'HVAC industry can provide extra filters to maintain the clean air which can increase the confidence for the guests'

In an interview with BW Hotelier, Neeraj Gupta, Senior General Manager, Living Environment Division, Mitsubishi Electric India Pvt. Ltd. talks about the trends in the AC segment, revival strategies by the brand and technologies that will help hoteliers cope up with the ongoing pandemic.

The Air Conditioning Industry has witnessed a sudden downturn during the prevailing pandemic conditions, how has been the overall impact of COVID-19 on Mitsubishi Electric?

The entire country has suffered because of the COVID-19 pandemic and Mitsubishi Electric is no exception. We have been trying to recover post lockdown, but the business situation is far from normal so far. 

All our branch & sales offices are fully operational abiding the Government of India guidelines with precautions and regulations, our sales and service activities are slowly coming back to normal situations and expecting the business to bounce back again in this Financial Year.  We could also see the demand gradually hiking its pace.

We are thankful to our loyal customers, highly efficient & reliable products, good stock availability & efficient service, which minimizes the impact of COVID-19, and hopefully, we will recover soon in the coming months. 

What are some of the immediate revival strategies and plans?

Amidst this crisis, we are trying our best to recalibrate our strategies while keeping into consideration the sensitivities required in customer engagement right now. Post-Pandemic, the inflection point for marketers will be primarily shaped by two major shifts in consumer behavior i.e. the reluctance to mingle in crowded public places and a higher propensity for digital adoption. Looking into this aspect, we are also leveraging the e-commerce platform through a separate section “Connect to Store” on our website as consumers would likely opt to do the product research online and spend minimal time in store. We have also carried out different social media campaigns to increase brand visibility and to promote offerings for the segment in the air conditioners business.

For ‘touch and feel’ factor, our exclusive showrooms “MEQ Hiroba” and “Cooling Planet” will continue to remain a crucial part of transaction by facilitating the visibility of Mitsubishi Electric as an air-conditioning brand and making customers aware about the range of offerings like Room Air-Conditioners, Packaged Air-Conditioners, City Multi VRF systems, Air curtain and Jet Towel under a single roof.

To be sure, we have seen an uptick in sales with the ease in post-lockdown restrictions. We have rolled out our Extended Warranty Schemes on PCBs and compressors on all types of Room Air-Conditioners. Through this scheme, we are expecting to receive significant sales growth in a few years’ duration from now.

Mitsubishi Electric India had recently announced a new warranty scheme. Could you elaborate on that? 

Continuing to our legacy of excellence, Mitsubishi Electric Air-Conditioners have announced a major initiative to benefit air-conditioner consumers by offering a new warranty scheme on key components of Room Air conditioners only. Effective from1st April’20, all Inverter & Non-Inverter type of Room Air conditioners come with 5 (1+4) Year warranty on Controller, PCB replacement, and compressor for 10 (1+9) years for any kind of manufacturing OR operational defect.

We are taking all the necessary steps to provide the best service experience to our end-user. We have built up our schemes with transparency without any hidden cost to ensure the trust is always maintained as priority value deliverables.

What are some of the measures that Mitsubishi Electric is taking to ensure safe working environments for its employees?

 These are tough times and with it, human behaviour has also undergone some changes. These tough conditions of pandemic & lockdown played a major factor in the deciding sales and usage of ACs as customers are showing resistance to allow the installation or service team(s) to enter their premises. Mitsubishi Electric understands this natural fear at the customer end and took proactive steps to generate trust within the customer. We make sure to gain customer trust by abiding all precautionary measures to maintain topmost hygiene at the customer place. We have a strong belief and categorize our customers and employee’s health & safety as our top priority.  

Has Mitsubishi Electric incorporated any scheme to help its employees affected by the ongoing pandemic? 

Mitsubishi Electric India feels responsible for its employees functioning at various branches all over India. As an initial step, we have taken strict precautionary measures for the employees by providing them with PPE kits, Sanitizer, protection gears like masks, gloves, headcover, and shoe covers, etc. which are easily accessible to them while stepping out for attending customer requests. On the functioning front, we have allowed our employees to remotely support work and continue this approach until the travel situation normalizes in the country.

 We have recently incorporated a new Health Insurance policy which specifically covers them against COVID-19. The health insurance policy is applicable to all the employees and their family members. We understand the financial implications of the widely grown pandemic disease and such policy will help them to leverage the best for themselves. We have strongly advised our employees to keep health as a topmost priority, through this scheme we have extended our support towards their safety during such tough conditions. 

In what ways will the measures taken by Mitsubishi Electric help the hospitality industry flourish?

The hospitality industry needs to provide a clean & hygienic environment and rooms that can eliminate any chance of infection/fear of infection, for guests during their stay. HVAC industry can provide extra filters to maintain the clean air which can increase the confidence for the guests to stay at the premises.  It is advisable to have minimum interaction of staff directly with the guest. Remote operation of essential services like HVAC will be an added advantage for the hospitality industry to gain guest confidence and provide a comfortable stay.

In addition to the other hygiene activities, regular cleaning /care of the HVAC system to avoid any spread of disease-causing organisms is very important. Retrofitting the existing system to reduce the spread of disease-causing organisms is the first and most important activity before restarting the operations. This includes checking the filter capability, fresh air supply, ventilation, airflow patterns, compartmentalization to limit the spread of disease-causing organisms.

We are currently emphasizing on the measures to maintain the Indoor Air Quality to minimize the impact of spreading of COVID-19 in airconditioned areas. The technology behind the energy efficiency of the Lossnay ventilation System lies in the construction of the core which enables the exchanges of both latent heat (humidity/moisture) and sensible heat (temperature) to maintain a comfortable internal environment for minimal energy consumption and without cross-contamination. The core is made from ultra-thin paper and is the heart of the system. The core makes it more efficient and advanced is the ‘Energy Recovery System’ without any chance of cross-contamination from stale air to fresh air.

Is Mitsubishi Electric launching any new range any time soon?

We have recently introduced MSY-JR series Room Air-conditioners with Inverter Technology that promises to deliver you the best experience and give optimum comfort. An AC designed keeping bigger rooms in mind, it maintains optimum cooling all-round rather than just cooling the room. The AC comes in a varied capacity that works for both semi-commercial places and residential with the same cooling effect. Also, taking care of rooms with intricate shapes or places where footfall is high and so is the dust & dirt level. We are also working on introducing new products that are specifically designed to suit the Indian market needs.

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