The investment in International Furniture Park is part of the company’s larger game plan, explains managing director Anil K Goel.
Tamil Nadu government is setting up the International Furniture Park, an industrial complex dedicated to the manufacturing of furniture and furniture fittings, and the supply of their raw materials and allied services. The objective of this park is to transform India into a global hub for furniture and place it among the top three manufacturing countries in the world.
The foundation stone for the International Furniture Park was laid by Tamil Nadu chief minister M K Stalin in March 2022.
Hettich India is among the first companies to have committed to be a part of this project, by announcing an investment of Rs 750 crore.
The Tamil Nadu government has made an initial outlay of Rs 1,100 crore for developing 500 acres in the first phase of the project. It is expected that this phase will attract investments of nearly Rs 4,500 crore and potentially create employment for 3.5 lakh workers. In its entirety, the park, located 13 km from VO Chidambaranar (VOC) Port, Tuticorin harbour, will be spread over 1,156 acres.
India’s largest furniture fittings manufacturer Hettich India has signed an MoU with the Tamil Nadu government, for setting up manufacturing and training facilities at the park. This is a part of the company’s plan to invest Rs 1,000 crore over the next 4-5 years, to boost manufacturing infrastructure as well as expand its skill development capacities.
The MoU was announced by Hettich India’s managing director Anil K Goel in the presence of chief minister Stalin, at the launch ceremony of held on March 7, 2022.
Hettich India already has three plants, with two located in Gujarat and another in Madhya Pradesh. It has also set up Hettich Poddar Wood Working Institute (HPWWI), under its CSR program, to provide free-of-cost training to carpenters, entrepreneurs and industry professionals. HPWWI is a PM Kaushal Kendra, the only one till date in the furniture and fittings industry.
According to Goel, “The furniture industry depends on the three pillars of materials, design and manufacturing processes. While the best of materials are available in India, and the design capability of Indian professionals cannot be questioned, it is the manufacturing processes that need to be strengthened. However, this requires sizeable investments. And more than that it requires the right attitude towards quality and perfection. At Hettich, we are determined to provide these critical inputs to the Indian furniture industry and at the same time make it aatmanirbhar.”
The size of the international furniture market is estimated at $600 billion, while global exports of furniture are to the tune of $125 billion annually. By 2025 it is estimated that the market will grow to $750-800 billion. The Indian furniture industry, in contrast, was valued at $12.6 billion in FY 2019, as reported by IKEA in the executive summary of its Strategic Roadmap for Furniture Sector of India, released in October 2021.
The industry is faced with legacy challenges that include limited availability of certified and competitively priced raw materials, lack of scale of operation, inefficient logistics, limited skilled personnel and limited training facilities.
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The International Furniture Park aims to address all these challenges. It has been conceptualised to create an ecosystem that would meet 70-80 percent of the raw material demand, reduce drastically the production costs, and significantly increase the competitiveness of the furniture sector. Accordingly, the park will have facilities for design and research, and housing for the workforce. There would be a maximum of 100 furniture units. Besides, it envisages facilities to train up to 5,000 workers every year. It would also have a shared quality control unit, conference halls, hotels and restaurants.
“By investing in the park and boosting our existing infrastructure, we aim to make the Indian furniture sector genuinely cost competitive. We are sure that we will facilitate the placement of Indian industry on to the global map in the near future,” Goel assures.