‘Homag India racing to 5X growth’

In an interview with WoodNews, Homag India Country Head and Managing Director, Venkataramana Gorti, explains his plans to expand the company’s product portfolio, some of them exclusively manufactured in India for the domestic and export markets. The technology supplier plans to grow 5X in the next 5 years, beginning 2023. Excerpts:

While Homag leads in panel processing solutions, it also has a clear road-map to grow in the solid-wood business space.

It’s been 5 years since you took over reins of Homag India. What trends do you see in the furniture manufacturing industry in the country?

It is very heartening that overall our furniture industry continues to grow at a CAGR of almost 12%. What is more, it is projected to grow at the same rate till the year 2028! This growth is a  result of the demand upsides in the home, hospitality, commercial and office projects, as well as educational institutes and the retail industry.

Some of the trends which are very evident are that furniture manufacturers are challenged by innovative ideas of architects and interior designers in a  big way.

Second, the ‘need’ for ‘business enablers’ is being translated more and more into investing in digital products and software to help in real-time information flow to facilitate decision-making in the manufacturing process.

There is also a  marked trend to be agile and quality-conscious.  This is a major shift in the furniture manufacturing sector – it will help in the acquisition of exports markets for Indians.

What is the scale of the Indian furniture manufacturing ecosystem like?

The current estimate of our Indian furniture market is about US$16 billion and is estimated to reach US$27 billion by the year 2028.  Imports still play a  major role in meeting the domestic demand, and our exports are still very less in comparison.

Homag is part of the ‘Make in India’ mission to make our industrial sector more globally competitive. How about ‘make locally, supply globally’?

Homag India continues to be a  key cog in our global strategy roadmap.  We are in the midst of a very exciting journey of enhancing our product portfolio out of our Bengaluru facility, not only to meet the domestic needs but to serve our international market demands in the near future.   We are already supporting our global requirements through our ‘Global Sourcing (purchasing)’ organisation, based in Bengaluru.

What are your plans to introduce and promote solid wood processing technology in India?

We are planning to get into the solid wood processing machines from this year onwards, to complement our panel processing solutions with straight-line rip saws, four-side planer and moulders, single-head spindle moulders, four-side moulders, and entry-level sanding machines under our Kentwood/ Ironwood product ranges.

We would be introducing five machines.   We closed our first order already in 2024 for one of the machines, and are looking forward to more of them in the future.

Your Group partners Weinmann, Kallesoe and System TM are experts in their respective fields. How does Homag orchestrate their operations in India?

Let me take this opportunity to talk about this entire range of solutions we provide globally.  The solid wood sector of Homag encompasses a comprehensive range of solutions and services tailored to support the entire process chain in solid wood processing.

Together with the experts Weinmann, System TM and Kallesoe, Homag offers the industry unique and highly competent expertise in the field of solid wood. This results in holistic system solutions – from dry boards and wood optimisation through to the finished building.

The benefits of Homag’s solid wood solutions are multi-faceted. Firstly, they provide precision, efficiency and productivity improvements throughout the chain of solid wood processing. This includes optimised cutting, profiling, planning, drilling, sanding and finishing, resulting in high-quality end products and reduced waste.

Additionally, the integration of software solutions and control systems streamlines work flows and maximises production efficiency. As you can see (read box) we have complete, end-to-end solutions for the entire timber construction industry needs. We are confident that we will soon have customers in India too.



Are there plans to extend the range of your solutions for woodworking?

We would also be more focused on giving furniture and wood finishing solutions to customers in India – we had a few customers in the past. We have entire finishing solutions, starting from entry and mid-level sanding machines from our Ironwood range.

Then we have the Heesemann range for high-end applications available with us for the India market. We have best-in-class entire paint solutions through our Italian partner, Makor. We are proud to share that recently we closed an order for a   complete Makor line, their Excellent series machine, which is only the fourth machine of its kind in the world!

Our strength would be that our Homag LCS technicians are well-trained in supporting the customers for all these finishing lines.

Which sectors of Indian woodworking are growing best and why?

We are seeing that the kitchen and cabinetry market is growing the fastest.   The growth is driven by new requirements. We can see a clear trend of clients wanting to keep renovating or reinventing every few years, which is also adding up to the growth.

What sectors are still lagging but have promising business potential?

One of the sectors in India which is still not growing much, but has huge potential, is the wooden flooring sector. Also, we might see the wooden housing and construction sector picking up in the coming years in India.

What is the state of the organised versus the unorganised sectors in furniture manufacturing?

As we all are aware, the majority of the furniture manufacturing industry in India still qualifies as ‘unorganised’. There is a slow but definitive shift happening from unorganised to organised sector, but the pace has to increase a lot to really reap the benefits.

Is there better awareness among potential investors, of business opportunities in furniture manufacturing?

Yes, definitely. This is vindicated by the number of professional entrepreneurs who are getting into this industry. We are also seeing that bigger corporates are exploring this industry as well. We also have investors from outside India  who are getting interested.

Homag is known for its technology and software solutions. Can you give more us insight on it?

Regarding digital solutions in the woodworking (furniture) industry, Homag can cover the whole process chain from web shops and showrooms down to production (data) and machinery. To mention a few of our solutions, Homag offers Homag iX/ SmartWOP CAD/CAM system solutions which provide reliable and complete production data to the customer.

•        Homag iX is one of the most sophisticated CAD/CAM systems with the most complete data model suits for make to stock (prototyping) and BS1 (bespoke furniture). It is a great tool for engineering your products, data generator for production – cut data, CNC data, reports, drawings and more.

•        SmartWOP is an entry-level CAD/CAM system with an outstanding price-to-feature ratio. It is easy to use, and a perfect complement of the existing woodWOP.

•        PulseCloud is a production monitoring solution that collects all available data from your machines in the shop floor, visualises the performance and shows trends, compares your machines with ‘best-in-class performance’, helps to find your potential for improvements.

          You can see your machine performance on your mobile phone, dashboards on the shop floor for the production team, manage machine maintenance, analyse your batch size, material mix and more.

•        The MES (manufacturing execution solution) from Homag manages the shop floor for all levels. You can start with our entry-level, cloud-based solution, ‘Production Manager’, and for the next level we can give our factory management system (FMS).

•        We also have our high-end solution for Industry Controller MES, which can manage automatic lines, AGV and more.

•        Digital Apps on our Tapio platform mark your first steps into digital manufacturing by using our Production Manager (mini-MES), IntelliDivide (cutting and nesting optimisation), Production Assist (edge tape management, boards and offcut management), Service Board and more.

All Apps are subscription based; some apps are free of cost in the basic version, so our customer can gain digital experience with no risk and find the digital concept for their business.

Homag can provide full end-to-end solutions including point of sales (web shop, showroom) with latest technology. Our partner, Coohom, provides the latest technology to plan rooms, apartments and even complete houses. You can have 4K and 8K renderings, 360° 3D panorama, all with direct connection to the production via Homag iX.

The buzz word ‘Industry 4.0’ has been on all minds for a decade. For some of our customers it is already state-of-the-art. For others there is still potential to get benefits of the ‘Industry 4.0’ revolution. Homag and Schuler Consulting can bring you on that level.

What is coming next? AI-driven manufacturing! But there is no way to step into that new world of artificial intelligence without having your ‘Industry 4.0’ already fixed.



Where does the domestic demand for new machinery, upgrades and adoption of automation and software stand?

I would say that this is very encouraging and we can clearly see an increasing demand with reference to automation and mechanisation by our customers. Also, there is far greater appreciation of business enablers (digital products and software) now as businesses seek real-time information and data   to help them take on-time decisions.

If you had one piece each of advice and caution, or encouragement and motivation for furniture manufacturers, what would it be?

The industry In India is growing at a faster clip than most other countries, which is great news! We have to be more hungry and ambitious, reduce imports in a big way by improving our quality, efficiency and competitiveness. This will also help us to be globally competitive.

Homag encourages visitors to take advantage of its ‘Experience Centre’ on the new factory premises.



Comment here