A Quality Product Always Transcends the Terrestrial Boundaries

person access_time10 09 July 2024

Our recent session of the Viewpoint brings into focus one of the most glossed over issue in Plywood industry- ‘Role of Quality in the Growth of Plywood Business’. The objective of this discussion is simply to reveal the adverse impact of the substandard and imported products coming into the market which have disrupted the credibility of the dealers and retailers.

Supported by Solid Ply, one of the reputed brands credited for making the premium quality of plywood, the show reflects immersive insights on the benefits of creating high quality product by Mr Saket Garg, Director, Solid Ply along with is network partners from across the length and breadth of Indian states. Solid Ply has actually grown immensely from its humble beginnings as Plywood traders in Siliguri, then in year 1991, in the leadership of Mr Laxmi Chand Garg, the company set up a large unit of Face veneer manufacturing plant spread over 30 acres in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. In 2014, Mr Saket Garg launched the Solid Ply plant, which grew leaps and bounds. In 2018 they engaged wrestler The Great Khali as a brand ambassador of the Solid Ply which projects the strength of the plywood they create. The entity has 12 branches with a presence in almost every state across India besides they are into real Estate in Odisha as Odisha’s grand Bazaar.

Q. What are the advantages of using Solid Ply?
“Right from the inception of our Solid Ply plant in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, we have been quality conscious in making the premium range products. We are strictly against the use of substandard material during any process of plywood making, be it core, glue or face. We strive to build a product adhering to ISI standard, which should have a long term durability apart from being waterproof and termite resistant because a plywood has to endure many harsh conditions during its lifespan of 25-30 years like warping in hot and cold weather then susceptible to termite attack after half life then in last years it starts to decay therefore we look after all these vulnerabilities associated with plywood and use necessary materials to control them.” Mr Saket elaborates.

Talking about the method of preventing the plywood from termite attack, Mr Saket informs, “ We don't just do glue line poisoning we do the core poisoning due to which termite has to fight the whole chunk of the core rather than just a 19mm thick layer, this process makes the whole plywood thoroughly resistant to termite attack. Similarly for making it completely water resistant, we use 100 percent Phenolic glue, we don't prefer to use any blending to cut the cost, many people use mechanical bonding but we opt chemical bonding. As Phenol changes its characteristic from liquid to solid state in high temperature and pressure which cannot be reversed so plywood remains intact.”

“In order to slow down the decaying period we use many other preservatives and protective compounds so that the final product itself attests the assurance in quality. Besides this it’s been a long time since we have been making premium products so quality has never been a matter of concern at least for us even in the area where earth is riddled with termites because we are protecting the complete core through BPT, so our buyers are always satisfied with us and our credibility remains unharmed,” Mr Saket explains.

Q. Does Market Offers Justified Returns on Creating High Quality?
Absolutely, it is true of any product which is sold very first in Indian market as the moment product comes in the market it has to face the assessment by seasoned tradesmen and buyers because they also want to lay their hands on the quality products. For instance, you buy a Maruti Car and encounter any problem, you lodge a complaint in showroom and it's the showroom which has to face the heat, so same is the case with our plywood industry. Though our products don’t have to face any such issues, generally we have found that whosoever starts business with us remains in a long term relationship with us as our turnoff is negligible.

Q. Plywood market is facing competition from many alternative products, what is your take on that?
“India is the biggest market in the world, everyone wants to come and sell in our market, so yes, the number of counters and shops are increasing in a particular region, earlier there used to be one salesman in one company now there are three or more, so consumers also have more choices. Take an example telecom salesman or credit card salesman of a big telecom company like Airtel or Reliance or bank like SBI or ICICI, how hard they try to convince a single customer to buy a sim card or a credit card. Hence there is no denying the fact that the competition is getting cut throat and it is likely to increase further as the economy matures,” explains Mr Saket.

“Earlier a single salesperson used to visit four sites and there was a probability of his striking a deal at least at one of the 4 sites, now the scenario has changed, he hardly gets an order even after visiting ten sites. The main reason behind this is that customers have alternative product options and means to assess their quality through the internet nowadays. But our industry is yet to attain a level where the market of other products has reached. I believe we should welcome the healthy competition in our industry so that we remain inspired to work hard in order to deliver the fine quality products to the customer,” informs Mr Saket.

Q. Let us know about the product marketing, branding and awareness campaigns.
At present our sales force comprises 94 salesmen, apart from that in the factory we have a good strength of 800-850 laborers added with staff in different branches and head office, we have a big family which is continuously growing. For the last two years we have also been trying to engage more people in marketing to expand our market reach as our new factory is fully operational so the volume have also increased.

On engaging the The Great Khali as their brand ambassador, Mr Saket divulges, “We came across the Great Khali by chance, he has been using our product for so long but the thought of engaging him as a brand ambassador wasn't remotely in our plan. We casually asked him to promote our product in a business event in Punjab and he agreed, from then on he has been promoting Solid Ply. We also take pride in the way people address Solid Ply as Khali wala Ply.


Mr Krishna Kumar Reddy, KN Trading Company, Ernakulam, Kerala informs, “Being a coastal region which also receives rainfall almost the entire year except in the months of March and April. Kerala has abundant humidity, therefore the material has to be 100 percent phenol bonded waterproof to survive in such saturated conditions.”

“Second thing is in Kerala, we are accustomed to use high quality wood like Teak and Rosewood in Ply making but the cost of labor is high and it remains the same whether you are using premium material or medium segment materials or even a low quality material, so why compromise with the quality of the Ply when the cost of labor is going to remain unchanged regardless of the timber used in the process, “emphasizes Mr Krishna.

“Kerala is also known for extensive use of PVC panels as well MDF material, we are no exception as we also manufacture PVC panels because it is hard to survive without it, but we try to educate the client about its ill effects on health as the material used in its making is actually plastic which is detrimental to both health and environment. Some people who use PVC in their home argue that it is resistant to termite attack while Plywood attracts them. I just humor them by advising if they are ready to invest in their dream home and furnishing it so beautifully then why use a product which even a termite doesn't like,” humors Mr Krishna.

As far as the quality is concerned, I am 100 percent sure that customers and traders are fully satisfied with the quality we offer at reasonable rates. Even in the small coastal state like Kerala, there are about 700- 750 plywood factories spanning from North to South, whereas we are in Cochin, the center of the state. So there is heavy competition going on, the only factor which can make you survive here is quality, “explains Mr Krishna.

Mr Subramanyam Naidu, Laxmi Narayan Enterprises, Tirupati laments the menace of fake stamped products Andhra Pradesh and Telangana market, “ We are using a 710 grade premium product but yes there are so many fake products which are being sold in the market with fake seals but the company made product always bears a CML number for identification. The substandard products are not waterproof while we test our product by keeping it in boiling water for more than 72 hours and it doesn’t delaminate even in the extreme situations. In Tirupati, the market share of Plywood is about 95 percent while PVC has the lowest at only 1-2 percent and MDF claims about 3 percent,” Mr Naidu informs.

“Customers are usually not expert enough to recognize the authenticity of products; those who have some knowledge check the seal IS 710 with the QR code through which they can get the detailed information about the brand,” suggests Mr Naidu.

Mr Prashant, Diamond Plywood, Mumbai reflects his views on the role of quality in the region where MR and Marine Ply dominate the market, “Interior designers and architects are aware that only BWP Marine ply will be long lasting in the humid weather of the city. Hence the demand for Marine Ply is always high in Mumbai and with increase in the construction of high rise buildings near sea it is likely to scale up further. “

“At present the sale of Marine ply is up across the city, from South Mumbai which is very vast to Navi Mumbai. At my own counter the sale of Marine ply surpasses MR because my customer base includes a large share of residential projects so I advise customers to use Marine ply in them. That is why Mr Saket has also joined us because he also focuses on brand and quality,” elucidates Mr Prashant.

Mr Maninder Pal Singh of HarSaran Timbers, Jalandhar reveals the reason to join hands with South Indian brand VIEWPOINT OF THE SOLID PLY’S NETWORK PARTNERS 147 www.plyreporter.com THE PLY REPORTER JUNE 2024 INTERVIEW Solid Ply while North region itself is inundated with plywood manufacturers, “I found some undisputable qualities in Solid Ply which other brands lack , first of all many brands claim 19mm thickness but they actually offer 18 or 18.5mm but with Solid Ply it comes out to be exactly 19mm to 19.5 mm but no less. Secondly the other ply houses never offer you a Gurjan face ply even at a higher rate they usually offer Oukume face while Solid Ply offers the Gurjan face ply at reasonable rates which is indeed superior to Oukume face ply in both looks and strength. Thirdly, Solid Ply is properly calibrated and bounded well so whenever we sell it, we ourselves are confident that we are selling a quality product to the customer because we believe customer satisfaction comes later after the usage, first it is the duty of traders to sell be self satisfied with the product they are selling, asserts Mr Pal.

“Mr Jatin Garg of Sri Ganesh Plywood, who runs a reputed counter in Patiala comments on the importance of the quality in the plywood market, “ As Mr Maninder said earlier that distance doesn’t matter, quality always matters, a person will traverse miles in pursuit of the quality so South India is just a matter of few hours form Punjab. It's been more than 8 years since we are associated with Solid Ply as a dealer so there is no denying the fact that it is fully calibrated, 100 percent Gurjan face and a reliable red core product, apart from this they provide a diverse range of other products and the management team is always accessible in case a dealer is faced with any issue concerning the products.”

"The substandard products are not waterproof while we test our product by keeping it in boiling water for more than 72 hours and it doesn’t delaminate even in the extreme situations. Customers are usually not expert enough to recognize the authenticity of products; those who have some knowledge check the seal IS 710 with the QR code through which they can get the detailed information about the brand."

“Ever since I have started selling Solid Ply, my sales statistics as well as brand credibility have seen an exponential increment year on year. After selling the Solid Ply, the dealers can sit back and relax, free from the apprehensions that any customer might complain later. Customers themselves spread the word of the mouth about the premium quality of the ply. So basically it is the quality of a product which can even dissolve the boundaries of South and North,” explains Mr Jatin.

Mr Pritesh Patel, Gajanan Plywood House Rajkot who has recently tied up with Solid Ply divulges distinguished traits in Solid Ply that drove him to the brand, “Till now, many contractors and carpenters were using MR range products but from the last four five years, the market had expanded and fake 710 products are being sold, so I was in search of a company who could not just offer a good product and service but also take accountability and also communicate with the dealer. So I found all the qualities in Mr Saket who is young and dynamic and we feel inspired working with him.”

Ajaybhai Mangloriya of Shubha-La Hardware & Plywood Centre, Surat explains how selling quality products increase the worth of dealers, “If you are selling good quality ply to a customer’s then the probability of that same customer buying other hardware products from your counter increases because it builds a goodwill, so by and by as long as the quality of the material remains unspoiled, the goodwill of your company increases which consequently increases the business growth. We have presented Solid Ply in Surat on three accounts - product quality, support of team and Mr Saket and reasonable pricing.”

So through this discussion, one thing is quite apparent that by selling cheap material traders might end up spoiling the ecosystem of their own plywood industry. It goes for all the panelists and Mr Saket that the foremost thing is to maintain the quality products consistently along with keeping a healthy connection with the distributors so that distributors alone don't have to take the brunt of the customers grievance.

Mr Saket concludes the session giving a thoughtful advise to fellow industry stakeholder, “Today we are dispatching our product to almost every state of India, I just want that we all should work as a body towards building quality products keeping in the view that our national resources are also vital so it’s our duty to consume it wisely in the interest of sustainable development.”

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