Hindustan Lever Ltd (HLL), the country’s largest FMCG player is reworking its Surf Laundry Services in a new format. The company is in dialogue with the marketing savvy oil company, Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) to relaunch its services at the latter’s retail outlet.
HLL is understood to be working on certain back-end operations in order to relaunch this services in the near future across the country
According to a senior BPCL official, “They (HLL) had installed the service earlier on a pilot basis in one of our retail outlet in the western suburbs. However, they are working on back-end to launch the service on a large scale in the future.”
BPCL is planning to increase its retail presence and is in the process of revamping its ‘In & Out’ retail stores across the country. The corporation is busy increasing these outlets from 234 to 400 stores in March 2005 and 600 by December 2005.
The company had launched this initiative in Lokhandwala, an upmarket suburb in Mumbai about five years back .It was on an experimentation basis for a long time with the company pulling down the outlet’s shutters last year.
The operations was put on the backburner as it had proved to be an unviable cost challenge for the company and it was even tough to recover costs.
Said a source at HLL, “Pricing was the issue and in order to gain volumes pricing has to be competitive and also provide value added services (better cleaning) to the consumer.”
The challenge was the next-door dhobi and ironing shack that provide services at a competitive rate.
The company has been betting on its service initiative like Lakme beauty Salon, Ayush Ayurvedic Centre and Kwality Walls Parlours. The laundry service was a business inspired from the west.
The company started testing these services in line with its strategy to redefine the market and create potential growth opportunities. These services comprise both a retail and home-to-home operations and offers a range of garment care solutions. HLL’s detergent brands are Surf, Rin and Wheel.