Continental launches high-tread mileage tyres

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In a bid to further strengthen its position in the TBR segment, Continental India has launched high-tread mileage tyres.

Story by:

Anirudh Raheja

Designed specifically for high tread mileage (within the recommended GVWs), Continental India has launched two new commercial vehicle tyres for highway application. Called the HSR2 α and HDR2 α (10.00R 20), the tyres are expected to help the company to further increase its reach and strengthen its position in the Truck and Bus Radial (TBR) segment. The tyres have been armed with cooler running compound and robust tread design structure to suit the needs of fleet operators. They have been engineered to enable the fleet operators to optimise their operations by achieving lower driving costs. Entering the Indian market in 2011 with the acquisition of Modi Tyres for Euro 18.5 million, Continental India has been producing and distributing bias and radial ply truck and bus tyres as well as radial passenger car tyres out of its facilities at Modipuram and Partapur. Like many other tyre manufacturers in India, Continental has made significant investment in manufacturing.

The pick up in rural expenditure because of a good monsoon and a strong replacement driven sales coupled with rising maturation levels is expected to help Continental to increase its market reach. To expand its reach, Continental has been appointing new dealers and commissioning new showrooms. It recently commissioned its first commercial vehicle tyre showroom at Rudrapur in Uttarakhand. Said Mallika Rawal, National Marketing Manager, that Rudrapur is a vital transportation and industrial hub.

New Tellus hydraulic lubes from Shell

L to R Akhil Jha, Vice President Technical, Shell Lubricants India and Hans Gerdes, Shell Tellus Brand Manager unveiling the Shell Tellus S2 MX and Shell Tellus S2 VX copy

The two hydraulic oils, Tellus S2 MX and Tellus S2 VX, that Shell has introduced, claim to deliver optimum value to the users.

Story by:

Bhushan Mhapralkar

Shell Lubricants has launched Shell Tellus S2 MX and Tellus S2 VX hydraulic oils in India. India marks the first market where these two hydraulic oils have been launched. Expected to be introduced in markets like Singapore, Thailand, China, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Germany, Australia and France progressively, the two hydraulic oils add to the long legacy of Tellus brand which traces its origin to 1947, the year India became Independent. Marking a successful journey of 67 years, Tellus has sprang a family of hydraulic oils over time. The oils find use in a diverse range of industrial applications including the tipping mechanism of tippers, in construction and mining equipment, and in machines used to make automotive parts. Revealed Hans Gerdes, Global Brand Manager B2B Lubricants, “50 per cent of the industrial oil demand includes hydraulic oils.” “Over 3.8 billion litres of hydraulic oil is consumed every year the world over,” he added. India was chosen for the world premiere of the two oils – S2 MX is aimed at stationary applications and S2 VX is aimed at mobile applications, since India and China are the growing markets in the Asia-Pacific region, which accounts for 40 per cent of the world’s hydraulic oil consumption. Of the 40 per cent consumed, India accounts for 4 per cent. Expected to post a strong growth at a time China is moderating according to Hans, the oils have been developed to enable equipment operators to select the one that will help to arrive at an optimum value.

Optimum Value

The two Tellus oils mark the upgradation of the existing range to keep up with the change the industry is experiencing. Engine sizes are shrinking, reservoir sizes are shrinking, density is growing, operating temperatures are rising, and there’s less time for oils to shed the impurities and air that they have picked up during operation. Averred Akhil Jha, Vice President Technical, Shell Lubricants India, that the oils support higher energy efficiency. Claiming that Tellus stood the most stressful Bosch Rexroth CRDI 90245 test, Jha said, “The oils offer improved wear protection, longer oil life, and greater efficiency. Offer CFZG performance, and helps the pump to last longer.” Stressing on the fact that it is the pump in a hydraulic system that incurs the most maintenance cost, Jha mentioned that their concept was about TCO. Claimed to offer four times faster air release in comparison to other hydraulic oils, Shell Tellus S2 MX and Shell Tellus S2 VX are upgraded formulations of Tellus S2 M and S2 V respectively. Mentioned Hans, “Tellus S2 hydraulic oils have set industry benchmark for dependable lubricants. Changes to equipment technology and operating conditions in recent years have placed increasing demands on the hydraulic oil. It is because of this that we have developed two upgraded formulations of Shell Tellus S2 hydraulic oils to deliver dramatically improved performance.” In India, the company caters to OEMs like Eaton, ABB, Alfa Laval, Toshiba, Danielli, Fives, Windsor, Rexroth and others. The company also caters to most construction and mining equipment manufacturers.

For mining equipment

The S2 VX multigrade hydraulic oil is aimed at construction and mining equipment with attention to their changing nature. Said Jha, that the new hydraulic oils are fully compatible with previous generation Shell Tellus S2 hydraulic oil and most other mineral oil based fluids in the market. It will be easy for customers to introduce the new formulation to their equipment.” He drew attention to the Tellus range playing a role of successful lubricant partner in some of the world’s largest projects; from construction of massive tunnels for the Beijing metro to helping one of the largest diggers in the world like Komatsu. “Shell Tellus range of Hydraulic Oils have also been used in aiding two robotic arms – ‘Romeo’ and ‘Juliet’; to carry out complicated processes on the Ferrari’s engine production line, among others,” averred Akhil. Hans, stressing upon India as the world’s fourth mining intensive country, said that the use of Tellus in equipment would help to improve efficiency and reduce downtime. “At Shell, we are looking at playing a role in safety,” said Akhil. Apart from helping to address the instances of rising oxidation in equipment due to their rising working hours and adverse operating conditions, the S2 VX promises to help maintain thermal stability.

Claimed to deliver TOST (Turbine Oil Stability Test) life of over 5’000 hours, three times that of typical industry and OEM limits, and double that of the previous generation of Shell Tellus S2 (2’500 hours), the Tellus S2 MX and S2 VX, with excellent filterability, consistent water separation and improved air release, promise to help equipment meet or exceed its design capabilities and enhance equipment productivity, thereby increasing the time between maintenance cycles. They will be available in pack sizes of 209 litres and 20 litres.

Optimising transport efficiency

Loading in MLL Trucks copy  Trucks with MLL Logo - 1 copyMr. Sushil Rathi copy

From being yet another business vertical of the Mahindra Group, Mahindra Logistics has come to gather a name for itself.

Story by:

Anirudh Raheja

Mahindra Logistics Limited (MLL) debuted in the year 2000. The plan behind its establishment was to eradicate inefficiencies in the logistics sector. What began as yet another business vertical of the Mahindra Group has come to gather a name for itself as a full-fledged 3PL service provider, that currently stands at revenues of Rs.2000 crore plus. Targeting a revenue of Rs.6000 crore by the year 2020, the company, in less than a decade and a half, has come to have a network of 1500 business associates that are currently sourcing 25,000 trucks per month, each of them designed as per the CMVR guidelines. As a full fledged, integrated third party logistics services and people transport solution provider, MLL is operating on the basis of an asset light model. The company in primarily into 3PL business managed majorly by IT-based solutions. “Owning trucks directly limits a company’s scope of serving a diversified set of clients. The 3PL business model offers flexibility and scalability to us. We can offer customised solutions to the clients,” reveals Sushil Rathi, Chief Operating Officer, Mahindra Logistics Limited. It is such an approach to offer solutions as per the customer needs that has enabled the company to maintain long-term relationships in a competitive market place.

Understanding the needs

With a whopping 95 per cent of the cargo in India transported by road, the spending on logistics business is claimed to be as high as 7.1 per cent of the national GDP. Rathi is of the opinion that rather than forwarding their own selling point, they understand the needs of the customers, and their areas of concern. Under the existing business model, MLL works as an aggregator with third party suppliers. Third party suppliers are addressed as ‘business associates’, and are the direct asset owners. The ‘business associates’ may work with the company on a dedicated basis or a needful basis. For a precise focus in offering customised solutions, MLL’s business model is divided into two tiers – supply chain management and transport solutions. Under supply chain management, the company, till date, has served over 200 clients ranging across five verticals including auto and engineering, auto outbound, ecommerce, pharma and consumer, and bulk. Working closely with leading ecommerce players like Flipkart, Myntra, Amazon and Snapdeal, MLL has also come to associate itself with auto majors and suppliers under its auto and engineering, and auto outbound vertical. Adds Rathi, that MLL in the next 12 months will be looking to expand its reach in areas like coastal shipping and cold chain.

Transporting autos

In order to expand horizons, MLL has joined hands with Mumbai-based vehicle carrier solution provider, Indian Vehicle Carriers Pvt. Ltd. The two inked a joint venture in 2014 called 2×2 Logistics. The JV has been catering to the transportation needs of automobile manufacturers in India. As part of the JV, MLL owns over 125 trucks that have been specially customised to facilitate vehicle movement. “Simpler solutions might work but not everywhere. It is therefore important not only important to bridge the gap between demand and supply, allowing assets to freely operate while we also continue to evolve with the customers” states Rathi. With Mahindra, Hyundai, Renault, Nissan, Toyota, General Motors in the four wheeler space as MLL’s prime customers, and Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India, Hero Group, Yamaha and Bajaj in the two wheeler space as the prime customers of the joint venture company, MLL has come to look upon the business as the one that continues to evolve. With the need for specialised services felt, MLL has been able to execute orders that are complex in nature. One such order executed was the movement of vehicle body shells for Mahindra from Nashik to Haridwar in customised truck carriers. Avers Rathi, that for the job, the truck carriers were customised to be able to carry 10 body shells per vehicle over the earlier eight. This resulted in a saving of 25 per cent for the automaker. “To maintain a healthier relationship with our business associates, it is important to utilise, and efficiently, customised trucks,” quips Rathi. MLL has also introduced a fleet of CNG powered trucks on the Nashik-Mumbai route in order to carry high volume low weight cargo for M&M. This has enabled significant savings on freight cost for customers while reducing its carbon footprint.

Making IT work in logistics

With IT solutions turning out be an integral part of many business models, MLL has come to setup a centralised control tower at Mumbai to manage its logistics operations across the country. It is among the most recent initiatives taken by the company. Stresses Rathi, that it has enabled them to provide end-to-end visibility to customers; from the manufacturing stage, supply chain stage to the last mile. “Since all vehicles in India are still not completely GPS enabled, under control tower operations, we do 24×7 tracking of all vehicle movement. Whether GPS enabled or manually controlled, to track every consignment and vehicle movement across India is a task in itself.” If there would be a delay, and caused by a road challenge, the data for the same is collected and the customer is updated through SMS or email in real time. This is done to maintain transparency and visibility of the operation. The Mahindra Integrated Logistics Execution System (MILES) that the company has introduced is like an ERP. It is tailored to meet the needs and address the challenges faced during transportation. “MILES has the capacity to plan the load, route and do the entire tracking and invoicing; to provide updates directly to the customer,” Rathi informs. The system also shows the position of the consignment in real time. The same can be checked by the customer online. “If there is any change in the estimated time of arrival of the consignment, an update is sent to the customer in real time” he adds. MLL has also developed a mobile app. through which real time updates can be given to customers. Riding on its IT-based solutions, MLL is also undertaking transport depth management programs. Under this, the entire transportation for a particular plant of the company is carried out on an ongoing basis by deploying IT services. Such services have led to decent savings for JSW Steel at their Dolvi plant and for Dr. Reddy’s Lab for few of their plants according to Rathi.

Warehousing, Value Added Services and more

As a 3PL service provider, MLL manages five million sq.ft worth of warehouse space in the country. The warehouses are spread across different locations in India, and are dedicated or of the multi-user and built-to-suit type. They not only help to achieve optimal efficiencies, they also enable MLL to offer value added service for its clients. “We have been offering services like kitting and bundling of various promotional items . We also do kitting and sequencing of components before feeding it into the line for auto companies. Along side, we do tube and tyre fitment and also bundle them into a kit for a leading tyre manufacturer,” explains Rathi. Aspiring to expand its reach in the international markets, MLL acquired a major stake in Lords Freight India Pvt. Ltd. in 2014. This has enabled it to enhance its capacities in international freight forwarding space for both ocean and airways, and for imports as well as exports. MLL has also come to offer services like ocean freight and airfreight. These and many other services like project cargo services add value to the company’s portfolio.

Uplifting drivers; business associates

Upliftment of drivers and business associates is an important part of MLL’s business strategy. Opines Rathi, that if the drivers are not efficient and well taken care of, the importance of providing various solutions is lost. Emphasis is on paying the drivers salaries that are on par with the industry standards. PF and ESIC services are also offered. Regular driver training is imparted by conducting such programs regularly. “Almost everything – from safe driving habits, cultural issues and health check ups, are undertaken as this can help to change the behavioural pattern of not just of the drivers, but also of those that are involved in the business, states Rathi. MLL is also offering scholarships to the children of the drivers; it is also supporting them in case of a financial difficulty. Adds Rathi, “Every fortnight, MLL asks its managers to hold driver meets and understand the challenges and problems they face. Efforts to address them are immediately undertaken.” Working closely with associates, MLL has been encouraging them to enhance their quality of services. Says Rathi, that they also conduct programs like Mahindra MPower with Mahindra Truck and Bus division, and invest in their training at IIM Ahmedabad. This, he adds, uplifts their capabilities of doing business with us. Touching upon GST, and how it would affect a company like theirs, Rathi expresses that warehousing will transform into smaller and bigger ones over the need for many warehouses across the country. “It would also allow the hub and spoke model to gain momentum, reducing considerably the overall distribution cost, and in turn facilitating a reduction in the turnaround time,” he adds. With GST, Rathi opines that the amount of inventory that needs to be managed will reduce. A lot of hub to hub movement will take place through multi-axle trucks. Truck movement across India will also be smoother. The transformation of the CV sector that the government is planning, including the implementation of tighter emission norms will further elevate the efficiency of the industry, Rathi states. He concludes, “In the long run, safety will increase.”

Volvo Penta to source 5 & 8-litre engines locally

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141112-Volvo Penta. Porträtt på  Beställare: Hanna Johansen. Bild: Cicci Jonson, Bilduppdraget.

141112-Volvo Penta.
Porträtt på
Beställare: Hanna Johansen.
Bild: Cicci Jonson, Bilduppdraget.

Volvo Penta will source five and eight-litre engines locally to better address the needs of the market.

Story by: Bhargav TS

Swedish engine maker Volvo Penta will source five and eight litre engines locally from the Group manufacturing plant of Volvo Eicher Powertrain (VEPT) from next year. The engines will be aimed at the domestic market, and would roll out of a separate line set up at the VEPT plant at Pithampur near Indore. The VEPT plant is part of the Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicle joint venture, and works as a common manufacturing base for Volvo’s D5 and D8 engines. The development to manufacture the D5 and D8 engines locally spells a big opportunity for Volvo Penta, which has been supplying engines for industrial and marine applications in India since the last two decades. “We see a great opportunity in the infrastructure development in the country. As the demand from customers is increasing constantly, there is pressure on contractors to complete projects on schedule at cost levels they have calculated. So there is need for highly reliable and fuel efficient equipment to meet these demands. The ability to supply engines quickly is a key capability for Volvo Penta,” said Jonas Nilsson, Head of Volvo Penta India. He added, “Our engines enable OEMs to make their products more competitive in the domestic and global markets, as well as to explore the global market.”

Finding use in a variety of Volvo Group products including trucks, the D5 and D8 engines, have been finding use locally as well as internationally. Used in Volvo machines that serve fields like construction, material handling, raw material exploration and agriculture, the five-and eight- litre engine that Volvo Penta will offer would be certified for Bharat (CEV) Stage III emissions standards, which are equivalent to EU stage IIIA/Tier 3. To enable the company to address the local market needs, the D5 and D8 engine share the electronics platform with the bigger D11, D13, and D16 engine platforms. This allows the company to communicate using the same protocol, simplifying design work for OEMs. The engines – an inline four cylinder and six cylinder design, make for a common design footprint. They also make the design process easier for several emission stages. Expressed Volvo Penta’s Senior Vice President, Global Operations and Quality, Peter Hertinge, that the Pithampur plant is one of the most modern engine production facilities in India; is highly automated with integrated testing facilities. “It has quality standards and procedures in place to produce engines that are suitable for customer requirements and are able to meet the latest and most stringent emission regulations,” he added.

While most engine manufacturers have incorporated exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) into their Bharat Stage III models, Volvo Penta engineered its D5 and D8 engines to burn clean enough to not need the addition of an EGR. The benefits of the engine’s highly efficient fuel injection system include less upkeep and maintenance, as well as better fuel consumption and good low-end response. Averred Bjorn Ingemanson, President of Volvo Penta, “The (Volvo Penta) division has been exploring ways to leverage fully its investment at VEPT in the future. One of Volvo Penta’s global ambitions is to create a premium supply chain for our products with competitive lead times at a competitive cost. Introducing production in India will help us to lay the foundation on which we will build our future. We see great value in expanding upon our knowledge gained by working with OEMS in the country, and we look forward to putting that into practice for the benefit of our Indian customers.”


Q. What do you think of the quality of components in India, that you will procure engines locally?

A. We have a fully globalised processing function. We do common sourcing, and this applies to the quality of the parts sourced as well. When we start our New Product Development (NPD) we look at our sourcing pattern as a global activity to identify the best suppliers regardless of where they are located. In the last two years the sourcing of components from India to the global supply chain is growing in terms of NPD and also in terms of operational flow.

Q. When you say the share of business has grown, is there some way of quantifying it?

A. Typically we don’t disclose the footprint of our global sourcing activity. What I would say therefore is that it is increasing. The engines that we will be sourcing from next year already have a fair amount of local content in them. It is a reflection of the fact that sourcing from India is at the forefront of Volvo Penta’s activities.

Q. What would be the localisation level of 5- and 8-litre engines that you would source locally?

A. We will be having a high degree of localisation of components to start with. In the first phase of the localisation, attention would be on production. We will keep the current sourcing pattern going. We will tweak the logistics differently because it goes to different factories. What I am thinking about is the contribution of the Indian market towards the total supply chain in terms of the incremental benefit in volumes.

Q. How do the engines meet stringent emission norms without an EGR?

A. Emission legislation requires engines that are more and more complex. We also see a trend where every manufacturer, including us, tries to meet the new legislations in as simple a manner as possible. With the high quality of our combustion cycle we have achieved a good air treatment solution. We are therefore able to meet the standards without including an EGR. Apart from affecting the cost of the product, there is an effect on the product as well. An engine is that much less complex too.

Q. What are all the challenges that you see in the Indian market?

A. From the product perspective it is always necessary to balance between, or manage a mix of performance and best fulfilling the intended use of the engine. When launching a new platform or localising production, it is necessary to adapt towards meeting the demand of every single customer. It is necessary to accordingly tune the engine to fit the product needs.

Q. What have been the learnings from the Indian operations?

A. The learnings include both sourcing and R&D. On both the counts, we stand to benefit from the diversity and versatility of understanding the needs of our customers. These vary according to the market; are different for different markets. Balancing the globalisation benefits in order to adapt to the local needs of every market is the main learning we have had from the Indian market.

Q. Do you think an alternate fuel can play a role here in India?

A. I think it can, but I haven’t seen a robust trend so far. I think, an alternate fuel has to bring benefits from a 360-degree perspective. There is a need to optimise; to prepare for the complete cycle. It is challenging with many future alternate fuels. From the products perspective, we can develop any kind of engine. The challenge is however to look at alternate fuel propulsion holistically.

Logistics has a long way to go in India

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Logistics will play an increasingly crucial role in India’s development. There are however challenges to be overcome.

Story by: Team CV

Logistical needs in India are on the rise. The proliferation of ecommerce is one of the many reasons that is providing the thrust. Long way to go, logistics in India, has many challenges to deal with. According to the World Economic Situation and Prospect report for 2016, India is expected to achieve a 7.5 per cent GDP growth in 2017 and the economic prospects of the South Asian region will be ‘contingent’ on the growth trajectory of India and Iran. With the government driving initiatives like ‘Make in India’, which are aimed at boosting the manufacturing sector among others, the need for a better logistical support is becoming all the more essential. The observation of P S S Prasad, President, Apollo Logisolutions, that logistics will have a greater role to play in the growth (of the country) with initiatives such as Make in India, assumes importance at this point in time. Stressing on the fact that the state of infrastructure in the country is poor and a big challenge, Prasad is also known to have said that ecommerce will spur growth in the logistics sector as these companies need to deliver products efficiently in the remotest corner of the country. Claimed an industry expert that despite an extensive rail network, and rising air network, it is the road network that continues to play a major role in the rise of logistics. Challenges therefore, he stated, is the need for road connectivity to the remotest areas of the country where ecommerce has already reached over the internet. The ecommerce sector is estimated to be worth USD 220 billion in India by 2025. It is growing at an electric pace for certain.

Ecommerce logistical challenges

Medium and heavy commercial vehicles continue to grow on replacement demand. Light commercial vehicles have also began to record growth, albeit at a slower pace than the big rigs. There is a distinct shift towards higher tonnage vehicles throughout the segments. Reflecting upon further strengthening of the hub and spoke transportation model, it is clear that fleets are looking at operating efficiency and a faster turnaround time. GST is still some distance away, and for it to abolish state borders and the time lost there will take time. With the price of the modern trucks higher than the ones they replace, the expectations of fleet operators and transporters are changing. This is having a definite effect on the logistics sector and specifically ecommerce logistics. With the government keen to regulate the ecommerce industry, logistics is one area where the opportunity to streamline efficiency and costs is visible.

The announcement of building 20 km of road per day by the minister of road transport and highways, Nitin Gadkari, is welcome. It, shows that the government is keen. Road network is however an activity that involves state governments too. With different aspects of the logistics industry falling under different ministries, and which would lead to an amount of inefficiency, it is clear that ecommerce may have much to look at in terms of enhancing efficiency. Especially that of its logistics operations. Constantly changing federal tax structures are a problem no doubt. Newer technologies are being adopted by players in the field but the impact is not as much as it should have been. Fleets are investing in new trucks; containerisation is on the rise. The fundamental infrastructure, however continues to be weak. And, over the long term, there will be a need for investment to be made in automation while making the most of existing resources. Players like Rhenus are pushing for palletised transportation, but the response as of now is limited to a few oil companies. In the case of urban landscape, the arrival of new, efficient small commercial vehicles is proving to be of good support to the ecommerce companies. Constraint however remains in terms of infrastructure.

Making the most of the existing resources

India is a vast country and with a strong consumption potential. Considering the potential there is not enough road, rail and air connectivity. To make the most of the existing resources, there is a need to look into the time, energy and resources spent on doing the work of logistics in India. It would be conserved if the infrastructure was up to the standards of some countries that are doing well in this arena. If the ‘Make in India’ initiative achieves even half of what it is expected to achieve, an amount of strain will be put on the Indian logistics structure. There’s little doubt that only a few companies are equipped with the requisite skill set to offer complex project logistics services. The ability to load, lash, survey and plan the route are some of the unique areas of specialisation that are necessary to successfully offer complex project logistics services. The use of telematics in trucks and fleets is growing. There is however a huge potential for growth, both in terms of route planning, tracking and operation efficiency. According to Ravi Pisharody, Executive Director – Commercial Vehicles, Tata Motors, the new Signa range of trucks will have telematics as standard. Commercial vehicle manufacturers like Volvo Eicher and Mahindra are also pushing telematics in a big way. For that matter, all truck companies are pushing telematics, and for a good reason. Even private playres that specialise in telematics are offering innovative solutions. Bangalore-based Infotrack, for example, is marketing a new initiative in telematics. The need for a sound basic infrastructure remains. This is especially evident in the areas that involve the use of purpose-built, heavy machinery, which often needs to be imported. High capital investment is required, and is limited by scope due to the logistical constraints.

Need for a robust infra for ODC logistics

The handling of heavy, over-dimensional cargo is a particularly lucrative business for existing and prospective logistics players in India. Global and domestic firms such as DB Schenker, Bertling Logistics, Allcargo Global Logistics and Transport Corporation of India have well embedded themselves in the field. Challenges are many. Poor overall road infrastructure, especially for connectivity to remote locations, has made cargo movement very risky, endangering the cargo, equipment used to move it, people working on the operation, and general public. The lack of efficient documentation and approval procedures in several ministries and state departments continues to be a hindrance claimed an industry source. He also drew attention towards other hindrances, which include customs clearance delays, tardy approvals from highway authorities and the lack of timely cooperation among stakeholders involved in the project logistics operations process. Proposals for mass rapid transport system projects in India are on the rise, and could create a space for niche project logistics service providers. Providers who have the best-suited equipment and a mix of expertise to offer the required logistics services.

Third party logistics

The concept of third party logistics is at a nascent stage in India. Expected to help manufacturers to achieve the strategic objectives by concentrating more on core competency of the main business, third party logistics, in India, which spends 13 per cent of its GDP on logistics compared to an average of 10 per cent in developed countries, are divided along two lines – an asset based model that consists of assets like trucks, distribution centers and warehouses, and a non-asset based model. An important tool to enhance the customer satisfaction and to integrate the different processes of supply chain by using advanced tools of information technology, third party logistics initiated the green supply chain management approach, and is set to grow subject to a change in the tax structure. The current fed-rated tax structure is claimed to be a deterrent in the proliferation of third party logistics.

Sector growth

The logistics sector in India is claimed to be growing at a rate of 15 per cent as of current. Set to play an important role in the success of ambitious initiatives like ‘Make in India’, logistics is set to gain from the special focus on roads since a vast majority of logistics work in India is done via roads. Rail comes second despite India having the largest rail network in the world. Investment in rail is up, and may lead to changes. As of current, the stress lies on road network. For the logistics sector to experience a strong growth much would depend upon the quantum of investment from the private sector, government regulation, and an investment in infrastructure. If the arrival of transport apps. that promise to enhance connectivity between the transporter-operator and the customer is a positive development and reflects upon the rising clout of ‘Internet of Things’, logistics, performing well over the last few years, it is evident, has some distance to go.

Optimistic about growth

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FAG Bearings is optimistic about growth in the face of challenges.

Story by: Ashish Bhatia

FAG Bearings, a Schaeffler Group company, is optimistic about growth in India. Albeit with a rider that the key initiatives announced by the government are effectively implemented. One of the three Schaeffler Group companies, the two other being INA and LuK, FAG Bearings has a wholly owned subsidiary in India called FAG Bearings India. It was established in the mid-60s, and has come to specialise in the manufacture of automotive and industrial products. Having a presence in the OE as well as the aftermarket, the automotive product portfolio of the company comprises of ball bearings, wheel bearings, cylindrical roller bearings and spherical roller bearings ranging from 35 mm to 320 mm. For the commercial vehicle industry, the company supplies a wide variety of bearing types including tapered roller bearing, insert units, hub units, axle modules, etc. The company also supplies seals and sealing kits for heavy commercial vehicles. The wheel bearing repair set WheelPro, which the company offers, is a part of the range of wheel bearing sets that cater mainly to trucks.

Well aware of the continuing replacement demand in the medium and heavy commercial vehicle segment apart from the return of light commercial vehicles to positive, FAG Bearings India has benefited from an investment of Euro 150 million undertaken by the Schaeffler Group over the last three to four years. Almost half of the Euro 150 million were invested in the construction of the FAG Savli plant, which went on stream in 2012. Some amount was also invested in the modernisation and expansion of the Vadodara plant. Involving the expansion of other Group plants at Pune and Hosur, the Euro 150 million investment, claim industry sources, is in-line with the Group’s strategy to strengthen the manufacturing footprint in India as well as continuous development of R&D and advanced engineering capability, FAG Bearings India products find use in crucial assemblies and modules like drivetrain and chassis. These are known to be not just crucial to the safe and smooth functioning of an automobile, but also subject to adaptation and design changes to meet the local demands.

Catering to passenger vehicles, construction equipment and tractors apart from commercial vehicles, FAG Bearings also exports a good deal of what it produces in India. The products exported find use with manufacturers like Daimler, Volvo and Volkswagen among others. Targeting exports markets of Europe, USA and Asia, the company held its fifty-third Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Mumbai recently. It was attended by Schaeffler’s German board of directors including Schaeffler AG Chief Executive Officer Klaus Rosenfeld. Touching upon the cyclic recovery of the commercial vehicle industry, emphasis was laid on the good monsoon forecast, which is expected to revive rural sentiments and boost rural demand. Stress was also laid on government initiatives like ‘Make in India’.

Macro environment

Optimistic about growth emanating from the overhauling of infrastructure, ease of doing business, railways, financial inclusivity and digitisation, despite a slow start in the first quarter of 2016, the company, claimed sources is looking at ways to align its business to the Automotive Mission Plan 2026. The Automotive Mission Plan is the collective vision of the Government of India (GOI) and the Indian Automotive Industry. It takes into account vehicle, auto components and tractor industry growth over the next decade; in terms of size, contribution to India’s development, global footprint, technological maturity, competitiveness and institutional structuring and capabilities. Expected to set the course of evolution of specific regulations and policies that govern areas like research, design, technology, testing, manufacturing, import and export, and also the sale, use, repair and recycling of automotive vehicles, components and services, the Automotive Mission Plan is looked upon as an important goal in terms of the auto industry growth.


Stating that his company had to tackle headwinds in 2015 generated by the market environment, Avinash Gandhi, chairman of FAG Bearings expressed that the company’s revenue grew by 6.4 per cent. He declared that the Profit Before Tax (PBT) for the year 2015 was higher than the previous year at 26 per cent at Rs.2938 million. PBT in 2014 was Rs.2323 million. The negative performance of the off-highway segment was apparent. Other sectors and exports, said Gandhi, performed moderately well in comparison. Exports revenue dipped to 4.7 per cent. Testimony to having attained increased operational efficiency and enhanced manufacturing, Gandhi declared a double digit growth at both its plants at Maneja and Savli respectively. Looking at improving manufacturing localisation drastically, from a mere 1.5 per cent at present, the company shared plans to invest Rs. 80 crore over the next few years in an effort to achieve a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 15 per cent.

Emphasising growth

Aiming at a CAGR of 15 per cent, there is little doubt that FAG Bearings is about to see a good deal of changes being accounted to itself. This would involve fine tuning of processes and system competencies. With an eye on the changing legislations and emission

levels pertaining to automobiles, FAG Bearings India continues to operate under the Group strategy to invest in the next generation of technology solutions. The company, apart from working closely with its clients to provide tailor-made OE solutions, is said to be also working towards offering quality aftermarket solutions. As far as the company’s participation in the agricultural sector is concerned, the X-life bearings continue to be the key focus area. These bearings are claimed to offer higher base dynamic load ratings compared to conventional products, resulting in a longer service life. Said to contribute towards improving the overall cost effectiveness of the application under the total cost of ownership principle, FAG tapered roller bearings, radial spherical roller bearings, four point contact bearings, double row angular contact ball bearings, TORB toroidal roller bearings and tapered roller bearings are some of the X-life products offered. In railways, the company has a 17 per cent market share. It supplies wheel set bearings and drivetrain bearings. Aiming to perform twice as much in the aftermarket, FAG Bearings India is looking at offering some innovative solutions in the area of clutch, engine, transmission and chassis. Continuing to focus on bearings and related components for cross sector application across automotive, agricultural, rail and the aftermarket, FAG Bearings

India, there is no doubt, has a reason to be optimistic about growth.

Differentiating lighting tech for Cvs

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Bullish about growth, Hella India is keen to tap the CV lighting market, which is set for a big change.

Story by: Deepanshu Taumar

Hella India Lighting (HIL) brought LED lighting technology to commercial vehicles by developing a universal LED tail light design a few years ago. LED tail lights are today a common sight on many commercial vehicles in India. What started as an aftermarket effort on the part of HIL, a subsidiary of the German automotive lighting major Hella KGaA Hueck & Co., has turned into an OE program. Aware that the use of LED lighting technology in commercial vehicles is on the rise, Ramashankar Pandey, Managing Director, Hella India Lighting, is of the opinion that commercial vehicles will see lot of innovation and disruption in terms of differentiating technologies. Bullish about growth in India, HIL, according to Pandey, has developed a full LED head lamp. “We are finalising the right price to disrupt the market,” Pandey mentioned. Focusing on two-wheeler from a technology disruption point of view, in terms of business the focus is on commercial vehicles and tractors, Pandey added. Adapting new technologies like adaptive lightig technology for application in Indian automobiles, HIL, averred Pandey, is striving to work in a different manner. “Hella’s adaptive lighting will help reduce accidents because when brakes are applied a few diodes will light up in micro seconds. We are open to work with every OEM on this technological disruption,” explained Pandey.

LED lighting for CVs

Also working on LED daytime running lights, which are expected to be made mandatory, the company is claimed to have developed a prototype. The LED lights the company is developing for commercial vehicles can be detected from a longer distance. This can help to avoid accidents as those following the vehicle can brake in time. Drawing attention to a study that reports that proper lighting gives the driver four metre extra braking distance, and the response time goes up by 10 to the power of minus seven, Pandey averred, “accident rate is decreased and the accident, if it does take place, is less severe.” Stressing upon the need for proper lighting, Pandet averred, “We want to bring technologies like these as they will help to reduce accidents.” “Our vision is to introduce the technology of tomorrow for the life of today on Indian roads. We believe that we should first have proper lighting for proper vision before talking about other important safety features,” he added.

Pointing at some of the upcoming automotive lighting trends, including LED daytime running lights in two-wheelers, LEDs in commercial vehicles, signature lighting in passenger vehicles, Pandey stated that bus and coach lighting has moved to the next stage as well. He informed, “Lighting in buses and coaches has moved to the projector mode. The next level of replacement would take four to five years.” Emphasising upon helping manufacturers to localise their products, Pandey revealed that discussions are on in this regards. He also drew attention to the changes that are taking place at the aftermarket level. “In aftermarket many styling companies are entering. They are offering safety and styling lights,” he said.

Focus on aftermarket

For the aftermarket, HIL has developed a comprehensive product portfolio. Aiming at every segment, including the off-highway segments like tractors, agricultural equipment and construction equipment, HIL has also found a calling in batteries and horns as an allied extension to lighting products. The horns and batteries the company is offering is currently limited for two-wheelers. A pre-sales activity was done recently by the company in Delhi and Pune. HIL hopes to extend the actvity to 20 locations in the country in the next few months. A big plan up that HIL is drawing up is to start service stations that have trained mechanics and reliable spare parts.

With a strong global presence, Hella is not just a lighting company. It also is into horns, batteries, wiper blades, relays, wiring harness, condensors, radiators and spark plugs. The diversity of product offering is born out of the various joint ventures and partnerships Hella has inked since the 90s. These include Hella Behr Plastic Omnium (HBPO), Behr Hella Thermocontrol (BHTC), HSL Electronics Corporation, Intedis, Beijing Samlip Automotive Lighting, Behr Hella Service, Mando Hella Electronics, Changchun Hella Faway Automotive Lighting, Hella Pagid, Innosent GmbH and Beijing Hella BHAP Automotive Lighting. Producing a truck journal regularly with news from the truck world, Hella’s service initiative is based on the premise of ‘quick fix approach’. Quick fix approach is about an activity that takes between 30 minutes to two hours to fix a part. Pandey concluded that Hella has over 10 million customers from different vehicle segments. They use Hella products sold through over 4000 retail outlets, and other channels like ecommerce company Amazon with which Hella has entered into an arrangement. Hella is trying to build O to O (Online to Offline) platform where Amazon will be a booking website and the delivery would be done by the dealer.