In a move unprecedented in India’s industrial history, ceramic exporters from Morbi will soon come up with a common brand that will follow standardised quality parameters. This will not only eliminate competition among local players to grab overseas orders, which forces them to compromise on margins, but also enable them to improve quality and fetch better margins.
In 2016-17, Morbi, the largest ceramic manufacturing hub of India, had about 650 ceramic producers, who recorded a turnover of about Rs28,500 crore and exports worth Rs6,200 crore.
Experts say when there are multiple brands, players, especially the smaller ones, are unable to fetch premium as well as volumes in overseas markets. Quality control, too, becomes a problem, which eventually hurts individual brands, putting at stake the reputation Morbi has been trying to build at the global level.
“Quality issues affect repeat orders. We cannot afford to compromise on the reputation. We plan to have an agency dedicated to lay down quality standards and ensure these are met. A complaint regarding quality of product will be dealt through a single window,” said KG Kundariya, president of Morbi Ceramics Association - Vitrified Tiles Division.
The association also plans to rate exporters and common pooling of export orders. Things are expected to be finalised in about two months. In the longer run, this will reduce marketing expenses as well, Kundariya added.
However, experts have a word of caution. Sanjay Chakraborty, chief communication adviser at Ahmedabad-based EssKsee Consultancy, suggested the move should not elbow out small manufacturers and the systems and processes should be transparent to provide a level-playing field to all exporters not withstanding their size.