Manila Water Company Inc., the Ayala Group’s water utility services group, has come a long way since establishing itself as one of the country’s reliable water concessionaires.
However, not many people know that the company has ventured into the purified water retail business through its subsidiary Manila Water Total Solutions.
In a report to the Philippine Stock Exchange, the Ayala-led company said its subsidiary Manila Water Total Solutions has received the certificate of product registration for it Healthy Family purified drinking water product from the Bureau of Food and Drugs.
Healthy Family general manager Sharon Marcial said the idea to provide clean, drinking water did not happen overnight for Manila Water. “It was a result of our constant visits to communities and finding out how else Manila Water could improve its customer service,” Marcial said.
During these meetings, the company found out that most residents end up spending so much buying drinking water from waterrefilling stations that have sprouted in their neighborhood. “They (residents) spend thousands of pesos every month on drinking water alone. The DOH said seven out of 10 water-refilling stations in the country do not comply with health standards,” Marcial said.
More than 80 percent of water-refilling stations do not comply with the Department of Health’s requirements such as the wearing of proper attire to prevent water contamination and employing the correct procedure for thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing the water containers.
Marcial said studies have shown that eight out of 10 customers still do not drink water from the tap due mainly to lack of trust in after-the-meter reticulation systems and taste preferences.
In Metro Manila alone, 60 percent of its residents buy drinking water from refilling stations.
Because of these shortcomings, Manila Water decided to extend its services and get into the purified water business.
“That’s where we got the idea of putting forward a product in the market that is high quality and affordable,” she said.
“The launching of the Healthy Family brand of purified drinking water is our way of creating shared value as we partner with social entrepreneurs to address customer need. Our team is committed to finding innovating solutions to development challenges as we take part in nation building,” she said.
Marcial also said the distributors have been trained on inventory management, product handling and customer service.
The company clarified that tap water alone is still safe to drink but due to the reticulation systems or the quality of the pipes inside the house, only a few people drink from the tap.
And because Manila Water only guarantees potable water before the meter, people tend to get their drinking water through different service provider and refilling stations.
Healthy Family purified water is methodically analyzed by full-time in-house microbiologists and submits daily sampling through an in-house laboratory. The bottling goes through a fully-automated system that absolutely guarantees no human contact.
The bottle is sealed with safe one-time use cap.
Aside from getting clean, sanitary water, Marcial said it is also a good investment.
Healthy Family is distributed through the company’s distribution network.
Distributors can get the whole package for P300,000 but the upfront investment is only P90,000. The balance of P210,000 can be paid in tranches over a period of 36 months.
Marcial said it is a good model where distributors can already start earning before they even have to pay their amortization.
The package includes inventory, uniform, training and a vehicle.
“It is a good business,” she said.
It is targeted for first time entrepreneurs, housewives, retirees or any individual interested in starting a business.