Engineering Design for the Indian Market - Six Key Points to Consider
India's increase in population, change in lifestyle, rapid economic growth, and preference for a foreign brand has led to the demand for high quality products.
The last two decades has seen companies like Borg-Warner Cooling Systems, Danfoss, Grundfos, Vestas, Harburg-Freuden-berger, GEA, Alfa Laval, Tesco, Schwing Stetter and ABB benefit largely in India.
However, companies like Enron, Aiwa, Kelvinator and Daewoo have invested but struggled to penetrate the Indian market.
Even the leading global brand, Apple, fails to make it among the top brands in India as per an article in Ibtimes.
** A study of their business strategies reveal that they were less successful in satisfying the Indian consumer and became an example of how not to design products for the India market.
If you are designing products for the Indian market, we suggest you take the following factors into account.
Cultural Blend Some of even the technically superior products and equipments have failed to survive in the Indian market as they did not adapt to the usage pattern of the Indian customer.
McDonalds, for instance, launched its first chain of fast food joint in India in 1996.
Considering that more than half of the population was vegetarian and their menu mostly contained meat, the fast food chain was an epic failure.
From an industrial perspective, a high through put machine built for a European market can be simplified to meet Indian market demand, the latter which may be relatively less when compared to the European region.
Localizing the machine to suit the work styles, conditions and usage pattern to synchronize with the cultural style of the Indian industry can make all the difference.
A third eye perspective during the product design stage from the native region and industry can save a lot of money and time during the design phase.
Government Regulations Setting up business in a foreign land is far from easy.
To ensure that you don't have legal disturbances, and that you benefit from the regulations, you need to be well informed about the legal system.
In some cases, the central laws can be quite lenient, while the state laws could be quite strict and vice versa.
Environmental Protection Act and the severity in implementation can vary from state to state in India.
The use of a material could be banned in one state while permissible in the others.
You have to be aware of these regulations before you begin designing your equipment.
You will need to make suitable arrangements to accommodate changes in your design itself.
Industrial Standards Unlike consumer products, industrial products are bound to interface with other machinery and equipments, and with various tools in customer's factory.
To bring about consistency in the machines in order to facilitate smooth interaction among the various buyers and suppliers, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has listed standards specific to the respective industry.
If your equipment is not compatible with the existing machinery, physical changes have to be made at the design stage itself to make your machine compatible.
For some industries, stringent tests are undertaken to ensure the safety of equipment as per Indian standards.
Hence, you must look into the parameters that the tests deem necessary and you should prepare your equipment at the design stage accordingly.
Competitors' Footing It is important to understand the hold your competitors have in the market.
One suggestion is to benchmark their products' performance, capabilities and features against your product.
Since these companies have already overcome the obstacles in that corresponding segment and they have a longer local market presence than you, your product should be competitively priced, offer better customer services, product variants, after sales support, warranty terms, and features if possible.
India being a price sensitive market, it's advisable to come up with product variants to address multiple markets.
Manufacturing Ecosystem A well designed product which is required to import all its components and raw materials is not a viable option in the long run.
It is vital to consider the manufacturing ecosystem from the point of view of availability and accessibility of the raw materials, standards in raw material, and the manufacturing processes including their limitations.
You should also check into the vendor and supplier base and their capabilities to meet the demand, transportation and logistical barriers.
Importing resources merely adds to the overall cost of the product.
Also, supplying spare parts to the customers immediately in case of failure could prove to be a challenge.
After sales and support A high performance product not backed by reliable after sales support will not fare well in any market.
Customer satisfaction and a healthy relationship are mandatory for the success of any company.
Problems have to be resolved in a timely and cost-effective manner.
For this, you will need to set up a team that is easily accessible to your customers.
You will also have to localize spare parts and provide a local supplier who can attend to the issue without a hitch.