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Interview

with Pradeep Mohanty, Managing Director, Sledgehammer Oil Tools

10.12.2010 / Energyboardroom

In the last ten years Sledgehammer went through a major transformation that resulted in a more segmented structure around centralizers for the oil and gas industry. Isn’t it too risky to put all the eggs in just one basket?

It is very much true what you’re saying, but you have to understand that even though we at Sledgehammer have decided to focus on the oil and gas cementing business, we are constantly expanding our product portfolio inside this booming niche area. In its early days (the company’s origins date back to the mid 1970s) Sledgehammer was simply a centralizer manufacturer to a few industrial segments, but now we have specialized in cementing centralizers for any oil well all over the globe.

Sledgehammer is currently manufacturing 95% of the cementing equipments available for the international market in-house and soon we will have the complete cementing service package for any end-user. Our aim is to become a one-stop-shop for our clients. For instance, we are now manufacturing Centralizer Spring Bow and Solid Bodies, Cementing Plugs, Float Equipments & Cable Protectors and we are working to start producing the (Cementing Packers, Cementing Heads for both On shore and Offshore both.

We are also in negotiations with a couple of companies that are involved in cementing and hopefully Sledgehammer will soon be providing cementing services through a JV. In the same way, we already have a JV with a one public limited Malaysian Oil Services company. We started producing the same product line in Malaysia to increase our market share in South-East Asia’s fast growing markets.

Sledgehammer has presented significant growth in recent years, even when your competitors have slowed their operations considerably due to market volatilities. What was the strategy behind such growth?

Sledgehammer is the number one company in the world in terms of number of design for centralizers and the second that owns both type of manufacturing facility for Soild Body and Bow Spring Centralizer. So, We can manufacture both type of centralizers like Bow Spring centralizer and Solid body rigid centralizer in any metal. For Solid Body you require a good foundry. So we are the only company in India and in Asia who have the manufacturing facility for the two types of centralizers.

All equipments manufactured in-house are guaranteed for the higher quality and lower costs. This explains our major success in expanding Sledgehammer’s market share in the international market. We are more competitive in quality, cost & Delivery fronts.

Last but not least, most of our staff, even the management, having a good combination of Experienced and young people. They are more energetic and can respond, reply & Support to any situation or customer’s need. I believe this is a major factor behind Sledgehammer’s growth.

How much of your production is driven to the international market and what is your strategy to further penetrate the international oil and gas industry?

In the start, Sledgehammer focused on the Middle East and Asian countries due to our geographic proximity. But recently we have found that we’ve got a very interesting demand in the USA and Europe. After our first order from an American partner the word about our higher quality spread and this deal opened many other opportunities for Sledgehammer in America. Initially our Western clients were a little bit worried as they though Indian products would be looked down by the market, but the contrary happened. Actually, yesterday one of our clients from the Netherlands came to us and showed one letter of appreciation from one of their clients. As a result, they have replaced Weatherford’s products by Sledgehammer’s due to our better quality and prices.

Thanks to our Clients for our major success abroad, our exports share has increased to 97% of our production. It doesn’t mean that we are turning our back to Indian clients, we’ve always got repeated orders from them, it just means that our international penetration has outpaced the Indian market. Every day the inquiries are coming like a flood, and Sledgehammer is making sure it can attend all this growing demand by constantly investing in its manufacturing capacity.

How flexible are you to these sudden increases in demand?

Sledgehammer just acquired a land of 13000 square meters for our new upcoming manufacturing plant in India and we are going to construct a new massive manufacturing facility in the country so we can increase our production and productivity. All our forces are on expanding our operations with ever-greater productivity and competitiveness.

Most of other manufacturers focus on different lines of products, but at Sledgehammer we dedicate all of our attention to cementing products. We can assure and guarantee to our costumers the fastest delivery and unmatched quality. We also keep the raw materials in-house so every time a client needs three or twenty wells we can deliver right away.

How does Sledgehammer overcome the general perception that Indian products lack in technical quality?

In our company we have the latest technologies, Software and CNC machines for quality testing and production. Sledgehammer never compromises on quality. We are using high-quality raw material and we have the best modern machines for production. Sometimes people compromise on quality in order to save money, but here our main motto is not to earn money, for SledgeHammer money is a secondary factor. To make our business grow and be successful we have to build a brand name all over the world and not only in Asia. Quality remains the main emphasis in our area.

You mentioned the young age of your employees as a major factor for Sledgehammer dynamism. How did you manage to attract and retain the best talent inside your walls?

Sledgehammer is a family business that has been around for more than thirty-five years. Our family name is very well known in the local Indian market and our employees trust us. They know that being part of Sledgehammer means to be part of a winning team that respects.

Above all, the trust and satisfaction of our clients. Give them a faith on us and that is the recognition and rewards of our success.

In a few words, what is your main ambition for Sledgehammer in the coming years?

In the coming years our main ambition is to successfully promote Sledgehammer as an international brand that stands for cutting-edge quality and efficiency. Based on our current results, we won’t have to wait for too long.

What is your final message to the international readers of the Oil and Gas Financial Journal?

Sledgehammer’s motto is commitment towards perfection. Perfection means good quality at competitive prices and on-time delivery. Whatever we do, that is for our costumer, they are our key success factor. Our ultimate goal is to make our costumers happy. So if you’re still not familiar with our outstanding cementing product portfolio, it’s time to give us a chance to feel the diffrenece.

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