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Setting high standards

Sanitaryware specialist Rigel stays ahead of the competition through innovation and the latest technology

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Rigel's group chief executive officer Christopher Ng Eng Seng was the winner in the sustainable bathroom solutions category at this year’s EY Entrepreneur of the Year Singapore Awards

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Rigel Innovation Centre serves as Rigel’s corporate headquarters and houses a large exhibition centre featuring its smart bathroom products

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Rigel’s impressive range of smart and eco-friendly sanitary solutions is cutting-edge, high-quality, efficient, ergonomically designed and aesthetically pleasing

Since its establishment in 1991, home-grown sanitaryware specialist Rigel has made a name for itself for pioneering cutting-edge, smart and environmentally friendly bathroom solutions.

In the 1990s, the company gained a foothold in sensor-operated products. Since then, Rigel has evolved and innovated with the times, expanding its product portfolio and incorporating the latest flagship technologies such as hydro-powered and tempered glass series of sensor products and anti-bacterial sanitaryware.

It has stamped its footprint in over 35 countries; its biggest overseas investments include two manufacturing facilities in Ningbo and Luzhou in China, and offices and showrooms in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and China.

In 2014, Heliconia Capital Management, a Temasek portfolio company which provides growth capital to Singapore’s leading small and medium-sized companies, acquired a stake in Rigel.

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Two years later, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat officially launched the $35 million Rigel Innovation Centre at Changi Business Park. The six-storey, 16,000 sqm building serves as Rigel’s corporate headquarters and houses a large exhibition centre featuring its smart bathroom products.

Today, Rigel’s impressive portfolio spans commercial projects, residential projects, hotels and other institutions such as hospitals and schools in Singapore as well as around the world. Some of its major residential projects include Eight Riversuites in Singapore, Astoria Ampang in Malaysia and City of Lights C2 in Abu Dhabi; while its major commercial projects include Changi Airports T1-T4, JEWEL in Singapore, Indonesia One in Indonesia and Raffles City Chongqing in China.

Its group chief executive officer Christopher Ng Eng Seng, winner in the sustainable bathroom solutions category at this year’s EY Entrepreneur of the Year Singapore Awards, reveals the company’s secret to success:

Q: What is your vision statement  and the Rigel ethos?

A: We want to be a world-renowned sanitary brand powered by smart technologies. Customers always come first, and we believe in providing them with a world-class user experience shaped by product design and innovation. We focus on our core competencies to perfect what we do, offering our customers smart and eco-friendly products that anticipate and meet their needs.

Ultimately, we are focused on long-term sustainable growth, so it is important for us to be realistic, down to earth and have strong business acumen when making business decisions to ensure their feasibility.

Q: What sets the company apart? 

A: We adopt a differentiated approach with a unique business model that focuses on research and development. We also look into our internal efficiency and streamline our processes.

Rigel has complete control of our products’ design and manufacturing from the initial concept and design, to the prototyping, testing and manufacturing, as well as the sales and marketing initiatives and after-sales customer care programme.  This allows us to maintain high-quality standards while creating fully integrated and comprehensive product ranges that better serve our customers’ needs.

Our four-stage customer care programme — comprising pre-installation briefing, testing and commissioning, maintenance training and periodic checking — forms an integral part of our business model and demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that our customers are provided with comprehensive bathroom solutions.

Q: What is in store for Rigel in the next few years?

A: With the Internet of Things gaining traction, the idea that sanitaryware should be integrated with technology is becoming increasingly popular. Coupled with the recent push for environmentally friendly solutions, we believe we are well positioned to grow our brand of smart and eco-friendly products and bring the Singapore brand abroad.

We will continue to innovate our business by building up our R&D competency. We have a strong in-house R&D team and will be further expanding it by investing in more talents — both grooming existing ones and adding new blood. We will also be enhancing factory automation with the latest state-of the-art equipment  to ensure manufacturing excellence and product quality.

We also have aggressive plans to enlarge our footprint further in the region.

Smart sanitisation solutions

Cutting-edge, high-quality, efficient, ergo- nomically designed and aesthetically pleasing best describe Rigel’s impressive range of smart and eco-friendly sanitary solutions.

The sanitaryware specialist’s Suite range, designed for commercial, residential and healthcare, comprises comprehensive products that are able to meet the needs of each sector.

For instance, its commercial range that involves more sensors is reliable, energy and water saving, and easy to maintain; the residential range boasts a soft, lifestyle aesthetic with features such as ambient lights; while the healthcare range includes assisted bathroom products catered to the elderly or handicapped.

By the numbers:
Global footprint 35 countries
Years of establishment 28
Number of proprietary products 568