New demand in various segments
K. Ramaswamy: There is a growing shift towards outsourcing cleaning services. In the past, the end-user segment engaged in-house staff to maintain the facility. Roots too is adapting to this shift. Our marketing and servicing are organised in tune with the needs of the service providers. Previously, we were dealing with one customer from one industry or multiple customers from multiple segments but now we are dealing with one customer who is servicing several industries. That is the change and it gives us insight into the requirements of various industries. We are equipping ourselves by developing a lot of machines and accessories to meet the requirements of cleaning contractors. This is the trend where we foresee demand.
Another influencing factor is the growing awareness about cleanliness among the user segment and undoubtedly the cleaning industry has tremendous potential. Our R&D is developing more machines to meet the expectations of these growing segments and meet the futuristic demand. India is evolving like other foreign countries now.
Every company has its own challenges. Manpower is one of common issue and we need to come up with solutions of how to combine manpower and machine efficiently.
Ramaswamy: The Bangalore expansion into a regional office is mainly to meet the requirement of the southern zone and have close contact with our existing customers. The reach from Bangalore is much faster than from our Coimbatore office. Hence, the Bangalore office is in an integrated centre well equipped with a showroom, training centre, wearhouse, service centre and office. It gives clients opportunity to see all the machines and even try those hands on at one place. All the spare parts will be stocked in this regional office as the branch offices can stock only fast moving spares. It is not viable to stock all spares in the branch offices.
Moreover, the service providers highly depend on machines and through the regional office the spares can be provided much faster; thus reducing the downtime.
Dr Chandrashekhar: The common view that it is difficult dealing with service providers where payments are concerned is not always the case. There are some cases but we do a due diligence – The history of their background, their current suppliers and clients, reach and experience in the market before we get into any kind of deal with the facility service company. It is more of how you choose your customer and the credit terms are clear.
Depending on the volume, we also have a special price/discount structure of machines and spares delivered to facility services companies. Understanding their potential, we grow and expect them to grow with us.
We also have a model, whereby we supply machines on rent; however, the scheme is restricted to high volumes on mutually beneficial terms.
Varun Karthikeyan: The facility service segment has several levels of companies and we need to be careful dealing with fly-by-night operators. We have over 100 sales and 200 service people spread in all our branches spread across the country. We are able to better service the facility service companies that are operating anywhere and everywhere.
Roots Multiclean has a separate vertical that operates exclusively for facility service companies. The team meets companies individually, be it big or small. It is more of direct marketing and we have reached out to most of the major ones in India – ISS, BVG, G4S, etc. Here again, where the volumes are big, the team individually caters to their needs. In that case, there are many smaller companies which we probably have not reached out to.
We have a research cell which studies facility service companies all over India and gives specific leads to the branch offices, which in turn proceed to knock on their doors.
Since about 30% of our domestic turnover comes from facility services companies, we have resources focusing on this market but there are direct buyers too and we have to take care of their demands too.
With big companies and MNCs again, it is direct selling but when it comes to smaller ones, it is a challenge. One demo may suffice for big companies but we may have to repeat demos in smaller companies. However, once the customer is convinced, he will definitely go for it.
But there are companies who tend to take advantage and call for a demo just to get their premises cleaned once.