Responses from Arjun Mirdha, President & CEO, JCB North America
Looking Ahead at ConExpo/IFPE 2017
Are there any particular technologies you are looking forward to seeing at the show?
This year AEM has integrated a technology pavilion into the show. JCB’s story began with innovation more than 70 years ago, and today innovation continues to drive our company, therefore, any and all technology that we can utilize to conceive, design and manufacture machines that are more efficient and productive for our customers is of interest. Our team will definitely be investing some time looking at the technology featured within this area of the show.
What will JCB be showcasing? Anything new?
We will be introducing several new, innovative JCB products at the show. The customer product launches will happen in conjunction with CONEXPO. We are keeping further details confidential at this time.
What forward looking technologies do you anticipate seeing a lot of at the show?
GPS-based/remote machine management and diagnostic technology were a strong focus at BAUMA earlier this year. I’d anticipate that as the capabilities of these types of technology mature, we’ll see greater and greater emphasis on how these tools can help contractors better manage their equipment fleets and jobsites.
Brexit, BRIC and the Global Landscape
There has been significant consolidation across the global landscape. Has this affected your business model or consideration for expansion?
Today, JCB offers a broad line of more than 300 products. While we of course keep a pulse on competitive manufacturers, we have set business plans we work towards achieving. Our plans are flexible. When we see the market change, we optimize our plan. We continue to expand our facilities across the globe based on market opportunity and customer demand for JCB products.
What effect, if any, do you think this rise in consolidation will have on the industry as a whole and within your own segment?
Consolidation is a normal part of any industry. It helps drive down product/manufacturing costs, making the marketplace more competitive. Consolidation delivers the ability to buy more economically, so manufactures can produce more product at a lower cost; this benefits the consumer.
What implications does Brexit have in terms of UK/EU investments for foreign manufacturers? Is Europe still poised for investment?
In light of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, the business community now needs to look to the future. The UK is the world’s fifth largest trading nation. European markets are important to many UK businesses, including JCB, and this will not change. As a consequence of this momentous decision, JCB is looking ahead to opportunities to trade more freely with the rest of the world, as well as building on existing trade relationships with customers and suppliers across Europe and around the World.
Are the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) economies still major players?
All these countries remain an integral part of our business plans for growth. Brazil, Russia and China continue to face challenging economies, though India has made a strong comeback. JCB is dedicated to growing our business in these regions.
Are there any new emerging economies which your company is considering, or anticipate will have future market potential?
JCB is always looking for new opportunity. Where we identify potential, we invest.
The Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0): Data, Connectivity and Automation
What does “Industrial Revolution 4.0” mean to your company?
This phase of the industrial revolution centers around digital technology. When compared to earlier industrial revolutions it is markedly differently on speed alone, with everything happening at an accelerated pace. The challenge for all manufacturers is determining how and what technologies to incorporate into their business systems, processes and products to gain a competitive advantage.
What role do any of the following branches with in the IR4.0 play within your company and/or product designs?
Big Data (Smart Data) – acquisition, management, extrapolation and presentation
Data allows us to quite simply be smarter and more efficient in how we build the JCB brand. The more data we have on our current customers and how they are using our equipment to understanding the buying wants, needs and habits of prospective customers, the more strategic we can be in our approach. Today all of our marketing is triggered by data whether its product, service, parts or finance related.
GPS, Telematics and Connectivity
We can now see how long customers are running machines, when and if preventive maintenance is being performed and receive error codes and alerts when there’s an impending problem so that we can be proactive in helping our customers better maintain their equipment. All this data allows us to better support our customers whether on the phone or in person onsite. It helps us resolve issues much quicker than we could have years ago, ensuring the customer’s machine delivers maximum uptime.
Is there a particular route or focus your company is taking amidst the IR4.0 set of opportunities?
There’s no one particular focus for JCB. We are open-minded to any evolving technology that helps us to be a better partner to our customers. New technologies are being implemented across all facets of our organization from research & development, to marketing & sales, to distribution, allowing us to deliver product faster than before with improved quality and value.
What is the opportunity potential, and what benefits are you already seeing?
Quite succinctly; it allows us to be more relevant and more responsive with service and that’s what customers and prospective customers want.
How do you foresee the IR4.0 affecting the industry as a whole? Are there any new or improved opportunities it will enable?
Technological advancement will continue to lead to long-term gains in efficiency and productivity. Transportation and communication costs will likely continue to drop. Logistics and global supply chains will continue to become more manageable.
Opportunity is always out there for those looking for it. As an organization, we must continue to challenge traditional methods and assumptions to better understand today’s business climate and customers, keeping a sharp focus on innovation. The very principal on which JCB was founded and core focus of our business that has allowed us to grow into the world’s third largest manufacturer of heavy equipment.
The [Industrial] Internet of Things (IIoT]
How is your company approaching the II0T and, implementing it into the company’s day-to-day operations?
Our LiveLink Technology is built standard into most JCB machines at this point. JCB has a LiveLink center that tracks all machines subscribed to the service and monitors their use. Customers can monitor their fleet as well and download reports on their cellular phones or computers. The LiveLink data center shares data with our field based service teams to assign work and locate machines in need of preventive maintenance or repair. It helps us be more efficient in servicing our customers.
Is the general Internet of Things (IoT) playing a role in your company’s product designs? If so, how? And if not do you anticipate it will at some point in the future?
Yes in short, all machines are now designed with sensors that allow us to capture and transmit data so that we can better serve our customer and help them run a more efficient business. Technology integration is always considered during the development of new products.