bauma CONEXPO INDIA brought Industry experts on one platform for an exclusive webinar on ‘‘Dealing with current challenges & determining the way forward for business continuity’’.
On 23rd of April 2020, bauma CONEXPO INDIA conducted an extensive webinar that focused on the Indian infrastructure sector and the strategies of OEMs under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The webinar was organised in association with official media partner—NBM&CW and moderated by Mr. Rajesh Nath, Managing Director, VDMA India. The panel comprised of industry leaders and experts; Mr. Arvind Garg, Chairman, bauma CONEXPO INDIA—Task Force and Executive Vice President and Head, Construction and Mining Machinery at Larsen & Toubro Ltd., Mr. Dimitrov Krishnan, Managing Director, Volvo CE India Pvt Ltd., Mr. Deepak Garg, Managing Director, Sany Heavy Industries India Pvt Ltd., Mr. V G Sakthikumar, Managing Director, Schwing Stetter India Pvt Ltd. and Mr. D.K. Vyas, Managing Director, Srei Equipment Finance Ltd.
The webinar commenced with a welcome note by Mr. Bhupinder Singh, CEO of bC Expo India Pvt. Ltd. raising the pressing issue of the severely impacted economy due to the pandemic, the consequent lockdown and how the government can revive the economy by accelerating infrastructure projects. At which Mr. Arvind Garg weighed in, “With activities on 70 percent of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) projects being restarted, as well as road building activity to be increased to 60 km per day along with various other projects, I believe that the government understands that the best way to boost the economy is by kick-starting infrastructure projects in a big way.”
The webinar also covered the important topic of pooling of idle equipment, strengthening rental companies, and flexible financing through Non-bank financial institutions (NBFCs). It emphasized the need to ensure that such arrangements become a win-win proposition for both buyers and OEMs who are facing a liquidity crunch. The predominant opinion in this matter remained that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity has proven to become more than just a regulatory requirement and needs to be part of day-to-day business. “It is evident that there will be a shift in customer behaviour and hence it has become crucial to create an eco-system that starts providing services such as renting. The rental business releases plenty of capital in the system and going forward the industry needs to capitalize on renting opportunities” stated Mr. Vyas.
Another important point of discussion at the webinar was the MSME and SME sectors and whether the OEMs can support the burgeoning sector. Mr. Dimitrov Krishnan expressed his opinion on this matter by stating that, “The biggest challenge the MSME sector faces today is cash flow. It is the need of the hour for the OEMs to have a sympathetic outlook towards this sector, find ways and means to provide them with liquidity support.” Mr. Krishnan also stated that “Communication is critical and as OEMs, we are deeply engaging with the MSME industries in this crucial time.”
The pandemic has resulted in disruptions of the supply chain. The webinar also highlighted how construction and mining equipment manufacturers are handling this disruption.
Mr. Sakthikumar emphasized the fact that ‘The viable option, right now, is to support Indian manufacturers. It will not only support the MSME sector but also prove to be much more economical’. Mr. Deepak Garg also confirmed that higher levels of localization can be expected in the near future.
Another important point discussed in the webinar was that the three-month moratorium extended by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may impact the participation of NBFCs in the construction equipment sector. Mr. Vyas provided insights on this subject by stating that he is seeing NBFCs being supported by RBI which will help maintain funding for the sector.
The webinar also generated insights on the Troubled Asset Relief Program, a modular approach to boost productivity in the infrastructure sector.
The webinar concluded with panellists discussing an effective post-COVID-19 approach to boost employment, productivity, and ROI in the long run. The webinar roped in over 1500 delegates and was successful in creating a platform for industry experts to share insights on recent developments.