At L&T, customer centricity has been at the core of all activities
- Arvind K Garg, Executive Vice-President and Head, L&T Construction & Mining Machinery

In today’s competitive arena, equipment suppliers need to be more and more customer focussed, driving more customer-centric processes. Could you please share such initiatives with your organisation?
At L&T, customer centricity has been at the core of all activities and decisions. With our credo ‘In Service lies Success’, we have continuously provided superior value delivery to customers both in terms of the latest technology and superior performance products aided by unmatched after-sales support.

We have been evolving our customer service delivery to be ahead of the curve and have now embraced technology in a big way. Some of our recent initiatives include:

  • Suraksha-10000 / MCP-4 Machine Care programme is a unique, industry-leading initiative from L&T and Komatsu. Under this program, Komatsu’s PC210/PC210LC-10M0, PC300 / PC350LC-8M0 machines come with an extended power train warranty for a period of four yours/10,000 hours and bundled with a host of value-added services such as scheduled services, energy-saving, training and guidance, preventive maintenance clinics, undercarriage inspection, and machine health reports. This programme is aimed at assuring customers true peace of mind.
  • Equip-Care: L&T’s pro-active after-sales support programme, seamlessly integrates smart machines with customer requirements and an effective team to provide unmatched after-sales support and exceptional experience to construction equipment customers.
  • Maintenance contracts: L&T provides full/annual maintenance contracts to fleet owners and large companies at their project sites spread across India to ensure high machine uptime and high equipment utilisation, made possible by its dedicated and skilled workmen. Under this programme, Komatsu machines have excelled to set new records. For instance, Komatsu HD785 Rear Dumpers deployed at Iron ore mines in Eastern India crossed 60,000 hours setting new benchmarks in performance.
  • Nowadays, customers are becoming focused on green initiatives and savings in fuel costs, and leaving a lesser carbon footprint. Could you please help us understand the green initiatives on product development undertaken by your organisation?
    Komatsu’s NextGen, Dash 10M0 “truly efficient” hydraulic excavators, developed especially for Indian customers, have pushed the efficiency to the next level. These machines with technologies like viscous-fan clutch and the like have enabled the customers to get all the power developed by the engine at the Hydraulic Pump with very low energy loss on account of peripherals on the engine (Gross hp ~ Net hp).

    Improved Hydraulics and load sensing variable horsepower configuration have enabled these machines to provide unmatched fuel efficiency while ensuring the highest productivity, to our customers.

    PC210/PC210LC-10M0 machines crossing the 2000-machine mark in less than 18 active sales months, since the start of sales in January 2020, is a true testimony to customers patronising advanced technology and the “Truly Efficient” product that has created history in the 22-tonne market with its credibility and reliability.

    Komatsu’s current engines, fitted on construction and mining equipment, are capable of operating with B20 bio-diesel. We will be shortly conducting trials at a few sites. However, supply chain, quality, and standardisation challenges related to bio-fuel needs to be addressed before we could scale it up.

    Similarly, road machinery manufactured by L&T is now upgraded to meet CEV-IV emission norms which were introduced by MoRTH effective October 1, 2021. L&T has developed strong capabilities to design and develop world-class products to meet the ‘Make in India’ initiative and fulfill the mission of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’.

    Equipment monitoring and increased Human Machine Interface is a new Mantra in the high-end construction equipment industry. How is your organisation coping with this demand for customers, and how ready are your products to meet this demand?
    While at the core our machines are hydrau-mechanical systems, digitalisation is used for enabling machine health and performance monitoring and reporting. Komatsu’s next-gen Komtrax systems on their range of Hydraulic Excavators have enabled visibility to the customers on aspects of the machine’s operation, working load condition, machine utilisation including various modes and selection by the operator. This system also comes with a host of tools to guide the operator on optimum utilisation, machine health, and safety. Komatsu Mining Equipment is fitted with an advanced level of Komtrax and data transfer protocols for integrators to provide fleet management systems. L&T’s range of road machinery is equipped with ‘DigiEye’ vehicle health monitoring system.

    What efforts are being made to make your product more versatile for customers?
    As mentioned, we have always focussed on superior value proposition/solutions for our customers through our products and services. Besides introducing Hydraulic Excavators, L&T was also the earliest to build versatility into the products.

    Today, we have tied up with global manufacturers to offer a wide range of attachments such as Rock Breakers and Quick Couplers from Komatsu; Boom Breakers, cutters, and scrap handling attachment from Rammer; Drilling and Cutting solution from Kemrock; Pile driving and soil stabilisation attachments from Movax. L&T has also developed special attachments indigenously viz., Crusher Bucket, Slope Compactor, Clamshell Bucket, Wood Grapple, Rock Splitter, and Rock Grappler, that could be fitted on a range of Hydraulic Excavators. The need for special attachments is growing and these are expected to play a strong role in the urban development and modernisation of cities and we look forward to expanding the market with these new products.

    What are the plans for electrification of the offering by your organisation? What typical challenges do you think the industry would face if we had to move to complete electric offering for the customers?
    When the world was talking of carbon fuel, L&T pioneered the development of electrically-driven Excavators during the 1980s. L&T engineers designed and developed electrically-driven excavator models 90CKE and 300CKE and introduced these two futuristic products back then. These were successfully developed with electric drive, in place of a diesel engine, and accepted by users. These machines drew power through a power cable plugged into an HT field switch. We have supplied more than 200 L&T 300 CK(Electric) for mining applications over the past three decades.

    In a related perspective, L&T recently supplied, erected, and commissioned Komatsu’s large-size electrically operated shovel, PC3000, to a large coal company despite the Covid limitations. The mining industry is looking at increasing the share of electrically-driven shovels and excavators.

    With battery technology development happening at a brisk pace, Komatsu has already developed and is selling their compact range of equipment powered by batteries. These are yet to be introduced in India. However, with the Government of India’s commitment to making our country ‘carbon neutral’ by 2070, we will soon see the advent of electrically-powered smaller equipment, especially for use in the urban areas once the charging infrastructure is in place.

    With the heavy increase in the expenditure for infrastructure development in this country, how do you think you are going to utilise the opportunity? Are you planning to add more products in the future? Please elaborate.

    India is poised to become the second-largest market for construction and mining machinery by the year 2030. L&T, along with Komatsu, will continue to invest in superior technology and products that shall deliver higher value and fleet solutions to our customers. We have been partnering with the nation for the last 75 years with a valuable contribution to the core sectors and will continue to be committed to achieving higher levels of growth.

    Our current offerings encompass Hydraulic Excavators, Dozers, Motor Graders, Wheel Loaders, Dump Trucks, Tipper Trucks, and Vibratory Compactors. We will roll out new variants that will enable accelerate the infrastructure development in the country across roads, ports, airports, railways, realty, and other key segments of growth that have a considerable impact on the economy.