Exclusive Interview with Mr. Ankur Dev, Chief Executive, Railway Equipment Division, Escorts Limited

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Interview Insights:

Rail Analysis: Firstly, congratulations on your recent appointment as the Chief Executive of Railway Equipment Division at M/s Escorts. Please tell us about yourself and your journey so far with the Escorts Group?

Mr. Ankur Dev: Thank you! I bring more than 17 years of industrial experience from diverse sectors which includes manufacturing, auto, consumer durables, telecom and petroleum. I have previously worked with corporates like Samsung Electronics, E & Y, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Industries in different capacities. I am associated with Escorts since 2018 and have worked on various strategic profiles at group level. Starting Oct ‘21, I have been given responsibility to lead railway business.

Escort’s Railway Equipment Division (RED) possesses a rich, multi-decade experience in the design, development and manufacturing of railway products. The manufacturing plant of the RED is spread across an area of over 90,000 Sq. yard with superior production facilities. We are equipped with world class testing and validation Infrastructure. Our products are developed with the combination of in house R&D and technology collaborations with global technology majors.

We are committed towards growth of railway business not only in India but also overseas and setting objectives to achieve the desired growth. I am confident that we have an exciting journey ahead as well and I look forward to it.

 


 

Rail Analysis: Can you please tell us about your present product offerings for the Rail & Metro sector? Further, what are the initiatives Escorts has taken to support the development of railway & metro network in India?

Mr. Ankur Dev: Escorts RED has a presence in almost all the rolling stock segments of Passenger Coach, Locomotive, Wagons, EMUs in Indian Railways. The division has, over a period of time, developed a comprehensive line of products that match up to international standards.

Moreover, our strength lies in our ability to offer high quality products at affordable prices which includes various types of Brake Systems, Couplers, Suspension Systems, Rubber and friction products.

Going forward, Indian Railway is focusing on high speed train projects as announced in Union Budget 2022, which laid out a plan of introducing 400 semi high speed, next generation Train-18 in the next three years. In line to that, we are also transitioning our existing product line and also expanding product range. We have recently completed installation of indigenous Dampers in Chennai Metro. We are involved in the refurbishment project for Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). We are going to introduce few more products for the Metros like Air Springs, Doors, HVAC and Brake systems through technology collaborations with railway technology majors.

We meet all the certification requirement of Indian Railways as well as international standards. Our products conform to Indian RDSO (Research Design & Standards Organization) and international standards (UIC and AAR, among others).

 


 

Rail Analysis: Tell us about your experience on DMRC metro train refurbishment project. To what capacity you are engaged and what are major refurbishments done?

Mr. Ankur Dev: In the year 2020, DMRC invited bids for Retro-fitment work for 10 train set for RS-1 project to bring uniformity in the passenger experience across its old and new trains. After a thorough evaluation, we decided to take up this opportunity and bagged the contract in Mar ‘21. The contract involved complete refurbishment work which includes flooring and repainting work, Installation of mobile and laptop charging sockets, LCD based dynamic route maps, electric panels and safety features like CCTV and fire detection system. The first train was successfully completed and flagged off in Nov ‘21.

We have a dedicated team working on this project and collocated at DMRC depot. We plan to complete the remaining nine train set’s refurbishment work by end of year 2022. This remarkable journey has just begun and with the partnership of DMRC, we expect to further strengthen our foundation for future refurbishment projects.

 


 

Rail Analysis: Escorts is also active in International market. Can you let us know what countries are you exporting to and the product range?

Mr. Ankur Dev: We have global presence and have been traditionally exporting to Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Vietnam, China, Ghana, Egypt, Tanzania, Senegal, Gabon, Cameroon, Spain, UK and New Zealand etc.

We develop products of international technological standards at competitive prices. We are exporting complete Air Brake system and their components, different type of test benches, Dampers, friction materials etc. We incorporate modifications in our existing indigenous products according to the demand of the international market. We are working on various initiatives with which we expect significant growth in our export Business. We are committed to strengthen our existing customer base and further expand overseas.

 


 

Rail Analysis: What are the prevailing challenges you would like to talk about. What are your product development plans and How do you align product developmental work with your vision for next 3 years?

Mr. Ankur Dev: Material cost inflation has been one of the major concerns of the industry. We have been working across value chain to reduce costs, be it logistics, materials through value engineering & localization to minimise the impact as we all have seen the increase in commodity price in last 1-2 years. But since we provide safety critical products with paramount quality, hence, cost reduction possibilities have to be assessed very carefully. Some of the products with regards to product development in India are Advance Brake System for Train- 18 coaches, Automatic Plug Door System for LHB & Train- 18 coaches. Additionally, we are  identifying opportunities in Metro segment for introducing new product line up.

Our strategy teams are working with Indian Railways, Metro organization and technology partners to continuously draw the product roadmap of future. We see high speed train as the future in India and plan to deploy suited products. You will see increased product offerings in the time to come as we would also like to diversify the existing product range.

With global presence, reach and low cost design, we can certainly leverage our breadth and skills to offer value to our customers. Our quality products have made Escorts Railway Equipment Division as customer’s choice today. We have been growing with a CAGR of more than 20 % for the last 6-7 years and with the proposed high-end new products in the pipeline, we can expect the same growth trend in the coming years as well.


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