Hyderabad-based Aparna Enterprises Ltd’s (AEL) journey is a remarkable tale, as it shows what a trading firm can achieve if the management has a vision and it feels for the customer. Starting with a tiles showroom in 1990, the company diversified into construction and development of gated communities in 1996. It began processing and manufacturing ready-mix concrete (RMC) in 2006. Soon after, in 2008, the firm started its fabrication unit for Venster uPVC windows in Hyderabad. In 2012 the firm set up Unispace, its flagship showroom for luxury bathroom fittings. Two years later, in 2014, it began manufacturing of quarry and metal aggregates. uPVC profile manufacturing was started in 2016. Its latest diversification, in 2017, has been in the manufacturing of vitrified tiles, for which a Rs 320-crore plant has been set up in Peddapuram.
The Rs 1,700-crore Aparna Group, which employs over 4,500 people, is planning to set up a uPVC fabrication unit in north India, sign up more fabricators, enter tier II and tier III markets, and add 100-200 dealers to its current network of 400.
In an exclusive interaction with Sourcing Hardware, the company’s managing director Ashwin Reddy shares details of this incredible journey – from retailing to manufacturing – and much more…
What was the motivation for Aparna Enterprises to shift from distribution and construction to manufacturing materials?
Aparna Constructions used to buy building materials from other vendors earlier. Due to delays in delivery which is a frequent occurrence in our industry, our construction business used to suffer from missed deadlines. That’s when our management decided to get into the manufacturing of RMC ourselves and supply it for our construction units as well as to other vendors. This backward integration led to the diversification from construction to building materials manufacturing. This idea is what led the company to move beyond just trading, to expanding the business to different verticals.
Till 2017, when you entered into tile manufacturing, how was the tile trading business doing?
Our tile trading and construction businesses, both were doing very well when we decided to set up a ceramic tile plant ourselves. Our belief was that by becoming manufacturers of tiles ourselves we would further strengthen the construction business, while we would also benefit from being the distributors. We also felt that we could fill a space in the market, which was looking for a durable premium product with various shades and sizes at a competitive price. We used to trade in all the leading brands through our showrooms at Bachupally, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Vijayawada and Vizag. None of our vendors felt uncomfortable about us becoming tile manufacturers.
How do you see growth happening in the window systems segment? What is your 5-10 year vision for Aparna Venster?
The Indian window and door market is expected to reach over Rs 15,000 crore by FY2020 in terms of revenue. Out of that, the uPVC segment is expected to contribute around 8-10%, ie Rs 1,500 crore.
The vision that we have for Aparna Venster is to make it the no. 1 brand in south India, a brand that is known for quality products. At the same time, we want to increase our dealers and introduce product innovations.
What is your retailing model for uPVC profiles and windows?
For our uPVC profiles, we have appointed fabricators across India. As for our windows and doors, we have separate teams for retail as per the location, considering that 5-30 window and door units will be required per residential property.
How has the market responded to Vitero tiles, and how do you plan to increase your market presence?
The market response for Vitero tiles has been very good. Since we have been in the market for the last 29 years marketing other known brands, the market has accepted our latest product rather well. Vitero tiles have a very good network of dealers and we receive orders from clientele pan India. The markets have shown interest in our product because of the quality and consistency that we offer. At present, we stand as one of the largest tile manufacturing companies in southern India, using technologies of international standards. We are also increasing the dealer network in tier II and tier III cities.
What is the production capacity of the Peddapuram tile plant and what is its present utilisation?
The production capacity of the new plant is 15,000 sqm/day and we are trying to increase it to 30,000 sqm/day. Currently, the market has witnessed a high demand for tiles due to the rise in construction and infrastructure development. All the tiles we produce are being supplied and the facility unit team is working very efficiently to produce more sqm of tiles, to make Vitero easily available all the time.
What is Vitero’s brand positioning?
Our brand promise is to provide quality products to the customer, that is, maintain the Aparna Assurance (Quality) in Vitero products. We offer premium products that are easily available in various designs and sizes, at best prices.
How can a retailer become a star retailer?
A retailer can become a star retailer only when the focus is on ‘client experience’. We not only ensure that everything is delivered on time but also keep tabs until the client has moved in. We send our technicians regularly to double check the work. We ensure that the client doesn’t have to bother about anything, during installation and also after the completion; we service and support the needs of the client.