Cover Story, Chandan Kumar, Founder (Setner – A 100 Brand Company) – BS 2020’s Most Innovative Entrepreneur To Watch In India

Revolutionizing Manufacturing Processes with Vertical Integration and Innovation

Accessories and products revolve around an individual’s life. Without these items, a void is felt be it in homes, offices, while traveling, etc., and hence, people flock towards accessories to enhance the utility or simply enhance the beauty of the place. While there are numerous accessories to and products that can ease an individual’s living, quality about items also matter as much as its aesthetics. People want items that will add meaning, are of high-quality, and affordable at the same time. These requirements put a strain on manufacturers as they have to keep an eye on quality as well as at cost. The item must serve the need of the customer but at the price which customers can easily afford. Hence, innovation in manufacturing processes is a vital key to keep the cost and quality under constant checking and ensure that the product delivered is of supreme quality and profitable to the manufacturer.

Setner – a 100 brand company, is among the few companies which have employed innovation and vertical integration in designing and manufacturing its products and accessories to keep overheads cost as low as possible. Vertical Integration allows Setner to lower per-unit-cost and increase the efficiency of the manufacturing process since this integration demands enormous capital investment, a visionary CEO can undertake the process and pass the price advantage to the consumers, while enhancing the scale of business as well.

A Key Persona Behind Exceptional Success

Incorporated in the year 2008 by Mr. Chandan Kumar – CEO & Founder of Setner, Setner is strategically located in Bengaluru and the company holds a diversified product portfolio of more than 100 unique products cutting across categories of Furniture, Furnishing, Decore, Kids, Travel and EPS. “We take pride in creating value by virtue of Design, Pricing, and Utility in every product that we work on,” asserts Mr. Chandan. Mr. Chandan established Setner with a vision to create an eco-system of manufacturing that could create Price Sensitive products for masses. Beginning from a mere 100 square feet office in Bengaluru, he has evolved the company to be a manufacturing powerhouse operating out of 1 Million square feet within a short span of 10 years. It now delivers its products across 6000 + Point of Sales across Leading Modern Retailers, all major e-commerce giants, General Trade, COCO Stores and Exported to over 10 Countries.

Mr. Chandan embarked on his entrepreneurial journey with two primary goals – to create an Umbrella of leading Brands in the domain of Furniture, Furnishing, Decore, Travel and Kids Categories with National and International footprints and to create Sustainable Jobs and value addition in Products manufactured by utilizing Vertically Integrated processes. “Every project that we work on brings a new set of products and ideas. We don’t put our hands into something which had a beaten path and is redundant. We seek creativity in our process of production, price offering and value addition for our resellers,” states Mr. Chandan.

Mr. Chandan, being an Engineer always believed in hardcore manufacturing which later translated into developing and establishing his own factories using novel processes and vertical integration. He is a Mechanical engineering graduate from Bengaluru and also has done Masters in Automobile Engineering from the University of Sheffield, England. Thereafter, he pursued an MBA from a prestigious University in Vancouver, Canada. Upon completion of his education, Mr. Chandan returned to the homeland and founded Setner. Initially, the company was involved in the production of packaging, furniture and furnishing products and quickly began exporting its products to more than ten countries. He had a major boost as the Indian Retail Market was getting very conducive around 2008-09, and it gave a strong eco-system for the company to grow.

Exemplary Entrepreneur

With powerhouse ideas, a zeal to be a creator, and someone who can empower society, Mr. Chandan embarked on his journey. All of these things would not have been possible if he had worked for someone else while there exists a big vacuum between big established brands and small unorganized brands. Hence, he founded a company that could bridge the gap and focuses on the middle tier. With exceptional values such as self-belief, no shortcuts to success, constant approach towards innovation, he is leading the company towards success. By implementing vertical integration, innovation, and 100 percent focus on business he has created a place for his company among the best companies in the niche.

By implementing unique strategies, Mr. Chandan puts his company ahead of the competition. “We invest in infrastructure and high CAPEX that helps us to scale. It is sustainable as capacities can be pushed. We control our overheads which ensure better control over the business. We work across various Verticals of Modern Trade, General Trade, E-Commerce, Exports, and Company Brand Stores. Various verticals help us to control the Sine Wave of Business fluctuations. Robust Infrastructure in terms of Self-Owned Factories that helps to scale up while keeping overheads low. Our latest purchase of Factory spread over 2,00,000 Square feet will help us to house all the production and processes under one roof. Vertical Integration helps us to control costs and be more innovative,” he states.

On his way to glory, Mr. Chandan was faced with many challenges from cash flow, hiring a motivated team to match up infrastructure with growing demands for products and across 6000 + Sales Point. . With consistent efforts and persistence, he kept leading the company and team. He employs key values such as being positive, focus and consistency, saying NO when situations demand it, staying humble and open to employees, vendors, as well as clients – he emphasizes on communication, and lastly, knowing margins and the margins that clients would willing to close the deals faster. He utilizes these values to overcome several challenges.

Holistic Offering

Setner is a 100-brand company because of its unique offering of 100 products which are broadly categorized into five types which are Furniture, Furnishing, Decor, Travel, and Kids. The company’s leading Product Line includes Sofas, Recliners, Bean Bags, Ottomans, Wall Decals, Travel U Neck, Back Packs, Travel Accessories, Toys, Memory Foam Pillows, etc.

SETNER is developing a New Product line of Engineered Wood Furniture, Travel Accessories and Memory Foam Products. Memory foam products will be used extensively across the Automotive and Furniture Industry. SETNER with its new EPS Plant is also working on EPS Pallets and EPS Shape Moulding Products.

During Difficult Corona times, Chandan and his team stayed positive and launched Brand OMED. OMED manufactures PPE Kids, Face Masks and Hand Sanitizers. OMED Hand Sanitizers are FDA Approved and available across all leading Retail Stores as well as Online.

Future Landscape

“We want to offer our customers an ecosystem to buy more products and offerings from us under one roof. The more they buy, the more they save. More products they buy, more controlled is their inventory and accounting. In the next two years, we want to work with 1000s of small General trade stores to help them with better products, smart ways to sell and sharper price points. This backed with technology and transparency will certainly be a game-changer,” emphasizes Mr. Chandan.

Mr. Chandan is aiming to transform his company into a one-stop destination for all B2B customers and to create recognizable Brands. As the customers will buy more products from more than 100 unique items, the more will be the savings.

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