Identifying segments with potential and enhancing customer interactivity can spur growth in sluggish times, says KESHAV BHAJANKA.
While overall growth in the economy and the industry in particular is going through a sluggish patch, if one were to take a closer look at the industry, you will always find some segments or opportunities capable of offering potential growth. Century Ply explored and identified many such segments in the current year.
Realising the huge market potential in the product category of doors, the company additionally focused on readymade flush doors. This shift from traditional carpenter-made wooden doors to flush doors has occurred because of convenience and quality assurance. By natural extension, we have created a new brand, Century Doors, augmented capacity and set up a separate and dedicated team. We have also invested in advertising Century Doors in the outdoor media. And now, it is in growing at over 20 per cent across a fairly large base.
In December 2014, Century Laminates launched its first ever TVC, which showcased consumers as designers of their own home and how they could meet all their needs from Century Laminate´s product catalogue. We also launched a dedicated website for consumers, which also has a visualiser where a consumer can choose any room from six room types (bedroom, living, kitchen, etc) and see how a full sheet would look like after application. This initiative aims to allow the consumer to get a real look and feel about what to expect.
Initiatives for laminates
Our laminates are anti-bacterial and anti-fungal with the help of a technology called Silver Nano. This technology ensures that 99.9 per cent of germs are killed after coming in contact with our laminates, thus making our products safe for applications in interiors. We ensure this property is present in all our 1 mm laminates. Century Laminates has identified some smart application areas for laminates like switchboard panels, chalkboards, marker boards, magnetic laminates, etc, and developed a range of speciality laminates. These products are gaining mileage, particularly among the architect segment.
Century Laminates has one of the biggest distribution networks in India. We have started investing in the installation of exclusive showrooms called Inspiria. We are also focusing on the shop-in-shop concept across the country, to enhance the consumer experience.
Initiatives for veneers
In a similar vein, we have undertaken numerous smart initiatives for Century Veneers. For instance, we have made our factory accessible to everyone at the click of a button with the system of ´web inspections´ for selection of veneers. Every channel partner or architect in the country can now select and customise the design of their veneers from the comfort of their office or homes. This reduces the time currently taken to physically fly down to our facility and select the veneers. Further, we have connected all our channel partners via WhatsApp and started the system of WhatsApp inspection. This shortens the turnaround time for selection and the procurement cycle. Just like our laminates, our veneers use Silver Nano technology to ensure they are anti-fungal and anti-bacterial and thus safe for applications in interiors.
With one of the biggest distribution networks in India, Century Veneers is opening dedicated Fashionation showrooms in key towns. These outlets will showcase our product range in an innovative manner to enhance the consumer experience. We have also launched a dedicated website for veneers that helps customers access our entire range online. In fact, anyone across the world can now view and download full sheets of every single SKU of our range on the website. Our website now hosts a special section called ´Visualiser´, a first-of-its-kind initiative, where any individual can see various combination options of veneer in interiors in different environments, ie bedroom, kitchen, lobby, etc. And to enhance the connect with the consumer, we have adopted an emotional positioning (Khushiyon ka rangmanch), which has been embodied over other business lines, such as Century Laminates and Century Doors.
All considered, recruiting the right talent is always a smart move for a growing company. In the past year, we have hired officials at various senior management levels, each with over 20 years of intense multi-industry experience from premiere business schools, who are contributing in making all these opportunities countable. We have also recruited over 200 new recruits in frontline sales force to augment business plans.