In conversation with Satyan Thukral, CEO –

What is new at

  • is the first to become a hybrid model in the industrial machine tool industry. We call this industrial H-Commerce. This means we are present with multi-city demo centres, where we sell through education and skilling. We are present on the field. We are now taking a lead and are present online with our best offers and package prices. In the industrial supplies the customer wants to study online but deal offline.

  • From 1st July 2022, we are adding hardware to our portfolio.

  • And by 1st Oct 2022 we are starting one of its kind, Centre of Excellence in Mumbai dedicated to the Skill India Initiative that will help the trainees to skill or upskill in the best CAD CAM software’s, learn panel processing with classical or automatic machines, learn solid wood joinery and carpentry, use and compare various power tools, learn laser machines, surface finishing, solid surface fabrication, ACP and aluminium fabrication, laminate facade fabrication, drywall construction, learn basics of pneumatics etc. We have product managers and application trainers for each vertical that support the customers and our sales team. COE will also be a platform to conduct India skills competition.

What do you think of INDIAWOOD and the industry as a whole in 2022 and beyond?

Work from Home gave India a digital push which will help India in the long term. Home improvement in covid era gave an opportunity for the home furniture segment to grow. Travel to China was and is still stuck and the customers cannot travel to China for furniture purchase. At the same time the freight costs are up mostly from China meaning it is acting as an anti-dumping duty. At the same time the migrant labour in the cities usually works on 1.5 times salary including overtime were not able to work on site as the societies were not allowing it so they ventured into the OEM segment by setting up small workshops. This was and still is a great short term opportunity for the Indian woodworking OEM segment to catch up.

How do you compare Indian furniture with imported furniture?

  • Plywood was a blessing in disguise for the Indian woodworking industry. Indian customers love to use plywood for longevity and screw holding capacity. Indian cooking is wet cooking where we need to wash our platforms every day. This is possible with marine ply.

  • There is domestic help and cooks in many houses so the hardware has to take load not just for the panel but also for the domestic help sitting and standing up taking the help of the shutter. This is an unfortunate rough use of the furniture. Only plywood can sustain this abuse.

  • Plywood comes as a postlam and in the premium segment we use veneer on plywood with chamfered edges. This is not possible on automatic machines. Means there is manual labour involved which we can still afford. If there would be no plywood, then any foreign country would have flooded our furniture industry with machine made furniture.

  • Indians love to do fixed furniture to maximise on space rather than using loose furniture. Europeans avoid this process as the cost of labour is very high.

What should be India's long term strategy on woodworking?

India's strategy should be low-cost automation as labour is still cheaper than in other countries. High-cost automation is capital intensive and ROI is viable in countries with high cost of labour. At the same time, our batch sizes are small which means we require more effective machines (low set up time) than efficient machines (low cycle time). With a smaller infrastructure, India's strategy should be innovative designs, high good quality but at an affordable price. If setting up a small workshop, we should start from innovation, quality, value and move towards volume and standardization. To achieve the best quality, you need the best machines, best raw material, process knowledge and an attitude.

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