- Rajiv Poddar, Joint Managing Director, Balkrishna Industries Ltd (BKT)
The gulf region has been the hub of construction activities for many years. BKT has enjoyed an excellent patronage by most of the major construction companies in this region. ´It is really heartening to see that the BKT OTR radial range has been well accepted in the market now,´ says Rajiv Poddar, Joint Managing Director, Balkrishna Industries Ltd (BKT). In future, he sees good opportunities arising in some markets as the preparations for important events like FIFA, Expo 20-20 are under progress. Poddar elaborates more on the company´s acivities
The company offers products in the categories of agriculture, industrial and OTR As BKT started with the range expansion and product introductions in the agriculture range, the offerings in this segment are high. However, we have elaborate plans for the OTR segment where we see huge potential going forward. Our new plant at Bhuj is geared up to offer excellent quality products in this segment.
What are the current market trends in tires? Introduce us to the latest types and technology involved in the manufacturing of tires.
We have seen that in the ´off-highway tyre segment´, the concept of customisation in tyre has been successful. Our sales, service and technical teams are always on the go to reach out to end users and ensure that BKT offers customised products for their requirements. The company is able to offer this customisation quickly and is accurately able to satisfy our customer requirements.
Do you specifically plan your products for the GCC?
BKT is operating four plants in India. These are located in Aurangabad, Bhiwadi, Chopanki and Bhuj. The company has one of the best network of committed channel partners across the gulf countries, which help in providing inputs for product development. The product customisation happens as a part of our ongoing visits to different end-users.
What is the importance of sustainability and eco-friendliness for the company?
BKT was the first tyre company in India to be 100 per cent compliant to REACH regulations in Europe. The company has ISO 14001:2004 certified plants, which shows the commitment towards environment. Further, the Government of India has conferred the National Energy Conservation award to BKT for last three consecutive years. Besides, BKT is also engaged in generating renewable energy and water recycling.
Who are your prominent clients?
BKT is supplying to both OEM and replacement markets. However, as tyre is a consumable product, the requirement from replacement market exceeds the OEM supplies. Further, BKT has a strong customer based who has been using BKT products from a long time and therefore are well aware of the product performance. Due to this, there is a strong repeat demand for the products. However, as BKT releases around 150 new sizes every year, more and more new customers are associating with the company.
What is the technology used to deliver best quality tires?
All the technology is developed in house and there is a high level of automation achieved. BKT is proud to operate some of the most modern and well-equipped plants for the ´off-highway´ segment. This helps in ensuring higher level of reliability in the quality delivered. Despite this, as part of our quality commitment, we still apply more than 400 quality checks from raw material to finished goods stage to ensure strict adherence to our quality levels.
How do you ensure safety at your manufacturing plants?
Safety is an important parameter at BKT and many steps are taken to ensure best safety practices at the plant level. There is a safety committee in each plant, which meets every day, to analyse and discuss safety related issues. We engage in periodic audits by national agencies to validate our safety practices. In order to ensure awareness, we celebrate ´safety month´ for 30 days each year. We also conduct safety related trainings like fire drills, etc.
How did the company perform in 2014-15? What are your expectations in 2015-16?
The growth in 2014 was quite encouraging despite the global challenges. That said, the sales for 2015 are expected to be at a similar level. We are inaugurating our new facility at Bhuj, which will take our manufacturing processes to a higher level. This will have some of the best equipment available for ´off-highway´tyre segment worldwide. This plant will also ensure higher product availability and reduced cycle time so that we can fulfill our customers´ demands more effectively.