CompanyProfile:CEO- Vasu PadmanabhanFounded- 2008Headquarters- Ahmadabad, GujaratEstimated Revenue: $3 millionIndustry Sector- Retail DistributorsStatus- Private, Subsidiary of PiramalEstimated Employees- 1000Competitors- Water Health, Water Life, Water Planet,Lenntech, Meco etc Introduction:Piramal Sarvajal, seeded by Piramal Foundation in2008, is a mission driven social venture which plans and deploys innovativesolutions for creating affordable access of safe drinking water in underservedregions. “Sarvajal” in Sanskrit means water for all. Sarvajal is at the cuttingedge of creating technologies and business practices in safe drinking watersector that are intended to make a simple market-based model which is feasiblein both rural and urban conditions.
The mission is to innovate, demonstrate, enable andpromote affordable and safe drinking water solutions.Piramal Sarvajal, started by Anand Shah, sets upcommunity level arrangements that are operated locally however centrallymanaged by market-based pay per use system. They work across 16 states inIndia- Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh,Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Maharashtra, Bihar Jharkhand, Karnataka,Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Telangana and Odisha.
Howit all began and the technology used:97 million people living in India lack access tosafe drinking water and are at the risk of contracting water-borne diseases.Developing a workable solution was not an easy task. Sarvajal faced various difficulties.Although there was water purification technologies available but the companywanted a financially viable and sustainable business model.Sarvajal started with door-to-door delivery of ROwater. This technique was not successful as people used to allot differentdelivery times which increased the manual labor. Another problem with this wasdelayed payments.
To solve these two problems, they came up with the idea ofwater ATMs and prepaid cards.V1 had a water tank locked above the machine. Thewater tank was connected to the RO plant, which used groundwater. This plantprocessed 1000 liters in an hour. V1 had three buttons: 1, 5 and 10 liters.
People would can their cards and get the required amount of water.The problem with V1 was that water was wastedbecause standard sizes of containers were unavailable. If the customer pressed5 liters button, and the container was 4.5 liters, 0.5 liters would go waste.There was a social problem as well. One big villagein Rajasthan has two to three smaller villages called Dhani.
If one water ATMwas installed in one Dhani, the others would object. The advanced model ofwater ATM took care of these two problems. The new model is strategicallyplaced so that it is easily accessible and is made simpler by providing justone button.Sarvajal’s water ATM is a low cost, solar-powered,self-contained water vending machine that stores clean water and can berefilled by the nearest franchisee. The company now has 154 franchisees and nowdelivers clean water to 100000 people. FranchiseModel:Sarvajal adopted a franchising model as it wouldpenetrate local markets. It created a network of suppliers by signingagreements with local entrepreneurs.
They operate a hub and spoke system- workwith local entrepreneurs, provide them with water purification technology andsupport them in maintenance and other back end services.Customers buy a prepaid smart card, which can berecharged with the cell phones, swipe it over the sensor of the machine to getthe information of water quality and the credit balance in their card. They selectthe measure of water required and fill their containers accordingly.
Water ATMsprovides access 24 hours and 7 days a week. These water ATMs have significantlyreduced the time spent on water collection. And also creates income-generatingopportunities and also proves to be a business opportunity for the franchiseesthat operate them. Monitoringwater quality:If something goes wrong in any of the ATMs, Sarvajalis immediately informed through its customized ERP system that manages waterbusinesses from the source to consumption. This system integrated Sarvajal’scloud based Soochak system which monitors the status of its reverse osmosis andultra-violet filtration units, maintenance and its supply chain units.Sarvajal’s different water filtration frameworkreduces 99.9 percent of germs and guarantees that minerals, for example,fluoride which can be unsafe in overabundance, fall inside suggested levels.
Costto the company:The total cost of setting the RO plant is around 5 lakhto 10 lakh. Franchisees pay 40% of their earnings to the company but if thefranchisees own the machine, they pay only 20% of their earnings to thecompany. The company also provides advertisement and maintenance support. Thecompany has partnered with local entrepreneurs, panchayats and community-basedorganizations to run the water treatment plants. Local community members arehired and are given proper trainings to manage the purification units. Theselocal partners earn up to Rs 35000 per month.
The projects are monitored ondaily basis to ensure purity. Innovations:1- Lowcost water treatment plant.2- Soochak-Monitoring device for each water system which gives real-time information onwater production and maintenance.3- Suvidha-Pre-payment mechanism for franchisees.
4- SolarWater ATM- A solar- powered, cloud connected RFID-based and Cash-less watervending machine. TargetMarket:Sarvajal is currently targeting only 60% of totaldrinking water market of its operating areas.It doesn’t target 30% of the population which is BPLwho cannot afford to pay for water and to 10% that can afford to buy a domesticwater purifier.
Marketingand Promotional strategies of Sarvajal:1- ValueProposition- “Clean water is accessible right in the beneficiaries’ village andclean water is vital to health.”2- BrandPromotion activities- Advertisements/awareness campaigns in new villages.3- HealthAwareness activities- Events with role plays and games for kids.4- Directand Indirect contact with end customers.5- Trainingson basic business practices- Marketing training for franchisees every twomonths.
6- Tollfree landlines to have direct feedback from clients.7- Expandsreach through local networking, face-to-face meeting and a regular telephonecontact.8- Establishesand maintains contact with local communities.9- Loyaltyreinforcements- Monthly pre-paid cards for consumers and free containercleaning services. For franchisees, incentives onvolume sold.
Aftersales Services:Water quality control:Water quality control is done by a controllingdevice that reports automatically to the Sarvajal’s Headquarters every day.Sarvajal also provides free of charge container cleaning services to itsfranchisees.Maintenance:E-monitoring device on each machine counts liters,detects technical issues and checks all repairers’ work and directlycommunicates with the HQ. Sarvajal can also block the Water ATM if it faces anymaintenance issues. Spare parts are also available easily as the technology islocal. Thecustomers’ benefits:1- Sarvajalcosts less than a cup of tea. (30 paisa for a litre)2- Affordable.3- Assuredquality.
4- Reliable24*7 access.5- “Waterinsurance” against water borne diseases. RevenueModel:Old Business model:Franchisees operate the machine and sell water at Rs6 for 20 liters batch. For the first month, the entire revenue is kept by thefranchisees and from next month onwards 40% of water sales revenue is given toSarvajal.New Business model:Franchisees operate and sell water at Rs 6 for 20 litersand additional Rs 4 for delivery at the door steps.
For chilled water theycharge Rs 9. They keep 100% revenue for the first month and from second monthonwards, 20% is given to Sarvajal. Successof Sarvajal:1- 430000people are served daily across 16 Indian states. 2- 668+purification units, 332+ solar powered, clouds connected water ATMs areestablished which generates 26 crore economy rise.3- Sarvajal’spriced at Rs.
6 for 20 liters and additional Rs. 4 for home delivery. Easyaccess and reliability of safe drinking water almost 100000 beneficiaries andthis number is increasing.4- Positiveimpact in remote areas by solving the problems of safe drinking water withsolar water ATMs.5- Thereis a tremendous decrease in water-borne diseases.6- Over10000 registered water ATM card holders are present across Delhi.
7- EnvironmentalImpact: Sarvajal has been able to bring down the waste water generateddrastically. The purification technology is 6 times more effective than adomestic purifier.