A slowdown is the biggest teacher

Caple Industrial Solutions will end up around 80% YOY of 19-20. We were one of the few companies to offer demo machines and slow-moving articles at a discount.

With this we could rotate our inventory, achieve our purchase targets, improve our cash flow and got a chance to negotiate better and achieve our target purchase.

We have learnt to close deals online, save travel costs, save time – and WHF (work from home) is here to stay forever. Our decisions are always data-backed and we are investing further in artificial intelligence.

The machines and tools industry is not an impulse-buying market, but a need-based one. We are in touch with our customers and the industry. We help them with solutions for the needs that are obvious or hidden.

Trade fairs

As for virtual trade shows, Festool and SCM did one of the best live shows. Unfortunately, the response in India was weak as we were under lockdown during that period.

But virtual trade fairs cannot replace traditional fairs. That said we are happy to do one show in two years; because there cannot be many innovations year-on-year.

Our participation in IndiaWood and DelhiWood is a good branding exercise. As we play in the premium segment, our game is not during exhibitions but post exhibitions.

However, I would like to avoid taking any risk of exhibition expenses where the response and result are a question mark.

As and when our shows get underway, visitors can expect from Caple its hallmark products and services, which include solutions, education, integration, optimisation, health and safety, effectiveness and efficiency, financial solutions, value for money and good returns on investment.

Future plans

My father taught me that a slowdown is the biggest teacher. And I believe that to take a big leap we need to take a few steps back. In slow markets you are better organised, more analytical, less rash, you identify and cut down on avoidable expenses and are more caring and humble to your customers.

With these measures we could correct so many small mistakes and, in the process, now we are well prepared to scale up. We are moving from SAP to Zoho-One, integrated with Zoho commerce.

From April this year we will increase our portfolio, and bring in quality consumables on Caple. We have a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) – to grow our bottom line not by 20% YOY but by 10x by 2025.

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