Saravanan Panneer Selvam, General Manager, Grundfos India
As it is a highly fragmented market, Indian pumps industry is battling a huge challenge with counterfeit products, both locally manufactured and imported from other countries, says Saravanan Panneer Selvam, General Manager, Grundfos India. In this interview, he talks about the impact of coronavirus on the pumps and valves industry, opportunity and challenges of India market, and the company’s innovation in the space of smart and intelligent solutions. Excerpts:
The pandemic has added stress on the overall manufacturing industry in the country, which contributes a significant amount of the GDP. Reeling under the impact of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown, pumps and valves industry has almost come to a standstill.
With no other option than embracing the new-normal, the industry will have to gradually resume operations with necessary safety and hygiene measures. At Grundfos, safety of our employees is the highest priority. All essential safety protocols have been deployed at our factories and offices, we have resumed operations with reduced capacity. We are using digital platforms to stay connected with our dealers and distributors. We are also working on enabling them to resume operations in phases.
This unprecedented crisis has offered all of us immense learning to be ‘alert’ and to put the people and the community ahead of everything. While it is essential to have a strong plan, it is equally important to adapt to the changing dynamics of the environment. With the onset of lockdown, most of the workforce in the country have adapted to work remotely. Using several digital engagement tools like webinars, online meetings, brainstorming sessions, etc., the employees of various organization stay connected with their customers and other stake holders seamlessly.
Being responsible, thinking ahead and innovating is our promise to society and to our customers. We develop water solutions for the communities and industries across the world. We set the standard in terms of innovation, efficiency, reliability and sustainability. We are a pump company connecting with millions and millions of people every day. Our solutions help our partners and customers move water to where it is needed and remove the same where it is in excess. Be it providing drinking water for the smallest / remotest of villages, water supply for skyscrapers, treating and removing wastewater for communities or bringing and comfort to the communities, Grundfos has its presence everywhere.
For example, our MAGNA3 solution is a best-in-class circulator with an unprecedented Energy Efficiency Index. Grundfos solutions aim to alleviate the stress on the depleting water and non-renewable energy resources. In order to reduce dependency on traditional energy resources, we have been working towards expanding our presence in the renewable energy products market.
Irrespective of renewable or conventional energy source for the pumps, Grundfos keeps the lifecycle costs low for water supply. We were one of the first to offer an off-grid solar water pumping system. Today, we are a global player that leads the way developing sustainable solar water solutions.
Water leakage has been silently worsening India’s deteriorating water scenario. For instance, in Mumba , almost 27% of the city’s water is lost due to leakages during transportation of through pipelines. Similarly, 37% of Bangalore’s water supply is lost before reaching the end user. However, with the intervention of smart and intelligent solutions, challenges such as water leakages, failure in water systems can be detected much earlier and hence can be reduced.
In Frankfurt, a single drop of water is recycled 8 times before it reaches the sea. This is a great example that water can be reused for various potable and non-potable purposes by using intelligent solutions. Some of our solutions such as Demand Driven Distribution (DDD), is a trendsetter in water handling technology which helps in reducing leakage in water utilities and distribution networks. DDD helps in water leakage up to 20% and thereby energy savings as well. Leakages can cost water companies much more than the water lost from the distribution system. It can help in reducing water hammer, pipe bursting and also formation of new holes in the piping system.
Another innovation from Grundfos, is the launch of iSOLUTIONS, which brings a new era of intelligence to pump systems and water handling technology that looks beyond individual components and optimizes the entire system. The solution makes the pumps intelligent using relevant senses and HMI along with cloud connectivity and digital services. This allows the pumps to communicate with not only with building management systems but also with each other in order to optimally increase/decrease the speed based on the required load. This enables real-time monitoring, remote control, system optimization, fault prediction and preventive maintenance to achieve highest level of performance and savings both in cost and energy.
India is one of the key markets for Grundfos. While 18% of the world’s population lives in India, only 4% of the world fresh water is available for use. This creates an opportunity for the pumps industry to develop solutions to optimally use and recycle the available resources and create a circular economy for water.
In addition to this, the growth of the infrastructure sector has a direct impact on the pumps industry. With the advent of off-grid solutions which can function effectively with renewable energy sources, the pumps industry is likely to bring about a positive difference in the agricultural sector. In this year’s Union budget, the government has committed to support 15 lakh farmers with funds to set up grid-connected solar pumps through the PM-KUSUM scheme.
Alongside, the pumps industry is also battling a huge challenge with counterfeit products both locally manufactured and imported from other countries, as it is a highly fragmented market. This puts the onus back on the consumer to be aware of the products that they buy and the need to understand the concept of product-life-cycle cost. It is important for a consumer to calculate the cost of the product all through the product’s life cycle instead of just focusing on the initial investment.
India is one of the top 10 markets for Grundfos globally. Our operations in India have been profitable, and we have been witnessing double digit growth since inception barring few years in our journey so far. Being one of the leading pump manufacturers in the Indian pump industry, we plan to increase our presence in the country and increase our market share significantly in the various business segments where we compete with the local and international manufacturers by focusing extensively on our innovative digital solutions and solar range of products.
Grundfos India is responsible for sales of Grundfos products in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Maldives. Currently, Grundfos India has more than 400 employees and works with 200 distributors and dealers with offices in all major cities across India. Our two manufacturing facilities in Chennai and Ahmedabad have enough capacity to accommodate future requirements at least for next few years. We will continue to strengthen our offerings through energy efficient pumps and smart pumping solutions for various applications – heating and hot water service systems, cooling and air-conditioning systems, industrial applications, pressure boosting and liquid transfer, groundwater supply, domestic water supply, sewage and wastewater, dosing, chlorination systems, disinfection systems and pumps running on renewable energy.
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