Is it “low tech” or “high-tech”?
What do you think when you hear “ceramics”, “food package”, “shoes sole”, “tires”, “plastic films”? Would you allocate these products under “low tech” or under “high tech” title? Mistakenly, many people allocate all traditional industries under the label of “low tech”. Indeed, many traditional industry manufacturers keep the same processes and same materials for ages. But, what you see with a naked eye doesn’t tell you the whole story, the whole technology behind it. For example, you can buy shoes from one of the leading brands for a given price. At the same time, a forgery of the same brand will be sold for about a quarter of the original product. On the surface, they look similar. But, the materials science makes the difference in the comfortability, durability and finally the price that people are ready to pay for the products. To make your products high tech products, which offer the customers unique additional values that cannot be easily copied by counterfeiters, you have to invest in R&D department. You have to hire a group of highly qualified people, you have to invest in infrastructure equipment, and you have to invest in continuous development of your R&D staff and department. Unfortunately, many small and mid-size companies cannot withstand this fortune. Are they doomed?
The answer is: not necessarily. Instead of building independent R&D team, these companies can outsource their research to external R&D companies. This way, the constant R&D expenses are actually shared among several manufacturers. While the R&D company enjoys wide experience, each one of the manufacturers pays only for specific projects, without long term commitment.
To summarize, nowadays ease of counterfeit highlights the importance of innovative research as a tool to provide additional value to the customers. Continuous support of R&D team is very expensive. Therefore, it’s advantageous to hire external, R&D companies that can utilize their experience to complete specifically defined projects in short time and with no long term commitment