B Dinakar is Senior Vice President of Volvo Trucks India and is recognised as a highly competent leader for enhancing P&L scenario and developing new markets. He has been associated with the organisation since 2015. Dinakar has been a successful Business Head with a 31-year track record of aggressively growing sales and improving profitability in heavy-duty truck and capital equipment business operations in India
Can you tell us about Volvo Trucks’ product portfolio?
High-performance trucks primarily operate in the coal overburden transportation application, and Volvo Trucks has a significant presence in this tough and demanding application. We are consistently the market leaders in this segment and have an established presence in irrigation and quarries. Also, we have a good presence in the road construction segment and have forayed into the long haul on-road segment.
What kind of product solutions do you have?
We have a comprehensive range of solutions for specific segments, and our products are built on proven FMX and FM platforms. Our flagship FMX 460 8x4 is the most suitable product for overburden removal in coal majorly and other mining applications. We provide this with 33 cu.m for coal transport.
For road construction, tunnelling and irrigation projects, we have Volvo FM 420 8x4 tippers with 23 cu.m /19.5 cu.m body based on the application requirements. For long haul operations like the express cargo movement, we provide FM420 4x2 tractor. For heavy haulage, we have the industry best FM460 6x4 puller. We also have auxiliary solutions in our portfolio, like water sprinklers and tree transplanters. Beyond this, we also offer tailor-made trucks for special applications.
Which segments have been recovering now? What are the key reasons?
The events of the past year have had an impact on most transport sectors. However, mining was one sector that did not suffer a severe setback. Especially coal, as it was declared an essential commodity. All other major minerals like iron ore and limestone have returned to normalcy after being affected by the first wave. The second wave did not have any impact on mining. Road construction has not only recovered but progressing at a faster pace. The logistics sector was the most affected due to lockdowns, barring the e-commerce sector, which is still going strong.
What improvements have Volvo Trucks made to help customers in TCO, driver productivity, uptime of truck and service?
As the premium brand of trucks in India, Volvo Trucks continues to lead innovation and provide technologically advanced solutions for our customers and deliver best in class efficiency, productivity and profitability over the lifecycle. Drivers play a crucial role in safe and profitable operations, and our trucks are designed around our core values of safety, quality and keeping the focus on driver safety and productivity.
Some of the features like the crash-tested cabin, air-conditioned cabin, air suspended seats, ergonomically designed controls etc., keeps the driver motivated throughout his workday. Which in turn improves productivity. Our approach in establishing transport solutions in any segment is based on TCO.
We build our entire service network and competency of the team centred on customers realising the product’s value proposition. For example, all our trucks come with an advanced telematics system, “Dynafleet,” to track driving patterns to develop training programmes to improve fuel efficiency.
We have the driver training centre within our factory premises, which has a state-of-the-art test track. We also have our regional driver trainers, who imparts refresher courses for our customers’ drivers at their sites. In addition, we have site efficiency and fuel efficiency programmes designed to elevate the overall efficiency of operations so that the better value of the offerings is realised.
To maintain the desired uptime of the truck, we have more than 180 customer touch points across the country, ensuring that we deliver premium service to our customers at their place of operation.
Besides, we provide tailored aftermarket solutions to guarantee that unplanned downtime is kept to a minimum. Our teams in uptime centres ensure that fleet utilisation is at higher levels in predictive maintenance and proactive service planning.
From the customers’ point of view, what are the compelling reasons to buy Volvo Trucks despite the high-cost differential?
As a guiding principle, we offer our products and service solutions only when customers can realise the value proposition in any suitable application. We have a strong leadership position for Volvo Trucks within the premium trucks category, and we promise to deliver lifetime profitability.
Our customers are progressive, and productivity, uptime, fuel efficiency and safety are the key drivers in their operations. We work together with our customers by being their most trusted partner, to ensure investment in Volvo Trucks makes business sense. It is the relationship and the experience of higher productivity and efficiency in operations that make the customer value the total cost of operation versus the initial cost of acquisition.
Is there any trend emerging in models/variants being chosen by customers?
Customers today are very knowledgeable. They recognise the global standards in trucking and are inclined to introduce these standards in their operations. Importantly, customers are always looking to enhance safety at sites but without compromising on efficiency. Most of the progressive thinking customers are taking environmental sustainability as a serious issue, and high efficient trucks in terms of fuel efficiency and emissions are the most preferred ones.
Volvo Trucks make it possible by bringing in higher capacity solutions that are safe, efficient, and designed for challenging work environments to enable high utilisation with minimal downtime.
From the sales point of view, which are the segments Volvo could not cater to earlier and planning to introduce in the near future?
Volvo Trucks has been a dominant player in the mining industry. With the booming infrastructure, the construction industry in India sees rapid growth in verticals like road construction, irrigation projects, hydel projects, and quarries. We have introduced a specific solution – Volvo FM 8x4 tipper – to address the customer needs in these applications. End users now understand the benefits of higher productivity, safety, uptime and the overall economy.
The road construction pace, initiatives taken by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, upcoming irrigation projects will be the key growth drivers in this segment, and we are well placed to cater to this demand.
We have led the transformation in the logistics space by introducing an efficient and productive tractor-trailer solution for the express cargo segment. We continue to introduce transport solutions by leveraging our global expertise to drive progress.
Can you tell us about sales touch points, aftersales support and aftermarket?
In Volvo Trucks, sales are executed directly with our customers. We have regional offices and a sales team is present in all major pockets of the country.
While we focus on offering our products as part of the total transport solution, the other focus area is our service offerings. We provide tailored aftermarket solutions to guarantee that unplanned downtime is kept to a minimum. We have more than 180 customer touch points around the country. Our technicians and spare parts are available closer to our customer operations. In addition, we have our regional workshops located in all strategic locations, where we offer complete service repairs and solutions.
We also have a renovation centre in Bangalore, which cater to the customer needs of optimised cost of repaired major components. In addition, our regional uptime centres are spread across the country in 12 locations. The central command centre in Bengaluru helps in predictive maintenance, allowing proactive service planning and ensuring the highest uptime of the customer fleet.
What are your short term and long term plans?
We are closely following the India growth story and will continue to deliver trucks and services that help our customers drive efficiency in their business. So, all that I can say at this time is ‘watch this space’.