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Interviews

100 years of redefining, innovating, and designing bathrooms – K.E Ranganathan, M.D, Roca

100 years of redefining, innovating, and designing bathrooms –  K.E Ranganathan, M.D, Roca
A Madras University graduate, an associate member of both Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI), Mr. K. E. Ranganathan has it all to be the Managing Director of Roca Bathroom Products. Also a Fulbright Scholar, Mr. Ranganathan’s core profile includes deriving brand strategies and create opportunities for the company to further strengthen its leadership position. Having more than 33 years of experience in finance, accounting, business planning, strategy, marketing & sales, he is one of the stalwarts of the sector. Team RealtyMyths had an amazing session with Mr. K.E Ranganathan at India Design 2017. Here are excerpts:

100 for ROCA! How was the brand journey? 

Roca, a Spanish brand, has been a global front runner in the bathroom space for 100 years, with a focus on design, innovation, sustainability and wellbeing. Present in 170 countries, with 78 production plants across 5 continents, Roca is the ultimate benchmark in the creation of bathroom products. To mark the centenary celebration of Roca in India, a new brand campaign has been launched – ‘My bathroom’ which highlights the extensive portfolio and easily draws a connect with the forward-looking customer who seeks new experiences. To commemorate this 100 year milestone with our partners – dealer partners and customers, we will be picking up 100 Roca customers every month and sharing our happiness through choicest gifts as our way of thanking them for their support.

Further strengthening the presence of Roca brand in premium space, Roca was chosen as the partner for Interior Design Symposium recently held in the national Capital. This apart, Roca brand was the title sponsor for the India Arch Dialogue, a premium event held in Delhi where global architects participated and showcased their premium work. India being among the top priority markets for the Spain-based global leader, Roca is already on a growth trajectory and we are expecting the ratio of luxury brands to increase in the coming years.

How has ROCA evolved as a brand?

In 2006, Roca Group entered into India through a JV with the Chennai-based Murugappa Group and today its one of the market leaders in the premium segment.  Parryware, a brand of repute and lineage was acquired. Tracing our journey, until 2007, we had not launched Roca in India. However, being a diverse country with so many varied choices and income groups of people, it created an opportunity to create distinct offerings to serve each and every segment in a different way. Roca being a premium and international brand enjoys a great market share today. Roca aims at building a unique space where technology meets with design to create a new brand experience.

Over the years, other Roca group brands, Laufen, Armani-Roca and Johnson Suisse, each catering to a different segment of the customer were launched in India. We work closely with Roca Group headquarters in Spain to bring to India many of the best practices of Roca group. Today, Roca India (Roca Bathroom Products Pvt Ltd) with its 6 brand offerings in the Indian market contributes 8 percent of the global turnover. Definitely, India is growing higher than other global markets. With 15-20 per cent CAGR in four years, we should double our revenue and would be at 12-13 percent of global turnover.

How do you define bathrooms in India?

With international exposure, bathrooms are evolving in India and are considered to be extensions of one’s living spaces today. Bathrooms are now a space for rejuvenation and luxury. With Roca products, we understand the need for the customer’s personal space and design bathroom products by integrating advanced technology with subtle aesthetics. Roca gives you a plethora of options to create your individual bathroom space, where every detail is a reflection of your style and the way you understand your life.

What has been the most successful product line? Any new products lined up?

We are delighted to give Indian consumers an exposure to world-class bathroom products to enhance the standard of living. Roca’s Smart Toilets are a successful range of electronic toilets available with our In-wash technology. The designs are iconic, every product has state of the art features and functions promising immense comfort and hygiene. One of the most advanced smart toilets from Roca, Alba, integrates Soft-Air Vortex Technology, In-Tank and Rimless Technology, ensuring maximum flushing performance. It’s pressure jet siphon makes it the most advanced WC by Roca giving a new name to wellness and efficiency. As a part of our celebration, we are bringing around 7-8 ranges of products, which are going to hit the market this year. This year will also see some key product launches from the Roca stable, with the big showcase at ISH, Germany.  We will be bringing latest products from the global market in India. With around 250 outlets selling products of Roca brand in India, we aim to take it up to 300 by the end of this year. With a good mix of design, technology, sustainability as well as lifestyle, Roca aims to consistently bring exciting new products for our Indian consumers.

Is this government taking sanitation and hygiene seriously? 

India is a large country, with a huge scope of improvement required in sanitation. Efforts made at meeting the sanitation challenges have been found to have very limited results, with as high as 65% of the population not having toilet facilities coupled with the very low use of existing toilets in urban and rural areas. We have only 200 million houses in India, shortage of 40 million houses will always keep rising because the population is rising. It is important to pay attention to the underlying complexities of the mechanisms involved that influence sanitation behaviour among people. Unfortunately, there are still no rules or mandates in the conception of toilets.  In rural areas, the government has been promoting community-led sanitation approaches with some success. Developing our country into a much better country is our key challenge. Smart City is in early stages and we will see how it evolves.

How are you coping up with the shrinking size of bathrooms? 

In most Indian homes, especially urban apartments, bathrooms are small. In such a scenario, designing a bathroom comes as a challenge, especially in big cities like New York, Mumbai or in Tokyo, where the size of a bathroom is typically around 6’ x 3’. Within that space, we need to create faucets, basins, vanities, shower systems etc. as well as a bathing experience. A well-organized bathroom in small space not only makes the place elegant but refreshes our body and mind also.

To overcome such space constraints, Roca works with designers to build smart products constantly like W+W, the integrated WC cum washbasin. With this technology, one can save not only save space but also save five to six litres of water per day as it uses the water from the basin to flush in WC. The W+W has won several awards in fact.

Are the smart bathrooms the future of India? 

With technology in living spaces becoming more common across the country, consumers are looking for ways to keep their home in-trend by combining luxury with technology. From integrated toilets to digital faucets, the market has everything to spruce up the bathing space.

Design and innovation is the key. Do you agree? 

Absolutely, today consumers are increasingly focusing on bathrooms as a wellness space and are spending more time there, not merely for hygiene reasons, but to relax and get a sense of well-being. Designer bathrooms are now becoming style statements amongst Indians, given their global exposure. Roca believes in designing products with the best of creative minds and create products that address needs of such evolving customers. Roca is a designer brand for premium customers.

A message to the newcomers from ROCA?

As a brand, we believe in setting new industry standards by providing high-quality bathroom solutions and premium experience for consumers who value luxury and excellence. Roca’s constant technological innovation has just one aim: to provide best solutions to its customers. Roca gives you all the options to create your individual bathroom space, where every detail is a reflection of your style and the way you understand your life.

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