India’s Kirloskar Oil Engines Ltd is on a drive to become a truly multinational business and ‘touch the world’ by powering vital industries with reliable engines and a second-to-none after sales service.
From its four state of the art factories across India, the company produces air-cooled and liquid-cooled diesel engines for service industries, infrastructure projects and defence establishment among many other important sectors, and is the flagship company amongst the 33 major group companies.
It is leaving a positive legacy abroad in places such as Africa where agriculture and mining are being fuelled by its industry-renowned diesel engines.
This accompanies that which has already been achieved at home, where Kirloskar Oil Engines has greatly enhanced the farming sector since 1946 and holds a 34 percent share in the market for power generators through its brand “Kirloskar Green Gensets”.
Facilitating this vital society-building output is a core focus area, with emphasis also laid on enhancing the cutting edge research and development (R&D) facility.
Healthy relations with workers and strong adherence to corporate social responsibility and providing education to India’s population in environmental and sanitation issues are also key areas where the organization continuously pays key attention
In being a peoples’ business, Kirloskar Oil Engines Limited is far more than just a provider of reliable diesel engines.
Generating the company’s US $400 million 2013-14 revenue are four sites across India producing engines of three to 11,000 horsepower, the oldest of which is in Pune alongside its headquarters.
In 2006 it invested US $175 million into a factory in Kagal, 300 kilometers from head office. Vice President of Exports Sunil Walunjkar said: “Here we have a 200-acre area and a world class single plant of 40,000 square metres having a capacity of 60,000 engines annually in range of 20 – 750 HP.
“We have another location in Rajkot on the western part of India where we manufacture our smaller three to 20 horsepower engines for irrigation and agro-industrial applications.”
The final base is the large engine facility at Nashik, capable of manufacturing diesel engines in range of 2,400 – 7,200 HP for Marine and Power Generation applications.
Enriching lives in Africa
As in India, agriculture dominates the economy of many African countries with maize being the most important food staple on the continent.
Kirloskar Oil Engines Limited provides engines to power hammer mills continent-wide to 25 nations including Algeria, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Zimbabwe, Zambia and Angola. These mills crush the crop into a useable powder, helping to feed millions of people.
In Senegal, more than 2,300 Kirloskar diesel engine-driven pumps and over 20 drip irrigation systems across the Senegal river have increased the annual rice production from less than 100,000 tonnes to 460,000 tonnes by increasing the irrigated land from 24,500 hectares to 85,000 hectares.
Another key industry supported in Africa is underground platinum and Gold mining. “South Africa is one of our major markets and we work with various mining houses like Aquarius Platinum, Anglo Platinum, Impala Platinum, Glencore, Lonmin Platinum, Goldfields and Harmony Gold,” Walunjkar said.
The company produces a range of engines for equipment spanning LHD (Load-Haul-Dumper) vehicles, Drill Rigs, roof bolters, dump trucks and Low- Profile utility vehicles and Personnel Carriers to transport workers.
Walunjkar highlighted two reasons for continual success in Africa. “The first reason why we are successful here is because the mines work 15-16 hours a day and the production equipment has to run continuously, the engines must be reliable,” he said.
“The second is after-sales service. We fix problems in the shortest possible time, minimising loss of productivity. As a company we do not believe selling just a product. If the customer is satisfied in after-sales service then they will buy again and again.”
Kirloskar Oil Engines Ltd. is also powering mining in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia with a view to opening up possibilities in the Ivory Coast, Tanzania & Ghana where the focus is more on underground as well as open-pit operations.
Enriching lives at home
Back in India the company’s engines have been upholding the country’s most important economic sector, farming.
It has spearheaded the world’s largest irrigation scheme and brought the Green Revolution to more than 4,600 towns and villages in drought-prone Saurashtra in Gujarat on the west coast.
Walunjkar added: “When we say enriching lives what we mean is that our products and services will benefit the lives of those using it. Take today’s farmers, his grandfather was also using Kirloskar pump sets.
“We run through the generations and our products last for 50 years without any problems. Our pump sets will help you to get a more fruitful crop which will benefit peoples’ lives.”
Agriculture aside the company’s diesel engines power over 80 different applications across a spectrum of industries and Kirloskar Green’s Gensets form the backbone of satellite, cellular and telecommunications operations. In addition Kirloskar Green Gensets widely caters to specific power requirements across sectors like hospitals, hospitality, IT, infrastructure, banking and many more.
A key part of Kirloskar Oil Engines Ltd. reaching its global ambition is its industry-leading R&D department, made up of 200 highly skilled and efficient engineers in Pune and recipient of US $10 million of investment over the past two years.
All engines are designed in-house and undergo rigorous tests across a range of facets. One important area is noise solation, where the company has been successful in making its engines meet the Indian legal noise requirements of under 75 decibels within one metre of the machine.
It also has had a state of the art in-house Emissions lab since 2001 that helps in designing and maintaining the products to the regulatory requirements of exhaust emissions. “Different counties have different emission norms and we test that our engines fit the requirements of their destinations,” Walunjkar added.
“In Europe and North America the rules are more stringent than India and we are currently not selling big there but are designing products to meet those norms – soon we will get into these markets.”
The company is however supplying engines for firefighting applications into France, and is the only Asian company to have industry-recognised FM and UL certified diesel engines.
Limca Book of Records
A dedicated and happy workforce is behind the development, construction and after-sales service of Kirloskar Oil Engines Ltd, whose industrial relations is of record-breaking caliber. Core values of integrity, creating wealth for all and worker empowerment filter through the ranks of the organisation.
The company has featured in India’s Limca Book of Records for being the only company to sign on time wage agreements before the standard three year cycle is up on seven consecutive occasions. The company’s 3,000-plus employees are also given personalised evaluation and training programmes based on required skills.
This feeds an exemplary health and safety record, with a raft of industry certificates including Indian Army certification, for which it is a key provider of diesel engines, which are used for various applications.
The company also looks after people across the country, as well as the environment through its extensive Corporate Social Responsibility programmes.
One such initiative is Vasundhara, which for the past eight years has involved 20,000 volunteers from the workforce and Indian public and 250 NGOs working on various environmental issues. Another is WaSH, a sanitation education programme whereby employees go into schools and provide vital tuition in the importance of hygiene.
Walunjkar added: “India is still a developing country, thus education is vital in helping children develop awareness of sanitation issues.”
With a driven employee base and industry-leading products, Kirloskar Oil Engines Ltd. can truly look to ‘touch the world’ by 2025. “There should be no fear of failure. You can think exponentially, freely and try out various ideas, so long as integrity is in place.” Walunjkar concluded.