Wed, 20/12/2017 - 05:25
Current Issue 71
In the Driving Seat
Labh Singh Harnam Singh Ltd aims to be the first choice for buses and coaches in Africa thanks to a three-pronged dedication to safety, quality and innovation
Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Vivek Valmiki
Celebrating almost 70 years in East and Central Africa, Labh Singh Harnam Singh Ltd (LSHS) has hit top gear in a competitive industry, as one of the foremost bus and coach manufacturers in the region.
Established in 1950 its longevity and sustained success speaks volumes in a bus body building industry that continuously calls for modernisation, regulatory adherences and innovation.
“LSHS has steadily grown to command the largest market share in the region while concurrently expanding its production capability from 20 units in 1997 to the current 80 units a month,” the business explains on its website as an indictment of its efforts over the years, and especially over the past two decades.
“LSHS’s leadership position in the industry has been achieved through a long-term commitment to investment programmes in design and development, the acquisition and application of efficient and effective production technologies, and direct marketing efforts within the region.”
The Company’s range of clientele serves as further evidence of its modern-day prominence in the market. Leading assembly plants such as General Motors EA Ltd (GMEA), Kenya Grange Vehicle Industries Ltd, Cooper Motors Company (CMC) and Simba Colt have all enjoyed the LSHS service over the years.
“We also build buses for fleet owners, schools, colleges, universities, PSV owners and SACCOs in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe,” the Company adds on its website.
As a result, LSHS was finally awarded the prestigious ISO 9001:2008 award for bus, coach and commercial vehicle building in 2012; which has - in turn - facilitated even more business in the years following.
It adds: “We also received an award of excellence for Best Institutional and Small Bus Builder of the year 2012 by the National Road Safety Agency during their 13th Annual Road Safety Agency Awards.”
LSHS’s overall aim has always been to be the first choice for buses and coaches in Africa by striking a balance of affordability, durability, quality and comfort.
And to tick off such a multitude of parameters, the products on offer have naturally diversified and expanded over the years to meet all criteria and customer requirements.
The LSHS range can be divided into four segments comprising full luxury, semi luxury, phase two, and custom.
While the latter two account for aforementioned notions of flexibility and agility, it is the former from which its reputation and core offering has blossomed.
Both its full luxury and semi luxury buses and coaches comprise mini, midi and large sub-segments; ensuring across the entire assortment that no stone has been left unturned.
For the mini aspect (20, 24 or 28 seaters for full luxury; or 26, 29, 33 or 37 for semi luxury) the range is ideal for small schools or business travellers and consist of weight reduction materials, wide and stylish doors, fancy design, dynamic lighting, and secure storage.
The midi segment across both luxury and semi luxury elements are perfect for intercity, intracity or long distance commuters and are once again offered in a range of seat number options.
Finally, the large sub-sector can provide as many as 45 or 49, or even 62 and 67 seaters depending on the luxury/semi luxury criteria and once again lend themselves to longer distance and more urbanised areas of intercity routes.
And critically, each product has been flexibly and carefully priced in order to ensure the most economically viable option for clients.
Safety, quality and innovation
The final, and most important, market differentiators that flow through all of LSHS’s products revolve around a three-pillared approach to safety, quality and innovation.
Regarding the former, the Company details: “At LSHS the safety of our buses is our number one concern. In addition to building strong robust buses we also have safety features to protect the driver and passengers of the bus bodies we build.
“Our safety features include: anti-roll bars to prevent the collapsing-in of the roof in case of accidental rollovers; robust frame construction with proper usage of hollow sections and angle lines at the direct impact places; individual seat lap belts; anti-skid flooring; and grab handles and handrails.”
Meanwhile, its latter devotion to innovation is evidenced through the business’s continuous improvement landmarks throughout the years. Using reinforced fibreglass on the front, rear and roofs of each bus in addition to an ABS interior has aided the overall weight of the buses as a standout highlight, which in turn has also reduced fuel consumption and tyre degradation as further innovative unveilings.
And when combining such safety and innovation, LSHS reaches its third, overarching, goal of quality.
The Company concludes: “The quality of LSHS bus bodies remain one of the highest in the region as is evidenced in the number of LSHS buses that are still roadworthy after years on the road. Beginning with the procurement of quality material to proper treatment of materials we ensure that LSHS buses will provide our clients with a good return on their investment.”