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Posts Tagged ‘outsourcing’

Tata Power vs. Krishna Power

My latest brush with Indian bizdev efforts in Israel- who outsourced my Huzpah?!

“No no no,  please don’t talk now!. First we meet, then we see if we can do business together!”

The heavy Indian accent on the other side of the line was brisk and unforgiving. No matter how politely I tried to brush off this upcoming meeting request, he would not take “NO” for answer. The officer at the Israel Export Institute, set me up for a blind date with an Indian businessman who was passing through town and requested to meet me. I was rushing home, tired after a long day and following a brief phone conversation, I concluded that this encounter was not the right fit for my company, but I guess I was wrong.

Mr. Krishnamanyam (Krishna will suffice) was hell bent on meeting me and, meeting me now! And it was this untactful persistence that persuaded me to give in for a brief cup of coffee.
It seems that I”m a sucker for anyone wanting desperately to meet me… a matter of ego.

But first thing’s first.

On the other end of the spectrum, a team of company directors from the Indian empire of Tata Sons Ltd. (India) are heading this way next month, and every man and his dog are getting ready to get some face time with their corporate gang. I was going back and forth with their rep, working on setting up a networking event for the Israeli clean tech space via my efforts at Clean Israel. You can just imagine their outfit- the hotels,  business lounges, and the timely schedule switching between government delegates and top brass corporation, that are lining up to meet them. Let’s hope that my karma will offer me a slice of their time as well…

And they are coming for business! Picking the best of the best, as if part of some reality show, selecting the new Israeli puppy to become ‘Slumdog Millionaire‘ and get their cleantech startup rolled out across the whole of India, let alone- the World .

Now back to Mr. Krishna.

Mr. Krishna is neither staying at the Hilton, nor is he escorted around the country by the Economic Attache from our Embassy in Delhi. And while he’s not coming out from yet another feast in the Business Lounge, that’s exactly what we should all be worried about…

Mr. Krishna is hungry!! Hungry to outsource contracting jobs off to India.

Krishna Power (my term for this phenomena) is a one-man show that is no bigger than the great Gandi himself. 5ft tall and weighing 60kg, this retired defense contractor, with a life time experience in large-scale machine shops and engineering factories, came to Israel on a 10-day visa and parked himself in a dorm room by the Central Bus Station. Armed with a local cell phone and a monthly city bus pass, Mr. Krishna is running up and down this land looking win manufacturing contracts to take back home to his affiliated factories in India. Be it machine parts, plastic molding, munitions, you name it- he’ll outsource it.

While other visitors bask at the 1hr domestic flight to go see our solar site in the desert, Mr. Krishna got up early for the 6:30am bus to Eilat (5.5hrs) and had a quick look-see, returning by sunset. Each day he meets new businesses, which in turn set him up with additional leads, resulting in a fat suitcase going home, loaded with sample components and design drawings, all off to be fabricated at “good price, good job“.

The concept itself is well known, yet it is still quite amazing to witness this global phenomena play itself out, live in front of your eyes on the streets of Tel Aviv. To coin it in Friedman’s words: Can the world get any flatter? Mr. Krisha probably didn’t even know where Israel is on the map some 5 years back. But I bet you that the Russian immigrant working on the molding press in Tel Aviv’s south side, will certainly know where his job is being outsourced to, come next year.

How should one respond to such a global play on our economy?

Notice I’m not using the word “threat”. While some see this as threatening our low end jobs, I see it as a tremendous opportunity to showcase our innovative products to huge markets India has to offer. By outsourcing some low end components to Indian factories, Israeli products can become more cost competitive across global markets. For every low end component that was outsourced to Krishna Power, an additional high end component (such as an Israeli software package) was given to him as well, thereby offering that Israeli IT company access to huge markets.

We should take this act as our wake up call, noting that our last remaining competitive advantage [for the time being] is our sharp minds combined with our innovative spirit. This should drive us to maintain a constant investment in education, R&D funding at the seed stage between academics and the business world, and government policy that breeds risk taking in new frontiers such as cleantech, nano-tech, biotech- basically anything that cannot be taken apart by the shipyards in Gujarat.

Anything else, is off to India- even our home grown Huzpah.

“Good things come to those who wait, but only things left by- those who hustle.”

Andy Grove, former CEO, Intel

Indian markets,  photo: Martin Lambie

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