RR Prasad, Chief Operating Officer at Forbes Professional, Eureka Forbes Ltd says that building direct customer relationships and providing total cleaning solutions have helped Eureka Forbes remain successful, even in a competitive market
Eureka Forbes now wants to be known as a total solution provider. What are your product and solution offerings and how are you strategising the synergy?
Eureka Forbes has been delivering solutions in the health and hygiene professional space for over two decades. With the ever-increasing demand for a safer and healthier work space, we have been constantly upgrading our products and solutions to meet the market demand, be it in the water purification, air purification or mechanized cleaning solutions. With our qualified team and vast service network, we are able to reduce the downtime of our products for our customers.
How are you expanding and improving your after-sales service?
Regular maintenance and service of our products is the key parameter for attaining the desired performance of the devices. We have dedicated service teams for cleaning equipment across India. We are focusing on the use of IT tools to fill gaps and ensure timely service (mandatory services and complaints/breakdown services). We are also continuously investing in the training of our service personnel to make them more competent and efficient. We keep improving our customer satisfaction through our robust system of complaint evaluation.
What new segments are being added to your portfolio?
We have introduced a wide range of Industrial Vacuum Cleaners of standard, ATEX certified and specialised applications to cater to customer demands across different industries. Few of the specialised applications include Pneumatic conveyor systems/ powder transfer systems, fixed suction units, flux extraction, clean room applications among other applications. We have also forayed into the commercial air purification segment with a range of products to address issues related to air quality at workplaces. We introduced integrated street sweepers and litter pick-up machines to service the municipal segment.
Is the consumer buying pattern changing the usage pattern as well? What are the general changes you are seeing?
The buying pattern has definitely changed and consumers are more demanding than ever before. They now have a wider choice of products than before and all information is available on the internet. This makes the customers more aware of products, technologies and sources. We are witnessing changes in multiple areas viz.
a. Moving from owned and operated to completely outsourced model
b. Moving away from Capex to Opex model – rental model
c. In recent times, customers have also shown interest in IOT based systems to monitor and manage operations remotely; either directly or through a facility management company.
However, industrial and institutional customers still believe in branded products and consider their past experience with that brand while making a decision. When it comes to the usage pattern, we have seen a trend of customers demanding a higher uptime and increased productivity. Moreover, customers/ FMS are also investing in training of operators in order to achieve longer life of the equipment.
You have been in the Industry for over two decades. How have you experienced the evolution of professional cleaning and the use of cleaning products? How do you see your own growth as part of the Industry?
The cleaning industry in the past represented a labour intensive industry with little or no mechanisation. Since labour was cheap and availability of mechanised cleaning equipment was limited, organisations generally had their own cleaning staff for the day-to-day activities. Over the years, we have seen, mostly after the year 2000, with the entry of multi-national companies, automated production lines, software & corporate business parks in the country, a shift from inhouse housekeeping to full-fledged outsourcing to Facility Management Service Companies. The FMS, whose objective was to maximise productivity, introduced mechanised cleaning in a significant way.
What has the EFL Growth Story been?
The essence of Eureka Forbes since our inception in 1982 can be summarised in a single word – ‘Relationships’. Relationships have made us reach out to customers in their homes; we have already welcomed over twenty million happy families into our family. Today we are an over INR 30 million, multiproduct, multi-channel organisation that is part of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group.
We introduced direct selling in India, and we are one of the largest direct selling companies in the world. Our direct sales force that is over 6000 strong and operates from over 230 Customer Response Centres in over 130 cities and over 500 towns.
Our Consumer Channel was established to effectively respond to the expectations of customers looking for the means to safer, healthier living on dealer shelves. It offers them a range of water purification and home cleaning products through a network that has rapidly spread to encompass over 19,000 dealers across over 1500 cities and towns throughout India.
As institutional customers looked to create safer, healthier work environments and enhance productivity and efficiency, our institutional channel, Forbes Pro Solutions, was born. Its water projects division offers packaged and customised water treatment solutions with cutting-edge technology for diverse water utilisation purposes and industrial process requirements.
We established one of the widest service networks in the country. Almost 80% of our customers have a service centre within a 5 km radius of their machines. Over 6,500 company-trained technicians operating from over 1,200 service centres make over 40,000 kitchen visits daily.
We entered the international market, tying up with another giant in the world of direct sales; Lux International, Switzerland, through a joint venture – Forbes Lux – with a footprint in the water purification and cleaning markets of over 35 countries.