Neki Group is a one-stop solution company for architectural hardware products and systems. Its brands Neki & Kich offer products ranging from high-end door handles and accessories to railing systems with glass. Sohil Mistry, Director Neki India briefs Buildotech on the growing importance of architectural hardware sector in India.
Architectural hardware market scenario in India
Architectural hardware includes functional objects like doorknobs, handles, levers, pulls, latches, locks, railings and glass product fittings among others that we just cannot do without. At the pace with which construction projects are being undertaken across the country, there is a huge market for these products. Consumers are more aware and educated about the importance of hardware in the building and are looking for high quality products. While, commercial clients want durable hardware that can withstand high usage, the homeowner want value for money as their homes are one-time investments. Thus, there is a lot of scope for providers of quality hardware in the country today.
In terms of technical development of the industry, it is shifting from manual labour to machines including raw material testing, superior finishing and improved mechanisms. There does exist the unorganized sector as well which caters to its own clientele but the huge commercial projects like IT complex, banks, hotels and high end residential developments ask for architectural hardware products that are backed by testing and certification.
Company products & technology
Established in 1998, Neki India has been in this segment for almost 17 years and in recent times has seen a boost in the segment due to the rising awareness about the product. As projects are now adopting advanced technology and international designs and trends, to keep in sync, we are also improving the finishes and working mechanisms of the hardware. We are employing technologies like CNC machines and laser cutting for providing superior finish, unheard of till few years back in this industry.
The company has manufacturing facility in Rajkot, Gujarat. It offers two brands that are 100 per cent made in India. Under Neki brand, we provide floor springs, patch fittings, door closers, shower glass fittings, spider fitting, hinges, tower bolt and eye viewer. The Kich brand comprises door hardware accessories, furniture fittings, bathroom accessories and handrail & baluster system. We do offer brass hinges as well but hardware in steel remains the predominant product offering as it has the highest demand in India for both commercial and residential applications.
For all our products, we have improved hardware mechanisms, fixing systems and conduct mechanical cycle tests to avail certification. The material that we use is stainless steel 316 grade, which through advanced processes is given precise surface texture and finish. Recently we got one of our railings tested for wind pressure resistance and obtained a certification. We are the only Indian hardware manufacturer to do so. Also, for our railings and baluster systems that come with glass, we offer clients fixing also. This is because if not fixed properly they can be a safety concern.
Challenges and marketing strategy
The clients still need convincing about using an expensive yet high quality product. This challenge remains the same in case of both architects and the end users. However, mind-sets are changing gradually. Another challenge is the correct installation by the workers. If the product is not properly fixed, it will not be durable enough to last its life cycle as expected or can be unsafe. Therefore, for products like railings we take complete contract consisting of design, manufacture and fixing at site. This ensures quality workmanship and one stop solution for clients.
We are expanding our range within the architectural hardware segment to cater to wider functions. Our marketing strategy focuses on the building industry professionals like architects, designers and construction companies as well as the end users and homeowners. We organize architects meets and attend industry events to reach out to the professionals and to approach the individual clients we have the network of dealers present pan India. Many clients like developers and IT companies directly approach for their project requirements where we not only provide the material but also execute the installation. As the products are completely manufactured in India we are better able to deliver on time and service the client demands.
Some of company’s important projects are Ranchi cricket stadium, IT complexes for TCS and HCL, residential complexes by Lodha Developers and Kalpataru, Retail projects like Marks & Spencer showrooms and showroom for Audi. Other projects include bungalows scheme, banks, hotels, hospitals etc. all over India. We export our products as well.
The eco-friendly initiative of the company
Neki India office at Rajkot is the only green building in the architectural hardware industry and the first in the entire Saurashtra. Also, our manufacturing facility operates on IGBC norms. All Kich products are made of stainless steel that is recycled and is recyclable. The recycled content in the raw material that is used is at least 35%, which is post-consumer recycled content. The Kich products can earn up to four LEED points for a green building project.