Despite the constrained economic scenario, the Korean equipment giant is making the most of the momentum gained from recent stellar performances to build a solid platform for the future
Every dark cloud has a silver lining, it is said. And for heavy equipment heavyweight Doosan, that silver lining in the dark clouds of the current slowdown in machinery sales in the Middle East is an increase in market share.
Despite the constraints of the times, the Korean company’s Middle East arm has managed to improve on its market performance in the past 18 months, says Woohyun Kim, Doosan Infracore’s head of sales in the Middle East for its heavy equipment range.
In a chat with CMME in the first half of last year, Kim had pegged Doosan’s market share in the region at 14%, quite a healthy presence given the stiff competition and the global giants who are in the fray for a slice of what is evidently a smaller pie than it once was. Right now, though, that number looks even better.
“Up to April, 2017, Doosan’s market share has been grown to over 15%,” Kim tells CMME. “This is mainly the outcome of strengthening our aftersales value to the market and customers. We are strong in almost all GCC countries now and widening our presence with a single strategic approach across the region.”
That single strategic approach encompasses Doosan’s range of excavators, wheeled loaders and other equipment segments, and Kim adds: “Most of these segments are well positioned in the region and have provided us a mixed growth and market share performance.”
In fact, the only machinery segment that has not been so rosy for the company is the articulated dump truck. “Due to a big decline in the market for articulated dump trucks, almost all brands have done little or no sales of the product these days,” Kim explains. However, other equipment classes tell another story for the company.
“We have been maintaining our position at the top end of the market in the region for quite some time now. There have been periodic ups and downs in the Middle East market during our long association with it, but we have always managed to retain our customers and gain new ones… despite the market underperforming, we were able to hold our own in the region.
“We actually improved our market share in the Middle East and were in the top-two in several categories. We are currently keeping up the pace this year that we have built up over the past few years.”
Tough times demand tough measures, however, and so Doosan re-thought its priorities for 2016 and this year.
These past few years have been a struggle for everyone in the market due to the sudden drop in demand, Kim says. “Our main aim for 2016 was to hold on to the market share we have already achieved and focus more on customer care,” he says, revealing a strategy that has paid rich dividends for the Koreans, actually increasing their market share.
Investment in after-sales
As per its priorities, Doosan has dedicated considerable time and attention to ramping up its aftersales and support game and Kim believes it’s the behind-the-scenes work that retains customers.
“It has been found that our strength of performance, quality and reliability are enough to go against any other brand, and we can position ourselves as premium after adding the special value of aftersales onto our sales strategy. This ties in with the global spectrum of our brand positioning across all regions, which has led to fast growth worldwide,” he says.
“Aftersales is one of our key drivers for sustaining and growing our business in the region. We believe a first good touch will bring a second chance. Doosan’s emphasis is on more investment in aftersales, as a result of which we provide 100% parts distribution coverage in the entire region from Dubai through our Parts Distribution Centre (PDC).”
Special customer care programmes are also undertaken by dedicated teams in the UAE and Korea, Kim adds. Doosan opened the PDC in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone in 2015 to service its key lines across the Middle East and Africa – Bobcat, Doosan Portable Power and Doosan Heavy. The facility stocks inventory worth over $3m in Doosan and Bobcat parts in 1,540sqm of warehouse space, serving 25 dealers in the region.
“Our strategy is to cover a big region within 24 hours with parts. Before we had this PDC, we were able to do less than 70% coverage within 24 hours. Now we have increased that by roughly 20%,” Kim notes, meaning that 90% of the MEA region can obtain parts within 24 hours.
“Faster delivery means less cost. Dealers will pay only the cost of shipment from Dubai to their country. So Dubai to Oman or Dubai to Saudi is surely less than from a European country to the Middle East.
“Staying close to customers is a key factor of success in aftersales, so Doosan and our dealers have put in our efforts on a ‘go to market’ strategy to increase access to customers and job-sites within 24 hours.”
And faster delivery is what is required given the increasing uptake of Doosan products in the region. Kim attributes the brand’s stellar performance in the Middle East over the past few years to the customisation that Doosan products undergo before being sold here.
“All our markets have been developed and upgraded with additional configurations and performance enhancements every year. The main strengths of our line are reliability, productivity and durability.
“We have been customising our products for the Middle East’s harsh conditions by fitting heavy-duty components, as well as improving engine reliability by including upgraded filters as standard. With over 50 years of experience, Doosan brings the latest technologies to the customisation,” Kim says.
For the Middle East, Doosan provides what it calls its ‘desert package’. This is a one-stop resolution of the issues that equipment can face in this particular geography.
Machines are equipped with different oil and air filters, stronger frames and modified engines to withstand the rigours of operating in a region where conditions can get really extreme.
With so much attention to detail lavished on the Middle East market Doosan is cautiously optimistic for the future.
Speaking about the future, Kim says: “As the market’s going now, it looks like it will stay tough for a while. Under the circumstances, it is more important to satisfy Doosan’s existing customers and fulfil their requirements in order to drive our brand to an even higher position in the market.
Doosan delivers: Success in the region
According to Doosan Bobcat EMEA, 2016 saw several big-ticket sales in the wider Middle East region. Led by Saudi Arabia, the Korean giant made several deliveries of heavy equipment throughout the region. The 40 Doosan machine sold covered all sizes of equipment and included both tracked and wheeled excavators, wheel loaders and other large equipment.
This follows a great success for the company at Bauma last year, where Doosan saw 150 machines sold on its stand during the show and a huge number of sales leads generated for follow-up after the event. Doosan said the international trade press conducted over 120 face-to-face interviews at the company’s stand in Bauma and a leading German publication judged the Doosan Bobcat stand among the top-3 “must-sees” at the exhibition.
Over 100 Bobcat compact loaders, compact excavators and telehandlers were also sold during Bauma, with the greatest interest shown in the E17, E19 and E20 1-2t compact excavators as well as the prototype of the new E10 electrically powered 1t micro-excavator presented for the first time at the exhibition. The list of new products was even more extensive in the display of Doosan Heavy machines, which included five new wheeled excavators, two new crawler excavators and two new wheel loaders.
Among the products sold in the Middle East was the 5t DX57W-5 wheeled excavator, which in addition to complying with the latest Stage IIIB emission regulations, incorporates many new features that increase performance, operator comfort, durability and fuel efficiency. Also selling in the region are the DX140LC-5 14t and DX140LCR-5 15t crawler excavators powered by the Perkins 1204F engine, a small engine that combines reduced fuel consumption with the performance of a larger engine.
There was also a significant number of sales and enquiries for compressors, generators and lighting systems in the Doosan Portable Power range, which included the new Doosan G400-IIIA and G500-IIIA Stage IIIA compliant generators.