Koochie Play Systems to set new safety standards
Koochie Play Systems aims to set new safety standards for playground equipment used in India. “We want to bring about a change in perspective when it comes to causes behind playground injuries. We have gained tremendous experience in the design and manufacture of our products in order to adhere to international standards. We would like to bring that experience and technology here.” said Roben Dass, Chairman and Managing Director, Koochie Play Systems International while formally introducing the company and its international expansion plans recently.
Speaking on the lack of importance given to safety measures being implemented in playground systems Roben Dass said, “While some countries have clearly laid out guidelines on how playground equipments are supposed to be designed, manufactured and installed [such as EN1176 in Europe and ASTM in America], India has no such guidelines or stipulations that are required to be followed. Anybody can manufacture anything and that is used without a second thought.”
“In the absence of stipulated guidelines, chaos ensues, this brings about accidents. Safety, thus far has been relegated to the background. Koochie Play Systems aims to be the harbinger of change. In a move towards this, Koochie Play Systems is hosting a series of complimentary training workshops starting with their first one in Mumbai, for builders, architects and interior designers.”
Koochie Play Systems wants to be able to penetrate Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities more effectively. They also plan exploring a distributor / franchise model to reach these regions. Pierre-Yves Renoir, International Business Director, Koochie Play Systems International (France), adds, “Internationally we are targeting South America, South Africa and a deeper penetration into the Middle East. We aim to become the leader in Middle East and Eastern Europe by 2015. It’s a real challenge but not totally unrealistic if we consider our recent innovations, certifications, product designs and the new developments that we have been working on. We are looking at an additional $5 million dollars in the coming years to fund our growth requirements.”
Growth plans: As far as performance in existing markets is concerned, Koochie Play Systems has received tremendous response from most of the premium builders segment, pan India. Most reputed builders, pan India, now consistently use Koochie systems in their projects. Most of them are willing to look at quality products that meet international standards to provide for their clientele.
Roben Dass said, “Whenever Koochie Play Systems has worked with a builder or school, till date, we have received repeat orders from all of them as they are happy with our quality and service. We are investing keenly in adding infrastructure and personnel right from design stage to installation to support our business growth.”
Koochie Play Systems wants to dispel the notion that such world class quality and service as it provides comes at a prohibitive price. Roben Dass says, “This is a myth, when you compare apples to apples we are actually much cheaper. You need to compare Koochie Play Systems with international brands and when you do so we are at least 45% cheaper. For e.g. multi play systems similar to Koochie Play Systems are sold for twice the price that we sell here in Europe.”
Talking numbers: The initial investment for Koochie Play Systems was close to around $5 million which largely went towards manufacturing of moulds. Koochie Play Systems has been approached on a regular basis by several companies seeking a joint venture with the hope of leveraging the brand to provide various allied products however, the company for now has decided to focus all its energies and resources on playground equipment.