At the Xiamen International Stone Fair 2023, you will always find Sridhar, the head of KEDA Stone Machinery's Indian service team busy greeting or engaging in-depth discussions with Indian customers.
The KEDA Stone Machinery Indian service team, led by Sridhar, was established in India in 2020 in response to the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, as Chinese personnel were unable to travel abroad. Currently, this team consists of 7 technical and sales personnel. Over the past three years of the pandemic's spread, the Indian sales and service team has taken on all of KEDA Stone Machinery's machinery sales, installation, commissioning, and after-sales service work in India, rapidly achieving "localization" of their sales and service.
In the past three years, the Indian service team has successfully completed the installation and delivery of machinery for nearly 100 product lines, includingartificial quartz slab, artificial marble block, and natural stone. They have also solved various after-sales and production process issues for local customers. Their efficient service response and professional service quality have left a profound impression on customers, earning unanimous praise and recognition. This has significantly contributed to KEDA Stone Machinery achieving its best-ever sales performance in the Indian market.
Machinery installed and commissioned by the Indian service team receiving recognition from Indian customers
For example, both the 0728 Artificial Marble Block Production Line Project and the 0901 Artificial Quartz Slab Production Line Project involved Chinese shipping during the pandemic. These projects were installed and commissioned on-site by the Indian team and were ultimately delivered for customer use in India. In particular, the 0901 Artificial Quartz Slab Production Line Project, which involved complex production processes for Carrara and Calacatta products, had the Chinese team assist the Indian team through video remote support. With the joint efforts of both teams, they successfully completed the project's installation and commissioning within the contract's agreed-upon timeframe. The project, which achieved trial production in October of last year, is currently running smoothly, having produced over 12,000 sheets of slabs (approximately 90,000 square meters).
Indian service team at the machinery installation site
While establishing a local service team abroad is essential, Chinese technical support is equally crucial. To support overseas project installations and commissioning, KEDA Stone Machinery has set up an office as a "Remote Project Office" and rapidly formed a professional technical support team within. Through remote monitoring and debugging systems, they provide 24-hour remote technical support to the Indian team. In the beginning, there was a period of adjustment where Chinese and Indian employees had their differences, primarily due to language barriers and disparities in professional knowledge. These challenges posed the biggest obstacles for both teams. However, as they progressed through each project systematically, working together during installation and gradually adapting, they quickly overcame this adjustment period. During this process, trust was built, and they developed a strong working rapport. Currently, due to issues with Indian visas, Chinese personnel are still unable to travel to India, and this collaborative mode is expected to become a regular practice for a certain period.
Chinese employees providing remote assistance to the Indian local team via the "Remote Project Office"
Due to the meticulous attention Indian customers pay to production line commissioning timelines, the Indian team often finds themselves working until 8:30 PM, which is 2.5 hours ahead of China's time zone, where it's already 11:00 PM. As part of the technical support team, electrical engineer Tao WU shared an incident where they were so engrossed in debugging that they worked until 2:00 AM without realizing the time. When they were ready to leave, they found that all the doors on the office floor were locked, and they had to seek the assistance of the security guard to "rescue" them. Examples of such dedication and round-the-clock commitment from both the Chinese and Indian teams are abundant when striving to achieve common goals.
India is a major player in the stone industry with abundant stone resources, particularly in the realm of natural stone. Since the United States imposed anti-dumping duties on artificial stone products from China, India has experienced a significant boom in the artificial stone market since 2018. KEDA Stone Machinery, established in 2003, recognized international markets as a vital area for business growth from the beginning and was one of the pioneering Chinese stone machinery enterprises to venture into the Indian market. After years of expanding and cultivating international markets, KEDA Stone Machinery has made significant progress in countries and regions like India, Vietnam, Turkey, South Korea, the Middle East, and Taiwan. Especially in stone-producing regions like India, they have consistently been at the forefront of the market, demonstrating strong competitiveness.
Sridhar visiting KEDA Stone Machinery's headquarters for technical exchanges and attending the Xiamen Stone Fair
Looking back over the past three years of the pandemic, the difficulties did not deter KEDA's progress. Guided by the philosophy of "Creating Greater Value for Customers", KEDA Stone Machinery, through the establishment of a local service team, has gained higher recognition in the Indian market, thereby creating greater value for its customers. Simultaneously, with the support of the local service team, KEDA Stone Machinery's journey towards globalization has taken another significant step forward.
(Bo LIU, KEDA Stone Machinery)