In a conversation, Subrata Paul, Head Vehicle Refinish at Berger Paints Bangladesh Limited divulges the vision of Berger PPG Auto Refinish Training Center, the importance of innovation in business and the future of the industry in the post-pandemic world.

BERGER IS OF THE MOST TRUSTED BRANDS IN BANGLADESH. HOW CRUCIAL HAS THE ROLE OF INNOVATION BEEN BEHIND THE COMPANY’S SUCCESS?

Innovation is essential for a company’s survival. Its absence has been fatal for some of the biggest companies in the world. In the contemporary market, the customer’s motivation and preference are ever-evolving. It is essential in understanding and delivering products and services according to their demand. Concurrently, it enables companies to become future proof and strategise their investment accordingly.

Subrata Paul,
Head Vehicle Refinish at Berger Paints Bangladesh Limited

Innovation has been pivotal to Berger’s success and the focal point of the company’s growth strategy. Berger has prioritized innovation in every aspect of development, including its product design, infrastructural development, and technology.
Being the market leader, Berger continuously focuses on market transformation from conventional to new. Over the years, the company has contributed significantly to take the paint sector to new heights in Bangladesh. Berger will continue this effort and will keep making tectonic shifts in the industry in the coming years.

CAN YOU PLEASE SHARE DETAILS ON BERGER’S R&D INFRASTRUCTURE IN BANGLADESH?

R&D is at the heart of an innovative entity. Companies across the globe have become more accommodating towards new technologies. Similarly, Berger is proactive in acquiring and accommodating the latest technologies that preserve our quality and competence.
Our R&D facility in Bangladesh is fully equipped with the latest painting system covered in Bangladesh. Our product range is a testament to our strong R&D department. From Wood Coating, Adhesive, Powder Coating, Printing Ink, Industrial to Marine paints, the diversification has been facilitated by our remarkable R&D department. We have the best R&D infrastructure in Bangladesh, which is set for expansion in the coming years.

HOW WILL THE AUTO REFINISH FACILITY ENHANCE THE EXPERIENCE OF VEHICLE OWNERS?

Firstly, I would like to explicate on auto refinish. Bangladesh’s paint industry is mostly based on refinished coating. As we do not have any motor manufacturers in Bangladesh, all the vehicles (brand new/reconditioned) are being imported in pre-painted form. Therefore, the refinished paint market has been dependent on import-based paint brands. Consequently, there were challenges regarding quality parameters and a lack of a skilled workforce.
Over the decades, we have witnessed a massive transformation of the vehicles that cruise on our roads. From manual transmission to plug-in hybrids, our vehicle market is not lagging in adopting the latest technologies. Subsequently, the paint industry has also seen a technological transformation. We already have passed the nitrocellulose (NC) era and going through the 2K/Solvent Base Acrylic and the most advanced coating in the world is currently waterbased paint. It is the most advanced and environmentally friendly vehicle painting solution. Waterbased paints contain low toxins compared to NC and other paints and don’t pollute the air. It is also less flammable and less hazardous and will allow your coating process to meet clean air regulations.
Therefore, our responsibility is that the customers have access to the most sophisticated vehicle solution available in the market. Berger is already leading the transformation, which will benefit the vehicle owners. We have plans to introduce Berger authorised garage to be introduced in different locations across the country. Such initiatives will provide a better experience of vehicle owners. Concurrently, being the strategic partner of PPG coatings, Berger has ensured that the customers can experience the benefits of total solutions from a world-class paint brand Nexa Autocolor, UK and ACS, Malaysia. Our customers will get the latest coating solutions with diverse color options. We will ensure that they receive the most advanced painting solutions at the best price.

WHAT IS THE VISION OF THE “BERGER PPG AUTO REFINISH TRAINING CENTER”?

It is a new concept for the Bangladeshi refinish paint industry. Previously, the industry stakeholders, including the workers and garage owners, did not have any platform that facilitated knowledge sharing. As the market leader, we wanted to provide them with a platform to increase their skill level. Berger PPG Auto Refinish Training Center is one of its kind in Bangladesh. We aim to strengthen the pool of experts and professional auto refinish paint applicators in the country. We want to guide them in implementing the correct painting and smart repairing process, which will enable them to do their work more efficiently. Berger is also working to establish most advanced dry sanding process instead of conventional wet sanding system, which has become obsolete in the industry worldwide. Vehicle paint technicians, garage owners, managers and engineers, body shop production supervisors/foreman, and car paint dealers and their sales staff will be eligible and enlisted for training in the Berger PPG Auto Refinish Training Center. Trainee engineers from different engineering institutes will also have the opportunity to gain knowledge on the auto refinish painting process and paint technologies. Internationally renowned paint manufacturer PPG and Berger have been working together to distribute global standard coating for the auto refinishing purpose for the last ten years. These two leading paint manufacturers will work together to ensure that all relevant personnel involved with this industry have adequate knowledge regarding the auto refinish painting process. Our vision is to upgrade the skills of the stakeholders involved in executing the process, which will help ensure the sector’s robust growth.

HOW WILL SUCH AN INITIATIVE HELP THE PEOPLE (TECHNICIANS/PAINTERS) INVOLVED IN THE INDUSTRY?

This initiative is crucial in ensuring better prospects for the workforce and also their physical wellbeing. The paint that they usually work with is harmful, and as a paint supplier, it is our responsibility to demonstrate practices that protect their long term health. We strongly feel about making them aware and quipping them against the toxic, harmful chemicals they often work with.
Berger will continue to work with stakeholders, including garage owners, managers, and engineers, to enhance skill and knowledge sharing within the industry regarding safety and environmental concerns. Our vision is to ‘Go Green’ in upgrading the paint infrastructure in Bangladesh, ensuring it is ready to adopt the latest technologies and global counterparts.

AS AN EXPERIENCED PROFESSIONAL, HOW DO YOU EXPECT THE INDUSTRY (PAINT) TO CHANGE IN THE POST-PANDEMIC WORLD?

As long as there are vehicles on the road, damages are inevitable and changes in customers ‘color preference will continue to propel the industry’s demand. Therefore, it (industry) will continue creating a lot of employment. Interestingly, the renowned body shops in our country are experiencing overwhelming demand despite the pandemic situation. The primary reasons behind their rising demand are the quality and competency of their service. Concurrently, segments such as body designing and modification are gaining in popularity. Lastly, things are changing rapidly with innovation, and that is not limited to the paint industry. However, the demand for good quality will eventually persist. Therefore, to ensure constant revenue generation, garages will have to innovate and adopt the latest technologies.

Asif Siddique Tarafdar is the Staff Writer of Ice Today& Ice Business Times. He has completed BSS in Economics from BRAC University and vocal about disability rights and inclusion. Currently, studying MDS at Jahangirnagar University he is also a former Flight Cadet of the Bangladesh Air Force.