Running a small and medium sized enterprise business especially in the field of air conditioning has never been easy . The challenges are around Cash flow , attracting and retaining dependable human resources , managing compliance , managing principals and managing competition . All of these challenges comes in the way of an entrepreneur from growing this business .
The No.1 requirement for India is to create jobs for the ever growing pool of youngsters getting ready to be employed . The MSME’s in India are the largest employers and the largest job creators . They provide jobs for highly skilled , semi skilled and unskilled workforce . The Air conditioning and refrigeration trade is one of the biggest job creators , in a trade that is fast growing . The MSME’s not wanting to grow their business is not a good sign when it comes to the task of creating jobs and that is a concern .
So what is it that motivates a handful of them to want to grow , scale up and explore disruptive ideas . The only think that keeps them from doing this is their love for the business. Some of these entrepreneurs have Fallen in Love with the business of air conditioning and refrigeration , they don’t see any of these challenges , for them each of these are opportunities to solve , fix and scale up their business . RATA Day / Refrigeration and Air conditioning Day of India is celebrated in February every year , the day celebrates the spirit of these entrepreneurs who love this business . They have given up the idea of competing with each other and are discovering a whole new way of scaling up their business , collaborating with each other.
Air conditioning and Refrigeration are equipment that require service support and constant maintenance to ensure reduced energy consumption and the the longer life of the equipment . The entire services sector is managed by micro , small and medium enterprises . These enterprises could never afford advanced technology to increase their efficiency , reduce operational costs , increase profits and scale up their business . That is all set to change with Pureblu – http://www.pureblu.in .
Pureblu is a cloud based solution that helps air conditioning , ventilation and refrigeration service providers manage their business seamlessly at a very low cost . The services ecosystem has three pain points – The Customer Experience , The Spares Availability and The Technician Training . Pureblu is building the service ecosystem in the following manner :
The Customer Experience
As described in the presentation above , IoT (Internet of Things ) devices would be installed in existing machines and the new machines would be wifi enabled . These IoT devices would communicate with the Pureblu platform . Everytime there is an issue with the equipment the devices would send out the self diagnostic error code to the Pureblu platform through wifi or a GSM Sim and a complaint / trouble ticket will be generated on the dashboard . Pureblu would then identify the right technician based on the right skill required , and his current location ,and allocate the service call immediately to a technician . All of this can also be done manually from the back end coordinators . While this is being done customers are notified as to when the technician will be expected to fix the issue , and a digital service report is generated when the problem is fixed . Customers can be intimated by various modes through Emails , SMS or Whatsapp messages . Smart AMC is a service that has been launched where a customer can get daily updates of his energy consumption , a free service with the AMC of the equipment . This helps users save energy . With 60% of the commercial and residential energy utilization being HVACnR equipment , any saving will be a huge saving . Bureau of Energy Efficiency has mandated star rating to ensure energy saving . IoT devoices will empower the users to monitor this energy efficiency through the life cycle of the equipment . This method widely enhances the customer experience as he now does not have to search for a reliable authorized service provide nor does he have to coordinate with any back office staff to ensure dependable services in case of any equipment failure .
Spares Availability – Online Market Place for Service Providers .
Spare part availability is one of the critical components of ensuring service response is quick and the equipment downtime is the shortest . Consider the age , types , and the multiple brands , its a difficult task to procure the relevant spares of the machine at the cheapest rate . When a machine complaint is logged into the system the technician takes a photo of the spare part that has to be replaced . Image recognition will identify the spare part number of the specific brand and model number and make it available to the service provider as and when required . OEM and spares suppliers can log into the platform and update the spares availability in the inventory module . Service Provider can now procure spares from anywhere in the country , Just In Time . OEM can reduce their spares inventory costs and common spares between brands can be procured by service provides directly from the spare part manufacturers . The spares marketplace will now encourage lots of small enterprises to get into component manufacturing for HVACnR systems based on the consumption analytics and easy access to the market .
Technician training has been an expensive and inefficient all across the HVACnR industry . The products from various brands and the different types equipment , different compressor , multiple refrigerants and proprietary communication protocols make training a large pool of technician talent an expensive proposition . Moreover India does not have a technician certification program . There have been number of cases where equipment have been damaged by untrained technicians . Safety has also been a concern of the industry which has been lax due to the lack of training and certification . Pureblu has an innovative method to fix this problem . A digital library carries data of various relevant service manuals and training videos which manufacturers can upload directly of their products . Every time a complaint is created of a specific product the relevant service manual and video is sent to the technician app along with every complaint . Now the training is on the job and continuous . Based on the analytics of the technician accessing these videos and the kind of work being done satisfactorily , technicians skill can be constantly analysed and he can be certified to the correct level of his knowledge . This is inexpensive , efficient and continuous learning .
The HVACnR Industry is set to grow 8 times in the next two decades in India , companies that adopt Smart Technology for their business would stand to benefit the maximum from the growth the industry offers .
Air conditioners require regular maintenance and when they breakdown the cost of fixing the same can be expensive. an Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC) is low cost method to ensure efficiency and durability of your air conditioning systems . While in an AMC its the service companies responsibility to keep the machine in good conditions to ensure there are minimal breakdowns . More the number of breakdowns the service provider would loose money in the AMC . The AMC business is more like an insurance business . Where a small premium is taken and the failure costs are covered over by a large number of air conditioning systems under the service providers maintenance contract . An AMC are of two types Ordinary and Comprehensive .
Ordinary AMC would only cover the cost of regular maintenance and there are no charges for visit whenever there is an problem with the air conditioning system . However every time there is a spare part that needs a replacement there would be a charge and the labor costs around the replacement of that part would be at a discounted price . This AMC is recommended for new machines where the unit is not frequently used ideally in residential applications .
Comprehensive AMC is more like an extended warranty and would cover all the spares as part of the AMC .In most cases the comprehensive AMC will have options to exclude some parts especially if those parts are covered under warranty by the manufacturer . This is applicable when the manufacturer gives 5/10 years warranty on the compressor . The comprehensive AMC also covers workmanship of the installer . So should there be a leak in the system this AMC would also cover the costs in recharging the refrigerant and identifying and fixing the system leak . In some cases where the equipments are installed in highly corrosive environment like sea front , industrial areas the condenser is not included or in most cases the service provider would refuse to take a comprehensive AMC .
In all kinds of AMC plastic parts are never included in the AMC . These include remotes and other parts like grills . So if a remote is broken by dropping it on the floor you would have to pay to get it replaced . In a way it only goes to explain that any part that cannot be maintained by the service provider to avoid breakdowns is not included in the AMC .
Smart AMC – The Future is Here.
An AMC can ensure good maintenance of your airconditioning system and lower energy consumption , however the biggest energy saving is in empowering the user with information that can help him decide how to use the airconditioning system efficiently . Consider a restaurant , the single largest monthly expense is electricity consumption bills . If the restaurant Manager is informed of this hourly energy consumption of the previous day he can take immediate actions . A simple analysis that his energy consumption between 12 noon to 3pm and 3pm to 6pm will get him thinking on the number of tables occupied during these time slots . In most cases the 3pm to 6pm slots have low occupancy and the restaurant could consider keeping the restaurant shut during this time . This could vary depending on the kind of the restaurant like fine dining or fast food , the manager is now empowered to take informed decisions and increase his profitability . Similar analysis can be done for various applications like Hospitals , Hotels , Malls , Commercial offices , Residences . Commercial offices consume energy into late nights when only a few of the staff decide to stay back and work late . With this daily report the admin team can decide if its worth keeping the office open after working hours or insist on the late workers to work from their homes or only a small section of the office is kept open for late working .
Smart AMC with daily updates of energy consumption is being launched by companies like Pureblu . This product is a game changer for the industry where companies only have to take an AMC for their airconditioning systems and also get daily energy consumption of their premises . Aggregators like Pureblu will eventually become national service providers and offer customers one stop airconditioning services for all their locations across India . This is a definitive gamechanger when you have the best service providers across India on the platform who are constantly monitored for their service delivery performance using technology , while the customer has live information on the status of his services and the energy consumption .
A Smart AMC is easy to activate . Once you have signed up for an AMC with Pureblu, they will install an IoT (Internet of Things) device in your metering box where the main power input is and the device will transmit live data to the Pureblu platform through your office WiFi or a GSM chip. The platform collates all these data and sends you an email the next day on the pattern of your energy consumption. Smart AMC will ensure efficient dependable air conditioning services and information on a daily basis to decide where and when to save on your electricity bills .
IoT devices installed in the premises is collecting data of the energy consumption and the equipment that is using the energy on a regular basis . Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning will use all these data and the day is not far when the Pureblu platform would give predictive analysis of failure . Imagine having an AMC for your airconditioning systems where the failure could be reduced by more than half the current averages . It could be a game changer in efficient use of air conditioning systems .
Choosing a good AMC service provider
AMC is like an insurance business , so any provider who has a large amount of machines under its AMC is the most stable provider when it comes to absorbing the costs of breakdowns in the air conditioning systems . Airconditioning is a seasonal business and the service loads go multiple times especially during the summer , the service provider that you choose should have the infrastructure and be organised in his service approach to cater to these demands . Pureblu is a software that most organised service providers use to run their services business . A Smart AMC with Pureblu ensures that you have reliable service providers who manage your airconditioning systems at various locations .
Preventive services for air-conditioning equipment primarily mean that you clean the coils of the air-conditioners . The clear benefit for the same is energy efficiency . The power consumption of your air-conditioner goes down when the coils are kept clean . Lets understand how this works. The preventive services are done in various ways based on the specific requirement of the machines .
This preventive service is done on a regular basis to remove the dust from the indoor and outdoor unit . The dry blower is used on the coils which blows the dust out of the coils . This improves the heat exchange and post service reduces the electricitry consumption . However this service does not remove the hard dirt that may continue to remain stuck in the fins of the coil .
Wet Service using a Jacket
The wet service is done when the machines are extremely dirty with hard solidifed dirt , the jacket around the unit ensures that the machines does not have to be removed and the servicing can be carried out without dirtying the space around the machine .This is an ideal way to clean the machines and ensure that the air conditioner remains clean and the energy consumption does not increase .
Brought Down Service
Often the machines are installed in a place where the coils are extremely dirty and cannot be serviced at site . This is when the machines has to be uninstalled transported to a service center and the the coils are seperated from the machine and jet spray is used to clean the coils. post the clean up the units are assembled back again and the machine is reinstalled .
Inefficiency in Preventive Service
There is no way to understand when a machine needs servicing and every company plans a preventive service based on a time duration like once in every quarter . This is inefficient as sometimes the machines needs preventive service more than once a quarter and some of them don’t need service even once in a quarter . This leads to unnecessary opening of machines that do not require servicing and waste of energy because machines that require frequent servicing cannot be done until the scheduled date .
Manufacturers Proposition to Solve this issue
Most manufacturers are building a self cleaning feature which is robotic device in front of the indoor coil , it takes the water from the drain and sprays it back on the indoor unit filter to remove the dirt . However this system fails to remove the hard dirt within the fins of the air-conditioning coils . In India the dusty and humid environment always creates hard dirt on the indoor and outdoor units of air-conditioners and that creates energy inefficiency in air-conditioners .
How to solve this issue in the future
In the future IoT devices in the air-conditioners could sense the rise in electricity consumption and the airflow at the coil . If the airflow is decreasing at the indoor unit and the the energy consumption is increasing rapidly from the manufacturers prescribed rating or the certified BEE energy label, then the device could send out a preventive service signal to a platform like Pureblu that self generates a trouble ticket and allocates a technician to have the preventive service done . This will ensure max energy efficiency and optimum utilisation of the technical manpower , Its not too long before this will become a reality .