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01.jpg “All Change is not progress, but all progress is change”
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This Decade the Dealers Make Merry : Huge choice for dealers in ceramic tiles and sanitary ware Industry
India has changed a lot in the last decade. The results are here for all to see. This change has taken many industries by surprise while many have taken abundant advantage of this excellent change. Ceramic industry, that covers tiles manufacturing and sanitary ware products is one of the latter which has see exponential growth in the past decade.
Build avenue team, here has endeavored to bring forth the many aspects of this excellent change and growth on the dealers and channel operators in the ceramic sector.
Reasons for change
Indian tastes have become global, thanks to the proliferation of Internet and mobile technology.
The consumer prefers more choices.
The band of consumers has shifted from age of 40s to age of 30s and lately 20s too.
The nuclear family impact sees more demand but more style and substance as well.
Homes now have more wash rooms and better sanitation upping the demand.
While compact and functional ceramic ware dominates the cramped metros, the sanitation drives in rural India demand bigger and ethnic designs.
Coming up of corporate houses and fully functional office bodies, along with the mall culture taking over the retail segment, the demand in terms of variety as well as quality have jumped up.
Designer has become the buzz word for small homes as well as huge offices, putting pressures on interior designers to think out of the box and the buzz has spiraled into more customizations (leading to digital printing in tiles).
Brand acceptance has increased three fold in the decade and branding has enabled better producers to make a name for themselves.

10 Years ago and Now
10 years ago there were many limitations to the way dealers could perform. These limitations were in form of variety, range, technology, quality and consistent reliable supply. These are the major aspects of limitations faced by the channel operators.
Variety in Sanitary ware
In the past decade, hundreds of new designs, shapes, colors and finishes have been introduced in the sector. Sanitary ware shapes have seen a total overhaul. While maintaining Indias favorite Orissa Pans, the Wash Basins and one piece have taken the interior design and architectural thought driver by a storm. There are more than 350 new shapes in the sanitary ware industry, most of which have been adopted from the international companies. The shapes boast of range from wide imposing designs to sleek subtle looks.
The colors and surface finish have improved in terms of quality and range as well. From simple Single color sanitary ware available, there are now the famous vitrosa range, double color, hand painted and rustic (which was already in markets a decade ago, but is spreading to all products now.)
Overall Product look as drastically improved to match international style and trends. This is largely due to the internet age exposing the youth and the consumers to international designs which are openly demanded by the buyer and hence the dealers. To satisfy this emerging need, well managed sanitary ware manufacturers have invested in newer stylish designs.
Variety in tiles
Limitless would be an inappropriate word for the range and variety of tiles available in India today. The Entrepreneurs have heavily invested money as well as thinking teams to develop and present unlimited variety of tiles.
There would be roughly 25 odd sizes to choose from. From 6 x 6 which is still available to the huge 3 ft x 3 ft making a grand appearance.
The surface finish in terms of luster to digital printing again sky is the limit. The major advantage is customization of design for any theme thought by the designers of homes and offices.
The surface shapes of 3d add to the beauty of the tiles.
The channel partners thus have a very huge variety too choose from.
ADVANTAGE OF VARIETY: He can ensure that his display is full and overflowing. It is ever changing and the dealer always has some new product to present to consumer or the influencer. He will satisfy the most complex needs of the right customer and in the long run be able to locally brand himself as the best ceramic ware supplier. With more variety, he can also have an online shop.

DISADVANTAGE OF VARIETY: He has to maintain a high inventory. Thus the investment is very high. He has to also have a world class display to showcase such stylish products. The investment in right sales man and the project sales person are also more. The stores have to be at good locations.
There is always confusion as to which products to buy, which to display and which to just show in catalog. This leads to dead inventory and mis-utilization of showroom space.

Technology and Quality
The sanitary ware industries now have longer better kilns, imported and indigenously developed raw material, specially the surface glaze mix. The surface treatments and double firing have become common in the past decade. This all investment in technology has resulted in better quality of products that have a longer life and their appearance remains good till a long time.
Maintenance as well as installing these new products is easier and more acceptable in the total supply chain. The consumer satisfaction has increased, increasing the earnings of the dealers as well.
ADVANTAGE : The technology and quality lead to a sustained satisfied business deal. The quality guarantees buyer and consumer satisfaction and hence leads to better branding and more word of mouth sales.
There are no disadvantages of technology.
Choice of Suppliers
With more than 600 manufacturers of tiles and sanitary ware only in the Morbi belt, add to it the North Gujarat region and it sums up to give a vast choice of suppliers to the dealer.
This in turn increases their negotiation power in terms of investment, advertising expenditure and credit limit. The choice also empowers the dealers and channel partners to switch from unreliable suppliers to reliable suppliers, slowly giving the edge to better managed companies.
Further, they can have a mix of well branded and low branded products to satisfy the buyer at every price point of demand.
Their relationships with the supplier a matter lot to the supplier which gives them a unique advantage of holding limited inventory.
Profits
All of the above advantages and disadvantages when collected and weighed against each other, there is a single aspect that stands out. The profits of the channel partners and the dealers increase with time.
However, this is true of well managed channel partner, not the also dunit types.
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