Doing Business in India (SME's) - Not an Easy Process! AMR Process' Experience.
AMR Process supplies Oil & Gas Process Packages and licensed Designs. We are a small & medium size technology exporter (SME). After about 5 years of working on the Indian market AMR Process now have orders with Oil India Limited, and approvals with ONGC (major client's in India), and receiving many more inquires from other clients. So how did we get there?
So one day about 6 years ago, I received an inquiry for India, for Oil Desalters (AMR's main technology). After quoting, we got told that technically and commercially we were #1, but could not get order as we were not approved in India. So after a number of backwards and forwards emails proving our history and technology, we got nowhere! So off I went to India to try and understand the process. Here is a summary of what I found as the best approach for SME's:
1. Be patient! It takes years. Things do not move quickly.
2. Get you name out there! The Alberta/Canadian government has cost effective solutions for SME's. You can get to go along to trade shows with a number of other companies for a low cost. In my opinion, this is the best way to visit the country, meet potential clients and representatives, and understand the culture. India is very interested in new technology and new competitors. They will come to you at these shows.
3. You need references lists and letters from customers confirming your technology. Start collecting!
4. You need a good representative who will move you through the approval process. Look for one that has knowledge in your field of work. There are many representatives out there. Do your research.
5. There are no short cuts. You have to go through the process, so do not bother trying to short cut the system.
6. With orders, you will need to issue performance bonds, prepayment bonds, guarantee bonds. Look to Export Development of Canada to help you with that. Get it set up early. You do not need deep pockets with their help!
India is not an easy market to penetrate, and we are still learning. But for oil & gas, it is one of those countries that has orders to place. Good luck!