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Hako GmbH has been present in India with its long-time joint venture partner Roots Multiclean Ltd. Preben Laustsen, Managing Director-Hako Group East Asia Ltd, discusses Indian market with Managing Editor Mohana M.

Roots was one of the first companies in India to introduce an international brand into the local market. Cleaning then, especially mechanized cleaning, had a limited scope in a labour intensive market, yet Hako has being growing steadily.

“Today, we supply a mix of products that come out of Hako Germany and machines that are manufactured by Roots locally but can compete with some of the new competition in price and quality.”

The joint cooperation works on the objective of overall growth in this market and “we are still progressing”. Hako Group is providing technical cleaning and maintenance solutions for especially floor cleaning under the brands of Hako, Minuteman and Powerboss.

“As a company, we are focusing on one particular form of cleaning – floor cleaning. When it comes to floor cleaning we cover the entire spectrum of needs, meaning all types of floors and facilities, and both indoor and outdoor solutions.

The new government initiative of clean India is definitely a fantastic message for the whole industry. The Clean India movement initiative, definitely is a boost to professional cleaning. 

Changed scenario in India

India has been witnessing a steady growth in the mechanized cleaning segment; however, since this second quarter with the new Indian government pledging a Clean India movement for the next five years, the market is buoyant about a surge in demand.

The Clean India movement initiative, definitely is a boost to professional cleaning but at the same time calls for strategic planning. “Firstly, we would continue our partnership with Roots Multiclean in India. As an international partner, we are of course pleased with the strong hold Roots has in the Indian market.

“The new prime minister and his team are exuding a lot of confidence into the total Indian business market. It is commendable to notice how a government-change impacts cleaning. It is very interesting to see that in India, compared to other Asian countries, the message is coming right from the top and hence will have an impact. In other countries, it is more of a hear-say and it usually does not reach a level as in India. I certainly see it is different, especially after the Prime Minister Modi visited the US and said that “we must clean India”. This is a quantum step forward in terms of a message. Looking forward, we now have to see how it is going cascade into action in terms of budgeting and implementation. We together with Roots are definitely ready to meet the demand.”

Price Factor

Taking stock of the present cleaning industry Preben said: “if we look at India, it is still 98% predominantly manpower based market even though there is a steady growth in mechanized cleaning. Some of the leading facility service providers in India have staff surpassing 100,000 and qualify to be a big company. Coming from Germany, this figure is simply too large, but in India it is totally different, as the labour cost is very low and relatively it will take another 25 years to develop the mechanized cleaning market to a so called mature market. We will of course continue to grow and also progressively more and more, however the coming years will still see the cleaning market in India being a very labor intensive one”

Washroom cleaning

Besides floor cleaning, there is an increased focus on washrooms in India. “I have spent a good deal of my career in washroom service. In Asia, washrooms are treated a bit differently. When it comes to cleaning washroom, most service companies hose it with water everywhere. If the right kind of chemicals and disinfectants are not applied, water hosing does not help in cleaning and disinfection. As such there is a lot of scope to look at various options of floor cleaning but with narrow floor space in a washroom, it is hard to take a scrubber inside. Hence, washroom cleaning is more about applying the right mix of water, chemical and disinfectants with the correct set of tools for that particular confined area.

“We have some solutions to clean smaller areas. The prime minister call to build toilets is right as in a way we judge the country by the standard of its public toilets. Going back 15 years, the public toilets in example Singapore could not be compared to the standard of the ones in Europe, whereas today they can. For us today, when we look at India, it should have many more public and private washroom facilities and once they are in place there will be many companies offering appropriate cleaning solutions.”

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