In 1980, P Arumugam, who hails from Kottur, a small village in Tamil Nadu, moved to Coimbatore to pursue his higher studies. He studied mathematics and was an agriculturist at heart, but set his sights on entrepreneurship.
Arumugam’s uncle, KK Veluchamy, suggested he open a shop selling spare parts for pumps, and in 1981, the duo and their friend, MS Sundaram, launched Deccan Pumps. The pump manufacturing company began its journey as a small workshop with only nine workers, manufacturing submersible pumps for farmers.
Gradually, the small group diversified into manufacturing other products such as jet pumps, submersible motors, centrifugal monoblocs, borehole submersibles etc.
The company also underwent several changes as Arumugam acquired the group completely and became the sole owner, which paved the way for a larger holdings company called EKKI Group, which comprises four companies: Deccan Pumps, Deccan Enterprises, EKKI HOMA and EKKI Pumps.
This happened in the year 2013.
Today, the company is handled completely by Arumugam and his son, Kanishka Arumugam, who affirms that EKKI has evolved from being just a pump manufacturer to a water technology company.
Kanishka, the Co-CEO of the company, is a graduate from the University of Warwick, UK, and worked with companies like Forbes Marshall and Xylem Water Solutions before joining the family business in 2015.
Building from India
After being in the pump manufacturing business for long, Kanishka shares that EKKI is determined to pivot towards providing clean drinking water and sanitation. Urbanisation, water scarcity, energy shortages, globalisation, increased digitisation and, climate change are key drivers for this. He believes it is time pumps are made not just efficient but also intelligent as the water industry transforms.
The company set up a joint venture (JV) with German watertech giant HOMA Pumpenfabrik GmbH, called HOMA EKKI in 2018. The JV aims to bring waste-water system solutions to India. HOMA set up a plant with EKKI in 2019 to specifically manufacture waste-water pumps.
Kanishka says that this collaboration combines “Indian engineering capabilities with German technology”.
To bolster water tech-related initiatives, the company has also set up the EKKI-MCET International Water Technology Centre (EIWTC) at the Dr Mahalingam College of Engineering & Technology (MCET) in Pollachi, Coimbatore district.
“The modern-day consumer expects products to possess German engineering, Japanese quality, Italian finish, American marketing, and Chinese pricing combined with India’s hospitality,” Kanishka says.
He adds that to become globally competitive, the company has been working on every aspect, including sales and marketing. He points out when it comes to a family-run business, convincing his father and other older members in the board to invest in marketing…