‘Professional cleaning requirements of India, especially from the organised sector, are growing thus, calling cleaning companies for taking strategic positioning and making marketing plans to meet the demand. IPC India -Western floor Pvt Ltd has set the road map to take the world’s fourth largest cleaning company to newer heights. The new Country Head Tony Chazhoor chats up with Clean India Journal.
Having been in the Indian cleaning industry for just over a few years, Tony states that the cumulative growth of equipment manufacturers and suppliers over the past years has not been very impressive. “However, a year or two down the line, the industry is poised to grow exponentially. Informal surveys indicate that the industry is likely to grow and achieve a turnover of around `1200-1400cr towards the end of 2017, creating equal opportunities across the line for manufacturers, suppliers and distributors alike.” Triggering the momentum of this growth is the Swachh Bharat Mission and the increased investment in infrastructure and industries.
FM to lead the way
The frontline facility management companies in the international space are experiencing a CAGR growth of over 30% annually. However, there are facility services companies in India, which have grown five to six times and are registering CAGR of 250%. The organised sector has already stepped up outsourcing facility service to professional service providers. A similar trend is observed in the hospitality and healthcare segments. Hence the FM companies are going to hold the key in shaping professional cleaning demand in the coming years. Specialised equipment demand is likely to surge with the outsourcing model.
In contrast to the developed countries, where FM market is near saturation, India is growing fast. Leading FM companies in developed countries have registered a slowdown compared to their Indian counterparts, which are experiencing five to six times higher growth rate. This clearly indicates that the coming decade cleaning market will be FM-oriented.
With adequate expertise and experience in terms of knowledge and technology, IPC has the potential to be one of leading players in India too. It serves the complete range of products, for instance in tools category alone, we have more than 7600 products. Similarly, in vacuum cleaners, IPC has a vast range of equipment that caters to almost all kinds of industries. The versatile Soteco range is being marketed by some of the big players including Roots Multiclean and now in the tools range Diversey too will be supplying IPC products.
Having registered a notable presence in the country in the last 17 years, our marketing strategy has been a combination of direct and indirect sales. A direct relationship with end consumers is essential for making them aware of mechanised cleaning in terms of tangible benefits – time efficiency and cost efficiency. These factors are to be driven and must be looked into, – healthcare or other industries – in many places manual cleaning is still a way of life. Unless we as professional cleaning solution provider, come directly into the picture, things will not improve significantly.
As of now, 55% of the complete sales is through dealership. In the coming years, we would like to enhance our direct sales up to 70%.
The major portion of each of the industrial segment is in the unorganised sector. The organised players have pre-focussed targets. This is where the need to increase awareness comes into the picture.
Take the hotel industry which we claim to be organised. If you look at the players below 3-star, many of them are actually in to manual cleaning. Infact, the rooms of low star hotels constitute 72% of total rooms of the Indian hotel industry. These properties don’t use a single machine for cleaning.
Second is restaurants. Every city has got decent restaurants. They again are not using machines. It is easier to reach them through suppliers. For the organised sector, direct sales must be applied and for the unorganised sectors, indirect sales should be there. Our focus will be on a segment-sector wise bifurcation of sales & marketing.
The motto behind enhancing indirect sales channel is to enhance the reach to small players as their requirements are limited. For the industries/companies requiring specific machines/tools/consumables, dealers may not have the adequate knowledge or proficiency to cater to the exact demand. This is where direct sales comes into picture.
Increased direct sales is required majorly for one, we have to play a consultative role in providing solutions and two, providing service. If one is not able to service end users after sales service right from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, the image created will not do justice to the brand. This service is not possible in indirect sales. The next three to four years direct relationship with end users is important in the wake of prevalent manual cleaning. Manual labour is largely
available, though it is restricted now, and thus, it is important to educate end users on the tangible benefits of mechanised cleaning in terms of time-efficiency and cost-efficiency.
The restaurants which invest over in building the structure may not realise the need for mechanised cleaning. Hence retailing in this segment, though, consisting of small players is required, as the contribution of small establishments to the cleaning market is over 60% of sales. We can reach out this
segment through indirect sales as its requirements are small and limited unlike big industries and large hospitals which would have specific requirements. A supplier in indirect sales may not have the proficiency to provide such solutions.
IPC Strength and Distributorship
Today, we have around 25 distributors and a team of about 35 of which seven are in sales. We have a good stand in the West and are working on penetrating the South where we will be opening up new offices in this year itself. We already have a regional office in Pune besides our Delhi head office and this year, we will also look at opening up offices in Gujarat.