Know your markets
Mumbai, 28th January 2010
Sitting in the back of the car driving me back to the hotel I prepare my entry for today. While the car wiggles its way through the busy streets of Mumbai for the probably 1 hour or so trip back during this peak hour traffic, I have plenty of time. As I type this, laptop on my knees, I am surrounded by small black and yellow top taxi’s, motor bikes, honking loudly to make sure they are noticed. But as everybody (my driver included) does the same the honking drowns in the overall cacophony of the city noise. The street vendors along the curb of the road selling their food and other stuff go on with their business undisturbed. Life goes on.
Just earlier I visited one of the major lighting suppliers in Mumbai. Though accessible through a back alley and a non descript buildong from the outside, the lighting facilities inside were impressive. A supplier who knows his business is very important to us!
As part of my job as a lighting designer it is my duty to seek out local manufacturers, vendors and suppliers to understand their capabilities for the demands of our project. While we are familiar with the international brands we need to understand what is available locally for several reasons. First of all for installation reasons; we need to deal with people with experience who are aware of the local regulations and are on call to assist in the lighting installation as and when needed. Having them fly in is not really practical :). Secondly, for maintenance and replacement purposes. While the owner may stock some spares for general lamp replacement , etc, it is nice to know there is a vendor around the corner that can help you out when you need it and not have to wait several weeks for overseas replacement goods to arrive (at probably astronomical costs).
While we rely on the quality of the products heavily to make sure we achieve the desired lighting effects, the people behind the products are even more important to me. Without their (local) expertise and service I may never achieve the lighting I want, regardless the quality of the products.