Lucas Indian Services bid to build product and service brand equity
India is the largest producer of two-wheelers, ahead of even China. It is estimated that 890 types of two-wheeler variants are on the road which give rise to a plethora of parts and part numbers. A few thousand parts should be in place to cater to all the repairs in the aftermarket. Component-wise makers, buyers and sellers are available. But if the products, service and everything else a customer needs are under one roof, that will add value. It can be a Rs 20,000 crore market. But there is not even a single player who touches Rs 200-300 crore. This the market to be tapped.
Lucas Indian Service Limited (LIS), engaged in sales and service of Lucas-TVS auto electricals and DelphiTVS diesel fuel injection equipment, portrays itself as a solution provider, rather than a product or service provider, in the aftermarket. The company which manufactures also the Lucas brand of ignition coils and solenoid switches, aims to become India’s predominant service provider in its area of specialisation.
“We want to be in the market as a solution provider. We have SAP connectivity which gives us entire spectrum of manufacturing details and facilitates effective contacts with the retailers to track the inflows and outflows. We are also capable of providing training to the aftermarket mechanics. These capabilities make us different from the fellow players. We have more authorised and genuine parts which give the customers warranty. This is entirely a new way of approach in the market,” Muralidharan S, President, LIS, told Auto-ComponentsIndia.
The company is training mechanics and electricians and it has 15,000 retailers. LIS is the largest players in the market, it does not claim complete monopoly. “We are reaching the retailer network with our products and our slogan ‘Mera Dhukan Mera LIS’. Very soon we will have 40,000 retailers and from there we will move on to 70,000,” he said.
In the aftermarket, the last mile connectivity is a challenge. LIS converts that to an opportunity. Technology is looming in the aftermarket segment. Still the grey areas are to be covered. ‘Skill the mechanics’ is the present programme of LIS.
The aftermarket has to face the menace of spurious parts, especially for non-critical
parts. The critical parts are touching spurious-free zone as the automotive aftermarket is becoming more qualityconscious. Better quality of products reduces the aftermarket demand, but the increasing number of vehicles on the road makes up for that. If maneuvered well, this balance will give the elbow room for the aftermarket players. Every year the segment is growing 7-8% and this is predicted for the next 5 years.
Muralidharan said, “The term counterfeit is connected with spurious, but such parts are not necessarily spurious always. They might be local makes with discounted prices owing to less overhead expenses. With various campaigns, there is an increase in sensitivity but with the same quality the local make still goes good. If a genuine part is available at a less price while ensuring safety, fuel efficiency and is environmentfriendly, the big driving forces, people will go for it.”
LIS, in addition to TVS-parts, is trying to keep parts from other OEMs. The customer will ask for any brand from the retailer and if there is no availability, the patron will be left out with other options including Chinese makes. Capability of sourcing the part numbers of other OEMs is also made viable.
“We want to place ourselves in areas where there are not much showrooms. We look at tier 2 and tier 3 places. Currently we are located in 1260 towns and sales are more in small towns. The ambience we provide to the discerning customers will give a premium feel to the customers. If we give 6 months warranty on the parts it is going to further increase the customer confidence,” Muralidharan said.
As the market is moving forward with click-away service styles and technology overdrives, the aftermarket segment has to keep pace with the mega trends. Even the unorganised players are forced to fall in line. LIS wants to solidify the space with multiple parts and part numbers and make the customers associate Lucas brand for the solutions they receive. Stocking everything and keeping a track on the stock-in and stock-out need technology intervention.
Technology is advancing in such a way that a customer can book a service in his smart phone mentioning the issues and get the estimate sheet based on which he can take a call for servicing. There are a multitude of models and keeping everything in memory is a herculean task for the dealers and distributors. For LIS the sales of parts are going to be SAP-linked where sales-men can punch orders in the app. Next stage would be the catalogue which will add value to the spate of models and variants on the road.
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Muralidharan S, President, Lucas Indian Services Limited.