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Canadian Wood takes on the new norm

Pranesh Chibber, Country Director, Canadian Wood, has been engaged with the wood working industry, spreading awareness, providing technical support, hand holding and connecting them with suppliers and buyers. Much of this has shifted to online venues, he says, due to Covid-19. “The lockdown has also given us time to review and strategize. People will not be readily accepting of people coming into their offices or factories, so we will rely more on audio and video calls, video conferencing, delivering the program and messaging through webinars and virtual exhibitions. Product launches will take place virtually and not on a physical venue, everything will happen over the internet.”

Taking India’s internet penetration into account and the general adaptability to new tech, Chibber says, “I am an optimist on this. People have no choice but to bring about significant change on how they do business, engage with their customers, clients, suppliers.”

Chibber predicts that the ‘go local’ sentiment will be good for business. He says, “Go local means to manufacture in India. Wood is just a raw material which the factories will need to manufacture here. There is a huge potential to export these finished products to the international market.” Comparing India’s wood working industry internationally, Chibber feels that the segment has a long way to go. He adds, “Our wood working industry, which has been protected for a long time for the small scale, doesn’t have a single factory of the scale that they have even in a small country like Vietnam. They are ahead of us in terms of the large factories and exports taking place all over the world from that country. Forget about competing with China, I think we should now look at competing with Vietnam and become at least as efficient and as big as Vietnam is in furniture exports. This is probably what the government is talking about.”

Chibber clarifies that he is referring to a report that came out end of May which says that the government is looking at setting up three hubs for manufacturing of furniture in India. He says, “If that comes up and they pump the billions of dollars they are talking about into the furniture industry in India to setup these hubs quickly, instead of having a fall of 20 per cent drop we can stick to the same levels as earlier. We have a demographic advantage and go local I think will help companies like us who promote wood import into India.”