Text: T Murrali; Photos: Bhargav TS

IMG_3853Focusing on stimulating growth in the aftermarket, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) organised Auto Serve recently in Chennai. The 6th edition of the event – titled Auto Serve 2014, drew visitors from a band of segments including vehicle manufacturers, dealers, components and accessories manufacturers, third-party multi-brand garages, the business community and academia. It pulled in the crowd as there were a host of exhibits such as garage and service equipment, tools and tackles, material handling systems, diagnostic instruments, collision & repair equipment, vehicle care products and tyre manufacturers.

IMG_3876The 3-day event attracted people from different walks of life because the Indian automotive aftermarket, which has grown strongly over the last five years, is expected to grow steadily over the next few years. Every job in the automobile sector generates four jobs in the aftermarket, for servicing the vehicles. According to industry estimates, the size of the aftermarket is about Rs 48,000 crore, with the spareparts business accounting for about Rs 38,000 crore and the rest by the services. Moreover, the composition of vehicles being produced in India is also changing fast and the number of vehicles with better technology is expected to reach 41% of the total market size compared to the present 31%. This increase will also have direct impact on the service market. Leveraging the opportunities, several non-vehicle manufacturing companies are getting into the automotive space, besides increasing activity in branded service networks.

IMG_3881To cater to the emerging requirements, Auto Serve 2014 had about 80 stalls from the who’s who of the aftermarket segment such as Ashok Leyland (engine recon division), Brakes India, Gulf Oil, Institute of Driver Training, JK Fenner, JK Tyres, Karcher Cleaning Systems, Lucas-TVS, Maha India, Manatec Electronics, Manmachine works, Motorzone, Radial Trading, Roots Industries, Roots Multiclean, Turbo Energy and TV Sundram Iyengar & Sons.

Inaugurating Auto Serve 2014, P Thangamani, Minister for Industries, Government of Tamil Nadu said the automobile sector in Tamil Nadu has not only been generating employment but also spawning entrepreneurship. “We encourage the vehicle manufacturers to purchase auto parts within the state,” he said. The Minister said that the Autoserve 2014 event was very important towards strengthening the automotive aftermarket segment, especially with the entry of new vehicles with latest technologies. Aftermarket support and quality of services will improve the efficiency of the vehicles and at the same time retain customers, the Minister added.

IMG_3905The special address by C V Sankar, Principal Secretary to Government, Industries Department, Government of Tamil Nadu, underlined the scope for the aftermarket sector, given its enormous size. “In the interest of consumer safety and service quality, the intermediation in the sector should be consolidated,” he said. On the menace of spurious parts worrying the automotive sector, he said that in today’s context of higher use of electronics in vehicles, standards cannot be compromised, and there has to be the right emphasis on innovation to improve profitability.

Earlier, delivering the opening remarks, R Dinesh, Chairman, Auto Serve 2014 and Joint Managing Director, T V Sundram Iyengar & Sons Ltd, said that the automotive sector is of utmost importance as the largest employer of semi-skilled labour in the country with nearly 20-25 lakh people employed in Tamil Nadu. “The thriving of vehicle manufacturers depends on the aftermarket sector’s health. The aftermarket trade is a wide spectrum, comprising vehicle dealers, parts distributors, service mechanics, transport operators, and even the vehicle owners,” he observed.

Industry Status

Emphasising that the sector merits the support of governments, both at the centre and the state level, Dinesh drew attention to the funding crunch, because the aftermarket is not seen as attractive by banks. “Technology upgradation of the aftermarket trade suffers owing to the funding problem. It is necessary, therefore, that thrust should also be given in the aftermarket sector, in view of its job creation potential. Here, Tamil Nadu could consider including an aftermarket policy as part of its long term vision document 2023,” he suggested. Giving industry status will not only solve these issues but also draw many to this business, he added.

Sharing his perspective as an automotive consumer, Navas Meeran, Chairman – CII Southern Region & Managing Director, Eastern Condiments Pvt Ltd, narrated the successful example from Kerala, where an automotive manufacturer has worked with an ITI to develop the curriculum for service training. He also spoke of the plan of CII to join hands with the ‘Make in India’ initiative by starting facilitation centres in every state on a PPP mode, to enable investments.

The special address by Sumit Sawhney, Country CEO and Managing Director, Renault Operations – India, drew attention to the fact that every job in the auto companies creates 4-5 jobs in the ancillary industries. “Aftermarket is a profit generator and a job creator. Therefore, working along with the Government, the automotive industry should build the skills required,” he urged.

On the importance of customer service, Sudhir Rao, Chairman & Managing Director, Skoda Auto India Pvt Ltd, said greater attention need to be paid to the aftermarket since it is the unsung hero of the auto industry. “Automotive service is not perceived to be glamorous. Its working conditions are tough and it entails long hours. Let us think of ‘sales, service, marketing’ as the title for personnel in our companies, and also rotate jobs. Let us get the quality guy meet the customer,” he recommended.

In addition to showcasing products and technologies, quite a few exhibitors have had live demonstrations, attracting visitors. Several companies utilised the ‘Product Launch Zone’ to introduce new products.

Conference

To enable the sharing of best practices, the evolution of global models, and the creation of better value for constituents, Auto Serve 2014 had a conference on ‘Reinventing aftermarket services through innovation.’

The panel discussion on ‘After sales at Cross Roads,’ chaired by Ashwin Jacob, Partner KPMG and participated in by a few people including the Managing Director of Gulf Oil – Ravi Chawla, CEO of Speed-A-Way – S Ramachandran and the CEO of Mahindra First Choice Services – YVS Vijayakumar, deliberated the multiple perspectives of the aftermarket including parts, service and sales. It tried to address the disruption happening in the automotive value chain with special focus on after-sales.

The session on ‘Driving efficiency for Greater Profitability and Safety’ was chaired by B Venkat Subramaniam, Senior VP – Aftermarket, Ashok Leyland. The panel deliberated on the aftermarket gaining importance in various markets around the world despite challenges. For maximum return on investment, companies must understand what motivates and drives the customer. While consumer behaviour may be affecting aftermarket revenues, vehicle and overall safety is a primary concern, outweighing any monetary consideration. The safety implications of the growing number of vehicles on the road are an enormous concern, the panel concluded.

The session on ‘Reinventing aftermarket through new business models’ was chaired by Srinivasa Raghavan, CEO & Global President, TV Sundram Iyengar & Sons. The panellists included YVS Vijayakumar, Abhijit Kallianpur, Senior General Manager (Automotive Service Solutions), Bosch Ltd, Rajig Sanghvi, Executive Director of Automotive Manufacturers Private Limited and R Mananathan, Chairman, Manatec Electronics. The panellists, while agreeing that aftermarket activities are on the management agenda in both established and emerging markets, said it is necessary to understand the emerging segments and sub-segments in the aftermarket and how to operate more intelligently. In the view of experts around the world, business models play a major role in the aftermarket business and organisations have to realign the business/investment models to these emerging segments for greater benefits. While Vijayakumar spoke on the probable value addition in multi-brand third parties, including Inventory Exchange of India, Kallianpur spoke on the opportunities that technologies can bring businesses, and Sanghvi emphasised the need to look at the basics. Mananathan asked the audience to look at options like the exclusive wheel alignment centres and associated services model that are successful in countries like Thailand and the UK. Vehicle inspection centres will improve road worthiness and can prevent loss of lives, he said, adding that ‘Pollution Check’ and ‘Auto Care’ service can be established in commercial establishments as people tend to spend more time in shopping malls etc.

The panel on ‘Technology enabled Business Transformation for greater Customer Centricity,’ was chaired by Venkatesh Natarajan, Vice President, IT, Ashok Leyland. The panellists debated on the increased use of electronics/IT in modern vehicles and the gaps in related technologies in the aftermarket. With the fact of excelling in technology rich environments being a huge challenge, the panellists discussed on the ways and means to connect all businesses across digital ecosystems.

 

 

 

INTERACTION – R Dinesh, Chairman, Auto Serve 2014

Pix for Interaction box

Q: This is the 6th Edition of Auto Serve – how do you see the progress?

Dinesh: I think the event has been successful. However, like every event, it takes time to gain momentum. We are reaching a stage where the seriousness and the intent of the automotive industry is being understood by everyone. The challenge for us is to look at how to build on this, create a differentiator going forward.

Q: What would you attribute this evolution to?

Dinesh: Mainly it is because the auto industry is realising how important the aftermarket is, unlike in the past. From the organising perspective it is due to the value understood by the user segment, in terms of technology changes, new methods of repairing etc.

Q: From the very first edition you have been saying that Auto Serve will become a Pan India event, but even after 6 editions it is still in the same place . . .

Dinesh: We are still only Tamil Nadu focused; physical proximity is still attracting visitors only from Tamil Nadu. It is a matter of time before it grows to the national level; ultimately it is necessary to spend a lot of time on this. I think awareness has been created, and it needs to be actioned.

Product Launches

Text: Bhargav TS

Midtronics - DSS 7000Midtronics

Midtronics launched its new battery diagnostic service system DSS-7000, featuring full battery service management with VIN-driven testing and integration with its Battery Management Information System (BMIS). The equipment addresses the challenges posed by several new and future vehicles, including capabilities for new battery and system types, new business challenges etc. The company officials said they have incorporated a versatile, progressive blend of information, technology, and communication within the design of the DSS-7000 in order to support the complexity of battery and electrical systems both today and as they continue to evolve in the future.

 

 

HPCLHindustan Petroleum

Hindustan Petroleum Corporation has launched its advanced truly synthetic engine oil, which is blended with synthetic base stocks with Polyalpha-olefins (PAOs) and state-of-the-art additive technology to provide exceptional wear protection, smoother ride and high fuel economy. The synthetics offer several advantages that a formulator would like in his base fluids like high viscosity index, high thermal and oxidation stability and low-temperature properties, says a company official. This means that engine oils formulated with synthetic base stocks can give several advantages including long-drain capability.

 

 

John BeamJohn Beam

John Beam introduces its new V3400 wheel alignment system. The measurements are taken in less than 2 minutes, eventually enhancing productivity. It also has features like drive-through design, wireless communication, automatic camera tracking and high mobility allowing sharing between bays or relocation within the shop as needed. The equipment is fitted with AC400 clamps that engage in the tyre, eliminating the possibility of damage to the rim. The clutch limited clamping force of the AC400 ensures consistent and secure attachment. With its patented, self-centering design, the equipment allows measurement of cross-diagonals and tyre-rolling radius that help to reveal collision damage and mismatched tyre sizes.

 

 

ManmachineManmachine

Manmachine, the manufacturer of cleaning equipment, has launched its steam jet car cleaning system and high pressure vacuum cleaners. Steam jet car cleaning system is a patent technology that can spray steam and wax simultaneously. It is capable of generating high-pressure steam above 8 bar of pressure within a minute. The wash and wax act as a single potent action that force out the tiniest dust and sand particles off the car with high-pressure steam. The moisture element flows down to pick up the residues off the surface. The wax mixing device sprays warm wax to the car surface leaving coating wax to remove moisture. Vacuum Cleaners, another product launched by Manmachine, is capable of cleaning interiors of cars, workshops and garages.

 

 

JM Tyre MarcJM Tyre Marc

Coimbatore-based tyre servicing JM Tyre launched its new tyre bead breaker suitable for heavy tyre changer applications. The model JM 16T eliminates the need to lift and turn the 200 pound heavy truck tyre/wheel assembly over to break the second bead.

Now the tyre technician simply rolls the tyre/wheel assembly into the bead breaker and breaks both beads at the same time, in seconds. The bead breaker also helps comply with OSHA regulations that forbid the striking of the tyre wheel assembly with steel duck-bill tyre hammers. In addition, the model also helps reduce workers compensation claims for back strain from lifting heavy objects.

 

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