Every successful commercial entity has two essential ingredients – A combination of entrepreneurship and business acumen. One of them is a risk-taking propensity and the other is a problem-solving capability. Thus, the two complement one another when working in a positive spiral. By this logic, every successful venture balances its creation and sustenance periods. The Spacewood story was no different.
It began with 2 leaders who complemented each other by exchanging roles with changing times so as to remain concurrent with changing business landscapes and challenges. Thus, both entrepreneurship and business acumen pushed Spacewood into a positive spiral that accelerated growth towards a sustainable size.
The first movement towards a phased evolution came with the addition of Spacewood Office Solutions (SOS) as a stabilizing force to the mix of home furniture and kitchens. Both of which were integrated behind by stable component manufacturing that was painstaking built through the nineties and the first decade of this century. This completed the cycle from component manufacture to product offerings to branded sale in the furniture firmament. SOS then provided the necessary bulwark for a stable trinity in the furniture segment catering to a wide range of customers from Schools to Hotels to Offices – any place that had a need for engineered solution in wood in terms of their desking and seating requirements.
Cut to today, Spacewood is the largest engineered wood manufacturer in India with a joint venture to boot. Sumitomo Forestry, Japan has joined hands for supplying “Doors”, which now becomes the fourth segment added to the erstwhile product portfolio of kitchens, wardrobes, and beds. The doors are poised to grow along with the real estate market and provide an added mitigation to risks that the furniture business is exposed, more in a manner of a risk hedge.
Going forward the markets are portending a bright future. Arrivals of innovation in the fields of raw materials with pelletized wood-like composites allowing for extrusions rather than woodworking to product innovations from global players like IKEA, the future is both exciting and challenging. Delving a bit more into the phenomenon called IKEA and the evocative response it generates on the business landscape, it would be like ‘an ostrich with its head in the ground’ to say that this major development will not affect the future of Spacewood. Similarly, it would also be naive to think that Spacewood is not preparing for this foreseen development.
So, let’s do some crystal ball gazing here to see what might be done! It is possible that counter-intuitively, IKEA may just enlarge the pie of the furniture market and educate the customer on engineered wood, relieving Spacewood of that burden! After all, if the market leader worldwide declares that engineered wood is the way to go, then who is Spacewood to argue!
On the cost front, there will be a neck to neck race where IKEA’s purchasing arbitrage might closely match Spacewood’s manufacturing arbitrage – Impact on business is sure but marginal.
Reach wise, India is not Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Mumbai! So, here Spacewood has some elbow room to leverage the ‘nudge’ coefficient at least in the initial years.
Finally, India is a country of colors – the yellow and blue monotones of IKEA may just be a little staid for a country that revels during Holi in every conceivable shade of VIBGYOR. The man on the street in India is still looking for signature styles that suit his personality – his furniture choice might strain the global giant.
Spacewood, then moves ahead into wood space with the same anticipation and enthusiasm that saw it emerge in the furniture business as an entity to be reckoned with.While professionals look upon excitement and challenge as uncertainty, the entrepreneur-businessman duo looks upon it as a fuel for hunger – A hunger for growth and movement in the upward spiral of process improvements; an opportunity to leap-frog into the next dimension of business evolution.