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At the Cross Roads  
  1. Introduction
  2. Labour Costs
  3. Capital Costs
  4. Logistics
  5. Weather etc.
  6. Domestic Market
  7. Export Market
  8. Indian Outlook


Much before the advent of information technology and, since its inception in 1991, WOOD NEWS has been actively processing and dissemination information on the wood industry in India. We thank them for letting us carry this article from their July-Sept 2003 issue.

Our woodworking industry is at the crossroads - should it invest in the dramatic changes brought about by technology and modern equipment or continue with a traditional trade oriented system. The latter has been successful for many years, but will it perish when competitors from around the world flood the booming Indian furniture market with their finished products? The article below should answer the questions.

Till a few years ago there really was no “industry” as such in the woodworking sector, barring some plywood and particle board plants. Use of machines was minimal, almost all of woodworking being done manually.

All that is changing now, and quite dramatically. Suddenly, there is growth. Demand for machines is increasing and mechanical processing is catching on. Even though in the over all context of woodworking in India, ”factory” processing is still significant, all signs point to the increasing use of machines and technology.

While on the one hand use of ‘new’ materials is forcing the use of machines and bringing in new technology, on the other hand market forces are pushing traditional carpentry to give way to mechanical processing. That mechanical processing is inevitable is not in question. To what extent should the industries mechanize? What are the appropriate technologies? What type of machine would suit the Indian industry?

These are some of the questions that need to be answered before pointing at any particular direction for the growth of the industry. At this juncture, therefore, the woodworking industry in India is truly at the crossroads.

The objective of this article is not to provide any ready solutions or answers to the above questions and bring out into open several possibilities. It is for the industry to decide which direction or path to take.

Before going into a debate on the relative merits and demerits of each of these directions or paths, it is necessary to consider some of the existing ground realities, which are typical to India. The appropriateness of the choice of equipment and technology comes in the context of the culture and environment in every country. Therefore it is necessary to take into account the ground realities that exist today in India.

Next » Labour Costs


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