Manitowoc shows China and India operations at Bauma China

9 January 2009

“Going forward, we actually intend to raise our commitment to the Asia Pacific region even further, as this is the region where we can expect most growth in the coming decade,” said Gilles Martin, Manitowoc executive vice-president, Asia-Pacific.

At Dongyue, the company has brought in a western joint-venture manager, and two members of staff from the USA for engineering and manufacturing improvement, said Eric Etchart, president and general manager of Manitowoc Cranes. “What we have done together in the first six months of a joint venture has made years of progress,” Etchart said.

The Dongyue cranes are intended for Chinese customers, Martin said.

The ethos is similar in the company’s other Asian factories, Zhangjiagang, for tower cranes, and Pune, India, also for tower cranes, where it now makes six models after taking over former licencee Shirke Construction Equipment in 2007.

“First they go local, and then they export. The Asian facilities are for Asian markets, and then the Middle East and South America,” Martin said. Indian dealer TIL makes and services licenced Grove rough terrain cranes in India for the local market (see also pp35-6).

Etchart explains that Manitowoc’s interest in India is focused on the long-term. “We know India has an overall market size of [only] 300 units [of tower cranes]. But it was 20-25 a few years ago. Our projections for the size of the market make it compelling to establish a business now. We have the mindset of a pioneer,” he said. “Being a pioneer definitely gives us a preferential situation in terms of the supply base and in relationships with customers.”

“We could supply India from Zhangjiagang in the short term, but only in the short term. We are not the sum of small local operations. Manufacturing is not about engineering tools. Manufacturing is about people, improvements from lean, and best operating practice.

“We have a matrix organisation [to share knowledge across sites]. Each region has its own P&L. The aftermarket business is global. But there is an operational excellence division, headed by John Wheeler, that is in charge of all the factories, so we are moving toward common processes in many aspects.”

Although the company’s R&D centres are all in the west - all terrains in Germany, tower cranes in France and crawlers in the USA, Etchart said that the company is still using engineering resources in Asia. “We are already deploying a low-cost engineering centre in China that subcontracts engineering jobs from elsewhere in the world."

In India, Manitowoc has expanded its Crane Care support network to Delhi, Pune and Hyderabad. It has appointed a country manager, Gurdeep Singh, and a vice president, Raman Joshi. There are now about 375 people working for Manitowoc in India.

Manitowoc's face to Asia Manitowoc's face to Asia