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Case Analysis of
Innovative Products
Jayashree Industries Affordable feminine

Photo: BBC World


Ankush Kunzru
Section G(PGDM 2014-16)

A brief analysis of the low cost sanitary pad production in India, and the process that
went behind converting the idea from Arunachalam Muruganantham into an global

The Idea
The Indian market penetration for sanitary pads was around 12% as per a AC Nielsen
report. A. Muruganantham also noticed in his survey that one in 10 women in his village and
adjoining villages used sanitary pads. This meant that a major chunk of the society was not
having access to affordable absorbent solutions.

This lead to him setting a personal

objective, of taking the market penetration for the pads from a mere 2% to a 100% in his life

The investment should be nominal

The production price should be affordable

The consumer market is huge and is continuously expanding

The Process
The initial prototype made purely of high grade cotton, which he created proved to be very
uncomfortable as it did not retain the moistness properly. It took him 2 years to discover that
commercial pads use cellulose fibres derived from pine bark wood pulp. The fibres helped in
the absorption while retaining the shape. The machines that were used at the time to
manufacture the pads were very expensive. So Muruganantham designed a low cost
machine that would operate at a minimal
maintenance and training cost. He came up
with a set of machines that would grind, de-

Photo: BBC World


fiberate, press and sterilised the pads under

ultraviolet. The cost of the original machinery







corporations was about INR 3.5 crores.







designed costed INR 1 lakh(cellulose input required variant) and INR 3 lakh(Pulping wool
The process is split into 3 stages:


Core formation

Soft touch sealing

The machines that were designed were simple in their idea(ghandian like the charkha, the
pestle, etc). They required no significant training and could be operated by anyone.

The Value Proposition

In 18 months post its launch Muruganantham built over 250 machines and took them to the
poorest and most underdeveloped states, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and


Pradesh. As the footprint and the appeal increased and the product spread to 1300 villages
in 23 states. Most of Muruganantham's clients are NGOs and women's self-help groups. A
manual machine costs around INR 75,000 (723) which is fractional in comparison to the
cost of other machines that are used globally. Each machine converts 3,000 women to pad
usage, and provides employment for 10. They can produce 200-250 pads a day which sell
for an average of about INR 2.5 (0.025) each.
Women choose their own brand-name for their range of sanitary pads, so there is no overarching brand - it is "by the women, for the women, and to the women".Muruganantham also
works with schools - 23% of girls drop out of education once they start menstruating
The Driving Force
When A. Muruganantham initially confronted his wife, he found out how she was using a rag
to make an affordable choice for the family. He was deeply inspired to do something that
would help his wife and her sisters to overcome this basic problem. He bought a sanitary
napkin and found out that with a fraction of the cost of production the pads were being sold
at a very high rate making it an unaffordable option for women across India. He tested this
product on himself under several conditions and tried to replicate the process with using
animal blood. Once he realised the displeasure of the entire episode, his one gesture to
impress his wife became a dream to start a revolution that would change the entire
healthcare landscape for women in Indian and globally.
The ability to grow his idea was fuelled by the need to create a paradigm change in the state
of the womens sanitary napkin penetration in India. His 5 day experience with the bladder of
animal blood and the sanitary pad game him a new perspective on the plight faced by
women. This fuelled his creativity to get better alternatives.The period of the research took
several years from the inception of the idea to the designing of the final prototype. This entire
period took about 6 years.
He dealt with several family issues due to the years of estrangement from his wife and his
mother while pursuing his idea. He also faced severe problems while looking for people to
volunteer to help him with his prototypes. However being driven by his vision he overcame
several obstacles and delivered on his idea. This desire was the reason that he was
recognized as TIME magazines 100 Most Influential People.

References - product details: company website Extended story

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