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India Design Houses: How to move up the value chain?

Posted: 11 Aug 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:India design houses  design value chain  panel discussion 

Design with consultancy
Kishore Narang, head, corporate design at Indo-Asian Fusegear, believes that approximately 70% of the revenue for Indian design houses is from services, not design. From a customer point-of-view, Narang's expectations of a design house are very simple - that the design house" has to work as friend, philosopher and guide".

"We need to have design and manufacturing capability in-house that is within India. To begin with, we must start building domain expertise in various facets, and become design architects," he said.

Narang felt that there is a lack of good design houses. He believes most of them are implementors, not design architects and is doubtful of the future of the next generation. According to him, the customer's problem needs to be understood in totality to be successful in moving up the value chain. A design house should architect a successful design from a customer's limited or even vague design specifications which would involve thorough understanding of the domain, making new specifications, architecture and implementation of the design. Design engineers need to add that little extra to the customer's specs that can enhance the product, for example scalability. Thus Narang stressed on the added dimension of consulting to the design engineer's role.

Building prototypes
Sudhir Sathiyamoorthy of Infotech Enterprises remarked that in the future, designs in India will be made for not only local use but also for global consumption. He was in agreement with Narang that the chunk of the business came from design services but currently efforts were on to move up the value chain by developing concepts.

He offered his view that to move up the value chain services companies are moving to concept products. "Services firms are starting to develop concept products [while bringing] down product costs." Indian designers "have a strong customer base across market segments, good domain knowledge, enough skilled engineers and they can, with the help of the growing domestic electronics market, align their design expertise with the experience of multinational clients," he said.

The hurdles he foresaw were the NRE (non-recurring engineering) cost or royalty. He also said that he would require market research data to judge the size of the market on the basis of which they would be willing to develop a prototype.

Sathiyamoorthy added that design concepts and the feasibility part of manufacturing were the two untapped areas that could give the Indian design houses a complete eco-system.

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