India has always embraced new technological advancements with open arms. With the advent of spurt in the growth of Indian construction industry in 2006-2007 many multinational companies forayed into India. One such Solution provider is Reynaers Aluminium. Headquartered in Duffel, Belgium, Reynaers Aluminium is represented in over 40 countries worldwide and is the market leader for developing and selling innovative and sustainable aluminium systems for the building sector. Reynaers Aluminium ensures its financial success by integrating social and environmental considerations into all its activities.
WFM got a chance to interact with Mr. Ajay Tenany, who is Director – Reynaers India and is responsible for sales, marketing and operations of the Indian Subsidiary. Mr. Tenany has a vast experience in the Building industry. He marketed interior application products like window coverings; blinds etc. and He had a brush with the façade contracting business when he joined Alupro. He was the country sales manager for Assa Abloy before he took the reins of Reynaers operations in India.
“Indian fenestration industry has a potential to grow at 25%”
Excerpts from the interview
How do you perceive the Indian market as of now when it comes to windows and façade?
Ajay T: As per the construction statistics – the opportunity seems to be very high. We are just touching the surface and there is a huge gap between the products being offered and what can be offered. The fenestration technology has come a long way, but what is being applied in the majority of the projects is very basic. So the opportunity is there for us as system suppliers. For any company, this opportunity lies in bridging the gap. If we can bridge this gap, we can churn numbers.
As far as the economic cycle is concerned, there will be ups and downs. But the opportunity will remain. None of us has touched the critical mass yet. So, for the coming few years we have nothing to complain about. The construction industry might grow at 12%. But you have the potential to grow at 25%.
How has Reynaers evolved in the past 6 years of Indian existence?
Ajay T: Any company that comes from abroad has a wait-and-watch policy for the initial years, they will first test the waters. We too entered as a liaison office with all the challenges and limitations of being one. We were just a communicating channel for the Belgian office and Indian customers. Then we became a private limited, so there was an obvious shift. Now we are thinking of local sourcing so that the prices are optimized. These are the step-by-step developments that we are undertaking to penetrate the market.
What’s your strategy to tap this untapped segment of the market?
Ajay T: We follow a three-pronged approach
Firstly, from being a 100% imports driven entity we are now developing a few products suited to the Indian environment, for the Indian market that shall be locally sourced from here to cut down on the logistics cost and to penetrate the market better.
Secondly, educating the prospect – if we don’t do that, it doesn’t lead anywhere. So, most of our effort goes into explaining the people. Whenever we go and meet some developer or an architect, the initial resistance is too high, and then eventually they start opening up after a couple of interactions. They listen to what we have to say. The credit goes to my competitors too. Say, for example, if my competitor has gone to meet a client and I approach the same person later, he already has an idea and is more receptive to what I have to say. In a way we are shadowmarketing each other.
Thirdly, developing the Indian specific product after due diligence, which will happen in its own wake.LikeI said earlier – none of us have achieved the critical mass and we are yet to arrive at a point where we start developing “India specific products”
Please elaborate on “India Specific Product”
Ajay T: Window where the grill and mesh both can be incorporated. If you ask me, I can provide mesh. But grill? The point here is that any company that comes to India won’t make that investment in research and development right from day one. This happens when the market is growing for all of us and I think the time is very near that R & D shall start for India-specific products
Which projects you would like to make special mention of that helped Reynaers reach its current position?
Ajay T: There are three projects that are very close to me.
- DLF Magnolia –Over 25000Sq. meters of thermally broken lift and slide doors. We did this project with Star Alubuild. Reynaers windows were installed in the front of the houses – all living rooms and bedrooms
- Wadhwa’sAddress project –Ghatkopar Mumbai –Over 50000Ksq. meters of Non Thermal break systems were installed vis-à-vis sliding, casement, louvers. We are doing this project with Doors & Doors Systems (India) Pvt. Ltd.
- Refurbishment of LeelaPalace, Goa. Huge 2 track 4 shutter and thermally broken sliding doors were installed for the cottage-styled rooms again with Doors and Doors
Apart from these, there are many more. We did in Pune the first 100-meter building, God’s Blessings by ABIL. There too we gave a thermally broken solution. The fabricator in this project was Doors & Doors.
What do you consider was the key to your successful pitch for the mass-scale projects? How could you break the barrier and tap the developer segment, which is considered to be the price-sensitive segment, being a system company?
Ajay T: Esha I believe in one philosophy and I believe in it to the core– if I am not able to create a product differentiation and if I am not able to generate that confidence in the buyer, then why would he pay me more? So all my salespeople are also imbibed in this theory that creates a differentiation. If a customer asks you what’s the difference between x product and yours and you don’t know, there’s no way you’ll ever close the sale. You can meet him ten times, be very pally with him and all, but in the end you have to generate that confidence that he is paying more because he is getting more. The product comparison has to be there. Post that there will be many prospects who would accept the difference, not everyone will buy for the budgetary constraints but at least we are able to project what we offer.
“We need to create product differentiation to generate confidence in the buyer”
Do you organize some awareness generation activities for your customers or fabricators?
Ajay T: We do industry meet in different cities wherein we invite developers and architects. These programs are very helpful in understanding their need and explaining to them what we have to offer.
We also participate in trade shows like the ZAK Glass Technology Expo organized by ZAK Trade Fairs & Exhibitions. Here we meet lot of prospects and get an opportunity to showcase our products.
Apart from these, we do regular training programs for our fabricators. And fortunately, I have got fabricators who are also pro learning and every once in a while they visit Belgium as and when there are some new product launches or training activities.
How many fabricators do you have in India?
Ajay T: In the span of 6 years we’ve got over 10 fabricators scattered from north to south. We go slow and steady as we try to build relationships – I believe we have to invest a lot of time and knowledge to develop a fabricator. They have to understand the product.You just can’t assume that you have a product, they have a project and they can fabricate it. They have to feel for the product and understand its intricacies.
You mentioned earlier that you source some profiles locally too. How does that work out? You give the system design and obtain the extrusions?
Ajay T: We just started sourcing locally for a few of our products from a well-audited aluminium extruder who is able to meet our quality parameters.Other high-end systems, profiles we source from Belgium.
Do you have a warehouse?
Ajay T: Yes, we have a warehouse in Pune.
Do you import coated profiles or in-mill finish and get them treated here?
Ajay T: I exercise both options. It is on a case-to-case basis and as per the requirement of the client.
However, my view is my client enters into a relationship with my product when he first visualizes it. When he enters a building, he first sees the finish of the profile, then he touches the handle, then he moves it. So if the visual appearance is not good, then he would feel why I spent so much.If we get certified good quality from here, we would prefer sourcing locally. We understand that local content is important for the long-term sustainability.
What’s your take on the latest Trends?
Ajay T: The modern trend is the use of minimalistic system and use of energy efficient systems. Reynaers has product lines that cater to the above.
Where do you see Reynaers India in the next 5 years?
Ajay T: I definitely see Reynaers as a well-established brand over the coming years. With the brand image comes a lot of responsibility and I am confident that we would be able to fulfill those responsibilities.