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IN CONVERSATION WITH: VIKRAM SINGHANIA, BKT TIRES

Mumbai-based Balkrishna Industries Limited (BKT) Tires is one of the world´s leading manufacturers of off-highway tires, with over 92 percent exported to more than 130 countries across five continents. It is a one-stop-shop for all off-highway tire solutions. BKT Tires has operated with great efficiency for the last 4 years in Nepal. Now, the company is looking to make significant headway in the booming tire market of Nepal.

Autolife had the opportunity to sit with Vikram Singhania, managing director of Delta Distributor Pvt. Ltd – Authorised Sole distributor of Balkrishna Industries Ltd. in Nepal, to discuss the company’s focus andits future plans in Nepal. Excerpts:

CAN YOU BRIEFLY SUMMARIZE THE BKT STORY SO FAR FOR THOSE WHO ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE BRAND?

Balkrishna Industries Ltd. (BKT) is a Tire manufacturing company based in Mumbai, India. Balkrishna Industries manufactures off-highway tires used in specialist segments like mining, earthmoving, agriculture and gardening. As of today, BKT has five functioning state of the art manufacturing plants spread across India located in Aurangabad, Bhiwadi, Chopanki, Dombivali and Bhuj. Balkrishna Industries is currently an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) vendor for heavy equipment manufacturers like JCB (company), John Deere, Case and New Holland.

Today, BKT is a Global player and enjoys a strong presence in a staggering 130 countries. Balkrishna Industries predominantly caters to the replacement market in North America and Europe. The North American office is located in Akron, Ohio with one warehouse in, Wando, South Carolina. About 80% of Balkrishna Industries’ business in the United States is in the farm market. BKT Tires is also the official and exclusive tire sponsor for Monster Jam till 2018.

Quality conscious users who adhere to stringent conformity standards in countries like Europe and America prefer BKT as their supplier, thus implying that every BKT product is superior most in creation and delivers expected performance. This is achieved by using the foremost quality of raw materials that are processed through the most advanced and developed technology. Each product passes over 450 stages of tests.

Currently, BKT provides over 2300 different SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) for various kinds of applications. The company has products from 5” rims to 54” rims for vehicles ranging from trailers, forklifts, tractor etc., to technologically advanced machines like high horsepower tractors, combines, harvesters, GPS controlled vehicles, Articulated Dump Trucks, high-speed cranes, sophisticated port vehicles and container handlers to name a few.

HOW IMPORTANT IS THE NEPALESE MARKET FOR BKT? WHO ARE YOUR TARGET CUSTOMERS IN THIS MARKET?

We want to be essential for the Nepalese market as much as we can for there are many infrastructure works going on and many heavy types of equipment like dumpers, loaders, and cranes require good tires. Also, Nepal is an agricultural country where many tractors are used in this sector. As BKT manufactures tires for agriculture, we think that we’re pretty important in this sector. Our target customers range from farmers to industrialist, contractors, heavy vehicle division, and anyone in between.

WHAT IS YOUR PRIMARY FOCUS WHEN IT COMES TO IMPROVING SALES AND MARKETING IN NEPAL?

The primary focus is on enhancing brand awareness. We have done lots of brand promotion such as in Build- Con, Nada Auto Show, and even end road safety programs in association with FIA. BKT OTR tires are specialty products designed for equipment used for various applications ranging from construction and road works to earthmoving, mining, forestry and port handling. OTR tires represent the cutting edge of a fast and continuously evolving market.

WHAT ARE THE KEY STRENGTHS OF BKT THAT YOU WANT TO HIGHLIGHT IN THIS MARKET?

Key strengths of BKT tires are the quality and brand itself. BKT believes in the motto: PERFORMANCESPEAKS LOUDER THAN WORDS. Talent for innovation is a core competency of the BKT Research and Development Division and one of our company’s strengths.

Investments in R&D are a fundamental key to success to compete in a complex global market with rapidly evolving needs. Customer satisfaction is our number one goal. It is the drive for our research engineers to always develop more enhanced Off-Highway tire solutions.

The key is to constantly raise standards and make BKT products always more reliable, more competitive and highly technological. BKT’s extensive range of OTR tires are designed to withstand even the harshest of operating conditions in quarries, mines and construction sites. BKT range of radial OTR tires are ideal to be fitted on dumpers, graders, loaders, dozers, on/off trucks and load haul dumps.

We have a very strong quality product that exhibits consistent performance. And then there is the entire packaging. We do not just sell our tires and move on. Pre and post sales service is just as important, especially post service in case of any failure. It is very important to respond, thereby creating confidence in your product.

WHO DO YOU SEE AS YOUR MAIN COMPETITORS IN NEPAL?

BKT tyres is Asia’s largest OTR tire company and number 1 in OTR Mining tire company in Nepal. We take up almost 70% of OTR market share in Nepal. So, we see some other Indian companies as our competitors.

LASTLY, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE WHO ARE LOOKING FOR INDUSTRIAL OR AGRICULTURAL TYRES IN THIS MARKET? WHAT ARE THE MAIN POINTS THEY SHOULD KEEP IN MIND DURING THE PURCHASE PROCESS?

We would advise only one thing, please select the tires as per application and operating conditions. The most important thing to be mindful about in OTR tires is the mounding and di-mounding with proper air pressure. An experienced and trained person should be sought after to carry out this test.

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