Daily News Online

Thursday, 13 August 2009

News Bar

News: Killinochchi, Mullaitivu get mobile coverage ...        Political: UPFA can get two-thirds majority ...       Business: Dialog Telekom to invest $ 10 m on Northern towers ...        Sports: A big challenge, want to improve on my time - Shehan ...






Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

'Environment good for future business':

Digital bathrooms a reality soon

Ranil Samarawickrama

In the recent past the bathroom has taken an important place in the house. At times it is considered more important than the kitchen or any other area.

Advanced technology has given this important place to bathrooms. This was not so in the past. However, people will enjoy the comfort of totally digital bathrooms before long, according to the Manager, Business Development, Charter House International (Pvt) Ltd. Ranil Samarawickrama who realized the potential in this area as a young entrepreneur.

His company is a highly diversified conglomerate in business activities involved in the marketing, sale and distribution of prestigious products from leading international manufacturers. His modern showroom at Havelock Place, Colombo inspires visitors to explore the latest technologies.

Samarawickrama was interviewed by Daily News Business.

An old boy of Stafford International College, Colombo 7 Samarawickrama was sent to UK for higher studies by his father at the age of 17.

He obtained his first degree in Management and two Masters degrees in Security and Diplomatic Studies, and International Relations. Thereafter, he had got the opportunity of doing an internship with the United Nations in New York and secured an MBA. With wide experience and knowledge he returned to Sri Lanka to join the business with his father.

"It was my father who started this business in 1991 with some of his friends. Although he was a musician by profession he had realized the potential in this field many years ago. He imported high quality industrial equipment and modern bathroom solutions from North America and Europe. The first office was opened at Majestic City in Colombo.

Growing vision

This was a result of a growing vision to offer consumers a choice and promote a range of high quality products in Sri Lanka where such a need was increasingly prevalent, he said.

Today Charter House is strategically positioned and reckoned as a leader in the products and services it offers. It had a remarkable growth, as a result of their flexible business model and dedicated staff, he said.

"When I returned to Sri Lanka many people inquired as to why I came with all my educational qualifications in different fields? My reply was that everyone is leaving but I returned knowing the potential. In five years time Sri Lanka will be the place to live.

The war has come to an end and the country is stable and with the increasing importance of Asia the environment will be very good for business in the near future. Sri Lanka has all the fundamentals to become a great destination for investment, trade and a fantastic place for vacation, he said.


Asked about the barriers he faced at the beginning on his return to Sri Lanka, he said, "It seems that in Sri Lanka it is easier for someone to do business with underhand tactics than for someone who wants to run an honest business which in turn cost the country money. Though I say Sri Lanka is one of the best places to do business it is not the best yet.

A lot more needs to be done to improve the climate for healthy business. There needs to be more transparency and more accountability. The level of corruption needs to be tackled and the system needs to be encouraged and good practices should be facilitated for business, he said.

Digital taps

Although sales have dropped slightly as a result of inflation, the company is doing well and there were no job losses. In fact the strategy has been to be aggressive and strengthen the team with the addition of a few highly skilled staff. The company employs 45 people and it owns 80 percent of the premium solutions segment.

A sales person explains the features of the bathroom fittings to a client

We sell only quality products with the best service possible. We give a 15-year warranty on our products and we have a service centre for our goods. We have set up a fully equipped workshop manned by trained personnel to provide technical services for the equipment sold by us, he said.

In the near future, Charter House will launch some innovative and exciting products including taps and showers which save up to 50 percent water and they will be moving to digital taps.

Charter House has over 60 dealers islandwide apart from the showroom in Colombo. Havelock City which is the largest housing project up to now was supplied bathware by Charter House Internationale. Kandalama Hotel is also one of their prominent clients.

Turnkey projects

The company undertakes design and turnkey projects especially for petroleum, power generation, water supply and plumbing fields and also provides infrastructure development solutions in partnership with prestigious companies throughout the world.

Asked about his future plans, he summed up in three words - "Growth, Service and Training." "I am not satisfied with what we are.

We have a great foundation and have the ability to offer our customers a wider product portfolio. I am also a strong believer in customer service. Our products are problem-free. However, I believe it is our duty to contact the customer and maintain a relationship with him.

Training is also a key element. We have been using the economic slow down to become stronger. Hence we have invested much on training and development, Samarawickrama said.

The secret behind his success is having a vision, a dedicated workforce and the relationships they have built over the years with customers, professionals, architects, contractors and developers, he said.


LANKAPUVATH - National News Agency of Sri Lanka
Donate Now | defence.lk

| News | Editorial | Business | Features | Political | Security | Sport | World | Letters | Obituaries |

Produced by Lake House Copyright 2009 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

Comments and suggestions to : Web Editor