Chronicle

The cost of doing business

When we meet with prospects, more often than not we are asked two questions: the first, why are we so much more expensive and the second, why does manufacturing a water system take so long.

At TSA, all our systems are designed to optimal capacities, saving our customers a small fortune on electricity and utilities considering all the audit approvals required to run the plant per regulations.

We could, for example, stock sanitary pumps to reduce delays in delivery by the OEM. Sanitary pumps take between 6 to 8 weeks to deliver once the order is confirmed. However, we choose not to; for several reasons. Ordering critical equipment in advance neglects to consider optimum design parameters, especially if the pre-ordered pump has a higher rating. Since the pump runs continuously 24/7, this leads to higher energy consumption. A sanitary pump should be designed to the specifications of the water system it is intended for to optimise energy and utility usage.

Another thing we do not do at TSA is cut corners on parts and equipment. We do not underbid our competitors to win an order. All our original equipment and parts we use in the water systems are per specifications and to standard. The price of prescribed material is the same whether we are manufacturing equipment or another company is. So where does this ability to under quote come from in a business with already low margins? It comes from using non-prescribed parts. For example if when non-sanitary design valves are used to reduce instrument costs, or when ball valves are used instead of sanitary design diaphragm valves thereby reducing the number of pressure gauges prescribed by the OEM.

Our core focus at TSA has always been the customer. We think ahead to when the customer has to operate the plant themselves. We would not want them to deal with the fallout of shoddy workmanship that saves a few rupees during project commissioning but leads to gradual long term increase in costs. Operators who are the end users and experts at operating the plant are not necessarily as adept at operating a water system, resulting in them not being aware of any problems caused by equipment not being sufficiently instrumented to cater to its maintenance.

For us, it is important to dig deep and understand the customer problem from multiple perspectives before we deliver our recommendations. One classic example of this a project that has now become a TSA case study. This project seemed like a regular water optimisation project with a total TDS of under 330 ppm which could be resolved with a single pass RO. Until our testing and analysis revealed that the ph balance of the water was too low (5.2 in this instance). When the ph balance is this low, you have to additionally dose the ph to mass balance the water which takes the TDS to above 500. The customer, therefore, required a double pass RO which none of our competitors had realised. While our cost of the project was higher than the competition all of whom quoted for a single pass RO, we saved the client a lot of money by correctly diagnosing the requirement and preventing future plant failure and loss of business. While the customer ended up paying more for our system than what they would have paid otherwise, they were saved a ton of money. They avoided plant failure, didn’t have to order a new replacement system to meet the revised requirement that would have meant more time lost for installation, commissioning and validation.

Another area we do not scrimp on cost is post-commissioning. To give you a suitable analogy, when you make a baby you do not say your work is done and leave that baby to make its way in the world. You have to nurture the baby the right way to make sure it is healthy for life. At TSA, there are no short cuts in the post commissioning process. For us, it is not about the top line or the bottom line, both equally dangerous in my opinion. When we design, manufacture, install and commission a water system, our integrity does not allow us to deliver any less than a complete optimal system that gives our customers the lowest cost per litre.

So yes, we are more expensive than the next company. And our manufacturing process is longer. But with us, you save more than you spend in the long run. Doing business with us does not come with a high cost attached.

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