Leading the Change

Leading the Change
21/04/2015 , by , in Interview Old

By: Realty Plus Bureau

Intro: Tiles have evolved from utility items to a lifestyle statement with innovation and technological advancements defining the development of the Indian tiles industry. BhupendraVyas, COO – Asian Granito India Ltd. Talks about the growth and evolution of the sector and its future prospects

  1. Your name is synonymous with the tile industry in India and to you goes the credit of introducing vitrified tiles in the country. As a veteran of the industry, how have you seen it evolve over the last three decades? What are some of the major trends that you forsee?

In the last two decades, the Indian tiles industry has moved from ceramics tiles to materials like wood, glass, granite, limestone, marble, natural stone, porcelain, slate, quartz and resin and mosaic. Earlier tiles were used mainly for bathrooms and floors today they are used also in kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, verandas, terraces as well.

Tiles are most preferred for qualities like low maintenance, convenience, simpler installation and durability. Consumers these days are also open to experimenting with the texture, colours, finish, looks and patterns of the tiles and choose the surface and tones according to various spaces in the house. They also prefer to choose wood-styled tiles that give a warm and classy feeling especially to houses.

For homes, larger format tiles available in sizes like 800 x 800mm, 600 X 1200mm, 1000mm x 1000mm are becoming favourites as they not only need lesser maintenance but also make the rooms or bathrooms look bigger.

At Asian Granito India Ltd, we have been persistently working on introducing innovative products that match with the imagination of the consumers to create a living space of their dreams. Over the years, we have introduced several other products for home décor that have proved to be game changers in the industry.

We have also offered large format tiles in various collections like Micro Crystal and the recently launched Double Charge Vitrified Tile collection Carrara White, the world’s whitest L value >90 in unglazed larger format.

On the technology front, the digital era of tiles has set in. Tile players have gradually moving from 4 colours to 6 colour and even 8 colour printing technology.

  1. The tiles industry in India is pegged at Rs 25,000 crore, but is considered largely fragmented. However the sector has grown annually at a healthy rate of about 15 per cent. What are your projections for the tile industry over the next five years?

In the last ten years, the organised segment of the Indian Tiles industry has grown at a healthy rate with an increasing number of consumers going for branded tiles.

The organised players which roughly constitute 40 per cent of the industry (offering floor tiles, vitrified tiles, porcelain tiles etc.) are expected to grow at the rate of 25-30 per cent in the coming years.

Moreover, the shift towards higher value-added and branded products has been motivating and will open up more scope of growth and room for innovation.

  1. The demand for housing is expected to improve with the Modi government’s developmental policies. What impact will that have on the tile industry?

Tile industry must expect and should be ready for a bright future because to an extent, it is dependent on the housing and real estate sector and with the stability of government and boom in the housing sector, the industry would surely be benefitted. Per capita consumption in India is still much lower than the globally and this is sure to go higher with more application areas for the tiles and more and more niche usage of tiles, only possible if the demand for the housing sector improves. Also, the value added products may have their increased share of proportion with increase in housing demand.

  1. What are your plans for expansion and are you looking at setting up more facilities to meet increased demand?

Asian Granito India Ltd has eight ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004 certified ultra modern plants manufacturing world class Tiles, Marble and Quartz in Gujarat with a production capacity of more than one lakh sq. mtr a day.

Moreover, we have recently joined our hands with AffilVitrified (Pvt.) Ltd. located in Morbi, Gujarat for introducing high-end Double Charge tiles in the Indian market. We expect to generate revenues of around Rs. 100 crore in FY 2014-15 from this tie up and target the premium tiles market worth Rs. 1,000 crore.

  1. AGL has achieved design leadership through a mix of creativity and technology. Please tell us more about the recent technologies adopted by AGL to create an array of designs in the tile and marble product range.

Asian Granito India Ltd believes in its corporate philosophy of ‘Lead the Change’ and has been one of the pioneers in the ceramic industry especially in modernization and up-to-date technology. AGL are one of the first ones to introduce six colour digital printing technology on larger formats such as 300 x 600mm and 300 x 900mm digital wall tiles. Next in line would be eight colour printing.

Earlier tiles were made through screen printing technology which had constraints in terms of clarity, resolution, colours, design elements, etc. With the introduction of Roto printing technology, 4-colour printing made randomness and limited effects possible. From 4-colour, the industry has moved from 6-colour to 8-colour printing technology. And now is the age of digital printing. Asian Granito India Ltd is among the first few players to offer a fresh range of digital wall floor tiles in various sizes and unlimited designs. Today, the high-premium class of institutional consumers also ask for customized digitally printed tiles which remains a luxury. Asian Granito India Ltd. has spent considerably on upgradation of machinery as well as in new digital machines.

  1. AGL has a strong marketing distribution network of more than 4000 sub-dealers. How important is the distribution network in the current scenario?

In a highly competitive industry with only 40 per cent organised players, distribution network is something that gives an edge over others. With a structured distribution network of 4000 plus dealers and sub-dealers covering each and every state of the country, we are focusing on being present even in smaller cities like Amravati (Maharashtra) and Gonda (Uttar Pradesh) to cater to various segments of consumers in India.

At Asian Granito India Ltd, we believe in providing more to our customers, not only in terms of quantity, but also quality, which is the rationale behind launching AGL Tiles World Exclusives showrooms. We felt the need of an exclusive tiles showroom for people with discerning taste, who are always on the lookout for something different and exclusive. A place where one can choose from a wide range of tiles available in varied sizes and types for home and office spaces. We have currently launched 53 AGL Tiles World Exclusives showrooms pan-India. Company has been aggressively planning to open 100 more AGL tiles exclusive showrooms in this financial year.

  1. How many variants of tiles, marble and quartz products does AGL offer? Is diversification and expansion of new variants on the anvil?

The latest innovation from the company has been the launch of ‘Carrara White’ in the Double Charged Vitrified category – the USP of this product is that it is the world’s whitest tile collection in the unglazed larger format, it is one of the rarest products in the world with ‘L’ value >90.

Apart from this, the most popular products include Digital Wall Tiles, Digital Micro Crystal Tiles, Hi-Tech Tuff Guard Digital Tile, 3rd fire Décor tiles, Porcellanto Digital Tiles, Digital Glazed Vitrified Tiles, Digital Ceramic Wall Tiles, Ceramic Wall Tiles, Digital Ceramic Floor Tiles, Ceramic Floor Tiles, Grestek, Vitrified Polished Tiles, Grandura and Double Charged Vitrified Tile.

Our company has taken a further leap on the technology front to become the first company in India to be able to indigenous manufacture high-tech ‘Micro Crystal’ collection of floor tiles for the luxury segment. Company has 1200+ tiles designs on offer.

Hi-Tech TuffGUARD digital tiles on a vitrified body have been launched recently in 800 x 800mm size; these tiles are for heavy traffic floors with the USP of scratch and stain resistant.

  1. What is AGL’s current market share and what are your plans to increase it in the near future?

Asian Granito India Ltd is amongst the one of the top five ceramics players in this Industry. This year the marketing budgets are higher with a focus on the Above-the-Line activities and exhibitions to get more visibility and ultimately volumes. The company has also upscale production capacities and done tie-ups to enter into segments that are new and growing. There’s a focus on high value products and larger formats to cater to the ever growing need of customers in this product segment which is the fastest growing.

Besides this, Asian Granito India Ltd. has also intensified its reach and operations in North and East India with a focus on gaining significant share in these markets.

  1. What are the current challenges faced by the building materials industry? What are your expectations from the new government?

Despite of an overall slowdown organised players are growing at the rate of 15-16 per cent per annum while the industry on a whole had a 13 per cent growth rate. However freight, supply and price of power and gas are the key cost-related issues impacting the industry. Our wish for forthcoming Budget is reduction in excise duty, rebate on exports, to bring the overall raw materials and gas prices down and anti dumping duty on China. Government also should expedite implementation of GST.

Increasing financial cost has been a major factor for profits falling in the ceramic industry. The production of ceramics has been significantly falling short of prevailing local demand in India and dumping of ceramic products by China in large numbers is adversely impacting profit margins of ceramic producers and manufacturers in India there by pushing a number of smaller units on the verge of closure.

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