Carving Out Space in a Cluttered Market

Agni Incorporated Pvt. Ltd. and Mahindra Tractors share a strong bond. Here, we share with you details about the company and one of its leading lights, Mr. Cabinet Shrestha; followed by an interview with him which gives us an insight into the company’s working and that of the Nepal market.

About Agni Incorporated

Agni Incorporated Pvt. Ltd. began business in 1991 as the authorised distributors of Mahindra tractors and vehicles. Today, Agni is the leading tractor distributor in the country and has been successfully continuing the legacy of the Mahindra brand in Nepal ever since. Agni has an extensive network comprising 12 dealers and branches across the country, a robust after-sales service network and highly trained manpower.

About Mr. Cabinet Shrestha

 

Mr. Cabinet Shrestha, the Managing Director of Agni Incorporated Pvt. Ltd. which is the sole authorised distributor of Mahindra Vehicles in Nepal since 1991, has led the company with great success. He is the Executive Member of Nepal India Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as the member of Thai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Mr. Shrestha is one of the prominent business entrepreneurs of Nepal with a proven track record of excellent leadership skills which has produced ground-breaking sales record every year. Besides business, Mr. Shrestha has been socially active in supporting various causes through different events. Some of them include the recent relief distribution to flood victims in Bardia district of Nepal, support to the Old Age Home (Matatirtha Bridha Ashram) and Spinal Cord Injury rehabilitation centre. Mr. Shrestha has been benevolently supporting sporting events as well. The recent tie-up of Agni with Armed Police Force Football Club which is one of the major clubs in Nepal Football league shows his fervour for sports.

Q1: AGNI has been playing a vital role in the farm mechanization in Nepal for over 2 decades. You completed 23 years of distributing the Mahindra range of tractors in Nepal. Could you take us through this journey?

Our association with Mahindra has been an ever-flourishing one. When we started operations in Nepal in 1992 there were only 2-3 players, but the competition has intensified over time with 18 players now in the fray. Over the years, the market demand has shifted from 35 HP to 45 HP range and we have been able to meet the same effectively. In fact in the last 4 years, our volumes and market share have been constantly increasing, which is very encouraging. In the future, we aim to take this association to greater levels of success.

Q2: You talked about Nepal market being flooded by 18 tractor brands and Mahindra’s market share growing every year and emerging as a face in the crowd. What as per you makes Mahindra so successful in the Nepal market?

The reasons are many, and all very pertinent. Most importantly, it’s the product quality. Technologically advanced yet simple to maintain, the tractors have become the preferred choice of the customers. Even in the haulage segment, Mahindra tractors perform very well, which contributes to around 60% of the market. The continuous product upgrades like MKM range of tractors, Arjun 605 and more have helped in meeting the increasing customer requirements. To their credit, Mahindra connects with its customers with great ease, thereby building an enduring relationship.
On our part, once the sale is done we ensure prompt and reliable after sales support which has added to the customer confidence. To further increase our reach, we established a nation-wide network rather than restricting the sales to Kathmandu. And we are glad to be the first tractor distributor to do so.
A combination of product up gradation, aggressive marketing and country wide dealer network for before and after sales service has helped Mahindra become a name to reckon with in the Nepal market.

Q3: Mahindra tractors are very well appreciated by customers worldwide and its distributors enhance this value proposition in distribution and after sales support. Can you share some insights on the value propositions you offer to your customers?

For us, service is of utmost importance. We give door-to-door service and conduct regular service campaigns which enable us to up the satisfaction quotient of customers. Our team is also in direct touch with customers to understand their ever increasing requirements. Both of the above measures hugely complement our prompt after sales services. Our reliable back end operations assist our widely spread dealer network in their day-to-day operations. Customers know that they can rely on us as much as they can on the Mahindra tractors.

Q4. Service as a differentiator is an attitude. How do you live up to this at AGNI?

Service is all about the people. We are very selective about the people who work with us and we ensure that we hone their skills. We have built a big, dedicated team of trained mechanics at dealerships who can solve any of the customers’ problems on time. Even the people who give the door-to-door service and conduct frequent service campaigns bring a lot of value to their role.

Q5: You talked about well-planned marketing campaigns being your major strength to conquer the market. Can you share how do you map the market and what kind of activities you conduct?

We conduct village wise mapping of areas with potential and market share mapping. In areas where we find that our market share is weak we conduct extensive demonstrations. We also have one-to-one interactions with customers which have proven to be very effective.

Q6: There is visible shift in the HP range in the market? What led to this change?

On one hand, the customer is maturing to higher HP tractors for using bigger and heavier implements to cover more area, and using bigger trolleys for haulage operation. On the other hand, the scope for mechanization of marginal farms has increased with Mahindra Yuvraj tractor (15 HP). This product is getting very good response not only in agriculture but also in haulage application. As a result, there has been a noticeable shift in the market.

Q7: The Nepal tractor market is a very specific case wherein it depends more on haulage than on agriculture, with 40-60% ratio of agri v/s commercial usage. Where do you see it heading in next 5-10 years?

We envision a shift in favour of agriculture. We have noticed that gradually customers are becoming more and more aware about the new farming techniques. Their risk taking appetite with new machinery, like harvesters and rotavators, is growing. Even the government is formulating plans to raise the farming income. These are definitive indicators of the market becoming more conducive to agriculture. Increased usage in the haulage application is also anticipated as the number of upcoming commercial projects is on the rise.

Q8: What are your aspirations and plans for the coming year?

As the new financial year approaches us, we are poised to take our success story ahead. Our focus will be on becoming more system oriented and employing innovative ways to increase the customer satisfaction level. With this and more, we hope to achieve the ultimate target. Increased market share. From where we stand, this seems very much achievable