The need for material handling equipment (MHE) is directly related to the amount of cargo and freight traffic. With a spurt in the number of warehouses and container freight stations, India is emerging as a key market for MHE. In this interview, Manpreet Sachdeva, CEO, Elite Group, explains the importance of MHE for the country’s growth and latest trends in the industry.
What types of products/services do you offer in material handling space?
We manufacture all types of material handling equipment (MHE) like dock leveller, scissor lift, goods lift, pallet truck, stacker, dock doors, dock safety equipment, etc. Also special equipment can be made as per customer requirement and custom built.
What are the advantages offered by your products/services to the users (customers)?
Our products are designed and manufactured as per international standards and last long. We also give good service to our customers all the time. Elite also takes pride in manufacturing products which exceed the market standards in quality and performance.
Why is MHE industry important for the country’s economic growth?
MHE industry is the back bone of development. For a growing country, it should have a proper MHE equipment to avoid costly labour and also make safety a practice. As many are aware that the US has imposed restrictions on China and now the market shift will be on India and we will have a better market share in coming years.
Has introduction of GST helped the MHE industry?
Yes, with GST our business has increased and we have become more competitive in market. Now customers from all over India can have benefit of cost. For government tenders also the suppliers will have a better chance to supply. With GST and reduction in tax in few commodities, the business is in upswing.
What has been the impact of depreciating Rupee and rising crude oil prices on MHE industry?
With the value of Dollar increasing, the cost of imported products is also increasing. As we manufacture all our products in India, the market has become better for us. As far as crude oil is concern, there will be some impact as input cost will also rise, which is marginal.
Are you seeing rise in usage of automation and robotics in MHE industry?
At present the customers are not ready to use robotics as the capital cost is high. In next 3 years, as the cost reduces we foresee a lot of automation in industry. The use of robotics is so vast that they can find application in all operations. We can also suggest to our customers to take robots to save their cost with our equipment as options.
What are the challenges faced by the manufacturers of MHE?
Our biggest challenge is that non-availability of quality labour and we are not able to address this issue all over the industry. Another challenge is that of quality. As there is no strong association in the industry, the standards of quality are not maintained.
What are the emerging trends in material handling equipment sector?
The emerging trend in MHE is all manufacturers are trying to supply all products. Automation is also a trend which will pick up in manufacturing. Though Industry 4.0 and IoT is visible in all sectors, only major players in MHE have opted for the same as of now. But, as time passes by, it will be a standard in all industry and for all levels of manufacturing.
What are your growth plansfor the company?
Elite being a known brand in India for more than 30 years now, we plan to setup more manufacturing plants in the country and be closer to customer for a lot of services. We also plan to increase our product performance by doing more and more improvement in R&D. Elite is also in talk with many companies to collaborate to make the Indian material handling industry at par with the world as far as technology and availability of products are concerned.