SCG Distribution Business, the distribution arm of the Siam Cement Group, is determined to drive sales to meet its target for the year of 52 billion baht amid a downturn in the industry.
The company was maintaining the sales target as a commitment to its parent despite the slowdown in construction and housing, said Kajohndet Sangsuban, the president of SCG Distribution.
Demand in the overall building products market in the first half of this year fell by 5% from the same period last year. Cement demand is off by 8%, roof tiles by 10%, ceramic and sanitaryware products by 8% each, and long-shape steel products by the same amount.
SGG building products sold through its Home Mart chain are on track to achieve sales of 37 billion baht in the first three quarters of this year, so the company needs 15 billion in the fourth quarter to meet its goal.
The company hopes it can lift sales by offering a wider range of services at its Home Mart Max stores. The home solution services cover product selection and design consulting to the construction site building and repair stage for roofing and ceiling systems and bathroom installations. The company plans to gradually add more services for other housing components.
Mr Kajohndet said the Home Mart Max in Nakhon Sawan was the prototype for the new service, which would be expanded to Bangkok this year. Within five years, SCG aims to offer the service at 70 branches. SCG will pay 30% of the cost of a branch upgrade and supply staff, while dealers must pay the rest.
SCG also runs a contractors’ training centre called Nai Chang Dee Academy. In addition, Home Mart has collaborated with other SCG subsidiaries, SCG Cement and SCG Building Materials, to provide a network of recommended contractors to do work for Home Mart store clients.
The company’s Dual Vocational Training Project is another approach used to develop skilled personnel for the 300-branch Home Mart network, with scholarships granted to qualified students.
Mr Kajohndet said the goal was to provide high-quality services to meet the more sophisticated demands of consumers.
"It will also help us provide better service quality, as there have been some improper installations of our products done by less skilled contractors, which had given us a bad image," he said.
He said it was difficult to project the sales increases that might result from the new strategies, but in any case the benefits to the Home Mart image would be good.
Looking ahead, he believes the building-materials industry will pick up next year following the election and the installation of a new government that is expected to resume stalled infrastructure projects.
Also, he said, low interest rates should improve the sentiment of investors and buyers in the property market.