Orient Bell Limited: Enabling the New Age Tile Buying Experience

Mr. Aditya Gupta | CEO | Orient Bell Limited
Mr. Aditya Gupta | CEO | Orient Bell Limited

The tile category is valued at about INR 28,000 Cr. Organized brands are at about 30% and there is an opportunity to address customer friction-points and grow the sector. Ceramic Tiles today have become an integral part of home improvement. They make a huge difference in the way your interiors and outdoors look. The Indian tile industry has been facing headwinds and has slowed down dramatically in 2019. In the current scenario, it is important to note that this industry is a key supplier to the Building and Construction space – a sector which has been a clear underperformer for quite some time now.

Orient Bell Limited is a company focused on providing excellent quality of ceramic tiles and related peripherals in this dynamic sector of building and construction. Let’s read below, how it is pursuing to achieve this excellence through this exclusive interview with Insights Success:

Kindly brief us about the company.

It is the love and loyalty of our customers that have helped Orient Bell Limited become one of the largest manufacturers of Ceramic and Vitrified Tiles over the last four decades. We are widely respected in industry circles and have always strived to maintain our reputation as a trusted & professional manufacturer of wall & floor tiles ever since the company was established in 1977. With more than 150 exclusive Orient Bell Tile Boutiques that are distributed at 2500 stores, it is our privilege to be associated with the premier architects and builders of the country. We have been listed for more than 20 years on the stock exchange, and are recognized for our consistent quality.

Even as we continue to expand our retail footprint, we hope that an influx of new talent and leadership as well as the disruptive potential of new technology will help us bring a breath of fresh air in the building & construction industry.

Brief us about the Founder/CEO of the company and the major contribution of him/her towards the company.

Mr. Aditya Gupta is the CEO at Orient Bell Limited. A successful businessman and a sound technocrat, his name is synonymous with the tile industry. With his vast experience in erecting, commissioning and successfully managing various Ceramic Tile Plants & Factories, he has been instrumental in taking the company from strength to strength.

Mr. Gupta is a founding member of the Indian Council of Ceramic Tiles & Sanitary ware (ICCTAS), the apex body in India representing the Ceramic Tile Industry. He is also an environmentalist and foresaw the problems caused by the felling of trees and further worked towards driving conservation of water in all his organizations as early as in 1971.

Mr. Madhur Daga is Managing Director at Orient Bell Limited. An industry veteran, Madhur graduated in 1993 with a BBA degree from the University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles. He completed his Post Graduation in International Corporate Finance from the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney, Australia. Subsequently, he pursued his entrepreneurial skills and set up a software business, which he sold in the year 2005. At Orient Ceramics, as the Executive Director, he was responsible for the overall strategic direction and new product development. In May 2017, Madhur was promoted as Managing Director of OBL. Madhur is an avid golfer who loves keeping himself fit, traveling & listening to all genres of music, especially jazz. As a Vipassana practitioner, his work-life balance is aided by daily meditation & regularly attending Vipassana courses across India.

Please share with us the initial struggle that strengthened the current success of the brand.

In our journey of over four decades, we have constantly strived to proactively address issues and struggles as they come up while future proofing them. Our vision and foresightedness has largely contributed in achieving our goals. There is also ongoing evolution not only in practice, technology and product, but also in our outlook towards the market and customer needs. This in fact has seen us grow from being a tile provider in our initial days to being a solution provider for all tiling needs that a customer can have. Since the pre-liberalization era, even in the context of licenses & quotas, Orient bell Tiles focused on quality. This emphasis on quality meant sales followed. This has built a strong organization-wide commitment to quality that stands us in good stead.

Tell us about the services you provide through your venture.

We are heavily focused on our goal of being the go-to for all tiling solutions in the country for both B2B as well as B2C customers. In order to do this, we bring a unique solution approach to our retail as well as B2B customers. For example, our retail shoppers are shared layouts, laying patterns for the tiles chosen by them, using quick & easy visualization software. On the other hand our B2B customers get customized layouts from us at zero cost. Our channel partners can magically provide shoppers numerous options for laying tiles and creating alternative looks for their room. It even calculates the exact number of tiles & provides a quotation making it a transparent retail experience. This makes it easy for both retail & B2B customers to understand the final appearance of their room.

Additional from a product innovation point of view, we keep on developing tiles to meet specific customer requirements. Germ Free Tiles was developed in response to Hospitals, Schools, Airports & Food Service demanding tiles with anti-microbial properties. Cool Tiles was developed to keep indoor temperatures cooler in geographies where high temperatures prevail in summer. Forever Tiles was developed for service stations, gymnasiums or industrial establishments needing high scratch resistance. Our Glazed Vitrified Tiles (GVT) or Ceramic

Tiles are available in a huge assortment of sizes, colors and SKUs to meet the needs of the diverse Indian consumers.

Please share some success stories, awards and accolades that the company has received.

The birth in 1977 is a key milestone. After that, listing on the stock exchange has shaped our intrinsic focus on transparency & corporate governance. Today we are amongst the first few companies in the tile industry to publish our quarterly results. In 2004, we got our first ISO 9001 & OHSAS. This was way ahead of the industry, reflecting our core beliefs of quality & employee safety.

In 2005, we opened our first Orient bell Tile Boutique. Today we have more than 150 Tile boutiques. These are exclusive stores where we ensure great retail experiences for our shoppers. From early 2018, Orient Bell has seen an influx of new talent. This has driven multiple new product launches as well as digital solutions to remove friction points in the consumer purchase journey. In fact, this year (2020) kicked off pretty well with Orient bell Tiles winning awards at Realty+ Award 2020 for the best Website as well as the most ‘Integrated Marketing Campaign.’

Can you give some advice for the budding entrepreneurs who are trying to embark in the same field?

It’s a fabulous space and a great time for tech start-ups. There are numerous friction points all across the supply chain. And I would invite them to join us in attempting to disrupt this category.

Kindly give insights on the challenges related to the tile industry.

There are several challenges that we face currently as an industry:

a) GST on Power & Fuel – Even after 2.5 years of GST rollout, power and fuel which is roughly 30-40% of the cost base for heavy industries is still outside the GST ambit resulting in cascading of taxes and thus higher costs for the end consumer.

b) Input credit for Real Estate Sector – Despite the welcome step of reduction in GST for the real estate sector last year, the absence of input credit mechanism for taxes paid against raw material supplies makes the entire system inefficient and may result in leakages for the exchequer. Availability of input credits should still make housing more affordable while arresting the potential malpractices.

c) Addressing payment delays/defaults – Payment delays/defaults even from some of the larger construction houses/real estate developers are a norm impacting working capital cycles. While IBC is a great reform to take legal recourse against defaulting customers but enforcement is still lengthy, complicated and costly. We would benefit from any additional steps to enforce payment disciplines and restore the lost trust.

Brief us about the future of the company or the goal it has set to mark its exceptionality in future.

We are excited about the opportunity before us. There are challenges like sustainability, viruses, global warming or pollution. I hope Orient bell Tiles can help address some of these challenges and make your world and mine, a better place. From a purely business point of view, we are putting in efforts to widen the scope of our channel partners, as well as aim at increasing their reach in the years to come.

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