Great posts by Mody & Vidur. I would request Rakesh to archive these posts and print it on the first page of relevant threads.
mody wrote:Incase of Akash, unfortunately the additional requirement for 7 squadrons is under the head of SRSAM. If you recall, a few years a back there was global tender sent out for SRSAM. However, once Akash had been inducted, it was found that it could do this role very well. It could hit small targets at very low heights consistantly. Hence, the requirement was dropped in favour of Akash and many on BRF rejoiced. Now for MoD the problem is that BDL has increased the price, citing inflation, which is justified, and now, this contract had to be approved in liu of SRSAM, for which the price from some of the international suppliers might have been lower. However, those systems were perhaps pure point defense systems, with much less capable radar etc. But no one is willing to take a call on this and approve the order. The result is that apart from Pune and Gwalior, we do not have Akaksh SAMS, guarding the skyes on the western border and still make do with the old Pechora SAMS. The production line at BDL remains idle.
There are behavioral issues as well.
Bharat Rakshak members are able to scour print, video and internet material and form a balanced and correct opinion. I personally found fascinating a link posted by Karan M of Dutch experience in Afghanistan of Spike missile seeker facing the same issues like Nag missile seeker differentiating targets when ambient temperature was high. I share that link to everyone I know who thinks Nag technology is inferior. Actually Nag is ahead of the curve than Spike because the issue was identified earlier and corrective action initiated much before Spike faced the same issue.
Typically services personnel spend field postings at remote locations where internet bandwidth is not good, so most of their knowledge of technological developments come from glossy international magazines like Janes, Flight Global and Aviation Week & Space Weekly. Some Indian magazines like Vayu also make it to the mess & library but they're filled with visually appealing advertisements and curated interviews of global arms industry personnel.
When they get a staff role and posted to HQ, more often than not, their bandwidth gets pre-occupied with family matters that they couldn't attend to during their field posting. 99% of the cases staff posting is requested due to family related exigencies, that include child birth, education, higher education, medical issues of family members, especially aged parents, marriage of children.
Procurement activities are part of staff roles. This includes preparation of QRs. Here too, more often than not, holistic research is not undertaken and sales presentation and literature is used as the basis of forming QRs.
Now comes the clincher. Even in the civil commercial space across any sector, the vendor/OEM/Service Provider who presents well often wins our attention because we think the articulate presentable person would be able to deliver. Someone may have a technically superior offering, but if he is unable to present or articulate it well, the message doesnt go through or the ability to deliver is unclear.
Most companies - Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple hire the best & smartest grads in B Schools and put them in a Sales/Business Development/Marketing role. Their sales personnel articulate crisply while their marketing creates immersive and pervasive content across print and digital media.
In the Indian DPSU context, Sales and Marketing are seen as overheads. So these functions have people who have not shined in R&D or Production and parked in Sales and Marketing. They also have retired service officers but they're often looked down upon by their service batchmates/coursemates who got promoted compared to the DPSU employed retired officer who didnt get promoted in service & had to leave.
The MNC's also have expense budget and often hold their presentations in a 5 Star hotel with lighting and special effects while a DPSU struggles to make a power point slide aesthetic and relevant.
Digressing a bit, my dear wife and our cook expect me to eat whatever they cook depending on their mood. My daughter has watched Masterchef and understands the concept of plating and making food visually appealing. Wife too understands it but would do so only if we have guests at home or some special occasion.
In context of defence sales, PSUs expect Services to take whatever they dish out. Prototypes that may be fundamentally good often lack fit & finish. Ergonomics is often totally lacking. Personnel accompanying if pointed a flaw would yawn and say,"so what if the salt is in excess, eat the bloody food or go hungry coz I wont make anything else."
On the other hand MNCs send prototypes that are sleek and appealing like a Ferrari with personnel accompanying it treating Service Evaluators like waiters from the Taj would serve customers.
HAL/DRDO's material at Farmborough and Paris Air Shows are atrocious. Its like serving Tinda Masala where everyone else is serving 5 star meals.
And HAL's participation at Farmborough and Paris Air Shows are more for covering our Babu's foreign trips than a serious marketing effort.
So, given the difference in customer experience, even small flaws in indigenous products are magnified while major issues with MNC products are white-washed with sugary assurances of being rectified in due course of time.
Products like C-130, C-17, P-8I, Rafale come with a comprehensive service package and availability guarantees.
Indigenous products Dhruv suffered seriously from lack of spares and logistics for over a decade since induction that Indian Army had to arrange on its own. Its only with the recent Indian Coast Guard order that HAL is offering PBL.http://hal-india.co.in/Maiden%20Ground%20R/ND__230
Ecuador's Dhruv crashes were blamed on pilot and maintenance errors but looking at the bigger picture, no car company blames drivers for car crashes because drivers are buyers even though drivers DO actually cause crashes.https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/ne ... 624013.cmshttps://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ind ... 425469.cms
IAF training command know Pilatus will resolve any issues with PC-7 - or atleast make an assurance - whereas for HAL HPT-32 engine fuel starvation issues, everyone thinks, "what to do next"? If HAL CMD at that point of time given IAF CAS a solid assurance and put his best engineers on the job to solve the issue, the perception would have been wholly different.
Such behavioral issues like customer experience plays a major role in procurement.