We've redesigned global bestseller for today's workplace
_A Monitor Report 16 Jan, 2019 | 327 Views | -+
Dhaka : The way we work has changed as have our work places. Markets have become global. Employees have become mobile. Business issues are more complex and require cross-functional teamwork. Yet workers and information are often separated by time zones, making collaboration a challenge.
Friends Mizanur Rahman, Managing Partner and Maksu-dur Rahman, Partner and Business Head of SteelCase in Bangladesh are from different backgrounds said this while talking to The Bangladesh Monitor. Both had exposure to brands and international brand companies, import trading.
"The idea for furniture business came from senior architects. I decided to start big with world reputed international furniture producer and exporter," said Maksudur, who was an advertising company executive for long years.
"We have put together our experience into corporate lifestyle comfort in daily working space, which has been a long demand among working class executives," said Mizanur.
"We have redesigned and re-engineered SteelCase, a global bestseller of US origin, to excel in mobility in today's workplace," he said.
The duo negotiated very hard and was able to strike a long-term deal with SteelCase. Finally, SteelCase regional heads in New Delhi and Hong Kong agreed, after tough negotiations.
Mizan's father was one of the pioneers in import trade in early 60s in Khatunganj, Chattogram. While being a student of college, he was also learning business from his father. "In course of time, I decided to diversify my business and I'm now promoting an international brand," he said.
The US parent company produces exclusive office furniture products, hospital and school furniture. Only recently they have moved into home furniture.
In US, SteelCase is the number one market leader, in Europe the brand is second. Now they are rapidly expanding in Asia and South America and have made a dent in furniture business in this region.
"Now we sell to customers, whether they want products for office, school, hospital or home furniture," said Maksudur.
SteelCase, with an annual turnover of US$3.1 billion (FY18) leads the way in creating great experiences by offering a range of architecture, furniture and technology products and services designed to help people reach their full potential.
The duo has made considerably good business in the last two years. This year they hope to make US$1million in business in Bangladesh. The partners believe that in five years period they will make US$3.5 million business here.
SteelCase has furnished multinationals and corporates like Huawei, Aramco, Siemens, HSBC, Microsoft and medium-size projects with local corporate offices like Akij Group, Prime Bank and others.
They said, one the biggest challenges are that the government imposes 130 per cent import duty on any chair with revolving wheels, whereas in India the duty is 22 per cent. The tax in India is reimbursable if used in office, school and hospitals. Literally the customer does not pay anything for furniture there.
"Perhaps the government should not consider office solution furniture items as luxury products," concluded Maksud.