Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, Nov 18, 2003
The carpet effect at workplace
Bangalore, 17 Nov. 2003.
FACILITY managers are realising that rolling out carpets in offices is not just an expensive investment activity, but does offer some interesting returns. For instance, cushion-backed carpets are energy savers, reduce muscle fatigue by 25 per cent, absorb noise, and therefore, increase productivity among employees.
In India though, the architect or the interior designer makes the carpet buying decision and very few facility managers are involved in the process. James Mathew, Regional Manager, Commercial Markets (West Asia and India), Milliken Carpet, a US-based company, said, “There are many misconceptions that Indians have about carpets that need to be set right”.
For instance, not many know that a `good carpet’ can counter some of the traditional problems such as bad odour and growth of bacteria. “The anti-microbial carpets do not allow the growth of bacteria, which is why even hospitals are opting for carpeted flooring.” In fact, Mathew says hospitals and healthcare centres are some of the fastest growing sectors for the commercial carpets market. However, the domestic market is still at a nascent stage and largely in the unorganized sector, and there are no statistics available, he said.
Also the market is still restricted to the IT and hospitality industry. About 5 per cent to 8 per cent of a company’s interior design budget is apportioned for carpeting in the country, while in other countries the figure is about one per cent. “This does not mean they spend less, it’s only that their interior design budget is higher,” he says.
A common mistake that most carpet buyers commit is to look at its construction specification, rather than its performance specification. “They seem to think that more plies, more weight and more rows in its weaving makes it a better carpet. This is not always true.” In Mathew’s opinion, a detailed evaluation of a commercial carpet would entail studying the traffic (number of people stepping on it everyday), yarn, fibre and the maintenance costs. He feels in an office environment, a carpet is the most abused product and “you have to spend more money on its maintenance than the original price”.
A commercial carpet has to be selected for its performance in future. The performance is rated by an ARR (Appearance Retention Rating). Most conference rooms would require `moderate’ type of carpets with an ARR of 2.5 to 3, while closed offices should have `heavy’ carpets with an ARR of 3 to 3.5, and corridors need `severe’ carpets with an ARR of 4. “A good commercial carpet should last for 12-14 years,” feels Mathew.
There is also a mistaken belief that most commercial carpets come from West Asian countries. “In fact, 60 per cent of the world’s commercial carpets are made in Georgia, in the US, and Dubai is just a trading hub for carpets,” Mathew clarifies.