Furniture fittings and screws start-up Hepo is inviting channel partners across India to join up as distributors. The company, which currently has 200 distributors, is aiming to take the number to over 400 across all states.
Hepo India, which is a 50:50 joint venture between Hettich AG and Saroj Poddar Group of India, has two key verticals – furniture fittings and screws & fasteners. Under furniture fittings it offers cabinet hinges, telescopic channels, gas pumps, butt hinges, handles, tower bolts, multipurpose locks, bathroom accessories, bed fittings, aluminium profiles, etc. Under screws and fasteners it offers a host of saw threaded screws for drywall and chipboard, and other joinery solutions.
“Our value proposition is ‘high quality at affordable prices’. We are able to offer this successfully due to our knowledge of the furniture fittings domain, and our ability to buy economically viable capacities worldwide on a long term basis,” informed Hepo’s CEO Prashant Khandelwal (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In an in-depth video interview, Khandelwal explains how Hepo is inviting channel partners across India. He informs that the company has been aggressively introducing new products since its inception in 2017, and currently has a portfolio of 200 SKUs in furniture fittings and over 300 SKUs in screws. “We are fast emerging as a one-stop-shop for the trade fraternity. Even during the pandemic we have been regularly introducing new products at a steady pace.”
Hepo products are being manufactured at various locations worldwide. The bathroom accessories are being produced at Hettich India’s Vadodara plant, the screws are being sourced from Taiwan, and several other products from China. The company is continuously exploring sourcing tie ups from other regions.
“Supply chain is the most important function in the current scenario. Therefore we have made sure that our logistics remain resilient in all circumstances. This we have done by building a robust pipeline including 90-120 days inventory, 30-days production planning, and meticulous demand forecasting. In this way we have been able to mitigate the impact of disruptions due to increase in raw material prices, shortage of shipping vessels, and other Covid induced problems.”
According to Khandelwal, Hepo’s growth strategy is based on the four pillars of distribution, furniture OEM partners, exports, and digital. The company follows a B2B2C model of distribution wherein each distributor services 30-50 dealers. Currently Hepo products are available at over 6,000 counters and the target is to have a reach of 20,000 counters. It offers full support to furniture OEM customers, so that their sourcing needs are taken care of and they can focus on production and marketing. Hepo products are being exported to the Middle East, Africa, SAARC and Australia, and receiving regular repeat orders. On the digital front, the company is enabling channel partners to buy directly from its e-commerce website www.hepoindia.com, and has also set up micro site www.handlesfor99.com for end users.
In 2018 Khandelwal had spoken to Sourcing Hardware about his plans for Hepo. Since then there has been a shift in strategy, as the company evidently has offloaded some of its product categories to mother ship Hettich India.
Khandelwal asserts, “Hepo is the best bet for channel partners for increasing their turnover and profits.” He lists several initiatives that together help improve their ROI, such as no-question goods return policy, pilot salesman support, comprehensive product range, competitive prices, and street branding.
“We are quite open to associating with channel partners who are hungry for growth, and bring with them delivery infrastructure and a retail network. We want to double our existing network on a full throttle basis.”