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Global Product Engineering & the “Core to Business” debate…

In a recent discussion with a panel of clients and industry experts on Global engineering trends & growth, the conversation about Product development being at the core, and hence challenges in globalization, once again found some interesting views.   This topic has popped up in many conversations and debates that that I have had in various forums on adoption of global engineering strategies.

The answer to this debate is not so obvious, given that the Products have been at heart of revenue generation for most of the last century. But as the last two decades have shown us, global engineering has found more and more acceptance across industries in product development strategies.

The reasons for this change are multi dimensional -

rise of services, role of ICT, economic leverage, technological leverage, new markets… but the most important one is the fact that the source of competitive advantage continues to evolve for all companies. Hence a blanket assumption that all activities of product engineering are at core does not hold good. The products are now bundled with services and require multi-disciplinary engineering for their development while the markets continue to expand beyond the shores. This means, there is a reconfiguration of value chain as newer skills are required to address these needs. This spawns partnering across the globe to develop and introduce new products.   In this fast changing environment it is important to adopt new competence and maintain flexibility because What was relevant 5 years before may not necessarily carry us for next 5…

Interestingly, India is beginning to emerge as Global engineering hub as Engineering services gain significance in product engineering strategy.  This run-up has seen various factors that provide added dimensions to this “core to Business” debate….It includes not only the vast engineering talent availability in the country but also the fact that

·         Companies are looking for suitable products for this fast growing market

·         Application of new technologies especially play of electronics and embedded software has increased many times requiring access to new skills

·         The Indian Engineering services industry has benefits of learnings from other services industries – IT & BPO success in recent times

·         The understanding of working in multi-cultural environment has become part of the Indian work culture

·         There is a move towards open innovation and these new players bring in a new perspective

Thus product engineering being at the core to business is true when considered with dimensions of business success in a given scenario. The need to leverage competence that provides the edge to products necessitates working with partners in a more open environment.  This means we have to overcome the barrier of traditional thinking that all Product Engineering activities are core in the reconfigured value chains. With good governance, effective change management and IP compliance, the strategy of global engineering pays dividend…

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