R&D effort will be stepped up to design country-specific products
Grundfos, a well-known global name in advanced pump solutions, has decided to place its bet on India from a long-term perspective.
As part of this longer-horizon vision, the Danish company will work on cracking the “not-so-easy Indian market” with a clear ‘horses for courses’ approach.
This is evident from presentations made by the company’s top management team in India and at Bjerringbro in Denmark to select journalists.
N. K. Ranganath, Managing Director of Grundfos Pumps India Pvt. Ltd., said the Danish parent was looking at two-to-three products specific for the Indian market. In this context, he said Grundfos was working on solar pumps at price-points that could help common man. The company was also developing a small system that could filter grey water. Grundfos, he said, was looking at providing a simple solution that could help consumers measure the power and water they consumed.
Carlo Prola, Group Senior Vice-President, said that the ownership structure of the company “is helping us to have a long-term orientation”. Close to 11 per cent of shares are held by the promoter-family and the remainder by a foundation floated by the founder. “Since we aren’t listed, there is no stock exchange-related pressure on us,” he said. A trend-setter in water technology, Grundfos was a zero-debt company and funded its operations “by our own cash flows,” he added.
Asserting that “we prefer to be in control,” he told visiting journalists that Grundfos was committed to the cause of global sustainability by pioneering technology that improved the quality of life. In this context, he pointed to Grundfos LifeLink, a solar-driven unit that could provide small villages in the poorest parts with clean water. A closed water-dispenser unit with submersible pumps, Grundfos LifeLink systems are installed in Kenya. ``Since these are closed systems, they aren’t amenable to abuse,’’ pointed out Jorgen Bjelskou, Public Affairs Director, Corporate Communication. Company officials had indicated that these water dispensers could be made in India in view of the cost advantage and design capability.
They admitted that price could be the biggest challenge in India. While stating that “the way we produce is not the cheapest way,’’ Mr. Prola, nevertheless, asserted that ``our products are expensive but not costly.’’ Reiterating that Grundfos was keen to emerge as a ‘dominant player’ in India, he conceded that this would take a while for the Danish company. “India is a perfect market - you have the quantity and quality,” he said. However, Mr. Prola admitted to assorted constraints in entering certain segments of the Indian market. He indicated the research and development effort would be stepped up to design products for local needs.
(The correspondent was recently in Denmark at the invitation of the company.)