A row of sleek and modern designs of their products greets everyone that goes inside the hotel function room where the press conference was held. At the center was the host, chatting animatedly with some of the guests about his favorite design, and the many features that come with it. There was even mention of the designs made by fashion designer Jason Wu, one of US first lady Michelle Obama’s favorite “go-to” clothes designer. One would think this was a fashion event, except the products presented to the media were—well, water faucets.
David Naber laughed when asked about the seeming irony between fashion and faucets. He is the general manager for Asia Pacific of the American brand Delta Faucet Company, and he says what they do is a reflection of today’s modern trends, where the customer expects so much more.
Naber explains it used to be all about form and function, but people now consider other factors when buying a product, such as its impact on the environment, apart from its purpose in their daily lives. It becomes even more relevant when the product involves one of the earth’s most precious resources—water. This is the reason why Naber describes some of their more upscale products, as “a water conservation tool that we can use.”
Delta Faucet Company was founded by Masco Corporation in 1954, with the introduction of the single-handed faucet. Its corporate headquarters is located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Masco is a manufacturer of products for home improvement and new home construction markets, which was founded in 1929 by an Armenian, Alex Manoogian. Masco’s headquarters is in Taylor, Michigan, and is currently listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Delta Faucet, one of the companies under the Masco group, is considered as America’s faucet innovation leader, offering an extensive line of commercial products, incorporating style and innovation into faucets and even flush valves. The company manufactures its products, under the brand names Delta, Brizo, and Peerless.
The company continues to expand its international footprint with a presence in 53 countries across the globe. It operates international marketing offices in Brazil, China, Malaysia, and the Middle East. In the Asia Pacific, the company is in key markets including Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, and South Korea. Today, Asia-Pacific accounts for 35 percent of Delta Faucet’s international business, an indication of the region’s growing importance in the company’s bottomline.
Delta Faucet Co. has been in the Philippines since 1994. Naber says this was one of the first major steps the company undertook as part of its global expansion in the Asia-Pacific region. Since then, he says, “we’ve been experiencing very rapid growth across the region, and the Philippines in particular has really been driving a significant portion of our growth.”
Naber explains one of the reasons for their growth in the country is because of a much longer history of being in the Philippines compared to other countries in Asia Pacific, coupled with a more focused strategy.
“The Philippines, specifically Subic Bay, was our distribution center for Asia Pacific and other markets. Unfortunately, because of the financial crisis in the recent past, we had to shut that down.” Because of this, they now have to double their efforts to reclaim lost ground.
Naber says their strategy now is to leverage on innovation and technologies, and in the Philippines, he says the market is very much accepting of the Delta and Brizo brands.
One of the trends that Naber sees in the region, specifically the Philippine market, is the rise of the middle class. “There is a new affluence taking place and people are now valuing more luxury goods and quality products more than they have in the past.”
This is the reason why, Naber says, they are now looking at launching high-end fashion brands here, designed by Jason Wu. Another trend is the move towards “personalization” or the preference for customization in the products that a consumer buys.
“We feel that, just like you differentiate yourself through your shoes and your outfit, it’s the same thing for the home. And Brizo evolved as a fashion brand, and our answer to this trend.” Even in buildings, Naber says he sees more “Leed-compliant” buildings being put up, which means there is more emphasis on environment, sustainability, and conservation.
Naber says the stellar performance of the region where he heads is also his main challenge. While he relocated his young family to Malaysia, he finds himself constantly travelling the region to check on their company’s operations and progress.
“The best part about my job is no two days are the same.” But he says he enjoys every part of the challenge, and thinks himself lucky to be able to share his experiences even with his family, as they explore the different cultures in Asia. He manages to spend quality time with his wife and their new baby, even as he is sometimes able to squeeze in a round of golf or two. His secret to a balanced life? “I think it’s having a very open line of communication with my wife, and if she’s happy, I’m happy.”