By Jayashree mendes
FunderMax has completed 10 years in India. Could you tell us how the company has evolved over the years?
FunderMax entered the Indian market with a clear vision of being a trendsetter in design and aesthetics for cladding industry through high quality innovative products and solutions. Our endeavour is to bring in world-class premium cladding material to the Indian market. While the initial response was encouraging, it was also challenging. It took a lot of work to create awareness about the product concept and architectural usage in the Indian market. Besides that, we needed to educate the market about right fixing arrangements, bagging projects to work on, finding and training skilled technicians, price sensitivity, etc. to name a few. The exterior grade high pressure laminate industry was still at a nascent stage. We worked closely with our estimated customers to understand their requirements and offer the right solutions as per international standards. Products gained acceptability in the market and we began creating elegant, albeit small, projects across India. FunderMax evolved from a products supplier to a complete solutions provider with the launch of its own profiles and accessories for application of panels serviced through a network of 44 business partners across 36 cities in India. Today, we are a leading company in High Pressure Laminates in India and help architects and their customers create iconic projects across all segments. We want to be trendsetters in design and aesthetics, a great brand to associate with for sustainable and energy efficient facades.
You have completed thousands of projects over the last few years. Could you tell us how you work with architects, developers, hospitality leaders and retailers?
We work with all leading architects, corporate and developers across India. Our endeavour is to enable architects and their clients design and build iconic and contemporary buildings that helps showcase their creativity. Our sales team works closely with architects and understands the requirements of the project to offer creative, innovative and practical solutions so that execution is smooth.
FunderMax offers complete design support along with a package of high quality Max Exterior panels from Austria, fasteners from Germany, and our profiles and brackets are developed and manufactured as per European standards and stocked at the state-of-the-art warehouse at Bengaluru. With over 10 years in the Indian market and having executed 10,000-plus projects, we excel in offering appropriate solutions in all types of façade and cladding applications. The trained manpower of our business partners execute the projects professionally. In short, our service model and customer delight initiatives helped us in becoming a successful and top façade material company in India.
How has the high pressure laminate market grown in terms of technology, design and acceptance?
High pressure laminate cladding is considered more from an aesthetical point of view than functional performance. The market for this has come a long way since we started our journey in India. Customers are becoming increasingly aware about the utility of high pressure laminates in a variety of exterior applications. They are being considered more for durability, sustainability and ease of maintenance, apart from the price and aesthetics. In the light of energy crisis and awareness of sustainability, demand for green building products and energy efficient cladding products is increasing. We offer a large collection of decors like solid colors (bright and subtle), wooden finishes, stone and metallic finishes along with different surfaces like matte, glossy and textured surface to enhance aesthetics. Our patented NT surface technology makes it unique and sustainable. However, the industry needs to be educated on the usage of right tools and employing correct installation methods of cladding products.
If you have a strategy, could you brief us about it?
Our startegy is focus, focus and focus. We keep evolving our strategy as CIP following PDCA cycle adapting with agility to the highly dynamic environment. Our strategy is in sync with our vision: To be the preferred brand through unique and innovative solutions with sustainable partnerships delighting customers & achieving profitable growth.
Recently after the London fire incident, have you come across customers genuinely insisting for fire resistant materials?
We have seen a shift in customer perception regarding cladding material as a reaction to this unfortunate incident. Existing and new customers have begun asking about the fire properties of the panels. Some customers are even replacing aluminium composite panels which are not fire-rated. Max Exterior F-quality panels are flame retardant panels. Our panels have a low flame spread index. They also have self-extinguishing properties. To specifically address this segment, we have fire resistant panels called “m.look” with fire classification of A2-S1-D0.
What is the role your business partners play?
Our partners are our success factor. Currently, we are directly present in 36 cities with the alliance of 44 authorised business partners handpicked to excel in customer service. The partners play a pivotal role as one stop solution providers for architects and customers. They do pre-sale and post-sale activities for us and work closely with stakeholders. Our authorised partners become the one point contact for customers for supply and execution of projects once the design is frozen. They offer back-to-back warranty for panels and the warranty for installation is offered by the business partners. We empower them with hands-on training programmes.
Could you elaborate on the USP of the products from FunderMax? Is there such a green factor in laminates?
We offer a high degree of design freedom “for people who create” to provide “character to buildings”. Max Exterior panels lends itself for multiple exterior applications. The FunderMax panels are adorned with attributes like optimal light fastness, are heat resistant, scratch resistant and impact resistant. They are environmentally-friendly with 65% of natural fibre contents by weight. They do not contain heavy metals or halogens, asbestos, etc. nor do they contain fungicides, pesticides and adhesives. The panels do not emit any VOCs when installed in interior applications. Its ventilated façade system contributes to energy efficiency and green buildings.
Your new facade solution, SKY. How is it different from your previous range?
SKY Surface has been developed to meet the opportunities and challenges of stone cladding and to create opportunities for new growth areas. SKY is suitable wherever stone cladding is preferred but couldn’t be considered due to constraints like high structural load and other risks associated like stones, porosity and formation of stains, etc. Some stones are soft, brittle and susceptible to chipping, developing cracks and breaking. Stone cladding is time consuming and labor intensive which require regular maintenance. Available in a variety of traditional and contemporary shades, Sky Surface is proving highly popular. The base material is similar to our other décor ranges with added features of texture. The surface has been improvised and it is the result of our ongoing global R&D effort.