Tractor manufacturer International Tractors Limited (ITL) is the third largest tractor manufacturing company in India. Gaurav Saxena, President and CEO of International Business, has been with the group for nearly 10 years, focusing on the company’s business outside India.
“ITL started its operations five decades back and international operations 10 years back,” Gaurav says. “In a short time, we have reached a level that other companies have taken almost five to six decades to reach. Our focus was always to be a leader in whichever segment we are present. In the past couple of years, we have become one of the top three companies in this industry in India and in the top six globally.”
Gaurav believes this is just the beginning for the company, as it plans to take on a leadership position. “Our focus has been on exports, to have a greater presence in most potential markets globally. It gives us more leverage to operate in different circumstances. If some markets are going down in terms of volume and market share, then that shortfall can be taken care of by other markets.”
The company has already expanded its reach in more than 120 countries worldwide. “We are very focused and plan for international business to contribute about 50% of the company’s profitability in the next five years,” says Gaurav.
“We are open to opportunities in different markets, wherever local government is interested in facilitating assembly facilities for tractors to cater to local needs and export to neighbouring countries.”
This significant ongoing evolution, due to changes in emission standards, has pushed most companies to introduce new tractors that are emission compliant. Frequent changes in emission norms have impacted the investments and also substantially increased the end price to the customers.
Currently, ITL is focusing on European and American markets, which have very stringent standards. “We have experienced phenomenal growth in European markets, where we sell our tractors under the brand name of Solis,” Gaurav says.
“We have a significant presence in 33 countries in Europe. We started our operations in Europe in 2011–12 with very small numbers and have grown to 5,000 annual sales in 2018–19. No other Indian tractor manufacturer has this kind of presence and substantial base of satisfied customers.”
The company has focused on introducing new products as per customer requirements and facilitating growth across a large portfolio of different models ranging from 20–110 horsepower.
To become a global company, Gaurav says that ITL is focusing on further improving its processes, to have the best quality and technology to compete in global markets. The company always very closely controls cost and quality, while meeting the agreed time lines to introduce new products to the markets.
Gaurav believes that ITL is very different from other companies in terms of employee participation in the growth of the company and looking into 360-degree areas of operations to excel and contribute.
“In this process, we’ve made many cross-functional teams that work together and are responsible for taking care of their targets as well as ensuring that they achieve the overall company objectives.”
“We plan for international business to contribute about 50% of the company’s profitability in the next five years.”
The most crucial principle that Gaurav has learned in business is to stick to the basics. “No matter what products you sell or what company you work for, keeping your ‘basics’ right and making decisions based on correct market information will help your career,” he explains.
“If you work on real market information and do the proper study and analysis, and then put the action plan in place, this will help you achieve growth.”
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