Thursday, September 27, 2007

Professional Networking

This article was orginially posted by me at http://portalinformatika.blogspot.com/ and is crossposted here.
Hello Friends

I hope everybody of us are aware about http://www.orkut.com/ Its pure revolution and addiction. It has helped me to meet my friends after 20 years. According to me, Mr. Orkut, the person behind this portal should be given Nobel Prize.
But, am i writing my views on orkut?
The answer is No.


Orkut is social networking and i m writing about Professional Networking. It is counterpart of orkut on professional front.

This is the site, which I was forced to join around year back.But, now I can see the underlying raw power of it. It has helped me in connecting with Professionals in various fields like Change Management, Publishing Industry, Defence Industry, Operations Management, Marketing and wat not....

It has given me the platform to start my business globally. Yes, i must say its one of the instrumental input to my businesses.

Now, you must be wondering after so much of global gyan, which is this site???http://www.linkedin.com/Try it, its pure magic.

To connect to me you can insert my id in expand your network prabalaggarwal@yahoo.comHope to see you in my networksPrabal Aggarwal

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Google & Strategy

Hello friends
We i.e. Prabal, Virinder Singh Villkhoo, Abhishesh Sharma, recently did assignment on Strategic Analysis of Google Inc. Few of the normal strategy elments have been posted here, with analysis of Google. I hope you will enjoy it.
We give special thanks to www.arbitmba.com for providing with comic strip above.




World's Search Market










Dynamic View of Google's Strategy


Corporate Governance & Disclosures


Courtesy-Satish Toran


Cadbury Report on Corporate Governance recommends:

•Disciplined Freedom
–Freedom to Drive with Accountability
•Compliances with the code
•Code Principles
–Openness
–Integrity
–Accountability
•Openness with in the competitive limits
•Open approach to disclosure of Info


CII Report: Disclosures to Board

•Importance
•Informed Participation of all Non-Executive Directors.
–In the Interest of Good Governance
–Financial Disclosures along with Audit report boost shareholders participation.
•Annual operating plans and budget
•Budget
–Capital, Manpower & Overhead
•Quarterly Results
–Aggregated & Individual SBUs
•Internal Audit Reports
•Notices from Revenue authorities
•Safety and Environmental impacts
•Default on payment of interest or principle
–To Depositors, FI & Secured Creditors
•Non payment of substantial material goods sold by company
•Non payment of Inter-corporate deposits by or to the company
•Public or Product Liability Claims
•Judgments
–Strictures passed on the code of conduct
–Consequence of adverse view on the company
•Details of JV & Collaboration
•Transaction involving substantial involvement in IP, Brands & Goodwill.
•Recruitment & Removal of Senior employees just below Board
•Labor problem
•Exposure to adverse fluctuation of exchange rate if any

CII Report: Non- Financial Disclosure

•Comprehensive report on Relatives of Director in the company or board integral part of director’s report
•Register for Interests of Director in any contract or arrangement & Shareholding
•Loans to the Director as annexure to the Director’s report
•Prior Approval from shareholders for sole selling agent in India, his interest in company & relation to the director, disclosed as part of Director’s report.
•Secretarial Compliance certificate attached to the report


CII Report: Financial Disclosure

•Details of Directors remuneration & commissions in addition to the note for P&L account.
•Cost Incurred using the service of group resource company in financial statements
•Key information on its division
–Turnover, future prospects, market conditons

•Status of fund application (utilized & unutilized) raised through shares, debentures & other securities in the balance sheet as separate note
•Disclosure on the debt exposure
•Foreign currency transaction
•Foreign Holdings in the share capital
•Loans raised through foreign exchange

•Diff b/w fixed asset and long term liabilities as at the end of financial year shall be disclosed.
•Acquisition and Lease of any fixed asset to be given as separate note to the balance sheet.
•Any inappropriate treatment of an item in BS or P&L should be explained in Director’s Report ONLY.


CII Report: Additional Shareholder’s Information

•Monthly average, high & low of stock prices of major exchanges.
•Greater details of business segments contributing to more than 10% of revenue.
•Consolidation of group accounts
–FIs allowing leverage on basis of group asset
–Income tax using group concept
–Use of Term “group” to represent Company & Subsidiary.

•Compliance certificate signed by the Director and CFO
–Management responsible for fairness and integrity of Fin Statement
–Accounting policies and principles confirm to standards and in case of exception need to disclose.
–Board has reviewed the internal accounting system and administrative control


K M Birla Report

On Disclosure:

•Strong CG is prerequisite for proper disclosure
•Extends Disclosure norms to FI, Mutual Funds, Exchanges & Intermediaries


On Remuneration

•All elements of remuneration package of all the directors i.e. salary, benefits, bonuses, stock options, pension etc.
•Details of fixed component and performance linked incentives, along with the performance criteria.
•Service contracts, notice period, severance fees.
  • Stock option details, if any – and whether issued at a discount as well as the period over which accrued and over which exercisable


Disclosures by Management :

•Material, Financial & Commercial Transaction
–Personal interests of Management in any issue
–Conflicting Interests with Company

Disclosures to Shareholders


•Material Transactions with Promoters
•Non Compliance by the company
•Strictures, Notices, Legal battles


Friday, September 21, 2007

Sanjeev Bikchandani-Naukri.com


Sanjeev Bikchandani

With a bachelors in Economics from St Stephen's, Delhi and a diploma in management from IIM-A and a stint with advertising and GlaxoSmithkline (then HMM), Sanjeev Bikhchandani, co-founder and CEO, InfoEdge (India), better known by its Web site naukri.com, is today sitting over a business worth Rs 45 crore (Rs 450 million) with 600 employees and 35 offices all over the country.

The GlaxoSmithkline days

It was during his stint with Glaxosmithkline (then HMM) that Sanjeev realised that employees love talking about jobs and career movement. He realised jobs are an extremely high interest information category for almost all people and headhunting had tremendous potential.

First taste of entrepreneurship

Sanjeev started out as a partnership firm in 1989, where he was a sleeping partner. By 1990 he had concluded that there was probably a large, highly fragmented database of jobs out there with HR managers and headhunters which, if someone were to aggregate and keep current, would be a very valuable resource. He set up office in the servant's quarter above the garage in his father's house, paying his father a rent of Rs 800. For the first few years his company did salary surveys and built and marketed a database of pharmaceutical trademarks.

Though the company was kept afloat, he was unable to draw a salary and Sanjeev ran the house on his wife's salary. To meet his personal expenses, he would teach at business schools as visiting faculty on weekends. It was in response to a Department of Telecom's (DoT) advertisement to launch a videotex service in Delhi that he prepared a database of jobs. It was a pay-to-view model, where initially the employer would be allowed to host his job free and they would earn from the revenue share the DoT would give us. But the project never took off.

Turning point

It was on his visit to IT Asia in 1996 that Sanjeev came to know of the World Wide Web. To register his website and get a domain name, he had to take help from his brother, who lived in the US and has a stake in the company. The naukri.com site was set up in March 1997 as a division of InfoEdge.

What was interesting was that Sanjeev could not get any domain name he wanted (all such names which had the word job were already registered) and had to settle down with the Hindi term "naukri", which actually makes it different from other jobsites today. At this point he was joined by Anil Lall, the chief technical officer and V N Saroja, chief operating officer.

Dual responsibility

With the recession, Sanjeev had to take up a part-time job, but in the same domain area. Between 1996 and 2000, he also worked at The Pioneer. Initially, the consulting editor of Avenues -- the careers supplement of The Pioneer -- he was instrumental in working out an investment package with a consortium of four financial institutions -- ICICI, IDBI, IFCI and UTI. In the morning, he used to work for naukri.com, go to The Pioneer during the day and then get back to naukri.com in the evening.

Reaping fruits of success

Naukri.com became profitable from the second year. Today, it has a profit after tax of Rs 8.5 crore (Rs 85 million). It was now time for expansion. InfoEdge aquired Jeevansathi in September 2004. Besides, it has an offline recruitment business through its venture Quadrangle.

The site had a revenue of just over Rs 200,000 in the first year of operations. In the second year, however, revenue quickly climbed to Rs 1.2 million. Sanjeev made do with his own finances till 2000, when he got funding from ICICI Venture Capital. So far, InfoEdge has taken only one round of venture capital of Rs 7.3 crore (Rs 73 million).

Today, naukri.com gets over 100 million page views a month and has over 3.5 million registered users. It is estimated that over 700,000 people have found jobs through naukri.com. Over 15,000 organisations have used the site for recruitment. It has also launched a real estate portal in 2005.

Newspaper Industry and DNA-India


THE NEWSPAPER INDUSTRY


The total number of registered newspapers, as on 31 March 2006 is 58,469.According to the National Readership Survey 2006,which takes a sample size of 2,84,373 house-to-house interviews to measure the media exposure and consumer product penetration in both urban and rural India – and of course the estimated readership of publications. The study covers 535 publications of which 230 are dailies and 305 are magazines. Some of the findings of the survey:
· The reach of the press medium (dailies and magazines combined) has increased from 216 million to 222 million over the last one year.
· As a proportion however, press reach has stabilized in urban India – at 45%. Press reach in rural India has also stayed the same at 19% -- needless to say, on a much larger population base. The number of readers in rural India (110 million) is now roughly equal to that in urban India (112 million).
· Dailies have driven this growth in the press medium, their reach rising as a proportion of all individuals aged 12 years and above – which is the universe defined for NRS – from 24% to 25%. Magazines have declined in reach from 9% to 8% over the last one year.
· The time spent reading has remained the same – at 39 minutes daily on an average per day over the last year. But there has been increase in urban India (from 41 to 44 minutes daily) and decrease in rural India (from 36 to 35 minutes daily).
· Press adds 7 million readers over the last year.
· Dailies continue to grow, adding 12.6 million readers from last year to reach 203.6 million while there has been a drop of 7.1 million magazine readers. It must be remembered that this refers only to mainstream magazines. A host of niche titles that continue to be launched regularly are not fielded and their collective readership estimate is outside the purview of the study.
· Over the last 3 years the number of readers of dailies and magazines put together among those aged 12 years and above has grown from 216 mn to 222 mn – a growth of almost 3% over last year.
·There is still significant scope for growth, as 359 million people who can read and understand any language do not read any publication. Of this 359 million, 68% read Hindi. It is not just affordability that is a constraint, since 20 million of these literate non-readers belong to the upscale SEC A and B segments.


About Daily News and Analysis (DNA)

Launched on July 30, 2005 in Mumbai, this English daily has already carved its niche in India’s financial capital, while editions from other cities are on the anvil. The very popular business section of the paper, DNA Money, has already broken ground in Indore as a standalone newspaper. Targeted at a young readership, DNA is the voice of Mumbai. Through news, views, analyses and interactivity, it provides readers with a composite picture of Mumbai and the world. Its interactive platforms seek to bring the reader and surfer at the centre of its news activity.
Diligent Media Corporation, which owns DNA (Daily News & Analysis), is a joint venture between two industry majors – the Dainik Bhaskar Group and Zee Group. With a reach of more than 120 countries and access to more than 250 million viewers globally, Zee TV has created strong brand equity and is the largest media franchise serving the South Asian diaspora with presence in major global markets, including Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, the UK, the US, Canada, the Caribbean and Africa. The Group has transformed itself into an integrated media conglomerate with operations spanning the entire media spectrum.


CIRCULATION DETAILS
Daily News & Analysis (DNA) continues to report strong growth in readership in Mumbai, if one compares the latest National Readership Survey (NRS) results for 2006 with the earlier Indian Readership Survey released in April.
The NRS numbers show that DNA’s readership has increased by 1,16,000 over the April IRS figures. This is the largest increase (29%) for any general English newspaper in Mumbai. Though the two surveys use different methods to arrive at readership figures, the broad trends are indicative of changing reader preferences, according to media experts.
The largest survey of its kind, NRS 2006 conducted 2,84,373 house-to-house interviews in rural and urban India, spanning over 1,300 towns. Carried out between February and May 2006, the survey looked at 535 publications, including 230 dailies and 305 magazines.
The Dainik Bhaskar group, one of the promoters of DNA, along with Zee, hit a new milestone by becoming only the second group in the country to cross the 2-crore readership mark.
In Mumbai metro, two new newspapers participated in the NRS for the first time, DNA and Hindustan Times (HT). While DNA registered a readership of 5,18,000, HT managed 3,60,000. The earlier IRS put the readership of the two at 4,02,000 and 2,85,000, respectively. Mumbai Mirror, also a new entrant and largely distributed free with The Times of India, registered a readership of 8,81,000, a rise from its 7,65,000 in IRS 2006.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

OEE-Overall Equipment Effectiveness.



hello friends

This aritcle was originally posted by me at http://www.engineeringinformatika.blogspot.com/ and has been crossposted here.
The concept of OEE is quite popular among Manufacturing Industries. It gives a good measure to the concerned authorities that how the Equipment is performing as a whole. It could be of individual stand alone machine or of full line. Though I have known the concept since last 5 years and also have used it many times during my job, but it was also tough to explain it to somebody.

Recently, one of my Professors, Prof Soumish Dev was teaching the concept again as part of Operations Subject. The way he explained it, was simply awesome. I am sharing the same explaination with you.

As can be seen in the picture above. Lets understand the concept from analogy point of view rather than taking it directly to machines and plants.
  • Lets assume that there is a student of Engineering, who has 365 days in the year.
    Out of 365 days lets assume that 100 days are for holidays, as no student should study for 365 days. Then 265 days are left. This is known as Loading Time, while 100 days are known as Not Scheduled Time.
  • Now, out of planned 265 days of working, student fells ill for aroun 15 days. Now, this gives us actually 250 days, where the student actually worked, and is known as Running Time. While the 15 days are known as Idle Time.

  • Now, lets assume that the student claims that at his efficient or effective state of mind an health he can complete 80 pages of a book per day. So, this can be considered as Theoretical Output that is expected during the Running time. So, in this case it would be 250x80=20000 pages in the year. But, actually we found that he has read only 15000 pages. The reasons could be several that reduced his efficiency and effectivenes. So, 15000 pages, is known as Actual Output.
  • Now, at the end of the year, teacher took a test of the student. The test was out of 15000 pages he studied during the year. As, the student has read it effectively and efficiently he should have got 100 marks out of 100. But, he got only 70 marks. Now, whats the reason. It means that out of 15000 pages he read only 70% properly. Other 30% was bad quality reading. So, he read only 10500 pages properly and the 4500 pages not properly. So, 10500 can be said as Good Output.

So, now we will calculate the OEE of student during the considered year. It will be comprised of following elements

  • Availability i.e. Running Time/Loading Time or we can say actually followed time table w.r.t. planned time table.
  • Speed Efficiency i.e. Actual Output/Theoretical output.

  • Quality Efficiency i.e. Good Output/Actual Output.

Or if you notice carefully, in the above diagram we have just calculated Good Output/Loading Time.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Dame Anita Roddick - Proving Entrepreneurs Can Do Well by Doing Good



Entrepreneurs need role models. They help us to believe that our dreams are possible. They demonstrate a path to success. They inspire us to set bigger and better goals than we ever would have otherwise.


Anita Roddick was such a role model for any aspiring entrepreneur. In 1976 she started her own beauty products business in a small building wedged between two funeral parlors in Brighton, England. She took out a mortgage for $6500 and got an investment of $8000 from a neighborhood garage owner. A little more than 30 years later, she sold her business, The Body Shop, which had grown to 2000 stores in 50 countries, for $1.14 billion.

But Anita Roddick achieved much more in her life than financial wealth. She pioneered the way that businesses interact with the world. She saw herself first and foremost as an activist – actively engaged in making the world a better place; her business was just one of her many means of doing so.

Anita never saw herself as a small player, even when she was first starting out. She never doubted that one woman, with determination, could make a difference. The slogan on her U.K. delivery trucks read, “If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.”

Anita worked in the beauty business, but she was never part of the beauty business. The Body Shop only sold cruelty-free products which did no testing on animals. She believed in doing well by doing good – working to help the environment, and promote animal rights and human rights while helping the company’s bottom line.

Anita, whose personal net worth was over $100 million, donated millions to charitable causes. She was personally involved with Greenpeace and with organizations to help the homeless in the United Kingdom. She founded Children on the Edge, which helps disadvantaged children in Eastern Europe and Asia. In 2003, Queen Elizabeth II appointed her Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Anita Roddick passed away this week, at the age of 64, due to a sudden brain hemorrhage. But she leaves a legacy of inspiration behind. Aspiring entrepreneurs sell themselves short when they assume they need to make a choice between improving their company’s bottom-line and improving the environment. Anita Roddick proved that by employing the single-minded determination of a mosquito, both are possible.

For more inspiration and information on entrepreneurship, visit my blog, More Than We Know.

Friday, September 14, 2007

LSCM

EFFECT OF THIRD PARTY LOGISTICS ON MANUFACTURING SECTOR

ABSTRACT
These days 3PL has emerged as global phenomenon or as a means to deliver products efficiently with maximum cost benefit. This paper covers all the aspects because of which manufacturing companies are going for 3rd party logistics whether it is the focus on core competency or cost reduction. Now the effect of this move is sometimes companies loose on the service part, moreover the major drawback is that the control on whole supply chain is reduced .This paper clearly entails the importance of 3PL followed by areas catered ,advantages ,disadvantages and value added to manufacturing sector by incorporating 3PL. It also deals in detail the crucial issues of initial “gap” between manufacturers and 3PL providers followed by the changing mindset and scenario of logistics field. At last paper discusses about the future of 3PL ie. 4PL. Here the data was collected through secondary analysis on the input and output variables and that in turn was used to establish impact of usage of 3PL services on business performance .

This Research paper has been completed with due help from Mr. Alok Srivastava

LSCM

IMPACT OF “CONSTRAINT BASED PLANNING AND SCHEDULING” ON VARIOUS INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS.
ABSTRACT
Scheduling problems are ubiquitous and appear in many forms, from classic job-shop scheduling to manpower and service scheduling, from product assembly sequencing to logistics resource allocation and scheduling. Scheduling has become an important component of business processes such as supply chain management, and it has its own range of successful software tool vendors. It can make consistent choices; infer their implications, balance priorities and preferences, and help cope with uncertainty and change. It has innumerous application whether a company involved in manufacturing, workforce management, product configuration, or any other activity that helps move goods through the consumer demand chain, it will face a multitude of constraints and variables that must be fully accounted for in order to perform proper planning.
Constraint based scheduling comes very handy when an analyst is juggled up with too many resources, to fit in within too many alternatives given a time constraint. E.g. (1) decisions on activities of retail staffing, their deployment and their sales criteria at different regions; product configuration; Single-Track Railway Scheduling; inventory management; product development projects with time-limited constraints; job scheduling problems; steelmaking industry; forming bus driver’s schedules; single track railway scheduling problems; ammunition inventory planner, factory scheduling etc.
In a typical scheduling problem, resources are scarce and constrained in various ways (e.g., in the capacity of resources and the order of activities), and one is looking for a schedule of the activities that both satisfies the constraints and is optimal according to some criterion (e.g., the length of the schedule).
It makes contributions in the sense that
It demonstrated the application of constrained based techniques for solving a broad class of resource management problems.
It found out the impact of CBS computing technique on business decisions and how those have been impacted by it.
It found out the scope and viability of constraint based scheduling in fast technologically changing environment.

This Research paper has been completed with due help from Mr. Preet Sharma

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sub Prime Lending

Today I wanna buy a house for which I require credit from the market.But I am denied credit from the standard or prime mortgage market as my credit history is not acceptable as per the requirements.So what should I do? I know home ownership is one of the best ways to build wealth but I have been denied credit.Now I select the second option i.e. I go for subprime lending.
Here I have relaxed terms and conditions and lesser hassles.But all this at the same price?Obviously not.As we know there are no free lunches.The borrower is required to pay a handsome interest rate due to which sub prime lending is also called high cost lending.Because of sub prime lending we can have an increased number of house owners and an increased opportunity for them to create wealth.

How easy is it in the subprime market?

Let us see the major difference in the requirements in prime and sub prime markets.
Borrower cost associated with subprime lending is driven primarily by two factors i.e. credit
history and down payment requirements while in the prime market, borrower cost is primarily driven by the down payment alone, given that minimum credit history requirements
are satisfied.

But when you pay a higher price in the sub prime market you also expect higher rewards.It is a high risk high reward market.


Costs to the borrower



  • Upfront costs include application fees, appraisal fees, and other fees associated with originating a mortgage.


  • Continuing costs include mortgage insurance payments, principle and interest payments, late fees and fines for delinquent payments, and fees levied by a locality (such as property taxes and special assessments)

These costs are associated both with prime and subprime lending but they are higher or the latter.


Subprime Mortgage and US Recession

The subprime mortgage financial crisis in US spread to the world in 2007. Home owners were unable to meet financial commitments lenders were left with means to recoup their losses. This has led to a severe credit crunch, threatening the solvency of a number of marginal private banks and other financial institutions.
This has been cited as the reason for declines in stock markets worldwide, several hedge funds becoming worthless, and bankruptcy of several mortgage lenders.

For details on subprime lending visit http://analyticsnewswire99.blogspot.com/2007/08/ye-subprime-lending-kya-hai.html


Book Section: Breaking The Mould by Peter A Hunter

Hello Friends

I originally wrote this review at www.bookreviewsanddiscussions.blogspot.com

This is cross posting of the original post.

This book was recently gifted to me by my friend. He has been insisting me to read it for last three years. But, I was lazy and not interested. So, now when he just gifted to me, I was caught, I had to read it. And so I read it.
The book was about the ‘Change Management’. I have myself seen, lot of consultancy projects going on in the companies I worked for. Normally, they are at the top and middle management levels. And rarely at lower management or operator level. Above all, I never saw actual results being delivered. So, according to me all these change management drives were nothing more than lip service.
With these preconceived notions, under compulsion I picked up this book. But, there was one relief, very small size of the book. So, I started reading. And found its about oil rigs. Now, oil rigs are greek to me. Still, I carried on. And after 20 pages, my interest started building up. Though I was not able to visualize the exact actions going on the rig, but I could very well correlate the attitude and feelings of human beings with the operators in the production department, where I worked.
I carried on. There was one story, then there was another. In each story, there was one technique of change management was described. It was all beautiful and vivid description.
The best part about the stories I liked was the actual results the methodology delilvered and these were the real life stories, not the cooked one’s.
At the end of the book, I was just wondering that ‘Why I didn’t read this book 3 years ago?’ I am sure, had I read it three years ago, it would have helped me and the environment around me in a substantial manner. After I read it, I just called my friend who gifted the copy to me, and apologized for not taking his advice and reading it since last 3 years.
Now, I recommend this book, to all the professionals, who want to make the working environment them to be more conducive and efficient. And if you don’t read this book now, and do read it later on, and you remember my advice, then do mail me and apologize :)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Exclusive Interview with the creators of Arbit Choudhary: The first ever MBA Comic Character Globally

This interview was conducted by Blogomania exclusively for Blogomania's Audience.
(Virindersingh Villkhoo represented Blogomania and Shubham, Hemant and Nikhil answered as creators of Arbit Choudhury in this interview)

Blogomania: When and how did you get the idea of creating Arbit? What was the inspiration?

Arbit: We were great comic fans since childhood, and hooked up during our MBA because of this common interest. Together we realised that there was no comic character that highlighted the suppressed humour in the apparently serious world of management. Though Dilbert was known for his office humour, Calvin for his cynical outlook and Archie for college humour, there was no comic character who peeped into the comically jargonistic world of business.

We decided to introduce the world to a new genre of Comic Humour, namely Management Humour, realising that there was a latent demand in this segment, which was not only un-served but also un-recognized.

Thus was born, Arbit Choudhury, the MBA Comic Character (http://www.arbitmba.com/ ).

While the concept of Arbit Choudhury was growing, another concept was conceptualized by us - "MastishK (http://www.mastishk.nitie.net/ ) - India's first fully Online Business Simulation Gaming Event". As we went ahead with conceptualization of MastishK, we realized that the target audience for both the ideas was the same and we decided to put Arbit's flavour of Humour to good use as a mascot for MastishK. This way Arbit Choudhury was also able to reach out to an audience spread across the globe in more than 25 countries, 70+ B Schools and 50+ corporate offices instantly.

Soon, we started getting huge amounts of fan mail and realised that Arbit Choudhury's appeal lay far beyond the world of management students. So we decided to bring Arbit to the world by creating a mailing list (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/arbit_mba ) wherein we sent Arbit Comics to our 'fan club' every fortnight. We have added the website (http://www.arbitmba.com/ ) and other channels of distribution like SMS and RSS to our basket subsequently.

Blogomania: How did you come up with this interesting name for this character? Is this character based on someone?

Arbit: We had many names in mind when we set out to name Arbit Choudhury. We always knew we were going to name him some ‘Choudhury’ not just because it was the surname of one of the creators but also because Choudhury was a perfect name for the ‘boy next door’ type of image which we wanted to make Arbit.

However, the first name proved to be quite a challenge. We had some names in our minds, and got some more from few friends whom we had introduced the initial idea. Finally, there was a tough tussle between couple of names and we ended up conducting a mini poll between some of our friends to decide upon the final name. Needless to say, “Arbit” got the maximum votes.

However, we must point out that though Arbit Choudhury has inherited his surname and a few characteristics from his creators, he is not completely based on any one particular person. Arbit Choudhury’s character sketch is a mixture of idiosyncrasies noticed by the creators in several real life characters/people.



Blogomania: What is your mission and vision for Arbit? In these 3 years of operation, have they changed?

Arbit: Our Vision

  • To make Arbit Choudhury one of the most popular comic characters of all times.
  • To make Arbit Choudhury a truly international icon for the management and professional fraternity across nationalities and geographies

    Our Mission
  • To make Arbit Choudhury one of the world's most circulated comic characters
  • To increase the reach of Arbit Humour to all major corporate offices and B Schools in India, and subsequently to the corporate offices and B Schools across the globe, through Online as well as Offline mediums.

Arbit Choudhury’s Vision and Mission is still the same and we do not see it changing much over the years.

Over the past 3 years, we have moved forward significantly towards our visions and mission. Arbit Choudhury fans today belong to the cross-section of the corporate community, from Consulting Majors like Mckinsey, to PSUs like BHEL, from CEOs and MDs, to young professionals and MBA students. Arbit Choudhury Comic Strips have even been appreciated by management professors and housewives. His fans come from as far and wide as US, UK, Cyprus, Oman and Korea. The Arbit Choudhury Yahoo Group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/arbit_mba ) is one of the largest yahoo groups in the “Comic Strips” category.


Apart from this, Arbit Choudhury has grabbed numerous media mentions in leading publications like Times of India, Indian Express and Business World, as well has been recognized as the “World’s 1st” MBA Comic Character. Our concept has also been appreciated by international experts from the creative sector.

In spite of all these achievements, we do realize that we have a long way to go yet, towards achieving our vision and mission.


Blogomania : Tell us something on how do you come up with these extremely funny ideas for Arbit? Who are the team members?

Arbit: We derive inspiration from multiple sources like national and international politics, general current affairs, management concepts that we have learnt during MBA etc. Any event happening around us can spark off an idea. All 3 of us are Consultants in different firms and our daily grind presents some very interesting situations which also give us ideas for comic strips. We are always open to ideas and suggestions from Arbit fans and have held “Arbit Choudhury Fresh Ideas Contest” in the past 2 years.

We realize that humor is a very personal taste, and every idea might not appear humorous to everyone. So we run all our comic strip ideas through an internal process called the “Comic Strip Suitability Scale (CS3)”. The ideas that pass through the CS3 are then subjected to a review by our Panel for Idea Evaluation (PIE) consisting of people from diverse backgrounds. The overall rating of PIE along with the ratings by the creator Trio decides the fate of the idea. The best rated ideas are then converted into comic strips and the others are either reworked, or scrapped completely.

The Arbit Choudhury Team consists of Shubham Choudhury, Hemantkumar Jain and Nikhil Kulkarni. While Shubham and Hemant are the creators or Arbit Choudhury comic strips, Nikhil works closely with them in managing the marketing and technology facets of the endeavor. As our professional commitments make us work from different geographies at different points of time, we have also devised our own form of Global Delivery Model for the creation of new comic strips. Over the last 3 years, Arbit Choudhury comic strips have been created across 3 continents, 5 countries and 9 cities !!



Blogomania: Is Arbit the Indian Dilbert?

Arbit: We are frequently asked this question by Arbit Choudhury fans and the media. We have always maintained that Arbit Choudhury is not an Indian Dilbert.

While Arbit Choudhury and Dilbert might have overlapping audiences to some extent, the essence of the humour is different. Dilbert is a professional, Arbit Choudhury is a student. While Dilbert takes a humorous dig at life in a typical office environment, Arbit Choudhury looks at the funny side of business, current affairs and life at a b-school.

Considering this, the scope of Arbit’s humour is much wider and deeper than Dilbert. We believe that Arbit Choudhury‘s appeal is not limited to Indian readers only, and Arbit is the 1st Indian comic character with the potential to become globally popular.



Blogomania: What can we expect from Arbit in the near future? Will you continue distributing it through group mails or will we be able to see Arbit in newspapers?

Arbit: Arbit Choudhury owes it’s current popularity to the world wide web. Ever since it’s inception, Arbit Choudhury comic strips have reached out to fans across the world through online means like e-mail forwards, our website (http://www.arbitmba.com/ ) , our mailing list (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/arbit_mba ), RSS feeds and SMS jokes. While we will continue to serve our fans through online media, we are earnestly looking forward to offline modes as well. We are looking to get Arbit Choudhury comic strips published in newspapers and other periodicals.

The future will see Arbit appearing in multiple online and offline publications. Publishing a book on Arbit and Management is just a matter of our ability to devote time to it along with our professional commitments. Arbit merchandise might find its way onto the desks of MBA aspirants, B Schoolers and even corporate cubicles.

Blogomania: Finally, any message for Arbit fans? And give the Blogomania readers, who are not your subsribers, a reason to enroll asap!

Arbit: We would like to thank Arbit Choudhury fans across the world for the love and encouragement they have given us over the last 3 years. We request are fans share Arbit Choudhury Comic Strips with all their friends and colleagues, and also to keep sending us their thoughts and feedback.
We promise to keep bringing fresh Arbit humor to everyone in the future as well.

Friday, September 7, 2007

JIT-JIDOKA(Autonomation)


Hello friends

___________________________________________________________________


This is my third article in series of Toyota Production System and JIT. The earlier two ones were Toyota Production System and Kanban.

I was recently writing the research paper on 'What are the true enablers of JIT?', and one of the true enabler under consideration was 'The enhanced information exchange between supplier and buyer'. In order to prove it to be enabler I presented the following discussion.

Another evidence, strengthening the notion of usage of information systems in JIT from the very start is Jidoka or Autonomation. This is a system, where quality assurance is made a prerequisite of JIT implementation. This is a information system, where if the quality of the product comes out to be bad for considerable number of consecutive times, then the signal is sent, which shuts down all the lines which act as customer or supplier to the defects producing station. This is done to maintain the continuous flow in JIT. If, the signal is not sent, then due to shortage of input material the customer lines will run without actually producing anything. Similarly, if the signal is not sent, then the supplier lines will keep on working leading to overproducing the output product, which the customer station (the defect producing station) would not be able to accept. And above all this is done to bring the immediate focus of everybody on the defects. This focus leads to the immediate remedy of the problem most of the times.

Now, how this signal is generated. In the traditional automobile environment, the operator or the authorized person on the defect producing station pulls the hanging rope (above the station). This rope is connected to all the lines. And pulling the rope from any point leads to the shut down of all the connected lines.The method of generating signal was modified to electronic means, when the rope was replaced by a button available on all the stations. This button, when pressed via common electrical supply shuts down all the connecting production lines. And immediately, the Andon board, with all the stations labeled on it, starts indicating that problem is occurring on a particular station. And recently, with the improvement of Internet and Information Technology this is done by use of sophisticated electronics and software.

This system was enhanced and implemented to an extent, that even the supplier and customer plants were sometimes stopped by the signal.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

AKS laws-1

This is AKS law of management inspired by Sir. Newton

Newton’s 1st law: “Every object in a state of rest or uniform motion tends to remain in that state of rest or uniform motion unless an external force is applied to it.”

AKS 1st law: The customer will remain in rest at and not buy your product or will buy minimum product from you unless he is applied by the intangible force of Advertisement.

Newton’s 2nd law: “The rate of change of velocity of a body is directly proportional to the external force applied on that body.”

AKS 2nd law: The frequency of purchase of your product is directly proportional to the number of problems that product solves for the customer.”

Newton’s 3rd law: “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

AKS law: “For every action of a company on CSR front it has equal and opposite reaction from its competitors.”

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

IMPACT OF CULTURE ON INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS USING VARIOUS CULTURAL FRAMEWORKS


With the terms like globalization and liberalization the competition amongst the global players all over the world has increased manifolds. The company’s nowadays are very sophisticated about selecting their suppliers and distributors. The case becomes more intense when an organization seeks for international business partners. In international channels strategies, there are few important parameters to be taken care of. One such parameter is ‘Culture’ of target country (market). “The cultural environment is of paramount concern in international marketing because culture shapes the values, assumptions, and behavior of individuals and organizations in society.” (Cateora and Graham, 1999) The word culture comes from the Latin root ‘colere’ (to inhabit, to cultivate, or to honor). There have been several definitions given to define the word ‘Culture’. “The culture is like nose, you cannot see it, but everybody else can see it, and thinks it is peculiar if it differs from theirs, in addition, you always go where it leads you, and it is always in the way.” (Geert Hofstede, 1990)

In another definition, “Culture is the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another and also culture is called software of mind.”(Geert Hofstede, 1990) “Culture is construct that means it is not directly accessible to observation but inferable from verbal statements and other behavior and useful in predicting still other observable and measurable verbal and non-verbal behavior.” (Levitin, 1973:492) “Culture may be defined as patterns of thoughts and manners which are widely shared. The boundaries of the social collectively within which this sharing takes place are problematic, so that it may make as much sense to refer to a class or regional culture as to a national culture.” (Child and Kieser, 1977, p.2)

“A culture is the configuration of learned behavior and results of behavior whose component elements are shared and transmitted that society can impose on an individual. (Ralph Linton, 1945, p.21) “Culture is a set of beliefs and standards, shared by a group of people, which helps the individuals to decide what is, what can be, how to feel, what to do and how to go about doing it.” (Goodenough, 1971) Culture has been called "the way of life for an entire society." As such, it includes codes of manners, dress, language, religion, rituals, norms of behavior such as law and morality, and systems of belief. Culture or civilization, taken in its wide ethnographic sense, is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.” (Edward Burnett Tylor, 1871)

"... Culture should be regarded as the set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of society or a social group, and that it encompasses, in addition to art and literature, lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, traditions and beliefs".( The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO, 2002)

“For the purposes of the Inter-cultural Studies Project, culture is defined as the shared patterns of behaviors and interactions, cognitive constructs, and affective understanding that are learned through a process of socialization. These shared patterns identify the members of a culture group while also distinguishing those of another group.” (CARLA (Centre for advance research on language acquisition))

The above mentioned definitions of ‘culture’ indicate various interpretations of the term culture in different countries and different researchers having different cultural background. The global business environment continues to look for new customers and suppliers to keep feeding their down-stream and up-stream supply chain management. The rules and regulations for doing business change from country to country. “The national element is not always the main source of culture when regarded from an ‘operational culture’ perspective.” (Goodenough, 1971).
Researchers have developed various cultural frameworks to describe impact of culture on business in domestic market as well as international market. A country’s culture can be defined on the basis of below stated elements of culture.

“Language is vehicle of culture and is often one of the most visible and audible ways of the expression, without ignoring that several cultures may use the same language or that one language may serve more than one culture.” (Ulijn and Strother, 1995) The use of different language settings in different countries can create problem for international managers. “So, an international managers should be able to understand cultural differences by linguistic skills; language as gateway to culture.” (Kaplan and Ulijn, 1995)

For example, India is made up of highly diversified ethnic and religious groups including Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christian, etc., and several regional languages, which makes India a deeply multi-cultural country. So, any domestic as well as international organization thinking to do business in India may have to adapt them according to multi-cultural society prevailing in India. Multiple languages / dialects and different language usage patterns within countries might affect promotion activities, including advertising and consumer research - e.g. in China and India (Drago, 1998).

Geertz Hofstede (1980, 1984a, b, 1991) defines five dimensions of culture. The first dimension is Power Distance, degree of amongst the people which the population of country considers as normal, from relatively equal (small power distance) to extremely unequal (large power distance).The second dimension is Individualism, degree to which people in a country prefer to act as individuals rather than a members of groups. The opposite to individualism is Collectivism, in which societies respect the group to which they belongs, usually family, and to differentiate between the in-group members and out-group members. The third dimension is Masculinity (tough values like assertiveness, performance, success and competition) and its opposite as Femininity (maintaining warm personal relationships, service, care for weak and solidarity). The fourth dimension is Uncertainty Avoidance, degree to which people in a country prefer structured (rules and regulations lay down as how to behave) over unstructured situations. The fifth dimension is Long-term (one finds values rather oriented towards the past and present, like respect for tradition and fulfilling social obligation versus short-term Orientation. The businesses opting for international business partners have to take care as to which category their distributors and suppliers belong to and they should act accordingly. Otherwise, there can be conflicts later on.

Using an anthropological approach, Hall (1976) dichotomized cultures in to lower context and higher context. In lower context cultures, most of the meaning of a communication are embedded in explicit verbal expressions, whereas, in high context cultures the meaning of a communication depends heavily on the context or non-verbal aspects of communications. A supplier or an organization from high contexts can be difficult to enter, if you are an outsider, because you don't carry the context information internally, and because you can't instantly create close relationships. The opposite is not true as low contexts are relatively easy to enter if you are an outsider member of distribution, because the environment contains much of the information you need to participate, and because can you form relationships fairly soon, and because the important thing is accomplishing a task rather than feeling your way into a relationship. Thus, when a person from high context culture interacts with a low context culture, misunderstandings, frustrations, and conflicts may raise that hinder business interactions.

“Culture is a shared system of meaning, which functions as a process leading to automatic solutions to frequently recurring problems. This part of culture is unconscious or subconscious. These things we take for granted are called basic assumptions. Basic assumptions are so unconscious that we need help in recalling them.” (Fons Trompenaars on Cross Cultural Management, 1998)

To conclude, author would like to say that to avoid situations of ‘cultural shock’, Multi-national company (MNCs) tends to follow ‘Adaptation’ process instead of ‘Standardization’, and to come up with adapted marketing mix to avoid failure and to succeed in any foreign market.

For example, the Indians do not consume beef (for religious belief), which Mc Donald did not realized when they went international in India, for which they faced lots of agitation and losses. Later on they have to change their product strategy which should suits Indian market, by introducing chicken burgers instead of beef. Johnson’s floor wax (which made wooden floors very slippery) failed in Japan because they failed to take into account the Japanese custom of not wearing shoes at home. Product colours might mean different things across cultures, e.g. White is colour of mourning in Japan while black has similar symbolism in the USA and Europe; the equivalent colour in Singapore is green. Green and white and blue have sectarian connotations in Glasgow. A recent study showed that Cadbury’s dominant colour, purple is associated with luxury, style, sophistication, youth and femininity in Britain, but in Taiwan, it is perceived as warm, old, quiet, serious, a little sad but dignified.

Thus, companies while entering international markets have to take care of nitty-gritty of culture and the consequences which can come up later on if they do not adapt themselves according to respective market’s culture.

Please do not hesitate to ask for original document from me (anuragloach@gmail.com).

Many Thanks,
--Anurag Loach

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Glass Ceiling


The “glass ceiling” means an invisible, but virtually impenetrable, barrier between women and the executive suite, preventing them from reaching the highest levels of the corporate world regardless of their accomplishments
and merits. The term refers to specific attitudinal and organizational barriers that severely limit opportunities for the upward mobility of qualified women candidates.

We have heard of racial discrimination and othe kinds of discrimination.Glass ceiling is yet another question to the equality if men and women in the industry.How many names of women do we hear who have attainedthe highest positions in an organization.Ever wondered why?Not that they are not capable and cannot compete with men but because of glass ceiling.
The emergence of women leaders in organizations around the world has changed the working environment and management of even the most male dominated firms. The changing demographics and labor force are reinforcing this trend and will likely continue to do so over the next decade.
The glass ceiling has consequences not only for the women themselves, but also for the organizations they work for :their reputations and their ability to maximize their productivity and growth.
Companies and societies cannot afford to waste the full potential of half of their workforce and undermine their competitiveness. Rather, they need to capitalize upon the skills of women,
valuing and encouraging women’s professional growth and development. Moreover, they must create a business culture that supports innovation and high performance, which requires many different people with diverse talents and thinking styles.

Brand Elements-Titan

Brand Elements

Brand elements are those trademarkable devices that serve to identify and differentiate the brand. The main brand elements are brand names, URLs, logos, symbols, characters, spokespeople, slogans, jingles, packages and signage.
Titan Industries is a joint venture between the Tatas and Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) and was incorporated in 1986.

Brand Name: Titan

The brand name is classical and is based on Greek mythology. It is also suggestive of one of achievement.
Meaning: Titan personifies anything of size, strength, or achievement. This is the association Titan has always sought to achieve and has been successful in it.
Memorability: The name is easy to recall and recognize
Likeability: The brand name is easy to recall and recognize and is inherently descriptive and persuasive.
Transferable: The name Titan means achievement and anybody wearing a Titan is an achiever is what is communicated. It can easily be applied across all product categories and geographies. The gamut of watches range from from Fast Track to Xylus.
Legally Protected: The brand name is legally protected in watches.

URL: http://www.titanworld.com/ .No other site of the name can exist according to the legal norms.

Logo:
The ubiquitous blue-colored Tata logo which was designed by the Wolff Olins consultancy was given a modification to make it more Greek like , shortening the circle around to make a base and giving it black and grey color combinations and the titan logo was born The logo represents fluidity; it may also be seen as a fountain of knowledge, also as a tree of trust under which people can take refuge as with the blue Tata logo .

Slogan: “What’s your style?”
Titan was launched in 1987 when watches were seldom stylish and catered to the basic need of knowing the time.Titan brought in the style concept and gradulally built its brand equity.

Jingle: Mozart’s Fifth Symphony
Titan has a typical signature tune taken from Mozart’s fifth symphony.Titan pioneered the concept of gifting watches and with the signature tune the watches caught the attention of many.

The Reward That Can't Be Bought

The Reward That Can’t Be Bought

The Reward That Can’t Be Bought, Costs Nothing.

There seems to be an assumption that employees don’t want to do a good job and that it is the function of HR to police the rules that have been put in place to force them to do a good job.

In truth most employees do want to do a good job.

When people don't do a good job it is normally because they are being denied the support, the materials or the feedback that they need.

When we stop telling people what to do and start to use the tools they need to become powerful their performance becomes exceptional.

The tools are Support, Encouragement, and Respect.

Using these tools will change the way that employees feel about what they do and when they start to feel good, when they start to be able to feel pride in what they do, then their performance becomes exceptional.

The HR function is in exactly the right place to change the way that employees feel about what they do by changing the way that they behave towards the staff, by involving them, by providing the tools that they need to be as good as they can be.

Doing this we avoid the resistance that is normally created when individuals are told what to do and instead we find a willing and enthusiastic workforce who want to become involved.
Involvement of the workforce is normally acknowledged as a vital ingredient in the success or failure of most driven changes or initiatives, whether it is keeping the work site tidy, discovering efficiencies in a production process or implementing a safety programme.

In each case we only truly succeed in changing performance if we generate a change in behaviour that sustains the change in performance in the long term.

To do this the work force must become involved, and in order to become involved there has to be something in it for them.

Nobody will change their behaviour unless they experience a "Win" when they make a change.
There are many incentive and bonus schemes which work well in the short term.

The reward however soon becomes an expectation and loses its power to act as an incentive.
We humans as a species are fiendishly adept at defeating these engineered solutions with strategies which will allow us to continue to gather the reward without changing our behaviour.
The reward which cannot be bought costs nothing.

Imagine your department is due for a business review and you are well ahead of the curve with your preparation.
On Friday afternoon it is announced that the directors of the parent company will be in the country and the review will now take place on Tuesday instead of the following Friday, to allow them to be present.
Your boss asks you to bring your schedule forward, this requires you to work all weekend to be ready.
Your efforts allow you to make the presentation on time and you are relieved that the directors do not appear displeased.

This is a familiar story of response to a pressure that is both difficult to resist and increasingly expected.
Now one of the directors walks across as you are packing away and says, "I'm sorry I couldn't rearrange my schedule to fit in with your original programme, thanks for your presentation,that was impressive."

Now, how do you feel?

The effort to give that feedback cost the director a few seconds of his time but the result is that now you can leap tall buildings.

Feedback which is Appropriate, Positive and Timely costs nothing.

Involvement is not an instant concept which can be bought. It has to be built up slowly and is the result of repeated experience.

In time confidence in their value within the team will increase and individuals will begin spontaneously to produce ideas and suggestions because they know their opinion will be listened to and respected.

This level of involvement is not a trick. It is the result of a long-term change in the behaviour of the whole team.

That change of behaviour needs to start somewhere and every one of us has the ability to take the first step.

Peter A Hunter.
Author-Breaking the Mould
http://www.breakingthemould.co.uk/

Monday, September 3, 2007

INDIA-An Attractive Investment Option for Hedge Funds:


INDIA-An Attractive Investment Option for Hedge Funds:

ECONOMIC FORCES:
India is the largest market for single stock futures in the world and has a well developed derivatives market in index futures and options. This gives hedging possibilities
not available in other emerging markets. There is also enough liquidity in the big stocks for domestic investors to sell short. Even though there are restrictions, these are less binding than in other emerging markets.

INFRASTRUCTURE:

In comparison to China, where stock markets are not well developed and company information is relatively opaque, India has much of the necessary institutional framework for hedging, including a regulatory regime and good information disclosure standards. Investors look at multiple markets around the world. There is a sense that the changes taking place in India are going to result in superior performance in the economy, and that the corporate sector will be a big beneficiary. Now, obviously the Chinese economy is larger, but the capital markets are better developed in India.

RISK MINIMIZATION:
Hedge fund companies can take advantage of the expanding phase of the Indian business cycle. They are going there with the idea that they'll get extraordinary returns, and of course with India being a growth story, those returns are definitely possible.



INDIAN BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT

Culture:

India is a relationship-based society. If you want to do deals, you need to know the
people. In places like India it is best if a hedge fund company has someone on the
ground there in order to get a sense of how business is run in India, and to get local
information. Ideally the fund should hire people who have worked in corporate India.

Red Tapism:

The SEBI and RBI are posing restrictions on the operation of hedge funds in
India. Whereas SEBI has introduced various parameters for selective entry of
hedge fund companies, RBI, in the monetary policy review has shown concern
over the arrival of hedge funds in the country.

Strategies for Investment-Fundamental Analysis:

In the U.S., fundamental analysis, where you study a firm closely, decide it may
be undervalued, and then take 10% equity, hold and sell --is largely dying out,
and the amount of money to be made is limited. However, in India, people feel
there are still a lot of fundamental plays, since the market is more inefficient.
That is predominantly the form of investment that everyone does. It is essentially
all about who is a better stock picker.

Michael Dell-Founder of Dell Inc.


Michael Dell - Founder of Dell Inc.
Michael Dell is the founder of the computer company Dell, Inc. He created one of the most profitable computer companies in the world with annual sales of up to $50 billion American dollars. Dell has also become one of the wealthiest people in the world with a 4th place listing on the Forbes rich Americans list in 2005 with an estimated worth of $18 billion.Michael Saul Dell was born on the 23rd of February, 1965 in Houston to an orthodontist father and a mother that worked as a money manager. Dell was interested in computers from a very young age and was already pulling them apart at the age of 15. He attended the University of Texas with hopes of becoming a doctor. Much to the dismay of his father, he abandoned studies to start his own business at just 19 years of age. The idea struck him when he saw people interested in buying much more advance configurations than were available in the market.
With just one thousand dollars in his pocket Dell started "PC's Limited" in 1984. From his university dorm room Dell started building and selling personal computers from stock computer parts. The idea that set the young entrepreneur apart from others was to sell directly to the customer, rather than going through a third party to sell his products. He is an entrepreneur not just of an organization but also a concept that has changed the way people do hardware business.
Dell pioneered the concept of selling computers directly to consumers, built to their specifications and without the added costs of retail distributors. The idea has proven to be quite profitable, and has been belatedly adopted by other computer makers who are struggling to keep up with Dell Computer Corporation's phenomenal success. By targeting educated consumers (i.e., corporations and government agencies), Dell is able to avoid the expense of heavy investments in building and maintaining retail channel sales and the after-sale burden of supporting unsophisticated users, though the company has a well-deserved reputation for its technical support services. He wisely passes this savings on to consumers, who have returned the favor by becoming repeat customers.
PC's Limited allowed the customer to customize their computer before it was custom built to their specifications. The prices could also be kept much lower than PC's Limited's competition as they had no stores to maintain or middlemen to pay commissions to. All computers were sold direct to the customer with the use of order forms, phone orders, and now Internet orders.

In 1988 PC's Limited had a name change to "Dell Computer Corporation" and had an initial public offering (IPO) that valued the company at roughly $80 million. By 1992 Dell Computer Corporation was listed on the Fortune 500 list of the five hundred largest companies in the world, making Michael Dell the youngest ever CEO to head a Fortune 500 company.
The company continued to grow and expand dramatically year after year, eventually selling more computers in the United States of America than any other PC company (including Compaq). The growth came with its own set of problems. Dell was growing at a frantic pace and it became hard to manage it. Moreover, Dell introduced some advance configurations that were not well taken by the consumers. He then set things right and eventually took his company out of trouble.
"Dell Computer Corporation" became "Dell Inc." as they moved into other areas of business. Dell Inc. now has an expanding product range that includes home entertainment systems and personal devices.
Michael has published his partly autobiographical book "Direct From Dell: Strategies That Revolutionized an Industry". The book is written in an entertaining, fast paced style that explains how Dell turned his $1000 company into a mega-corporation worth more than $100 billion.
Dell stepped down from his role as CEO at Dell Inc. in 2004 but remains the Chairman of the Board.
Michael Dell uses some of his great wealth for philanthropic activities and has started the "Michael and Susan Dell Foundation" with his wife Susan. The organization is committed to improving the lives of children in the United States of America and internationally.

How e-business can help organizations to develop and sustain competitive advantage?


The increase in the internet usage all over the world has made the world a small place to live in. One can assess variety of data and derive large amount of useful information. Internet had proved to be the biggest tool used to globalize the world. The internet usage is increasing day by day.
Internet has created lots of opportunities for new and existing businesses. The concept of e-marketing, e-business, e-commerce, e-CRM, e-procurement, etc have helped them to create competitive edge over rivals all over the world.

According to Deloitte & Touché Consulting Group, E-business can be defined as “The use of electronics networks for business (usually with web technology).”

The IBM defines it as, “The transformation of key business processes through the use of Internet technologies.”

E-business is primarily about selling online or the ability to transact online. This includes e-tailing, online banking and shopping – which involves transactions where buyers actually buy and shoppers actually shop. (Smith & Chaffey 2006).

The crux is that the buying and selling online can be defined as e-business. The sellers and buyers meets through electronics media and transaction is done at agreed terms. The revenue generated from sales is credited to the seller and a buyer is delivered the product within agreed time limit.

For example, e-bay, amazon.com, zoop, etc are into e-business.


The benefits from consumer point of view:



  • The major advantage of e-marketing is removal of intermediaries from the process of value chain. The intermediaries such as wholesalers, retailers, and dealers are removed and through internet the products and services are directly sold to the consumers. So, the products are cheaper.

  • Customers are bombarded with lots of information for products, which they are even thinking to buy

  • Customers can get the products according to their desired specifications
    Lead time (time between ordering and actually receiving the product) had been reduced comprehensively

The benefits from organization point of view:



  • Efficiency and effectiveness is increasing in the production processes and delivering the products to end users.

  • The relationships between the customer and seller had strengthen through e-customer relationship management

  • Companies have direct access to suppliers and ancillaries for speeding up the production process through exchange of information through internet. Just-in-time technology is one of the examples of such type.

  • The companies tend to gain competitive advantage over competitors by useful information flow between them and consumers. Being first to inform about your products to consumers will definitely let you have competitive edge over the others and also to have larger market share.

  • The feedback from the existing and new users in instant which is used to later on modify products in future.

The companies try to differentiate themselves in terms of Generic competitive strategies matrix elements: Cost Leadership, Cost Focus, and Differentiation.

For example,
Mc Donalds, Google, KFC, and Pizza hut are cost leaders having larger access to market share at low cost.

Nando’s chicken follows differentiation focus strategy having differentiated product called ‘Peri-Peri Grilled chicken’ and narrowly focused as casual dining for customers.
Russian Standard Vodka focused themselves as having larger market share with highly differentiated product for super premium category of customers.

Amazon as compared to all is focused equally on all the three elements, that why it’s shown in the centre of generic strategy model.


The companies use international communication strategy to convey their message online. The elements of integrated marketing communication are:



  1. Identifying the target audience: Such as porn sites especially targets younger generation.

    For example, the debonairblog.com, an Indian porn site targets the younger one, and warns people below 21 years of age on home page. (http://www.debonairblog.com/)

  2. Determining the message: “the message should gain attention, hold interest, arouse desire, and elicit action (AIDA model).” (Kotler 2005).
    For example, HSBC bank tagline on web page is “World’s Local Bank”, a unique and solid message. (http://www.hsbc.com/)

  3. Budget decision: the allocation of total budget in making up the web page and time to time changes in promotional mix offered.

Communication mix strategy: includes advertising, sales promotion, Personal selling, public relations, and direct advertising (Cherunilam, 2005).

For example, the promotional activities used by HMV.co.uk to give discount and off on music CDs and DVDs.

E-business models are revenue generation methods for any organization. With help of e-business models, companies can keep themselves as ‘going concern’. The companies may use any of the e-business models mentioned below to sustain themselves.

1) Brokerage models: The broker charges certain amount of agreed fee or commission, from both the ends, i.e. from buyers and sellers for each transaction made. The transactions can be of B2B, B2C, or C2C types. The brokerage models include:

Market place exchange: customers are offered full range of products and services and after full assessment and negotiations comes to conclusion to end the buying process.

For example, Thomas Cook Traveler provides various options to consumers to fulfill their traveling desires. (http://www.thomascook.com/content/homepage/homepage/homepage.asp?campaign=google1&keyword=thomas_cook)



· Buy and Sell fulfillment: customers can buy or sell their products online taking charge of even price and delivery.



For example, e-bay helps people to buy sell their merchandising on their website which behaves as common platform. (e-bay.co.uk)



· Demand collection system: final bid is made by buyer and broker arranges for settlements.
· Auction broker: Brokers’ conducts auctions for sellers and charges a nominal fee in form of commission per transaction through continuous offering and bidding n prices of products and services offered.



· Transaction broker: acts as third party payment solution for buyers and sellers, proving to be secure and safe deal.



Pay Pal which was founded in 1998, an eBay Company, enables any individual or business with an email address to securely, easily and quickly send and receive payments online.



· Distributor: Broker behaves as intermediary between real manufacturers and key persons in distribution such as wholesalers and retailers, providing them with all details of products being available.



For examples, MarketNewZealnd.com, web site profiles only the very best New Zealand products and services from export-ready companies.



· Search agents: helps in finding the products and services according to the availability of buyers quoted price.


For example, Edmunds.com, which provides The Edmunds True Market Value (TMV) an exclusive system for calculating what others are paying for new and used vehicles, based on real sales data from your geographic area.



· Virtual Market place: a place where automatic transactions are generated and buyers and sellers interact and pay agreed amount of fee or commission.
For example, Indiabulls Securities Ltd, an Indian stock brokers which is earning revenues in form of brokerage from their clients on buying and selling of shares online and offline.



2) Advertising models: for advertising the products and services offered in the form of well established websites or pop ups. The company tries to simplify their products mix along with price tags to the viewing customers.

Portals: a search engine offered free to view product offerings to larger volume of customers.

For example, Oracle Portal, a member of the Oracle Fusion Middleware family of products, offers a complete and integrated framework for building, deploying, and managing enterprise portals.

Classifieds: members to a particular site viewing and enjoying the information access.

For example: MySpace.com, bringing friends together at one platform from all over the world to chat and share views.

User registration: Just asking for demographic data over net, so that similar information can be provided to the user who gets registered.

For example, Ask.com's innovative search technologies deliver fast and relevant information for millions of people every day.



3) Informediary model: the information about customers is stored at one place which is further utilized and analyzed to target marketing campaigns.

Merchant model: are directly selling agents on web, asking for listed prices for products.

For example, Amazon.com sells various items at listed prices.



4) Manufacturer’s Direct Model: The manufacturer asks for specifications for the desired product directly from consumer. The product is manufactured keeping in mind efficiency, improved customer service, and after better understanding of customer’s preferences.

For example, Dell computers assemble laptops on customers’ specifications.



5) Affiliate model: where affiliates are paid for each click made by user.

For example, Jeevansaathi.com, an Indian matrimonial website, to find idle match.



6) Subscription model: customers subscribe to enjoy future services.

For example, Modeljobs.biz is largest source for Model, Talent and Casting jobs on net.


In conclusion, businesses around the world use almost all of the above stated theories and e-businesses models to create competitive advantage for themselves. The companies need to adopt dynamic behavior and keep on updating the information available on their websites. The businesses which do not adapt themselves according to changing environment are either dissolved or swallowed by big players.



Please contact me (anuragloach@gmail.com) for original document.


Many thanks,


Anurag Loach.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Entrepreneur Profle-R Sriram,Former CEO of Crossword Bookstores Ltd.

R. Sriram, Former CEO of Crossword Bookstores Ltd.

Sriram is a pioneer in the retail industry in India and has helped start and grow two bookstores: Walden in Hyderabad and Crossword in Mumbai.
It was about 20 years ago that Landmark, a well-known bookstore chain based in Chennai unleashed what has become a fairly lucrative market in India: bookstores. Sriram started his career at Landmark quite by accident and learnt the ropes of the trade of book retailing in his first job. After a few years along with two of his colleagues (one of them was Anita, who is now his wife) moved to Hyderabad to start Walden Bookstore.
In 1992 Sriram and Anita relocated to Mumbai to start the Crossword chain of bookstores. The couple along with a dedicated staff spent over a decade in creating and expanding the Crossword chain of bookstores. The couple helped create a unique chain of bookstores, where the comfort of the readers was their primary focus. The wanted to encourage readers to drop by, browse, and buy books.
Sriram was also responsible for setting up the Crossword Book Award, which is modeled after the famous Booker Prize. The Crossword Book Award is the first of its kind introduced in India.
Sriram is passionate about his books and it shows both at his home and the stores, where he has a special section called "Sriram Recommends." He is a voracious reader, and still finds time to read books.

Sriram lives with his wife Anita, and their new daughter Kavya in Mumbai.

Sriram believes that few pleasures in life equal that of a few quiet hours with a good book. He derives great pleasure in infecting other readers with his enthusiam for the books that he has enjoyed.
ABOUT CROSSWORD

Crossword was founded in 1992 by Mr R. Sriram and Ms K. Anita along with a young team from India Book House Limited and the first Crossword store opened on 15th October 1992 at Mahalaxmi, Mumbai. Currently, Crossword Bookstores Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary Company of Shopper’s Stop Ltd – India’s leading department store chain. The Holding Company inter-alia also acts as a Master Franchisee of the Company.Their first franchisees, Mr. Gaurav Shah and Mrs. Supriya Shah, were appointed in 1995 and the first franchise store opened on 7th October 1995 in Ahmedabad spread over an area of 4500 sq. ft. With their passion and commitment it has grown over the years and is currently spread over 15,000 sq. ft. in the same location. Gaurav and Supriya have also opened three Crossword Corners in Ahmedabad and operate a total of four stores currently.Crossword has grown to 37 stores today over 10 cities, with a mix of company owned and franchised stores.R Sriram Quits Crossword, to start Consultancy
Now he is starting a consulting practice in the retailing, publishing and consumer space .But, he will continue to be a consultant to Crossword.
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