Daiwa Industry, a manufacturer of galvanised steel pipe, hopes its new business of offering ‘instant retail units’ to the buoyant retail, hospitality and self-made-entrepreneur sectors will create a billion-baht business for the group within the next three years.
“This is based on our conservative business target,” managing director Suppakit Ngamchitcharoen said during an interview with reporters yesterday.
Similar to SCG Heim, which manufactures modular housing for assembly at a customer’s premises, Daiwa – which has been in the steel-manufacturing business for 25 years – is introducing a ready-made construction system under its I-Retail business to the retail sector, including coffee shops, food outlets and convenience stores, as well as to resort and hotel operators in Thailand and other Asean countries.
The company has Bangchak Petroleum as its first I-Retail customer, with the pilot Inthanin Garden Coffee Shop – built at the oil giant’s petrol station on Petchakasem 61 road – having been in operation since December.
In anticipation of high demand in the instant-retail-unit market, Daiwa plans to spend about Bt100 million to build a factory, showroom and research and development centre late this year, either in Chon Buri or nearby the site of its steel-pipe factory in Samut Prakan, Suppakit said.
The company is also planning to invest another Bt300 million-400 million to expand the annual production capacity for its galvanised steel pipe and electrical conduits from 40,000-50,000 tonnes to 80,000 tonnes, with completion scheduled for late next year.
The managing director said Daiwa was bucking the trend of the steel sector, which for the most part is struggling, as the company’s sales revenue grew 40 per cent last year, while sales volume surged 100 per cent, thanks to its state-of-the art supply-chain management system that is highly responsive to customer demand.
The group booked overall revenue of nearly Bt1 billion last year.
Daiwa is also undergoing a rebranding and studying a plan to list on the stock exchange, he said, adding, “The next step for Daiwa Industry is to become a brand of innovation and [recognised as] an innovative organisation.”
Suppakit said the Daiwa Modular system offered a complete solution from customised design to building and installing the instant retail unit in a much faster time, while still beating the costs of conventional building systems.
In the case of the Inthanin shop, the company helped Bangchak to shorten the total construction time from the normal four to five months, to just 47 days, he added.
I-Retail modular construction technology allows parallel on-site works and requires only seven to 10 days for assembly and installation, and thus shortens the time spent on the customer’s site, which also means minimising disruptions to ongoing operations – the petrol station in Bangchak’s case – he explained.
He said Daiwa was ready to provide a completed shop that its business clients can just walk into and run.
For Bangchak, it provided everything required by the customer, including items such as air-conditioners, chairs and tables.
Besides corporate clients, the company is also looking to tap business-to-consumer (b2c) market, such as start-ups or young entrepreneurs who want their own shops.
The MD said shops built from Daiwa’s I-Retail modular technology would be different from those constructed from steel containers, since a customer could customise their outlet’s dimensions and space.
Moreover, unlike steel containers, Daiwa’s finished wall is made from EPS (expandable polystyrene) or cement foam, which protects against heat, is recyclable and saves power.