Building a Happier and Healthier World
Eureka Forbes Ltd.
Eureka Forbes: Building a Happier and Healthier World
Eureka Forbes continues to be the best friend in Indian Households even after three decades and the sentiments have not changed.
We all grew up drinking water through an Aquaguard mounted on the kitchen wall so much so that the word Aquagard has become synonymous to “Safe Drinking Water”. And you’ve probably opened the door — at least once — to a Eureka Forbes representative in a smartly dressed shirt and tie, smiling and living upto the company’s motto “Your friend for life”.
Eureka Forbes was among the first companies in India to use the direct marketing approach. Today, it is Asia’s largest direct sales organization.
The Company has been a pioneer and innovator across wide range of product categories that have been introduced in India – be it vacuum cleaning, water purification, air purification or electronic security systems. Trusted by over 75 million people, its Aquaguard brand is one of the largest-selling water purifiers in the world and has become synonymous with the category in India.
The Evolution and the Hallmarks of Eureka Forbes
A part of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group, Eureka Forbes was established in 1982 as a joint venture between Forbes and Campbell (a Tata Group Company) and Electrolux Sweden. Today, the company is a multi-product, multi-national entity engaged in manufacturing and marketing of water purification systems, vacuum cleaning solutions as well as air purification and security solutions systems with a group gross turnover of over Rs. 1.56 Billion.
Eureka Forbes is defined by the strong, innate passion they have for their employees and the value they place on the deep relationships with their customers. EFLwas the first to introduce Direct selling Concept in India, giving the Country its first vacuum cleaner in 1982 and a water purifier – Aquaguard water purifier – in 1984. The Company now has solid strength in Retail Sales as well as in Institutional Sales. The Company calls their salespeople ‘EuroChamps.’ The entire organization champions the EuroChamps’ cause for success and growth within the company while they champion the cause for their customers. “This symbiotic relationship between EuroChamps and our Customers is a hallmark of Eureka Forbes. This separates us from other organizations and has been the driving factor in bringing not just new products, but pioneering new categories (drinking water purifiers, vacuum cleaners, air purifiers, security systems etc.) at various points in our company’s history,” says Dr. Raman Venkatesh, Senior Vice President of Technology & Corporate Development, and a member of the Core Leadership Team of Eureka Forbes Limited.
The Global Reach
Operating in over 150 Indian cities, Eureka Forbes has learnt a lot from the diverse cultures across the Indian sub-continent.
Being Asia’s largest direct sales organization, EFL has over 1500 service centers and over a 5,000 direct personnel who visit over 20,000 Indian kitchens daily!
Apart from the domestic Indian market, EFL has presence in 35 countries across the globe.
Eureka Forbes’ Distinguished Research & Development Centre
The company is a successful pioneer of ‘open innovation’ R&D philosophy in India, with a track record of win-win partnerships with leading-edge technology companies in the world. There is extensive emphasis on validations and certifications in the company. For example, the flagship Aquaguard is tested and validated by over 105 laboratories across the world.
The company itself has a strong R&D and manufacturing base and it has pioneered what has now become an independent world-class laboratory namely, Aquadiagnostics Water Research and Technology Centre, the first in Asia and only the eighth in the world to be recognized by the Water Quality Association (WQA), USA. It is accredited to the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibrating Laboratories (NABL) India. It is an autonomous laboratory rendering services to the water, STP waters, food, beverages, soil, detergents, sanitizers and allied industries. It follows testing as per the standards prescribed by leading institutions like APHA (American Public Health Association), NSF (National Sanitation Foundation), USEPA (US Environmental Protection Agency) and BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards).
The R&D Centre, with its network of 16 water laboratories spread across India, works closely with the customers, manufacturers and the field sales force to understand customer needs and product performance, so that suitable products which can cater to their requirements can be designed, developed and introduced in the market. Through a rigorous mapping of water quality across India, it pioneered a first-of-its-kind online service (at www.waterwonderfulworld.org) to allow anyone in India’s cities and towns to choose the right water purification technology based on the postal PIN code where they are based!
Eco-Friendly Par Excellence
“We have always strived to provide a Safe, Secure and Healthy environment in the entire eco-system we operate in -Community, Environment, Marketplace and Workplace,” says Dr. Venkatesh.
Take a look at EFL’s major Initiatives and Investments to create awareness about the benefits of being eco-friendly
· EFL initiated direct selling concept to reach and educate customers on the appropriate choice of water purifier technology to safeguard their health and conserve water resources
· It was the first to introduce a Sensa SMP that sensed input water quality to deliver safe drinking water, saving energy and wastage of water.
· The Company introduced a Green RO Water Purifier that saves 30-40% of the water compared to regular Reverse Osmosis (RO) water purifiers. In a water-stressed country like India, this innovation is even more valuable.
· Eureka Forbes created a site – www.waterwonderfulworld.org – to spread water conservation awareness.
· Invested heavily in 16 water analysis laboratories across India and the Aqua diagnostics Water Research and Technology Centre to map ground water pollution. It provides data to the Pollution Board (Govt. body) so that it can take the appropriate action.
· It initiated rainwater harvesting consultations and train-the-trainer programmes like Aqua Ambassadors for school and college students to conduct water audits in localities to spread the habit of water conservation.
· Supported the Millennium Development Goals of the UN by helping to ensure safe drinking water in urban areas.
· Has a ‘Community Fulfillment’ channel that is striving to fulfill the needs of safe drinking water and lighting in homes across rural India through cost effective water shops and renewable energy-based lamps – solar Lamps branded as ‘EuroDiya.’
· Air Pollution Watch, the Company’s first program measures pollutants every day in 12 cities across the country and gives the data to NDTV which telecasts a weather bulletin called Pollution Watch. The Company also contributes to NDTV’s “water pollution” report.
The ‘Uniting to safeguard the Environment’ (USE) course was specially designed for corporate employees to understand about the environment in a macro sense.
“We have reached over 1350 housing societies during the last 6 years for rain water harvesting. As a result we are saving 600 Million litres of rainwater annually and plan to reach the 1 Billion mark soon,” says Dr. Venkatesh.
The Aquamall Water Solutions (a 100% subsidiary of Eureka Forbes) Dehradun campus is a LEED GOLD Certified building. It is the world’s largest ultra-violet (UV) based water purification manufacturing unit.
Aquaguard and Aquasure water purifiers has treated 225 Billion litres of water over 30 years and reduced over 7.32 Million tons of CO2 emissions compared to boiling water, which has been the conventional (and in practice, often inadequate) method of purifying water.
· One very special initiative of Eureka Forbes has been the setting up of “Euroable”, ‘a state of the heart’ call centre run entirely by people with special needs. The entire call centre is manned by the physically challenged in association with NASEOH, an NGO.
Awards & Recognitions for Environmental Initiatives:
· LEEDS Gold Certification for Manufacturing Facility at Dehradun
· Enhance Green R.O. Purifier – Best Domestic Water Purifier 2012
· Bombay Chamber of Commerce & Industry Corporate Citizen Award
· Orchid ECOTEL Hotel Recognition for Environment Initiatives
· Fortune India ( June 2011) – Coverage on 6 Ideas for a Greener World
· CII- Best Environmental Best Practices Award 2012
· CII- Most Useful Environmental Project Award 2012
· Green Manufacturing Excellence – 2011 (F&S)
In Sync with the Changing Trends and Technologies
Standing at over 350,000 “likes” on its Facebook pages today, Eureka Forbes has over the years developed several state-of-art water treatment technologies to address 17 diverse water conditions in India. Ground breaking technologies incorporated, innovative features, certifications by global bodies, superlative quality, Eureka Forbes has it all.
“We have perhaps the largest implementation of SAP in a Direct Sales organization to cover all our operations including our business partners,” says Dr. Venkatesh.
The Company recently introduced AquaSure Galaxy which utilizes a new path-breaking technology in water purification in India. It is India’s first storage water purifier with technology that is Space-Certified and registered with US Environment Protection Agency (EPA). AquaSure Galaxy is equipped with this technology to disinfect bacteria and viruses in varying Indian water conditions at an affordable cost. “In India, the drinking water scenario is very intense with growing concerns of water scarcity and water contamination. WSC’s technology is space certified and globally acknowledged for providing safe water under challenging conditions. AquaSure Galaxy is one of the safest technologies that are available for storage water purification devices for Indian homes with US EPA registration and space certification,” said Dr. Venkatesh.
The company was the first to introduce state-of-the-art Euroair Air Purifiers and to market Eurovigil electronic security systems for residences.
Why is Eureka Forbes one of the Best Employers
EFL’s direct selling model has inspired a case study at the prestigious Harvard Business School and Richard Ivey School and has been given several classic references by marketing ‘guru’, Philip Kotler, in his famous textbook ‘Marketing Management’.
Besides Eureka Forbes is known for periodic reward programs that celebrate success.
The Company rewards its employees with a six-monthly appraisal linked up with variable pay. The performance-linked variables extend right from front-line sales person to Senior Vice President (at all levels the variable component is more than 35% of total compensation).
In 2007, the firm was ranked fourth on the ET-Hewitt Best Indian Employers list and it won the most innovative recruiting and staffing programme award at the 2005 Recruiting & Staffing Best in Class awards.
Club 100 and Silver Circle Clubs are unique practices. These would probably be the largest gatherings honoring top sales people anywhere in the world. Club 100 takes the top 100 sales people to a foreign destination. The Silver Circle Club takes the top sales people to a 5 star hotel in a tourist destination in India or abroad. The top performers are treated with great respect and fanfare at these Clubs. The Executive Vice Chairman personally welcomes first-timers with a medal and certificate.
As India’s Best Employer, the Company strongly believes in the philosophy of earning, learning, pride and fun. This includes revolutionary initiatives like the Eureka Forbes Academy of Learning, which offers all employees an opportunity to earn a Diploma in Sales Management by NMIMS, one of India’s Premier management institutes.
In addition to all the above, the Company has a comprehensive benefit package including:
Free transportation facility from select locations; Two and four wheeler loans; Scholarship scheme for employee wards; Insurance cover –Medical, Group, Personal Accident; Annual Medical examination; Financial Assistance for higher studies; Own your Bike and Car schemes; Own your Furniture Scheme; Own your Computer Scheme; Financing scheme for construction/repair of house; Reward and recognition schemes relevant to each location and function (for eg. in factories, they include: employee of the month/year, kaizen, QC, poster/ slogan competition for creativity and innovation); Long service awards; Birthday and anniversary celebrations; Holiday home for employees and families. In addition, the Company sponsors regular get togethers like puja celebrations, festival celebrations and company functions.
Current Plans for Growth
The Company has expanded in retail significantly and now reaches over 15,000 outlets in India through the Aquasure brand. This is slated to expand dramatically in the next 2 years with a pipeline of category-altering innovative products under development, which will be relevant to many more retail distribution outlets in India and other countries.
“We have a thriving institutional business in India that delivers systems, project solutions and cleaning services covering facility management as well,” informs Dr. Venkatesh.
Through humble beginnings the Company is making its mark in India’s vast packaged drinking water sector with a unique business model and value proposition. “We offer India’s first and only packaged drinking water Aquasure that has earned the prestigious U.S. WQA Gold Seal approval”, he adds. Regarding the business prospects and capital investment, “Our product lines in vacuum cleaner, air purification and home security systems are in sunrise categories with respect to India’s evolving and progressive consumer lifestyles, and are witnessing substantial growth. We take a ‘holistic’ approach to capital allocation in our company. We will continue to invest in our core sectors as well in expansion of our geographic footprint,” he adds.
Thoughts on Current Economic Climate
Talking about the impact of the current economic climateonthe business, Dr. Venkateshsaid, “Safe Water and Cleaning are essential needs of people, be they domestic or institutional customers. While we face headwinds in input costs, adverse exchange rates between USD and INR and rising labor costs, we have managed to control them reasonably well. We don’t always pass on such cost increases to our customers and our first priority is to mitigate the adverse impact through internal efficiencies, mainly product value engineering, superior sourcing and other operating cost controls. Besides, our strong brands, high credibility of our products validated by several certifications and awards, wide reach and unmatched service network have helped us grow even in challenging times.”
Five Years down the Line
“We will be a USD 1 billion company and we expect to get there using 3 broad routes:
a) Economies of Scale: Reaching more customers through expanded channels, greater depth of penetration and newer markets
b) Economies of Scope: Creating a more compelling variety of ‘touchpoints’ and use experiences for our customers by offering wide range of innovative products and services and
c) Partnership: Through mutually value-added partnership with best-in-class suppliers, technology leaders, channel partners, franchisees and distributors across the markets, sectors and geographies of interest to us, “ explains Dr. Venkatesh.
Dr. Raman Venkatesh – A Brief Profile
Dr. Venkateshis the Senior Vice President of Technology & Corporate Development, and is a member of the Core Leadership Team of Eureka Forbes Limited. He has been serving in this role since December 2008 and comes from a distinguished background in global water treatment industry, spanning both large and small companies in U.S., Europe and India.
In 2010, he was given additional charge as CEO of a strategic business unit that now generates about $100 million/year in revenues. He is on the Board of Directors of three companies in India. Dr. Venkateshis the recipient of the prestigious American Hero of Chemistry award for an innovative drinking water treatment technology implemented across the USA.
He earned a B.E. (Hons.) in Chemical Engineering from BITS, Pilani (India) followed by M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from University of Pittsburgh (USA), where he won the Outstanding Graduate Student award. He also earned an Executive MBA degree from the Katz School of Business at University of Pittsburgh, where he won the Dean’s special recognition for his achievements.
He has attended Advanced Management Programs on M&A and Strategic Alliances in Harvard Business School and the Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania). He has authored 10 international and Indian patents and has more than 30 citations in peer-reviewed journals, international conferences and reputed magazines. He has given several invited lectures at leading universities and organizations in U.S. and India.