The massive earthquake in Kutch in January 2001 ruined our 14 years of pest management service. After restarting the business from a tent on the street, we got the opportunity to refurbish our pest management service through Anti-Termite Treatment owing to the incentives announced by the Government. Various corporate/MNCs too established their hygiene business in India. The influx of corporates helped in building the hygiene and cleaning market here. Since 2008, when we built our own office, it’s been a positive journey with every year new products/services getting added to our offerings. We started providing demonstrations for the customers to get first hand experience of the products.
Business and Operations…
We follow the demand trends. We operate largely on the concept of Free-To-Use dispensers, which we present to the customers on a No-Capex Scheme. The customer can instantly upgrade his/her washrooms or enhance the ambience of his facility with zero capital investment. All that is required is a fix term commitment. In addition to the zero capital investment, the customer also gets assured timely services.
With the scheme receiving a good response, in 2011, we hived off the hygiene business into a separate company named Hygiene Solutions. Top global brands like Vectair for Air-Scenting & Wash Room Care products, Gojo for hand hygiene and Alcochem for I-Trap range of insect light traps are associated with Hygiene Solutions.
All services offered are custom designed considering the type of industry that is being serviced and the culture & ambience of the organization. There is a pre-offer system in place for understanding the customers’ perspectives by visiting and meeting them. Every single customer serviced is personally checked by me. To make the services more user friendly, clients have direct access to me. The growth is going to be phenomenal with projections of at least 75-100% increase, exclusively due to this segment.
Verticals being served…
We have customers ranging from industries including manufacturing, food processing, pharma to commercial facilities like hotels, resorts, restaurants, fast food centers, banks, automobile showrooms and health care segments.
In the Kutch and Saurashtra region, we command over 60% of the air-scenting and washroom care business.
New products launched…
The company has enriched the exorbitant range of washroom products by adding a whole new range of unique dispensers for soaps and tissue papers. Ranges of mops, carts and trolleys have also been added to the offering. Another segment of interest is the insect light traps. The Flex-trap 45, a waterproof insect light trap is one of the latest additions. Also, lined up for arrival is a range of self-winding glue film traps.
Marketing and brand promotion strategies…
For marketing and brand promotion, we will be focusing on increasing virtual presence. An interactive and revamped comprehensive website will be launched soon. Social media is also being used in a big way. Fantastic leads have been generated through this as the target segments are being reached out with desired messages.
Besides, advertising in trade journals has been widely beneficial. Even small advertisements in Clean India Journal have resulted not only in business but also in getting recognition from both the industry and the trade.
The focus areas of expansion for the current year are setting up of a retail outlets and setting up a facility for deep cleaning of washrooms. Apart from that, we are hoping to commission a hygiene products’ supermart by September 2013.
A mobile crew with exclusively designed vehicles and the latest equipment and material will help deep clean washrooms. The process will include cleaning, disinfecting and drying the urinals and WCs and cleaning floors, walls, taps, sinks & mirrors. The service will be commissioned by December this year.
There are plans to set up an academy of cleaning sciences to attract and retain talent. The work will begin in January 2014 and the academy will be up and running in a couple of months.
We aim to start an all women’s branch, where all the staff will be women. My wife, Reena Sabarwal, using her knowledge of chemistry and management, will lead the branch that will give employment to 25-30 women on its inception.
The hygiene market is poised for a rapid growth. However, two factors that are preventing growth are: the lack of skilled manpower and the prevailing unhealthy competition. Getting new manpower and retaining the workforce is increasingly becoming a challenge. Skill Development is the only initiative that can attract and retain talent.
There is a huge potential to tap the residential care sector in the washroom care market. The awareness level on hygiene and the habit of using high end facilities at work have thrown open the residential sector.
On the issue of competition, I feel the industry should understand its worth. Pricing the services at extremely low rates and then cutting corners or not meeting standards bring ill-repute to the entire industry. Though the number of such players is low, their spread across the country has made the problem serious. Self-regulation is the best solution and the industry players should adhere to it for the growth and benefit of all.