Pivoting to the importance of eco-friendly products in the market, people now want machines that use little or no chemicals, such as steam cleaners. As India’s industries become more conscious of the footprint of their processes on nature, “Products are being designed to have minimal environmental impact, because that’s what customers are now looking for,” said S. Vanchinathan, Regional Head (South)-Buzil Rossari Pvt. Ltd. Many exhibitors emphasized on the ‘eco-label’ certification of their products, which permits them to be used in ‘green’ buildings. India’s architects have started designing buildings that have the least possible effect on their surrounding environment; the cleaning industry has kept pace with them, designing products according the same philosophy.
“Newer products require little or no fresh water for use, reducing the stress on our water bodies,” said Debasish Behera, Executive Director-Sales and Marketing (South Asia), Unger, displaying his company’s range of foam-based cleaners, and an alcohol-based window cleaner that obviates the need for using a squeegee.
Make In India
The Make In India Initiative is now flooding the market with newer products and brands. “We started manufacturing in India even before the initiative was launched, because our distributors wanted to partner with someone who can supply an entire range of products in the country,” said Naveen Chauhan of KC Green Revolution Pvt. Ltd. Products designed abroad, but produced in India, were immensely popular. Innovision’s MD Vinay Ruparel pointed out that making in India brings down manufacturing costs, which could be passed on to the customer. V Raj Ganesh, Marketing Manager of Roots Multiclean Pvt Ltd asserted that 90% of his company’s products are made in India, from which they are exporting to 34 countries. Many exhibitors had foreign partners who were looking to expand their business in India, but the reverse was true as well. “Some foreign visitors at the Expo wanted to sign Joint Ventures with Indian manufacturers,” added Mahabal M Kundar, Director- Mutha Group of Industries.
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A rapidly growing country like India, which has made cleaning its national agenda, generates unimaginable waste, has a blooming linen care requirement, need for water-energy efficient solutions for industries… is the most-sought business destination.
The cleaning industry has evolved rapidly to suit customers’ changing needs, but “age-old problems like hard-water stains in toilet bowls and wash-basins still remain a problem for the customer,” said Yugesh H Naik, Business Head-Alpha Products. On the other end of the spectrum, robotics has made an entrance into the field, with Sam Cherian, MD-Scheveran proudly displaying his cutting-edge cleaning robot to captivated visitors every day.
Rapidly Expanding Sector
“With our 125-crore population, India’s relatively young laundry industry has the potential to grow manifold,” predicted Choleshwar Ratne, MD-A2Z Laundry Solutions. Everybody is a potential customer, and there is space for many more new laundries. Many laundries now have franchisee models, allowing more and more investors to enter this space. Ratne gave the example of some laundries who came to him with low initial investments, and have gone on to have multiple stores within a year or two.
Moving Towards Automation
Ankur Gupta, Director – QuickClean Pvt Ltd summarised the market trend by saying that there is an increasing awareness and desire for automatic machines. Since these require minimal human supervision, a higher volume of soiled laundry can be cleaned at any given point in time. Going a step further, Dilip Param, CEO and founder of Dhobiwala.com asserted that “Companies are going beyond products; we are offering end-to-end, customised solutions based on topography and investment capability”. Along with machines, companies are now also offering training, partnering and technology solutions.
Laundries have long had a reputation for being water guzzlers; customers have become more conscientious, and are demanding products that reduce the demand for water. “Wet-cleaning is replacing dry-cleaning,” revealed Ayush Khanijo, CEO-Orgaearth Cleansol, “because customers want to be more environment friendly”. Most exhibitors had a majority of visitors who enquired about wet-cleaning solutions.
Evolving Collection Models
“India is moving from a dhobiwala model to a dropoff or self-service model”, said David Chadima, Area Sales Manager (Asia-Pacific Region), Dexter Laundry. “Laundry service providers have two problems: on time pickup and retaining customers,” said Srinivas Ramarishna, CEO of Dhobhilocker, a laundry chain start-up. Customers now expect every service at their doorstep, at a time of their convenience and choosing. Frustration with a laundry that cannot accommodate their needs pushes them to switch to another, and another. By providing 24-hour pickup/ deposit facilities, laundries can retain existing customers and also expand their clientele.
Facilities, such as hospitals and hotels, require a huge amount of linen every day, which needs to be collected, cleaned and returned in a very short period of time and used again. The latest trend is for such facilities to rent linen, instead of purchasing and laundering it themselves. “It is cheaper for facilities to rent laundry rather than buy and clean their own,” said Mohan K, Director-HGlobal Pvt Ltd. Washing and maintaining linen on a daily basis through an in-house laundry is not economically viable, he said. Moreover, most facilities do not know how much they are spending on linen management. Renting high-quality linen that is delivered to and picked up from facilities every day, helps streamline the process and eliminates all linen related problems for the client’s facility.
A rapidly growing economy like India generates an unimaginable amount of waste as the by-product of its development. The feedback of most exhibitors at this Expo was that high-efficiency, high-volume products, which drive costs down, are popular. Environment consciousness had a role to play here as well, with products that use recycled water generating more enquirers.
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Basic requirement to IoTbased solutions are not available in India. However, there is a need for awareness, willingness to adopt new technology, skilled manpower, business strategy and above all a shift into the new era.
Tech Meets Waste
When the waste sector embraces technology, the most innovative products are bound to be invented. We are used to the sight of overflowing garbage dumps/bins, which are not emptied for days on end. Leading the wave of adopting technology was Masstrans, which exhibited a partially solar-powered compactor whose bin was connected to an IoT system that can provide data about the fullness of the bin and the amount of waste generated per day.
“Over the years, the focus has shifted from waste collection to waste processing,” said Sandeep Kanetkar, Director- Smart Enviro Energy Systems. Cities are catching up with the implementation of waste segregation, but what should be done with waste afterwards? Greensol Power Systems was one among many exhibitors to showcase its waste-to-energy plant; Ramarathna, its senior manager said that waste segregation many no longer be required since the plant can burn everything (except metals) and produce steam to run the turbine, generating electricity.
Wet Waste Management
“Food waste or wet waste is a problem for every client, and can be converted to dehydrated form, for use in a composting or bio gas plant,” suggested N Nilesh, Director-Apollo Kitchen Equipment’s and Services. Customers were looking for a 100% solution for wet waste management, which is maintenance-free and requires a negligible amount of electricity. Many solutions were oriented towards hotel kitchens, which generate a tremendous amount of wet waste every day.
KV Subba Rao, MD-Orgreen Waste2Water Technology Pvt. Ltd said that the output water of such solutions is nutrient-rich, non-toxic, and can be used for gardening. They dispose of waste at the kitchen level, and it costs less to process waste this way than what municipalities are spending on conventional methods of disposal.
New Product Categories
Sanitary napkin disposal is a brand-new sector in waste management. Not only are there machines to dispense napkins, there are now machines to safely incinerate used napkins as well. Manoj Khatri and Jigar Seth of Pinkflora Pvt. Ltd said that such machines are much needed by hostels, hotels, schools and colleges. Everyone agreed that for the waste industry to grow, it needs to educate more and more people about the need for appropriate disposal.