Tata Motors’ Nano and Apple’s iPhone

Nano has been a benchmark of India’s innovative strength. Some called it as ‘triumph of Indian ingenuity’. The launch made waves across the automobile crazy population worldwide to a certain extent similar to what Apple’s product announcements make. As reported, Apple sold over one million iPhone 3GS models through June 21, the third day after its launch. I compared Nano with Apple’s iPhone as both were very innovative products with a good number of new patents going in it. Both are priced low for all pockets and both are contemporary too.

I think Nano had a potential to sell a million, if production strategies would have been sound along with a confidence about its quality level and robustness of design. Tata Motors missed the chance. I don’t say it would have been easy but I am sure with managerial excellence that Tatas can afford to possess, it could be certainly possible.

As reported in media, the wait for Tata Motors’ Nano will end soon. Tata Motors has decided on its 1.50,000 customers who are the luckiest to get the delivery starting July at the price promised. Interestingly, the company is not only intimating the perspectives buyers through personal mails, but it has also put their names on its website. But Tata Motors will take a year and half to meet this commitment. Why should Tata Motors take so long to meet the demand of the waiting customers?

Many a times I fail to understand why Tata Motors can’t scale up the production if the product designs and component development are really freezed. Mamata certainly created the mess, but there again Tata Motors had failed as it would have kept the backup plan ready. But let us forget that.

Once Tata Motors decided to assemble Nano at Rudrapur plant, it could have got over the constraints faster. Perhaps one of the reasons in the failure to scaling up was Tata Motors’ getting into a number of products- popular ACE, global truck, and competitive SUV simultaneously.

One sure way is to cut the learning time and run all seven days and all three shifts. May be, its vendors are equally vulnerable in raising the production volume. But my other and rather biggest apprehension is about the quality of Nano and the confidence level of the engineers and manufacturers associated with that in Tata Motors. Let Tata Motors come out publicly on that and let the people know its constraint. May be, the users can provide the solutions to its constraints.

But keeping the customers waiting can never be a good management practice. And now I feel like concluding that as a traditional Indian practice, Tata Motors was never ambitious enough plans for Nano that could see it selling a million Nanos in a year. Every now and then media keep Nano in news. One related to making it more fuel efficient with micro-hybrid technology. Insiders say Tata has already started asking his senior executives, ‘What is the next Nano?’

But I keep on thinking why Nano couldn’t reach a million customers.

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