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After entering the domestic turf a little over three years ago, Sloan India, the subsidiary of American plumbing valve and fixture major Sloan Valve Company is betting big on the emerging sanitation economy. It is building a pan-India distribution network and developing a clientele of tech companies, hotels and real estate developers on the pitch of ‘sustainability’.
Sloan India country head Anup Kumar Tripathi sat down with SH to outline the company’s plans for emerging as a formidable player in the sector.
By Mrinmoy Bhattacharjee
Despite being rich in water resource, our earth can offer less than 1% of the resource for human beings. If we go to any part of the world, we will find that there are areas that are water-stressed. That is why water is a pressing issue of our time, and ‘smart sanitation economy’ is evolving worldwide as a response to this challenge. In the political spectrum, our Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for addressing the problem of water scarcity with the ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’, which aims to ensure drinking water for every household. In the corporate sector, I think that the domestic building materials industry is taking the water scarcity situation very seriously. All stakeholders such as manufacturers, architects, the Indian Green Building Council, are working towards designing green buildings with water conservation at their core.
Business Founded on Water Saving
Water conservation is in our DNA. When William Elvis Sloan established Sloan Valve Company in 1906 in Chicago, he ushered in the modern plumbing era. With his invention of the revolutionary manual Royal Flushometer, he replaced tank and chain fixtures. This device is a reliable flush unaffected by gravity; it requires less water and energy. Since then we are contributing to making our earth greener with our innovative products. Our forte is commercial restrooms in workplaces, which consume more water than residential spaces. But, we are not averse to the idea of catering to the residential sector. In fact, our commercial to residential sales ratio is 7:3. We are exploring how we can enhance our sales in the latter space.
We feel that the right product is still not available in India for commercial spaces. The same products are being used for commercial and residential flushing applications. But the fact is that what usage commercial areas such as airports and malls will experience in one week, may not be witnessed in a home in a lifetime. Therefore, commercial products have to be more reliable, robust, and vandal-resistant and should be able last for a long time. Our flush valve uses 4.8 litres for closets, as compared to 6 litres by most other products in the market. Our product saves 20% water per flush, which is a considerable saving.
Lunch and Learn
In India, there is a shortage of the right skill sets as well as of certified skilled workers. In our capacities, we are offering training and education to plumbers, plumbing consultants, and architects. Our training aims to cultivate the idea of sustainability and the use of sustainable products. Our courses educate them on designing sustainable restrooms. We have a ‘Lunch and Learn’ format for training, under which we have trained 1,500-2,000 plumbers and 1,000 architects and plumbing consultants. We will also educate students from architecture colleges about sustainability.
We have established our Indian facility in Gurugram, which is designed to support all our initiatives. The engineering & design centre will become functional by January 2020, aligning with our vision of ‘Design for India’. We will start assembling products in the country, as our principle is ‘Build Where You Sell’. These facilities will be housed on two different floors in the building. Besides, we will also unveil an experience centre, to offer live demos of our tech products, their functionality and applications. The facility will also have a distribution centre.