We are very particular about quality and commitment to take proper care of our customer’s needs that make us ahead
Merino laminates, the pioneer brand in laminate segment has been a consistent market leader since years. With the new materials arriving in the market scene and visibly weak demand in all product categories related to interior and exterior building material sector, We at Ply reporter thought of speaking to Market heads, Top management official and Directors of top 10 brands of various laminate companies in India from different regions or state to know the on ground realities under our column 'MARKET MASTERS' VIEWPOINTS'.
The Ply Reporter team spoke to Mr Govind Mundhra, Head, North Region, Merino Laminates, who is regarded as a highly competent and result oriented marketer for Delhi - NCR region. Merino laminate is known for bringing innovative and new types of decorative laminates for India and the Global markets. The interview of Mr Govind Mundhra, is a worth reading as it helps you to know that 'how to win over negative sentiments if you are working with right product and right mindset'.
Q. How is the market demand for interior products specially when we see builders and retailers both the segments are not comfortable these days. What is your opinion about it?
A. This is not the situation among builders' community, those who are good are doing well and have lot of work. After RERA implementation, builders are indeed very much under pressure hence they are continuously making efforts to arrange funds to complete the projects. They are eager to get material from organised sector due to GST and other benefits because they are trying to complete the project faster. They are not waiting to use cheap material due to risks and lack of benefits. In fact what I have seen is, after RERA, people are benefited with quality output and speedy completion of projects not just cheap uses. Due to this transition our flush door sales have grown many folds and gradually it is increasing at brisk speed further. The laminated flush door category has increased tremendously. In terms of retail there is opinion that sales have dropped but that is not the scenario as a number of projects are running very well, equally there are very good scope in government projects also.
Q. What is the secret behind maintaining the lead position in Delhi market despite that others are making many efforts but are not able to reach even near to Merino’s tally?
A. Everyone is giving schemes and services and claiming to be better than us. But actually, the secret of success is the right combination if all factors responsible for sales such as delivery, service, design, shades, folder availability, network and the quality of the product, which altogether must be taken care of sincerely. We at Merino are very particular about our quality and commitment to take proper care of our customers need that is what is leading us far ahead from others.
Q. As a top selling brand in 1 mm in Delhi, how has been the sale of Merino at present? What will be the impact after 0.8 mm new folder introduced by Merino in the market?
A. Till last year we had been on an average sale of 80, 000 sheets per month in 1mm. In this year it was not little dropped in first quarter sale, but we expect a definite improvement in second quarter. In 0.8 mm segment we are witnessing sales of 30, 000 sheets and after new folder it will improve. We are likely to get sales of 40, 000 sheets. In 0.8mm segment there are lot of small players and their rate difference with us is much more, despite that they will not compete with our sales.
Q. How do you expect that they will not compete with your sales?
A. Today customers are highly demanding. They want consistent supply and service, but those small players are neither meeting their needs nor are committed to original HPL quality. After comparing and knowing what transpired in last project with other brand, the same customer come to us for their second time requirement. Ultimately it's our quality and promptness, hence leading customers approach us for better service and supply. Our success factor is consistent supply and service which other newly introduced companies do not match and ultimately lose their sustainability in the market.
Q. Can you explain, what do you mean by Service?
A. They come up with large number of samples of HPL but they don't manage properly hence lesser stocks or not readily available type of inventory. In case , if there is larger quantity demand they do not meet the requirement at some point of time because there is no consistency or inventory maintained with such a large verity they started to offer. Month or a year later, the customers lose their confidence due to supply or service point. On the above, our 99 % colours are regular so we have a well organised inventory system. If there is large quantity demand we can arrange them in just 15 days.
Q. What extend the leading volume figures belong to Merino laminates? Is it the folder presence in market or the lesser price factor among the brands that give an advantage?
A. First of all we are not selling lesser than anyone, the price advantage is not there at all. Basically, there are several verticals responsible for sales which are working in balanced and organised manner. It is delivery, design, folder, availability, network and most importantly the quality of the product which play an important role in sales growth. The building material users' segment has confidence that if it is ordered from Merino, there would not be delivery problem.
Q. One year before Merino’s second experience centre in Delhi has been opened. How is the response of these experience centres?
A. Yes, we have two experience centres in Delhi at Kriti Nagar and Kotla Mubarakpur. According to a brand image these activity is must and the experience centres are the requirement at present so that the architects and interior designers can demonstrate their imagination to the prospective clients and make understand their views of products uses and its applications. People visit there frequently which give us the indirect impact and acceptability of products offerings. These are doing well.
Q. Do you observe any payment issue in trade?
A. Today, the payment situation is certainly bad, people ask for just the delivery of material and don’t commit for payment saying “just deliver and don’t ask for payment.” Actually what is happening that people had their old habit to work on cash. With the transition to the era of digital payment and credit mechanism, the cash transaction is disappearing. The transaction is also becoming organised and the old method would last for just few months. The government is also aware of the shortage of liquidity in the market. If we talk about the market movement, our industry is affected with real estate slow down and that is how payment shortage is being felt from all sides.
With the transition to the era of digital payment and credit mechanism, the cash transaction is disappearing. The transaction is also becoming organised and the old method would last for just few months. The government is also aware of the shortage of liquidity in the market.
Q. So what is the successful way for you as a marketer, in present times?
A. People are now neither left with cash or cheque. We all know that 90 % of builders are suffering from cash crunch because of slow demand. The strong ones are trying to complete their projects thanks to RERA. Hence a weak payment is going to be there for a while. I think rather than thinking negative, we must work for strong buyers, increase our hardwork and focus with marketing efforts to reach and convince the customers, that's it. One should not wait for good time to come on the contrary work hard to bring the results today.
Q. When do you think that the situation will improve?
A. I don't think by end of this year the situation is going to be smooth but after eight months or by the beginning of the next FY the situation is certainly going to be better. The government has come up with long term policies and its implementation will take time to show results. In quick implementation there is work speed visible in affordable housings, for that we are not much concerned or related to. I hope by the mid of next Financial year, we can see a better situation in the market.