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Retail Will be Our Differentiator

Harrison is increasing its hold of the mass hardware market segment by venturing into more categories; it is also expanding its network of channel partners and exploring overseas markets

By Gyanendra Kumar Kashyap

Locks major R P Locks, which owns the iconic Harrison brand, is aggressively expanding its product portfolio and building a tiered retail presence. For long a leader in the locks category, the company has made respectable inroads into new segments, and its product basket now includes door hardware and locks, furniture hardware, door control products, architectural hardware, kitchen baskets, and security alarms. In an exclusive interaction with Sourcing Hardware, managing director Umang Monga talked about how Harrison is set to grow vertically and horizontally.

“Very shortly we will be launching our screws and fasteners category, and thereafter we will add tandem boxes to our furniture hardware catalogue,” informed Monga. Harrison has come a long way from being a padlocks company. It started expanding by first adding door hardware products such as mortise locks and handles, main door bolt locks and door closers. It took the company nearly a decade to stabilise its expanded portfolio and build up its initial network of dealers that would market the hardware range. By now Monga was confident enough to quickly launch a spate of new categories – furniture hardware, architectural hardware, kitchen accessories, alarm systems – to the delight of his dealers. While they were able to easily leverage the Harrison brand’s legacy for selling to their customers, the company itself made sure it stayed grounded in the ‘mass market’ segment. The launching of screws and fasteners is a pointer to Monga’s intentions of operating in the ‘low cost, fast moving’categories. “As with our other products, in screws and fastenerstoo we will be competing with existing brands on dual aspects of quality and competitive pricing,” he said.

“What will, however, differentiate us is our retail presence; the focus will be on ensuring that our products are present in as many retail stores as possible,” Monga remarked. “For some of our product categories such as screws and fasteners, there is no hard and fast rule that there should be only one channel partner in a given area; ideally we would like to have as many as possible.”

Monga wants to build a more structured retail network for Harrison, one which can draw growth-oriented channel partners to handle its diverse portfolio. For this he is developing a three-tier structure which will be front lined by his most promising dealers, the star priority dealers (SPDs). Only those dealers who are located in prime locations with highfootfall will be accorded SPD status;they must have warehousing facility, should be able to display the extensive ranges, and also provide company-approved installation services to their customers. While 100 SPDs are already in operation, Monga wants to treble this number. “We would like to add another 200 SPDs this year.

Harrison’s Game Plan

  • Harrison wants to dominate the mass market segment of hardware
  • Category expansion helps dealers serve their customers better
  • New dealers will be added in East and West India
  • 200 Star Priority Dealers will be signed up
  • Exploration of overseas markets to continue through trade show participation
  • China, Africa and South Africa appear to be potential markets

The focus will be on east and west India and the target is to appoint 100 SPDs in these markets. As a company our channel network in the southern states has been particularly weak; over the next two years we intend to work on this and build a sizeable network,” he said candidly.
At the next tier would be display and application (DNA) centres, a more compact format, wherein exclusive dealers would be supported financially for setting up displays of all the product categories. Monga says DNAs will be set up in tier II cities and the roll out plan is almost ready.

The third tier in Harrison’s network will be the company-owned experience centre, which will act as a display-only space and will not be a point of sale. All new products and categories that Harrison launches will first be exhibited here, for dealers, customers and specifiers to see and experience. In a way, the experience centre will enable Monga’s team to obtain feedback from customers as well as the trade, and take corrective measures before the product goes out into the market.Harrison experience centres are already operational in Aligarh, Delhi and Jaipur, and Monga says a few more are being planned in strategic locations.

Monga’s team is just back from China, where Harrison was exhibitor at the 123rd Canton Fair in Guangzhou province. “We were the only hardware brand from India to participate in the show and business visitors appreciated our designs. In fact Shield Tri Bolt (main door lock) and Brass Manor Series (door handle) were particularly liked by the visitors.” Harrison had participated in the show in partnership with its Chinese business associate Yeuma Locks. “It was a unique experience for us representing an Indian brand. Till a couple of years back we were visiting the show in search for vendors and OEMs, and this year brand Harrison was there as an exhibitor,” said Monga. Prior to Canton Fair the company has participated in Big 5 International Building & Construction Show2017 in Dubai; Bangladesh Buildcon (International Expo) 2017, Dhaka; and Nepal Buildcon 2018, Kathmandu. “We see our overseas participations as a step towards building a global presence for the brand.”

Monga believes there’s potential for Indian hardware products in the African and South American markets, which are growing well on the back of continued investment in construction.Harrison has an office in Dubai, through which the company is currently serving African markets. “We have recently entered into a business partnership in Peru and very soon we will make a mark in the South American market.” The partnership in Peru is interestingly with a Chinese entity, and together they will market the Harrison brand.

Harrison’s six decade legacy is formidable. But Monga’ sstrategic interventions, if executed well, could set the brand on an absolutely new growth trajectory.

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