At last! After years of importing dispensers from abroad, India finally has a homegrown manufacturer of dispensers. Bharat Arora, Managing Director, Elegant Hygiene Pvt Ltd spoke to Valencia Fernandes, Sub Editor, Clean India Journal about how his company is the first in the industry to Make-in-India, from design to mould making to marketing, and how domestic manufacturing will make dispensers more durable and affordable.
What are the various types of dispensers you have?
We are into hand hygiene dispensers, which includes around 14 types of liquid dispensers for liquid soap, sanitiser, gel soap, foam soap, sanitiser sprays etc, as well as dispensers for tissue paper and paper towels. Our primary market is the HORECA sector: Hospitality, Offices, Restaurants, Entertainment, Canteens and Airlines.
What were the market conditions when you entered this business?
Back in 2019, when we were planning to enter the dispenser business, we found that there were no local manufacturers of hand hygiene dispensers in India. A few importers levied hefty margins to the products they imported, making them unaffordable. Spare parts and serving were also a matter of concern.
What features do customers want in a dispenser and how are you catering to their requirements?
In India, dispensers are often supplied by a chemical manufacturer along with the chemical. They are expected to do so free of charge, and also have to service the warranty period. 20-30% of dispensers imported from China would require replacement over two years. Naturally, customers want durable dispensers that will not require servicing.
Keeping this in mind, we have developed products that will last at least 2-3 years in a high-traffic area like airports. These are heavier than others. For example, a Chinese jumbo toilet roll dispenser weighs only 550 grams, while our product is 950 grams, so we can afford to offer a two-year warranty.
How does the type of dispenser used change based on the type of facility?
This depends on the facility area. For example, a 120 acre IT campus with thousands of work stations won’t opt for a small dispenser. They will go for higher capacity products like a jumbo roll dispenser that can accommodate 1-1.5 kg.
Can dispensers be customised?
We are willing to customised dispensers for anyone who is willing to pay for the mould. We have recommended it to companies so they can boast of an exclusive dispenser and have zero competition while competing for a bid.
If I am going to invest in a mould, I will need a guarantee that volumes will help me recover my investment.
How does the way dispensers are used by end-users influence the design?
In India, there is a lot of misuse. Most people’s homes do not have a mounted soap dispenser; they do not know how, where and what level to mount it, leading to inadvertent misuse.
Since imported dispensers are very expensive, people end up buying cheap ones. Once these break, they do not have the budget to replace them.
Hence, we need dispensers that are durable and heavy. We have just launched a manual, gel, foam and spray dispenser, the net weight of which is 650 gm; in comparison, our last product was 400 gm. We are focusing more on heavy-duty products, so that they last longer.
Have touchless dispensers been embraced by the market?
Before the pandemic, no one asked for automatic or touchless dispensers. Now, even after the pandemic, the demand for these will remain. We entered the market at the right time, when touchless hand hygiene became a talking point.
We launched our fully automatic soap and sanitiser dispenser in September 2020. We sell these through our associates, who supply offices and other facilities.
Touchless dispensers have been in the industry for a long time, but the prices were very high. Imported products cost as much as ₹3,000, my price is ₹1,300.
How can using automated dispensers help customers save on money?
The more forcefully you press a manual dispenser, more is the product dispensed, which is often more than required. Internationally, 0.6 ml of high-viscosity gel soap is enough per use. In India, this ends up reaching 1.2-1.5 ml.
When you use a touchless dispenser, you can control the drop size. In our soap and sanitiser dispenser, the drop size is only 1 ml; once you use this, you are done.
If your dispenser is equipped
with a chip system, soap is delivered very fast. As quickly as in 0.4 seconds, making it a time-saving job.