Moving Earth or Rock? In India You’re Probably in Business with JCB

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Logistics, Manufacturing

Okay, here’s a question – in India, when you want to move mountains, which company do you call? In 99% of the cases, the answer will be JCB.

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The British may have left India way back in 1947 after ruling it for more than 100 years but this Staffordshire-based company is a successful example of an increasingly rare breed – a British manufacturing enterprise doing extremely well in this Asian country.

JCB has become synonymous with earth digging and moving equipment in India, according to this report in Live Mint as Xerox is to photocopying.

The yellow machines with their gigantic tires and mechanical jaws can be found at any construction site, and are even used during the demolition of illegal structures by government agencies. Some have even been immortalized in Indian cinema, so common are these machines to the Indian urban and rural infrastructure landscape.

Now, despite being numero uno in the Indian market, JCB India awaits a second (or is it the third or the fourth?) wind in India. In a sense, India’s infrastructure growth and JCB’s onward march are inexorably tied up. For the last 2 years, the first was in a comatose state but JCB now hopes that with the election of the Bharatiya Janata Party as the new government and Narendra Modi as Prime Minister, the wheels of development will start revolving again.

Neighboring China’s growth has not yet materialized so all the more reason for JCB to be banking on India kickstarting its recovery in the rest of this fiscal year. In fact, Chief Executive Officer of the mother company JCB, Graeme Macdonald referred to the two markets in a press conference recently. According to this report in the Macdonald was quoted as saying JCB remained “extremely cautious” about the rest of the year, though “optimistic.”

Macdonald told reporters that although the developed markets were in overall good health, emerging regions “had faltered” due to geopolitical crises.

But yes, India was high on JCB’s long-term growth trajectory.

As part of its consolidation process, JCB has announced the opening of a plant in November this year in Jaipur in Rajasthan, India. The new, $100 million factory complex actually is 2 factories on a 114-acre site; all part of JCB’s plan to hold on to its top  position in India.

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