Exports will be the next growth engine for Waterman Industries

  • Interviews
  • Oct 31,23
One of the pioneer manufacturers in the Pump Industry, Waterman Industry is looking for product line expansion and increased export operations in the coming years, tells Akash Patel, Executive Director, Waterman Industries in this interview with Ayushi Khandelwal. Patel is also the Western Region Chairman of the Indian Pump Manufacturers' Association. While having discussions on the evolution of Indian pump industry, he shared his views on the solar pumps market, changing raw material and consum
Exports will be the next growth engine for Waterman Industries

One of the pioneer manufacturers in the Pump Industry, Waterman Industry is looking for product line expansion and increased export operations in the coming years, tells Akash Patel, Executive Director, Waterman Industries in this interview with Ayushi Khandelwal. Patel is also the Western Region Chairman of the Indian Pump Manufacturers' Association. While having discussions on the evolution of Indian pump industry, he shared his views on the solar pumps market, changing raw material and consumer challenges with in the industry. 

Can you brief us on the business of Waterman Industries?
Waterman Industries was established in 1973. We recently completed 50 years of our existence. We were primarily a pump manufacturing company where we used to manufacture pumps and motors with certain ranges specifically for the agricultural market. Over the years, we developed and went into domestic and industrial segments as well. We have our own brand named ‘Waterman’ and we also do contract manufacturing for other brands in India. 

How has the pump industry evolved over the years? What are some significant innovations that came along?
Over the years pump industry has not seen any major transformation. It works like the automobile industry where small changes keep on happening every year, but nothing like the electronics industry like we switched from a normal phone to a smartphone. There are a lot of developments like the production, motor, and hydraulic efficiencies keep on increasing. The material of construction changed over time, for example, before there were cast iron diffusers with bronze impellers which have moved to cast iron diffusers with stainless steel impellers. There are also plastic diffusers, sheet metal impellers etc available which can make a variety of combinations. Over the years with the help of technology, engineering, and R&D efficiency has been improved and changes have been made. 

In recent years, one innovation that has been in the industry is the solar pumps where motors and pump sets work on solar energy directly. In the solar pumps, DC motors are used called permanent magnet synchronous motors. In conventional pumps, a copper rotor motor is used and this is the major difference in the manufacturing of both pumps. This technology has been there for quite a while and it has been feasible because of the government push of PM KUSUM for the past five or six years. It requires a lot of implementation at the right time and right cost. So, it has not reached the level which the government has set.

What are some quality-related challenges you see in the industry?
Most of our customers are from the agriculture sector, taking that perspective ahead the biggest problem the customer faces is burning of the motor. This can happen due to multiple reasons like, over utilisation of the pumps for more than 12-15 hours, interrupted power supplies and voltage fluctuations, and improper installation of the control panel along with the pump set. Another challenge with the pump industry is that here a good amount of competition comes from the unorganised sector. These firms are not accounted for in the business and do not follow any certifications.

Over the years the government of India has changed the nomenclature of the star rating of the products. For example, five years back, the minimum efficiency requirement to achieve a one-star rating was 40 per cent. But now that benchmark has increased to 50 to 60 per cent of efficiency to receive one start.  This has made all the manufacturers to be more innovative and focused on the efficiency of the product. Maintaining the costs along with that is a pretty entertaining or good challenge for the manufacturers to work out well.

What sustainable practices do you follow?
We are an ISO 9001:2015 certified which is a quality certification, and an ISO 14001:2015 certified which is an environmental certification company. Our manufacturing practices are environmentally friendly. We have a sewage treatment plant, an effluent treatment plant, solar panels installed as a power source, and a rainwater recharge board. We try to minimise our impact on the environment.  We are one of the initial companies in the pump industries to have the Zero Defect and Zero Effect (ZED) certification. We got the silver rating from the government of India in 2016.

Is Waterman Industries also into exports? What is the position of India on the global stage in the Pump industry?
Our focus area was not exports to the pre-Covid era. We were happy with our domestic and OEM business, but in the past few years after we started focusing on the exports business. Currently, it is at its initial phase and we aim to at least achieve 10 per cent of our annual turnover to be done in exports by the next financial year.

After the China plus one policy, a lot of countries are looking at India. Middle Eastern and North African countries are interested in doing trade with India. European and South American countries are also accepting Indian products but the process is a little slow in that lead. The Southeast Asia market is also a good opportunity to grab.

What are your future growth plans?
In terms of in terms of turnover, we'll be 140 crore company in this financial year. We will be more aggressive in exports from next year. It will be the next growth engine for Waterman Industries. This year we expect five per cent of exports. We are also planning to add multiple product lines in the water solution basket, including cables, panel pipes

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