‘We Provide After-Sales Service at All Ports Across India’

Anil S Mathur,
Chief Operating Officer, Godrej Interio
Godrej Interio is the largest turnkey solution provider in the marine accommodation space and has the wherewithal to handle a wide spectrum of product and service offerings for this market, explains Anil S Mathur, Chief Operating Officer, Godrej Interio, in an interview with SMP World.

Kindly detail the Marine Accommodation Solutions (MAS) you provide for the shipbuilding industry? How do you ensure providing the best possible solutions for the same?
Marine Accommodation Solutions (MAS) of Godrej Interio Division specialises in providing turnkey solutions, which demand high technical know-how in meeting stringent standards as per IMO and Indian Naval standards. MAS accounts for Living Space, Galley/ Pantry/Dining Space, Recreational Space, Office/Lobby and Wet Spaces like Water Closet (WC) and Bath.
In order to meet the desired expectations of our clients, our Turnkey efforts take into consideration a number of points.
First is our designing services, which include basic layout drawings, concept validation and product drawings. We provide total space design solutions for actual design experiences by using high-end software. Modularity is an inbuilt feature in all our product designs.
Second is our product supply, where we provide furniture that is specific to our customers’ needs. Our range includes metal furniture (Steel, Stainless Steel and Aluminum), wooden furniture and wall & ceiling paneling systems as well as other accommodation accessories.
As for installations, we cover the entire gamut from accommodation systems space to furniture, unit toilets and shower cubicles. The installation services encompass outfitting of furniture, paneling, electrical fitments, HVAC, plumbing, flooring/deck covering and carpentry jobs required to be carried onsite.
Quality control is the next thing that we do. We have adopted a comprehensive and strict quality control regime that consists of design checks, tests for process and product, as well as thorough scrutiny of all installations as per ISO 9001 & ISO 14000. This enables us to continually deliver products of the highest quality.
Last but not the least is the after-sales service. Our post-sales services include a one year warranty, with the option of long serviceability. We provide after-sales support to our customers at all ports across India through our branches.
In a bid to provide the best-suited solutions to our customers, we have developed unique offerings for each customer segment in accordance with their needs.
For example, the key pre-requisite of Indian Coast Guard Vessels is lightweight solutions to cater to their speed requirements. For them, we have developed an in-house range of Aluminum beds and storages which are lightweight in addition to being sturdy. For Indian Navy’s requirement of strength, we have a range of Mild Steel furniture and Aluminum Honeycomb Furniture. To fulfill Merchant Ship's need for comfort, we provide a range of marine grade wooden furniture.

What is the demand for MAS in the current global economic scenario – both in the country and abroad? What is its share compared to the other solutions you provide?
The current economic scenario has affected MAS in terms of slowdown in the form of delays in taking the delivery of vessels by the owners.
The overseas order book is full, and therefore not as severely affected. In India, orders are still getting booked at rates higher than that overseas but business is affected by the slowdown.
MAS comprises 5 per cent of Godrej Interio’s offerings.

Godrej Interio is the only company in the country with global competencies. How do you ensure this?
We adhere to Godrej Interio’s Mission of enriching life by transforming spaces by touching every aspect of an individual’s life. MAS is a specialised example of this.
To sustain our global competencies, we constantly revisit our products and solutions and continuously look for opportunities to bring in fresh offerings to supplement our pre-existing range of products and services. We have a large design think tank, which is exposed to global trends and which captures the essence of these trends and blend it with our designs to make for unique offerings.

What challenges do you encounter in the current scenario?
One of our biggest challenges is porous entry barriers in this industry (particularly in the refurbishment segment) whereby ‘me too’ products are offered at substantially lower prices which cover the cost of material, labour and profit but the component of design inputs do not get compensated. Such competition is seen as very attractive by the customer who, in most cases, is more concerned with immediate savings and not with long-term partnerships. In such cases, orders are lost to smaller players who, mid-way through the life of the project, are unable to keep pace with the requirement. This leaves an impact on the final product. Godrej Interio has, in the recent past, been called in to help the customer with damage control after such an experience.
The other challenge that we are facing today is price escalations. Shipyards today are taking a very impractical approach towards acknowledging the impact of inflation and exchange rate variations over the life of a project. For reasons best known to them, they are unable to convince the ship owners about the same and expect contractors, like our competitors and ourselves, to absorb these escalations. This would invariably have a negative impact on the overall sentiment of the industry.

What is your USP?
We are the largest turnkey solution providers in the marine accommodation space and have the wherewithal to handle a wide spectrum of product and service offerings for this market. We offer after-sales service at all ports across India.
We are in the process of meeting an emerging need of the customer, that of using a skilled workforce distinctly different from the workforce available to them in their local region of operation. This stems from the low availability of skills specialised for this industry which is also one of the major, though understated, challenges before all of us.

Kindly brief about your clientele and the specific quality standard requirements for each of these. Also please discuss the market/areas you plan to target in future.
Our clientele fall into two major categories, Defence which include Indian Navy and Coast guard Vessels, and Merchant Navy.
For Indian Navy, we provide accommodation for new construction as well as refit projects and the quality standard followed by us is the Defence Standards set by the Naval Headquarters (NHQ) and Ministry of Defence (MOD), UK.
For Merchant Navy, we cater only to new construction projects. Quality Standards followed are those of the MED.
The market areas that we want to target in the future are the offshore market and the block making market. Both of them are emerging sectors in India and will present us with good business opportunities.

What are your key focus areas? Please put some light on the future growth prospects of Marine Accommodation Solutions (MAS) in the country?
The key focus areas are advancing our complete end-to-end solution offering as well as building design competencies.
Today, there is a distinct move towards sourcing of ready outfitted blocks in the merchant segment whereby the entire work of accommodation, outfitting and paneling starts happening overseas. If we are to remain in this business, it is imperative for us to get into block-making in India and prepare ready-to-place outfitted blocks for the Indian shipbuilding industry. The only factor holding the shipyards back from switching over to 100 per cent use of these ready outfitted blocks is the crane lifting capacity which will, sooner or later, get augmented. This will result in offline block making and outfitting becoming standardised practice. We intend to be ready for this by the time it happens.