Kunal Marathe - Marketing Director LUBECO Green Fluids
We switched from textile chemicals to industrial lubricants following closure of mills in and around Mumbai region. The transition was far from smooth but we held onto it nevertheless. Since Pune was a automobile hub, we shifted base from Mumbai to Pune and became Pvt. Ltd. in 1998. We started with 2-3 products like EDM Fluid, Washing Chemical & Synthetic Coolant but developed & increased our product range year after year and we now have around 80 odd products. We made technology and additive partners from Germany & UK along the way to speed up our R & D and upgrade our technology. Because of these alliances almost all our products are RoHS (EU Compliance) certified. We recently entered into the field of fluid management and developed a tube type skimmer which performs at least 40 times better on speed, efficiency and cost counts. We developed a wide network of distributors in North, West and South India as well as in country like UAE.
The company was started in a mere 1500 sq feet make shift plant in 1998, which now is spread across 30000 sq ft in an industrial area and we are still expanding. Investment in plant and machinery has been growing every year and we now have a storage capacity of more than 3.5 Lakh Ltrs. Focus was given on laboratory infrastructure and along with R & D and QC labs we now have our own Microbiology lab as well. The workforce too grew by about 10 times during this period. We joined hands with two technology partners from Germany and UK and created our brand Lubeco and launched the same in 2015. We also created a separate brand Fluidmate, which literally means-A friend of the fluid! Fluidmate will have equipment and machinery used in fluid management systems. Together the Boron, Chlorine, Sulphur, Phosphorus, Formaldehyde free technology of Lubeco and power saving, fluid life enhancing, ETP cost reducing technology of Fluidmate will be a game changer for the company.
Our company has two brands Lubeco and Fluidmate. Under Lubeco we have all types of fluids & lubricants like Metalworking fluids, Hydraulic and Lubricant oils, Rust preventives, Cleaners, Mist lubricants, EDM Fluids, Speciality lubricants for drawing, punching, rolling, etc, Carbide grinding coolants, Paint strippers, Rust removers and so on. In Fluidmate we have products like skimmers for small machine tanks, medium size washing machine tanks and large size ETP and central coolant tanks. We also have fluid suckers to remove huge volume of fluids from large tanks within minutes. Coolant mixers for forming exact cutting oil emulsions eliminating manual errors. We also have refractometers, pH meters, TDS meters under Fluidmate series.
We first focused on creating a brand appeal and now our marketing strategy is simple-promote this brand in the nooks and corners of the country. To reach out to such a large population spread across such a huge country, we will participate in various exhibitions in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities along with the biggest of them in Bangalore-IMTEX. We also plan to expand our dealer-distributor network in the country and appoint marketing managers in various regions. Apart from this, we also plan to conduct seminars and training sessions in various parts of the country with the help of our distributors and area marketing managers. We have been pushing and encouraging students to develop products by using renewable energy and sponsor their projects where they promote us as their sponsors.
Everyone knows that the technology changes with time but the speed at which it is changing these days is astonishing. So to keep pace with these technological changes and not only sustain but race ahead in the competition, we have to constantly upgrade ourselves by developing existing products and innovating new ones. On top of this, the environmental impact of the old technology is also one of the reasons to look for eco-friendly and environmentally safer options. New technology has to be more user friendly and cost effective too in order to make it implementable. Unless we are a step ahead than the competition we will not move ahead, we will remain stagnant and Ultimately phase out. Simply put, if the world needs a certain technology and nobody has it and if you are able to develop that technology, then sky is the limit.
The most important aspect of benchmarking a product is customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction involves all the aspects. To know what will satisfy the customer, we have to collect a lot of data related to his processes, machines, users, current problems, expectation from new product etc. This data is formalised into a document which is used as a base for developing a product. At every stage of product development this data is referred and once all the aspects are matched by the product, it is put on trial-first in a lab and then in the field. When the lab trials and field trials go as per customer requirement, then only the product is tested for it’s environmental impact and then once it passes all of these tests, it is launched in the market. Now comes the hardest part, to maintain the same quality batch after batch. For that again a process chart is prepared which is locked into a software and connected to RM stock and QC lab. So the RM stock confirms the correct dosage of raw materials and QC testing confirms batch conformity. Unless QC passes the batch, it is not made available for the billing. In short, a non-conformed batch will never go into the market. Apart from this we also maintain ISO standards in procurement, production, quality control & sales.
Quality manpower and availability of space is what bothers us. In today’s scenario, even though technology is advance, it comes at a cost which needs to be passed onto the customer and with cost cutting becoming a vital norm in business development, it is not feasible to implement cutting edge technology horizontally. So we need to strike a balance between use of technology and quality manpower. Because the available manpower not is well trained, the time taken to spread the technology increases extraordinarily. Secondly, getting space for expansion is also very important in order to maintain stock and standards and serve increasing number of customers without affecting the existing ones. But due to unavailability of space and that too at an affordable price creates obstacles in our growth and development.
More and more eco-friendly technologies are being invented and implemented. Environmental impact generates desires to develop new technologies. Because the carbon footprint generated by old technology needs to be curtailed or may I say stopped completely. So that alone drives current technological trends. Apart from that, saving cost remains the second most driving force for new technologies. Industry and government are working together in driving the industry towards a greener future. E.G. Government has made ETPs mandatory to stop effluent into the ground. So industry wants to generate less effluent in order to reduce cost of effluent treatment. So suppliers need to provide that technology which will reduce the cost of effluent than the last day.
The future of the industry looks promising with better taxation policy (GST), easier business norms, more foreign investment coming into India by way of Make In India projects, growing new industry like Aerospace along with the existing Automobile industry, more focus and spending on research and development in all fields. Overall the future looks good and stable.
Our vision is and has always been sustainable growth in terms of volume and technology. As I have already mentioned earlier that technology is the catalyst for success and without success there would be no investment in newer technology, both go hand in hand. So our vision is to develop new technology, market it and sell it! We also plan to expand and upgrade our manufacturing facility, participate in exhibitions, appoint new distributors and marketing personnel in untapped region!
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