Balaji Group consists of Balaji Enterprises, Balaji Trading Co., Balaji Engineering and Balaji Metal Crafts. While all the other have a long cumulative history of around two decades, Balaji Metal Crafts is a two-year old start-up. Through these companies, Balaji Group has already demonstrated competencies over the last decade and a half in several areas. Its chronology of existence starts with 1996, when it started offering high-quality powder coating services under Balaji Enterprises, and flagged off powder trading from Balaji Trading Co. The group also boasts of being one amongst the very few indigenous manufacturers of gas springs and dampers since 2001 under Balaji Engineering banner.
It was in 2010 that Balaji Metal Craft was established as a part of the Group’s backward integration plan. The focus was then pretty clear that the unit will be dedicated to manufacturing sheet metal finished components such as racks, cabinets, kiosks, ATMs, fuel dispensers, etc. We are now specialising in retail visual identity, POS display, control panels, furniture items, amongst others. In order to know how this relatively new corporate member of the well-established Balaji family is meeting the needs of the rapidly transforming country’s retail industry, we met Rajesh Nair, the company’s Vice President – Marketing. Here are the excerpts of our interaction:
What made the company enter into store fit-outs segment?
This particular division is about a year and a half old. We initially started off by prototyping some of Star Bazaar’s products, and delivering smaller quantities that were not feasible to be imported. Once we started manufacturing for and supplying to them, we realised that there exists a huge market for this segment. Now, it looks like as if we entered into it by default. As far as quality is concerned, ours speaks for itself. Moreover, we are exporting various products for electronic manufacturers, sound companies, etc.
How are the requirements in India different from those in other countries
Indian environment is different, store sizes are smaller, colour and placement of store fit-outs are also very different than what we see overseas. Here, the positioning is different as people like to touch and feel unlike what happens abroad. The change in tastes and preferences forces us to create a lot of designs. It takes us only 48 to 72 hours to create samples for our customers.
What enables you to produce with such rapidity?
This rapid sampling is due to the fact that we have everything in-house. Our facility is well-equipped with latest CNC routers, bending machines, powder-coating machine, and others. We also manufacture our own powder for the process. Most of our fit-outs are in metal i.e., MS or SS. See, for instance, we have designed and developed a small unit for displaying fruit samples in a retail store. There are a few fruits, which are actually expensive and people love to taste them before purchasing.
Which all machines are there in the facility?
Our set of equipment includes servo-driven Amada CNC Turret Punch Press (AE225NT), Amada CNC Press Brake (RGM2 8024), Hydraulic Press Brake, Mechanical Presses, In-house Powder Coating Plant, Nitriding & Oxidation Plant, Resistance Welding Machines, Automats, Thread Rolling Machine, Riveting Machine, Rubber Moulding and many more.
Where does Balaji stand when it comes to pricing?
Our prices are not substantially higher than Chinese as most of the stuff nowadays comes from China. But we are not cheap for sure, and are placed amongst the slightly higher side.
What is Balaji Group’s USP?
We are young, lean and hungry. Therefore, we try harder and go the extra mile to deliver so as to address the unique requirements of the rapidly emerging modern retail. With over 15 years of experience in the engineering industry as the Balaji Group of Companies, we can proudly say that we have been very closely associated with the numerous successes of our customers. And we would be privileged to be associated with many such prestigious organisations in time to come.
Which all services do you offer to your clients?
Operating on the philosophy of fabricating the future, we offer our expertise in domains like designing, rapid prototyping, value engineering, manufacturing, in-house powder coating, fulfillment & dispatch. Through our manufacturing set-up in Chandivali, Mumbai, we deliver value to our customers using the expertise of our 130 employees and by investing in the finest equipment.
Why should one opt for Balaji Metal Crafts?
The biggest thing here is that customers want faster solutions. Like for example, if one buys from China then the purchase has to be at least one container load. However, the requirements usually are pretty less, just for two or three stores only. For meeting this level of requirement, import can’t be the solution. The sizes required here are not standard like in foreign countries. Also, here the customers need last minute finishing or customisation. In fact, customisation and rapid prototyping is the basic need of this industry.
What constitutes Balaji’s key to success?
As a fast growing business, players like us are constantly challenged to innovate. This can be done in many ways such as by cutting costs, reducing time to market, and more so, by being competitive. While our in-depth R&D and marketing help us fight the battles in the marketplace, we play the role of a trusted partner which at the same time is responsive to deliver at the manufacturing back-end. That’s where we at Balaji Metal Craft come in.
How long does it take for you to execute a particular project?
The execution of any project depends upon the complexity or simplicity of the store structure and the requirements of the fit-outs. There is no standard time. Even a simple thing can take months when this slips down in the list of our customers’ priority. However, since we can control the variables, we can deliver within the stipulated time.
Where can we see Balaji Metal Crafts in a couple of years from now?
As an organisation, we endeavour to be at the leading edge of technology and are committed to making future investments in processes, software, technology and people to meet your requirements. Also in line with our anticipated growth plans, we have already made significant scalable investments in land and infrastructure at Vasai and Palghar.