[box type=”shadow” ]K.E Ranganathan, MD, Roca Bathroom Products Pvt. Ltd tells Clean India Journal how the global company has adapted itself in the Indian market and is set to levitate the bathroom industry towards a better future.[/box]
What is Roca’s methodology to be a leader in the Indian market?
Its official ! With over 40 million pieces per annum and presence in over 170 countries, Roca is the world leader in the sanitary segment. Roca has always been leading in the definition of bathroom space with world class designer products in collaboration with some of the best designers of the world. In India, Roca has five key brands namely Armani Roca, Laufen, Roca, Parryware & Johnson Pedder to address the needs of different consumer segments from luxury to affordable. With a huge network of over 6000 retail points across 150 cities in India, Roca caters to the needs of over five million customers every year through innovative practices.
The CSR initiative which is through the ‘We Are Water Foundation’ of Roca Group. The Foundation aims at achieving two main objectives – firstly, to contribute towards spreading a new competence of water which is more solicitous, equitable and sustainable; and second, help the world’s poorest and those with major water and sanitation problems.
Globally, the Foundation is based in Spain and now we have opened in India. We have collaborated with NGOs and they have done quite a lot in the last two years. For 2018-19, we have an action-packed agenda in mind.
What is your game plan towards the Indian consumers?
We have opened a lot of exclusive showrooms across India and our own company owned studios in Delhi and Kochi. During the current year we will be adding 3 more in key cities like Chandigarh, Lucknow, & Bangalore. Over next 3-4 years we will add 12 additional Studios. We want our customers to visit the studio and experience various kinds of products in live conditions because this is a very embroiled category and not impulse like watching an advertisement and going for a purchase. This is because the customer will get to understand the future benefit of closet or shower and have a better experience of water conservation.
While demonstrating, you need to keep in mind all the aspects of an individual according to the age bracket. For example, kids love electronic gadgets and colours, the youth loves shower related aspects – misty or a massage shower, or it could be a very interesting way a shower which comes around the body; the elderly may want it in a more convenient way. So, these are the ways in which we promote our products in a nice experiential way in our outlets but also in an inspirational way of communication. That’s the whole game plan on which we work.
How has been your personal journey so far in this industry ?
I was with Murugappa group as Managing Director for Parryware until 2005 and then we forged a joint venture with Roca. Post the buy out of 100% stake by Roca Group during year 2008, I went back to Murugappa Groupand returned to Roca during Sep2016. It’s quite an interesting field because in my opinion, the Indian market for bathroom is around10-15 years behind. In China,quality of public toilets is much higher. The Chinese public toilets are better than our house toilets.That’s the level of importance they pay, focusing on water conservation, hygiene, beauty,design and comfort. For the Chinese, comfort is very important because the people using the toilet must feel very cosy. Whether being the positioning of the close or the direction in which they keep their health faucet. They have thought everything right from the handle up to the door, what side and where it will be, how easy it is to flush plus the flush knob, and how will the people in wheelchair use the toilets.
But the beauty of India is, it would catch up rapidly like any other country. Mobile phones are the best example. It’s amazing how quickly Indians advance. I am sure the bathroom sector too will catch up soon. Being a part of multinational company, we have a variety of brands that work for our advantage.
How can Roca transform the future of Indian bathrooms?
We have over 25 brands in the world today out of which five brands are operating in India and we have variety of technical knowledge available. Roca group has been pioneers in the bathroom group since 1917 and just celebrated 100 years recently. So, you can imagine the power of knowledge which comes along with that. Our ability to predict the future is very high
There are about 100 engineers working in Barcelona in our Roca Design & Innovation Lab, thinking in a futuristic way of how Indians will use bathroom in 2025, how Africans will use bathroom in 2030. For example, in India if you look at metros, the size of the bathroom is coming down. In Mumbai the flat itself is only 800 sqft and bathroom will be 60 sqft. Space being the main agenda here, how do we build closets on the wall (wall-mount) and at same time give larger space for shower along with basin, keeping a margin for washing machine along with the plumbing are some of the challenges we think about beforehand and plan our moves. Now I believe a lot of wall mounted washing machines are coming up and that’s the concept which will definitely evolve.
That’s the power of Roca and this is how intelligently the company can position the bathroom products along with giving unique experience at the same time.
How is the market going to be for Roca?
As a company, we have 2 power brands namely Parryware & Roca. Our strategy to focus on each customer segment with different brands is paying off well. We are able to create pull from the customers, architects, plumbing contractors, as well as the plumbers. Our job is to stay relevant, contemporary & exciting and be of value to our customers. If you are relevant, the customers will come to us, if you are exciting they will take a look at us and if you are of value to them the consumers will buy from us. That’s the game and I believe we are doing the right thing. Hopefully it should help us to sustain the moment.