Q. Is it different from having COM or a SOM or SBC?
A. Ralf: It is very different, because we typically don’t change the core, it is not taking the micro-controller out, with typically adding memory or different connections, or different abilities to transmit wireless with. So the core stays the same, so ultimately for the customers, it wants to go in to the volume production, that doesn’t want to use the standard board, that’s what we do for him. We enable him to have a board that at the core, is still able to utilize the whole ecosystem that exists. But he is able to plugin, connect or drive, anything he wants to drive.
Q. How does element14 aim to differentiate themselves from other board players?
A. Graham: We serve the customers the way they want to be served. If a customer wants someone from element14 to visit him/her, we have that option and if the case is otherwise, they can go online for their needs. Even if you are a fully online customer, we send a sales person, because sales person comes to tell you about our new web capability wherein they talk about the launch of our new franchise last month etc. The sales person even if they are not taking orders themselves, they can still drive the web traffic.
Q. What kind differentiation do you have in your online marketing, how is the experience for someone who visits it, difference from someone visits through online?
A. Ralf: When you look at the core of online today, is all about can people find what they are looking for on your website, can they transact conveniently with you, that’s the whole experience. When you say how you differentiate within a confined space, obviously we are trying to optimize our search functionality, external and internal.
Uma: How many companies keep 6000 or 7000 of products in stock for supply; that is one area of differentiation. It is accentuated by the online marketing, but the core underline proposition is so strong. E-commerce actually accentuates it and makes it visible to that many more customers.
Ralf: We make lot of content which customers may require, there is no shortage of content available in the market, but the only thing that matters is how do you easily find it, and how do you represent it? If you’re looking at a Micro-controller, ideally we want to see the dimension of how this looks, how do I put it in a report, how do I use it, where do I find help and so on, hence we’re trying to put together these kind of things. When people find us, they do not have to go somewhere else, because they have all the data in their fingertips. We make sure that these products in stock, so that an engineer finds what he is looking for, to just press a button to get the product, by next day he will have the product in his hands, to do his development work.
Uma: We have contact centers, we managing the phones in local language. In Bangalore somebody get stuck in website, once a clarification on the part number, they call over tech support, we connect him with Kannada speaking person, and telling them what they can use, how they can use, what variants are available. If you want to talk to somebody live, that is also possible, but again the back bone is still the web, which is actually a showcase window showing everything.
Q. Please tell us a bit more about your new Bengaluru office.
A. Graham: Our new office is spread over 33,000 sq. ft. and it is one of largest office of electronic component distributor. This is out largest investment in India and we have 234 employees where 80 of them support through sales in India and the remaining of 150 people help our global business with technical support or e- commerce. We believe geography encounter and the need of local sales presence and thereby we have planning to grow business across India as our business worth is US$ 20 million at current. We have highly skilled people and we are expecting to continue growing in India.
Q. Current government of India emphasis on campaign “Make in India” instead of global infrastructure so as to add more value to India. There is also push toward low-cost value add and digital India, so what is your thought on it?
A. Uma: We are doing massive research on it. More and more domestic as well as MNC electronic component distributors are trying to access the Indian market and it is rapidly growing over a period. Our observation is that government has become very conscious nowadays and therefore we are also being avail with sufficient opportunity to deliver the service as well as products. In past days, India was known for software but nowadays the scope is being expanded into design service, engineering service, compliances, quality control, product data etc.