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Growth beyond recovery: Renewed confidence in India’s cleaning industry

India is an important market and the international cleaning industry is taking stock of its consistent growth potential. It is also unique with its complex pricing structure and quality demands. Clean India Journal caught up with Axel Stolz, Executive Vice President for the Export Region, Kärcher, along with Jatinder Kaul, Managing Director – Kärcher India, during the former’s recent India visit.

New range for the future

Recording a successful turnover year-on-year globally, even in VUCA market conditions, Kärcher has been able to add at least 10 new solutions annually to its range. “We had a boom for our Steam Cleaners which are used to disinfect households; this was a pleasant surprise for us over the last two years. That being said, robotic cleaning will be a topic of the future. Kärcher launched the first reliable and functional robot cleaner in the world at Interclean 2022 recently. We are also expanding into solutions for water and air purification, which again is a big topic for the future,” said Axel Stolz.

“In India too, Kärcher experienced increased buying in the domestic floorcare range as consumers embraced the self-cleaning mode during lockdowns. Even at difficult times, there has been an increase in business at the industrial and consumer levels,” added Jatinder Kaul.

“Further, there’s an increased income level of middle class India, where we see a huge market developing for our home cleaning solutions. This will be a much bigger business in the future. As markets are getting back to business, hospitality is bouncing back, IT is opting to work from the office and FM is getting back to pace, we are also gaining more momentum,” explained Stolz.

Kaul continued: “In India, with Covid-19 impacting the hotel industry as well as facility management organisations, housekeeping came to a standstill for some time. These businesses took a step back. For us, while this was a setback, we had an upswing for various professional segments and in diversified consumer cohorts. The good news now is that the hospitality sector is booming, and ‘revenge tourism’ is in full throttle.”

Today, house-staff clean three homes or apartments per day. If they are equipped with a vacuum cleaner, they will be able to scale up to six homes or apartments per day. They will get a higher income, and also perhaps a better standard of living. This economic upswing will eventually benefit the country at large.

Jatinder Kaul

 

Creating value for investment

“Achieving efficiency is our customer and product promise. This principle has been ingrained in the development and research of all our solutions for the benefit of our end customers.”

“Our solutions enable customers to save time, water and energy too. For example, with the Kärcher pressure washers, customers can get much better cleaning results in a shorter time. Our prowess is established through test results, where double the surface cleaning area was achieved compared to our competition. By using 25% of water compared to a normal hose and thereby abetting water conservation, we are geared towards sustainability, another trend of the future. Kärcher even received the German Sustainability Award 2022 for being the most sustainable company in the industry,” said Stolz.

“In fact, the Kärcher Experience Center in Noida, offers end customers a real time demo and addresses their challenges. ‘Seeing is believing’ and this truly helps build customer confidence.”

“For the Professional segment, a demo is done through a site visit. Being a solution provider, we are not just selling a machine, but getting into a long-term partnership with the service provider where we can work together in providing our expertise and support to achieve the best cleaning results,” explained Kaul.

With the size of population, India is actually a continent! I was last here nine years ago and can see a lot has changed and improved. For example – domestic logistics has improved and as the economy grows, the cost and efficiency of production will directly relate to having cleaner facilities.

Axel Stoltz

 

Manufacturing in India

“Our solutions are robust, of good quality and popular across international customers. As we expand our new range in the future, we have ambitious plans for India. Definitely, we will have more local production every year for the market and also for exports.”

“India is similar to many emerging markets, where they have the responsibility of exports as well. I visited India nine years ago and can see a lot has changed and improved. For example, domestic logistics has improved and as the economy grows, the cost and efficiency of production will directly relate to having cleaner facilities. Further, mechanised cleaning solutions will become a requirement. So, with the vision and expectation we have here for India, we see a huge potential for the future. The economy and society in India are developing very fast and in a positive way. This is a benefit for us as well as for the cleaning industry,” explained Stolz.

“India has the fastest growing middle-class and that shows great market potential. Kärcher is in expansion mode right now, both in terms of investment and talent. Our motto is ‘it’s people that make a difference.’ Thus, we are attracting young talent, investing in them and in training centres to ensure their competencies are constantly polished and nurtured.” concluded Kaul.

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