With over fourteen years of experience in manufacturing
and distributing Dot Matrix Printers and huge
market potential of 68% for DMPs in the retail
transaction segment, TVS Electronics realized
that it was time to develop a printer, which can
serve billing applications and is also suitable
for the Indian as well as Global conditions. Thus
began the saga of TVS Proton.
Extensive Market Research
A crack team of young R&D professionals and
marketing whiz kids, with an average age of just
23 years, was drawn up from within the organization
in February 2001. This team was led by V. Sugosh,
Head, Product Development, ably assisted by V.
Babu, Senior Engineer of the team credited with
the design of the Proton and K. K. Pramod, Industrial
Designer, who came up with the futuristic design.
They identified 600 small businesses across different
segments in different cities comprising of retail/wholesale,
self-employed, STD booths, educational institutions,
hospitals, hotels, banks and various government
organizations. Seven dedicated team members fanned
out in different directions of the country and
armed with video cameras, visited the various
locations to actually film the on-site interview
of real users of DMPs and by April 2001 the customer
research was done on 600 customers in 12 cities
and in 6 retail segments - pharmacy, grocery,
banking, watch showrooms and wholesale distribution.
With this data and feedback with them, TVSE came
up with the path-breaking design and concept.
TVS Proton Innovation
The Proton is really the outcome of collaboration
between 24 retailers who are the actual co-designers
of the product. The final prototype was tested
in 6 design labs, which are in fact real life
(retail) outlets. The concept testing was done
through five customer workshops comprising of
150 retailers. Says V. Sugosh, "We call these
our customer boardrooms."
This printer is called Proton because in totality,
it goes beyond the concept of atom. 200,000 man
hours have been spent spread over a 15 month period,
on market research.
Having found the requirements of the retail customers,
the team concentrated on some vital issues - the
printing speed, the back loading problem, the
perennial problem of ribbon life, the carriage
stuck, paper tear-off inaccuracy and additional
space requirement for keeping stationery. The
team worked on each of these problem areas systematically
and came up with innovative solutions. To make
the printer presentable to the retail customer,
a new sleek styling was given without compromising
on the rugged features that a transaction printer
need to have.
Thus we have not just another DMP but a first
"Transaction Printer", something which suits the
exact specifications of a retail sales counter.