Hatil is one of the top furniture manufacturing companies in Bangladesh. Founded almost three decades ago, the company now operates through 2 state-of-the-art factories and 70 outlets. Starting out as a door manufacturer and seller, Hatil now has its own interior designer unit, along with making all kinds of furniture for furnishing the consumers’ homes. In addition to sales outlets, Hatil has its own ecommerce website and mobile app. Hatil also launched the first virtual showroom in Bangladesh. Apart from the domestic market, Hatil furniture is being exported to more than 18 countries of the world including India, Nepal, Bhutan and the United States. Hatil has been conducting its business activities with great success by exporting more than $1.5 million dollars, and a net sales of 3 billion BDT worth of furniture to the domestic market annually. The company currently employs more than 3,000 employees.
Mr. Selim H. Rahman, the founder of Hatil Furniture, was born in 1966 in Gandaria, Dhaka. After completing his formal education from Dhaka Collegiate School and Dhaka College, Mr. Selim joins his father’s business, H.A. Timber Industry Ltd. in Farashganj, Old Dhaka.
Habibur Rahman, the father of Selim H Rahman, started a timber business under the name H.A. Timber Industries Ltd. in 1966. The company established the first seasoning plant in Bangladesh and trades a variety of timber including Chittagong Teak, Jarul, Teak Chambul, Burma Teak, Red Oak, and Beech wood till this date.
After completing his studies, Selim H Rahman started measuring wood in his father’s business in Farashganj, Old Dhaka. Entrepreneur Selim H. Rahman was always on the lookout for ways to innovate his father’s business. At that time, a buyer named Lata Hossain came to Habibur Rahman’s shop with a carpenter to buy wood for making doors. Selim H. Rahman used this opportunity and convinced the buyer to build doors, and paid 50,000 BDT in advance. In this context, with the help of Ahsan Habib, an employee of H.A. Timber Industry Ltd. Selim H. Rahman started making doors in his father’s factory. During that time, he noticed that there was no established door manufacturer brand in Bangladesh and from that he came up with the idea to make doors commercially.
Mr. Selim borrowed some money from his father and in 1989 he set up a door selling shop called Hatil Doors in Badda. Within a few days of the establishment of the shop, Hatil started selling doors and with increasing demand, soon another outlet was established at Kazipara, Mirpur. As demand continued to grow, Selim rented a flour mill in Gandaria, Old Dhaka and set up a door-making factory, in 1990. Within a few days, he started making teak beds and dining tables as well as doors. Hatil’s products were getting a good response from the buyers who witnessed the quality of the doors and furniture. Hatil furniture formally started its journey in 1993 by renting a 5,000 sq ft factory in Kuril. From there Hatil’s progress started reaching new heights.
Hatil’s rise began in 2001, when two men from Uttara offered to take over Hatil’s dealership, and Selim H. Rahman agreed. Then in 2002 the company brought the first lacquer finish in the country. Lacquer finish is a type of varnish that is applied by machine. As a result, the use of this beautiful lacquer varnish, the furniture manufactured by the company started becoming even more popular among the consumers and the demand kept increasing. As a result, in 2003, Mr. Selim rented another factory at Shyampur Industrial City in Old Dhaka. Selim H. Rahman rented several more sheds in and around Farashganj to set up a factory there. From the beginning, Hatil has paid a lot of attention to quality as well as design. Thus, Hatil organized a design competition in 2004 where students from various engineering universities submitted furniture designs. In 2006, Hatil Furniture organized a similar competition again. However, the students were not interested in working full time in the furniture industry despite participating in the competition, so the attempt to find a designer through the competition failed. As Hatil became very popular as a brand by that time, Selim H. Rahman bought his father’s 12 bighas of land in Savar’s Jirani, paying in installments, to bring their scattered factories under one unified roof.
Hatil has been practicing Japanese quality management philosophy “Kaizen ” since 2007 to ensure the best quality for customers. Hatil started operations in their new factory in 2008. The company’s turnover that year was about 175 crore. Initially, Hatil made teak wood furniture, but considering the scarcity of forest land in the country, furniture was made from imported oak wood instead of teak in 2009. Hatil later began making furniture with “oak and beech oak” wood, certified by the German-based, The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The FSC certification proves that the wood production is not harming the environment. Hatil is currently making furniture using a variety of boards and steel, in addition to FSC certified wood. As a result, Hatil’s factory was able to get FSC certified.
Hatil, who was in a designer crisis, hired three experienced British designers in 2010. Hatil’s staff also worked together with them for six consecutive months to prepare various new designs of furniture. The designs were on display at the “Dhaka International Trade Fair”. With good response from buyers, Hatil started producing new furniture based on these designs. Hatil’s popularity continued to grow as a result of aesthetic design as well as quality assurance. At the end of the 2011-12 fiscal year, the company’s sales were more than 830 million BDT.
In 2013, the company won the Green Operation Award. In the same year, Hatil’s first foreign sales outlet was established in Australia by a Bangladeshi expatriate. In the same year, Hatil also began exporting furniture to the Middle East under a contract with the US-based furniture brand “Paul Roberts”. In 2014, another Hatil outlet was established in Canada. Hatil entered the market of Bhutan in 2016 and Nepal. In the same year, the company started its journey in India as a franchisee model. In 2016, the company launched its own eCommerce site as well as a virtual store for the first time in Bangladesh. The limited space of showrooms does not allow the customers to check out every furniture in Hatil’s catalogue. Hatil’s Virtual Store is a far-reaching idea so that shoppers can view Hatil’s products via the Internet from anywhere or through virtual reality headsets on the store, giving them the perfect perspective on dimensions and life-like viewing experience. The company has also developed a smartphone app. With the app, shoppers can choose and order all Hatil furniture in a virtual store which has a 360-degree preview mode. Hatil’s net sales increased to more than 2.4 billion in 2016. Hatil exported about 1.5 million dollars worth of furniture to several other countries including India, Nepal, Canada and the US. Continuing to grow, the company’s net sales stood at 2.86 billion BDT in FY 2018-2019 and its exports were about 1.6 million dollars.
Reason Behind Success
Hatil is one of the most prominent names in the furniture industry of Bangladesh. There are several reasons why the company has been doing business successfully for so many years in the furniture industry.
Diverse Product Portfolio
Hatil has always attached importance to the design of the furniture according to the changing tastes of buyers with time. Hatil’s product portfolio has a wide range of furniture to suit the needs of the consumers of different ages and classes. In addition, the company is constantly trying to innovate by adding new furniture to their product portfolio. In addition to the attractive designs, the company also keeps an eye on the quality of their handmade furniture which enhances the buyers’ perception towards the brand even further.
Hatil uses advanced technology as well as experienced staff in the manufacturing process. Hatil’s production units are run by modern CNC machines as well as robotics and latest softwares. Precision cutting can be done due to software based robotics technology, which does not generate extra waste. The finishing of the furniture is also quite perfect. Hatil follows the Lean Manufacturing process. In this process the company wastes the least amount of material while allocating resources and labor properly, producing no extra cost at any stage of the production process. As a result, the company is able to ensure world-class quality in each of their furniture while being highly efficient.
The big foreign furniture manufacturing companies always prioritize the shopping experience of the customers. In order to reach the customers among the other players in the furniture industry of Bangladesh, Hatil has been expanding from the very beginning by opening showrooms in different locations in the country. As the popularity of e-commerce continues to grow in Bangladesh, the company brought their own ecommerce platform for the customers. Keeping up with growing era of technological advances, the company launched virtual stores to further enrich the ecommerce shopping experience of its customers.
Among the furniture manufacturers in Bangladesh, Hatil has always attached utmost importance to technology adoption. The company uses advanced technology and software in everything from its own manufacturing processes, inventory management, ordering and delivery processes. The company is also using AR and VR technology to meet the needs of modern day customers. Using such technology, the company has become one of the leading brands in the country’s furniture market.
While other furniture brands rely on discounts for marketing and promotion, Hatil has always wanted to create a strong brand through their marketing. The company has been maintaining proper communication with the customers in their marketing messages. The company has also focused on customer service, which has made it a trusted name for customers.
In the year 2020, due to the impact of the Corona epidemic, the Hatil business also faced decline in growth although the company’s net sales for the year was more than 2.23 billion BDT. The company was also able to export 1.2 million dollars worth of goods that year. Which proves Hatil’s potential as a global brand. In fact, the company has been able to generate sales revenue of around 400 Crore BDT in 2020-21. At present, Hatil has 70 stores in Bangladesh, 18 in India, 2 in Nepal and 1 in Bhutan. Furthermore, Hatil sells their furniture in more than 18 countries around the world, including the United States, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Thailand. Hatil Factories make about 50 sets of sofas per day, 150 swivel & visitor chairs, 15 metal almirah & file cabinets. They have the capacity of producing 600 products in their Lacquer section and 700 products in their Wood & Panel Section per day.
Hatil has always tried to bring innovation in the country’s furniture industry. Own eCommerce platform, virtual store and delivery service has brought strong brand recognition to Hatil. However, there is a negative sentiment among many customers about Haitil’s delivery as in many cases Hatil could not deliver to customers on time. To maintain the quality of the product, the company must strive for a more efficient and improved product delivery process. If these issues are maintained properly, customers will be more interested in Hatil in the future.