Watertec India - Amalgamation of Technology + Design

Bantwal Ramesh Baliga, CEO, Watertec India, shares with MGS Architecture the company’s focus on R&D and innovation for developing sustainable, water efficient and affordable products; plans for setting up more factories across India; diversifying into new product lines; and why architects and interior designers should only consider quality, value-for-money sanitaryware products and plumbing solutions
Bantwal Ramesh Baliga, CEO, Watertec India
We will continue our efforts in providing quality, innovative, cost-saving, rust-free, leak-free sanitaryware & fittings to the end-customers. Our next project will be in the pipes and fittings segment and a zero-waste electroplating plant for polymer bath fittings. We will aggressively promote the products in each segment where we foresee opportunities for an established brand like Watertec.

Quality, Design & Functionality
Indian sanitaryware companies have set International standards in quality and design of their products

In India, today, sanitaryware manufacturers have set all the quality parameters and standards that match those of the International sanitaryware market. In India, high-quality materials, advanced infrastructure for production, modern designs, and the required manpower are easily available. But, if we were to have fully-automated plants then our production numbers would increase significantly, as is the case in China.

Each country customises its products as per their customers’ needs; in India, for example, we prefer a broader commode. At Watertec, we factor in the market trends and design products as per the demand. Our highly aesthetically Design Series, for instance, is designed for the mid and high segment of buyers. Our cisterns come in three design ranges: Oval, Round and Square and we offer a 10-year warranty for them.

The design and look of sanitaryware for home interiors are an important consideration, as are the products’ functionality and reliability

We have a full-fledged Research & Development team that crafts the products based on the design inputs received from architects and interior designers, who keep a close eye on international designs. We customise the products to meet Indian requirement for ease of functionality and comfort.

Today, consumers in the mid and high segment prefer a wall-hung commode that makes the bathroom look smart and spacious. Also, easy-to-clean floors and dry bathroom concepts are becoming popular. The colour white has a wider attraction than ivory. The sale of the flushing system has also increased as it is a space saver. The main consideration seems to be the commode size for comfortable seating.

Total Bathroom & Plumbing Solutions
We have a variety of brands for every segment of Indian and international markets

With a broad product portfolio that caters to all the segments of buyers from the affordable to the premium variety, we now have a strong presence in Tier 2, 3, and 4 cities. We specialise in showers, rain showers, faucets for home, hospitals and institutions, concealed cisterns, sanitaryware products, bottle traps, and connection tubes. Products range from premium, super-luxury to mid-high, mid-low to lower end.

Watertec India

Our products are designed in snow-white colour and manufactured as per Indian working conditions. Our prices are affordable and available for every segment of the market. We even manufacture high-quality Orissa pans at a very affordable price for rural and Tier 3 markets besides cisterns, concealed cisterns, flush valves, touch sensors, etc.
Revolutionizing Bath Spaces
Watertec’s journey began in 1997 with a single-minded mission: to revolutionize bath spaces by replacing sub-standard metal fittings and accessories with Superior Virgin Grade Engineering Polymer Products. Today, Watertec is not only the market leader in the polymer-based bath fittings space, but also one of India’s fastest-growing end-to-end bathroom solutions provider with its unique ‘H2O Promise’ that offers Health, Hygiene and Original Products. In the coming years, it will foray into the chrome plating and stainless steel market, with a strong focus on technology-based water-saving products.

We manufacture products for drainage, piping for the front and behind the wall. We use only NSF approved resin for our CPVC systems, and also manufacture uPVC column popes and SWR pipes, In fact, Watertec has over 22 years of experience in manufacturing polymer products. We have tie-ups with international brands like CONTI+ for their unique CNX water management system that allows the user to control up to 150 link taps, showers, wash basins, and urinal flush valves within a range of 350 meters – all this with the tap of a button. We are offering SS 316 products under a tie-up with VRH, which is Thailand’s largest stainless-steel faucet manufacturer.

Our sanitaryware range is in line with the latest trends in design and quality and all our products are technology-driven

When we call ourselves a total bathroom & plumbing solutions provider, it means that we have ensured that our faucets, bathroom accessories, and sanitaryware range are in line with the latest trends and are technology-driven too.

One of our premium Bathroom Fittings & Accessories range that has made its way into the demanding Indian market is our home-grown brand AQCETO. This stylish and versatile range has been designed by an elite panel of world-class designers, architects, and engineers. Every AQCETO product offers supreme functionality, is highly durable, eco-friendly, conserves water, rich in finish, and technologically engineered to live up to performance standards.

Our luxury brand Teorema from Italy offers the most aesthetically designed faucets and bathroom accessories. Our VRH brand of Thailand offers a completely stainless-steel range of faucets and bathroom accessories and is best suited for India’s coastal areas. Made of Marine Grade Stainless Steel, this range is extremely suitable for areas that experience scaling and corrosion of hardware and faucets.

Our hallmark brand is Conti+ of Switzerland. Its CNX – water management system - functions with a tab and can remotely control up to 150 faucets. Conti’s sensor faucets and soap dispensers are the need of the hour and they have some of the best designs and a long battery life.

We provide technical training to our service engineers for plumbing and piping solutions and for trouble shooting
Bantwal Ramesh Baliga, CEO, Watertec India
When we call ourselves a total bathroom & plumbing solutions provider, it means that we have ensured that our faucets, bathroom accessories, and sanitaryware range are in line with the latest trends and are also technology-driven

As a company that believes in imparting training to all technical and non-technical staff, we provide periodic training to our service engineers in our in-house plumbing lab, once in every quarter. Practical inputs are given by dismantling the products and making them reassemble it. The nuances of servicing our products are provided, for them, which they have to apply when working at sites. We give them complete Service Kits to facilitate seamless onsite work. Our service engineers besides providing pre and post installation technical inputs, also educate the customers on the right installation methods. In fact, even our sales and marketing team undergoes technical training on plumbing to better serve the customers.

Art & Engineering
The end-to-end manufacturing, designing, and engineering of Watertec products are backed by the latest technology and superior craftsmanship

Watertec India

We have built robust technical driven plants that are fully-automatic and which increase productivity. We manufacture faucets, PVC pipes, sanitary ware, and floor drains in our three plants in Coimbatore. Our manufacturing capacity is almost 34 million units of bathroom fittings, which is one of the largest capacities in South East Asia. All our products are designed to be drip-free, rust-free, and leak-free. Our adherence and commitment to quality is evident at every stage of our manufacturing process.
Awards
  • Asia’s Greatest Brand and Leader 2018 Award for premium Bath Fittings and Accessories
  • Best Employer in Coimbatore Award - 2019
  • Award of Excellence - 2019
  • Most Preferred brand in Real Estate segment award - 2019
  • India’s Greatest Brand for the year - 2019
  • Super Brand Award - Architectural Product of the year 2019
  • Extraordinaire Leader & Brand Award - 2020
  • Business Leader of the Year by ET Now - 2020
  • Most Trusted CEO Awards - 2020

The end-to-end manufacturing, designing, and engineering of our products are executed in-house and backed by the latest technology and craftsmanship. Our plant in Morbi is equipped with the latest imported injection moulding machinery from reputed brands of Europe; advanced robotics from Japan and Europe; and extruders from reputed brands in India.

Our team of highly qualified and experienced engineers operates the automatic robotic arms as well as a host of other high-class instruments to ensure that all products achieve consistency in design and finish, while delivering a high level of efficiency in performance. The manufacturing process can be broadly categorised into the Distribution of Raw Materials, Treatment Processes, Assembly and Quality Control.
Bantwal Ramesh Baliga, CEO, Watertec India
The challenge is to keep introducing products in a cost-conscious market that has been subsided by cheaper products from other South Asian countries and China. The opportunity lies in tapping and manufacturing products that focus on health and hygiene which is the need of the hour

We have an in-house Tool Room equipped with advanced, high-tech German machines to ensure the production of the best quality moulds. These moulds are highly appreciated for their key properties such as high thermal insulation, high precision, compact design, surface strength, and anti-abrasive finish.

R&D for Hygiene, Water Efficiency & Sustainability
Our New Product Development (NPD) unit develops new products and improves the existing ones

Watertec India

Our motto is: finding better ways to delight customers. Our in-house R&D team puts great thought into designing, intricately crafting, and meticulously detailing new products before they go into production. After several rounds of experimenting, redesigning, and testing, the product is finally released.
Milestones
1997: Watertec commissioned a new state-of-the-art factory at Neelambur. Spread across 4.6 acres, it is equipped with internationally acclaimed German machinery.

1997-2011: The company emerged as a leading provider of Wall Mixers, Smart Tap Push Cock Solutions, Push Bib Taps, Float Valves, UPVC Ball Valves, Bathroom Accessories, etc.

2013: A new unit, sprawling across 5.5 acres, was commissioned. The company diversified its business operations and ventured into manufacturing PVC Pipes & Fittings and Accessories.

2016: Further expanded the product portfolio to include Single and Dual Flush Cisterns, Adjustable Showers, various types of Ball Valves, etc.

2016: A new factory spread across 2.8 acres was commissioned, where a new IMD and Assembly Division for Bath Fittings began operations.

2017-2018: A new state-of-the-art automation technology powered manufacturing facility of 75,000 sqft. was inaugurated.

2018: Launched home-grown premium brand AQCETO; widened reach by partnering with globally celebrated brands Conti+, VRH and WTS Group (Rubintree Teorema).

We even have a dedicated New Product Development (NPD) unit that is responsible for developing new products and improvising on the existing ones to meet the growing market demands. It typically takes 7 to 9 months for every new product launch or improvisation to undergo the 7-step process comprising of Discovery, Concept & Design, Prototype, Tooling, Manufacturing and Assembly & Release.

Watertec India

The post-Covid new normal stresses on health, hygiene, and touch-free products

We have designed our water management products in varied designs and as per customer requirements. Our new cisterns are anti-bacterial/anti-fungal for maintaining health and hygiene in the bathroom. The challenge is to keep introducing products in a cost-conscious market that has been subsided by cheaper products from other South Asian countries and China. The opportunity lies in tapping and manufacturing products that focus on health and hygiene which is the need of the hour.

Watertec India

Our objective in the creation of every product is hygiene, water efficiency and sustainability

Our products deliver the H2O promise of Health, Hygiene, and Original products to ensure 360-degree hygiene and sustainability in bathrooms. This is because we consider ourselves a socially responsible company that manufactures only good quality products.

Watertec India

We have been engineering products to resolve the issue of contact-less usage long before it became the new norm. Our end-to-end bathroom products use scientifically formulated raw materials that are anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial in nature, while their external design promotes ergonomic and minimal touch. These include our sensor-based faucets and soap dispensers, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal dual & single flush cisterns, anti-bacterial seat covers, stainless steel range of products, to name a few.

High Quality Certified Materials
At Watertec, we use only high-quality, imported virgin grade engineering polymers such as ABS and Polyacetal

We believe that the first step to achieving quality products is focusing on the raw materials used. At Watertec, we use only high-quality, imported virgin grade engineering polymers such as ABS and Polyacetal to ensure that our products last longer, demonstrate higher endurance, stability, and perform well under high or low temperatures and dynamic environments.

Watertec India

Our pipes, approved by NSF, have a longer life span, as they are made of high-quality resin, are corrosion-resistant and lead-free, and can work in every climatic condition across India. The pipes should be installed as per the defined plumbing standards. The piping should be clamped at an equal distance so that the piping system will not have any clogs and give a clean, smooth flow of water. Pipes which are concealed in walls should be properly laid and have the right thickness as per the prescribed standards. Our pipes are NSF 14, NSF 372 and UPC-I certified, and we are now in the process of getting NSF 61 certified.

We request architects and interior designers to look at certified products only where manufacturing standards are of the highest quality

Since the heartline of a bathroom and a kitchen is the piping system, getting approvals from the NSF on potability and ensuring lead-free products should be given utmost importance. In case any failure arises in the piping system, a huge amount of money, time, and energy will have to be shelled out to replace the expensive tiles, sanitaryware, and the fittings.

Watertec India

Project delays or issues arising after handing over of a property or an apartment, often occur due to faulty plumbing. Architects should ensure that the pipes are of the right size such that they can effectively meet the output rates that indicate water flow, air block challenges, or pressure bursts. The architects must pay attention to the quality and specifications given by the manufacturer as the choice of plumbing material and installation is extremely important.

To give an example, basic metal fittings are mostly made of sub-standard quality brass that contains a concentration of lead which is hazardous to health. These are not reliable as they are prone to corrosion sooner and the water that it conducts can be hazardous too.
Architects must pay attention to the quality and specifications given by the manufacturer as the right choice of plumbing material and installation is extremely important

Customer – First Policy
The pillars of our value system are Quality, Hygiene, Sustainability, Research & Development, Timely Delivery and Affordable Access

We have international standard plants in Coimbatore conforming to industry 4.0. We have built one of the largest pan India distribution networks comprising of 15,000+ channel partners and dealers, 36 warehouses and 35 branches across India and in global markets like UAE, SAARC countries, Egypt, South Asia, African countries and in the Middle Eastern markets.

Customer support is the driving force at Watertec as we have a customer-first policy. We are open to any constructive suggestion from our customers and dealers. We offer a free life-time warranty in terms of service for our products. A dedicated call centre is available for customers to lodge their grievances or queries, which are addressed within 24 to 48 hours.

Business Acumen and Knowledge
A graduate in Mechanical Engineering, a Post Graduate Diploma holder in Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning, and an MBA, Bantwal Ramesh Baliga has studied in reputed institutions like Kendriya Vidyalaya, R V College of Engineering- Bangalore. He has over 33 years of experience in machine design, product design, sales, finance, production, and marketing, with P&L responsibilities. He has complete knowledge of sanitary ware, its manufacturing processes and designing, and has developed products that meet customer requirements in markets like India, the SAARC countries, and NEMA. He engages closely with the company’s channel partners to understand the changing demands and the latest trends in sanitaryware. In his own words. . .

I joined Watertec India in 2016 with the sole aim to position the company as a 360-degree solution provider for all sanitaryware and plumbing requirements, through innovations, deployment of technically advanced manufacturing processes, and manufacture of products that are of premium quality, high on aesthetics, affordable, and which bring value to the end-users.

Overcoming Market Challenges
Market challenges have to be taken positively, as without them; we will not be able to create a growth plan for the company. Challenges are bound to come, and we have the required team and infrastructure in place to overcome them. We have built a robust team in each department and a research team for developing various new products. As challenges emerge and we find solutions for them, we have gained a lot of experience and even the expertise in combining design, engineering, and manufacturing to take the company to the next level of growth.

Taking Watertec India to the Next Level of Growth
We have planned for the latest Industry 4.0 plants pan India and will be expanding our product range to cater to all market segments. We have a well-trained sales and marketing team in place. Our JV with 100-year-old companies from Europe will help us take the Watertec brand to the next level of visibility and growth. While we have managed to achieve our goal of becoming a debt-free company, we are now working towards achieving a turnover of Rs 1,400 crores in 5 years, based on a year-on-year growth of 27%.

Expansion Plans
Bantwal Ramesh Baliga, CEO, Watertec India
We are expecting a positive growth of the sanitaryware industry in the coming years. Our strength is manufacturing affordable housing products that has the support of the government. We will continue our efforts in providing quality, innovative, cost-saving, rust-free, leak-free products to the end-customers. We are also planning to set up a few more plants in India. Our next project will be in the pipes and fittings segment with an expansion of twice the size of our existing plants; and a zero-waste electroplating plant for polymer bath fittings. We plan to aggressively promote the products in each segment where we foresee opportunities for an established brand like Watertec.
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