One of the leading manufacturers of aluminium products in the country AltechAluminium has been in the market for over 18 years. It plays a major role in producing and supplying the aluminium based products in the country.
Fintech talked to Al Amin Murshed, the Deputy Managing Director of Kai-Altech Group to learn more about the company and the sector.
FINTECH: When was AltechAluminium founded? Give us a brief overview about the company and your products please.
Kai Bangladesh Aluminium was launched in 1997 and AltechAluminium industry in 2000. Before that “Bangladesh Thai Aluminium” was only company in the market. Later with in six to twelve months some other companies came in the market.
Since we started our operation, we have been producing for all the major sectors in Bangladesh where aluminium is needed, like in real estate, building materials, private and commercial buildings, furniture, automobile and so on.
FINTECH: In your website Kai Bangladesh Aluminium and AlttechAluminium are listed separately? Are there two companies?
Initially AltechAluminium was a separate company. After four years the board decided to merge them. But operation is still separate with two having different products, factories and staffs. Only at the management level works together. The factories are at different locations. Kai is in Tongi and Altech is in Gazipur.
FINTECH: How big is the aluminium market and do you know what is your market share?
The market is growing because of increasing development. The more buildings are being built, the more work we have. But, of course, from a broader perspective, as a third world country we haven’t developed much. More work needs to be done in infrastructure obviously.
You can’t use wood like before. Aluminium serves that role. There are about 8-9 factories and these are fulfilling the demands. But the market is actually saturated at this moment. There is more supply than demand. That’s according to data we have.
FINTECH: Tell us a little bit about your production process.
Just like everywhere in the world we do product profile and produce from raw materials. All the stages, from importing raw materials to factory production are done by us.
Initially we had a lot of foreigners working here. We needed to rely on them for expertise. But now everyone from main technicians to engineers are local employees, who are properly trained and have the requisite skills. We have a small number of foreign employees still however.
FINTECH: How much of your manufacturing process is automated?
We have as much automation as needed. All of the process is in-house. In mould making we have automated process, but some parts of mould making required manual work.
In the main production work about 80 percent of our work is automated. The rest 20 percent is done manually according to this type of Factory nature.
FINTECH: Which sector is the biggest user of aluminium products?
Our target market is the building material sector and the developer sector. In short the construction sector is our main area.
FINTECH: Does the stagnation in the real estate market affect you?
Naturally we suffer losses from this. Our products are purchased by very high quality builders who don’t compromise about quality. But outside of the developer market, there are demands in the district level, where people need aluminium for building windows and doors. That’s a good thing for us.
FINTECH: How helpful is the banking sector? Is thedouble digits interest rates a big problem?
In our sector you do need support from banks. So, the high interest rates tricked down to the production and ultimately affect product pricing. This ultimately affects the consumer or the end user. That’s why when I get a lower interest rate I can transfer that onto the product pricing, creating better priced products. Ultimately though, we have to think about the profit margin. If banks help that helps the people.
FINTECH: Is business intelligence important in your sector? How do you collect data?
This is a technical sector. If you are weak technically then you will be behind. The reason why it’s so important is because it’s not just durability. Precision matters a whole lot in this business. If a product is, say, a few millimeters larger or smaller it might not fit. So, the technical side is important and we get feedback from our customers about this matter. That is an important data.
As for other data, you can carry out different surveys. So, the kind of data you need depends on your purpose. Do you want to increase your market share or you want to expand generally – that kinds of considerations. Where we need data most is at the architect-engineering level. Because of the nature of data collection and nature of the market, you can’t really do anything beyond that. This is obviously an area where more awareness is needed, because this helps us make the business better and more appropriately focused.
FINTECH: What’s ahead for Kai &Altech?
We have been in the market for 20 years now, and we feel that we are serving the people with the best of our abilities. Our architect-engineers love what they do here. There is so much room for creativity and innovation. I think we are at the top. All sorts of modern products that are produced across the world, we are able to produce them here in our factory.
Moreover, our products evolved so much. We are not doing the same things we did ten years ago. We adopt, we invest and get prepared to serve the new needs. Our target is to provide the choice to our customer of getting any world class product locally. We were the first to bring wooden-profile products, which are exactly like wood cosmetically. We have a brand called EDF, under which we produce exclusive products like double glazing or heavy curtain – things that are available in the developed countries. We are getting good responses for them as well. We are advancing with Bangladesh and we are helping Bangladesh to make progress.