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Mechanical Engineering. 2015;137(11):32-37. doi:10.1115/1.2015-Nov-1.

This article highlights the importance of effective supply chains that could prove to be vital for success in developing markets. Supply chains in developing markets are often longer and more complex than those in the developed world’s markets. Developing countries will greatly benefit from the reverse logistics, where produce from smaller villages and farms can reach big cities and global markets efficiently. This can open up a large customer base globally for products that were only available in villages. Local sourcing and manufacturing of products can lead to significant improvements in local and regional economies by creating jobs, improving health, and reducing environmental impacts. Many entrepreneurs underestimate the influence that trust-based relationships have on buying decisions in developing markets. The amount of trust customers have in a product depends on how strongly their shopkeepers advocate for it. The key to shopkeeper buy-in often centers on reliable and efficient after-sales service. Developing countries can learn much from best practices that are established in developed countries, but companies that try to simply duplicate Western supply chain designs in emerging economies will almost certainly fail.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2015;137(11):38-43. doi:10.1115/1.2015-Nov-2.

This article examines different approaches that could be applied / used by engineers for lean design. Lean design can let companies make a profit while satisfying customers in the developing world.

In developing markets, difficulty in gathering the necessary data can lead to lengthy delays or broad assumptions in the product development cycle. The iterative approach of lean design stresses leveraging sales data, customer feedback, and distributor feedback to evaluate and refine the important metrics of value, growth, and impact of a particular product that could drive the design process and optimize the product. The experts also say that when designing products for the developing world, making money is not the only value proposition. Engineers must keep ethics in mind. Engineers must also understand the social and health consequences of introducing products into the marketplace and ensure that any product does not adversely impact the customer or community. Products must be designed that have broad enough appeal to drive a sustainable market for the company.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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