Geeta Group has, over 50 years, mastered the art of fabricating aluminium system windows and doors. It has also developed a robust business model for retailing customised windows across cities. The company’s executive director Kushal Bajaj explains to Sourcing Hardware why the company has achieved its current status in a highly competitive market, and how it plans to further expand its retail footprint.
By Gyanendra Kumar Kashyap
What are your company’s strengths, and how do you position yourself before customers and business partners?
For 50 years now, Geeta Aluminium has been offering customised solutions for window and door needs, and the company’s strength lies in its product range and service support. We offer a vast range of aluminium system windows and doors – sliding, slim sliding, openable, tilt & turn, sliding folding, thermal break, etc along with the latest hardware and accessories. The depth of profiles range from 25mm to 75mm, to suit opening sizes, wind load, operability, and of course affordability. We have, therefore, consciously positioned ourselves as a one-stop source for premium aluminium system windows and doors, to provide elegant design solutions for homes and office.
How does your infrastructure enable you to deliver on the promises you make as a window specialist?
We are really proud of our in-house logistics set up in Mumbai and Bhiwandi, which take care of the smallest requirement with on-time delivery. Our regional warehouses collectively occupy over 10,000sft and have a capacity to hold approximately 200MT of aluminium and hardware at any given time. We have built a 2,000sft training centre to provide training to fabricators and upgrade their workmanship, where we have till date trained nearly 2,000 installers under the Geeta Support System module. Our fabrication unit has high quality German cutting and fabrication equipment including assembly line tables, drilling machines, grinders and hand tools. Our incredible AS 170/10 single head copy router and AF 221/01 end milling machines make us standout from other fabricators in this industry. In addition to this, we also have the revolutionary DG 104 5, 0m + E355 double head mitre saw with numeric controller (NC), and special storage racks that can be used for glass storage, assembled windows and stock handling.
Hasn’t the aluminium window systems industry been discredited due to unprofessional practices?
Yes, the aluminium window and doors industry has traditionally been dominated by unorganised fabricators. It would be safe to say that nearly 95% of the players fall in this category. They are unskilled, or at best semi-skilled, fabricators who cut the sections on site to make a window or door. They lack the education, training and support needed to construct a perfect window that is expected to solve a particular problem.
In such a scenario, however, we have steadfastly upgraded our products and processes by inducting latest international technology and meeting standards. This has enabled us to emerge as a very responsible brand and dependable supplier.
How has the Geeta Gallery network grown and what are your expansion plans?
Geeta Aluminium has a presence in over 30 cities of India. We have ventured into the retail space in the form of Geeta Galleries, wherein we market our system windows and doors through franchisees and channel partners. This enables our customers to engage locally, and also get a complete understanding of the window system before making the purchase decision.
At present we have six galleries in Mumbai, two in Pune, and one each in Nashik, Kolhapur, Aurangabad, Shillong, Indore, Udaipur, Jaipur, Jalgaon, Raipur, Ahmedabad, Goa, Kolkata and Bhubaneshwar. By the end of this fiscal we aim to add 10 more galleries.
How do you select your channel partners?
We currently have company-owned Geeta Galleries across Mumbai and in Kolkata. We are in expansion mode, and plan to launch our galleries in each and every city over a 10 year horizon. Since we want each gallery to be a sustainable business, we are firm that our retail partners meet some basic criteria such as franchisee location, turnover and experience, manpower strength, production and execution capacity, customer network, and product demand.
What investment does a channel partner need to make for setting up a Geeta Gallery?
The investment for a Geeta franchise or dealership ranges between `50,000-1,00,000. Having said that, it really depends upon which category the fabricator or franchisee falls in, followed by the region or city they are serving. Based on the category they come under, the minimum stock level to be maintained and their turnover target is decided. The display center should be at least 250-350sft in size in order to show window and door options that will enable selection by the customer.
In the face of rising awareness about the importance of window design and construction, how are you ensuring that your company remains a preferred window supplier?
You see, besides having a solid infrastructure and distribution network, it is important for us to constantly upgrade the product range, which is already quite complex. We have recently launched Combination System Windows which comprise of top sliding and bottom fixed typologies. These are designed especially for high rises and building projects, and they act as a replacement for the conventional railing system, thus saving internal space and cost. On the other hand, considering that there is a growing need for cost-optimised yet high performance windows, we have introduced slim windows with interlocking for better visibility to the outside.
Since we are window experts, our innovative solutions must play an important role in countering the problems of noise and dust, while maintaining the aesthetical value of interiors and keeping the windows commercially viable.
How do you promote your brand and communicate with your customers?
We are currently utilising the traditional medium – print media – for brand promotions, along with digital marketing through SEO and Google Adwords. We have built an active presence across social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube. For any new product launch or gallery opening, we undertake direct marketing campaigns through bulk SMS and e-mail. Occasionally we participate in exhibitions and trade fairs which are related to the fenestration industry.
How is your business split between retail and projects?
Around 60% of our sales have traditionally come from retail customers, while project orders account for the rest. However, post-demonetisation the purchasing power of people had been curtailed when it came to buying new properties. As a result today we find that 60-65% of our business is from projects and 30-35% is from retail.