They say quality comes with a premium price. Indeed! When resources of the best quality are used, the cost of products goes up, thereby making it difficult for the consumers to purchase the same. Rewriting this scenario in the plywood space of India is ASEAN Plywood which has been emphasizing on optimum utilization of resources to get maximum advantage and thus, keeping costs under control without any compromise on quality. Today, ASEAN is home to a vast variety of plywood which are manufactured through most advanced technologies of international standards in highly modern factories. These products are very well-known in the market for its unparalleled durability, strength, anti-bacterial properties, environment-friendly nature and many other incredible features, thus outshining ASEAN as the consumers’ prime choice. Resonating with the phrase – ‘Ply which bonds with quality and trust’, the company also regularly works on introducing new concepts and ideas considering the global industry too, to improve the product quality at economical costs.
When asked about the journey of ASEAN so far, Mahabir Agarwal, Managing Director, ASEAN Plywood, articulates, “Hailing from a family of business magnates, I always had a vision to start something of my own. While working professionally in plywood sector, I have observed a major mismatch in most of the leading brand’s quality and rates”. While premium brands were charging exorbitant prices compared to quality, small manufacturers were unable to create a credibility regarding their products in consumer’s mind. There were several brands in mid segment which were mainly focusing on the selling of goods and were not conscious enough to create brand awareness in the market. It was here in this vacuum ASEAN found its place!
Despite owning a manufacturing facility in West Bengal, ASEAN kick-started its marketing with Maharashtra and Bihar in 2011. Within 3 years of launch, ASEAN stood-out as the fastest-selling brand in those markets while its marketing team continued exploring other markets too. Over the years, the company plunged into the markets of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujrat, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha and Karnataka. It also had a small presence in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu too but wasn’t big enough due to the major challenge of finding a suitable marketing team.
ASEAN’s primary customers are its dealers and distributors. The company mainly engages with retailers who are directly connected to end users while the retailers can be assured of 100% loyalty from them which is a major challenge for them if they are dealing with leading brands. With ASEAN, the dealers get all the support which they expect from a branded company and also exclusivity over brand in their territory which in turn ensures reasonable margins to them. This is not the limit! ASEAN has several company-operated stock points in various states to cater to customers which reduces their lead time and ensures timely supply of goods. In the same truck load, they receive a variety of plywood to suit various budget customers, thereby reducing their working capital involvement.
On the consumers end, the company’s marketing personnel personally meet them at the comfort of their home or office and explain the quality and pricing of the products after understanding their specific needs. They also interact with contractors and architects to facilitate selection of decorative products, thus providing all products under the same umbrella of a single dealer.
Over a period, ASEAN has gained substantial credibility in the market and generated almost 30-35% business through references of old customers. Mahabir asserts, “We always keep our customers happy in all aspects like quality, timely delivery, competitive price, satisfaction, and after-sales services. We also take any complaint of the customers as feedback and immediately resolve the same by taking appropriate steps in consultation with them”.
Thanks to ASEAN’s ace team of leaders including Anil Kumar Tibrewal (CEO), Ravi Malagikar (Regional Head – West), Neeraj Sharma (Regional Head – Central), Rajasrshi De (Regional Head – East), and R K Mundhra (Commercial Head), who seamlessly ensure to keep up the customer satisfaction levels. No wonder, ASEAN was awarded as the fastest growing brand by Brojo Vandana Foundation in 2021 while aiming to bag more awards in the coming years too!
Home to a wide range of products, ASEAN considers ASEAN Ultra as its fastest moving product range in the entire bucket. This product is produced out of a selected species of hardwood timber and treated with BWR grade glue, thereby providing mental peace to consumers without worrying about their interiors. Other unique products of the company include ASEAN PLATINUM with 5x moneyback warranty, ASEAN CLUB with 20 years warranty, ASEAN GOLD with 15 years warranty, and ASEAN PRIME with 10 years warranty. Besides, an exhaustive range of decorative veneers add excellence to its portfolio. Mahabir adds, “Tagged with the most competitive and reasonable prices, all our products are also marketed through cost-effective BTL activities instead of expensive mass advertisement campaigns”.
Keeping sustainability in mind, ASEAN deploys plantation timber which is converted into plywood with the help of technology thereby giving ample strength to the interiors. Plywood, on the other hand, is already in a way helping to preserve the natural resources. On the energy front, the company uses coal at minimal levels in its boilers and wood dust and rice husk to reduce air pollution. Besides, saplings are duly distributed to farmers to promote agro forestry which helps in sustained supply of timber to the company.
Under the supervision of a core leadership team with 10-20 years of experience in the plywood industry, ASEAN has formulated its foremost plans to keep quality intact across its services to the customers, enhance the stock points on various locations, expand product range in new locations, and establish itself as the most popular brand in India.