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March 14, 2011

Product Adaptations - factors to be considered - Part I

The following factors have to be considered which may necessitate design changes when dapting products for foreign markets. The factors are: 

1. Environment factors: FMCG products in India have to be rugged and face the vagaries of nature and rough transport and not so good storage capacities. This has led to the introduction of liquid chocolate (8) in India. Similarly in India people drive on the left side of the road and the steering wheel is on the right hand side. Indian cars exported USA will have to be left hand drive (9) as driving in USA is on the right side of the road.

2. Product specifications: 110 volts and 220 volts (10). Exporters should be careful in exporting or importing products from other countries as these products may not work or might be severely damaged if suitable technical adaptations are not made.

3. Level of literacy: Remotes have to graphic and pictorial (11) in low level literacy countries. Level of literacy also can mean remaking and simplification of the product. The Television remote needs to have to be the commands in the local language (12).

4. Level of Income: A low priced functional color TV (13) or a functional mobile high in feature but low in price (14) is the need in poor countries. Customers demand acceptable quality and cheap products, In India 80 percent of mobile phones are priced below US $ 40.

5. Level of interest rates: Investment in high quality products and services might not be financially desirable. Banks entering into countries that have high interest rates will have to re work their portfolio and products to meet the local conditions and tastes.

6. Level of maintenance: Most countries might not have the expertise that is needed to provide the level of maintenance that is needed for the product to work optimally. The company has to produce a product that is so rugged that hardly needs any maintenance.

7. Climatic differences: Products used in plain lands and high lands have to be adapted to face the climatic conditions of coastal places and also the travel by the sea. In one case the Indian electric poles (15) had rusted by the time they reached the port of destination.

8. Isolation:  Some products have been in isolation for so long that they have developed peculiar standards. First these market have to be standardized before new products can be introduced. It is said that Indian Air force pilots getting trained in Russia would be asked to switch on and off switches of their fighter planes for many days before they were allowed to fly. Why? Russian off position of the switch would be the on position in India and vice versa (16). If this training is not given the Indian pilots would leave the plane on the tarmac with the engine in the on condition!

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