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The introduction of GST is a huge benefit to us: Francis VanEeckhout

In conversation with Francis VanEeckhout, Chief Executive Officer, Deceuninck, who shares about the new store launch in India and his brand’s future plans.

By Ekta Sharma Feature Writer

Belgium based brand, Deceuninck has finally reached the Indian shores. Dealing in uPVC door and window systems, the brand is eyeing to expand its footprint in the Indian renovation and individual home owners market. Deceuninck is betting on the Indian market’s huge growth potential and the demand in housing sector increasing every year, especially in the urban and semi-urban areas. We got in a dialogue with Francis VanEeckhout, Chief Executive Officer of Deceuninck and got to know more about the new store launch and his plans for the Indian market and beyond.  

What was the need to launch your brand in India?
India, a fast developing country with a positive presence on a global platform has everything in its favour except the pollution level. World Health Organization has identified 13 cities of India among the list of most polluted cities of the world with New Delhi securing number second position. So, at a time when New Delhi and other parts of India are struggling to keep its noise and air pollution under permissible limits and extreme temperatures at bay, the opening of 1st experiential store of Belgium-based brand Deceuninck (dealing in UPVC Door & Window system) can rightfully help in reducing the noise and pollution levels considerably and save individuals from extreme hot weathers.

Tell us more about your distribution model and how vigilant are you while selecting your partners?
We are specialists in UPVC profile and window design. We supply to our authorized Channel partners who have the machinery and financial capability to execute window orders. It is important for us to choose the right partner. We evaluate their machinery, factory capacity, manpower, service ideology and then set up a two level training program. One for sales guys for product knowledge and another for production guys to make a high quality Deceuninck window. We encourage entrepreneurs to take up window Sales, Fabrication or Installation. These are 3 different things and can be developed independently. The sales model can be franchised in the future with multiple showrooms across India. Look and feel of the showrooms will be identical. This model has worked out very well for us in Turkey - Winsa Brand.

Which all cities will see your stores soon?
The company aims to roll out a slew of marketing and promotional initiatives in next couple of years. In the next phase, similar experiential stores will be opened in Bengaluru followed by Mumbai/Pune and Hyderabad.

How about your expansion plans for 2017-18?
Currently we are at around 5% of the quality European and Domestic players which is around 30,000 tonnes. In the coming years this 30,000 tonnes will grow substantially and we look forward to be in the top 2. We took the first step to set up a huge warehouse almost half the size of the initial production plant set up by the competition. Importing, paying customs duties and taxes at 28% and stocking close to 400 tonnes. In this year we moved to a custom built to suit facility to improve the efficiency of stock rotation. The current warehouse in Chennai is 35000 sq ft and caters to our entire customers pan India. The introduction of GST is a huge benefit to us as our tax costs reduced to 10.3%. This will enable us to further invest in stock and push colour laminated profiles in the Indian market. Considering the potential in India market, we expect to achieve multifold growth in the next 3 years.

How is your industry rolling in India? Where is the maximum demand?
India has a very high potential considering the growth of housing sector in India, implementation of new policies like RERA, GST, lower interest rates, higher disposable income in the mid high-end segment, affordable home sector growing at a fast pace given its infrastructure status and of course better informed, internet savvy customers of today. Indian consumers gradually understand the necessity of high-quality windows behind the glamorous curtains. Housing sector has the maximum demand and it will continue to grow.

Any major challenges for you and how do you plan to overcome them?
The first and foremost challenge faced by the uPVC window suppliers is to make the influencers like architects and end customers understand the difference between a good quality uPVC systems and bad one, since all uPVC systems look alike. The customer is unaware of the parameters that differentiate between good and bad uPVC. Market awareness of uPVC window and door systems has been a major challenge for us. Introduction of uPVC to Indian market was a delayed process and is taking its time to create market awareness for the products. As a result, the consumer in India is not aware of the benefits and advantages of uPVC over the other available door and window systems. To overcome this, we have inaugurated the first experiential store in Metropolitican mall, Saket, where people/influencers from the construction and doors and windows fraternity were being invited to discuss about the future of uPVC, as a better alternative, both in terms of quality and durability and can experience the products in-house itself. Now, due to a strong marketing campaign and public awareness activities, people in India are taking interest and are willing to use it.

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