Hatil is a wood-based furniture manufacturer that began it’s journey in 1966 with the late Chairman Alhaj Habibur Rahman. At that time, it was called H.A. Timber Limited, whose main activities were to purchase, process, and sell timber. Hatil was born in 1989 and has scaled up a lot in it’s long journey. At one time in Bangladesh, furniture had to be imported from abroad. Hatil was trying to manufacture the furniture locally and serve it in the local market. Hatil Always strives for quality with “Slim is smart” slogan. Thus, Hatil always seeks to produce superfluous furniture. Hatil continuously researches and tries to serve the market with the best and modern products in order to provide the customers with comfortable and eye-catching furniture at low prices. Now Hatil is exporting abroad beyond the borders of the country. ” Said Mr. Selim H. Rahman, Chairman & Managing Director of Hatil in an interview with Business Inspection BD.
Starting their operations two decades ago as door manufacturers, Hatil now has two modern factories and 75 outlets. In addition to providing all kinds of traditional furniture, Hatil also has its interior designing unit. In addition to the physical store, Hatil has its e-commerce site, mobile app, and the first virtual showroom in Bangladesh.
In addition to the domestic market, Hatil exports its locally produced furniture to more than 18 countries, including India, Bhutan, and the United States. Mr. Selim H. Rahman also stated that “Now, Hatil is known as the brand name in India and Bhutan. At present, Hatil has 15 showrooms in India and 2 in Bhutan, through which Hatil is regularly exporting. In Bangladesh, Hatil currently has two production units where furniture materials, veneer doors, plywood, etc., are being produced. In the last two years, during the pandemic, almost all businesses across the country have been somewhat hampered. But in the previous fiscal year, Hatil has made a turnover of around BDT 400 crore, of which 2.5 million came from exports.” One of the reasons behind this success is that their products are as unique in quality and design. So how does Hatil ensure the quality of its products while serving both the domestic and international markets?
Mr. Md. Rezaul Karim, Company Secretary, Hatil said, “ To fulfill the dream of the founder of Hatil, we have equipped our factory with modern machinery. Here we are using robotics as the latest technology. Also, we are using ERP for proper management. We also use dust collectors to protect the environment and workers’ health. At present we have the facility to produce 100 beds, 100 sofas, 500 chairs, 50 dressing tables, 70 wardrobes and many more pieces of furniture. Now our furniture is being exported to several countries. We want to be better positioned in the global market by 2030. With this in mind, a futuristic plan has been made. According to the plan, we have built a 12-story building with 76,000 square feet of space on each floor. So that we can go into more production as demand increases. At present we have 2500 employees working here. In addition, we have a training facility for our staff. One of the main reasons for our futuristic plan is that we want to give something to the country. Substantial job opportunities will be created if the factory expands, and more foreign exchange will come. Also, due to the creation of backward links, we will not require bringing any more raw materials from abroad. Hatil believes that Once a customer, Always a customer, so we want to give maximum service to the customer through quality, durability, and aesthetic value.”
These products are exported to more than 18 countries, including the United States, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Russia, and Thailand. In addition, the company was able to export $1.2 million worth of products in 2020, which proves Hatil’s competence as a global brand. In fact, at the end of the fiscal year 2020-21, the company has been able to generate sales revenue of around BDT 400 crore. Hatil has 75 showrooms in Bangladesh, 15 franchises in India, and 2 in Bhutan. These products are manufactured using automated machinery and robots. But even then, there are no complaints from buyers about the quality of Hatil’s products.
How Do They Maintain Quality?
Since the beginning of the journey, Hatil has been more focused on ensuring the quality of each product. Hatil’s production plant has been designed to focus on time-based manufacturing in line with Italian standards. Time-based manufacturing basically refers to the manufacturing process where standard time is set for all the manufacturing-related activities. Also, all kinds of manufacturing activities are centrally controlled. As a result, Hatil is currently an ISO (ISO 9001: 2015) certified organization in the Quality Management System. But in what ways does Hatil maintain the quality of their manufactured furniture?
Hatil uses beech wood and various particle boards, plywood, and metal to manufacture their furniture. Among these raw materials, Hatil collects only beechwood from FSC-certified German sources. The FSC or The Forest Stewardship Council basically certifies only those wood that is produced without harming the environment. Hatil is an FSC-certified institution in Bangladesh. Apart from beechwood, Hatil also uses MDF or medium density fiber and MFC or melamine face chipboard.
Hatil uses an eco-friendly wood curing system, certified by the Department Of Environment, Bangladesh. Usually, it takes 8-10 days for the wood to cure, but with Hatil’s own chemical mixture, 24 hours is enough. After curing, when the moisture inside the wood is completely removed, the wood is sent to the seasoning plant. It takes a few months to about a year for the wood to become completely dry in the Sun. However, at Hatil’s seasoning plant, the whole process takes 14 to 21 days, depending on the thickness of the wood log. In addition, the company uses wooden dust as fuel for the Hatil seasoning plant. As a result, Hatil has been able to reduce the use of harmful fuels as well as reuse factory waste. After the timber is processed from the curing and seasoning plant, it is sent for inspection again and then sent to the production plant.
Cutting & Production
After collecting all the materials, it goes to a production department called “Solid and Panel Mill” in Hatil. Then, each solid board is cut to a reasonable size to make furniture. To cut timber in the Solid & Panel Mill, Hatil uses two modern German technology panel saws with solid end panels for this cutting.
The two-panel saws are pre-auto-patterned according to different sizes. These can simultaneously handle cutting up to 80 mm using these machines. Although Hatil continues to do QC checking at every step of their furniture making, the company always tries to ensure that everything is done according to the measurements while cutting. Because once the cutting is done, the whole piece is likely to be discarded if it is not appropriately measured. Once the pieces are cut, Hatil designs its products according to the specified shapes using state-of-the-art automated CNC machines.
This ultimately reduces the possibility of mistakes in the design. Furthermore, since the design is pre-input, the machines can do the job perfectly in an automated way. In the next step, production starts on different production lines according to the product type. Typically, in the case of MFC boards, Hatil conducts aging operations.
Besides, boring, routing and molding operations are done throughout the process. In addition, seasoned woods are cut from the sawmill in different dimensions and sent to the solid mill based on their sizes. There the wood is cut in different shapes and sand as required. At the end of the sanding, a tenon mortise operation is run on the woods, and the next step is to conduct an engraving operation for boring design. One of the final steps of these operations is to check the quality of the product based on different parameters.
After completing this check, the next step is to start the pre-assembly of the product. In this step, the furniture of Hatil is divided into 2D and 3D. In the case of 2D furniture, Hatil paints the furniture, takes it directly to the customer’s home, and then assembles it. In the case of 3D furniture, the entire assembly takes place in the Hatil factory. In addition, the foam used in furniture, such as chairs, sofas, and beds, is also produced by Hatil. Hatil mainly has three types of foam: semi foam, polyfoam, and super soft foam.
In terms of comfort, Super soft foam provides the most comfort. Moreover, semi-foam and polyfoam are comparatively less comfortable. However, Hatil mixes these three types of foam and then uses those. Hatil foams are mainly made by collecting certified foam chemicals from international brands. On the other hand, in the case of mattresses, Hatil always produces orthopedic felt mattresses. These mattresses use rebonded foam and felt to provide adequate comfort to the user.
Another department in Hatil’s production process is the upholstery department, where chairs and sofas are made. For the production of this department, Hatil has to select the proper fabric first. All these fabrics are imported from abroad. For imported fabric cutting, Hatil uses the USA’s latest technology automatic machine, which can cut up to 10 layers of fabric through multi-layer fabric cutting.
This makes the cutting dimensions much more accurate, which can be mistaken if done manually. Also, Hatil uses the best quality German technology machine, Garber – to sew the fabric pieces. In this way, the swing or stitching of the material is much stronger, which is not easy to tear. Hatil’s experienced staff skillfully turned the foam and fabric into a complete piece of furniture through successive structured assemblies and six-tiered QC checks.
In addition to wood, plywood, and various particle boards, Hatil manufactures metal chairs, lobby chairs, executive tables, and file cabinets. Hatil usually uses two types of metal – general metal sheet and pipe. Hatil has sheets and pipes of different dimensions. In the production lineup, separate production lines are required to maintain for making furniture out of two types of metal. In Hatil’s metal furniture production lineup, the latest technology machines from Japan and Italy make state-of-the-art metal furniture through fine-punching and cutting operations and four-stage QC checks.
Aside from proper drilling, welding, and grinding, Hatil also performs sulfate and nickel chemical treatments to strengthen metal surfaces, reduce friction and rust and extend the lifespan of the product.
Hatil also inspects each product according to the prescribed parameters during production, which is called “In Process Inspection”. For example, suppose any raw material seems problematic during the production process. In that case, several inspections are performed, and measures are taken to fix them.
The final step in making the furniture is to color and varnish the furniture. Hatil’s coloring zone has also been differentiated based on 2D and 3D furniture. The company uses UV or ultraviolet lacquer for 2D products. Traditionally after coloring the furniture, one has to wait for 6 to 7 hours for curing, but due to using UV lacquer, it takes only 8 to 10 minutes for the furniture to dry.
On the other hand, Hatil uses robots for coloring 3D products. When 3D products are colored conventionally, the color waste ratio increases, but there is no waste if robots do it. Because the time and amount allotted for the robot are given input in advance. Sanding and QC checking also continue with the coloring procedure. As a result, it can be solved if any defect is found.
After the final production, the quality is rechecked according to the parameters before packaging, which is called pre-shipment inspection. If any mistake or problem is found, Hatil immediately revises it and fixes the errors. On the other hand, in the case of metal furniture, Hatil uses powder coating for coloring, which is applied to the furniture with heat treatment. In addition, the final product is inspected separately by each section.
As a result of four-level quality inspections, the number of defects on Hatil’s products has been reduced, and so has the number of customer complaints. Different departments use QC Tool for examination according to the convenience of their work; many use flow charts, and others use check sheets. Again, Hatil uses the “Cause and Effect” diagram or “Ishikawa” diagram to solve QC-related problems. By doing this, Hatil performs root cause analysis and brings the entire system into Kaizen formate to prevent similar mistakes from occurring again.