Sliding Wardrobe Fittings in specific and Furniture Components market in general is a growing product segment in India. With the rise in modular solutions in homes and offices, this segment has been seeing the introduction of newer and innovative solutions. Indaux – the Spanish wardrobe and storage solutions specialist has been in India since 2014. Buildingandinteriors.com speaks to Mr. Rajeev Okhandiar, President,Indaux India Pvt. Ltd. to understand what differentiates Indaux from other European brands present in India and what the brand is doing to keep growing in this highly competitive segment.
B&I: Indaux entered India in 2014. How has the journey been for the company? What are the challenges that you are still facing?
RO: Indaux India Pvt ltd got incorporated here in India in August 2014. The actual business commenced in Jan 15. We first showcased our products and launched it officially in November 2014 at Delhi Wood. Since then, the company has been growing on a year-on-year basis. Today, we are one of the fastest growing companies in our segment and having presence all across India through a wide network of 2000+ dealers and distributors making our products reaching to the end users. We are not only a growing company but also a one making profits.
This success came to us meeting various challenges and converting them into opportunities and learning. The major challenges we faced in the initial years included establishing our distribution network with a credible and sustainable relationship. Secondly, being a European brand from Spain, we had to work hard to explain our differentiation against the other available European brands. And than, we had to derive a profitable proposition for end users, our channel partners and for ourselves. So far, we have been successful in achieving our objectives of being a growing and profitable company. Not only this, we are moving forward even more strongly to meet future challenges.
B&I: Many established multinational and national hardware brands are operating in the Indian market? How do you differentiate yourself from them?
RO: As I said, this was our one of the challenge to enter in this market and acquire some space. Obviously, being a manufacturer is our biggest strength. The same was used with a great ingenuity to create brand differentiation. A 3-dimensional differentiation strategy was used to gain space in the market. Firstly, positioning the price & product range to draw the attention of target customers. Secondly, the segmentation based on value-added product portfolio (instead on commodities). And thirdly (and the most importantly), we differentiated ourselves with friendly policies and practices with our customers and successfully integrated them in our value chain.
B&I: How is the brand recall for Indaux in the market? Have you reached a stage where customer specifically asks for your brand? Why/Why not?
RO: I must say that we have been able to achieve a fairly good brand recall over the past 5 years. However, we have more work to be done to catch-up with brands which have been in the India market for more than 2 decades. But in some product categories like Sliding Door Fiitings and Suspension Brackets, Indaux has a better recall value than other competitive brands.
B&I: What is your revenue split in percentage terms between retail and project sales? What are you plans to increase your presence in both these segments?
RO: Currently we are a trade focused company and just started entering into OEM segment. Our 90% of business comes from trade vertical and remaining from OEM. As a strategy, we are not entering the project business as of now. Project business consumes a lot of working capital and offers very little margins. We are a bottom-line centric company and we do not have any immediate plan to enter into project business unless the situation improves.
B&I: Are there any specific solutions that you have launched or are planning to launch that could give you an edge over competition?
RO: I am pleased to inform that in November 2019, we launched Junior6 Coplaner wardrobe sliding door fitting- a unique and affordable solution. These fittings run on co- planer technique meaning that when the wardrobe is in a closed position, both panels of the sliding doors will be in the same line and track. Many brands tried introducing such innovations but could not succeed. They are not only very complicated but also outrageously expensive. We offer a very simple solution at less than 50% of the price.
B&I: Given the fact that India is an extremely price sensitive market, how have you positioned yourself (price positioning)?
RO: We have positioned ourselves very well as far as price is concerned. On commodities we are cheaper by 10-15% from other European brands. On value added products and on new innovation, we do put reasonably impressive price but keep it always affordable to have desired volume. Pricing is one of the techniques of creating brand perception and also a key factor in achieving margin objectives. We achieve bottom line objectives through product mix strategy but position our price as competitive yet affordable. (Right value for your money)
B&I: There are a lot of counterfeit or cheap copycat products available in the market? How do you deal in such a scenario? How do you prevent your patented designs from being copied?
RO: As I explained, we are a manufacturing company and we also manufactures for other global brands. All our designs and new developments are patented and we have our own copyright on them. However, there are many cheap suppliers who try to copy it but we keep a strict vigil. The original will always remain original and our customers know it very well. We need to keep them wary of sub-standard solutions. That is the only way we can protect ourselves.
B&I: Hardware is primarily a retailer driven market? With so many brands vying for their attention, how do you build relations with retailers?
RO: We fully understand that, in highly competitive and homogeneous market the relationship with our channel partners plays a very important role. This is our key strategic action to keep ourselves available and visible in market. For this, we identify our dealers’ needs which are basically assured margin, geographical exclusivity to some extent, regular supplies and a fair policies and terms. We make our best efforts in meeting these requirements and most importantly we maintain a family & friendly relationship with them. A company must establish its leadership status among the dealers by knowing them well, bringing confidence in them and growing their businesses.
B&I: Which are strong areas for you in terms of sales and which are the areas where you still need to gain grounds? What strategy do you have to enhance your reach? How many dealers you have in India?
RO: We have a wide network of distributors, direct dealers and retailers across India approx. 2000+ in nos. We are very strong in North & West region, moderately strong in South region and looking forward to expand ourselves in Kerala and TN. Certainly, we do not have much presence in Eastern India and as a strategy, it was our last focus area. We have just started operating in that region with our new distributors in Kolkata , Bhuvaneshwar and Guwahati.
B&I: Architect is an important link in the entire value chain. How do you get their attention, considering that they wooed by brands across product categories? How do you communicate with them?
RO: Well, this is true that Architects & Interior designers play a very key role as influencer in the entire sales processes of building material and interior products. They are even more relevant when you are purely focused on project business. We are looking at developing a very competent team to address this segment exclusively and will be aligned with our timing of starting with our business plan of the project vertical.
B&I: How has the post-Covid19 situation been for you? Have you taken any measures to operate in a new environment where social distancing will be the norm for quite some time?
RO: I am very much convinced that this situation is not going to persist for long. Maybe we will have to operate in India with practices of social distancing, work from home or virtual meetings etc. till the end of this year. Since the unlocking processes has started, we are also getting habitual for such practices and it will continue for some time like this. This pandemic brought many good learning and changes for us in business behavior, practices and policies. I feel that we all must carry it further even in a normal situation. This can be translated into various benefits.
The new year is going to bring many new opportunities for all of us and we shall not only bounce back but also grow much faster than ever.
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