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If you can do business in India, you can do it anywhere. This is a statement that often surfaces especially at international cleaning industry forums. There are a few who have made an instant hit on entering India, some have taken a few years and many others who are still holding hope or have gone back to return later. The ‘enduring growth’ story of IPC India and the sustainability of its business model are unique in some ways in the context of the growth story of Indian economy. Clean India Journal brings to you the journey so far…

The growth of the Indian cleaning industry and its players have been to a large extent impacted by the growth of the economy which has been scaling high since the 90s. It is during this time, IPC (Integrated Professional Cleaning) Italy, one of the largest OEM of cleaning machines and tools, forayed into the Indian market in a joint venture with Western Floor Pvt Ltd. With a spread of global commercial network in over 120 countries and an OEM model not just for providing machines & tools but also solutions, IPC India’s penetration has been progressive.

Like in most developing economies, the need for cleaning solutions became much pronounced in the 2000s with growing infrastructure, investor confidence, international influx, retail-commercial-residential space development and so on. Requirement for specific cleaning solutions in each of these areas then surfaced.

With a business reach across matured and developing markets of North and Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and especially India and Turkey – catering to different continents by manufacturing in five different countries, and its wide distribution network operating in highly heterogeneous conditions around the world – over a period of 63 years, IPC was able to offer India a ‘time & terrain’ tested formula for cleaning.

IPC India in 2011 turned into a wholly owned subsidiary of IPC Italy. In 2014, the change in guard at the Italian headquarters with Federico D’Angelis taking over as Managing Director, changed the focus on the Indian operations too. Closely followed by change of guard in IPC India.

“With renewed focus on the Indian subsidiary and all eyes on its progress, a new growth roadmap was drawn in India to keep pace with the growth of the Indian economy and align IPC’s worldwide strategy to suit Indian dynamics,” says Tony Chazhoor, MD, IPC India.

Operational Excellence

“Exploring different market spaces to widen reach and be present in all corners of India to enhance customer experience became a priority. A strategy was implemented to attain flexibility, a passive aggression in the market place and responsiveness of scaling measures. This made the difference,” he explained.

The strategy also required a team of specialised trained sales and service professionals. “Maintenance and service of products and catering to customers’ after-sales & service requirements, hence the measures were introduced to address this critical aspect.

Training the new team and upskilling the existing ones in soft and hard skills required and in order to enable them to efficiently carry out their duties a training academy was set up and a dedicated trainer hired, to train not only the IPC team but also the dealers and the end customers.”

“Over the years, the India business has been fully aligned with the global organization and has grown to a reasonable size and reach. Starting with two branches in 2015, IPC India has 12 now to network across all regions. This is further strengthened by multiple dealers in various States. Four warehouses across the country now ensure timely delivery of products to customers.

In 2017, the IPC Group as a whole was acquired by Tennant Company (NYSE: TNC), another world leader in the designing, manufacturing and marketing of cleaning solutions, thus increasing the range and professional solutions being offered to the customers.

Product differentiator

“Constant commitment to technological research and product innovation, collaboration with valuable strategic partners, a near-complete range of product lines starting from manual tools to high end ride-on sweepers covering all categories such as scrubbers, ride-on scrubber driers, high-pressure cold & hot water washers, window cleaning systems, industrial and professional vacuum range with high-reach vacuums and façade cleaning machines etc. helped build customer confidence in the IPC brand.”

IPC group has over 1000 specialists dedicated to developing newer and better machines and focussing on specific solutions for tangible productivity benefits. The newer, efficient and robust machines meet newer levels of energy and water savings, and recycling of materials. “The innovativeness and efficiency in performance enables in providing such solutions which sets us apart from the competition.”

“A single machine performing various tasks such as upholstery cleaning with the capability to dry and also wet vacuum; or the CT 15R that can be used to clean hard floors and can be switched to clean carpets enhances customer experience. A safe façade cleaning solution that can clean facades or vertical surfaces up to 16 meters high from the ground does away with the risks associated with climbing heights. The ‘SkyVac’ with carbon fibre technology can vacuum internal and external heights of up to 12 metres and is operated from the ground.” In each category, the versatile products range offers two to three variants with optimization of economy and mechanization derivatives.

Today, IPC India customers are spread across sectors from industries like food processing and metal working to service industries like IT/ITES, BPO and KPO with the largest contributor being the FM sector. “This is a highly challenging and price-conscious segment, which constitutes 50% of the company revenue. Consequently, IPC India has been clocking high double-digit growth for the last four years.”

“Any leading manufacturing or service-oriented company looks to ensure a sustainable model of growth by focusing on developing business models based on change and innovation, in order to stay connected to existing customers and augment its portfolio of products sold to them, find newer spaces for doing business, and expand its market reach. While no single formula guarantees growth right away, there is a near visible march towards progress if the company is patient and keeps up with its strategy and efforts,” says Tony Chazhoor

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