White Carbon Motors  Organisational Design Audit

At a time of mass adoption of Electric Vehicles, smaller startups venturing into a lucrative market have struggled to gauge the industry. This project addresses the same for White Carbon Motors.

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Overview

 

A design-led intervention strategy for a Gujarat-based Electric two-wheeler manufacturer, through an Audit framework to analyse the brand's current positioning and approach, in order to identify gaps and opportunities that can be resolved through a roadmap specifying areas of intervention. Benchmarking studies were also conducted as part of this project to conduct a competitor analysis and capture expected market standards.

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Scanning and Sensing

To identify the gaps to address within the organization.

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Sense-Making and Selecting

Identify and priorities opportunity area for the organization. 

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Strategizing and Transforming

To crate Strategic Road Map Blueprint to transform the organization.

Problems Area Identified

1. Unclear branding and

   product positioning

4. Backwardness of

   benchmarking with next

   competitors such as

   Store Experience, Sales

   representative,

   excitement factor,

   onboarding, financing

2. Poor sale representative

   (tangible touchpoints) 

3. Hero Electric hold

   bigger market share in

   medium range segment

5. Overburden on core

   team  to work more

   efficiently in their

   prime areas and grow

Audit Flow: At a glance

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Challenge

To study an organisation through relevant frameworks to identify opportunity areas for design intervention and to design tangible interventions that address the issues identified based on the insights generated.

Approach

 

We studied the current position of the organisation by the studying its functions, stakeholders, internal-external processes using a holistic design lens. The market forces and consumer behaviour was analysed in order to find new opportunities for White Carbon Motors.

Secondary Research

- Literature Review

- Case Studies

- Netnography

Primary Observation

- Shadowing

- Interviews

- Observation

Primary Interaction

- Stakeholder

  Interview

Questionnaire

- Auto- ethnography

- Survey Safari

Validation

- WHY Analysis

- Stakeholder Mapping

- Probing

Analysis

- PESTEL Analysis

- Star Fish Model

- Affinity Map

- SWOT Analysis

Secondary Research: Scanning

 

White Carbon is a Gandhinagar, Gujarat based electric vehicle startup, which established in the year 2020. They currently manufacture two models namely O3 and GT5.

Why White Carbon?

- EV is creating a paradigm shift in the automotive industry

- White Carbon is relevant player in the Gujarat region

- Local manufacturing in close proximity for easy access

CEO: Mr. Pratik Singh

Founding Yr: 2020

Units on-road: 300+

White Carbon Products

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O3

- First product of the company

- No registration/ license required

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70 km/charge

1.15 kWh

25 km/hr

250 W

BLDC

3 - 4  Hours

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GT5

- Flagship product of the company

- Registration/ license required

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100-150 km/charge

2.4 kWh

60 km/hr

3000 W

BLDC

3 - 4  Hours

Electric Vehicle Market Share

India is World’s 2nd largest 2W market 5th largest personal vehicle market 7th largest consumer vehicle market.

All new vehicles to be 100% pure electric by the 100th year of India's Independence.

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1,16,669 UNITS

Top 25 2Wheeler-EV manufacturers in India: Jan to Nov 2021

Key Challenges of EV Market in India

Inadequate charging infrastructure

High price of EVs currently 

Lack of quality maintenance and repair options

Reliance on battery imports

Range anxiety among consumers

Impact of FAME II policy

Incentives linked to local manufacturing

Lack of options for high- performance EVs

Affected by broader automobile industry downturn

Reliance on imported companies and parts

Inadequate electricity supply in parts of India

Uncertain consumer 

behavior

Case Study

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It was the 1st company to launch Electric two-wheeler under the brand name of Yo bykes steel/alloy steel industry ( 1983). With more than 250 YO World and the largest customer base of more than 85000 YO bykes users.

Battery Problem

Body disassemble after some time due to cracking joint eg. headlamp box, under seat etc.

Unavailability of spare parts

Poor high terrain performance (low torque)

Speed( Max 60)

Few service center

Netnography

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White Carbon has a considerable presence on Instagram and WhatsApp through regular posts and stories featuring their products and updates

Social Media Listening | Instagram and Facebook

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Affinity Mapping: Key Problems

Charging Stations

Waiting period for vehicle 

Price to performance ratio

Battery safety

Charging time

Primary Research: Sensing

Organizational Function Mapping

Identified roles are: 

1. Business and growth strategist 

2. Human Resource Manager

3. Dedicated sales and marketing team

4. Training program head

None of the team member independently involved, they each have distributed partial indulgence to one and another roles. 

Interview with Team

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Pratik

- Tech Development

- Training program

  execution

- Design + R&D

  Development

- Plant operations

- Production management

- Inventory management

- Logistics management

- HR, Sales, Dealerships

  Management, Promotional

  & Outreach

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Ashwin

- Tech Development

- Training program

  execution

- Design + R&D

  Development

- Plant operations

- Production management

- Inventory management

- Logistics management

- HR, Sales, Dealerships

  Management, Promotional

  & Outreach

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Dhawal

- Tech Development

- Training program

  execution

- Design + R&D

  Development

- Plant operations

- Production management

- Inventory management

- Logistics management

- HR, Sales, Dealerships

  Management, Promotional

  & Outreach

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Vasundhara

- Tech Development

- Training program

  execution

- Design + R&D

  Development

- Plant operations

- Production management

- Inventory management

- Logistics management

- HR, Sales, Dealerships

  Management, Promotional

  & Outreach

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Rushav

- Tech Development

- Training program

  execution

- Design + R&D

  Development

- Plant operations

- Production management

- Inventory management

- Logistics management

- HR, Sales, Dealerships

  Management, Promotional

  & Outreach

Assembly Unit Visit

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Production capacity of maximum 30 vehicles during peak

Total 20 staff can work during peak time

Battery is not a part on this plant's inventory

Battery pack is outsourced in batches of 10 units as per demand

Inventory for 100 vehicles and 250 in stock(ready for dispatch)

Mr. Rushav operates and administers plant operations along with Mr. Pratik

Dealership Visit

As a Customer

1. Both dealerships are located in well known areas of the city.

2. User experience and ambience of the showrooms were different. No common design language.

3. Potential buyers expressed concerns about the battery life, range and after sales services.

4. Both the sales executive had a very different approach towards explaining, one at Gandhinagar used technical jargons which buyers were unable to understand on the other hand, Ahmedabad executive used a much a simpler way of explaining.

5. Buyers also expresses concerns towards absence of metallic guards for vehicle protection.

6. Sales representative were unable to justify the lack of FAME 2 subsidy on the GT5 (High Speed) model.

As a Researcher

1. Both dealers have personal connections with the founder(Pratik)

2. The dealers has to invest on the infrastructure from their own. Company provides guidance for location, brochure/manual, design guidelines for interiors, training etc.

3. Ahmadabad dealer made his own accessory modifications on O3 model, which was catering to multiple needs.

4. Ahmedabad dealer has prior experience in EV business.

5. Ahmadabad dealership is owned by Mr.Dhawal's (core team member white carbon) Family.

6. Ahmedabad dealer showed inconvenience over dealership model and absence of dealer's opinion over sales and product.

Service Safari

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Ather Energy

Key Observation:

 

1. Welcoming ambience

2. Ather charging station at front of showroom

3. Located in prime 

4. Multiple sales representative to handle customers

5. Honda Activa used for comparisons

6. Uses of simple language and digital brochures

7. Brand tone was visible in store experience like salesman, artifacts, ambience etc.

8. Govt. Subsidy Schemes was present

9. Financing Facilities under same roof

10. Public charging facility free for Ather users outside showroom

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Revolt Motors

Key Observation:

 

1. Welcoming ambience

2. Brand Presence was visible in small details, eg. Logo as handle

3. Located in prime 

4. Sales person was polite and explained about vehicle in simple manner

5. FAME II subsidy was present

6. Removeable battery swapping

7. Two Bikes for test drive were active

8. Additional accessories were also sold in the store

9. Financing Facilities under same roof

10. 3-4 Months waiting period

11. Buy-back facility was there

 

Analysis: Sens- making

On the basis of Service Safari tool and service experience chart, a score from 0 to 5 have been assigned based on mutual comparison to gauge the position of White Carbon with respect to Ather and Revolt, which are leading brands in the EV segments for now. 

Attribute Comparative Scorecard

EXCEPTIONAL

GOOD

MEDIUM

BASIC

NACENT

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Ather Energy

Revolt Motors

White Carbon

EV Perception Survey Insight

72.2% of the respondents expressed concerns for the range of the electric vehicle

76% of the respondents would advice an electric vehicle to a fresh college going student

68% of the respondents will not prefer speed over battery performance

56% of the respondents felt Electric Vehicle makes them feel smart

84% of the respondents strongly felt the need for Government subsidy on EVs

All existing EV users admitted that they didn't made the purchase decision, their parents did

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Battery Quality and Safety

Cost of the vehicle compared to IC

After sales service

Battery Charging Time and range

Government Subsidy

Charging Infrastructure

Technological Features (GPS, Iot)

Top Speed

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User Interaction Insights
at NID Campus

Security guards enjoyed the vehicle and felt it very useful in an institution like setup where they have to walk a longer distance for duty shifts and also it noise and pollution free

Staff members who are also parents admired the vehicle and showed an immediate interest in purchasing it for their wards, since it was a license-free, low-speed vehicle which assured them of safety and they also mentioned that they were not aware about the existence such products in the market

Students whom have used an EV before were impressed with the pick up and speed but they we're equally concerned over battery performance and service aspects.

Students whom have never used an EV before, were more inclined towards the look and feel of the vehicle. Battery range was a concern.

Competitors Mapping Mapping Captured by Segment

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White carbon has placed both of their products in a highly competitive segment. According to our analysis White carbon could position a new product in medium speed segment where there are less and worthy competitors.

Hero electric holds the biggest market share in EV industry. The graph clearly depicts that majority of their products are placed in medium speed segment, through which we can infer that the presence of EV buyer are majorly seen in this region. This signifies majority of customer who show interest in buying EV end up buying a medium speed vehicle since they are neither too heavy on pockets nor are they low in speed.

SWOT Analysis

Positive

  • They follow Business to Dealer model

  • Less liability on infrastructure

  • Just in time production

  • Experienced team (previously worked in EV industry)

  • Operating without external investment

  • OEM and ODM of O3 and GT5

  • Synchronized team

  • CEO is aware of every small decisions taken by the team.

  • Careful and stringent dealer selection

  • Agile organization, quick to adapt

  • Quick delivery of vehicles (1-2 week buffer)

  • No add on or reoccurring cost for the end user (4G/ IOT services)

Internal

Strength

  • New product,market segments and targeting new customer segments

  • Faster expansion of Charging/ Swapping stations

  • Faster adoption of newer technology

  • Harnessing the power of IOT/ AI for better product calibration

  • Universal charging infrastructure policy/ benchmark

  • Government subsidy on imported EV parts

  • Breaking the status-quo of EV perception by focusing on utility and convenience factor in new markets for O3 model.

  • Corporate showroom/ experience center (White Carbon owned)

  • Startup framework for turbulent times

External

Opportunities

Negative

  • Overburdened core team

  • 12 KGs of battery swappable pack (GT5)

  • Limited product offerings

  • Excessive reliance on imported parts/foreign manufacturers

  • Slow expansion of charging/ swapping infrastructure

  • No charging/ centers

  • No consistent brand tone/ image

  • No/minimal direct interaction with end users for feedback

  • Higher cost of production

  • No FAME2 subsidy

  • Mostly imported parts

  • Heavily depended on dealers for expansion

  • Insufficient funds/ cash flow

  • Less investment on R&DD

  • Lack of target user understanding

  • Compromise on user experience under dealer pressure.

  • Unstructured approach for product research

  • GT5 registered only in 3 states

Weakness

  • Ease of entry in EV market could create potential startups offering similar product with reduced cost.

  • Established Automotive manufactures entering into EV market with superior product and charging infrastructure.

  • Theft and vandalism of Electronics parts/ charging stations.

  • Power outage/ fluctuations

  • Lack of EV awareness in the market

  • Lowering of petrol/ diesel prices

  • Alternative fuel technology eg. Efficient CNG or Hydrogen fuel vehicles.

  • Fleet mobility with last mile connectivity

  • Increased import cost on Li-Ion/ Li-Po batteries parts

Threat

Retrospective Model

Start

Less

Keep

Less

Stop

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Innovation

Culture

Brand

PESTEL Analysis

Political

  • India entering into an armed/unarmed conflict with a neighboring country.

  • International Trade & Other Treaties

Economic

  • Consumer Disposable Income - The household income of the country has increased constantly in the last decade and half

  • Employment Rate

  • Level of Household Income and Savings Rate- White carbon needs to be careful about building marketing strategy that is dependent on “Purchase on Credit” consumer behavior.

  • Price Fluctuations in both Local and International Markets

Sociological

  • Demographic Trend

  • Level of Social Concerns & Awareness in Society

Technological

  • Cost of Production and Trends

Environmental

  • Influence of Climate Change

  • Level of Consumer Activism Regarding Environmental Concerns

Legal

  • Independence of Judiciary and Relative Influence of Government

  • Transparency in Judiciary System & Processes

Insights

Insight 1: Generated from Attribute Analysis

Considering Ather's in-store service experience as an industry benchmark, White Carbon needs to improvise in areas such as Store Experience, Sales representative, excitement factor, onboarding, financing and helping customers take informed decisions.

Insight 2: Generated from Attribute Analysis

Sales executive is an important pillar for White Carbon's success. A sales executive acts as a touchpoint for onboarding, product experience, test drive, excitement factor, informed decision making and overall in-store experience of a customer.

 

Just by improving the interactions between a sales executive and customers, White Carbon can leverage these mentioned attributes to a greater extent and create a drastic impact which are at par with industry leaders.

Insight 3: Generated from Organizational function mapping

Scope for newer designation which would reduce the burden on core team and enable them to work more efficiently in their prime areas and grow.

 

Identified roles are as follows:

 

Business & Growth Strategist

Human Resource Manager

Dedicated Sales & Marketing Team

Training Program Head

Insight 4: Generated from Competitors mapping

Hero electric holds the biggest market share in EV industry. The graph clearly depicts that majority of their products are placed in medium speed segment, through which we can infer that the presence of EV buyer are majorly seen in this region. This signifies majority of customer who show interest in buying EV end up buying a medium speed vehicle since they are neither too heavy on pockets nor are they low in speed.

 

White carbon has placed both of their products in a highly competitive segment. According to our analysis White carbon could position a new product in medium speed segment where there are less and worthy

Insight 5: Generated from Netnography affinity mapping

Major problem areas identified through secondary research are as follows:

 

Charging stations

Price to performance ratio

Battery weight

Battery safety

Charging time

Waiting period for vehicle

Insight 6: Generated from PESTEL analysis

There is a heavy dependency on neighboring countries for lithium and other electronic components, so any political dispute could lead into an acute shortage of these essential resources leading to a heavy surge in prices or EV industries failure. Hence it would be wise for organization to maintain multiple vendor contacts and slowly reduce dependency and focus on make in India to the maximum extent.

Direction

Things WC should do to make things right

 

1. More Design led approach towards new EV segments

2. Battery power/ range enhancements through timely

   updates.

3. Instead expanding in terms of dealership, work on

   robust products and services.

4. Designing prospect dealer scanning and on

   boarding process.

5. Vehicle servicing effectiveness and service on

   call.

6. Increased involvement of other core members and

   effective communication between teams.

7. More team meetups to discuss future strategy.

8. create a resale value for their product

9. train salesmen to have a similar standard and

   satisfying experience

Things WC should not do to make things right

 

1. Creating new products just to compete with other

   EV companies.

2. Relying on technology alone.

3. Designing EV without considering user centric

   design aspects.

4. Create dependency on CEO to start future

   innovation and company culture discussion topics.

5. Working in silos, unaware of other team's

   developments.

6. Innovation being Tech division's job only.

7. Targeting generic customers

8. Dealers from making changes in brand image/

   showroom modifications, Inconsistent brand

Design an interactive brochure which not just gives information about the product but also doubles up as a checklist to what all information to be known or asked for, this transparency boosts trust and confidence in customer.

This also acts as a benchmark for sales executive in terms of what all aspects to be covered and in what sequence, thus setting up a standard across the showrooms.

Solutions

1. Strengthen WC's weak areas in in-store service experience

Vision:

To catchup with market leader in terms of Service Experience

How to do it?

By taking more direct customer feedbacks, investing to improvise the intangible attributes of the service

Short Term  (Insert Key)

1y

Train sales representative to be more empathetic towards customer and facilitate their decision making process.

Mid Term  (Ignition)

3y

Long Term  (Accelerate)

5y

Invest in prime locations with visible store front and develop brand tone which resonates with WC's vision.

Define a brand guideline in terms of store experience and adhere to it.

Design and develop an entire service experience and touchpoint which would create an everlasting memory/experience to the customer.

2. Position O3 as first preference vehicle for youth transitioning from bicycle to motorized vehicle

Vision:

Develop a niche market for White Carbon O3 EV.

How to do it?

By developing a niche market for White Carbon O3 EV.

Short Term  (Insert Key)

1y

Product publicity and reach out in offices and schools.

Mid Term  (Ignition)

3y

Long Term  (Accelerate)

5y

Develop more EV models based on O3 platform after mid-term sales conversion analysis.

Product Display at College fests/ event sponsorships.

3. Make o3 a preferred vehicle to close range delivery agents by adding modular accessories as a feature

Vision:

Commercial mobility go to brand.

How to do it?

Design and develop range of utility accessories for O3 to maximize the use cases.

Short Term  (Insert Key)

1y

Identify all the close range delivery agents and organization and offer O3 financing services.

Mid Term  (Ignition)

3y

Long Term  (Accelerate)

5y

Introduce multiple variants/modification according to the need of the user segment.

Publicize and demonstrate how the Electric vehicle is better than the existing mode of transportation

4. Introduce a medium speed vehicle.

Vision:

Capturing medium speed segment/blue ocean area.

How to do it?

Design an inclusive medium speed vehicle which could appeal the customers in all basic aspects.

Short Term  (Insert Key)

1y

Study medium speed vehicle users and their requirements.

Mid Term  (Ignition)

3y

Long Term  (Accelerate)

5y

Identify and develop more products on the basis of demand and study of blue ocean areas.

Develop designs which satisfies user needs and is cost effective.

 
 
 
 

Audit Team:

Aman | Amit | Shubham | Udhay

Research Report

Mentor Faculty: 

Bhavin Kothari

Duration:

8 Weeks