Express paint to profit

If you are in a highly competitive industry with an unbeatable leader, you can find growth in clever innovations and smart marketing, like Berger Paints did

Kraków, Poland’s second largest city has a history that goes back to the 10th century. With time, it has become a key business and economic centre, with a fairly large start-up community. At least once a year, Abhijit Roy makes that mandatory work trip to the city.

Abhijit Roy MD & CEO, Berger PaintsAs MD & CEO of Berger Paints India, his company acquired Bolix, a local firm in 2008, where he sits on the supervisory board. His visits have always remained somewhat unremarkable since it’s all about work, leaving little time for anything else. A moment of serendipity during an unplanned morning walk remains etched in his mind and Roy gleefully narrates it.

The story goes back to 2014, when he saw six men with tools perching on a makeshift platform, before fastening a harness to ensure they did not fall. A few cans of paint were placed on the platform and with a spray and tools, they quietly got to work. By dusk, the entire three-storied building had a new coat. “They were regular workers doing their job. Just the speed at which work was done stunned me,” says Roy. The same job in India would have taken the same number of people but four to five days of work.

More importantly, there was no inconvenience at all to people who walked past or other residents of the building. In Roy’s mind, what stayed was how the “pain was taken out of the painting”. Back in India, he decided it was time to figure out how a home could be painted, without its occupants being isolated into a single room, in dread of the resultant dust. 

The Polish experience made him believe that a well-trained painter, equipped with the right tools could quietly go about his work sans the choking dust. Barely six months later, Berger was ready with Express Painting — it marked the company’s entry into the service side of the business, having sold only paints earlier. Besides, this ope


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