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1 Gillette India: Innovation Dilemma and Challenges in 21 st Century Dr V N Bajpai, Professor ITS Ghaziabad August 26, 2011 Mr S Khosala, The Managing Director of all three P&G companies in India including Gillette was happy to present the Annual Report of the company for the year 2010-11. He was applauding the efforts of the company to be able to seize the potential of not only urban markets but also in rural India which was growing faster in some of the FMCG categori
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  1 Gillette India: Innovation Dilemma and Challenges in 21 st  Century Dr V N Bajpai, Professor ITS Ghaziabad  August 26, 2011 Mr S Khosala, The Managing Director of all three P&G companies in India including Gillette was happy to present the Annual Report of the company for the year 2010-11.  He was applauding the efforts of the company to be able to seize the potential of not only urban markets but also in rural India which was growing faster in some of the FMCG categories like  personal grooming. Reduction in overheads by exiting non- performing product categories,  streamlining product lines, optimizing manufacturing efficiencies, building on innovations and going aggressive in the mass blades segment were company’s some of the recent key strategic moves. As a result net profit of the company was increasing  steadily till 2010 and till recent was leader in the personal grooming care segment by capitalizing on its legendary incremental innovations, particularly in single edged blade  segment. However, in the year 2014, April 21, looking outside the window, Mr Khosala looked back longer at how Gillette ’s    Indian operations had come along in it’s years long journey in the country, creating space for itself. He was worried about the performance of the company in recent past. He wondered how long the company could go on with this. In this fast changing environment and augmented competition level, unless the team came up with the disruptive product ideas, testing the limits of traditional creativity, cutting edge marketing and effective positioning, the existing methodology of product innovation would die very soon and so might the entire business. Personal Grooming Care Industry in India: According to market research data, Blades and Razors market alone is estimated at over `1400 crores, and about 5.5 billion units in size for the year 2011-12. The sector represented a sizable  business opportunity for Gillette India, where most of the 400 million -plus men of shaving age used double-edge razors. Innovations @ Gillette: In   2003 Gillette India had rearranged its complete range of shaving products and had identified the double edged blade segment as its growth driver. In 2004, Gillette endorsed Beckham (a famous football player) to promote its products, and at the same time Gillette India announced the launch of new generation triple blade shaving system Mach3Turbo, which presented a whole host of advancements to the Mach3 design, primarily, improved blade technology. In 2004, the  2 male shaving category was expanded into a whole new segment - power wet shaving - with the launch of the M3Power razor. Four key innovations and improvements were made to the Mach3 design to produce the Mach3Turbo. The most notable development was the introduction of anti-friction, comfort coated blades, which was specifically designed to reduce the force required to cut through hair, therefore reducing irritation and allowing men to shave against the grain. In 2006, The Gillette Fusion, a five-bladed razor was released. There were two different versions of the Fusion available: the Gillette Fusion , and the Gillette Fusion Power  . All shared the characteristic of having five blades on the front, and a single sixth blade on the rear that could act as a precision trimmer . Gillette Series also combined shave gel and foam to enhance razor  performance, along with after-shave cooling gel, after-shave balm and splash, anti-perspirants, deodorants and shower gels. In the year 2008 the company took on two shaving products currently pitched on the airwaves: the Infinity Razor, a single plastic shaver that boldly claims to  be the last razor you'll ever buy ; and the Save A Blade, which claims to keep razor blades sharp for 200 shaves. Inspite of all these efforts of Gillette, 80 per cent of men in India who shaved were using a traditional double-edged razor, a technology so ingrained that cuts and razor burn were considered a part of everyday life. Also, the stubble look of Bollywood and Hollywood celebrities, sports men, businessmen, the so called role model for most of us was spreading fast. It seemed consumers were unaware of Gillette’s promise of a clean, smooth shave, did not  believe it, or simply did not care. However in some of the western countries, head shaving had  become a new fashion symbol that Gillette could leverage. Innovation Dilemma for Gillette: It took a long time for someone to come up with the idea that twin blades might be  —  or, at least sell  —   better. Since then, there was no looking back and the pace of change had accelerated, as  blade after blade had been added to razors in an attempt to multiply the shaving experience. For most of the users, this evolution was mere a marketing gimmick, representing old wine in a new bottle. Twin blades seemed plausible. Three were a bit unlikely. Four, ridiculous. And five  –  oh no! not again!. Few people, though, seem willing to bet that Gillette's five-bladed Fusion is the end of the journey for razor-blade escalation. More blades may seem impossible for the moment  —  though strictly speaking the Fusion had six, because it had a single blade on its flip-side for tricky areas. This inculcated curiosity among users with a gambling persuasion to examine the relationship between how many blades a razor had, and the date each new design  3 was introduced. This relationship suggested shavers are going to get more blades whether they need them or not. So what did the future hold? If Gillette technology was on the path of following Moore’s law , then the 14-bladed razor should arrive in 2100. ― It is simply not possible to add a new blade whenever the marketing department wants one. Every additional blade, explains Michele Szynal, a spokeswoman at Gillette, adds weight and size to a razor. Firms must therefore find ways of making both razor and blades lighter, which means thinner blades, more closely spaced, made of special materials, with new coatings. ‖  On the surface, Gillette looked like a model of innovation success. Still, a question emerged from among series of typical Gillette style improvements. Can this type of innovation at Gillette go too far? Can innovation  –   just for the sake of innovation or to encourage more consumer  purchases under the expectation t hat something’s ―new and improved‖ –   be simply too much? Where do meaningful innovations end  –   and the hype begin? Road Ahead ………   Mr Khosala took a deep breath and was astonished to see the SAGA of innovation that led company to win various accolades in the industry over the period of time. He was worried about the pressure of handling the aspirations of future generation which had a strong belief on Gillette’s strong innovation philosophy. Today’s decision whether to built on existing innovation  platform or to look for certain breakthrough would ripple through the very real world of business of tomorrow with the future of a leading business unit at stake. References: 1.   Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications, Thursday, Apr 03, 2003 2.   www.ideas4all.com, Gillette and Innovation - Which side are you on ? July 3, 2007 3.   ―ALL INDIA STATUS REPORT ON SAFETY RAZOR BLADES INDUSTRY‖ by Shri.  K. Sampathkumar, Deputy Director (Met), Small Industries Service Institute, Govt. of India, Ministry of SSI 9prepared under action plan 2003-04) 4.   Bajpai. V N, Ankur, Kumar Satish, Case on ―Gillette India: Sharpening the Innovation Edge in 21 st   Century‖ Synergy, Journal, 2008  5.   Superbrands case studies: Gillette, Brand Republic 29-Nov-04 6.   Gillette Unveils Newest Members of Its Gillette Young Guns Lineup . http://www.pginvestor.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=104574&p=irolnewsArticle&ID=1106705&highlight=. Retrieved on April 15, 2009.  4 7.   www.pg.com/en_IN/downloads/investor_relations/gillete/corporate-governance/corporate-governance-report/CORPORATE-GOVERNANCE-REPORT-2014.pdf+&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=in Exhibit: 1. Moore's law for razor blades March 16 th , 2006 | From the print edition Economist Exhibit-2. Technology S  –  Curv ’ e representing Technology Density, Technology Potential & Technology Limit Exhibit  –   3 Low convenienceHigh convenienceHigh valueLow value ã Presto ã Mach3 ã M3 Turbo ã M3 Power ã 7 O Clock P II ã Fusion ã Phantom   Perceptual Map for Gillette Shaving Razors ã  Vector Plus ???  

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