Thursday, August 28, 2008

Development of the Pantry cupboard Industry in Sri Lanka

Randika Jayasinghe

The pantry cupboard industry has become a new trend in the Sri Lankan society. It is one of the most requested features in many of the middle and high income homes today. The pantry cupboard industry can be seen as a small scale industry such as self-employed carpenters and medium scale and large scale such as export oriented companies such as Damro and Singer. Works of self-employed carpenters are very popular among individual households and ready-made pantry shelves are popular in apartments and hotels.

Teak, Nadun, Jak and Mahogany are some of the widely accepted timber for pantry cupboards by local carpenters because these species have a good texture and an appearance. However due to high price and lack of availability of those species, Pine wood and Rubber wood is highly used for pantry cupboards in the local market today. Wood preservation and seasoning techniques should be carried out for these species in order to increase the quality of the final products.
There is a good market for wooden pantry cupboards locally and internationally compared to metal and plastics. Also there is a good demand for pantry cupboards in the domestic sector (for houses, apartments etc.) and in the commercial sector. (Hotels, Restaurants etc.) Availability of suitable timber species in Sri Lanka, availability of workers, high price that could be obtained for the work and high demand from customers due to maximum utilization of space compared to cupboards, drawers are some of the opportunities of the industry.

Fewer facilities for most small scale carpenters and craftsmen, failure to create new designs and develop new products, uses of out dated machinery are some of the drawbacks of the industry. However there is a growing demand for pantry cupboards in all levels of the society and a good demand for new products and designs. Therefore it is important to improve the product quality to meet the customer requirements.

A proper development plan should be adopted for the improvement of the industry. Introducing innovative designs, use of different accessories and colour schemes to capture the customer’s heart, introducing new market places and improving advertising and promotion about the products are some of the steps that should be carried out. Use of alternative low priced timber species instead of high priced timber, reduction of import duties on accessories and fittings, introducing new loan schemes for small and medium scale industries and introducing attractive prices for different designs and new products are also important in regulating the price of the products.

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