Making of a product or prototype and conceving the market potential may be seemigly be easy task but proving it as a TECHNICAL PERFORMER may be challenge by itself. “Testing may be expensive but No-Testing is fatal”.
There is a definite cacophony in the Indian markets especially among the start-ups or new entrepreneurs to test their products. They are transfixed like a rabbit under the focus light as to what to do with their innovations when they cannot vend the product without a benchmark. He is confused with the convulutions of approval either by the standards or regulators. The onus is on the innovators to take from his grassloot location to the corridors of Delhi for an official approval his innovations. Till then his commercial push is wanting and may fail within the incubation time.
After all those facilitations for developments and innovation; the lack of standards for Indian regulations is a challenge. BIS is outdated when it comes to innovation and new product developments. There are no protocols for them to take the grass root innovations to the its own head quarters or the QCI (Quality Counsil of India) or the domain Regulators (In case of Medical Devices it would be CDSCO – Central Drug and standard control organization). It does not give guidance or advice for pre-apporval and final approval of his product. It is a meagre mouthpiece for standards which are already set and documented. They are outdated for sure. They do not have the authority or a modus operandi to support the development and commercialization of the innovations. For an innovator or a entrepreneur to usher his way though the huge convoluted process and resistance par his ability; is intimidating. His costs are a challege if he takes the courage to run up the approval process.
As the business becomes multi-disciplinary; the other domain tests and costs challenge him. Every wrong test is a cost and every repeat test is a cost. All odds are against the entrepreneur and additionally the onus is on him to prove his products are safe and matches the benchmarks of supplies. He is mercilessly put to test against the much mature and graduated product supplies from the MNC supplies by the imports India makes.
If one has to benchmark to the interational standards he then too have challenges;
- He has to have a proximal lab that can do the testing as per the periodicity and the lab should be capable to match its test to the ISO or other international standards and in case there are strong BIS standards.
- labs have to be better equipped to test contemprary standards. Labs can install equipments against updated standards. BIS standards are outdated. The labs hence have to depend on international standards and equipments for an establishment. Such investments are expensive. These costs have to be hedged with the testing costs. This leads to elevated costs of the products.
- Indian phsyce is to choose an imporated products as against Indian even when Stardards are certified for numerous reasons. That confidence can be weight in by becoming making better standards and compliance. There is a chaos in syncronysing the act. Even manufacturers sometime feel that the tests done in international equipments are safer for their investments. This scenario have to change.
- The educational institutions should find this as an opportunity to interact with industry to provide the best testing support. They can write standards; train students and also get the industry connect which is missing today. The standards created can be worked though BIS. BIS in turn can ratify those with the equipments they develop. Even entrepreneurs who look for testing labs as a business opprotunity can invest into such services and be a part of the ecosystem. Government has scheme to set up labs for attaining Quality standards.
- Many of the test labs results are not acceptable in the international markets since there is an ambiguity of the results and manupulations from the existing labs. These labs are accrediated certified under NABL will have a relevance but the confidence of tests are always questionable with the infrastructure available to do many of the tests. Quality customers will try to ensure the product supplies match a level that they can build confidence of the supplies. Many look for international labs to capitalize the business opportunity.
- The QCI still doesn’t regulate all the QC (Quality Circles) certifiers. Many come forward with expensive process certification. They sell the certificates to the entrepreneur under the guile of International certification. How can someone certify a lab or a process and issue an interntional certificate without they being registered under the law of the land? The process is an approximation but it is not absolute. This window dressing cannot assure quality assurance and confidence to the customers.
- Under the same physche the Indian clients make preferences or choice to make an RFQs that makes their pick more exclusive and favoured; which goes against the Indian supplies.
- There are many supplies of imports that may not necessarily match the quality standards vis-a-vis that of the Indian supplies but since the imports are not regulated by the quality or BIS standards. Only recently the medical device companies are under the regulations but it is not known for all the other products of Technical Textiles. They may be regulated only when there is a standard in position to ensure there is level playing opportunities for both Indian and imported products.
- Present Indian entrepreneur have a fair chance in the business within India and gets strength to take up exports if they can bring in good manufacturing practices. The GeM is a good initiative by the government to include the fair puchase practices among government agencies. ZED (Zero Defect and Zero Effect) is one more initiative of the gov to ensure that MSMEs have a QC which are benchmarked to other standards and some day they could bridge them to the ISOs across the globe. The certification proccess is also subsidised for the entrepreneur.
- Governemnt has financial schemes for putting up a lab and subsidising the Quality Certifications and refunds for all the investments into Quality. Governement has the ISO certifications registered body which work on subsidy. DIC refund for ISO certification under its subsidy. Plathora of scheme is available and only which that nodal centres like various COEs (Centre of Excellence) / AIC (Atal Innovation Centres) / STEPs / DIC (District Industry Centre) or NSICs (National Small Industries Centre) to initiate a process of mentoring, guiding or even rallying/ advocating or recommending the right scheme for an entrepreneur.
- A defined protocol for innovation which helps not only to identify and match the best options for finance, a pre-approval and ensure the commercial push of the entrepreneur is started. Banks are commercial entity and most of the financials are channelled only though them. They are aware of all the schemes but they offer only when asked for. An Entrepreneur along with all the other challenges has to investigate which sccheme helps him best. Half of his energy is lost in identifying the best options for his innovation. The above agencies mentioned can make a seachange in the process to treat the new product development or entrepreneur with a sepcial support for qualtiy approvals and financial supports.
For the essential commercial push; the governement can do many simple alterations and integrate the above challenges into one act of facilitation to see the entreprenurs do what they have set as a goal to make self-empolyment more valuable for job creation. The critibility of the Indian products in the overseas market would definitely go up and hence the confidence of sourcing from the bedrock of ‘Make in India’ could be far more easy.
However, there is a silver lining in this process is entreperneurs or innovators have to know there is no short cut to market without going though the quality circles and practice of performance. Indian Customers are no longer a second class global citizens. They can invest as much in quality as any european or advance countries. They too have an eye of qualtiy which needs to be demonstrated. There are challenges that sub-standard imports and mimicing indian produce make a false noise against the easy sale. Branding is possible with qualtiy delivery. India is also trying to harmonising the QC with the global standards. They are adopting the ISO pre-dominantly and it could be easy as time change. The above comments are present reality but they are going to change. They may either force you into it or you may pick it up and make life easier by volunteering to change. QC is here to stay and it is arriving. Documention is not a gene for our business community for a long time. If they document themselves; they will find with their innovation they can cut the giants to meagre levels.
For cutting though the clutter one has to
- Document his process.
- Create evidence of Qualtiy and performance.
- Publish the data of performance over time. Educational Academies have a role to play here.
- Market research since we need our own data of indian customers and customization
- TESTING – It is a benchmark for branding, Performance, Confidence and Qualtiy.
TESTING MAY BE TIME AND MONEY CONSUMING. IT MAY BE EXPENSIVE BUT NO TESTING IS FATAL.
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