16 October 2019

Table of Contents for Mat-Vantage





Interaction-Joydeep Mukherjee, CEO, H&R Johnson (India) & ED< Prism Cement

Our collections are a pleasing blend of aesthetics, functionality and durability

Established in India since 1958, H&R Johnson is a young and vibrant brand which constantly reinvents itself through innovations. The company provides tiling solutions for almost all technical, functional, aesthetic requirements and very specific applications. JOYDEEP MUKHERJEE, CEO, H&R JOHNSON (INDIA) & ED, PRISM CEMENT LTD spoke to PANJAMI ANAND about the company’s innovative solutions.

 

Tell us about the diverse categories of tiles manufactured by your company and the areas in which they are applied?

Over the last 6 decades H&R Johnson has pioneered most of the innovations in ceramic products thereby creating new categories like industrial application tiles, swimming pool tiles, anti-skid tiles for bathroom floor, stain-free tiles and germ-free tiles.

 

Tiles are meant for installation either on wall or floor surface. Durability for all applications remains a basic requirement. The size of individual tiles, type of tile body, type of surface effects, degree of light reflection from the tiled surface, degree of skid-resistance, suitability for different environmental and usage conditions further create new sub-categories. At H&R Johnson, tiling solutions are provided for almost all technical, functional and aesthetic requirements that include tiles for very specific applications like anti-static tiles for server room floor application.

 

With over 20 sizes, 9 different levels of tile thickness and 15 surface finishes to suite functional and aesthetics requirement, H&R Johnson provides Johnson tiles under three verticals – Johnson Marbonite, Johnson Porselano and Johnson Endura. Put together we offer more than 30 categories in tiling solutions for residential interiors and exteriors, offices & malls, industrial and landscaping requirements.

 

Not just limiting ourselves to tiles, at H&R Johnson, we have extended our offerings and today enjoy the reputation of being the only entity in India to offer end-to-end solutions of tiles, sanitaryware, bath fittings and kitchens. Under its flagship brand, Johnson, the company offers glazed wall and floor tiles, bath products, kitchens and engineered marble and quartz.

 

 

Give us an understanding of the vitrified tiles you manufacture, their market reach and specific material advantages over marble and granite tiles?

Vitrified tiles have become very popular in India over the last 15 Years. These command a premium over other ceramic tiles mainly due to the higher cost of production and water resistance as compared to other ceramic tiles. However, there are good products which are not in vitrified body but are of high cost. It is not just the cost of tile body that decides the cost and thus the price. In Indian climatic conditions, for most of the applications, vitrification is not required. When you need a product however which has to be polished like granite or other natural stones, vitrification comes as a pre-condition to get the desired strength, before it is put under the polishing machine.

 

Johnson’s Marbonite enjoys No.1 status in vitrified tiles category. In fact, Johnson Marbonite is the first generic brand in this category. These present some great advantages over marble and granite. Let us take the example of Italian marbles specifically. It is too soft, can develop internal cracks, needs re-polishing, has very low stain resistance and much higher percentage of wastage during application which are its disadvantages. We have the technology and equipments by which replicating the aesthetics of natural stones as well as other favoured elements like wood is imparted to vitrified tiles. Johnson Porselano’s  ‘GermFree Porcelain slabs and splits’ presents multiple flooring options along with other advantages like – hygiene (anti-microbial property) and cleanliness (stain-free) and robustness.

 

 

With regard to cost efficiency and exclusivity how competent are your products when juxtaposed with its counterparts in the market? What is the key USP of your company in a market where there are numerous rudimentary manufacturers?

For a right and good product, customer is ready to pay a premium. For exclusive products, we don’t mind investing in technology, design and R&D. The main USP that we have created for our value added products is the implementation of the new product philosophy. We do not treat ‘tile’ in isolation. Architectural and interior designing are continuously evolving. ‘Tile’ has to conform, support and complement these styles and design elements alongside meeting the functional requirement. Our emphasis on researching interior designing and architectural practices, trends and specially the existing gaps is the guiding force behind creating designer friendly tiling themes which also carry a character of consistency and quality in our offering. We keep our product portfolio small and power pack it with the design and functional elements that brings beautiful solutions to the customer project and cut the clutter out.

 

 

How are you guided with respect to the design trends in the market, innovation and future strategy for your products?

The tile market place in India is cluttered with lookalike and run of the mill products. Trends in interior design are set by the architects and interior designers, as the end product is the ambience and not the tile. Design leadership is achieved by focussing on the final ambience and not just the product. Multiple tiles put together, create a wall or floor surface and these surfaces have to complement the overall interior theme to produce the desired aura in the space under consideration. We have a multi-disciplinary team leading our product innovations. Ceramic engineers, technology experts, interior designers and market research are the four main disciplines. The future strategy is to take these marvellous tiling themes closer to the customers and consultants and continuous evolution of products based on interior design trends, analysing existing gaps and exploiting opportunities offered by new technologies.

 

 

Briefly tell us about the location, investment and capacity of your manufacturing facilities and the technologies employed by your company. Is the product manufacturing process for products in India the same as procedures followed by Johnson Tiles manufacturing units abroad?

 

In ceramic/vitrified tiles, H&R Johnson along with its joint ventures and subsidiaries have a capacity of over 58 million m2 per annum spread across 10 manufacturing plants across the country.  The manufacturing facilities are located in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Pondicherry and Andhra Pradesh. H&R Johnson also has its own plants for bathroom CP fitting products at Himachal Pradesh & J&K.

 

The manufacturing process and almost all the technologies to produce various categories we possess are the same as is available internationally. Depending upon the local market trends and gaps, only the final product in terms of size and other parameters differ. In fact, we are complementing the range abroad by supplying some of the products which are not manufactured there.

 

 

Could you talk of the focus and emphasis Johnson places on R&D? What are the latest developments with respect to design, the new products you intend to launch and the investments earmarked by your company?

Our Industrial Products and Natural Resources Division (IPNR) is Johnson’s R&D arm. The laboratory at Pen (Maharashtra) was the first to get recognition by Department of Industrial & Scientific Research, Govt. of India, in the field of ceramic engineering. I am pleased to mention that one of the ceramic R&D initiatives lead us to develop a solution to address the nuclear waste and we are associating with BARC for providing specific ceramic materials for this purpose. Our R&D efforts have brought many firsts to India’s ceramics industry. Antimicrobial (germ-free), stain resistance (stain-free), soluble salt technology in vitrified tiles and anti-static tiles are some of the examples. There are more R&D projects under way.

 

We are soon launching a new range of wall application tiling concepts under the Johnson brand as “CARE” series. This portfolio would bring lots of new USPs apart from the trend & gap based design elements. . Hygiene, cleanliness, aesthetics with desired robustness is being offered in this new range along with eco-friendly propositions that addresses concerns of the environment. Apart from these, some very innovative material-design mix options are also on the anvil.




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