Business Advantage Through Design - NIFT, New Delhi

Bhatt, Jatin, Founder Director of Edusign Consulting Pvt. Ltd.is a 1977 graduate of National Institute of Design (NID) with a specialization in Industrial Design.

His new initiative Edusign Consulting (www.edusign.in) is focused on education, training, design & product development from macro strategies to finer details; from process to products. Offering a six months program ‘Curating the Commerce of Crafts’, in collaboration with Dastkar, designed to develop compassionate and informed business leadership based on inclusive practices of partnering with artisan communities. The core of the program is to appreciate and build on unique identities of crafts as a differentiating business strategy.

Prof. Bhatt conceived the Accessory Design Department at NIFT as its first indigenous program. The program was pioneering in its industry-academic interface and expanded to five unique specializations in different NIFT centers. He was the Dept. Chair from 1991 to early 2008.

With diverse professional design experience in consumer goods, packaging, machine tools, ITES, handicrafts, automobiles, education, training, cluster development and exhibitions he has been involved with various institutions and organizations including IICD Jaipur, Japan Design Foundation, World Gold council, CDI Kashmir, CRC Khamir, Kutch, ICG Jaipur, Pearl Academy of Fashion, New Delhi, UNDP and more in the capacities of founding chair, visiting faculty, external examiner, expert, consultant, advisor, mentor and on the governing bodies.

Prof. Bhatt has been a Judge on many national & international competitions and has presented papers as keynote speaker, design expert & design educationist at many forums in India and abroad.

A Proposal by NIFT Accessory Design Department

In 1997, Prof. Jatin Bhatt of NIFT presented an idea of making available professional design expertise to the 'Handicraft' (Brassware) Industry at Moradabad. The central problem being addressed through this initiative was that quality professionals are metro centered. It is extremely difficult to hire design and management professionals in smaller industrial townships such as Moradabad.

Geared completely towards the export market, there are around 1000 manufacturing units generating Rs. 1600 crore per annum (in 1997). Specialized industries with high mechanization are supported by individual skilled workers to fulfill the market demand. The main markets are North America, Europe and Australia with subsidiary markets present in Canada, South Africa, Scandinavia and the Middle East.

The idea underlying the project was the inherent value of design in the value chain of a product, essential in the products artistic worth and achieving its maximum net value. The project explored whether design could be applied to the industry to create conditions which would encourage a sustained competitive edge in the market. The project was based on a strong conviction that every form of knowledge is available in India and it is a question of a nodal agency bringing them together.

Objects such as candle stands, copperware, planters, vases, trays and baskets, nautical items, bowls, lamps, votives, statues, figures, electro-plated nickel silver ware and mixed medium (for example, glass and wood composites) articles are being created. The predominant materials used are brass, aluminum, iron, glass, copper, zamac, pewter, wood and white metal.

The industry employs multiple production processes including: Sand Casting, Sheet Metal Forming, Cut-Work, Stamping, Etching & Engraving, Spinning, Turning, Glass Blowing and Sheet Fabrication. The predominant finishing processes are electroplating, powder coating, lacquering, buffing and polishing and enameling.

Because the industry is buyer dictated the central focus is on limiting production costs to give it a competitive advantage in the global markets. There are too many persons competing for too few opportunities. Manufacturing being the core business value, quick turnover and a push to meet demanding deadlines don't leave much room for experimentation. Design and product development are largely reverse engineered and not much expertise is drawn from professionals.

Design is not the owners or exporters central concern. They are heavily dependent on ready-to-source products or designs. Also they lack design interpretation skills and the ability to interpret markets and trends.

The industry itself lacks infrastructure and unable to bring the various professionals in the field together. There are insufficient trained persons in the area of product development, quality control, marketing and technology development. There is practically no data-sharing or information available on trends, styles and the consumer market.

The foremost change needs to enhance the industries knowledge domain to understand trends, styles and markets. The first step is to establish a resource and reference base of styles, aesthetics, forms, international trends, technology, processes, materials, finishes etc.

The emerging competition from within and South East Asia will require a new value statement from the industry. The changes will happen primarily through a paradigm shift from a low cost production base towards a design led industry. For any visible impact a minimum of 100 exporters have to undertake serious and consistent new product development working in tandem with atleast 40 designers who have a comprehensive insight in the market requirements and can meet the international quality standards. This will allow and encourage the development of distinct and individual strengths in market positioning creating niche specializations.

It is a near impossible task to find all the expertise in Moradabad or to locate them there from all over the country. Prof. Bhatt has developed a fascinating interactive website which addresses all the issues outlined above along with making available the required information and resources to all persons concerned, creators and buyers. The concept is to create a "Golden Triangle" involving the buyers, manufacturers and designers on a dynamic platform to create new products which are abreast with contemporary consumer aspirations.

The services provided are design development, product innovation, design interpretation, technical and design specification, product prototyping, modeling and sampling, skill upgradation, design and market strategies and finishes development, new materials and technology enhancement, trends information and trade shows and exhibition analysis, a comprehensive database, packaging and presentation aids.

For detailed information contact:
Prof. Jatin Bhatt
B 50 Sheikh Sarai Phase I
New Delhi 110017

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