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Centy Toys: “India has a great potential to be a toys manufacturing and export hub”

Centy Toys was established three decades ago by three brothers: Mr. Savinder Singh, Mr. Balwinder Singh and Mr. Davinder Singh, with the motive to offer Indian kids with a wide variety of Scale Models of Indian Automobile. Mommy & Baby Times (MBT) had a detailed interaction with the Chief Executive Officer of the Company- Mr. Sarabjeet Singh about the business story of the company, the product range and the market presence of his brand.

April 03, 2020

MBT: Could you please give us a glimpse into the business story of Centy Toys from the time it was started?

Sarabjeet Singh: Started in 1990, Centy Toys was the first Indian toy company involved in the manufacturing of Indian Automobile Miniature Models. The name ‘Centy’ has been derived from Centimeters and so is our brand logo that has Scale Markup on it representing that these toys are made in exact Scale/Ratio. In the early days, the company started making iconic models of Maruti Vehicles, which were admired by the customers. Today, we produce 100 different variants with most prolific and diversified range of fun-filled plastic toys of automobile miniatures, aero planes and helicopters.

We adapt to most modern methods of manufacturing and quality assurance. To stay ahead of the curve, we have integrated In-house Design to Manufacturing Solution. This has really boosted our adaptability towards faster product Innovation and evolving trends in the toy sector.

Founded by three brothers, Mr. Savinder Singh, Mr. Balwinder Singh, and Mr. Davinder Singh, all with engineering backgrounds were real dreamers and innovators with passion for Miniature Models. As a childhood hobby they used to make wooden models of cars and buses. This hobby eventually shaped up into a professional carrier as a Toy Maker. They partnered with many Indian automobile companies, who were willing to get customized scale models of their real sized Vehicles. Today, almost all the toys made by our company are safe to use, made out of Virgin Plastic with no sharp edges and have safe surface coatings on them. With a strong foothold in the Indian toy market, our sales network extends from Conventional Wholesale Markets to Modern trade including Sales on Popular Online Selling Portals.

MBT: Please share some details on the product range offered by the company.

SS: Generally, most of our Products are Wheeled toys with Pull Back Action as a Standard Feature. The USP of these toys lies in the fact that they are specially designed for Indian kids who love to play with Indian Cars, SUV’s, Public Services Vehicles, Emergency Vehicles, Tractors, Construction Vehicles, Trucks, Buses, Trains and Aero planes. Some of our Iconic Models like “Green Yellow” Auto rickshaw and the legendary Models of Ambassador Car as Black & Yellow taxi got international fame and recognition primarily due to its Point Of Sale position. Almost all major Indian International Airports sells these Iconic Models at their duty free and Premium Souvenir Sales Counters. These models are worth as Collectable and also Tourist favorites, which they love to carry back home as memento of their visit to Indian Continent.

“To stay ahead of the curve, we have integrated In-house Design to Manufacturing Solution. This has really boosted our adaptability towards faster product Innovation and evolving trends in toy sector.”

MBT: Could you please share some information on the manufacturing of your products?

SS: Our Sales Office is in Kirti Nagar Industrial Area whereas manufacturing activities are carried out at Bawana Industrial Area, which is on the outskirts of Delhi. The Current Capacity of this factory is 150,000 pcs per month which will shortly be expanded to 200,000 pcs with new equipment and increased workspace. Most of these toys are made using raw material sourced Indigenously and employing mostly Semi Skilled and Unskilled men power, contributing to Make-In-India campaign, generating employment. Few of our products even pass the International Toy Quality accreditations like EN71, Part 1, 2 and 3.

MBT: How would you describe the strengths that give a unique edge to Centy Toys products?

SS: Toy Manufacturing globally calls for New and Innovative toys to be produced in minimum lead time. The life cycle of toys is short and therefore it is imperative for any toy manufacturer to have a strong grip on its design capability. We have Inhouse Art-To-Part design capability. With Advance CAD (Computer Aided Design) Modelling Softwares, 3D Printers and CNC Machines, our forte lies in the effective use of Design Fidelity Range (Low-Mid-High) to quickly Innovate Attractive but Safe Toys. Our focus on Safe toy manufacturing begins from the design level i.e. eliminate sharp edges from the toy design without compromising the aesthetic appeal and mechanical strength of moving parts or mechanism. Similarly, the production related Jigs & fixtures and Quality Assurance Checklist is planned well in advance to counter any post production failures.

“Our focus on safe toy manufacturing begins from the design level i.e. eliminate sharp edges from the toy design without compromising the aesthetic appeal and mechanical strength of moving parts or mechanism.”

MBT: How would you describe the role of 3D printing in the toy industry?

SS: Role of 3D printing in modern day toy industry is like a cheery on the cake. Today, it is an undebatable subject that without 3D printers, it would have been virtually impossible to make, creative and playful toys. The toy designer can now touch and feel their digital 3D models created on Software and validate them functionally. These printers have drastically cut down product development time and avoid hefty Post Production failures. Showcasing these 3D printed Prototypes, help take a real time feedback from your Marketing and Sales team, long before they are actually made production worthy.

MBT: Please elaborate on the quality tests and certifications involved in manufacturing.

SS: As an Indian toy manufacturer, all possible care is taken to produce a safe toy using best quality plastic and surface coating techniques. Some of our products have been tested and are in compliance with EN-71 certification: Part-1, 2 and 3 which is one of the highest level of certifications for toy testing worldwide.

MBT: What do you think are the marketing and distribution strategies that Centy Toys adopts to ensure a smooth reach amongst the consumers?

SS: About 10 years ago, almost 90% of the Toys sold in India was through traditional Wholesale Markets and local distributors. With a Spurt in E- Commerce and Organized Retailing, we have evolved our marketing strategies in line with the need from these sectors. All our products are EAN Coded and our back-end office is well versed with order processing techniques followed by Modern Trade and E- Commerce Platform. Today, we have strong foothold and presence both on Popular Online Stores like Amazon.in, Flipkart.com, FirstCry.com and amongst the Physical Brick-and-Mortar Organized Retail Chain Stores like- Vishal MegaMart, Spencers Retail, SPAR Hypermarket, Saravana Stores, Market 99 etc.

In this global competition, brand survival on such E Commerce Platforms and Organized Retail depends a lot on the product reliability, durability and workmanship at an affordable price. We try our best to meet these commitments made to our customer. Over the years, we have constantly improved our position in the parameter of Customer Satisfaction by acting swiftly on their valuable feedback.

Inspite of focusing on these Modern trade distribution channel, we’ve never lost our presence and belief in Indian traditional toy markets PAN India like Sadar Bazar in Delhi, Masjid Bander in Mumbai, BBD Bagh in Kolkata and Mamulpet in Bangalore.

“Today, we have strong foothold and presence both on popular Online Stores… and amongst the Physical Brick-and-Mortar Organized Retail Chain… we have constantly improved our position in the parameter of Customer Satisfaction”

MBT: Could you please share some more details on the market reach of your products all over India?

SS: We have established our market presence in most of the tier-1 and tier-2 cities. The price point is so strategically decided that the Indian kids can get good quality toys at a reasonable price.

Broadly speaking, most of the Pullback toys that we produce fall in a price range between Rs 124-260 as MRP whereas, some of our recently launched electronic toys are priced comparatively higher due to electronic parts and government taxation.

MBT: Is there any recent development at Centy Toys that you wish to highlight through our platform?

SS: Over 30 years of Toy Manufacturing, witnessing all high and low times of Indian Toy Industry, today we feel honored to serve the second generation fan following for our brand. There has been tremendous demand from our fans worldwide to develop model of Indian toy train with diverse combination of Indian Diesel Locomotive and Passenger Coaches. Almost every single toy train sold in Indian Toy Market so far has been imported from China and obviously made around foreign steam or diesel loco engines with bogies. Therefore, in 2019, we designed and launched a battery operated toy train set. This Series was named as ‘Indian Toy Train Series’ and the first Train Set to be released in this Series was ‘Passenger Toy Train’ with Popular WDM ( Wide Diesel Mixed) locomotive and RCF Coaches.

Two Iconic Color Combinations in Coaches were released in Passenger Toy Train i.e Red Coach with Off White Strip along windows, representing famous Rajdhani Express and Navy Blue Coach with Sky blue Strip representing local passenger train. Today, this Toy Train Model is one of our best sellers and there is lot of enthusiasm amongst our fans for the next release in this toy train series. Continuing this Series, we plan to launch various other combinations of toy trains e.g WAP 4 Electric Engine, Coal Wagon, Oil Tanker, Cargo Container Wagon, Brake Van, Metro trains and many more. Another exciting feature of these train sets would be its Interchangeable but diverse track shapes and lengths. Model Collectors and kids may collect these tracks separately and enjoy the fun of expanding these tracks to their desirable shape and length using different permutation and combination. Our fanbase has already made many YouTube Videos, creatively using these Passenger Toy Trains in their own studio environment.

“Therefore, in 2019, we introduced ‘Indian Toy Train Series’ and the first Train Set to be released in this Series was ‘Passenger Toy Train’… Continuing this Series, we plan to launch various other combinations of toy trains e.g. WAP 4 Electric Engine, Coal Wagon, Oil Tanker, Cargo Container Wagon, Brake Van, Metro trains and many more.”

MBT: What are the future plans of your company?

SS: We are shortly venturing into a Die-Cast Model Manufacturing, first time in India. So, far only leading foreign brands are selling Die Cast Model Cars in India, which are generally Made in China. These models shall be made as per International Scale/Ratio ranging from 1:60 to 1:28. Due to its demographic advantage with highest percentage of Young Workforce, India has potential to be a toy manufacturing hub and must focus on exports of toys from India. Firmly believing this notion, we plan to put all available resources to export toys globally in coming years.

MBT: What do you think is the present growth of the toy market and the future prospective growth?

SS: The Indian toy market is growing rapidly and is a highly competitive industry. Also, the general perception about toys among parents today is also evolving to a next level. They understand that toys contribute to the physical and cognitive development of their kids. With the rise in disposable income of Indian parents, the demand for high quality toys has improved in the recent years.

MBT: Any concluding thoughts that you would like to add?

SS: Yes, like I said earlier, with highest number of young population available in our country and toy industry being labor intensive sector, it is a perfect combination for any toy manufacturer to excel and expand exponentially. Today, the key focus of Indian toy manufacturer has to be around speedily producing innovative toy designs, using better technology for production and post production quality checks and finally get their products certified by Competent Toy Accreditation Authorities. There is no doubt that India has the potential to be the next export hub for toys in coming times. It is imperative for Government to quickly formulate policies that benefit Toy Manufacturers here and in turn the manufacturer is committed to contribute to the overall economic growth of his country.

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