JAT Holdings, an internationally winning Sri Lankan brand | Daily News

JAT Holdings, an internationally winning Sri Lankan brand

JAT Holdings is the undisputed market leader in the wood coatings industry of Sri Lanka, and is an entity that strives to support the growth of the country’s economy by spreading its reputation in international markets, near and far.

In order to understand how JAT continues to sustain its operations during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Wasantha Gunaratne, Director of Sales and Technical at JAT Holdings sat down to share some insight on how the entity continues to perform, despite current market conditions.

What can you say about JAT Holdings’ stability in international markets as a truly Sri Lankan company?

 Director of Sales and Director of Sales and Technical, JAT Holdings,
Wasantha Gunaratne

JAT had humble origins back in 1992 when the company was founded. Over time, we emerged as the leader in the field of wood coatings in Sri Lanka and the brand became synonymous with unparalleled timber protection products. Over the past 28 years, our efforts have set this in stone. Since then, we have become one of the strongest organizations in South Asia with a well-established reputation for quality and excellence. This is truly a remarkable feat, especially for a local company. We have a unique ability to better understand the needs of our distribution agents, retail partners and customers. This knowledge directly translates to all our products offerings, technology and efficiency, whilst maintaining affordability and value for money at all times.

During these unpredictable times of the ongoing pandemic, how has JAT Holdings maintained success?

The strong foundation we have built over the years as an institution has greatly contributed to this. Due to this reason, Moody’s ICRA Lanka rated JAT Holdings as an ‘A + Stable’ Company for the fifth consecutive year in 2020. The specialty here is that JAT Holdings is the only local private company to have an ‘A + stable’ rating or higher for five years in succession. There was a huge growth in the construction industry during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to most industries. Due to this, the demand for our products also increased.

In the post-covid situation, we were able to ensure the security of all partners in our retail networks, including all distributors and our employees. We extended loan repayment periods to our retail partners to ensure uninterrupted operations, whilst ensuring sufficient stock levels with the minimal impact to the business under the prevailing circumstances. In addition, we constantly strive to run our business following all health and COVID-19 safety procedures at all times.

Please elaborate on JAT’s international operations.

As a Sri Lankan business that is growing in the region, JAT Holdings has become one of the leading suppliers of wood coatings in the South Asian region. We have also become the world’s largest partner for Sayerlack Water Base products globally. JAT Holdings has also emerged as a market leader in Bangladesh, a position we have maintained for over a decade. As a result of our wood coating products, Bangladesh has become a hotspot for manufacturing the best, export quality furniture in the world.

JAT Holdings also has long-term partnerships with leading Bangladeshi businesses such as Akhtar Furnishers, Hatil, Partex, Brothers and Nadia. Going beyond this, we also came forward to sponsor the Chattogram Challengers team in the 2019 Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Cricket Tournament with the primary objective of extending our support and presence in this important market.

In addition to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, we also market our products in countries such as the Maldives, Seychelles, Kenya and Ghana.

How do you equate the demand for JAT’s products in the local market?

As a leading local innovator, we have been able to gain the trust of the Sri Lankan people by providing quality products which are in line with international standards to our customers. Due to this, we have been able to cater to the needs of the Sri Lankan consumer community through over 5,000 Outlets Island wide.

When it comes to wood products, the passage of time results in natural discoloration and decay. However, the use of JAT products has the potential to extend their beauty as well as their lifespan. By improving the durability of timber products in this way, JAT has contributed to minimizing deforestation and thereby promoted environmental sustainability.

Today’s society exhibits an opinion where there is a tendency to use more aluminum in construction which results in less demand for wood coatings. However, there is a huge demand for wooden doors, ceilings, flooring, and so much more which is growing in the construction sector with each passing day.

The current import restrictions have also resulted in higher demands for local products which have a direct correlation to the increase in demand for JAT Products.

What are the programs launched for the growth of this sector as an institution?

It is evident that in contemporary society, there is a lack of interest in professions such as carpentry and painting. To nurture this field, JAT Holdings is implementing training programmes islandwide to equip professionals with technical knowledge and expert skills in this field.

Additionally, as a collaboration with the National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA), we conduct at least four training programs a month to train aspiring carpenters and painters. At the end of each of these training programmes, a government-recognized vocational training certificate is presented, which sets the stage for the creation of successful and quality professionals in the field.

So far, JAT has been able to train more than 45,000 painters in Sri Lanka and about 15,000 painters in Bangladesh through these training programs.

Where does the strength behind the success of your organization lie?

The key to an organization’s success is its staff. As for our sales staff, they are top notch in terms of product knowledge, technical skills and market expertise. As a company, we are constantly working to equip people with current and up to date knowledge. This results in an ability to better identify clients’ needs and provide them with effective advice and service. This has had a profound effect on their careers as well as the growth of JAT as a business.

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