Tata Nano Technology Marvel: The Need for Marketing Muscle

When Ratan Tata set out on a mission to have Tata Motors design and manufacture the world's smallest four door micro car with a capacity to seat comfortably a family of five adults at a price of INR 100,000 (USD 2000 approximately) which is less than half of the price of India's ruling small car, Maruti Suzuki 800, there was disbelief. However, when Nano was finally unveiled in the 2008 AutoExpo, its successful development was welcomed with rapturous applause. And, when it could not be manufactured in the originally envisaged green-field plant at Singur, there was disappointment all round that one of the best indigenous industrial marvels of India was being stymied. Well-wishers followed Nano's manufacturing journey from Singur in West Bengal to Sanand in Gujarat and appreciated Ratan Tata's commitment to commercialize Nano despite the multitude of challenges.

Post-launch, however, Nano car did not exactly set the Indian car market afire. It was received with a rather tepid response, and the initial glitches did not help the car in its image either. Nano failed to translate the consumer and corporate expectations into robust market demand and sales. Nano's maximum monthly sales did not exceed 10,000 units while the sales languished below the 1,000 units per month for most months since its launch in 2008. This compared with market leading sales of Maruti Suzuki's Alto subcompact car at over 35,000 units per month at that time. In fact, no new product had, or probably would have, its performance–price equation so favourable for the consumer as Tata Nano had. This blog post seeks to fill a vital analytical gap in this respect, hoping also to throw some useful pointers to make Nano a mega success, a feat that the car, Tata Motors, and Ratan Tata richly deserve.

For more...http://cbrao2008.blogspot.in/2012/10/tata-nano-technology-marvel-need-for.html

From Product Life Cycle to Process Life Cycle: The Need for a Paradigm Shift in Managerial Thinking

The common view is that product drives process or that users get enamoured by products. For example, had not high-end photography been brought to simple cameras and smartphones, photography would not have come to the hands of common people through social networking. The truth, however, is that the innovative product designer imagines the new process and designs the product for such new process. Very often, the designer, and the firm in the overall, will need to create an ecosystem of materials, equipment, accessories, and applications, in fact a total process ecosystem, to make the idea work. It then becomes the responsibility of the marketer to enable the users discover the benefits of the new product–process ecosystem. Not many firms understand, however, how the product and process life cycles are intertwined in terms of user psychology.

The user psychology has four components of exploration, experience, choice, and acquisition. From a manufacturing process that is validated in the shop floor to a home asset acquisition that is completed in the realty market, the four components of user psychology drive the process life cycle. The success of today's mighty global technology firms such as Google (as the global search engine) as well as the new home grown startups such as redBus (as the bus ticket provider in India) is based on leveraging the process life cycle concepts with the right awareness of user psychology. The difference between successful firms and not-so-successful ones as well as between successful societies and not-so-successful societies is anchored on how well they understand the importance of a process life cycle (as compared to just a product life cycle) and imagine as well as shape successive waves of new process life cycles.

For more...http://cbrao2008.blogspot.in/2014/03/from-product-life-cycle-to-process-life.html

Process as a Determinant of Product: The Case of the Automobile Industry

Automobile as a product may not have changed so far, and may not be changing in future too in terms of a basic product structure. However, just as a human-driven automobile has revolutionized transportation by replacing animal-driven carriage, the existing human-driven automobile would in future be replaced by a self-driven robotic car. Such a car may include additional enhancements such as hybrid (oil–electric) engines, solar powered heating and cooling systems, and lighter but stronger materials. At the core of the product transformation is not a new product per se but a host of visible and invisible process innovations that change the specifications and operability of each component, aggregate, and system of an automobile. Process innovations dictate the emergence of new materials even as new manufacturing processes enable the use of new materials on the shop floor.

The automobile industry has several interesting lessons for product designers, who have passion for new products and newer market ecosystems. When limitations on fundamental product transformation exist (as in the case of automobile), designers would do well to extend themselves as backward and forward as possible to integrate process improvements. The smallest of the components can be redesigned to use newer materials, rendering them stronger but smaller. The most complex of the systems can be reengineered to use electronics and telecommunications, making them more efficient and seamless. Process improvements, integrating technologies from other domains could dramatically improve the product usage functionality and redefine the consumer ecosystem. Research and development establishments must have exceptional process depth, for in several cases process could be a determinant of product!

For more...http://cbrao2008.blogspot.in/2012/08/process-as-determinant-of-product-case.html