Head Of Hafele’s National Sales Vikram Yatendra Singh Tells GB About Company, Its Products & Plans
In India, the company is recognized as a one-stop solution brand for any home interior needs owing to its vast product portfolio and strong service approach.
In an interview with Glass Bulletin, Hafele National Sales head Vikram Yatendra Singh spoke about the company’s heritage, work culture, focus on quality, vast product range, as well the challenges the company faces in the country.
Excerpts of the interview:
Q: Tell us about Hafele India
Häfele India is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Häfele Global network and has been operating in India since 2003. An authority in the field of architectural hardware, furniture and kitchen fittings and accessories, the company also has a strong presence in synergized product categories like home appliances, interior and furniture lighting, sanitary solutions and surfaces positioning itself strongly as a complete solution provider for interior solutions in India and South Asia.
Hafele India has a strong nation-wide presence with offices in Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi, Kolkata and Cochin. It has full-scale operations in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh with regional offices and design showrooms in both the countries; and has also spread its operations to other regions of South Asia, including Nepal, Bhutan and
Q: Take us through your journey with the company
I joined the organization as a market head for Delhi in 2013 and worked there for around five years. I was primarily responsible for the retail business in the northern part of India.
In 2018, I took over as national sales head for Hafele’s Distribution vertical, which deals in furniture fittings, glass fittings, glass sliding solutions, architectural hardware, and digital locks.
Q: Describe the Hafele product range for us
Häfele has pioneered the way interior fittings are sold across the globe for many years now. Being a German company, our foremost concern has always been to offer our customers, premium quality products at competitive prices paired with solution-based services.
In India, we are also recognized as a one-stop solution brand for any home interior needs. This is owing to our vast product portfolio that includes door hardware (wood and glass), sliding solutions for doors and furniture, furniture fittings, kitchen solutions, digital locks, home appliances, lighting, interior surfaces, and bathroom fittings. These holistic solutions are backed by a strong service approach which has over the years made Häfele the preferred partner for our different customer segments.
Q: What is the latest trend in the hardware industry?
While the market is moving toward providing solutions, the hardware industry is transitioning towards becoming organized from what was earlier a fairly unorganized set-up. Many European companies are attempting to enter the Indian market with a variety of product offerings. According to estimates, 65 per cent of the Indian hardware market is still unstructured, leaving several competitors a lot of room for expansion.
Q: Have you launched any new products recently?
Our latest launches include
- A comprehensive range of digital locks that include models with a host of security and access features along with a variety of executing different applications like main-door security, office-cabin security, access for hotel rooms, etc.
- A complete range of kitchen solutions that are engineered by Häfele and come with assured Hafele quality. This range includes the Matrix Drawer and Runner systems, Free Flap Fittings, Metalla Furniture Hinges, and Clever Storage Solutions like tall units, side pull-outs, narrow cabinets, and corner units.
- A floor-to-ceiling sliding range called the Aluflex that can execute the most flexible applications within your home – be it an enclosure for a walking wardrobe or an attractive, life-sized wardrobe unit
- Additions in colours to our in-house range of Premium Interior Surfaces – Terra. Terra was launched in 2021 and we have now added three new colours to this range to provide you with more options in design and applications
- Additions in our floor spring and door closer range
Q: What are some of the prestigious projects you have done at Hafele?
At present, I work in the retail market where Hafele is growing by approx. 60-70 per cent annually. The fundamental rule for gaining a good and sustainable customer base is to offer good customer service, high-quality products, and timely availability of stocks.
Q: What should be the criteria to select good architecture hardware?
There are two categories of architectural hardware: One is used for functional purposes while the other is used to make your door look aesthetically pleasing. Products like mortise locks, cylinders, door closers, and floor springs are used for functional purposes while door handles and other door accessories enhance the look of the door. Hafele is known for its product range that delivers top notch functionality along with stylish aesthetics.
Q: How do you compete with cheap and unbranded hardware available in the market?
Although Hafele will always face competition with unbranded products in the market, what sets it apart is its attention to the quality of products it introduces, its competitive pricing strategy, its ability to cater to the leading market trends and the standard of service it offers to its customers. For customers who are hence looking for ease of mind, Hafele becomes the perfect fit.
Q: What are the major challenges to the hardware industry?
Although we are making progress, 65-70 per cent of the hardware market in India still remains relatively unorganized. There is a need to educate the retail industry regarding the benefit of working with organized players. Besides this, some of the other challenges faced are:
- Recommendation of the right hardware to the end customer
- Availability of the product in the city
- Good product quality that can be perceived as value for money
- Display space available for hardware that is offered by major branded players
Q: What is your future plan for your business?
We aspire to achieve a sales revenue of approx. Rs 1,800-2,000 crores in the next three years of which the retail vertical will contribute to more than 50 per cent of the share.
Q: Describe the current scenario of the Indian architectural hardware industry.
The Indian architectural hardware industry is majorly dominated by players who have a strong manufacturing set-up, whose products majorly follow the ‘Make-in-India’ theme or those who can guarantee ready availability of stocks.
Q: How much does your company focus on quality?
Our focus has always been on providing our customers with the best quality products and there is absolutely no compromise in that. In the Indian Hardware industry, people buy or recommend products based on their quality and sustainability so for us it all the more becomes very important to ensure that our products excel in quality as well as functionality.
Q: What is the future of the architectural hardware industry in India?
The building material industry is growing by 8-10 per cent yearon-year. Any branded player can expect a growth of 20-25 per cent in architectural hardware with good quality and value-for-money products.
The purchasing power of the upper middle class and salaried employees is increasing year after year. At least for the next five years, there is a scope for growth in the architectural hardware industry.