Jayaashree industries making meaning to the society
Making meaning to the
Case Study for Operations & Supply Chain Management course
Pankaj Gaurav, Arakedeep Meta, Harshal Ghandhi, Nilay Mehrotra, Digvijay Singh , Aditya Tarun
Group: 4 , Section: B
Jayaashree Industries: Making meaning to the society
When Arunachalam Muruganantham perceived the idea that he was going to do something about the fact
that women in India can’t afford sanitary napkins, he went the extra mile: He wore his own for a week to figure
out the best design.
Chances are you've never heard of Jayaashree Industries or its owner Arunachalam Muruganantham yet. With
his roots in rural Tamil Nadu, his main claim to fame is that he almost single-handedly created a model for
making affordable sanitary napkins in the country. It's a subject few men know or dare to ask about.
Muruganantham's curiosity about his wife's use of cloth during her periods led to shocking revelations and a
long body of research. Driven by the revelation that his wife was torn between spending money on milk for the
children and buying commercially manufactured sanitary napkins, Indian innovator and inventor Arunachalam
Muruganantham embarked on a long and intensive journey to find a solution. His achievement – a simple
machine – is bringing dignity to poor women and providing them with a much-needed income source.
Muruganantham (47) hails from Pudur in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. When he was young, he lost his father, Mr.
S. Arunachalam, in a road accident. His mother, Mrs. A. Vanitha, who was a housewife, had to work as a farm
worker to support the family. Around this time, he discontinued his studies after SSLC to earn a living and help
his family financially. During his formative years in school, he displayed a keen interest in science and
astronomy. His science teacher encouraged him to experiment and give birth to new ideas. He had
participated in a school science exhibition and won an award for a chicken incubator that he had developed.
Most of his classmates came from neighboring farms. He spent a lot of time visiting the farms, learning about
farm implements and also tried his hand at modifying and repairing them.
For over three decades, he faced economic hardships while trying his hand at various trades to support his
family. He worked in various capacities; as a part time technician at Lakshmi Machine Works, Coimbatore,
machine operator, insurance agent, farm laborer and yarn selling agent. Currently, he runs his firm, Jayashree
industries, which he has built from scratch centered on commercializing his innovation- the mini sanitary
Arunachalam Muruganantham was all set to find out more and more for his research on creating a sanitary
napkin for poor women. He rummaged through garbage dumps in the middle of the night for discarded pieces
of cloth, rags and napkins. "When people came to know they were suspicious." That was not all. After making
some pads manually, he attempted without success to get college girls to try his product and fill in feedback
forms. He finally decided to do what most men typically wouldn’t dream of. He wore one himself--for a whole
week. Fashioning his own menstruating uterus by filling a bladder with goat’s blood, Muruganantham went
about his life while wearing women’s underwear, occasionally squeezing the contraption to test out his latest
iteration. It resulted in endless derision and almost destroyed his family. Needless to say, it didn't earn him
any friends, and everyone thought he had gone mad. "My wife and mother left me. Then they chased me out
of the village," he says.But he knew he was onto something graver than a mere inconvenience. At the root was
what he calls the "'triple A problem - Affordability, Availability and Awareness.' It's something only educated
and rich people can access," he says. Right now, 88% of women in India resort to using dirty rags, newspapers,
dried leaves, and even ashes during their periods, because they just can’t afford sanitary napkins, according to
"Sanitation protection: Every Women’s Health Right," a study by AC Nielsen.
Analyzing branded napkins at laboratories led to Muruganantham’s first breakthrough. "I found out that these
napkins were made of cellulose derived from the bark of a tree," he said. A high school dropout, he taught
himself English and pretended to be a millionaire to get U.S. manufacturers to send him samples of their raw
material. Demystifying the napkin was only the first step. Once he knew how to make them, he discovered
that the machine necessary to convert the pine wood fiber into cellulose cost more than half a million U.S.
dollars. It’s one of the reasons why only multinational giants such as Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble
have dominated the sanitary napkin making industry in India. He realised that the wood fiber was good not
only in securely draining the fluids but also in retaining the shape of the pad. He then procured the raw
material from Mumbai that came in the form of sheets and boards. It took Muruganantham a little over four
years to create a simpler version of the machine, but he eventually found a solution. He developed his own defibering unit to process the raw material in desired sizes and shapes. Having succeeded in this, he developed
the machines for subsequent stages to do the core forming and sealing of napkins. Muruganantham
developed the final assembly of machines in 2004. He distributed the first set of samples among his neighbors
to get their feedbacks. He got encouraging inputs on its efficacy. Subsequently, he improved on the machine
by adding the UV sterilization unit, calibration for various pad sizes and increased the production rate to target
1000 pads per day. He indeed succeeded making 1000 napkins a day, which retail for about $.25 for a package
After seeing the ATM in cities, dispensing cash to the customers as required, the innovator decided to build a
sanitary napkin dispenser (vending machine) with a coin slot that could be set up in hospitals, colleges and
public places to supply napkins on demand. The vending machine was developed in 2008 and has a capacity of
The birth of Jayaashree Industries
Mr. Muruganandam, the founder of Jayaashree industries started it in the year 2004 by installing its first
assembly of machines. During initial years, Mr. Muruganandam conducted certain experiments to conclude
the best possible raw material for sanitary napkin. The plants procurement of raw materials was done from
Mumbai during initial years. Development of de-fibering unit of the plant was the next step in order to obtain
desired size and shape. The core forming and sealing of napkins were thus carried out by machines. In order to
run the trial test, he distributed the napkins to its neighbors from where he obtained a favorable response.
After this initial phase of success he expanded his social venture. The machine designed by Mr.
Muruganandam was priced at only Rs 65000 as against the machines costing Rs 3.5 crore by leading sanitary
Continuing his process of innovation and improvements of its product, in the year 2008 he installed vending
machines of sanitary napkins in front of hospitals, colleges and public places. The initial sanitary napkin
vending machine had a capacity of serving 25 sanitary napkin to its customer.
The National Innovation Foundation in Ahmedabad helped him procure a patent, which he says he never
intends to sell to a multinational company or a private investor. "The purpose was not to exploit the patent. I
am using the same IPR to empower women in India. I am making them owners of this project, not workers,"
he says. "My vision is to make India a 100% sanitary napkin country." The machines are sold on a 'turnkey'
basis, whereby entrepreneurs are supported on the raw material supplies and with training. At a starting price
of `80,000, each machine can produce 1,000 pads in an eight hour shift. With each pad costing Rs 1 to Rs 1.50
on average, overheads included, Muruganantham says they can be sold for Rs 1.50 to Rs 2 apiece for a
sizeable profit. Moreover, he claims that while the pads may not match the glossy sophistication and
packaging of large brands, they score far better in terms of functionality. "Our pads weigh 10 gm against the
6gm pads by multinationals that sell at `3 each. We give double the size at half the price," he says, adding that
he plans to come up with organic napkins soon. "Instead of transporting the product to rural markets, we have
created a decentralized manufacturing model," he says. The machines are bought by entrepreneurs, NGOs,
self-help groups (SHGs) and state governments (under the National Rural Health Mission) who in turn deploy a
unique approach to distribution, keeping in mind the sensitivity of the category in rural markets. Some have
created their own local brands too.
Typically, 'resident dealers' are appointed in every street/locality. These are women who inform and educate
women in other households about the perils of using other rudimentary and unsafe methods. "It's done
silently and even the male members of their families don't know," says Muruganantham. "They are ready to
open the packet and sell single also." Sometimes they sell through barter as well. "It's something the big
companies don't understand. To compete they need passionate staff." Staying focused on a B2B model is a
sound strategy, agrees Abraham Koshy, professor of marketing at IIM Ahmedabad. "In the sanitary napkins
market, taking on big brands at national level is very difficult. Even if you are a small regional player you need
distribution muscle," he says. "That's where a local manufacturer can manage costs. Conversion and
marketing costs too will not be as large. Jayaashree Industries have been able to expand its presence of
machines to 14 states of India and its machines are in demand at foreign countries such as Nigeria, Uganda,
Kenya, Nepal, Bangladesh etc.
Benefits of the Product:
Benefits to Women:
1) It allows women to lead a hygienic life
2) The product provided a healthy lifestyle for women
3) The low cost venture provides regular income to village women community
Benefits to Society:
1) The venture proves to be an uplift of below poverty line people and rural women community lifestyle
2) Better health and better care for children
3) A quality product at an affordable price for all
4) A new area of social venture entrepreneur development
Currently the size of the Indian Sanitary Napkins market is 2,000 crores it is growing 16% annually. There is a
large Female Group even they aware of the napkins due to affordability (cost of MNC napkins) they are not
using napkins, by reaching the particular Female group with suitable pricing, the napkins can be branded very
quickly in local Market.
The main raw materials used for making sanitary napkin in this machine include wood fiber, thermo bonded
non-woven, polyethylene – barrier film, release paper, super bond paste & LLDPE 50 GSM – packing cover.
Wood fiber is imported from USA, Thermo bonded no-woven fabric is imported from Malaysia. Other raw
materials like barrier film, release paper, super bond paste & LLDPE 50 GSM packing cover are procured from
local vendors. (Exhibit 1)
The installed capacity of unit is 1,440 Napkins per day on single shifts basis. The annual capacity works out to
The following items of plant and machinery are required for the Plant
1. Defibering Machine
2. Core forming Machine
3. Napkin Finishing Machine
4. Ultra Violet Treatment Unit (Exhibit 1)
In the first stage, the raw material in the form of wood fiber is taken into a de-fiberation unit (36’’ x 24"x 30").
The raw material is cut up by 4 blades, fitted on a disc at the bottom of a conical vessel, to deliver de-fiberated
wood pulp with a filament length of 1 to 1.5 mm. The unit is powered by a 1 HP single-phase motor rotating at
10,000 RPM to deliver the cutting action and deliver soft pulp at the rate of 150 gm per minute.
The second stage involves compressing the de-fibered pulp to the required shape of the napkin. This is done
using a core-forming unit (24" x 24" x 30"), operated by a foot pedal. The mould or core block is made of food
grade aluminum and facilitates making two kinds of sanitary napkin pads; one with a variable density and the
other with constant or equal density. The variable density pads have more density of material at the bottom
for better absorption.
The third stage involves sealing the pads in the napkin-finishing machine (36" x 30"x 30"), where they are
wrapped with non-woven fabrics such as polypropylene and sealed. The operator uses the foot pedal to
power the unit and seal the pads in three sides. The unit is rated at 40 Watts and seals about 4-10 napkins per
minute using a cam operated limit switch, which facilitates fast heating and cooling within two seconds per
The fourth stage involves passing the sealed pads through a dedicated Sterilization unit. The sterilization can
be achieved either by manually exposing the pads to the UV lamp or by batch-type sterilization unit. The
sterilization units consist of a closed container with UV lamps. In the UV chamber, sealed pads are sterilized by
exposing them for 10 seconds. The UV sterilization is achieved by using short wave Germicidal Erasing Lamps
with specific wavelengths between 240 - 280 nanometers with a peak wavelength of 265 nanometers. Once
the sterilization is complete, the pads are ready for the finishing operations consisting of trimming, position
strip fixing, packing and dispatch. The machine can produce over 900 sanitary napkin pads per day @ 4
napkins per minute. It needs a maximum of three people to operate the three main production stages. The
rate of production can be enhanced using two core-forming dies. In India expensive imported machines
costing over twenty five lakh rupees are used in manufacturing. This makes the price of the product beyond
the reach of women in middle class and lower income group.
Production process requires some precautions as mentioned in Exhibit 2.
Product is distributed with help of Local entrepreneurs and Self Help Groups (SHPs). Who have launched the
low cost pads in various trade names (EASY FEEL, FREE STYLE, STYLE FREE, FEEL FREE and BE FREE). These
products are available in the local market at an affordable cost range of Rs 13 for a set of 8 pads and Rs 15 for
a set of 10 pads. With the support from the Micro Venture Innovation Fund (MVIF) at NIF, the innovator has
been able to install over eighty units in thirteen states across the country. He has received support from other
sources as well.
Muruganantham sees it is a business model that “can deliver livelihood, hygiene and dignity to poor women,
and help them strengthen society,” according to his website. Like many innovators and inventors, his work at
first was little understood by others and meant he had to plough a lonely furrow. But his persistence paid off
and is now receiving attention from countries across the global South. Apart from its technological simplicity,
the idea is to make it easy for women to form cooperatives and businesses to boost their incomes. At first, he
had a difficult time convincing people of the utility of the machine. He enlisted his wife to help with the
marketing of the new napkins to nearby women. He says the advantage of his business model is that it turns
the making of the napkins into a sustainable, grassroots activity. It provides an essential commodity for poor
women at an affordable price, removing middlemen and using a simple, non-chemical technology. It also cuts
down on expensive transport costs by keeping manufacturing local.
Though he’s won numerous awards (and won his wife back) he doesn’t sell his product commercially. "It’s a
service," he says. His company, Jayaashree Industries, helps rural women buy one of the $2,500 machines
through NGOs, government loans, and rural self-help groups. "My vision is to make India a 100% napkin-using
country," said Muruganantham at the INK conference in Jaipur. "We can create 1 million employment
opportunities for rural women and expand the model to other developing nations." Today, there are about
600 machines deployed in 23 states across India and in a few countries abroad.
This machine heralds a new revolution in personal hygiene, for women across all sections of society, while
creating potential perennial revenue stream for small scale entrepreneurs, and self help groups by deploying a
self sustaining micro-enterprise model. With this machine slowly gaining national recognition, many self help
groups, corporates and organizations such as M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, All India Woman’s
Conference, DATA, Malabar Hospital, Community Center-AAI Delhi, Mandal Mahila Samkiya and Sammilana
have placed orders for this machine.
And while Muruganantham is focused on making the machine a success, he is already looking forward to
working on its further growth and new innovations. The only question is: Is this model going to be sustainable?
Exhibit 1: Cost Structure
Plant and Machinery
The following items of plant and machinery are required for the project.
Core forming M/c
Napkin Finishing M/c
Ultra Violet Treatment Unit
Weighing Scale (To Weigh
Plastic Buckets and Trays
Semi Skilled Labors
(Daily Wages Rs.70 Per Day)
Monthly Administrative Expense
General Administrative Expenses
Required Raw Material per Day
Exhibit 1: Cost Structure(continued)
Total Napkins Production Details Per Day (Minimum)
Per Day Production
8 Napkins per Packet
Price Fixing Per Napkin Packet(Rs.)
a. Raw Material per Napkin Packet
c. Cost Per Napkin Packet
d. Add Our Profit 60 %
e. Whole sale Price
f. Add Whole seller's Profit Margin : 20%
g. Maximum Retail Price per Packet ( MRP)
Sales Per Month(Rs.)
Value Of per Day required Raw Material
1478 x 25
One Month (25 Working Days)
Per Day Napkin Production
1440÷8 = 180 Pkts
One Month (24 Working Days)
24 x 180 = 4320 Pkts
Per Packet Whole Sale Price
Value of One Month Production
4320 x 13.30
One Month Sales
One Month Raw Material Expense
Labor Charge - Less from profit
Administrative Expenses - Less from profit
Net Profit per Month
Profit Margin On one Month Total Raw Material Value
Advance for working Place
Machineries, Installation and training fees
Running Capital for Two Months
SSI Registration and Other Admin Expense
Exhibit 1: Cost Structure (continued)
Net Profit per Year (Rs)
Profit per Month = 11,256
Per Year profit 11,256 x 12 = 1,35,072
Interest for total investment @ 14 % = 25,985(A)
Depreciation of Machineries 10% = 8000 (B)
A+B = 33,985
Net Profit Per year; = 135072 - 33,985 = 1,01,087
Profit margin on Total Investment = 55%
Exhibit 2: Precaution required for production of Sanitary napkin from hygiene point of view
Cleanliness of production and storage place is mandatory. However if you wish to maintain a clean
atmosphere please follow the points mentioned below.
1. The napkin manufacturing place should be clean ( like our Kitchen). All work should be done on work
table only (like QC, packing, Etc.)
2. While making napkins worker should wear work coat, hand gloves, head cap and mouth closer.
3. No foot wear allowed while making napkins.
4. Don’t allow visitors (they sneeze or touch the napkins) if necessary visitors can be allowed on workers
5. Everyday production should be packed and stored; no napkins should be kept open after production.