Having made big strides with its due accent on product quality and technology standards, the Indian commercial vehicle industry has, over the last one decade, witnessed the entry of almost all leading MNCs specialising in the latest and most modern vehicle models. As expected, the biggest beneficiary from such development has been the end customer who has now a wide range of quality products to choose from. However, better vehicles come with a demand from customers for quality aftersales service support. This is another segment which is likely to witness tremendous growth in the coming years, offering big scopefor global players to bring world-class products and solutions to India. One such company eyeing the Indian service market is Stertil Koni, the world leader in heavy-duty vehicle lifts.
The Stertil Group, founded in 1961, is owned by a Dutch entrepreneur with the name ‘Stertil’ hailing from the small town of Kootstertille in the north of the Netherlands. It has over 450 employees, with its main office and production facility at Kootstertille. It has a production facility in the US and eight fully-owned sales offices in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Poland, Turkey, the US, the UK and Brazil. In addition,the group has also a wide network of nearly 60 independent distributors around the world. The Stertil Group has three core activities, namely, Stertil-Koni for heavy-duty vehicle lifting, Stertil Dock products for loading bays, and the aftersales service support for the two main operations. Stertil-Koni is the largest producer in the world of heavy-duty vehicle lifts focusing on lifting solutions for buses,trucks and all heavy-duty vehicles for use in areas like mining, railways, earth-moving, ports and the military. The company produces thousands of units every year, with its total production for 2012 earning it the No.1 producer status.
The company has global presence with its main markets currently being Europe, North America and Australia/New Zealand, while it is keen on establishing good presence in the Indian market in the near future. Says Mr. Alfred Kooi, Export Manager, Stertil-Koni: “India is a new and promising market for us. We see India as one of the emerging global economies of today and certainly of tomorrow. Our large global customers include companies such as Mercedes Benz, Volvo and Scania, and though the Indian commercial vehicle market is not very focused yet on OEM approvals for lifting equipment, we hope to develop a good relationship with the OEMs in the country in future.” The company strictly follows a policy of working in new markets through distributors and currently has one in India. Due to the sheer size of the country, Stertil is planning greater representation across geographies within the country. Stertil-Koni’s equipment range covers mobilecolumn lifts, two-post lifts, platform lifts, including the globally acclaimed Stertil-Koni ‘SKYLIFT’, in-ground lifts, and accessories.
Focus on ownership efficiency
Stertil, with its main focus on quality, utilises standard raw materials and functions with a highly qualified team of engineers to turn out products which are builtto last. The company continuously works on improving the quality of its solutions coupled with an endeavor to become cost-competitive in the market in order to remain the first choice of its customers. “Stertil-Koni is a premium brand and not a price fighter. We always strive to be competitive in developing and producing high-end lifting solutions for our customers and at the same time being cost-effective as well. We constantly work on new innovations for the developed markets, and for emerging markets we have a strategy which is adapted to suit the local demands”, adds Mr. Kooi. The heavy-duty mobile lifts of the company, designed to meet the highest safety standards, offer an optimum balance between ergonomicsand efficiency. Its mobile columns have the best and easiest wireless operating system in the world while its widely popular model ‘SKYLIFT’ combines the best features of a fourpost lift, scissor lift and parallelogram lift in one single equipment.
Stertil’s strategy for the Indian market, in line with its global focus, will rely on efficiency of ownership rather than the initial equipment cost. “Buying cheap products does not always mean that your life cycle costs will be low. We at Stertil-Koni will closely assess and evaluate the Indian market and try and assist potential customers in doing the calculations to show them the return on investment to try and change the commonly existing mind-set”, he states. The company also plans to have a high level of aftersales service for providing a good spread of qualified distributors with a trained service network across the country. “2014 will be a year of learning and exploring the possibilities which the Indian market has to offer, and this will determine our approach for the future”, Mr. Kooi concludes.