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“Our Products are Inspired by International Designs, but are Priced for the Indian Pockets”
By: Krishnakumar G. Bajaj
Please tell us about your company Geeta Aluminium, and yourself? How long you have been in this business and in the Indian market?
In 1964 my father Late Shri Girdharilal Bajaj laid the foundation of the Geeta Group of Companies by setting up Geeta Aluminium Co. Pvt. Ltd in Mumbai. In 1977, when the architectural industry just began, my father was involved in the retail commodity market dealing in profile and hardware. For thirty years, he laid a strong foundation for the growth and development of aluminium fenestration, a concept which is in great demand in the industry till date. Geeta Group has now evolved as one of the ‘more value for money’ and quality system window companies in the country.
Geeta Group has been built on the foundations of a skilled workforce coupled with technological innovation and we deliver a superior customised solution throughout the country through strong supply-chain management, regional warehouses and an efficient after-sales support system.
I joined my father’s business in 1977, and have 4 decades of experience. At that time, aluminium was 13-15Rs/kg. As I gained experience in the market, I found that there is a lack of knowledge and infrastructure. During 1977-1987, within a decade, we opened 12 retail outlets in and nearby Mumbai.
We immediately started pre-fabricated windows, quotation and BOQ services for conventional windows. Geeta’s policy was welcomed by the industry, i.e., ‘Fixed price no bargain’ – particularly the commodity business.
After 1998, when local and unorganised players came into the market and construction industry was growing, high rise building was the only solution for the cities to meet the ever rising demand of the population.
Time to time, whenever the industry needs to be aroused, Geeta took this initiative ahead and upgraded the industry by developing new profiles and hardware. We always believe in the saying “Necessity is the mother of Invention” and put this saying into act.
Tell us briefly about your journey with the company over the years, also about your major success stories in India?
During the initial years of my journey, I observed a lot of unhealthy competition was looming in the market and this deteriorated the product quality over time. We studied industry outlook and from my own experience, we found the shortcomings in terms of substitute products in the industry. Then we shifted our focus to understand the basic needs of the window industry including water leakage, rattling, whistling and noise problem. In the early years of 2000, we entered in the ‘system window’ market from a commodity business model to counter the problems faced by fenestration industry; where we laid the foundation for developing an entire range of system windows, approx. 15 – 20 of them. Today the entire list of products are well known under Geeta Series and Geeta Series Plus.
Geeta has always believed in the policy of supporting and upgrading the industry fraternity. Our Geeta Support System module extends support to window technicians and fabricators by providing explicit system window installation training. We took the plunge of makeshift of the industry from a commodity trading to a window business concept. To elaborate further, our company initiated the concept of aluminium window & door showrooms in India under the aegis of “Geeta Gallery”, where an end consumer or a window professional can touch or feel the product before they can purchase it. We have already changed the perception about how Indian consumers think about aluminium windows these days by opening around 30+ such showrooms across the country till date.
We plan to have 100 such “Window Display Centers” by the end of the year 2022, thus making good quality and affordably priced aluminium system windows that are easily available to developers and window professionals in both private and government sectors alike.
What are the product categories offered by Geeta Aluminium?
Geeta Aluminium product categories have been designed to suit the needs of affordable housing to modern-day apartments/villas. An entire range of aluminium system windows i.e. sliding, slim sliding, openable, tilt & turn, and sliding folding with the depth of the profiles running from 25mm to 75mm to suit different conditions of opening sizes, wind load, smooth operability and of course affordability. Under the product range coined as Geeta Series, we have introduced a whole range of economical slim windows.
Geeta Aluminium has recently launched SLIMO range exclusively designed for bungalows and luxury apartments. These windows are equipped with a concealed lock system and large openings providing an uninterrupted view of the world outside. It not only provides a one-touch, smooth operation, but also adds an elegant look to the aesthetics of your surroundings. Alongside aesthetics, slim series have properties that shut out disturbances like noise, dust, water thereby ensuring better functionality and making your house feel comfortable. We have always believed in designing products which can be successful in saving the customer assembly costs and providing lower operating-life-cycle costs.
Please tell us about your company’s facilities and structure?
We have our in-house manufacturing facility set up at Atgaon near Mumbai, and Bengaluru with a collective production capacity to convert 25,000 Sq ft window area per month/per shift. Ability to handle 25-35 sites at any given point of time, our well-rounded team includes a back-office which are fully trained to support all front end tasks and services.
New launch : Slimo Concealed Sliding System
Our logistics are centrally controlled from Mumbai in Saki Naka and Bhiwandi. In addition to this, we have regional warehouses with more than 10,000 Sq ft space. On 24×7 basis, we have capacity of 200+ tons of ready stock. We have built an inhouse training centre of around 2000 Sq ft to provide training to fabricators/industry professionals alike.
How do you see the window and door industry evolving in India?
Mumbai fabrication unit
Windows and doors enhance the visual appeal. Your windows and doors are an important element of your home’s security, energy efficiency, and appeal, but also provide safety and security to the homes. Innovation in product offerings is the big priority since customisation is the key to achieve it.
Central Warehouse- Mumbai
Since customers have become more quality conscious, they prefer a good brand of window and doors that will last for at least a decade and therefore use of good quality windows and doors is on the rise. Better aesthetics, safety, sound and thermal insulation, energy efficiency, and low maintenance are features that are driving acceptance of new age materials in the construction of doors and windows in modern buildings.
Shifting demographic and economic trends coupled with growing population will result in an enormous need for new infrastructure in the coming decade. Increasing government policies and spending for infrastructure development, housing and commercial buildings, will help in the overall Indian aluminium doors & the window market growth. Recently, we have observed that “Window Identification Trend” has started in Government project tenders. Parameters such as after sales service in addition to the product are being discussed about and taken into the final consideration.
This will definitely boost the way window and door industry will function in the coming years. Overall, I would say- windows and doors have shown a positive trend, since innovation in window and door materials is on the rise with a lot of scope for new construction as well in the replacement window market.
What has been your or your organisation’s contribution to bringing about the current revolution in the fenestration sector?
Aluminium windows & doors industry is highly un-organised with lack of knowledge transfer and R&D. It comprises of over 90% of the market based on the potential of new construction and replacement market that this country possesses.
Window assembly in progress
This unorganised sector comprises people who are dealing or reselling aluminium sections which are extruded by monopolistic principles in this market and it comprises of people who are nonskilled to semi-skilled fabricators who cut this sections on sites to give an end product. These window professionals lack proper education or exposure to provide quality products to end customers.
Price is the sole criteria and not quality while deciding the vendor for new project finalisation. Due to inferior quality, saturation of market, substitute products came into being. Geeta understood the market for 5 decades. We transitioned from commodity to “system window” market. In 2014, we launched our gallery at Charni Road, Mumbai – the first window experience centre in India. Geeta Support System (GSS) is the only registered system to offer services to the fenestration industry.
Under GSS, under this module, we extend support to window technicians and fabricators by providing explicit system window installation training. A small training institution & curriculum is organised for the unorganised sector to uplift their workmanship and give them an opportunity to serve and service our products in the right way. Till date, we have trained more than 2000 fabricators under Geeta Support System initiative
Tell us about your channel expansion strategies in the market.
We are planning to venture on the digital platform by starting an online and virtual reality portal. This will assist the customers in evaluating the look of window/door in their house with a particular finish and how much approximately the costing would be of the same if finalised. The portal will have an online tracking system which will guide the customers to track the status of their order and by when they can expect it to receive. This will eliminate the uncertainty a customer has in purchasing most of the building material after making the upfront advance payment.
As per your view, how important is the role of right fenestration in achieving building’s performance, optimum acoustic and thermal insulation as well as in achieving the desired aesthetics?
Right fenestration plays an important role since windows & doors are one of the core ingredients in modern architecture connecting the exterior to the interior of a home or an office. As most people spend majority of their time indoors, away from the natural environment, optimisation of windows and doors is essential.
Natural light is important for health and wellness of human beings. Openings such as windows allow natural light into the home and can promote passive solar heating and cooling, as well as providing natural points of ventilation, air circulation and fire exits. Doors are also vital to a building’s design to provide a point of entry and exit to the building High-performance, energy-efficient windows have become a necessity since they tend to reduce heat transfer, thereby cutting the energy loss through window. We support this initiative with our energy efficient thermal break windows which are environmentally friendly, provide comfort and reduces cost.
What keeps your company ahead of its competitors in terms of services offered?
India has varied cultural differences in terms of housing pattern, lifestyle, purchasing power, price sensitivity to name a few. Keeping these aspects in mind, at Geeta Aluminium we have launched Geeta Galleries (Showrooms) – which gives the end customer, along with their influencer, an opportunity to touch and feel the product before making their final decision for purchase. Our primary strength lies in providing customised solutions backed with prompt service to our customers. We have a Pan India presence in more than 35+ cities in association with our authorised partners & fabricators which gives us the ability to mobilise 1 to 1000+ windows to different corners of the country. We have always taken into consideration the average Indian buyer’s per capita income; thereby ensure quality products are available at affordable costing as well. Our products do take inspiration from international designs, but are priced and designed for the Indian pocket.
Flawless design of the profiles, compatible accessories and hardware, right techniques of fabrication and installation and after sales service is what makes Geeta Aluminium stand apart.
How do you see the façade & fenestration industry evolving over the next 5 years?
There is definitely a huge scope for the façade and the fenestration industry. Increased spending on housing/commercial infrastructure and rising replacement of aging infrastructure will have a direct impact on the façade and fenestration products. Adoption of sustainable processes and materials for creating structures will help reduce the depletion of available resources and help build an environment that are live able and safe. Aluminium, as a material, will be in demand due to its recyclable properties. Even after 10 years, it will offer the same price every year.
Even with 5-8% inflation taken into consideration It has now become a preferred material for builders who are looking to implement new technologies in the building and construction sector. Understanding the real functional advantages and limits that an aluminium product brings to the end customer will be essential for future innovation. Hence we cannot imagine a future and technical advancements in construction and architecture industry without aluminium.
Please tell us about a few of your iconic and innovative projects?
In Geeta Aluminium we have undertaken a lot of projects including residential, commercial, hospitality, healthcare and government projects across India. Some of our prestigious projects include:
1. Residential and Commercial Projects – SNN Raj Etternia & SNN Clermont – Bengaluru; Wadhwa Promenade and Club Aquaria, Evershine Crown, Evershine Madhuvan, Chandak Paloma and Romell Aether in Mumbai; NCPL Ratnaakar Commercial Complex in Ahmedabad to name a few.
2. Government Projects – We are currently working on IDOC Telangana Project. In the past, we had undertaken projects for Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and Shipping Corporation of India (SCI).
3. Healthcare Projects – Hinduja Hospital, Sir H.N. Reliance Foundation.
4. Industrial and Financial Services – RR Kabel, Reliance Industries and HDFC Bank- Sandoz House in Mumbai. In addition to the above, we have installed Geeta Window Systems on a luxury boat in Kerala and a residential bungalow in Alibaug, Lonavla and many such more.
What do you see as the main challenges faced by the fenestration industry?
Currently the fenestration industry in India is not the most organised, but is in the transition phase and on the verge of getting more organised than ever. Product offerings are getting systematic, but the installation process is still lacking a proper structure and requires thorough pre and post sales training and handhold guidance to be carried out. Customisation of products is required in 70 – 75% of the cases since there is no standardised planning of new construction forcing for customised solution requirement in most instances.
There is a dire need of government – both state & central regulations for standardising construction vis-à-vis building materials such doors and windows industry in India. Once standardisation and regulations are set for manufacturing & fabrication establishments; high quality product delivery can be made possible with lesser lead time and more efficiency.
How well aware do you think the decision-makers are in general about the availability of the fenestration products, its functionality & categories? And how do they gauge the effectivity of the same?
I think decision makers (end users) are still not well aware of the fenestration product’s availability and their functionality. Through the architects, interior designers, façade consultants, etc., the awareness in terms of “window” product identification has started. Preference of good quality material with after sales service is definitely a good sign for our industry.
Geeta Window System on a luxury boat in Kerala
What is the emphasis laid on R&D, especially for the Indian market?
To Indian market, R&D is essentially an investment in technology and future capabilities which can be transformed into new products, processes, and services. Customised product design and solutions is the key to innovation. R&D plays a critical role in the innovation process considering India being a price sensitive market. At Geeta Aluminium we do undertake research and survey – zone and region wise – to understand the window/ profile requirement depending on the climatic conditions/ demographic pattern. Basis the survey feedback, our R&D team develops the new profiles as per the requirement.
We do a soft launch of the new profile in the market to understand the demand. R&D is a part of our company’s operations and we are constantly innovating and upgrading with the latest international technology standards in our quest to remain an outstanding brand.
Krishnakumar G. Bajaj
Krishnakumar G. Bajaj is the promoter and Managing Director of Geeta Group. He has over four decades of experience in the aluminium industry. A visionary and the pioneer behind Geeta Series, he is committed towards setting up fenestration industry standards and continues to guide the company’s strategic planning and new initiatives. In a candid interview, Bajaj talks about his company Geeta Aluminium, its journey over the years, products offered by the company, their inhouse manufacturing facilities, the company’s contribution towards the growth of the industry, and their iconic and innovative projects. Here are the excerpts from the interview: