Pour In Your Glass Clean Water !
Discover the efforts of an IITian
to keep a healthy body.
Water is life. It is vital for our body functions. Five and half cups of water per day is required for the normal metabolism of the body. Here the stress is on pure water. Mr. Mahesh Gupta, creator of Kent RO system realized this fact in 1999, when both of his children were caught up by jaundice, a water-borne disease. At that time it struck to him that application of a water purifier might have saved his children from the disease. This incident made him search for the water purifiers in the market but soon it came to his comprehension that none of the purifiers available, met the standards he was looking for. And so he decided to make one of his own purifier by importing components from abroad. The proper functioning of the purifier, meeting his needs and specifications of the purification of water made him think to launch the same water purifier for the entire nation. Today, Kent RO System has a much bigger turnover of Rs. 25 crore as compared to Rs 5 crore of S.S. Engineering, his first venture and more people know him as the founder of Kent RO Systems than his first company.
He started off, working in the garage of his house. He took care of everything, including being the peon, typist etc all by himself. He dissolved his ego at that time. He did not want to approach any of his contacts because he didn’t want anyone to feel like they were doing him favors. He knew that if his product was truly valuable he will be able to convince people he didn’t know to buy his product. It was only after the first year that Mahesh Gupta bought a place to put up his factory.
Mahesh Gupta graduated in mechanical engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur and then did his masters in petroleum from the Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun. He then joined Indian Oil and worked as a manager in technical services department for about 10 years.
The latent burning desire reinforced itself on him and made him get through all the perspiration necessary to overcome the inevitable obstacles along the way to reach the desired goal. In 1988, he realized that his inner urge was to do much more than just a routine job. He possessed some brilliant ideas for petroleum products and to accomplish those ideas, he decided to quit Indian Oil and that marked the beginning of his first venture, S.S. Engineering Industries, which commenced with a meager investment of Rs. 20, 000. This company is in the business of manufacturing innovative oil flow meters and oil testing kits and till date, this company is a profitable business with an annual turnover of Rs 5 crore.
What makes Kent RO different from other water purifiers is, first, its technology. It uses a reverse osmosis process, followed by an ultraviolet process, which is followed by a system to retain essential natural minerals in the water. This product is patented. Technologically, it offers a great advantage as it removes dissolved impurities like salts and heavy metals, while retaining essential minerals. Also, the UV process in Kent RO kills the bacteria that pass through the membrane. ‘Of course, other than technology we also differentiate our products in terms of performance, servicing, branding etc.’
Over the past few years, a number of competitors have come into the RO segment. Mahesh Gupta had competition from Eureka Forbes, Whirlpool, Phillips etc, but his product still performs the best. It has an X-factor that is difficult to quantify to the public. The components are same as that of other manufacturers, but it is that slight modifications in the way RO use these components that give RO an edge over the others.
‘Today, a major chunk of our business comes from household consumers. The demand comes more from homes than offices.’ Mahesh Gupta has created a competent marketing team that approaches institutions, interested in ordering the product.
Kent RO Systems, which has Bollywood actor Hemamalini and her daughter Esha and Aahna as its brand ambassadors, has earmarked Rs 15 crore towards marketing and advertisements.
Rs 1, 000 -crore Indian water purifying industry is growing at 20 per cent annually and according to Gupta, Kent intends to capture a 25 per cent share of this industry by end of 2010.
To further strengthen its marketing ties, the company has done strategic marketing tie up with Indian Oil and Big Bazaar to make the product range available to the consumers.
“We are also stepping up our presence in all the new formats stores across the country. The distribution channels are also being scaled up. The tie-up with IOC will help to market the purifiers at select outlets, ” he added in one of his interviews.
The challenges are many but in those challenges lay several opportunities and a good entrepreneur captures the lucrative opportunities to build the brand and raise consumer awareness like Mahesh Gupta did for clean water technology.
Mahesh Gupta is looking forward to increase international focus but currently his main markets for exports are Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kenya and Sri Lanka.
Being extremely passionate for work, Mahesh Gupta moved ahead facing the challenges and looking problems as opportunities. He grew an attitude which helped him reach his full potential in every activity he took up.
Success is failure turned inside out
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt
And you never can tell how close you are
It may be near, when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight, when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit!