From being just
Office and Home Storage businesses, the combined Furniture and Interiors
Group has redefined its objectives with a new Business Definition and
Mission and Vision statements:
Business Definition: We are in the business of enabling people to
be more effective and comfortable in their personal and professional
lives by providing ergonomic and aesthetic value-for-money furniture,
interior products and services.
Business Mission: Enriching life by transforming Home and Work
Business Vision: Godrej ?“The Choice?for Home and Work Space
Communication is our
biggest problem. I
spend a lot of time
all supervisors, sales
people, dealers and
this has to be a two-
B.E. (Mech.), MBA.
I head: Furniture and Interiors
I deal with (Products): Home Range: steel
cupboards, beds, dressing tables, kitchen cabinets, sofas, showcases, coffee
tables, dining tables and SOHO. Kid’s Furniture: i-space. Office Range:
filing cabinets, lockers, bookcases, Tambour door units, modular sliding
door units and modular range, systems furniture, steel and wooden desking
systems, office and mass seatings.
My Division's marketing techniques: To segment the market and offer a range of products to each segment so as to
maximise the market share in the Home Furniture and Office Furniture
Its sales turnover: A Combined
turnover of Office and Home segments: Expect to touch Rs. 320 crores in
The export turnover: Target for
the year is Rs. 10 crores.
We export our products to: The
Gulf, East Africa, Canada and SAARC countries.
Our competitors: There are many
regional players in each segment. On the national level, for Home Segment:
Gautier, Truzo and Durian are our competitors. In the Office Segment:
Blowplast, Featherlite, Methodex, Gautier, Merry Fair, Delite, Eurotech and
My Division's goals for 2002-03: Net Business Volume = 320 crores. Profit = 34 crores. Working Capital = 7.45
My personal goals for 2002-03:
1. To establish Godrej as a national brand in the
Home Furniture Segment.
2. To make Godrej a solution provider in
Furniture and Interiors for the Office Segment.
3. To develop a team which is innovative, vibrant
and ready to take up challenges and achieve its targets.
My strengths and Weekness: Strengths: High
level of commitment, good interpersonal skills, process-oriented.
weaknesses: Time management,
“emotion?driven at times, far too outspoken?and many more I guess.
My family background: Parents ?
Retired; Wife ?Sangeeta, Housewife; Daughter ?Mansi, 14 years in Standard
IX; Son ?Mohit ,12 years in Standard VII.
My first crush: Was in a Mumbai
local train when I was crushed from all four sides. That was my first crush!
My hobbies: Travelling, music,
reading and cooking.
My pets: None at the moment, but
I used to have dogs as pets. My favourite breed is Labrador Retriever.
My favourite books: Many of them
are favourites but the most recent one is Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr.
Spencer Johnson. Sidney Sheldon and Asterix comics are also my favourites.
My most embarrassing moments: When our Division did not make a profit in 2001-2002, and I had to stand
before the Board to make a presentation that showed a loss.
I am content with: My family and
a satisfying day’s work.
I am jealous of: Nobody.
I get upset when: (a) People do
not keep commitments. (b) When people have closed minds.
I fear: Failure and hurting
I am proud of: My parents for
instilling in me a value system.
My retirement plans: Too early to
plan. Nevertheless I would definitely like to share my experience and
knowledge either through teaching or through consultancy.
The future of Godrej: Bright. We
have the right diversity and a brand known for its value system. All that is
required is to become more consumer-centric and bring in velocity in the
changes required to service our customers.
I love India because: It has a
blend of Culture and Contemporariness. The complexities have made Indians
more resilient and capable of handling any situation. It has also brought
about in Indians a spirit of tolerance and an attitude of sharing.
A ROLE MODEL OF CHANGE
Anyone who has seen Never Say Never Again
never forget the dynamism of James Bond. We have a person in Godrej who,
though not a spy, is as determined as Bond, with a licence to target his
Division’s weaknesses and whose motto differs slightly from that of 007. His
motto is “Never Say No? So does that make him a yes man? Laughing, Anil
Mathur, Vice President, Furniture and Interiors Group, clarifies: “It’s not
that I never say no to anybody. I never say no to work because I look at the
positive side of work. When I was moving to the Rajkot Branch as Manager,
H.N. Patell was moving from Hyderabad to the Bombay Branch. We had our
farewell functions together. He remarked that when he wasn’t sure who to
delegate a matter to, he passed it on to me to execute. My attitude was that
of a learner. I’ve never considered any job too big or too small. This
attitude has helped me both in my career and my personal life.?br>
Mathur, with a B.E. (Mechanical) degree in hand, joined Godrej as a Sales
Engineer for Forklift Trucks in 1980. Enhancing his knowledge was an
essential aspect of his growth in the Company. So, from 1984 to 1987 he
studied for an MBA degree from the University College of Business
Management, Hyderabad, while handling Industrial Products in the Company’s
Hyderabad Branch. The long hours of work combined with studies took their
toll on Mathur’s health.
A positive man, Mathur concentrated on leveraging the strengths of the
Storwel Division: “The Godrej Storwel has become synonymous with steel
storages across the country. We can leverage the brand by offering a variety
of home furniture to customers. For office storages, we have the best sheet
metal working facility in the country, which has the flexibility to do mass
One wonders why there are complaints about the Godrej Storwel having
alignment problems. Usually, it is because the flooring is uneven.
Unfortunately, customers do not realise this and compare the Godrej Storwel
with local cupboards, which do not have a 3-way bolting system which
requires proper alignment. To level the Godrej Storwel, paper/cardboard
packing is placed under the legs. Mathur explains: “Over a period of time,
the packing beneath the Storwel becomes soft, resulting in misalignment and
the Storwel gives problems in opening and closing. We have taken the onus on
ourselves and have come out with steel levellers, which are an integral part
of the Storwel. Levellers can be adjusted at the time of installation.
Unlike packings, they do not get compressed. This has solved the problem.?
Godrej is the first to come up with an innovative solution to a problem for
which it is not responsible.
More solutions have followed. Deliveries of kitchen cabinets used to be very
slow. Mathur claims to have put the processes in place and deliveries are
now effected in four weeks?time. Comparing Godrej deliveries to a local
carpenter’s, Mathur notes: “The local carpenter works for two weeks at the
customer’s house and makes a nuisance. Here, everything is done in the
factory without in any way disturbing the customer ?We are aiming for
deliveries in three weeks?time. We can have the material ready in two weeks
and one more week may go in transit. We have now standardised the units and
have added a new range of units, which we can use as filler units. Also,
what we are doing is to keep the carcass (body of the product) separate from
the shutters (steel or wooden), pick up the units and shutters as required
and deliver them to customers. That way there is larger standardisation with
less number of stock-keeping units.?br>
Mathur dismisses complaints about the high prices of Home Furniture
products. Unlike Godrej, local manufacturers do not pay duties and taxes.
Besides, a customer looks at value for money, which he or she gets from
Godrej in terms of quality, service and durability: “We are targeting the
large middle class and upper middle class in India who cannot afford to
refurbish their house frequently. For them it is a 15- or 20-year cycle.?
Mathur once asked a customer why he bought a Godrej kitchen with steel
shutters and not with wooden shutters. The customer replied: “You do not
know the strength of your product! Every three years if my wife wants a new
look, I repaint the metallic shutters and the kitchen looks as good as new,
whereas replacing wooden shutters would cost me a hell of a lot!?br>
There is another grievance that manufacturing capacity needs to be increased
in order to be able to meet the customer’s demands in time. Could it be that
we have too few machines to take care of the job? Mathur explains: “We have
the required number of machines. We need to bring about flexibility in our
manufacturing processes by developing quick change of tools, developing
cells which have synergy in the product designs so that we’re able to very
quickly change our plans and adhere to customer needs. We recently finalised
our plans to re-layout our lines. Now in Plant 13, we have two products
running every day in the Knockdown product line. We’ve also gone in for tool
modifications in our Notching Department, giving the Department greater
flexibility to move from product to product. We’ve also trained our Design
Team to use new packages such as Pro-E and CAD so that their designing time
is reduced and we’re able to adhere to delivery schedules.?Similarly, in
Plants 4 and 14 manufacturing office furniture products, cell layouts to
address market requirements of variety and delivery are being put in place.
Mathur is grateful to Consultant Takao Kasahara who “has been a catalyst of
change in the Storwel Division and is now actively involved in the Office
Furniture manufacturing plants. He has now switched his role from being a
tutor to being a mentor.?/font>
Anil Sain Mathur was among the speakers invited by “Mindspace Events?to
address a seminar on “Pester Power?at Taj Land’s End, Mumbai on 24 January,
The year of learning
When Mathur took over the Storwel Division in 2001-2002 the Division
had made a loss. But he has successfully made the Division turn around: “In
2001-2002, we did not have a proper handle on the cost structure and
expenses, also, we spent about a crore of rupees in shifting from Plant 12
to Plant 13. That was a short-term loss, but it was good for our business,
as 20,000 square metres of area is now gainfully deployed by the Company. We
cleansed our system in old stocks and outstandings, which helped improve our
working capital by 52 per cent and our fund flow to the treasury improved by
38 per cent. That was the year for stabilisation, the year for transition
and learning. The last financial year 2002-2003 was good and right from the
beginning we turned around the Storwel Division from a loss of Rs. 3.6
crores to a profit of around Rs. 5 crores!?br>
Mathur is trying to reestablish standards of all Furniture and Interiors
Group (encompassing the erstwhile Office Furniture Division and the
erstwhile Storwel Division) products, especially the ones that are being
exported, his aim being to produce products that can be sold globally. For
enhancing the export business, he has adopted a two-pronged strategy ?to
expand to countries such as Saudi Arabia, North America and Europe where the
Division has not been selling, and to introduce new products such as lateral
filing cabinets, Tambour door units, KD Mozaic, etc. in those regions where
Godrej is well known and the Company could command a better price.
The Furniture and Interiors Group primarily caters to three business
Office Furniture and Interiors: “This involves systems furniture, desking,
seating and storages. With the change in the market scenario in terms of
increased growth in IT enabled services, the business is focusing on coming
out with solutions for systems furniture in the range of Rs. 10,000 to Rs.
15,000 per work station, apart from catering to the other IT and banking
segments to give a growth of 36% in this product portfolio. Similarly, in
seating, the focus is on increasing the market share in the mass seating
segment to give a growth of about 11%. The desking is focusing on low-end
computer furniture and top-end desking where we expect growth.?br>
Home Storages: “The growth is very slow. Therefore we are focusing on a
market segment which requires a cupboard at Rs. 6,000 to Rs. 7,000. The new
Slimline range addresses this segment. The product goes down the line in a
knockdown condition till the point of purchase. This saves on transportation
costs. Also, instead of thicker and round wall construction with intricacies
of interlocking, this model is in a simple square form with thin wall
construction with integral legs. Thus the number of components processed are
reduced and the cost of manufacture comes down.?br>
Home Utility: “Two years ago we had only kitchen cabinets and i-space in
the Home Furniture Segment. Last year, we developed vendors for bedroom
sets, sofa sets and dining sets. These are now growth engines for the coming
years. There is tremendous excitement in the field among our sales officers
and among dealers.?/li>
The Group also plans to enter a new market of Laboratory Furniture such as
laboratory work benches, fume hoods and laboratory storages especially in
low and medium complexity labs catering to educational institutes,
pharmaceutical, chemical and physical laboratories.
In addition, the erstwhile Storwel Division is also a preferred supplier for
refurbishing the cabins of naval ships. In the last two years it has
refurbished at least two cabins on four ships, including the prestigious
aircraft carrier, INS Viraat. Today, Godrej is working with the Navy, the
Mazgaon Docks and the Kochi Shipyard to design modular cabin blocks along
with furniture and fittings for new naval ships.
How have these new product introductions been so successful? Well, the
Storwel Division is the first to bring about a Think Culture at the time of
product introduction. The process is called Integrated Design for
Manufacturing and Marketability (IDMM). When the Design Team underwent this
course and developed i-space, the first of its kind in the country, it was
this learning that helped the Division make other new product introduction
processes more successful than in the past: “IDMM has changed the outlook of
the design, manufacturing and marketing teams. Even when we import any
products like sofas, dining tables and work tables, we get involved in the
product design so that we adapt to the taste of the Indian customer.?br>
The Furniture and Interiors Group has recently started Call Centres to
satisfy customer needs. Under Mathur’s strong leadership the Group has
trained people both at dealer points and at Branches in order to enable them
to “handle both technical and psychological complaints that a customer would
have about a product? Call Centres have already started in Mumbai, Pune,
Delhi and Kolkata. These will be followed by Chennai, Hyderabad and Lucknow.
Being Divisional Head of the Furniture and Interiors Group is both exciting
and exacting for Mathur: “It is a recognition of my Storwel Division team.
It is an acceptance of me as capable of handling another big Division, the
Office Furniture Division.?Mathur aims to bring about improvements in two
areas: “A high level of customer focus and integrating operations so that we
can leverage the infrastructure in terms of man and machine to come out with
new products, products with world-class quality and aesthetics.?br>
One fundamental change he’d like to bring about is a sense of ownership
among employees: “When I see that something is not up to the mark on the
shop floor, I go up to the worker and ask him to put himself in the
customer’s shoes, that if he were to be offered this product by a dealer,
would he buy it. We have a long way to go in improving our quality. For that
a sense of involvement has to be brought in. We want suggestions from each
and every workman whether it is on productivity, sales, safety?The progress
is too slow. Some time ago we were giving small gifts to our workers for
suggestions. Progress had become slightly better. I believe that only
monetary incentives do not work in the long run. If you are serious in what
you say to your workers and pay heed to their suggestions, their response,
too, will be good. If, for some reason, you cannot implement that
suggestion, tell them that we have looked at your suggestion but cannot
implement it right now. That at least makes the worker feel that he is being
heard and that there is a possibility of his suggestion being accepted some
time in the future?I’ve always respected, trusted and loved my workers and
they have responded equally well by giving me all the trust and affection as
well as the productivity whenever I require. Communication is our biggest
problem. I spend a lot of time communicating with all supervisors, sales
people, dealers and this has to be a two-way traffic.?br>
Mathur motivates his employees well. A subordinate of the Group told this
interviewer that whenever he does a good job, Mathur sends an e-mail
appreciating his work with copies of his mail to all the relevant (read,
important) people. But Mathur is not satisfied with that. He has started a
360-degree appraisal. He has asked his managers, other business heads and
General Manager (Sales) to grade him on his abilities, strengths and
weaknesses: “This has actually brought about a tremendous attitudinal change
in people. They feel that there is somebody to listen to us if we have
something to say about him. It may not be directly connected with the work
at all.?He intends to percolate this down the line and bring about a more
transparent and learning culture.
Godrej is Mathur’s first and probably his last job. With so much job-hopping
in the industry, what is it that has kept him glued to Godrej? Mathur
reveals the secret: “The value systems in the organisation such as trust in
people, truthfulness, recognition of sincerity, hard work and competence are
akin to what my parents had inculcated in me. The organisation culture has
allowed me to be independent. Also, change in job, territory and product
portfolio brought the challenge of proving myself in a new area and kept me
This young and dynamic Division Head is conscientious, for at the end of the
day “my conscience should say, yes, I have done something good. The day my
superiors feel otherwise, I should never be in this seat.?/font>