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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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1. Introduction:

1.1 Content

The study describes the effects an engineering solution provider faces, when in one of its business segments, it loses substantial market share by the introduction of an innovation. It describes how a company pioneered in a certain segment becomes a follower due to a certain disruptive innovation brought in by competitors over a period of time resulting in substantial loss in market share. The make or break situation called for some analysis on the market behavior and a possible way forward, is to bring in its own innovation while keeping its existing product in the portfolio for varied offering. It describes the concept of pioneer vs. follower, the different types of market entry strategies, marketing strategies for late to market products, brand positioning, planning and implementing brand marketing program, designing and implementing brand strategies, introducing new products, brand extension,  agility required by late entrants in tapping the loopholes etc. with a real life example of an Indian engineering company and its journey curve from being market leader in the segment of hot water generator to loosing substantial market share to a certain innovation and how well it could introduce and position its own innovation product into the market without abolishing its existing successful product with careful consideration of its product portfolio.

1.2 Aim

To investigate the positioning strategies according to various market requirement and its product portfolio decision in various business ecosystems, of once a market leader to regain its market share and profit by the introduction of new technology known as the heat pump.

1.3 Objectives

a. To evaluate how a company makes positioning and product portfolio decisions.

b. Pioneer versus late arrivals and how a company can grow in a market in spite of not being the first mover.

c. To evaluate the make or buy decision of a product and also to evaluate strategies based on cost and differentiation leadership.

d. Justify the positioning and product portfolio decision by cost analysis.

e. To gain a broader helicopter view of the market and the product positioning from experts of the industry.

1.4 Structure

The study is divided into eight chapters including introduction and conclusion. The introduction outlines the basic content of the study, its aim and objectives and summarizes the structure of the study. Chapter two defines the industry of hot water generators. The subchapters' divide chapter two into market potential, basic industry of hot water generator, application details and the major suppliers of the product in the concerned market.

Chapter three introduces the company Thermax Limited (Thermax) and describes its make or buy strategy in details. In this chapter the author gives a detailed concept of outsourcing and how, when and why it should be done.

In chapter four, the author analyzes the market in the subchapters based on business literature on targeting, segmentation for industrial products, positioning strategies based on Porter's model, marketing mix and its implementation in B2B market and how it affects innovation and lastly the SWOT Analysis of the concerned product.

Chapter five describes the industry analysis of heat pumps, the nature of participants, perceptual mapping of Thermax's product in comparison to its major competitors, buyer behavior and buying process in the industry, the power of suppliers, threat of new entrants and threat of substitutes. The author also gives a brief account of the key success factors of the product, the current industry trends and the long term prospect of the product.

The chapter on testing of hypothesis analyzes the two hypothesis based on concrete calculation of operational and capital expenditure of the heat pumps and the hot water generating boilers of Thermax. It justifies the hypothesis based on concrete data and calculations and gives a clear understanding on the positioning and product portfolio decision and strategy the company should embark upon.

Chapter seven describes the qualitative method of data collection based on five semi structured interviews from market experts and analysis of the data based on the study.

Chapter eight presents the conclusion of the main findings, provides recommendation on action to introduce the product and also throws light on the field for further research and study and outlines the limitations.

Chapter nine and ten comprises of the list of references and the appendices.

2. Hot water generators

The study shall steer along the lines of investigating the various hot water generators, their use, the industry and market potential and structure.

2.1 Approximate market potential

Eastern India and Nepal promises to be an extensive and prominent market for heat pumps as it hosts a varied number of hotels, army camps and hospitals throughout its topography. As per field data, Eastern India has an annual market potential of INR 25 Million (Approx. 350,000 Euros) (Samik Roy, personal communication, January 12th 2017, Refer Appendix A) and Nepal as a country has a market potential of 150 numbers of heat pumps with an approximate value of INR 24 Million (Approx. 345,000 Euros) (Sanjay Tulshyan, personal communication, January 27th 2017, Refer Appendix A).

2.2 Introduction to hot water generators

Water heating is a process which is associated with thermodynamic heating and finds varied application in domestic and industrial uses. Thermodynamics can be described as a process where thermal energy is converted to and from other forms of energy. The basic concept is the use of some external energy source to heat water which in turn is used for various domestic and industrial applications (Lucas, 2015). From day to day activity and experience it can be said that typical domestic applications are cooking, cleaning, bathing, space heating etc. whereas industrial application includes various steam applications like food processing, painting, dairy, drug and pharmaceutical etc. (Full System Engineering Company, n.d).

The coil type conventional boiler hot water generators use gas and liquid fuel whereas the heat pump runs on electricity. In this article we shall discuss both the coil type as well as the electricity driven heat pumps with product example from Thermax (Thermax Limited, n.d).

2.2.1 Conventional coil type hot water generators

 

Figure 1 Conventional hot water generator (Aetom Engineering Technologies Private Limited, n.d)

It's a compact hot water heater closed loop system which can provide water at a maximum outlet temperature of 90 degree Celsius. It comes with a multitude of benefits: single button start, high efficiency (92%), low electrical load, easy to operate and maintain. It also comes with an option of an external unit called Calorifier which can be mounted without any foundation and to save space can also be erected in the basement (Thermax Limited, n.d)

2.2.2 Heat pump

Heat pump is a new electric hot water generator system which works on the principle of refrigeration cycle. Working Principle: AquaNexa™ works on refrigeration cycle, absorbing heat from ambient air to generate hot water.

Figure 2 (Thermax Scope of Supply, product profile manual, Refer Appendix E)

“Heat from the ambient air is absorbed & transferred to refrigerant in an evaporator. Refrigerant changes phase from liquid to vapor. The evaporated refrigerant passes through compressor, where its pressure is increased.  High pressure & high temperature refrigerant passes through condenser, where latent heat is transferred to incoming cold water.  Condensed refrigerant is then passed through expansion valve. High pressure refrigerant expands into low pressure. Now, low pressure & low temperature are again circulated through evaporator section to repeat the whole cycle” (Thermax Scope of Supply, product profile manual, Refer Appendix E). It can also be explained as an equipment which works on the principle of compression as found in refrigerators and can extract heat from heat sources like air, water, sewage and ground to another location. Recently it has caught the attention of governments and also is endorsed as a practical energy saving option for the country's hotels like is identified by Singapore government (Chan, Yueng, Chan, & Li, Hotel heat pump hot water systems: impact assessment and analytic hierarchy process, 2013).

2.3 Application details of heat pumps

Heat pumps are exclusively used throughout all forms of industries both in the commercial as well as in the domestic sector. “Based on thermodynamic refrigeration cycles, heat pumps use a process fluid and electricity to extract thermal energy from a low-temperature source and provide heat to a higher temperature sink (and refrigeration of the heat source). Heat sources (in heating applications) or sinks (in cooling applications) include outdoor/indoor air, river/lake/sea water, ground heat and waste heat. Common applications for heat pumps are air-conditioning, refrigeration and space heating in both residential and commercial buildings. Other applications include hot water supply in commercial buildings, cold storage warehouses and process heat and steam for industrial applications” (The International Renewable Energy Agency(IRENA), 2013).

Few basic examples of heat pump applications include space heating, sanitary water heating, de-humidification and heat recovery. To authenticate the testimony of successful use of heat pumps, a few published real life examples are stated below:

2.3.1 Case: Real life domestic application example

Heat pumps are considered to have lower running cost when used in certain off gas grid areas compared to direct electric or oil when considered for normal housing projects. Here in this context, a real life example of Mr. and Mrs. Cornwall published on the website of Heat pump association could be stated. As per the case, the family had already experienced the benefits of solar and electric heating and would like to replicate a similar process of modern renewable heating in their new bungalow. Daikin Altherma specialist, provided them with the solution of heat pumps with a CoP averaging over 4.0 throughout the whole year. The benefits that came  along with the installation of heat pump was, the family experienced 50% less energy running cost and substantial savings in the long run for a period of 20 years (Heat Pump Association, n.d). To quote Mr. Cornwall, “We anticipate energy savings of well over 50% compared to the equivalent electric or oil fired system. Daikin Altherma has low maintenance requirements and is as operationally safe as any heating and hot water system could be” (Heat Pump Association, n.d).

2.3.2 Case: Real life commercial example

Here we can state an example of a 5 star hotel named Chewton Glen Country house hotel which was to be built near the New forest national park and was scheduled to be opened just before the London Olympics in 2012. The plan comprised of mainly tree house suits at the edge of the forest and demanded a sustainable renewable solution for electricity and hot water. The makers of the hotel turned to a supplier of heat pump. A 16kW high temperature split heat pump along with 260 Liters of hot water cylinders were installed. The installation was capable to a regular supply of hot water throughout the day at a temperature of 75 degree Celsius(C) and an under floor heating of 45 Degree C (Heat pump Association, n.d).

Case: Real life special application example: One stop environmental control

With more than 300,000 visitors flocking a popular pool at Hertfordshire leisure complex, the authority was facing huge energy bills and maintenance cost with 8 air changes per hour to maintain the pool side conditions. After much deliberation they turned into heat pumps (Heat Pump Association, n.d). “An energy-efficient HRD heat pump system will remove moisture from the atmosphere, collect its latent energy and re-use it to assist water and air heating, creating a self-perpetuating heat cycle that ensures energy costs are kept to a minimum” (Heat Pump Association, n.d). It also helped facilitating major savings in CO2 emissions and cuts down drastically on the running cost (Heat Pump Association, n.d).

2.4 Suppliers of the product

There are many large, medium and small sized suppliers of the product both overseas as well as pan India. The most dominant ones other than Thermax in the region are as follows:

Name of the company   Brief description

Lombardyne Industries Pvt. Ltd. Established in 1989, the Pune based company expertise in producing heat pumps and industrial chillers. They produce and sell their product mostly pan India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Dubai (Lombardyne Industries Pvt. Ltd., n.d).

Bluestar India Limited “Blue Star is India\'s leading air conditioning and commercial refrigeration company, with an annual revenue of over INR 3500 Cr. (over US$ 510 million), a network of 35 offices, 5 modern manufacturing facilities, 2300 employees, 2200 dealers and 600 retailers” (Blue Star Limited, n.d).

Suntec Energy Systems An ISO 9001 company, Suntec energy systems is the flagship company of Sambhav group. They are the exclusive distributors of Riello (Italian) burners in India (Suntec Energy Systems, n.d).

Venus Home Appliances Pvt. Ltd. Manufacturers of Venus Water Heaters for more than 50 years is a market leader and pioneer in the Water heater industry. Venus is one of the leading brands of water heaters in India and stands for Quality, Reliability and Performance (Venus Home Appliances Pvt. Ltd., n.d)

A O Smith “A. O. Smith Water Products Company is headquartered in Ashland City, Tennessee, home of the world's largest water heater factory. The A. O. Smith network includes five manufacturing facilities in North America, plus plants in Nanjing, China and Veldhoven, The Netherlands. For millions of consumers, business owners, property managers and engineers worldwide, A. O. Smith has delivered innovative hot water solutions for over 70 years” (A O Smith, n.d).

Racold Thermo Pvt. Ltd. “Racold Thermo Pvt. Ltd. (erstwhile Racold Thermo Ltd.), an ISO 9001:2008 company, is a fully owned subsidiary of Ariston Thermo Group – Italy, one of the leading players worldwide, in manufacturing and marketing of water and space heating products and their components. The Indian operations include India's largest and fully integrated water heater plant in Chakan near Pune, Maharashtra that has been operational since 1999. Ever since its inception, Racold Thermo Pvt. Ltd. (erstwhile Racold Thermo Ltd.) went on to change standards in the Indian water heater industry by bringing in new technology, enhancing the aesthetics, quality, durability and performance of the product” (Racold Thermo Pvt. Ltd., n.d)

Cristopia Energy Systems Pvt. Ltd. “Cristopia Energy Systems (I) Pvt. Ltd. is an ISO 9001:2008 certified, specialist Engineering Group which manufactures large and small scale cooling, heating and energy management solutions, such as Air Cooled & Water Cooled Screw Chillers, Scroll Chillers, and Thermal Energy Storage (TES) systems, in India. In addition to supplying its wide product range to the local marketplace, the Company also exports to a number of countries” (Cristopia Energy systems pvt. ltd., n.d).

Celcius “Celsius, born in 2001, specializes in Tailor-made Solutions in HVAC&R Industry. (Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration) Celsius Solutions & Products help attain specific Temperature & Humidity conditions” (Celcius, n.d).

Table 1. List of major suppliers of the product (Refer Appendix F )

3 Introduction to Thermax Limited

Thermax Limited is a leading Indian energy and environment engineering company which pioneers in providing various engineering solutions. Its product portfolio has a varied range of products like boilers, steam equipment, hot water generators, chillers, water and waste water solutions, air pollution control equipment, chemicals and auxiliary engineering solutions (Thermax Limited, n.d).

Thermax group is an INR 5516 Cr. (Approx. $ 1 Billion) company headquartered in Pune, India and operate globally through 19 international offices, 12 sales and service offices and 11 manufacturing facilities (Thermax Limited, n.d).

3.1 Introduction of the company current positioning and its product mix

Thermax has a strong infrastructure in heating system and steam engineering. In so far as the range of boilers and heating equipment are concerned, Thermax manufacturing facilities produce boilers ranging from 50kg to 1000 tons per hour steam boilers. Boilers range from large supersaturated industrial boilers, waste heat recovery and process boilers, fossil-fuel fired heaters, solar thermal heaters and packaged steam boilers (Thermax Limited, n.d).

Hot water generators:  Thermax manufactures varied capacity of hot water generators, in the range of 50,000 kcal to 90, 00,000 kcal per hour. These hot water generators are designed to operate on various types of fuel such as heavy and light oil, gas, duel fuel, coal, husk and other agro waste fuel. Thermax manufactures three types of hot water generators by the product names Aquamatic (AMW), Aquatherm (ATHM) and Thermocontainers (Thermax Limited, n.d). Thermocontainers are specific application product which are designed to provide low cost heating for low temperature application (Thermax Limited, n.d).

The discussion will be on heat pumps and hot water generators with special emphasis on the product portfolio of Thermax in terms of hot water generator systems. AMW and ATHM are relatively old technology boiler hot water generators which experienced a substantial market share in this segment (Arnab Rahut, personal communication, 3rd February 2017, Refer Appendix A). Over the period of time various small and mid-scale suppliers entered the market with an innovation technology called the heat pump. AMW and ATHM works on the technology of liquid and gaseous fuel firing which are touted hazardous to the environment  (The International Renewable Energy Agency(IRENA), 2013) and the whole positioning of the product depends on the availability and the viability of a specific kind of fuel around the specific industry belt (Thermax Limited, n.d). Heat pump on the other hand is not dependent on the type of fuel nor is it dependent on the availability of fuel in a certain area. The heat pump comes in a completely packaged, ready to use condition and is just a plug and play operation for the users. Some of its product features are high COP- low running cost, high efficiency heat exchanger, corrosion free operation and longer life, low noise, pollution free operation and uses environment friendly refrigerant (Thermax Limited, n.d).

3.2 Sourcing plan of the product

When a company is late to enter a market, without core competency on the specific product or service, behaving like a follower of the market, while planning, is most likely to plan an outsourcing strategy of the product. Maximize its benefits in the market, learn from it and then stretch its limits over a period of time (Quinn & Hilmer, 1994).

In the present competitive world where the market is extremely demanding and price sensitive, being a follower can be a bit challenging. So managers, to leverage its company's skills and resources beyond its limitation combine the following approaches:

i. Concentrate the firm's own resources in a set of core competencies in order to achieve maximum benefits (Quinn & Hilmer, 1994), like leveraging Thermax's well spanned out dealer network, state of the art manufacturing facilities and research and development.

ii. Strategically outsource a few activities (including the ones, traditionally inherent to the company) which has neither a critical strategic need nor special abilities (Quinn & Hilmer, 1994). Like how Thermax can make use of its global sourcing partners to gain expertise in the product and overshadow their lack of core competency in the product (Manoj Purohit, personal communication, 7th February, 2017, Refer Appendix A).

Managers leverage their company's resources in four ways. Firstly, maximize resources by concentrating efforts into what the company does best. Secondly, having core competencies, shields against the threats the company may experience in the future by competitors. Thirdly, full utilization of external supplier's infrastructure, knowledge and investment to its own advantage. Lastly, in a rapidly changing market place, a joint strategy decreases risk, shortens cycle time and lowers investments. In this context we can consider the following 2 examples. Nike, being a market leader in the industry outsources 100 percent of its shoes features and only manufactures certain special parts which requires specific Nike expertise. Nike trains its foreign based suppliers with specific training programs and even outsource its advertising component of marketing to a company called Wieden and Kennedy. Another example can be of Apple where it outsource around 70% of its components due to its lack of core competency in making chips, printers, keyboards etc. (Quinn & Hilmer, 1994).

We shall discuss about the various strategies to consider towards outsourcing:

Core competency strategy: In the 60's and 70's after many conglomerates failed, investors and financers started shifting their focus on more specific concentrated companies. This meant companies to follow a certain pattern which could be identified as ‘sticking to your knitting'. However research suggests that still at that time Japanese companies like Mitsubishi, Yamaha and Sony had diverse portfolio as did American companies like 3M or Hewlett Packard. Companies like Honda and Sony used comparable strategies leveraging a few core skills against multiple markets through extensive outsourcing. However these are just a few examples of companies who have been successful with an expanded portfolio. On the contrary Foster had to wind up its diversification into finance, forest products and pastoral businesses and had to concentrate more on its core beer business after dealing with a blow for non-expertise in the field. Rest of its distribution, transportation, maintenance and computing where contracted where they had no core competencies (Quinn & Hilmer, 1994).

Preeminence: Key strategic barrier: Companies must surround its core competencies with defensive strategies both upstream and downstream. Managers should continuously concentrate on developing its core competencies in order to block its competitors. Honda for example does all its core motor parts in its facilities and outsource the other essentials and keeps competition at bay. Intellectual leadership tends to attract the best minds into business and as a result make the core product expertise of the company even stronger, whereas peripherals can always be outsourced for cost benefits (Quinn & Hilmer, 1994).  

Strategic outsourcing: Supplier markets are not always completely reliable and poses a threat between supplier and buyer in terms of price, quality, time etc. Moreover outsourcing entails major transaction cost in terms of contract, treaty etc. Marks and spencer's can be considered as a critical example where they rely mostly on suppliers and exercise a lot of control on its vendors (Quinn & Hilmer, 1994). As in the case of Thermax, they can benefit from outsourcing the product through its global outsourcing partners with strong governance (Manoj Purohit, personal communication, 7th February 2017, Refer Appendix A).

Competitive edge: Whether a company should go for insourcing or outsourcing completely depends on its core competencies. The part which the company expertise in, should be manufactured in house and the rest could be outsourced, based on the situation. Outsourcing should only be considered if it regularly fetches better price, better competency and delivered in a more timely fashion. Insourcing should not be considered just based on demand that a product is required to be manufactured internally. In the process a company may lose out on its competitive edge as competitors may have better expertise in the product and later one realizes that it would have always been better to outsource the product. A New York bank while introspecting why its Federal express costs were soaring found out that its internal mail department was taking two extra days than normal mail (Quinn & Hilmer, 1994). So, this implies to Thermax in a way that, in spite of having state of the art manufacturing facility and expertise to manufacture capital equipment, they can introspect whether they have the core competency for the particular product. Else, outsourcing can be considered as the best option (Manoj Purohit, personal communication, 7th February 2017, Refer Appendix A).

Transaction cost: In all calculations, analysts must consider the internal cost as well as the outsourcing costs. If a company is to produce something it must continuously invest into its R&D in order to maintain the competitive edge over others. Plus a regular coordination between all its offices and the head office also attracts a lot of transaction cost. In all probability, organizations often fail to foresee the promise the product brings and its future market potential. Whereas in many cases, it is seen that outsourcing reduces executive time, decreases peripheral costs and let the top management invest time, money and energy into the core business. Marketers often fail to analyze and identify the transaction cost involved in insourcing and thus biasing happens. (Quinn & Hilmer, 1994)

Vulnerability: In case where the market is steady and there are many market standards, a potential buyer is more likely to be not so efficient compared to its existing suppliers. Again on the contrary if the potential individual suppliers are weak and less in numbers plus if they fail to innovate in every step then it is always advisable for potential large buyers to produce in house and grow expertise in the product. Another case of vulnerability could be where a large scale monopoly supplier exercises its goodwill and core competency in charging high prices. This in one way may still be less expensive than to do the product in house. Sometimes the whole structure of information could militate for or against the process of outsourcing. For example, in old days computing was strictly an in-house thing as there were many data that companies didn't want external suppliers to get access to. But in today's world companies outsource computing quite easily (Quinn & Hilmer, 1994).  

Degree of control: Where there is high vulnerability and a high potential for competitive edge, there is requirement of tight control (Quinn & Hilmer, 1994).

Flexibility vs. control: There is always a constant tradeoff between flexibility and control. One of the main purpose of outsourcing is to have suppliers assume certain class of investment. Mc Donald's yearly growth of 10% have devised the labor demand in such a way that they often need to call up part time and casual workers for huge demand at work, as a result they have created a pool of people available on call. On the contrary IBM since they have started losing their business through various disruptions, have started laying off their existing personnel (Quinn & Hilmer, 1994).

Strategic benefits vs. Risks: Too often companies considered outsourcing as a means to lower short term direct costs and tend to overlook strategic benefits if implemented properly can lower long term investments like Nike and Apple has done. They also negate many types of risks and unwanted management problems. An example can be stated of Gallo- the largest producer and distributor of wines in USA outsources most of its grapes pushing the risk of weather, land prices, labor problems on to its suppliers (Quinn & Hilmer, 1994).

Strategic risks: Outsourcing creates great opportunities for growth but at the same time poses a threat of strategic risks in the organization by the following means:

Loss of critical skills or developing the wrong skills: This can be described with a small example where US computer manufacturers outsourced some of its products like semiconductors and printers to its suppliers and also taught their suppliers how to produce them. Eventually due to lack of expertise of the suppliers they couldn't innovate with time and keep up the pace with the fast moving world. By then, the major buyers had lost touch of the nitty-gritties and eventually they lose out on the expertise (Quinn & Hilmer, 1994).

Loss of cross functional skills: When a product is outsourced it is often seen that the buyer's employees are in constant touch with the supplier. As a result there is a constant exchange of ideas and innovation. If a product is made in-house then that interaction among two absolutely different brains is unlikely (Quinn & Hilmer, 1994).

Loss of control over the supplier: By overexposing the market and business strategies and by being too lenient to the supplier, buyers often end up losing control over the suppliers and in some cases the suppliers turn out to be direct competition to the buyers at a later stage. Giant Manufacturing of Taiwan, a supplier of bicycle frame became direct competition to Schwinn. Also the seller may learn as much as possible from the buyer and sell the knowledge to the various competitors of the buyer (Quinn & Hilmer, 1994).

The above gives a detailed account of the various strategies to consider while considering outsourcing plans of industrial products. Now, discussing the plans and the strategies which could be beneficial to Thermax while considering its outsourcing strategy we should first understand why and how Thermax wants to bring the product into the market. As is evident from the previous discussion, Thermax was losing considerable market share in its hot water generator business and eventually dealt with a blow in its sales especially in its hospitality segment (Arnab Rahut, personal communication, 3rd March 2017, Refer Appendix A). The disruptive innovation brought in by its competitors in form of heat pump made Thermax explore opportunities in getting the innovation product into its portfolio. The point to understand here is, does Thermax has the expertise to insource the product in its own factory or do they outsource it? Thermax is not a conventional retail trading company and has its own R&D and state of the art manufacturing facilities in India as well as around the world (Arnab Rahut, personal communication, 3rd March 2017, Refer Appendix A). It may appear at the first instance that Thermax's strength lies in manufacturing and with its existing infrastructure they can actually produce the heat pumps at a very low cost and thus gain competitive advantage over its market disruptors. But, as is mentioned earlier in the literature, there should not be any compulsion in manufacturing a product in-house just because one needs to cut down on the cost of production or one has the infrastructure. In that way the competition with better core competency could gain competitive advantage over the incumbent or in this case a bigger firm. So, Thermax's decision to outsource its product from an external vendor (name withheld for confidentiality in business) with a certain expertise in the product could be beneficial. Thermax in this way, could gain expertise on the product, understand the market and also in a myopic view can make the product act as a shielding product to its hot water generator in some markets and reduces chance to lose market share to other competition. The strategy as it appears is rather simple: outsource the expertise, run a pilot operation for a few years, understand the market and the product and at a later stage think about developing it in-house (Manoj Purohit, personal communication, 7th February 2017, Refer Appendix A).  As per  Mr. Manoj Purohit (Product Manager- Heating, Thermax Limited) “Thermax has manufacturing facility of Oil/Gas/ Solid fuel fired Boilers, heaters & Hot Water Generators in India. AMW & ATH are products under HWG category which are mainly used in Hospitality & Industrial segment. Recently, heat pump technology has become popular in Hospitality segment due to various advantages over fired systems like – high COP, no emission, lesser footprint etc. Considering industry demand, Thermax has introduced Aquanexa catering to hospitality sector. As a part of Global manufacturing & sourcing strategy, we are utilizing our global set-up to introduce competitive solutions in the market” (Refer Appendix F). It should also be mentioned that in order to gain back market share, Thermax must exercise certain degree of control over its vendors and also involve on a strategic level with the vendor personnel, exchange ideas about the product and market (Manoj Purohit, personal communication, 7th February 2017, Refer Appendix A).

4 Market Analysis

One of the key challenges of a market analysis is defining the market. According to popular economics theory an industry is defined as a group of firms that supply to a market. So, the big question here is, what is the difference between analyzing industry structure and market structure? The basic difference is that an industry analysis looks at the industry profitability from two perspectives: Profitability in product market and profitability in input markets. Everyday usage defines industry as a broad sector whereas markets are related to specific products. From an economists point of view, the term, ‘US Automobile industry' would refer to the aggregation of all the auto companies competing in the US market whereas in common terms it would refer to the number of companies based in the USA (Grant & Jordan, 2015).

So, to define an industry one should start with the idea of market. The basic question to be asked is, which firm competes to supply a certain product or service? (Grant & Jordan, 2015).

In this article we will discuss about the industry domain of heat pumps in the eastern part of India and Nepal. The major application of heat pumps are in hotels and villas, hospitals, hostels/residential complex, canteens and kitchens, schools, boarding, factories etc. where there is requirement of space heating and hot water.

 

4.1 Target Market

The use of heat pump is to heat water and in space heating. The industry structure is based on supply of hot water to institutions like hotels and hostels, hospitals, residential complexes, canteens and kitchens, schools etc. A paper published, suggest that water consumption in a 5 start hotel is 462 liters per guest per night. It also mentions a 199 liters and 292 Liters of water consumption in 3 star and 4 star hotels respectively (Timesofmalta.com, 2012).

We will extensively discuss about the application of each and every institution and their average water consumption in details which are as follows:

Type of building Consumption per occupant Peak demand per occupant Storage per occupant

Liters/day Gal/day Liters/day Gal/day Liters Gallons

Factories (not  process) 22 – 45 5 – 10 9 2 5 1

Hospitals, general 160 35 30 7 27 6

Hospitals, mental 110 25 22 5 27 6

Hostels 90 20 45 10 30 7

Hotels 90 – 160 20 – 35 45 10 30 7

Houses and Flats 90 – 160 20 – 35 45 10 30 7

Offices 22 5 9 2 5 1

School, boarding 115 25 20 4 25 5

Schools, day 15 3 9 2 5 1

Table 2. Consumption of hot water per person or occupant (The Engineering ToolBox, n.d)

Hotels, offices and schools: To explain the feasibility in using hot water generators in hotels and hostels we can consider a hypothesis test conducted. The purpose of the test was to estimate the energy consumed and emission associated with different hot water systems, to identify the decision‐making criteria in selecting hot water systems. The decision making criteria is based on payback period, net present value,  energy conserving potential, reduction potential of emission, reliability and shelf life.  A total of 24 hotels which accounted for 22% of the hotels in Hong Kong used heat pumps. The study clearly showed that using heat pumps to heat water, substantial energy savings, economic savings and deduction of air pollutants was observed compared to conventional boilers. (Chan, Yueng, Chan, & Li, Hotel heat pump hot water systems: impact assessment and analytic hierarchy process, 2013).

   Figure 3 Daily usage of water (The Engineering ToolBox, n.d)

As is evident from the hypothesis test conducted by Emerald group clearly (Chan, Yueng, Chan, & Li, Hotel heat pump hot water systems: impact assessment and analytic hierarchy process, 2013) proves a point in favor of use of heat pumps in hotels and it can well be one of the reasons why Thermax in spite of its successful conventional boiler hot water generator in the product portfolio were losing substantial market share in hospitality segment.

Swimming pools: In another example the energy cost analysis of heat pump application for hotel swimming pool was conducted. “A roof top pool in a city hotel was investigated. The energy requirement for maintaining the pool water temperature was analyzed in terms of the energy loss through four major processes, namely evaporation, radiation, convection and water refill. It was found that substantial energy savings could be achieved. Compared with conventional electric boilers and condensing/non-condensing gas fired boilers, the total energy savings during a 6 month (mid-October to April) heating season ranged from 39.9 to 46.3 MW h. A life cycle of 10 years was used to calculate the net present value of the energy cost. Over a 10 year life cycle, the energy cost could be reduced by HK$ 275,700 if a heat pump (with a mean seasonal coefficient of performance of 3.5) were used instead of a conventional electric boiler or condensing boiler” (ResearchGate, 2001).

Hospitals: The hospitals are responsible for major consumption of hot water. The minimum requirement of hot water consumption by any hospital shall be in accordance to National Building code (NBC) and they are tabulated as follows (Kunders, 2008):

    Figure 4: Hot water requirement in hospitals (Kunders, 2008)

So, as per the above mentioned account, Hotels and Hospitals remain to be lucrative target markets for heat pump. The capacity of the product Thermax deals with, can mostly be targeted towards 3 star and 4 star stand-alone hotels where there are less number of rooms. Also, another prospective target market is the military bases spread extensively across the eastern Indian geography. This market can be targeted through MES (Military Engineering Services) consultants. The only constraint in this case is that, as this segment is more of a replacement market of stand-alone boiler hot water generators, it poses a weakness where customers may be reluctant to buy a new product because they have already incurred substantial auxiliary investments towards erection and interconnecting pipe line costs (Arnab Rahut, personal communication, 3rd February, 2017, Refer Appendix A).

4.2 Market Segmentation

“The process of defining and subdividing a large homogeneous market into clearly identifiable segments having similar needs, wants or demand characteristics. Its objective is to design a marketing mix based on expectation of customer in the target segment” (BusinessDictionary, n.d). In todays' world there are a handful of big companies who supply to the needs of the entire market; most must break down their market based on certain factors and requirement. Four basic factors that affect market segmentation are as follows:

i. “Clear identification of the segment

ii. Measurability of its effective size

iii. Its accessibility through promotional efforts

iv. Its appropriateness to the policies and resource of the company” (BusinessDictionary, n.d)

Market segmentation is a marketing term coined to aggregate prospective buyers into various groups or segments that have comm

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