P&G scrutinized the smallest details. It cut the number of components in the razor down to 4 compared with 25 needed for Mach3, Gillette’s three-blade razor. They even made the razor’s handle hollow so it would be lighter and cheaper to make.
“I can remember talking about changes to this product that were worth a thousandth, or two thousandths of a cent,” said Jim Keighley, the company’s associate director for product engineering.
The result? The Guard costs about one third of what it costs to make the Vector, Gilllette’s low-price Indian razor before Guard. Gillette sells the Guard for 15 rupees, or US$0.34, and each razor blade is 5 rupees.
The company’s strategy seems to have worked. P&G says with 9 percent market share, Guard has grown share faster than any other P&G brand in India. And Gillette’s market share for razors and blades in India has grown to 49.1 percent, according to Euromonitor. That is up from 37.3 in 2007.