Commercial vehicle segment of the Indian automobile industry has shown great recovery after withstanding the effects of the global economic crisis.
Ongoing demand for commercials will be supported by economic revival, increasing public and private spending on infrastructure, and easier access to finance. It is forecast that sales in the light commercial vehicle (LCV) goods carrier segment will show the biggest growth – of around 20% a year from 2013 to 2015. The commercial vehicle industry has always been linked to the country’s industrial activities and the overall GDP. After the economic downturn the industry posted impressive growth of 36% in in 2010, and 32% in 2011. The goods carrier segment continues to dominate the commercial vehicle (CV) market with approximate share of 88% in 2011. The domestic market accounts for 90% of the total commercial vehicle sales, with exports increasing yearly.
Automotive Industries (AI) asked Nathan McDonald, President of CD-adapco, India how three dimensional (3D) modeling can revolutionize the Indian CV industry?
McDonald: 3D numerical simulation can revolutionize the Indian CV Industry – as well as any other Industry – when simulation is more fully utilized in the design and development of new products. Currently CAD tools are not aligned to facilitate the type of Clean CAD needed for 3D numerical simulation. This slows down the process and limits the number of designs that can be simulated for performance factors and therefore is often used in a limited fashion or as a diagnostic tool. This is unacceptable at CD-adapco.
We have developed the most robust and powerful solutions to deal with “Dirty CAD”. These solutions create robust and automated grids and multi-physics solvers – all in a single environment which allows for world class automation of workflow and consistency of results.
AI: How best can 3D numerical simulation raise the competitiveness of the Indian CV industry?
McDonald: By properly adopting and implementing from the beginning of the design process a CAD to solution workflows that give timely and intuitive answers via parametric design studies and optimization of components and systems. Oh, and by working with CD-adapco.
AI: Why are you confident about growth in the Indian market following the slowdown?
McDonald: Slowdowns almost always feed ingenuity due to an increase in competition and survival instincts. CD-adapco India has experienced an average year-on-year growth of 50% each over the past three years and is on track for a fourth year of similar growth. I know where this growth is coming from. I see our clients innovating. I see clients using our solutions to create better, cleaner, more efficient, longer lasting products that their customers want, locally and abroad.
AI: With the rising expectations and awareness among the customers, how do you maintain equilibrium of profitability and business?
McDonald: All companies have an “Order of Operation” – a way in which they determine importance and therefore where they put their greatest efforts and expectations of success. The term “Order of Operations” is borrowed from the basics of solving numerical equations (and getting the correct answer). In the equation of business, CD-adapco’s first operation is “Product”, not only the software and its imbued capabilities, but the quality and frequency of “Dedicated Support” to the users of it.
To this end we revel in our clients rising expectations, and their increasing awareness. Profit is an important part of keeping any business healthy therefore it is certainly an operation at CD-adapco, but not the first one. Developing our products, supporting our clients in a pro-active and frequent manner, ensuring we have great and talented workforce, anticipating and listening to industry needs, taking care of those things and the question of maintaining a profitable equilibrium becomes clearer because success and expectations are not only a function of profit alone, rather a part of it.
AI: How would you describe CD-adapco’s journey in India?
McDonald: CD-adapco initially began conducting business in India via a reseller in approx. 2005. As more and more of our global customers began setting up tech centers for outsourcing and or creating native R&D teams for domestic products, the realization that a higher level of support was required from our side, as well as improved correlation. In 2007 CD-adapco India was opened in response to the needs of our clients. From an initial team of three in 2007, in a small office in Bangalore, our ranks have grown to 50, with two substantial offices (Bangalore & Pune).
AI: What helps you to understand the local market’s needs as an international company?
McDonald: Being Local! Being Direct! Bringing our global experts here and visiting clients, discovering where they are at and where they want to go. I have personally lived here with my family for three years, and have learned invaluable lessons about local needs as well as local resources and talent. It comes down to a military term “feet on the ground”. We understand India because we have “our” feet on the ground. Every quarter we have meetings with senior management in New York or London. This gives me a platform to articulate the local needs as well as offer the local resources to the rest of our organization.
AI: What trends do you see emerging in the future of Indian vehicle industry?
McDonald: I qualify my answer by first confessing, I do not have a crystal ball. I am of the opinion that the Indian vehicle industry will emerge as a force in the exporting of its products, especially in the South East Asia, African and Middle Eastern markets. Indian OEMs are developing the local expertise to develop and produce products that meet the higher emissions standards of the EU and US markets. This will help open those markets in a more substantive manner as well. Domestic growth faces two main challenges:
1) Poor roadways and general infrastructure (nowhere to park – nowhere to drive – endless and never completed road projects)
2) Fuel costs and government subsidies.
AI: What were your personal highlights from the 2nd Annual India Commercial Vehicle Summit 2013?
McDonald: Although our success is built upon constant interaction with our customers and prospects, it is always interesting to keep our finger on pulse by meeting people from outside of our immediate circle of influence. Events such as these are great prospecting environments at which we can engage with people from outside of the traditional simulation application areas.