Sheela Foam is an important player in the Indian flexible foam and mattress market. Simon Robinson met Rahul Gautam at PU Tech 2017 and discussed the company’s plans.
In the years since its foundation in 1971, Sheela Foam has experienced a lot of changes in the Indian flexible polyurethane market. From import duties of 250% on polyols in the 1970s to demonetisation in 2016 that hit sales across the country, the company has withstood a number of big market challenges.
The company’s managing director, Rahul Gautam, outlined the future direction of the company, and some of the unique circumstances it faces operating in India, Australia and New Zealand.
“Today, we manufacture foam at five locations across India,” he said. “Along with those, we have six plants that convert it into end products such as sheets, rolls and mattresses.”
Sheela sells mattresses in India under the Sleepwell brand, a fully integrated division.
Selling mattresses across India requires a very efficient distribution network for the mattresses, Gautam explained. “We have about 110 distributors and, below them, about 5,000 retailers,” he said.
The company uses a range of channels to reach the market. “About 2,500 outlets are exclusive dealers and the rest are multi-brand outlets,” he explained. “They range in size from being very small to very big.” This diversity means that Sheela…