Prioritizing Consumer Needs: LIXIL Continues To Provide Innovative Bathroom Solutions

June 15, 2023



Rick Formalejo

Consumer centric business model, attracting people, and innovation–three things that make LIXIL Water Technology at the forefront as the trusted partner of architects, developers, and consumers according to Satoshi Konagai, Leader of LIXIL Water Technology for Asia Pacific. 

Providing Innovative Solutions Through The Years

In an exclusive interview with BluPrint, Konagai shares the secret of how the maker of the pioneering water and housing products maintained its position in the industry all these years. First, he talks about how the company proactively guides architects and developers rather than reactively responding to their needs through a consumer centric business model. 

“We, ourselves, need to be the expert [in understanding] what the consumers need. In order to do that, our team is doing intensive consumer research to understand what the consumers want,” says Konagai. In his keynote speech during the awarding ceremony, Konagai explained how LIXIL continues to develop products that help address sustainability, health and wellbeing, and urbanization to provide better experience to consumers and clients. 

People are the second key factor that help the company in its leading position. According to the LIXIL APAC Leader, it is vital for the company to invest in the right people to come up with the right ideas or solutions. As a global company, it has started to train and done exchange programs to attract people to come to LIXIL. 

“People are the most important asset to maintain the quality of the service,” says Konagai. 

Innovation is the third vital factor for LIXIL’s success, with an emphasis on bathroom products. He highlights that different generations may have the same bathroom setup but creating more innovative solutions can satisfy the evolving needs of the consumers.

In line with this, Konagai shared the company’s plan to launch several new innovative products, like shower toilets and a push shower/faucet that were first introduced by the company. Examples of innovations the company has recently produced include the foamed shower launched in Japan where soap comes from the shower head. In Germany, on the other hand, the company launched a recycling shower which perfectly fit with the sustainability needs.

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Recognizing Excellence That Benefit Consumers

LIXIL power brands, GROHE and American Standard, are the key sponsors of the Asia Pacific Property Awards 2023-24 held at Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park in Bangkok, Thailand last May 29, 2023 to May 31, 2023. The event recognized 362 exceptional projects and industry excellence across the Asia Pacific region. In a gala event, multiple winning companies have received GROHE Award for Sustainability and the American Standard Award for Innovation.

In post-pandemic time, recognizing outstanding projects remains relevant. Konagai views it in two different perspectives: consumers’ and developers’. In consumers’ perspective, Konagai observed that after COVID, consumer behavior and needs have dramatically shifted. Before they were stable but the pandemic has changed them. He emphasizes that the industry needs to respond more to the customer’s needs by understanding them. 

In developers’ perspective, Konagai mentions that they have to be more competitive. The same goes with architects and designers. Under those circumstances, he offers solutions to the designers so they stand out among the competition.

Moreover, recognitions like Asia Pacific Property Awards help consumers decide which real estate, residential, or hotel to stay at or purchase. Winning such a prestigious award gives consumers an idea of the quality these properties have to offer.

According to Konagai, sustainability and health and wellbeing are the common aspects among the award winners this year. He observed that more projects are focusing on sustainability compared to the last two to three years. COVID, on the other hand, plays a crucial role in the health and wellbeing aspects of every project. Since people spend more time at home, more projects focus on providing consumers with a relaxing and comfortable space. 

In line with this, LIXIL recently introduced GROHE Spa which offers customized luxury experience at home and in hotels. American Standard also has a vast collection of water saving and energy saving products that address both sustainability and health and wellness of users. 

LIXIL Promise: Sustainability, Health and Wellbeing, Urbanization 

For over 20 years, LIXIL has been an advocate of sustainability by providing innovative products with minimal impact on the environment. The company is known for its technology that produces products that focus on water saving and efficiency that are beneficial to both the environment and the consumers. These products make perfect sense for countries that experience water problems, such as the Middle East, Vietnam, and Singapore. 

The company also offers plastic-free products. GROHE has managed to produce plastic-free products, minimizing the company’s carbon footprint. 

Additionally, Konagai believes that as a manufacturer, LIXIL has the responsibility to penetrate this kind of concept into the real world and into the consumer level. The company can engage with architects, developers, and stakeholders to get their support to deliver the message at the consumer level. It is important for the company to not only produce sustainable products but also let consumers understand the benefits of this solution.

“Sustainability is no longer a buzzword but a real need,” he says.

LIXIL is also committed to produce products that cater to the health and wellbeing of its users. As people spend more time at home, it is crucial to keep the space, particularly the bathroom, safe from bacteria and viruses through cutting edge technology. 

Konagai also talks about how space in cities like Manila are getting smaller. It is something that the company wants to address through its urbanization campaign. Coming from Japan, LIXIL has the know-how on maximizing a space to benefit the consumers.

Konagi concludes the interview with a message to architects, developers, and designers alike who aspire to win the prestigious International Property Awards: “I respect what architects and designers are doing that add value to consumers, especially given that consumer needs change. This is fully aligned with LIXIL’s consumer centric focus DNA. We look forward to working together with architects and designers with the same goal, which is to focus on the consumers. 

“We need to work together. Stand alone doesn’t bring a big impact, especially under this period. We need to derive consumer needs to make sure that we are re going in the right direction.”

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