Mechanization has been a critical practice in contemporary product engineering. Agriculture is no exception as there is an increasing demand for food production. Automation and integration of new technologies have gained rapid popularity. As a result, the Indian agriculture machinery market is expected to grow at an approx. CAGR of 10.7% till 2024 with a slight reduction in pace due to the current economic slowdown.
Around 45% of the Indian agriculture sector has adopted reasonable mechanization practices for farming, indicating the broad scope of mechanization available in the Indian market. However, lack of innovative intents, conservative apprehension of the consumers and low purchasing power of average consumers are the major problems in the industry which are gradually changing due to increasing awareness of quality and need of time-efficient farming procedures.
The shortage of labour and its increasing cost due to social development are some of the additional drivers of farmers preferring mechanisation over conventional farming techniques. Kubota has a legacy of over a century in providing machinery and equipment for farming and agriculture tailor-made to consumer expectations. Kubota tractors are widely acknowledged for their noise-free, fuel-efficient and low running costs. It is distinguished for a comfortable consumer experience backed by spontaneous after-sales services making it a leader in the Indian market.
G.S. Grewal, Director of Kubota Agricultural Machinery India, says, “Our clients are majorly represented by the agriculture community which needs quality products that are durable, credible, with a standards service, spare parts and maintenance support. These all are our key client expectations from the service providers. The equipment should have a low running cost and maintenance expenditure. At Kubota, we have a vision of providing an unmatched customer experience. We give our consumers fuel-efficient products which make them operate at low running costs, and providing them unmatched experience in terms of service and support with spare parts in the post-purchase phase.”
Meeting Customer Requirements With Quality Products
Grewal adds, “Sometimes, as we want to introduce new technology, we receive apprehensions from the market. Initially, we introduced lightweight tractors, combat tractors which were not so common in the Indian market. We took significant time to project and reflect the efficiency of these products due to the technologies being new to the Indian market. As the market realized the benefits of these products, they returned with positive results. So far, we have experienced a wide appreciation for all this technology from the Indian market. So, it takes
time to accept newer technologies for the Indian market, and with significant benefits to the consumers, the revenue starts picking up for the consumers.” As Kubota introduced Rice Transplanters for the first time in the Indian market, it faced apprehensions on the abundance of labour and the technology being not viable for the Indian market. However, over time, the market course changed, and Kubota is currently witnessing accelerating Rice Transplanters' demands.
Challenges And Strategies
Akira Kato, MD of KUBOTA Agricultural Machinery India, says, “There are stringent emission norms to prevent global warming which may be implemented soon and will be beneficial for the environment. However, the R&D cost of the product to adopt the stringent emission rules will cause the selling price to go up, which will increase the constraint for the farmers in the Indian market as it’s a price-sensitive market. Thus, introducing the new technology will be beneficial in terms of preventing global warming, but the increase in the cost of equipment will affect the market demands.”
The targeted market segment for Kubota is
catered with superior Japanese technology, which is the best tractor available according to Indian specifications. Kubota possesses a competitive edge of quality and performance over its competitors. Akira adds, “This machine takes significant time in R&D phase done under the supervision of Japanese scientist by collaborating and working with the feedback from our Indian team. The mounting of KUBOTA engines is unique, which reduces the vibration and noise in time of operation and makes the drive comfortable for our customers. These are fuel-efficient engines, and I think Kubota engines are the best in India among all the tractor-mounted engines.”
Products And Services
Kubota being a Japanese brand relishes its industry acknowledgement of using advanced technology in its product development process. Grewal says, “We have been able to introduce multiple new technologies that were previously unavailable in the Indian market, like Four Wheel Drive technology which was widely used worldwide but not in India. Kubota played a key role in popularizing Four Wheel Drive tractors, Compact Tractors, mainly for horticulture in India. For our engines, we provide no-vibration engines as we have the proprietary technology named Balance Sharp technology.
In the 55HP segment, we are providing the four-valve system. These were, to name a few, among the tractor-making technologies that were initially not present in the Indian market. Thus, popularizing this technology and having technologically superior products have helped us define consumer experience and created a competitive edge for Kubota in India.” Tractors are a core ingredient of the company’s product profile as Grewal adds, “In tractor segment, we have COMPACT tractors (21-27HP), 4-wheel drive compact tractors, which is the segment having a high demand in horticulture where there is less space available for the movement of the tractor. We have the MULTI_UTILITY segment (45, 55HP), and we have options too in this segment for drives. We also have the LIGHTWEIGHT (L Series) Model, which has two models 34HP and 45HP. These are specially designed tractors for paddy cultivation.”
The product portfolio also includes Combine Harvester, Rice Transplanter, Power Tiller, Implements and Engine. Kubota ensures sufficient spare parts required for spontaneous consumer service with its CX schemed more than 250 dealers all over India.
We Have Been Able To Introduce Multiple New Technologies That Were Previously Unavailable In The Indian Market, Like Four Wheel Drive Technology Which Was Widely Used Worldwide But Not In India
Self-Reliance And Mutual Respect At The Core
Akira says, "Our cultural plan has always been different in terms of teaching each other with respect and has faith, believe in every staff member commitment and passion towards their work. We believe in treating each member equally and promote an open discussion for work procedure without using simple directions and orders for getting the job done." Grewal adds, "As an organization, we believe it is not only essential to take care of your customers but also take care of the team behind the company's success.
“Kubota tractors are widely acknowledged for their noise-free, fuel-efficient and low running cost”
We have a very young and vibrant team in India. One of the spirits with which we all work is the Spirit of accepting challenges. We have a segment of Japanese ex-pat members along with a majority of Indian staff. It makes a perfect blend of both culture and extracts the best of both cultures and knowledge for the development of the market. We have also received positive feedback on the working culture of Kubota with people willing to work with Kubota India."
The Future Road Map
Kubota India started its operation in December 2008 with compact and lightweight tractor models, which was gradually expanded with rice transplanters and harvesters, all primarily new to the Indian market. It achieved a mere turnover of 20Cr in the 1st financial year, which has increased to 1500Cr in the financial year 2021. The integration of Multi-utility products and expansion to Pan-India operations have given a steady boost to the revenue generations and sales opportunity created for the company. Akira concludes, “Kubota has decided to venture for the production and has already started with a plant in Faridabad since last year.
We have focused on enhancing our collaboration, especially on production and product engineering aspects, to accelerate the development of new products through local production to cover a major aspect of the cost challenge. We have recently started our construction equipment business. Our journey has just started. Our goal is Global Major Brand, which is the global policy of KUBOTA. We want to become the most respected and contributed brand to society. To achieve this goal, we are going to expand and enhance our consumer experience in terms of satisfaction automatic leading to a long-lasting relationship with our customers.”