Get Ready to be Floored!
Mukesh Savlani, CEO, Welspun Flooring, has worked out all the details before unleashing convenient flooring products in the Indian market.
I went through your website. From textile to flooring, you have come a long way.
More than textile and flooring, way back in 1993, we started with towels. We were the first company in the country to make towels for export right after Manmohan Singh began globalisation for India. In fact, we actually started in 1985 with polyester yarn manufacturing. We are also one of the largest large diameter pipe manufacturers in the world with three facilities in India. The fourth division is construction. Later on, we decided to become a backward integrated company and wanted to become a one-stop shop for retailers.
We touch about $1 billion in revenue only in pipes with an overall revenue of $1.2-1.3 billion and recently forayed into infrastructure as well. That arm constructed the new Delhi-Meerut highway that was delivered in advance. Textile and pipes are export led businesses for us. In case of textile, 95% of our business comes from US, UK and Europe. We have started looking at India as a major market only now.
It’s a similar phenomenon that we are bringing in flooring, which will be a quick fix and can be installed in your home in matter of hours.
What are some of the unique concepts of flooring today?
There is novelty in India in terms of convenient flooring solutions. Flooring solutions like carpets, Wharton floors, are well known. Carpets in hotels and banquet halls are mainly imported. Going forward, it’s only a matter of time before India starts manufacturing such advanced flooring considering that there is great potential.
For residences and stone flooring, it takes almost 3-4 months from planning to purchasing and installation. In case of renovation, one has to move everything and that can be tiresome. That’s the pain point and we have a solution for that. We can fix your flooring within five hours. What we have is self-click flooring, which clicks well and requires no adhesive, water, cement.
Are you mainly looking at renovation or new homes too?
So we are targeting all kinds of homes. We notice that there is little experimentation happening in terms of colours, with most of them being white, cream, grey or brown. Sometimes, people install flooring and it’s supposed to stay for a lifetime as changing floors is a painful process. We allow customers to play with more colours, design, patterns, etc.
Our facility in Hyderabad is under construction and we have about 10 million sq-m across 100 acres and room for expansion, if need be.
The flooring that we have is 100% recyclable. It also has 15-20% recyclable content.
How would you compare your flooring products to what is available in the market currently?
So various products is imported and we look at imports from US, China, Ireland or Europe with most of them being Western designs and not customised for the Indian market. We have designers who work with us and develop a signature collection. One can develop a signature collection for customers as it’s more sustainable and will use almost 40% less material and that is the advantage of having one’s own factory.
On our part, we will soon set up a sales team as well as a distributor network and hope to roll out our first products by April 2019. Overall, we have invested Rs 1,200 crore in the plant.
Right now, we have offices in Bombay and Hyderabad and are planning to open an experience centre and an office in Delhi and Bengaluru. Through the sales team, we will have representation in major 30 to 40 cities in India. Besides this, we have a design team comprising 15 persons based out in India and the US, and will soon hire designers in UK and Singapore.
Initially, we will launch four products: boardroom carpet, carpet tiles, artificial brass and luxury performance tiles. The first two products are commercial products and others are for residential as well as commercial. Luxury performance tiles will come in all finishes. We also plan to launch wooden flooring, which will be waterproof, besides a stone collection as well. Our plans should fructify and we are looking at a 10% market share in three years’ time.