Cheats quit, only honest businesses survive!

By Amit Jindal

A.K. Lumbers has been serving the timber requirements of domestic and international market with imported woods species from across the world for more than 60 years. We have been consistently winning awards for our excellence in the field of exports from the Chemical & Allied Product Export Promotion Council.

We supply forest and plantation teak from Myanmar and India; tropical and European hardwoods; European softwoods and film-face plywood; solid wood for garden furniture, decking and flooring; solid wood and moulded doors; as well as all marine-grade commercial plywood.

After lifting of the Covid-19 lockdown, we are seeing a hefty increase in orders as our clients need raw material and quality products to complete projects that are already delayed.

So far as looking after our workers and staff is concerned, we see that spreading awareness about the contagion is the best way. Of course, we follow all safety protocols at work and elsewhere; permit work from home if an employee reports sick; and insist on medical insurance cover to all our employees.

One unexpected outcome of this pandemic is that many cheaters in this industry have shut shop in the lockdown and have been exposed as frauds. Only good and honest businesses have stayed back to service our customers!

As a responsible member of the All-India Timber Merchants’ and Importers’ Association, we have already started a Covid fund, are helping our industry peers with stock management, and have opened a debtor centre to help our member in release of old payments.

Post-lockdown, demand for raw material has increased drastically; but we need to be alert to issues of product quality. The India market always needs good quality material, competitive price, with best finish. So we have to work continuously towards achieving these goals.

Our clients are already back in action and our order lists are full! Yes, capital is a big challenge. Banks don’t sanction long-term loans if all is mortgaged already, so there are no extra funds. Here, goodwill may work.

Machinery can be obtained on credit and one must pay the suppliers regularly. In our line of business I can see increased use of technology and eco-friendly practices. Labour welfare and training are the need of the hour.

Industry associations should work with the government to secure low-cost financing and low rate of electricity to compete on pricing with Chinese suppliers. We have to be vocal for local – this is a good opportunity to achieve ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’!

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