Some people are born to be able to contribute to something larger than themselves. Indisputably, Rupali Chowdhury, Managing Director of Berger Paints Bangladesh Limited is one of them. After joining Berger in 1990, she advanced step by step. Under her strategic leadership, Berger Paints Bangladesh Limited has transformed into the most innovative paint manufacturer in the country.
Accounting professionals all over the world always get baffled with one thing. Do we put painting expenses under operating expenses or capital expenses? Generally, it falls under operating expenses considering the nature of the cost but what if someone sees it the other way?
When we think about paint, usually we consider it to be for decorative purposes. However, at Berger, a leading brand in the paint industry around the world and the largest paint manufacturer in Bangladesh, paints and protective coatings are considered to be the delaying mechanism for replacement time of a fixed asset.
Through the years of operating in Bangladesh, Berger Paints Bangladesh Limited has been identified as the seller of highly sophisticated products to decorate the interior and exterior of a building. Moreover, under the leadership of Rupali Chowdhury, the company has been able to develop a persona of being a caterer for protecting the fixed assets of consumers. Apart from offering decorative value, Paints and Coatings serve a particular functional benefit to the consumers which is protection. Paints and Coatings protect the asset from corrosion, inclement weather leading to dampness, and increases the longevity of the assets. Various industries use many forms of application methods to apply these paints and coating to their products, including the use of sophisticated powder coating systems and other high-end equipment.
Bangladesh being a subtropical monsoon country, experiences heavy rain, hot and humid summers, and foggy winters. As a result, buildings and furniture here in Bangladesh tend to have a shorter life compared to that of other climates. Consequently, Bangladesh sustains a significant loss in GDP. Identifying this inevitable loss, Berger has modified its products to be suitable for the weather of Bangladesh. An estimation suggests that the paint industry has the potential to save Bangladesh from around 2% of GDP loss.
Traditionally the paint industry used to be a manufacturing and trading based industry. However, Berger has been able to transform itself as a service provider for a niche market. For new buildings, it is the construction company that purchases paint and applies it to the building for the first time. Due to the larger scale of work, construction companies have their departments for the painting job. As well as being familiar with paint requirements, these departments might also have the necessary equipment to complete the job, such as a rolling ladder, lifts, scaffolding, etc. However, at the household level, when the owners plan to repaint their houses, they rely on freelance painters. For household painting jobs, homeowners usually rely on the suggestion of the freelance painters for purchasing paints. However, for sophisticated painting jobs, painters require special training on choosing the right materials considering the context. Especially for Hospitals and Schools, paints do not serve only the decorative purpose. So, it should be in paint manufacturers’ interest that people involved in the paint services industry be provided with skill enhancement training by the paint manufacturers.
Freelance painters have been an integral part of the paint industry of Bangladesh. However, there is the scope of improvement in terms of making them aware of the protective functions of paints, eco-friendly paints, the technical know-how for the preparation of painting surfaces and the idea of using different types of products for different parts of the building. Seeing this scope to contribute, Berger has launched a one-stop painting service called Express Painting Service. With the launch of this service, it has transformed its identity from a paint manufacturing company to a service-based company to a particular niche that involves the homeowners who are looking to repaint their houses. This can be a case study example for businesses regarding expansion by opening a new front for selling their products by creating a new market.
Berger has been the pioneer in bringing eco-friendly painting products for homeowners. One of its products, Breathe Easy Emulsion, has Green Label Certification from Singapore Environment Council for eco-friendly attributes. Berger’s eco-friendly products were used in the 7 factories which in turn facilitated these factories to be globally awarded as the green factories by the rule of accord and alliance. To complement its products, Berger Paints Bangladesh Limited has been the initiator in implementing environment-friendly manufacturing facilities. Berger manufacturing plants maintain all environmental compliances. Berger played a pioneering role in installing Effluent Treatment Plant and Incinerator of the global standard at its manufacturing plants in conformity with environment-related regulations.
Berger had set its footprint in Bangladesh in the 50s and set up its first manufacturing plant in 1970. The company has been the pioneer in successfully implementing the auto-tinting system at dealer points. Tinting systems, the automatic way to consistently reproduce thousands of shades of different brands, have revolutionized the painting industry. Berger Paints Bangladesh Limited with its continuous perseverance to bolster its market position in the decorative & protective coating industry has formed partnerships with reputed companies all over the world. Berger has partnerships with ‘Clariant’ for an auto-tinting system, with PPG for automotive coating, with ‘Chugoku’ for marine paints, and with ‘Beckers Group’ for coil coating solution. Some of these partnerships aided in decreasing our dependency on imports benefiting both the consumers & manufacturers alike. Moreover, Berger has also taken initiative to facilitate building material industry through its collaboration with Fosroc chemicals Pvt ltd., one of the leading manufacturers of construction chemicals.
Since the inception of this company, Berger has been a pioneer in taking groundbreaking decisions that shaped the paint industry of Bangladesh. Berger’s innovation-focused process has contributed to the outlook of this industry. According to Rupali Chowdhury, sustainability is more important than profitability. During the reign, the company has been champion in adopting changes in the business environment and replicated her vision to attain sustainability to meet the challenges of upcoming decades.