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‘Most of our clients are repeat customers’

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Simfa Scientific Supplies is a leading supplier of quality fume hoods and laboratory furniture in the Indian market. Salil Sansare, CEO, Simfa Scientific Supplies, in an exclusive interaction with Sachin Jagdale, explains why his company’s products are among the most preferred in the Indian market

How do you select the fume hood and laboratory furniture manufacturers for sourcing the products?

Selection of a vendor depends mainly on the following factors:

  • The product itself: quality, life and features
  • Track record and capabilities of the company
  • Price

It’s again a story of fast, cheap and good attributes. You can always pick any two. A fast and good product cannot be cheap and that’s what Simfa is.

20160131ep20Simfa represents Mott-Canada and Laborbau-Germany in the Indian sub-continent. Mott builds lab furniture as per SEFA standards while Laborbau manufactures wooden lab furniture as per European standards. We have got more than 25 large size projects in India including US Pharmacopeia, Dupont, GVK Biosciences, Laurus Labs, Vimta Labs in the last 10 years. All our customers appreciate our quality and speed. That is why we are gaining more market share in India.

What are the options available in fume hoods and lab furniture selection?

Fume hood selection depends on many factors. The exact application of fume hood, the reaction set-up size, electrical and gas services required, whether the lab is air conditioned or not- all such points decide the type of fume hood. Also, as a number of fume hoods are connected to a single blower, what is the diversity of usage, whether to use a scrubber, a flameproof blower to required or not, are factors to be considered while selecting a fume hood. All these depend on the customers’ operational requirements and various regulations.

With regards to lab furniture, customers have the option of fixed lab furniture, semi mobile or complete mobile systems. It all depends on the future expansion plans of the researcher. He can opt for a completely fixed system if there is no need to change the layout. But if the research work demands changes in the lab layout every two to three years, then a flexible lab furniture system is the best solution.

What would a customer choose, steel furniture or wooden furniture?

Traditionally, American MNCs prefer metal while European MNCs prefer wood. Both have their own benefits and limitations. Wood has extremely high chemical resistance while steel is the best material to use in case of fire hazard.

Wood furniture can be aesthetically pleasing whereas steel furniture looks more industrial, although both are very strong and have good load bearing capacities. In fact, having steel furniture with wood fronts is an option never tried in India. It can actually give the warmth of wood and strength of steel.

We help customers make this informed decision and are ready to serve them with all the options.

Mott-Canada uses ‘Sigma Barrier’ special coating which provides extra protection against aggressive chemical fumes. Mott-Canada also manufactures the entire range in stainless steel.

Are automations like VAV and automatic sash closing systems in fume hood really useful for energy saving?

Yes, indeed. VAV is a must for an air conditioned lab. It saves your energy bill to the extent of 40 per cent and procurement cost of HVAC system by 50 per cent. So, it saves a lot of energy. Automatic sash closing is not really essential, if you are disciplined and keep the sashes closed when you are not working in the fume hood. This simple practice saves a lot of money!

As far as the quality is concerned, how will you compare laboratory equipment, fume hoods etc. manufactured overseas with those manufactured in India?

It goes without saying that the products manufactured overseas have a considerable edge in overall build quality. The material thickness and finishes are much superior. The hardware used is very heavy duty. All the products are third party tested as per the global standards. Also, coating quality and its chemical resistance are way above the locally manufactured products. This increases product life by further 10 years! So on an average if locally manufactured lab furniture will last for 10 years, the imported ones can last for 20 to 25 years.

How will you differentiate your products from those manufactured by your competitors?

Mott-Canada and Laborbau-Germany products are more sturdy and heavier than most of their other counterparts’ products. Also, our Indian installation base is mostly in research centres where the chemical usage is very high. Most of our clients are repeat customers. They hardly need our AMCS, although we have such a programme. I think this proves our point.

Also, one unique thing about Mott-Canada is that they are more than willing to modify their range of casework and fume hoods at a nominal cost as compared to many of our competitors who are either not willing to modify their standard product or it comes at a high cost. Same goes with Laborbau-Germany; they work very closely with the end user to deliver products that meets their needs exactly.

How challenging is it to sell the products in a cost-sensitive market like India?

Of course, Indian customer is cost sensitive. Why should he not be? Companies must spend money where it matters. Good news is that Mott-Canada and Laborbau-Germany are both premium imported products. But when customers prepare life cycle cost analysis, they realise that these products have almost 50-100 per cent more lifespan than Indian products. Also, Mott and Laborbau can save running costs by 20-30 per cent every year. This makes a lot of economic sense in buying the best quality, because it lasts long and pays back.

Tell us about your after-sales services.

We have dedicated after sales service teams. We respond to customer complaints in one working day. These teams are located in Hyderabad and Mumbai. We have also started AMC programmes for our customers who want to have preventive and breakdown maintenance of the fume hoods and lab furniture, even after the warranty period expires.

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