Gemini: Striving to become the symbol of Sri Lanka in Industrial Belting, Spares and Automation

Started from the year 2000, Gemini Stores (Pvt) Ltd is an authorized Habasit distributor and one of the leading suppliers of industrial belting in Sri Lanka. The company holds a broad range of conveyor belts and power transmission belts which are used in the manufacturing and production equipment sector.

18 years partnership

Gemini Stores (Pvt) Ltd. (or “Gemini” in short) was established in Sri Lanka by its founder, Mr. S.T.Arunasalam in 1950 as a leading company importing and distributing products ranging from PP raw materials, stationery items, food items, paper items and many more products for the wholesales market. In 1985, the business was then passed to his son Mr. A.Balraj, whom later brought in the belting business, coincidentally by an inquiry on textile spinning and began its cooperation with Habasit Fast East, the Habasit affiliate anchored in Singapore.

After seeing the business potential, Gemini started officially its full-fledged division for industrial belting and established The Gemtrans Engineering Co. as its subsidiary for sales and distribution in 1998, while Gemini as the parent company owning the importing business. In the year 2000, Gemini was granted the authorized distributorship by Habasit Far East and today, the company is the market leader in Sri Lanka with in-house capabilities to customize and fabricate various types of conveyor belts to serve customers’ most challenging industrial requirements.

Thrive to be the market leader

Mr. Dinesh, the Business Development Manager from Gemini, still remembers vividly when he started his career in the belting business and was sent to Habasit Far East office in Singapore for a one-month training and attachment program. “I can still name the product codes of the belts in the first order we secured for Habasit in Sri Lanka. It’s not easy to start the business and at the beginning, we were only able to start with very small orders to slowly penetrate and grow in the Sri Lanka market. Thanks to the continuous support we have been receiving from Habasit Far East over the past 18 years, today, we are confident to say that we have successfully positioned Habasit as the No. 1 brand in Sri Lanka and we will continue to thrive to maintain our leadership position.” said Mr. Dinesh.

Sri Lanka, an island country lies in the Indian Ocean with a total land area of 65,610 square kilometers, has 60% of its industries located around 50km radius of Colombo, the capital city of the country. Gemini, located in the business area of Colombo­ with a 3-storey building for a team of 14 and a well-equipped workshop, is able to easily access and serve all the industrial customers timely. Sri Lanka’s most dynamic industries are Textile, Paper, Food Processing and Material Handling and these are the segments which Gemini focuses on.

Stand out from competition

After the Sri Lanka Civil War ended in 2009, the country started opening up to foreign investments to boost its economy and since then, the market place becomes more and more crowded. As a long-standing belting supplier in Sri Lanka, the team in Gemini learnt over the years of experience that, the principle to sustain in the race and maintain the leading position is to have good product and good service. “while Habasit is a brand who you can trust with guaranteed product performance, as a Habasit distributor, we have to harness our own skills and talents of workforce to ensure that when customer comes to us, we are always ready to understand their needs and solve their problems” commented Mr. Dinesh when he was asked to share on their strategy to competition. "We work closely with our key customers and gathering vast amounts of data about their belt usage, machinery details, replacement data etc. We have one of the most comprehensive database about our customers and this insight is crucial for improving customer service and retention." It takes a long time to invest in knowledge and accumulate valuable intelligence through practice – these are the absolute competitive edges that Gemini has in the market and what Gemini has been proud of.

Another secret recipe to safeguard the market position is to invest and upgrade the workshop facilities. Habasit has strict guidelines on the workshop capabilities of the authorized distributors to ensure the guaranteed fabrication quality of Habasit products to be delivered the end-users. “We appreciate it very much the visit done by Mr. Jeffrey Low, the Engineering Manager from Habasit Far East to help us to transform our workshop. After the training and visit, we have seen tremendous improvement in the flow of material and space optimization in our workshop.”

Always ready to serve customer

In the marketplace, customers are always facing different suppliers and solution providers that are not sharply differentiated, however, only with clear understanding of the customers’ challenges and years of application experience can the company find the right solution. Gemini shared with three interesting cases to demonstrate their service capability and readiness for customers.

CBL Foods. OEM – ArCan Chocolate Enrober Cooling Tunnel

Customer had installed a new chocolate enrobing line and cooling tunnel supplied by ArCan, the OEM from Turkey. Belt installed was F-2EQWT – 1,000mm x 38,000mm. The engineer from ArCan had only a few days to install the belt and do trial before handing over the machine to customer for production. However, there was only one date available for the site joining and it happened to fall on a Public Holiday, therefore, ArCan was not able to service the customer. Gemini took up the job and joined the belt for the customers on time to meet the production run. For the past 10 years, the customer remains with Gemini and still remembers on the extraordinary service from Gemini.

Textprint Lanka. OEM – Reggiani Flat Bed Printer

Customer had originally installed Habasit belt ENU-50AXBD with dimension of 2,434mm x 61,738mm. The belt was more than 5 years old and during peak season, the belt broke down at the finger joining area. Customer was desperate because the newly ordered belt would come only after 5 weeks and any downtime meant for production is millions in loss. Gemini had no prior experience in repairing a printing blanket which came out from its fingers but with the consultation and technical support from Mr. Jeffrey Low, Engineering Manager from Habasit Far East, Gemini team undertook task and after 8 hours of hard works at customer’s site, the belt was repaired successfully for the customer to use during the interim until the new ENU-5AXBD was delivered and installed. The repair job helped the customer to minimize their production loss and customer praised that the fast response and service quality from Gemini exceeded their expectation.

Ceylon Tobacco Company, BAT SriLanka – Belt replacement

The project was to convert existing belts to BAT approved AMGP tobacco belts for Ceylon Tobacco Company. Tender was first called from all competing belting suppliers in 2014 for a total 12 types of belts for the secondary processing plant of the company located in Colombo, followed by second tender in 2015 for 47 types of belts for the primary processing plant in Kandy. Gemini won the second tender because of the price advantage and strong service capability. The customer was surprised that Gemini managed to do 4 joints per day while many other players in the market could only do 2 joints per day.

Going Forward

Sri Lanka’s economy is expected to rebound from a low base and grow around 4.3% in medium terms, driven by private consumption and investment, according to report from World Bank. With the upward economic growth momentum, Gemini is confident in the future of the development of belting business in the country and would like to expand their foothold on other segments, like Material Handling and Paper to capture more market opportunities in the country. Anchored in Sri Lanka, the company is also looking at penetrating into the Maldives, its neighbouring country.

Sri Lanka

Capital: Colombo (commercial);
Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte (administrative)
Official Language: Sinhalese, Tamil, English
Area: 65,610 km2
Population: 21.2 million (2016)
Currency: Sri Lankan rupee

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