14 March, 2013

Fixtures Q&A | CAEM INDIA

12 images iNDIA SHOP design march–april 2013

FIXTURES Q&A with Abid Vakil


How is the fixturing industry shaping up in India,

say from 5 years ago?

It started ‘evolving’ about 5 years ago, had a good

acceptance, then, unfortunately recession set in,

but eventually the industry made a comeback. The

demand in the market is for specialist products, based

on specifications from client in addition to standard

products. With FDI coming in the industry would

certainly be in a more aggressive mode. However, a lot

of volume has shifted to China as pricing has become

a crucial part in selection of fixtures and eventually

the vendor.

What is the trend in store fixtures?

For food/grocery supermarkets, hypermarkets, etc,

the trend in fixtures is roughly the same as before.

Metal fixtures are used mostly. However, because of

compressed margins, etc, clients want value for money

and prefer Chinese shelving. For fixtures other than

shelving like tables, etc, Indian companies supply the

fixtures. For lifestyle segments, clients want to buy

customised fixtures as per their designs and Indian

companies supply most of the time for roll outs.

A new trend that is emerging is of refurbishing.

Here, instead of replacing their old fixtures with new

ones, many retailers prefer to refurbish the existing

ones. Though this is mainly to save cost, the retailer

should factor in the cost of dismantling the fixtures,

the cost of the logistics involved in sending the

fixtures to the unit for polishing, etc, bringing them

and reinstalling them. Not to forget the business hours

lost when the store or the particular section has to

be closed till the fixtures are reinstalled. While good

quality fixtures can last as long as 15 years without

requiring maintenance, others could last for only 3-4

years. Since retailers are realising the importance of

keeping their stores spruced up in order to attract

customers, it may prove to be more expensive to

refurbish the fixtures every few years. Actually, the

cost of investing in junk over quality products is

a difference of only 30 percent. And look at the

upside: a quality shopfitter will dismantle the old

fixtures and install the new ones on site. This

usually takes a few days depending on the job size.

In the case of a standalone store, it is even faster as

the work is done after the store closes and business

is not disrupted.

What new materials in store fixtures are

being used?

Besides metal, wood, glass, acrylic, stainless steel

been used traditionally, we also see increased use of

marble, granite, corean, pressed wood, fiberboard,

etc. This is particularly true in the lifestyle segment.

Custom-designed metal store fixtures have become

popular too. Earlier, they were considered heavy,

unwieldy and expensive, and they offered fewer

designs and styles. Most people considered them

only for their back-end storage or for industrial

establishments. Wood was the preferred material.

Now, counters, garment racks and shelving systems

are being made from metal/steel, which is more

light in weight, easy to work with, and are finished/

polished in attractive colours.

What are the advantages of metal fixtures?

The biggest advantage is that metal fixtures

have a long life as compared to other materials.

Many custom metal store fixtures are designed

to imitate the standard slat wall panels. Here,

pressed wood or fiberboard is replaced by strong

though thin metal sheets, in which holes or

grooves are produced which support a variety of

attractive accessories that enable hanging and

shelving displays. What’s more metal fixtures can

-Abid Vakil, CAEM India Shelving

With FDI coming in, the

industry would certainly be in a

more aggressive mode

march–april 2013 images iNDIA SHOP design 13

What are the issues and challenges that you

have to deal with in the Indian market?

Retail is ever changing – the client faces

challenges due to factors not within his control

and eventually, these challenges tend to get

shifted to vendors like us. Such factors include

builder issues, government permissions,

documentation, other formalities, etc, not

completed in proper time, and as a result

projects, malls, stores get delayed generally and

we get affected. The challenge is to complete

projects in time, of the desired quality, and at

the price that the client is commercially viable

with. Also, sometimes we see competition just

for the sake of competition and lot of times the

client tends to ‘exploit’ the situation only to put

pressure on existing vendors. However, such

vendors tend to run away once the numbers

increase and when they realise that there are no

margins for him.

What are your design and manufacturing capabilities?

We have our in-house design studio with professionals able to

provide designs specifically suited to client’s requirements. The

design team has already done path-breaking designs for some

clients, appreciated by them. Also, we study design dockets provided

to us by clients and revert back to them with our inputs for their

consideration. Manufacturing facilities at our disposal practically

have every machine necessary. Of course, some components such as

glass and acrylic are outsourced.

Are the products produced indigenously or imported from Italy?

Products are produced indigenously as well as imports of critical

components from Italy which we carry in our stocks. This

combination gives us a unique combination of European quality and

technology, Indian prices and lead time.

support more weight without bending or cracking,

plus they can address concerns regarding the

weight of the product when using slat wall panels

for displays.

How much budget should a retailer set aside for

store fixtures?

This would depend on the segment he is in.

Generally, the lifestyle segment is much higher

than supermarket segment. However, we consider

our products as investments rather than cheap

consumables where the retailer has to change them

every few years due to wear and tear, etc. Retailers

select the material based on the cost-effectiveness,

the weight and size of the product being displayed,

and what the store wants to project. Selecting the

right company to manufacture the fixtures is crucial.

So retailers should check out suppliers who have a

good track record, and they should also check out the

work they have done in other stores.

What is your marketing strategy?

To enter newer segments as well as newer formats of existing clients.

CAEM’s expertise lies in providing shelving solutions to

pharmacies. Please elaborate.

In a modern pharmacy, the main fixtures are medication

distribution systems, medicine storage systems and floor supported

counters. Gondolas, slat wall panels, hangers, packaging, glass

displays, shelving, sign holders, tables, risers, wall standards,

brackets, display cases and counters, backroom storage, and cash

counter wall unit are part of a pharmacy’s store fixtures. All of

these fixtures are designed to provide good functionality along

with flexibility.

Free standing fixtures are better suited for storage as they have

ample space and work space, and can be easily adjusted or changed

if the store undergoes renovation or expansion needs. Floor supported

fixtures are good for supporting heavy equipments. Shelves are for

storing and shelving drugs in a very efficient way. All fixtures must

be designed to make a pharmacy store more productive.

a lot of volume has shift ed to Ch ina

as pricing has become a crucial part in

selection of fixtures and event ually

th e vendo r

By Seema Gupta


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