Sundaram, a brand synonymous with notebooks for students in Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat, was started by Mr. Amrut Shah from survival point of view. His dedication and determination to give best quality and innovative products to its end users itself explains his journey towards success. Today Sundaram is a successful and well recognized brand which sells its products to more than 15000 shops. Mr. Amrut Shah is a part of advisory board in FMSMTA and is one of the key founding member of this federation. He feels being part of federation helps them understand challenges faced by people in this industry, help them unite under single umbrella and educate and update everyone about the innovations in the industry and bring out positive changes by mediating with government for the development of this sector.
- What is Federation of Maharashtra Stationery Manufacturers & Traders Association (FMSMTA) all about?
FMSMTA was formed with the vision of providing fair trade and to develop cordial relationship between manufacturers, traders, and consumers to provide favourable environment for the further growth of the stationery industry. FMSMTA also aims at providing better platform for providing visibility and networking between dealers and manufacturers. FMSMTA has also many a times worked as a pressure point to government on behalf of industry to bring out positive policies in favour of people associated with this industry.
- Who all are members of your federation?
All stationery manufacturers and sellers are part of association in their specific area and region. Likewise we have some 32 odd regional associations, who in turn become the member of the federation. The federation works like any federal structure and the respective association nominate 4-5 representatives for interactions during the federation meeting. Form the member the committee members are elected who on honorary basis take care of the federation activities.
- What is the vision of FMSMTA?
FMSMTA was formed in order to provide better competitive business environment for anyone and everyone associated with this industry. Stationery business is highly unorganized sector and federation is trying to do its bit to organize this sector and regularize it. FMSMTA also works as a parent association for various associations working at local level. Moreover, federation also mediates between the government bodies and industry to bring out favourable trade policies for manufacturers and trader
- What is “Stationery World 2017” exhibition all about?
The event is themed with ‘Back to School’ and coincides with the new academic session that begins in March – April. Stationery World 2017 in its 5th edition is a stationery trade fair organized by FMSMTA to provide visibility and networking opportunities for people associated with this industry. Stationery fair is all set to exhibit more than 5000 products under various categories. It is a small effort towards bringing manufacturers and traders together to promote business.
- What kind of unique opportunities are lined up for the retail entrepreneurs from the above exhibition?
This exhibition aims at bringing manufacturers and traders together to promote their business. So, definitely retail entrepreneurs can keep them abreast of new products, negotiate better trade terms with manufacturers and huge variety of product basket on display. At the same time it gives the manufacturers an opportunity to tie up with new dealers taking their products to new markets. Moreover, federation is also trying to tie-up with various banks for additional benefits for entrepreneurs associated with this exhibition.
- Other than business opportunities what are other take away for the traders from this exhibition?
Apart from business opportunities federation has also planned on conducting various awareness programs and workshop for participants on numerous topics like cashless banking transaction, personality mind development, technical know-how, etc. Moreover, participants from different parts of country and from neighbouring states like Gujarat, MP, Rajasthan and Goa are expected to actively participate which would give a wider participation and better business opportunities and help them network better. (During last exhibition in 2012, more than 6000 participants were part of similar mega event and looking at previous years’ record and statistics and the rate at which we are growing we are expecting at least 7000+ footfalls this time.)
- Is it only open for traders and exhibitors only or for common people as well?
Stationery world 2017 is a 4-day exhibition from February 10, 2017 to February 13, 2017 which is mainly for manufacturers, wholesalers, dealers, traders and retailers who are part of the industry and want to grow their business by tapping new manufacturers and sellers. However, we have decided to keep this exhibition open for general public also on Sunday, February 12, 2017.
- What is federation planning to attract more active participation from their target audience?
In order to attract more and more participation in the event local associations our members are already doing their ground work of inviting traders and retailers from remote areas of Maharashtra and Gujarat and making them aware about the event. Federation is also planning to support conveyance expenses incurred by small traders who come in groups through association in order to attend this exhibition. Moreover, there are gift hampers for participant and every trader and retailer. We have kept bumper draws in which first prize would be “Car”, second prize would be “Bike” and few international and domestic travel packages are being given away as prizes. Apart from that there would be daily lucky draws; pick up drop facility for all visitors is also being facilitated
- How do you feel introduction of GST will impact your industry?
Introduction of GST is definitely a positive step towards bringing out healthy competition in the industry. Most of the industry is unorganized with very few known big manufacturers. Though the prizes of Raw materials have gone up but manufacturers have not been able to increase the prices due to competition from the unorganised sector. Introduction of GST will bring serious layers under the organized structure, which will enable them to promote their business in a more effective way.
- What positive steps you are expecting that government should take to further promote the growth of industry?
We have requested government authorities to allot us space between BKC and Goregaon in Mumbai to set up Stationery HUB a single location where all manufacturers and sellers can set up their shops to interact. It should be one stop destination for every trader’s stationary needs. This would help us to get more visibility and in turn would help us in boosting international trade. Also we have put in a proposal to notify around 300 acres of land wherein we can create a stationary manufacturing Industrial area with the requisite infrastructure under the Make in India Initiative to promote further growth of the Industry hub.
- What steps your federation will be taking to support and encourage government’s stance on cashless economy?
We are planning to tie-up with different banks for providing certain benefits for members associated through us. We are still in a negotiating phase. Hopefully, we can finalize it by end of January 2017. Also as most the small traders are not aware about the various methods to carry out cash less transactions, we intend to hold workshops and training program to educate them and increase awareness.