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 .
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 .