PAINTINDIA 2016 ... and Beyond!
The penning of this piece from my end coincides with the frenzied build-up to our PAINTINDIA 2016 International Exhibition-Conference. Likewise, by the time all of you will be reading this piece it will coincide with the near-commencement of the Event. I guess enough has been said about the event, and we could now leave the talking aside and get down to action.
More importantly, we can now look beyond the event, and see how we as an Industry (and of course, ourselves as a responsible media entity) can help sustain and accelerate the growth of our Industry, even while remaining alive and sensitive to the world around us. A few points spring to mind as a possible starting point towards working on this.
Firstly, our industry and markets are structured in a manner where industrial coatings are hugely under- leveraged with the share by value just about 25%, and the share by volume barely 20%. Identifying gaps and areas of growth in these segments, and acting upon them are imperative. Huge opportunities in wood coatings and automotive refinish are round the corner. These will present themselves not only in terms of organic growth, but also opportunities for strategic alliances. Powders, Coil Coatings and Automotive OEM Coatings will follow a cyclic pattern of ups and down, and we must be smart and resilient enough to capitalise on these opportunities and grind out the tougher times. Floor Coatings, Glass Coatings and Plastics Coatings are all today very small markets, but with a promise to grow rapidly and spur the growth of this sector. High-Performance Coatings will be directly dependent on government policies on infrastructure. All in all, we as an industry must devise strategies to grow in these areas and not remain heavily dependent on Architectural Coatings.
On the subject of Architectural Coatings, we have to look to ascend the value ladder and look at better value- realisation to safeguard our position of strength. Volume growth is sometimes a convenient cover for dwindling margins, but an inconvenient truth we have to face. More mass awareness and lobbying at the highest level to get our industry to be recognised as an eco-friendly industry contributing to nation-building through asset- protection is a must. Better functionality and a closer customer interaction is the way ahead. Perceptions on painting as a cumbersome task must be shattered through the use of more automation at the application level. The Do-It-Yourself (DIY) concept, though still a while away in India, will eventually kick in and we must be prepared for that with both formulations as well as strategy.
Other macro-trends and factors in terms of skilled manpower, better research and development and more proactive product and solution roll-outs are also equally important.
For the moment though, let us have a good time at the event at Mumbai from 21-23 January, though with a firm and keen eye on the future. We have lots to look forward to, both in the next few days, and beyond!
Dilip Raghavan Editor Publisher
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