Kunal Kant, Practice Lead-Sourcing& Procurement, Infosys Ltd.
One of the most important parameter for the effective sourcing of any item is “Product Knowledge” of the Sourcing Executive. Vitrified Tile is one such item which is widely used for flooring and wall, cutting across the type of industry. This article talks about all the features of Vitrified tiles that can be useful for the sourcing executive to develop appropriate sourcing strategy viz. product description, main sources, key features, appropriate usage, cost drivers etc.
What are Vitrified Tiles: It is a tile which has been processed in such a way that it has very low porosity (and water absorption) which make it stain resistant and very strong. Vitrified Tiles have far superior properties compared to marble or natural granite because being a manufactured product; their quality is controlled whereas in naturally occurring marble and granite good quality is just a coincidence. Vitrified tiles possess much better mechanical strength, scratch resistance, resistance to acids, alkalies and chemicals, resistance to staining etc compared to marble or natural granite. Vitrified tiles have the colour right through the tile not just on the surface. They are usually not as brittle as plain ceramic tiles and can withstand heat better.
Main Sources for Vitrified Tiles: Italy, Spain, Brazil, China, Turkey, Mexico, Taiwan, India, Indonesia and USA are the major sources of Vitrified tiles.
Why Vitrified Tiles: Vitrified tiles have far superior properties compared to marble or natural granite because being a manufactured product their quality is controlled whereas in naturally occurring marble and granite good quality is just a coincidence. Vitrified tiles possess much better mechanical strength (MOR), scratch resistance, resistance to acids, alkalis and chemicals, resistance to staining etc. compared to marble or natural granite.
Other qualities of vitrified tiles which a Sourcing Executive must know for the better Demand Management and sourcing of appropriate material :
Easy to clean
Resistant to chemicals
Breathe easy (asthma approved)
Stable room temperature
Specifications: The UNI EN 98 European Standard is used when comparing vitrified tiles. This standard uses two characteristics of a tile to classify it, namely water absorption and forming-method. Some of the important technical parameters along with their international tolerances and method of testing has been provided in the main article
Use of Vitrified Tiles: Vitrified tiles are most commonly used in Airport Terminal & Railway waiting rooms, Super Markets, Healthcare Centers, Club Houses, Restaurants & Café, Educational Institutes, Hospitals, Shopping Centers, Private Houses, Banks and offices, Industries, Workshop
Major Cost Drivers for Vitrified Tiles:
The institutional segment of Vitrified Tiles is characterized by low operating margins, long credit periods and a high inventory turnover, whereas the retail segment is characterized by high selling and distribution costs, and good margins and credit recovery.
Due to low margins, growth in the vitrified tiles industry happens to be volume-driven.
L.C.C could be a major cost differentiator in the sourcing of Vitrified Tiles
Kunal Kant is an Industrial Engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee and an M.B.A in Marketing. He is also a six sigma black belt and a certified TPM instructor. He has more than 16 years of work experience with world class companies like Tata Steel and Infosys Ltd in the area of Industrial Engineering, Strategic Sourcing and Supply Chain Management. His white papers/ P.O.Vs on Sourcing, Supply Chain and Quality have been published in various international journals /websites. He has also authored a book on Visual Workplace Management titled Let Us Visualize - A Book on Visual Workplace Management.