‘Somany is among the frontrunners in the ceramic tile industry in India’

‘Somany is among the frontrunners in the ceramic tile industry in India’
18/03/2016 , by , in Interview Old

Sanjay Kalra, President- Sales & Marketing, Somany Ceramics Limited, talks about how company’s USP and trends of year 2016.

Tell us about your company and core competencies?

Somany Ceramics was founded in 1969 by Mr. H.L. Somany in collaboration with Pilkington’s Tile Holding, UK. Today, we are one of the leading manufacturer and marketer of tiles, sanitary ware and bath fittings in India.

We are listed on BSE and NSE and produce 55 million sq. m of vitrified and ceramic tiles from three fully-owned facilities (two in Kadi in Gujarat and one in Kassar, Haryana) and six joint venture facilities at Morbi in Gujarat. Along with the large size manufacturing facility, we have pan India presence with vast distribution network comprising of 8000 plus dealers & sub-dealers and 200 franchisee managed showrooms/ own display centres.

Somany manufactures a broad range of tiles (wall and floor) in various sizes, designs, textures & finishes across the widest product selection categories – ceramic wall and floor, polished vitrified tiles, and glazed vitrified tiles and digital tiles along with a wide variety of CP fittings, shower panels, basins, faucets etc.

What are the latest products offered by your brand?

One of the latest innovations from the house of Somany is ‘Slip Shield’ floor tiles which are highly functional in nature and easy to maintain. They have a coating applied on the tiles which keeps the co-efficient of friction high even when the surface is wet and soapy. Furthermore, there is no limitation in terms of design possibilities, making Somany Slip Shield tiles well suited to liven-up frequently wet areas in homes.

Another very recent innovation from Somany was “Optimatte” wall tiles that exude a sense of elegance and grace, making the ambience livelier. In line with the latest trend these are available in size, 300x600mm. It mainly focusses on marble and stone patterns where punches are well defined and precise. Special concepts have been created in Optimatte like Artline for abstract artistic look on walls, Bloomberg for flowery backdrops, Forestic for rustic feel, Mejestic for grandeur on the walls, Merry for clearly defined prints of everyday products like a tea-pot, Mezze and Naos for reflective effects in whites and greys and a lot more. Somany’s “Optimatte,” intense matt finish tiles come in a wide range of rich and deep hues, marble and stone finish, accentuated by an extraordinary satin surface. It optimizes and enhances the living area, while keeping the surroundings calm in muted tones.

Latest collection by Somany Ceramics, Stone16 is a range of outdoor floor tiles with thickness as high as 16 mm, that is double the thickness as compared to an ordinary tile. Available in size 600x600mm, this range of thick Durastone tiles to cater to the outdoor requirements of tiling. One of the toughest tiles in the market, Stone 16 boasts of craftsmanship, innovation and the charm of rustic beauty in a unique amalgamation thus creating elegance and luxury.

What is the USP of your company?

Somany is among the frontrunners in the ceramic tile industry in India keeping Innovation as our USP. Somany Ceramics has been investing their energies in product innovation and increasing capacities across segments with more focus on higher margin segments. To cater to the dynamic sentiments of the consumers, Somany product offering includes tiles (floor tiles, wall tiles & vitrified tiles), sanitary wares, CP fittings and tile laying solutions.

Who are the target audience for your products?

Today, customers in tier 2 and tier 3 are the main target audience for us as they are on their route to progression. The customers are well- travelled in and outside of the country and wants the trends available in metros and abroad. They are increasingly looking beyond the functionality of easy and hygienic maintenance of utility areas like kitchens and washrooms with tiles, to the aesthetic appeal of tiles in propagating style and personal taste, which reflect their lifestyle.

For our customers, architects, interior decorators, builders and Contractors are the key influencers. This group of people acts as the go-to community for ideas and suggestions while making important decisions. Theyhave sound knowledge on brands and products available and mainly go for wall hung pans with concealed cisterns of premium brands.

What are your future plans?

We are focusing on doubling ourselves in the next three years. New constructions and renovations of existing properties will further boost the demand for ceramic tiles.

Over the years, we have realized that the best way to grow is to outsource the production to smaller players and leverage our brand and distribution network for marketing and selling the same. We shall, therefore, continue with our asset light model of growth wherein we would keep adding more and more capacities by taking stake in the equity of smaller manufacturers who shall exclusively produce for us.

We shall also expand plants of our existing associates and continue to enhance our product offerings through more value added products. To be one-stop destination for all home-decor needs, we will ramp up the sanitary ware and bathroom fittings segment.

nd more franchisee run stores year on year. In addition, Tier 2 & Tier 3 towns and the exports would be the thrust area for enhancing sales further. The strategies outlined above should result into a sustainable growth of our top and bottom line going forward. We will invest accordingly for expanding our business operations and upgrading our manufacturing facilities. We are targeting 20% plus growth in FY16 as there is high growth potential in the ceramic tile industry.

We have no diversification plans for the time being and will continue with the existing business verticals.

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