Seek out high-performance alternatives

By: Nitin Vaze

Government and institutions have limitations to what they can do. Each one has to take up its own challenge to survive, stabilise and grow under the difficult conditions at present. But there is no doubt that new opportunities will emerge for the Indian furniture manufacturing industry, sooner than later.

I foresee significant growth in the organised sector going ahead. This should translate to good demand for high quality products.

Products such as tubular infill and sleek skins are budget-friendly, high performance alternatives that help our customers to save costs while delivering high quality products.

Hence we expect our volumes to remain unaffected and further growth can be expected down the line. As for changes in market demands, we will have to wait and watch the trends as there is more speculation now which may not be the eventual reality.

All product lines under Sleek Boards serve as key raw materials to OEMs, furniture and door manufacturers. They comprise a wide range: plain and melamine-faced particle boards and MDF, tubular boards, fire and acoustic cores for door infill, high moisture-resistant HDF skins and the recently launched Novel Board, a perfect economical replacement to BWP plywood.

Our global supplier factories never stopped production during the pandemic. Presently all our orders are on hold as all our Indian customers are closed during the nationwide lockdown.

We have been extremely supportive and understanding during this period, holding inventory of all cargo which could not be shipped to our customers. We had no cancellations; only requests for postponement of deliveries. We are also extending liberal credit to our customers of to support resumption of business.

But recharging our business through our distribution chain is a major challenge. Most of the key markets continue to be designated as Red Zones. Customers are postponing visits to showrooms and outlets due to rising incidences of infections in the country.

There are no quick-fix solutions. However, disruptions on the global level will fall into routine faster as international trade opens up. In my opinion, for the complete eco-system to stand on its feet, it will take at least a couple of months.

Extensive interactions with distributors, manufacturers and newcomers with profitability models will be our key focus to bring back the trust in the woodworking business.

– The writer is CEO, Sleek Boards Marketing Services (www.sleekboards.com).

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