Dolphin Electronics, an electronics DIY kit manufacturing company, plans to leverage the online sales channel to reach out to a larger audience base. Hemant Parab, director of Dolphin Electronics tells Baishakhi Dutta about the company’s latest additions to its product portfolio, and its strategies to engage with different target groups.
EB: What are the latest technical updates in your catalogue for IoT hardware and software?
We manufacture kits for electronic projects. We start by studying the basics of the subject before developing these kits. If you have gone through our catalogues, you will see that there are over 300 projects, and these include the basics of microcontroller- and microprocessor-based systems as well as robotics, apart from a lot else. We incorporate whatever technological upgradations happen in a particular field in our projects.
EB: What is the USP that sets you apart from your competitors?
Others are working in only one segment. Our kits are popular with students from the fifth and sixth standards, right up to engineering undergraduates. We provide basic hobby kits to people who want to make their own science projects. Most such projects for beginners do not require any kind of soldering. So we cater to all segments —from the beginner to the advanced level (for robotics, microcontrollers, etc).
EB: In the kits that you manufacture, does IoT play any role?
Yes, definitely. We do not offer a complete IoT product but we get students to grasp the basic concepts through these projects. We support them for the components as well as the theoretical background of a project, plus the circuit diagrams. So, these development kits can’t be considered the final product. Instead, one can build a prototype with them. Development engineers who want to work on their own ideas can use these kits to acquire the basic theoretical background to understand the concepts better.
EB: How expensive are the kits?
They are very economical. Like I mentioned earlier, what we are providing is not the final product. We offer the raw material with technical backup/technical support, all in a single package. We provide users with the components for the PCB, and they have to build the board on their own by soldering on it and testing it for the final product. For this, we offer support through technical literature, which contains the basic theoretical knowledge of the components, circuit diagrams and the PCB layout.
EB: Is the Mega – Kit your highest selling product or are there others that are more popular?
The Mega – Kit is certainly the highest selling. There is another innovative product that we manufacture —Copper clad tester. We have also made several products for industrial automation, as per a customer’s requirement.
EB: What steps do you take for quality verification, prior to selling your products?
The quality verification for the Mega – Kit takes place in three stages. Prepoduction, post production, and before sales. We have our own manufacturing unit for PCBs.
EB: Do you have any plans to expand into industry or do you plan to stick with academia only?
Our basic aim is to serve only academia. At present, we have no plans to expand into the industry market. However, we do operate in another segment, which is industrial automation, for which we manufacture various types of sensors, including the inductive, capacitive, optical and magnetic type. Apart from that, we manufacture special purpose equipment as per customer requirements.
EB: Is sensor manufacturing a separate business altogether?
The business is under the same roof but ‘Dolphin’ caters to a different segment.
EB: Who is the target audience for the sensor manufacturing business?
That is mainly targeting the industry, though we only work with dealers. At present, we’re not approaching any companies ourselves.
EB: How many dealers make up your network as of now?
Right now, we have eight to ten dealers. We are looking for more, for which we have advertised in various media.
EB: Do you have any tie-ups with businesses for bulk orders?
We are currently appointing more dealers. We have dealers in the metro cities and are trying to expand this network to the district level for each state. This will make our kits more popular among the students. We haven’t covered even 5-10 per cent of the entire country yet.
EB: Do you follow the traditional offline sales method or do you prefer online sales?
We do not have online sales yet. Our business happens through traditional sales channels, like our dealer network.
EB: Do you have any plans to venture into online sales in the future?
Yes. To keep up with the times, one needs to go online, and we will do so too. We are thinking of launching an online platform in 2020 for the Mega – Kit. We already have a company website. For the industry, we will launch an online channel later.
EB: Will there be an order placement option for the online sales of the Mega – Kit or will it be just for customer selection?
No, it will not be for customer selection. The company website, which has the complete catalogue, already serves that purpose. Whenever we do set up our online channel, it will only be for sales.
EB: Will there be a huge price difference (which is common) between offline and online rates?
There won’t be any price difference. At the most, the courier charges will get added to the original price in the case of online sales. The original price of the product will remain the same.