Jun. 9, 2015


Elshad Abbasov

Azerbaijan

Elshad Abbasov

General Director, Embawood

TBY talks to Elshad Abbasov, General Director of Embawood, on design, market share, and holding on to existing clients in a competitive market.

BIO

Elshad Abbasov studied Geology and specialized in Geochemistry at Moscow State University. He has been the Vice President of the Equestrian Federation since 2009, and the Chairman of the State Attestation Commission for Timber Processing under the Azerbaijan State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering. He is the General Director of Embawood, a role that he has held since 1996.

One of the distinctive features of Embawood is the functionality of its furniture. What are Embawood's development innovations in this direction?

When designing new models, Embawood designers and engineers follow ASE, LGA, and Neufertin standards. In order to enable the use of soft furniture, both for sitting and lying, we use multi-functional mechanisms. Sometimes, customers who have large homes use two or three furniture sets in one room. This both undermines the interior design of a home and costs the customer more. To address this problem, we have introduced built-in closets to bedroom sets and a modular system to soft furniture sets. Furniture ergonomics is as important to us as functionality. Therefore, we have introduced changes to bedroom closets to meet average customer requirements.

What are the opportunities for increasing the market share of Embawood in Azerbaijan?

The reforms carried out at the factory have helped us expand production and introduce new products. This includes expansion of the assortment of mattresses, an increase in the size of soft furniture sets, and the production of furniture sets that have smaller numbers of items. This, in turn, helps us secure an additional market share and meet market demand for local products. It has allowed us the opportunity to take advantage of favorable conditions created for domestic manufacturers as well as take our products to the international level.

Azerbaijan is becoming increasingly self-sufficient with raw materials. How important is self-sufficiency for the sustainable development of Embawood?

It is highly important to be able to provide oneself with raw materials in the furniture business. In the past, we imported most of our raw materials from foreign countries. Starting from 2013, as a result of the development of the national economy, the share of our domestic supplies has significantly increased.

The first European Games will offer ample opportunities for Azerbaijan to assert itself in the international arena. What does it mean for your business and the industry in general?

The first European Games are tremendously important from the standpoint of promoting the country in the world. The Games will help the country as a whole and the industry in particular to attract new investors, establish cooperation with companies from other countries, ease the access of local companies to foreign markets, develop the economy, and expand the market. In addition, the Games will have a significant impact on the development of tourism.

What steps has Embawood taken in supporting the development of the non-oil sector?

Non-oil sector development is a national priority. The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan has repeatedly stated this. As a company, Embawood has made a tangible contribution to the Azerbaijani economy. The company has also expanded its campaign of sales on the basis of loans. From the first day of its establishment, Embawood has operated with the money of its shareholders and paid taxes into the state budget.

How does Embawood protect its market share in Azerbaijan?

Over the past two years, Embawood has carried out a number of activities to protect its market share both at home and abroad. We are currently considering introducing a 0% loan campaign for retail customers. The company has developed a different marketing and advertising campaign. In January 2015, Embawood attended the Koelnmesse furniture exhibition in Cologne, Germany. The event helped the company to gain international experience and aspire to new achievements. As a result of the application of this experience to Azerbaijan, we have managed to become frontrunners in the domestic market. Our main goal is to preserve the existing customers by setting affordable prices and attracting their attention again. To achieve that, we have developed a program to improve the level of customer satisfaction. We intend to complete a transition to the CRM electronic customer support program in 1H2015.