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Starting with making and marketing of simple household projects way back in the 70s, Chennai based Surfactants & Allied Chemicals Pvt Ltd has grown into a leading manufacturer of cleaning chemicals with over 65 products and a pan India dealer network. Founder Directors, P Prabhakarand, P Dasarathan spoke to CIJ

 

The beginning…

We started our business 25 years ago. After graduating from Loyola College, Chennai, we started making cleaning products in a small way. Even though ours was a small startup venture, we thought big. We approached big institutions like Ashok Leyland, Taj Coromandel and Chola Sheraton (Chennai) for customised product services. Seeing our drive and quality of products, the big companies trusted us and became our customers. We had the fortune of entering into various contracts with Southern Railway. However, we did not sit on our laurels. We had fixed ourselves a goal of developing two to three new products every year. That is how we were able to put up the wide product range that we have now. After proving our strength in Chennai, we expanded to other cities and states through our dealer network.

Awareness about cleaning chemicals…

Customers today possess clear knowledge of what they want or they seek to learn it. More than ever, now customers have become a force to reckon with and have a wide variety of choices in everything. As far as cleaning industry is concerned, this results in having to deal with different surfaces, materials, cleaning accessories, etc. All surfaces cannot be cleaned with just plain water or the traditional cleaners like acid and bleach. Also, the availability of the right cleaning chemical for a particular application saves a lot of time, money and precious water. The cleaning chemicals further help to determine the exact cost factor involved in the process of cleaning.

What about Eco-friendly Chemicals?

All our products are non-hazardous, bio-degradable and eco-friendly. The manufacturing process is governed by QAP of ISO 9001:2008 standards and we also meet the Air and Water regulations of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board. We give utmost importance to testing of raw materials in the incoming stages itself and reject anything which is toxic or hazardous. We have also planted many trees and plants in our works unit, as our gesture towards the environment. Indeed our motto is “For Cleaner Environment”.

Effective solutions offered to the clients…

Ashok Leyland had a problem with their shopfloor cleaning years back. We approached them with our solution which worked very well and suited their requirement. We are happy to say that even now they are buying products from us.

We created a new chapter in the cleaning of Railway coaches in Southern Railway, by developing unique products for coach cleaning. Our product provided the required cleaning of the tough exterior surfaces of coaches, removing stubborn stains caused by weather, sunlight, food items and gutkha while not affecting the paint. The other product we developed for Railways was interior coach cleaner which could clean metallic, epoxy, aluminium and rexin surfaces. In spite of competition in these sectors, we are able to keep our prominent position in the Railway cleaning segment.

In another instance, Taj Coromandel was importing a product from the United States for dry carpet cleaning. As part of vendor development, we were asked to develop the equivalent product to save on costs. We developed the product successfully to the satisfaction of Taj Coromandel and we are happy to say that we are still the only company making the dry carpet cleaner in India.

Though many of our products have been standardised for various cleaning needs, we still get enquiries from our customers with unique cleaning problems. We work with the clients, study the problem areas and formulate appropriate cleaning solutions.

Still, there can be more challenges…

Today there is an explosion in the number of cleaning/housekeeping service providers. This is a positive development as the customers get more options in terms of quality, cost and manpower. As with any industry, only those companies which take the profession of cleaning seriously are the most sought after.

Even though institutions rely on the housekeeping professionals for better upkeep of their premises, it is to be admitted that they are relegated to the last levels while allotting payment. This results in a chain of events affecting the quality of cleaning, supply chain management and vendors like us. It also results in intense competition among the cleaning service providers.

Patrons of cleaning industry should have a vision and focus on long term results rather than on immediate challenges like cost/budget. It is true that “Quality pays for itself”

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