of series of in-depth market analysis and customer feedback sessions. Right from designing to engineering to manufacturing, JCB believes in keeping the customer at the centre of every product. All our offerings, be it our range of world leading products or the aftermarket support, are focused on ensuring customer satisfaction. Our machines work at difficult and arduous sites, therefore, they need to be designed to withstand extreme working conditions with maximum output.
At JCB, we continually innovate to ensure our customers received the best-in-class equipment. Latest from JCB is the innovative and intelligent range of machines that exhibit the blend of technology and digital innovation to meet the demand for world class machines to build India’s Next Gen Infrastructure.
We have stepped up our offerings to provide the latest solutions based on the evolving customer trends through customer centric apps and by integrating Internet of Things through our advanced Telematics Technology, Livelink.
The JCB Livelink technology has been a game changer in the Indian Construction Equipment industry. Introduced in 2015, Livelink allows effective fleet management – it helps our customers remotely monitor and manage their machines. Users, Dealers and JCB get SMS alerts on their phones regarding the Service, Operations and Security of their machine. This data is stored over a period of time and gives vital information to the customer in terms of number of hours the machine has been operational, service intervals, fuel levels, malfunctions if any, etc. This technology aims to deliver constructive, real-time information to increase productivity and efficiency.
The Geo fencing and Time fencing feature gives out SMS alerts whenever the machine moves out of the designated, pre-determined geographical areas or works outside the pre designated time limits. The machine through the hardware and the mobile network will give out an alert when operated beyond the designated timings or the geo fenced areas. These features are particularly useful where machines are prone to theft and misuse. There are various instances where JCB machines which were stolen have also been recovered as they appeared on the monitoring system the moment they were switched on.
To monitor these machines in real time, we have set up a world class command centre at our Ballabgarh facility. Our dealerships have also set up similar Livelink command centres to ensure that real time support is provided to the customers as they can now plan for service schedules and also engage with users and customers in preventive maintenance.
Moreover, with the advent of digital technologies, users can now control their entire fleet in real time and all the critical machine information is available on their smart devices in the form of digital applications such as JCB Livelink app, JCB Smart Serve App and Smart Machine Diagnostics app.