Monday, November 5, 2018

India’s Largest Design Conference India Design Forum (IDF), November, 23-24, 2018

A key highlight of the festival is IDF 2018, the largest design conference in the country which will be held on November, 23 - 24  2018 at UB City Amphitheatre, Bengaluru.

The Festival aims to engage diverse audiences via a series of design interventions. The collaboration with IDF 2018 aims to provide a platform for industry experts, professionals and emerging design talent to interact and debate with their counterparts from around the world to create awareness on the power of design in India. 

For 2018, discussions will focus on the best design trends and technologies shaping the future as well as introducing new concepts, products and services that demonstrate how design is transforming contemporary living. 

Renowned Indian and international design practitioners and thought-leaders will speak about the most exciting and impactful developments in design today. Some of the key International speakers include Brendan McGetrick, Curator, Global Grad Show, UK, Brian Parkes, CEO, JamFactory, Australia, Chris Solarski, Artist/Game Designer, Switzerland, Christian Girard, Co-Founder, Digital Knowledge, France, Kai Richter, Chief Designer, SAP, Germany, Karolina Merska, Artist/Designer, UK, Philippe Morel, Co-Founder, Digital Knowledge, France and Steve Lidbury, Managing Principal, Eight Inc. London amongst others.

Speakers participating from India include Abimanyu Nohwar, Founder, Kiba Design, Biren Ghose, CEO, Technicolour, Francois Gramoli, Creative Director, WeWork, Gunjan Gupta, Furniture Designer and Founder of Wrap, Kamal & Shibanee Sagar, Co-Founders, Total Environment Building Systems, Karthik Vaidyanathan, Founder, Varnam Craft Collective, Malika Verma Kashyap, Founder, Border & Fall, Prateek Jain, Co-Founder, Klove Studio, Revati Kant, Chief Design Officer, Titan Company Limited, Sanjay Garg, Founder, Raw Mango, Sanjay Podder, Managing Director, Accenture Labs and Shiva Nallaperumal, Graphic Designer amongst others.

‘We are very excited to bring IDF to Bengaluru for the first time as a part of Bengaluru ByDesign. People in India need to engage more with design - understand it, evaluate it, like it, hate it and adopt it. IDF is an amazing platform for people to engage, listen and converse with the leaders and influencers of the design world. Technology is changing the way we look at design and the design processes, and this year’s IDF will shine a spotlight on the role of technology in design’... Suprita Moorthy, Founder, Bengaluru ByDesign 

This year, Bengaluru ByDesign will focus on demystifying design and making it more accessible to the public through installations, exhibitions, workshops, conferences, events, screenings, pop-ups, talks and more.  

Three key themes will be explored throughout the Festival: Design & Public, Design & Education and Design & Business to promote public participation, education, innovation, sustainability and creativity via design. The Festival will educate the public and promote sustainable practices through its innovative installations, exhibits, talks and workshops. It aims at fostering leadership in design and creative thinking.

The Festival is in collaboration with TVS, Progress Partner, Asian Paints, Colour Partner and WeWork, Productivity Partner.  Titan, Total Environment, Technicolor and Shrishti Institute of Art, Design & Technology have come on board as Design District Partners. The Swissnex India, The Polish Institut New Delhi, Institut fran├žais en Inde, The Japan Foundation, Pro Helvetia - Swiss Arts Council, Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan are the Content Partners and Anant National University, the Education Partner. The Festival is supported by VU Technologies.

Please do let me know if you'd be interested in covering this Festival in any capacity considering how it's bringing the design industry and public together to the city of Bengaluru and changing the perception of design. Both the Founders of Bengaluru ByDesign are available for interviews.

Tata Motors, Gulf Oil Inked Agreement to Launch a Co-Branded Lubricant Range for its Passenger Vehicles in India

Tata Motors and Gulf Oil Lubricants India Limited (GOLIL), officially signed an agreement to launch a range of co-branded lubricants for its passenger vehicle segment in India. Signed in the presence of Mayank Pareek, President – PVBU, Tata Motors,  S.N. Barman - Vice President, Sales, Marketing & Customer Support, PVBU, Tata Motors,Subhajit Roy - Head – Customer Care, PVBU,  Ravi Chawla, MD, Gulf Oil Lubricants India Limited and Shiva Raj Mehra, Head, Automotive OEM business, GOLIL, the Companies will be selling co-branded Tata Motors Genuine Oil in the high street bazaar market under this partnership.

According to Mayank Pareek – President, Passenger Vehicle Business Unit, Tata Motors - “We at Tata Motors have always worked towards creating a delightful experience for all our customers through various aftersales products & services. Gulf Oil is an iconic brand with strong heritage and is currently amongst the fastest growing lubricant brands in India. With the strength of GOLIL and our commitment to provide our customers with the best lubricant technology expertise and support in the competitive market place, we are happy to announce the beginning of this new relationship. Furthermore, with the association, we guarantee that our customers will receive the finest quality of product which will in turn help them extract the best performance out of their engines.”

“We are extremely honoured to partner with a respected brand like Tata motors for their Passenger Vehicle Business Unit in India. This gives us an excellent opportunity to leverage our brand and other strengths for the passenger vehicles segment. This agreement will be a win-win for both partners as it gives Tata Motors customers a chance to avail a product that is specifically developed for the passenger vehicles of Tata Motors. It will furthermore leverage Gulf Oil’s extensive distribution network to make it easily available to customers”, said Ravi Chawla, MD, Gulf Oil.

The products launched under this range would cover the entire gamut of requirements by the Company, which would include engine oil, gear oil, coolant and brake oil. Additionally, the product range would offer best technology for Tata Motors’ consumers and will be continuously upgraded from time to time depending on the requirements.

QuEST Global to Augment German Presence by Investing in Locals

QuEST Global, the pioneering engineering services provider, has announced its plans to expand the presence in Germany by investing in acquiring local talent and technology companies. This market diversification plan is part of QuEST’s objective to strengthen its engineering service offerings to automotive customers in Germany and also across the globe.

Focusing more on key customers in Germany, QuEST intends to double its headcount in Germany by 2020, and invest in technology companies based in the country to foster innovation. With Industry 4.0 taking the center stage and considering the strategic needs of its automotive clients, QuEST is looking to boosting its capabilities in transformative technologies like augmented reality, artificial intelligence capabilities, analytics and cloud on connected vehicles, autonomous cars, shared services and e-mobility.

Over the past few years, QuEST has been expanding its footprint in Germany. In 2015, the company invested in Engineering und Design im Fahrzeugbau (EDF) GmbH, a Munich-based premier automotive engineering services company. This was followed by investments in Germany-based DETECH Fahrzeugentwicklung and Romania-based IT Six Global Services in 2017. These investments were part of the company’s strategy to strengthen the breadth and depth of its engineering services offerings to customers, and also to enhance its capabilities in the automotive domain.  The company now brings in more than two decades of combined in-depth experience to the German automotive market.

Gerhard Hauk, Managing Director, QuEST Global, Germany said, “The convergence of mechanical and digital technologies is changing the industry rapidly and we are committed to bring software and digital expertise from across the globe to Germany. At QuEST, we are aligning our growth plans to meet the varying needs of the growing automotive industry in Germany, and thus help the country’s economy. We are looking forward to working with leading OEMs and Tier-1 suppliers, and to invest in local talent and technology companies to be able to provide innovative engineering solutions to our customers.”

Commenting on the commitment intended by QuEST Global to the German market, Siddharth Mudgal, Chairman, German-Indian Business Forum said, “As a leader in providing premium engineering services, QuEST is one of the key players in the industry. The significant investments made by engineering service providers like QuEST in Germany and its talent, will certainly augment the technology advancements in the region. We look forward to a long and prosperous mutual relationship, where we seek to strengthen the German economy and enable a digital engineering future for the automotive industry in Germany.”

Berthold Puchta, Vice President and Global Industry Leader – Transportation, QuEST Global said, “Over the past few years, automotive companies have been struggling to keep pace with the evolving industry landscape, wherein cars are transforming from just being connected to becoming as smart as our smartphones. QuEST partners with global OEMs and tier-1s to provide services that help realize system and sub-system designs in the automotive domain. Our unique synergy with customers comes through customizing an integrated local-global solution delivery approach that fits their varying needs. QuEST is committed to meet the consumer demands in areas such as safety, comfort and enhanced driving experience.”

TKM “Challenge the Impossible”, Builds on Skill Levels to Enrich Customer Delight Beyond the Best

Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM), with its constant endeavour towards developing skilled workforce across its dealer network in the country, recently conducted the ‘National Skill Championship 2018. An annual initiative for dealer personnel, the event serves as a platform to reward exceptional sales and service skills and highlights best practices setting advanced skill standards in the industry.

In line with the company’s focused commitment towards the Skill India initiative, the Skill Contest is another step by the company in the development of manpower to meet the skill gap in the dynamically changing automotive market. The event was held at three levels – across dealership, regional and national levels, the contestants were evaluated on various parameters such as knowledge, process demonstration, soft skills and role plays in providing premium customer experience and human touch among others. 

The event finale was attended by Mr. Yashitaka Nakamura, General Manager [Service Management Division] – Toyota Motor Corporation; Sabari Manohar, General Manager [Technical Service Division] – Toyota Motor Asia Pacific; David Goldberg, Senior Manager [Sales Operations] - Toyota Motor North America; Erik Fischer, National Manager [Sales Operations Support] – Toyota Motor North America; Saju Thomas, Dealer Principal – Nandi Toyota along with the senior management executives of Toyota Kirloskar Motor - Yoshihiro Horinouchi, Deputy Managing Director; N. Raja, Deputy Managing Director and Vedaprakash S. Tiwari, General Manager.

Themed ‘Challenge the Impossible’ this year, the event witnessed 7000+ dealer participants from Sales and Service Divisions. A total of 689 candidates participated in Regional Skill Contest. And 102 regional-level winners contested in National Skill Championship held today. Toyota always looks beyond the best in enriching the consumer experiences aligning with its global challenge with its ever-better product offerings and services to cater to each one of its customers choices. The company aligning with its “Customer first” philosophy, continuously evaluates the customer preferences and feedbacks to deliver notch-above the expected through its dealer networks, which the brand stands for.

Customer choices are fast changing. The human resources need to gear-up with right skill sets to deliver in such dynamic environment. This Skill Championship represents all new skill parameters which are extremely challenging. The contestants need to think beyond the boundary and showcase the right attributes of skill sets, attitude and knowledge. Better methodologies and adopting new approaches will define one’s perspective to make impossible a POSSIBILITY.  The challenge is to positively respond to newness with the attitude of learning and break the mental block as we progress into the future of evolving consumer and market behaviour.

A total of 18 winners, 3 from each category were honoured by the leadership team of Toyota Kirloskar Motor who were present at the event held in Toyota plant premises – Bidadi [Ramanagara District, Bengaluru]. This year, the categories were Team Leader [New Car Sales], Customer Assistance Center Officer, Procurement Officer [Used Car], Service Parts Category, Service Advisor Category and General Technician Categories and the following final winners & runners were recognised for their specialised skill levels and awarded cash prizes, rolling trophy, winner plaque and gold medal.

High-Growth Companies Buck Trend of Declining Returns on Innovation, Accenture Report Finds

Only one in four large Indian companies is able to tap into the full potential of technology-enabled innovations, with most others missing out on an opportunity for both strong growth in profits and market capitalization, according to a new research report from Accenture. At the same time, the report identifies several practices of high-growth companies that have enabled them to derive significant value from innovations where others have failed.

The report, “How to Unlock the Value of Your Innovation Investments,” surveyed C-level executives at 840 large companies across 14 industries and eight countries, including 106 large companies in India. The research found that approximately one in four (25 percent) of Indian organizations surveyed are generating significant value from their innovation investments — and identified the innovation approach of these high-growth companies and what other companies can learn from them.

The research found that companies’ return on innovation investments declined 27 percent over the past five years and notes that the gap between what technology makes possible and the ability of companies to realize that value is only going to grow. This creates a steady supply of “trapped value” — i.e., the value that businesses could be releasing or sharing if they could change faster and more fundamentally in ways that would enable them to capitalize on technology-enabled innovations.

The good news is that the declining costs of advanced technology are presenting new opportunities for companies that have been increasing their innovation investments. Globally, incumbents and start-ups spent a combined US$3.2 trillion on innovation-related activities over the past five years, and this trend is expected to continue — almost one-half (50 percent) of those Accenture surveyed in India expect to increase their investments in innovation by more than 50 percent over the next five years.

Challenges to Innovation Investment Strategy

Of the 75 percent of Indian respondents who reported increasing their innovation investments by at least 25 percent in the past five years, more than one-third (38 percent) underperformed their industry peers in growing profits or market capitalization. Accenture analysis shows that much of this is due to spending predominantly on incremental innovation, which is how nearly three-fourths of non-high-growth Indian companies directed their spend, rather than on disruptive innovation.

“Our research highlights that Indian companies apply innovation more comprehensively compared to their global counterparts. In fact, almost 90 percent of Indian companies have plans to increase their innovation spending by more than 25 percent over the next five years. However, 70 percent of Indian companies are focusing their investments on incremental innovation, which limits their ability to derive tangible value from their investments,” said Anindya Basu, geographic unit and country senior managing director, Accenture in India. “High-growth companies are not only investing aggressively, but also taking a distinct, disruptive approach to innovation to reinvent their businesses.”

Unlocking Trapped Value

Lessons from high-growth companies show a distinct approach to innovation that helps them turn innovation investment into real value. C-suite executives at high-growth companies advocate an innovation approach that is:

Change-Oriented: Having the courage to apply innovation with greater intensity to reinvent existing ways of working, and thus achieve deep organizational change.  

Outcome-Led: Fostering innovation efforts across the business and having the discipline to tie them rigorously to financial performance.
Disruption-Minded: Committing to invest more aggressively, over time, in truly disruptive innovation initiatives that have the potential to create entirely new markets.

Additionally, the research identified several key characteristics that further differentiate high-growth companies from other companies. These include being:

Hyper-Relevant: Sixty-three percent of Indian companies collaborate with customers during the innovation process.
Talent-Rich: Fifty three percent of Indian companies develop a “liquid” workforce — one that is flexible, supported by technology and adaptive.
Network-Powered: Sixty-one percent of Indian companies use digital technologies to provide products-as-a-service.

Ather Energy Announces Roll-Out of 3 New Subscription Plans

Ather Energy, India’s first locally designed and manufactured intelligent scooter brand, has added additional subscription plans for the Ather 450 & 340, based on the success of Ather One, the complete hassle free ownership plan. The new plans will offer more flexibility to the customer to choose services of their choice based on their usage. Public charging at AtherGrid will remain free till 31st of December 2019 for all Ather customers.

Ather One, Ather Energy’s flagship plan, will continue being available, and customers will enjoy its free services for a year from their date of delivery. Ather One has been designed to manage all the hassles of the current automobile ownership. The plan covers all expenses & scooter maintenance, including data charges, public fast charging, home charging expenses, periodic service including consumables and roadside assistance.

Upon completion of their the first year, customers will be free to migrate to any other plan of their choice. Since flexibility in choosing services basis usage and individual preference was a pertinent ask, Ather Energy’s new plans will cater to requirements on demand. Ather scooters being intelligent mobility solutions, data will be a constant feature across the plans that will help the auto company understand individual’s ride, scooter’s health, riding conditions and subsequently, push over-the-air updates, provide ride recommendations and run services like navigation.

For individuals intending to pre-order from today, Ather Service plan will be applicable for free for a limited period. Free Ather One plan for pre-order customers stands discontinued from 31st October, 2018.

OBOPAY Launches Distribution Management System for Large Distribution of FMCG Companies

OBOPAY, the global financial technology company providing enterprise solutions for Telcos, BFSIs and companies with a dominant supply chain focus, today announced that the company has launched a distribution management system, an end to end state of the art SaaS solution for the entire distribution channel of an organization.

The distribution management system has been deployed for large Distribution / FMCG companies along with some mid-scale firms such as Manna Health Foods in Chennai, Agronic Food Inc in Mumbai, Brownie Cottage in Mumbai, Pee Safe in Delhi, Unicharm India Pvt. Ltd. and EcoBrisk in Kolkata. The distribution management system which offers the convenience of being hosted on cloud will enable the distributor to manage his entire supply chain hierarchy through his individual DMS portal and the companies to access all the reports through the portal.

Using the DMS, the distributor teams will be able to manage end-to-end visibility of the cash flow along with a well-managed trade scheme. The retailers and distribution sales representatives will conduct business through the DMS apps. Multiple benefits of the DMS include better returns for the distributors and retailers, reduction of distribution leakages, ease in handling returns and refunds for distributors, etc.   

Commenting on the development, Shailendra Naidu, CEO, OBOPAY, said “OBOPAY’s Distribution Management System, is a simple, easy to use solution, which allows users to manage all the tasks through an ultra-light “APP” and a feature rich “Portal”. The DMS is uniquely poised to facilitate the payments. For organizations, the distribution management system is capable of handling the inventory and order management, hierarchy management, product and price management, returns management etc. The DMS will also help in receiving and initiating payments, receiving order and payments along with giving end to end visibility of all processes and reports.”   

The newly launched DMS is uniquely poised to give the facility of instant payments through multiple modes including cash, cheque or digital money, thereby reducing the cash cycles. OBOPAY will handle the installation, mapping of DMS along with payment setup, product and price management for the companies. Instead of waiting till the end of the day or for the DSR to finish his beat, the distributors have the visibility to money being collected instantly.   

Hinduja Global Solutions Records a Robust Growth for Q2 FY2019

Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS) (listed in BSE & NSE) has announced its unaudited Second Quarter and Half Year results for FY2019.

Speaking on the results, Partha DeSarkar, CEO of HGS said: “HGS posted a robust revenue growth in Q2 FY2019, driven by demand across Healthcare and CET (Consumer, eCommerce, Telecom & Technology) verticals. Overall revenues stood at Rs. 11,586 million, an increase of 22.9% YoY. Of this, 7.4% was organic, 7.9% from forex gains and the rest 7.6% came from the acquisitions of AxisPoint Health (APH) and Element Solutions. From a margin perspective, Q2 EBITDA margins (excluding acquisitions) improved by 66 bps sequentially to 10.2% as per expectations.

Our Canadian, US and UK businesses have shown strong revenue growth and improved profitability. A large part of the growth was led by some big logos that we signed toward the end of last fiscal. Healthcare vertical continued to ramp up, with the Provider segment registering 52.9% growth YoY in dollar terms. While the India CRM business continued to face challenges from the drop in telecom volumes, we are seeing strong growth in verticals like financial services.

As in Q1, the performance of APH business has had an adverse effect on overall HGS Profitability. Looking ahead, we expect APH’s performance to improve as the cost saving initiatives are completed and start bearing results. Element Solutions, our digital solutions business, is expected to post significant revenue growth, led by the cloud migration segment from Q3 onwards.

Our continued focus on technology-led solutions and domain expertise is helping us open up opportunities in new segments and markets, as evinced by the recent wins for HGS’ RPA and social care services. We continue to invest in strengthening our capabilities to make our clients more competitive.

Make Way for the Gentlest Greetings of the Festive Season

This festive season, give new parents the gift of choosing gentle from the latest range of baby care products from Johnson’s Baby. The range is an ideal gift for new parents as the products now have fewer ingredients to give gentle care, and a modern ergonomic new packaging. The products are not just meant to cleanse and moisturize but are also designed to turn moments of care at every age and stage into opportunities to strengthen a baby’s connection with their parents.

The entire range is available in stores and online on Amazon, Flipkart, Firstcry and Big Basket for you to pick and choose. Buy assorted products to suit best needs. For example: Buy the perfect assortment of products to gently cleanse, moisturize and protect the new baby which could include the Baby shampoo, Top-to-toe wash, Baby lotion & Baby Cream. This can be ideal both as a baby shower gift for expectant parents or a must- have kit for the new parents.

So this festive season, celebrate the joy of choosing gentle.

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