We all expected a big blow to business due to the looming uncertainty during April - May 2020. However, with the easing of restrictions in June - July proved to be a decent come back for plywood and laminates. In July third week, film face shuttering plywood also witnessed an impressive recovery. With that, it was the return of migrant workers at a much faster pace than what anyone could ever expect. COVID has hit each of us in some way or the other or let me put it as, CORONA has brutally thrashed ongoing businesses. Yet, I am glad to write that ‘wood panel industry & trade’ has done remarkably well by cooperating with each other, keeping the payment chain going and extending the rotation throughout for every stake holder. What makes me feel proud as a part of such a community is, ‘In one appeal, majority of businessmen have started talking about how to pay back to all those staff members who have lost jobs during the last 3 to 4 months.’
It is comforting to see distributors and traders going beyond their problems, and offering quick payments to industry and suppliers. What is equally motivating to see is many wholesalers are eager to explore new products, new brands, new companies and curious & active to adopt new practices. I sincerely appreciate all those distributors and traders who themselves called up to suppliers and paid their dues without thinking of taking its advantage.
The corona period is full of learnings where we all have learnt and identified our friends and well-wishers. One thing is certain, our wood panel and decorative industry deserve applause for its ability to handle crisis together with positivity. This attribute is unique. I appreciate the trust factor within the industry. This reminds me of the quote by one of panellists in a PLY REPORTER webinar, “Plywood & Laminate Industry has hardly 2% defaulting parties, and rest is here to grow working hard.”
Centuryply’s Keshav Bhajjanka said, “In the history of 30 years we have hardly 0.2 % of bad debt.” This COVID period is proving to be a fine example of goodness in this unorganised industry which is slowly turning to be organized.
The month of August and September is expected to be a little slow due to growing COVID cases and continued lockdown in many states but return of migrant workers and beginning of many government sites and work is set to support the demand. With rise in liquidity in banks and markets, and thrust on completing projects under specified time by RERA, the construction work is fast resuming and hope for apartment sales recovery is very much visible.
COVID has created a big opportunity for residential furniture contracting and that will certainly open new demand pockets for quality products in plywood, laminate and MDF segment. Hiring has begun and many of the companies are recruiting more people in different sections because they have learnt the worst during pandemic and the best part is “the entrepreneurs, traders and sales people have become fearless and working harder.”
Post pandemic will be beginning of a new phase where Quality with Volumes, Brand with Affordability will be the mantra. 2021 to 2030 is going to be a period where performance & integrity will be abundantly rewarded, be it entrepreneurs or professionals.
Pragat Dvivedi Founder Editor
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