“Our medical refrigeration portfolio can reduce 30% vaccine wastage globally”

Mentioned Mr Kamal Nandi, Business Head and Executive Vice President, Godrej Appliances in an exclusive interaction with BioVoice's Rahul Koul. Read the detailed interview below:

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Mr Kamal Nandi, Business Head and Executive Vice President, Godrej Appliances.

Godrej Appliances had entered into a technology license agreement with The Sure Chill Company UK and had forayed in global immunization segment last year. The medical refrigerators were designed especially to provide precise cooling solutions in frequent outage situations. In an exclusive one on one interaction, Mr Kamal Nandi, Business Head and Executive Vice President, Godrej Appliances gave details about the launch of latest product range to strengthen the company’s position in the segment. Read the excerpts:

BV_icon_finalPlease tell us about the Godrej’s foray into the new field of medical refrigeration in detail? Which are your target countries in Asia Pacific?

We have always believed that innovation can help address the challenges such as cold chain infrastructure which is critical for vaccine industry and other stakeholders. In partnership with The Sure Chill Company, we launched a breakthrough technology in medical refrigeration last year. Going forward, the new product range includes three models in the Lite Series- GVR 51 Lite, GVR Lite and GVR 99 Lite with vaccine storage of 51.5 liters, 75.5 liters and 99.5 liters respectively. Our products have been well received in the market and exported to 10 countries so far. In Asia Pacific region, we have installed in Afghanistan, Nepal, Myanmar, Bali, Fiji, Saudi Arabia etc.

BV_icon_finalWhy did you launch the new lite series of products despite having the one set of product already in the market?

We received a good feedback n last one year. The insights we gained over last year have helped us to develop an extended portfolio with 6 new offerings this year. Based on the insights, we were able to improvise our products as per the requirements of our customers. We got inputs that the product that was launched by us last year had long hold overtime of 13 days which was not required. In few cases, the electricity outage was only limited for few hours and thus the feature of longer holdover time won’t be required. The product was more expensive and fit for every location. The clients felt that the product was heavy and over-designed.

This response helped us to devise products that are more compact and economical. And it was possible because of our long term expertise in the refrigeration. We could start re-engineering the whole product and come up with affordable product called Lite Series. We earlier launched it in Mumbai and now Delhi.

Our new medical refrigeration portfolio can reduce 30% of global vaccine wastage. This technology offers to hold the temperature precisely at 4 degrees Celsius for a longer period of time. Light series can holdover for 3 days as compared to the heavy series for 13 days.  It just requires itself to recharge 2.5 hours of electricity every day.

BV_icon_finalWhat are the benefits of the new technology? How is it advantegous over previous one?

We have been able to adapt the technology without diluting its core benefits to suit specific storage requirements of health centres and hospitals, including a more affordable Lite series for urban and semi urban health facilities. The clients also include pharma companies and vaccine storage facilities.

New product range has brought down the holdover time by 10 days and the cost by 50 percent. So I think it is now truly competitive, can fight global technologies on price and quality yet be highly affordable. Technology patented by The Sure Chill comes with an externally readable data logger which records upto 30 days’ temperature reading and offers five customizable temperature alarm settings.

Our new medical refrigeration portfolio can reduce 30% of global vaccine wastage. This technology offers to hold the temperature precisely at 4 degrees Celsius for a longer period of time. Light series can holdover for 3 days as compared to the heavy series for 13 days.  It just requires itself to recharge 2.5 hours of electricity every day.

BV_icon_final We hear stories on spoiling of vaccines due to heat conditions in Indian rural terrains. Will these products be of help?

When the vaccines cross the temperature over 8 degrees Celsius or below 2 degrees Celsius, it is as good as water with zero efficacy. The important factors to retain the impact of vaccines are their efficacy and second is the right storage. That is what we are trying to do through with our product.

All products continue to guarantee never to freeze vaccines because of the patented technology, limit temperature variation within cabinet to less than 1 degree Celsius, have a built in intelligent temperature control and energy management. In terms of product offering, this portfolio is the best in market today.

BV_icon_finalAre you planning for any collaboration with government bodies or pharma companies?

The recent conference at Delhi has been to bring visibility to the technology and educate the stakeholders about the issues being faced in the medical refrigeration. We have been informing the government agencies about this product and the benefits coming with it.

This technology is also perfect for blood banks.  We will come up with wide portfolio for blood banks. We will go to the other areas of medical sciences where refrigeration is required to safeguard products.

BV_icon_final What do you make of ‘Make in India campaign and does this product fit here?

This is the only medical refrigerator in this category that is manufactured in India. No other brand does that here. It is getting manufactured at our Vikhroli unit in Mumbai in parallel with one in Pune. While currently the number is 10,000 units, we are planning to increase the capacity of manufacturing facility to 30,000 units over next 2 years. 

BV_icon_finalComing to the business aspects, what are the market trends including competition etc?

The market size of the medical refrigerators for vaccines is roughly Rs 500 crore in last one year. It is expected to grow exponentially.

There are many global players in the Indian market yet their products can’t guarantee you the precise temperature in wake of fluctuations. Vaccines get spoiled and emphasis is on the temperature side.

BV_icon_finalGodrej is generally known for the household refrigerators. But now as you have ventured into medical domain, what are your detailed plans?

Since we have now moved into medical refrigeration and especially vaccines storage, we are also planning to venture into blood banking as well. Blood storage also requires precise temperature. This technology is also perfect for blood banks.  We will come up with wide portfolio for blood banks. We will go to the other areas of medical sciences where refrigeration is required to safeguard products.

Is the product being used globally too? What is the cost?BV_icon_final

Sure Chill’s technology is being used in 38 nations and we too will be supplying the latest product there.

The price of entire range varies from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 5 Lakh whereas the Lite series price range is between Rs 70,000 to Rs 75,000 The re-engineering and for bringing out right efficiencies, there have been efforts by our engineers. Therefore, the price optimization is complete and we cannot go beyond this decrease. I would say this is highly affordable in this category.

BV_icon_final How has been the response from the clients?

Wherever we have installed the machine so far, we have received the good response. For example, in the West Bengal where we installed at 38 locations, the response is overwhelming. People are happy about the display board that gives them the exact temperature inside the refrigerator. Over that the maintenance is zero and so far not a single complaint has been received about any vaccine lot getting spoiled or anything like that.

BV_icon_finalWhat is your expectation is terms of revenue and future outlook?

There is a huge potential. We hope to generate Rs 200 crore revenue from medical refrigerator portfolio by 2020.

I believe that we are not looking at the right technologies that could bring down wastage considerably. We must look out and use innovation to bring down the cost and improve efficacy.