"Saint Gobain CertainTeed is a leading manufacturer of roofing shingles and exterior building products in the USA. It has a legacy of over 100 years and is one of the most respected brands in the US, noted for its quality and customer satisfaction. CertainTeed entered into India in 2004 and is a market leader by far, holding the lion's share in the roofing shingles market," avers Mr. Harish Holalu, Senior Manager-Building Products & Solutions, Saint Gobain, Grindwell Norton Ltd., in an interview with S D Khan.
Please brief us about the Saint Gobain Group, the various verticals it offers and its modus operandi in India.
Established in 1665 in France, the Saint-Gobain group has around 2 lac employees in 64 countries and a sales turnover of 32 million Euros. It is one of the top 100 industrial corporations in the world and the global leader in habitat and construction markets, providing innovative and sustainable solutions. The group has four main sectors namely, Construction Products, Innovative Materials, Building Distribution and Packaging and is a global and European leader in each of its businesses.
Saint-Gobain in India has 8 companies which includes Glass & Grindwell Norton in Innovative Materials sector and Gypsum & Weber in Construction Products sector. The group places great emphasis on developing its businesses and strengthening its presence in the Indian market. There have been continued investments in India to fuel growth and provide state-of-the- art products to our customers.
How mature is the market for shingles in India and what role has Saint Gobain played in creating this market?
Saint-Gobain, through CeratinTeed, its group company from USA, is the pioneer in shingles and has been champion for these products in the Indian market. Shingles is a composite material, made up of fiberglass reinforced, high grade, mineral-stabilised asphalt based mats which are overlaid with high strength ceramic coated granules. It is about 4mm thick and is applied on sloping roofs of concrete slabs or wooden decks. We have been promoting the products through a nationwide awareness drive, interacting with architects, builders, and other influencers.
A word about CertainTeed brand and its history in India.
Saint Gobain CertainTeed is a leading manufacturer of roofing shingles and exterior building products in the USA. It has a legacy of over 100 years and is one of the most respected brands in the US, noted for its quality and customer satisfaction.
CertainTeed entered into India in 2004 and is a market leader by far, holding the lion's share in the roofing shingles market. Recognised for its advantages and stunning aesthetic appeal, it is fast becoming one of the most preferred options for sloped roofs with over 6 million sqft roofing applications spanning all building segments, particularly resorts, gated communities, government buildings and individual bungalows to name a few. Recently with the introduction of ‘vinyl wall cladding system,' CertainTeed is set to reach new heights in the coming years in the Indian construction arena.
What is CertainTeed's USP?
Superior aesthetic appeal with international feel was the initial USP, but now the market is realising the benefits of using shingles which are waterproof, unbreakable, flexible and come with warranties ranging from 20 to 50 years. ‘Value for money' is now the new approach. The name CertainTeed by itself is derived from our motto - "Quality made Certain - Satisfaction Guaranteed."
Is CertainTeed meant for institutional sales or the retail channel?
At present, CertainTeed caters to project requirements through institutional selling. This is more due to the fact that a certain level of expertise is required for application of CertainTeed products. We have a well-trained dealer-cum applicators network across India to cater to the market.
Are you impacted by the recessionary trends in the construction sector?
There is a sense of caution in the construction sector and builders as well end-users are holding back on investing aggressively. But then, housing is a basic need and a core aspiration of everyone, and we are offering ‘value for money' products which are innovative and sustainable. There has not been much impact on our growth in India due to the slowdown.
How do you train the applicators?
Training has always been one of our top most priorities. A dedicated Products Manager and a team of Application Engineers provide refresher training to our dealers-cum-applicators across India. We have designed a training-calendar which has a combination of classroom and onsite training programs, done on a regular basis to ensure that the applicators are constantly updated and our customers get the actual benefit of this exercise.