Amrutraj Kulkarni, Vice President, Buzil Rossari Pvt Ltd gives an expert take on the do’s and don’t for startups puzzled by what cleaning chemicals to choose, and which companies to trust.
How should a startup assess a potential chemicals supplier?
The credibility of the supplier should be assessed first. What is their presence in the startup’s area of operations? How long have they been present there? What has the experience of their previous customers been? These, and not cost, should be the criteria for choosing a chemical.
What common mistakes do startups make when it comes to choosing a chemical?
Many startups go directly for a low-cost chemical. This is a mistake they should avoid. Their reputation with their own customers will be damaged; customers will question their expertise and assume they are looking only for a short-term engagement.
By going for the cheapest option, deliverables are likely to be compromised, be it performance, customer safety, employee safety, sustainability commitments. Cleaning chemicals constitute not more than 2-3% of any service provider’s operating costs, so where does the question of cost-cutting arise here? How much money will they possibly save?
One person can do two people’s jobs, but one chemical cannot be made to have two applications; this is what everyone needs to understand.
How should a startup choose between concentrated and dilute chemicals?
Whether it is for floor cleaning or kitchen cleaning or any other application, most chemicals are available in concentrated form and need to be diluted. The focus should be on choosing the right chemical for the right application, and diluting it correctly. Manpower needs intensive training to accomplish this.
Why should a startup go with reputed companies from the very beginning?
The largest, most reputed service providers use only credentialled, proven, branded cleaning chemicals. Their customers are well aware of this. They too could go in for non-branded products and compromise on quality to cut costs; with their volumes, they would save much more. But do they? Never. They have found that the branded model works for them, and stick to it; startups would do well to emulate them.
What environmental certifications should they look for in a product?
For making sustainable choices, always check for a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certification. Ensure that the company marketing the product is also manufacturing it; a trader cannot control or take responsibility for manufacturing practices and certifications, because he is buying from someone else.
Check for certifications from the Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN), or Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) in India.
What are the basic categories of products a startup must procure to maintain a washroom in any facility?
I believe it takes at least six different chemicals to maintain a washroom properly:
- Toilet bowl cleaner
- Surface cleaner-cum-disinfectant
- Floor cleaner
- Hand wash right
- Metal polish to maintain shine of metal fixtures
- Air freshener or odour eliminator