Featherlite Office Furniture : How to Lead the Indian Office Furniture Sector
Featherlite Office Furniture

The Indian furniture industry has made quite a name for itself in the nation and the world at large, owing to the rich handicraft work, impeccable design mastery and magnificent traditional attributes of art. The meticulous woodwork of India has been the envy of many an artisan community of the world; the exceptional designs, rich, compact, and luxurious trends, and, not in the least, the supreme quality have given elegance to the furniture segment in the traditional as well as modern aspect. India is indeed a land of wonderful and marvelous artistic work of wood.

The modern furniture sector, however, demands more focus on design proficiency, ergonomical efficiency, and a necessary amendment of customer centricity. Our next pick for being one of the best service providers in India is a company that is a delightful mix of traditionally elegant woodwork and modern ergonomic design – the foremost champions of the furniture game in the country, Featherlite Office Furniture.

Incorporated in 1965, Featherlite is one of the leading furniture manufacturing organisations in India today, providing complete office furniture solutions for all segments of market through its strong base of direct and franchisee offices present across 62 locations in India.

Featherlite core expertise lies in manufacturing and marketing extremely innovative and cost-effective customised office furniture such as modular workstations, chairs, partitions, desks, conference tables, educational, laboratory, retail furniture and fixtures.

Featherlite has demonstrated execution of mega and multi-location projects without compromising on requirements of the customers. Powered with the latest machinery and technology, the company produces 40,000 chairs and 12,000 workstations every month which in turn helps them cater to the bulk requirements of office furniture from organizations employing large workforces. Operating from factory space spanning more than 3 lakh sq. feet, the company has over 10,000 esteemed customers pan India including giants like Cognizant, Mercedes, Hindustan Unilever, Caterpillar etc.

Featherlite’s vision statement is built on three pillars – Passion, Innovation and Consistency. Passionate about furniture design which drives innovation, the company creates unique solutions for end customers, who are satisfied through consistency in product quality and customer service.

At Featherlite’s core is an unshakable commitment to the boundless potential of their people – and the products and services it offers represent this. They demonstrate the company’s tireless efforts to innovate, to go beyond its vision and provide you with solutions that exceed expectations, while maintaining their commitment to protecting the environment by following sustainable manufacturing methods.

Featherlite’s products create a sense of freedom, enhance productivity, and increase the level of satisfaction at work, all while remaining cost effective. The team strongly believes that exceptional quality melded with beautiful design has the power to enhance great organizations.

Aspiring to Make a Difference

One of the key contributions of Featherlite in the furniture sector is its expertise in creating customized designs for customers. It tries to address the customer’s requirement from every perspective and ensure that the final product delivers complete satisfaction. With the offices opening up again after the pandemic, office spaces are being re-designed which gives rise to the demand in new furniture designs that follow safety guidelines. This inspired the company to take a more employee-friendly approach with their design. The Featherlite team came up with specially designed screens and separators to create barriers in order to avoid contact among the employees. Creation of such isolated spaces helps to make the workforce feel safe and comfortable in their office workspace. On the other hand, organizations and professionals have also accepted the work-from-home culture as their new normal. This change in work culture led Featherlite to shift its design focus to work-from-home furniture. With the surging demand in this sector, the company not only designed an exclusive work-from-home furniture collection but also launched their new online store ‘featherlitestore.com’.

The Associate Director of Featherlite, Mr. Arune Chellaram, had this to say, “At Featherlite, we are proud followers of the Go Green initiative. This has contributed greatly to reducing the damage caused to the environment from furniture manufacturing units. Our manufacturing units are solar powered, actively practice rainwater harvesting, and are zero carbon footprint producing factories.

Powered with the latest machinery and technology, the company produces 40,000 chairs and 18,000 workstations every month which in turn helps us cater to the bulk requirements of office furniture from organizations employing large workforces.

Last, but not the least: At the crux of Featherlite’s design language is the study of ergonomics. Every chair, every workstation, every table designed has high ergonomic functionality. For the Indian workforce that clocks 48 hours of work per week on an average, it is extremely crucial for them to have ergonomic furniture in the workspace to be able to work for long hours comfortably.

Leading from the front

The management run by the Chellaram family from B takes a dynamic approach towards every business opportunity with an eye for detail. Besides being highly intuitive of changing market trends both leaders also have an in-depth knowledge of latest technologies. The main reason why Featherlite is one of the leading furniture manufacturers today is because of the passion for design innovation. Ideating, innovating, and producing highly efficient products to meet varying customer needs is at the crux of their game plan. At the end of the day, customer satisfaction is the goal for these two prominent personalities. This has led them to make numerous positive contributions towards product design over the years and manufactured various furniture collections that address versatile work needs.

Starting from open plan office settings to work from home furniture collections, the Featherlite furniture collection is more than equipped to address needs of vast number of customers. They also pay close attention to optimizing the internal process from the manufacturing units to administrative teams in order to make sure the company delivers quality products on time every time.

Forward Thinking Mindset

Featherlite was quick to evolve and adapt a holistic marketing strategy which is primarily driven by brand activation plans teamed with a multi-pronged market penetration approach. The brand communication was focused to create awareness about its evolution into an omnichannel retail business which was accessible to all segments of the market through their very own offline and online distribution channels through the country.

With the advent of the ‘new normal’ and work-from-home becoming a societal circumstance, Featherlite was quick to implement go-to-market plans through strategic alliances with tech partners and hardware partners to enable remote working, real-time desking solutions, touch-free technology using IoT while simultaneously providing basic necessities such as ergonomic seating for working and studying from home.

Featherlite’s ‘back to office’ strategies were executed with product innovation and awareness creation of products which were developed to create a safe work environment while adhering to the code of conduct for a post-pandemic workplace. Screens with varied features and purposes that could be retrofitted onto infrastructure, plug and play installations which would create isolated work zones, tech-enabled features which provide real time information of seating and sanitization are all part of the latest offering. Content creation and PR strategies were executed to create awareness of these new ranges.

At the crux of Featherlite’s design language is the study of ergonomics: Every chair, every workstation, every table designed has high ergonomic functionality.

The Challenges

In the initial days, the Featherlite team had some challenges in assembling the right design development team, which they have been able to overcome over the years. Presently they have a full-fledged design development team that is working on innovating better and more efficient ergonomic furniture day in day out.

Another problem the organisation had faced initially was with the efficiency of the production. However, that problem has been completely fixed now as they have expansive manufacturing units in multiple cities producing 40,000 chairs and 12,000 workstations every month.

For Featherlite, the goal from day one has been to be the best and leading office furniture manufacturer. So, in the current scenario they are focusing on competing with foreign furniture brands and manufacturers. As is common knowledge, the average Indian wants the best products at an affordable rate. Keeping this in mind, the company is presently aiming to produce and provide high-end furniture designs at affordable rates.

The Making of a Brand

Featherlite’s design department is at the core of bridging the gap between client expectation and customer satisfaction. The design team is continuously exposed to the latest designs in the furniture industry and constantly educated about the changing market demands. Through rigorous research and development, they can create furniture solutions that meets the customer expectations. The company also organizes frequent outreach programs through webinars with the aim of educating the audience about the importance of ergonomics in the workspace with the help of certified ergonomists as panellists.

The company has also addressed the idea of coming back to offices after the pandemic with various industry leaders. The discussion shed light for the audience to understand the requirements for creating a safe office environment. The design team has worked on innovative designs and created new office furniture solutions that promote employee wellbeing and a contact-less work style. This not only includes special anti-bacterial screens to provide shelter from the spread of pathogens but also includes newly designed workstations rearranged and positioned in a way that every employee is able to feel safe and comfortable in the office. Along with their design expertise, the company has dedicated teams to address customer feedbacks and understand customer needs which is a crucial part of its SOP.

All our new products are showcased to our customers in our experience centres across India, to give them a proper feel of the products. For those who want to experience the products from home we have also enabled a highly interactive 360-degree virtual tour of our experience centre on our website,” added Mr. Chellaram.

To Infinity and Beyond

High-quality products, new design features, ‘make in India’ theme, cost reduction of product- ‘value for money’.

Like every year, the company is planning to create higher quality and efficient furniture designs to cope with customer requirements and expectations. The advent of the pandemic has led to a drastic change in working styles. While most professionals have made work from home their new normal, some organizations are slowly opening up offices. In order to address these needs Featherlite has taken a two-pronged approach.

The Featherlite team came up with an exclusive ‘Work-from-Home Furniture Collection’ that is available on their recent online store www.featherlitestore.com. The store is currently functional in eight different cities across the country and have plans to expand further this year. To address the second requirement of creating safe office spaces for employees to return to workplace they have innovated a special set of furniture solutions. The design thinking for this project was focused on promoting employee wellbeing and abiding standard safety guidelines for the office. This led them to create retro fit furniture designs that can be easily portable and at the same time create a safe working environment. The workstations have been fitted with anti-bacterial screens to eliminate the spread of pathogens and help employees feel comfortable and safe in the office. “This year we are focusing more on the “Make in India” movement and sourcing our raw materials locally to help the local vendors grow. We are also looking at optimising our product pricing to deliver value for money,” concluded Mr Chellaram.

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