Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Managing one's research career ..

Importance of ethics and perseverance in Research and publishing in reputed impactful journals ....

Most of us would not say it is a menace, but these days most of us professors are in the mad race to publish and get noticed. But have we understood the importance of Ethics in research and the importance of the work in furthering the domain of knowledge. ? That is a serious question bogging the research community for long.

While going through a paper by David Resnick Ph.D.on ethics in research, it was found very useful and interesting in understanding what constitutes basics ethics in research. Because of the author's earlier exposure to good standards of ethics in research practised by Professors in IIT Bombay in India, it is symptomatic of the ills plaguing the system to see colleagues in the mad rush to publish even in "paid journals" to get their work in print form.

When one sends a paper to a sub standard journal or a paid journal ( paid journal is a big menace these days), there is no cross checking of whether that contribution is unique, insightful, worthy of being pursued further and whether that work is going to advance the frontiers of knowledge in the field. Everything from quality to content to format is sacrificed at the altar of money. It is just published. The impact of the research may be very small or misleading to say the least. Its impact may be in a narrow area, yet the paper may be titled misleadingly and made to appear as if it covers a broad area and is cutting-edge work. We all have come across faculty colleagues resorting to such tactics in our earlier institutions. This is the starting point of poor research ethics. Some Professors if made aware of the implications of their casual attitude to research and publishing may be willing to change. And it is definitely worth the effort !

As a result of this casual attitude, most of us lose focus on the quality of the work and instead look only at the quantity of papers. Even for interviews and selection to higher positions, importance is given to the number of papers than to the quality of papers.  At Alliance University, I am impressed, the Chancellor, Prof Madhukar Angur PhD, being an academician, has put it out clearly that any paper to be recognised, has to be published in a Journal with an impact factor of 1, though very few faculty in the last one year have managed to enter that area. But even then some faculty do publish in paid journals ! A proper enlightening session on how to carry out good research needs to be taken up in right earnest ..

An impact factor of 1 for a journal for a year means the papers / materials published in that journal for the preceding two year period have been cited on "an average" once in other journals. Similarly an impact factor of 3 means each paper published in that journal for the preceding two years have been on an average cited three times in the preceding two years in other journals. ie. if totally the papers in the journal X over two years (2006 and 2007) have been cited 90 times (A) in other journals ( during 2006 and 2007) and about 30 papers (B) have been published in these two years ( 2006 and 2007) in the journal X, then A/B = 90/30 = 3 is the impact factor of the journal for the year 2008.

Hope we researchers stick to research ethics and continue to work hard and focused to come out with top quality papers in top rated journals of the world to contribute to advance the frontiers of knowledge in the subject area we are working.

Some of the ethics issues quoted in the above paper are reproduced here for the public. (courtesy Prof Resnick) 

  • Publishing the same paper in two different journals without telling the editors
  • Submitting the same paper to different journals without telling the editors
  • Not informing a collaborator of your intent to file a patent in order to make sure that you are the sole inventor
  • Including a colleague as an author on a paper in return for a favor even though the colleague did not make a serious contribution to the paper
  • Discussing with your colleagues confidential data from a paper that you are reviewing for a journal
  • Trimming outliers from a data set without discussing your reasons in paper
  • Using an inappropriate statistical technique in order to enhance the significance of your research
  • Bypassing the peer review process and announcing your results through a press conference without giving peers adequate information to review your work
  • Conducting a review of the literature that fails to acknowledge the contributions of other people in the field or relevant prior work
  • Stretching the truth on a grant application in order to convince reviewers that your project will make a significant contribution to the field
  • Stretching the truth on a job application or curriculum vita
  • Giving the same research project to two graduate students in order to see who can do it the fastest
  • Overworking, neglecting, or exploiting graduate or post-doctoral students
  • Failing to keep good research records
  • Failing to maintain research data for a reasonable period of time
  • Making derogatory comments and personal attacks in your review of author's submission
  • Promising a student a better grade for sexual favors
  • Using a racist epithet in the laboratory
  • Making significant deviations from the research protocol approved by your institution without telling the committee or the board
  • Not reporting an adverse event in a human research experiment
  • Wasting animals in research
  • Exposing students and staff to biological risks in violation of your institution's biosafety rules
  • Rejecting a manuscript for publication without even reading it
  • Sabotaging someone's work
  • Stealing supplies, books, or data
  • Rigging an experiment so you know how it will turn out
  • Making unauthorized copies of data, papers, or computer programs
  • Owning stock in a company that sponsors your research and not disclosing this financial interest
  • Deliberately overestimating the clinical significance of a new drug in order to obtain economic benefits

  • This is a good article on what is good, basic research from Richard Hamming of Bell labs, from University of Viriginia ( pdf format) and how to manage one's research career ..

    Let us work together for a better tomorrow for the world ..


    Monday, April 29, 2013

    Infosys 3.0 under Shibulal ..

    I could only hope the best for Infosys, but somehow that is not happening.

    Referring to an article in the April 26 2013 issue of Economist, it was a bit depressing. The article is talking slightly negative of the impact of the CEOship of Shibulal to the Infosys brand. shibulal taking up the assignment as the last of the Infy founders on the driving seat, especially when the economy is "difficult", has an impact. Shibulal is testing the waters.

    Economist also quotes that during this same tough times TCS of Tata Sons is doing much better and reporting healthy profits.

    The article says that if Infy is willing to compromise on the profits to get future business, it can come back to good health. This affects Infy image which it has been nurturing for many years, that of being a premium player and creating a hype around its processes and service.

    The article highlights bad operations management on the part of Infy to be the cause of all problems. Issues with financial sector customer's demand, sequencing customer order wins, spending patterns of clients and the US Immigration rules which prevents them from moving their employees across the world have been highlighted.

    As a company which for the first time brought Indian professionalism to the forefront of the world and made it known that professionally run firms can also do it better than family run businesses, Infy cannot go down. The two co-chairmen at the top may be making the running a bit toght for the CEO, stressing on whom to listen to, violating the basic principle of unity of command.

    Indians do believe strongly that Infy will come out successful in a short time, given that Shibulal is the last of the founders on the hot chair ( and he deserves a chance to lead the company he co-founded) and the others to follow will all be professionals selected on the calibre and potential from the wide array of managers available in the country and from abroad.

    And if Infy moves from the software services model to software product model, the future will indeed be bright .. (like Google, adobe etc..)

    Maybe the coming year we can expect to see Shibulal taking lot of risks and in a highly competitive business world, cut the margins but get the needed volumes.

    Friday, April 26, 2013

    Introducing Kaizens in your organisation ..

    Kaizen is basically the Japanese word for continuous improvement. The basic success behind the Toyota Production System or Japanese companies has been their over stress on not being complacent with their achievements and trying all the time to do even better. Continuous Improvement is thus part of their life. Moreover Kaizens have become a part of the Total Quality Management revolution that has started with Feigenbaum's work in this area.

    Kaizen principles, courtesy Tulip.
    Well then as an Industry practitioner, the next question you are going to ask is how am I going to initiate Kaizens in the organisation where I am working and bring in continuous Improvement all the time ?

    The idea is quite simple.. Kaizen suggestions are ideas which you put on paper and should come from the workers who are immediately on the job. That way their ideas will have greater relevance and will definitely bring in better results. 

    Any suggestion that brings in reduction of WASTE by way of
    a. reducing effort, 

    b. improvement of shopfloor, 

    c.reduction of fatigue, 

    d. more production, 

    e. improved productivity, 

    f. less defects, 

    g. better quality, 

    h. improved morale of the employees, 

    i. greater teamwork, 

    j. less pollution and damage to environment. 

    k. less energy consumption, 

    l. less waiting, less transportation, less processing time, less use of inputs, less use of critical 
    resources, better use of critical resources, 

    m. improved safety and less accidents, 

    n. less wear and tear of machines, 

    o. better methods of operation and so on qualify to be a Kaizen suggestion.

    The suggestions are written on piece of paper and the employee is motivated to submit it to the dept head. An employee can submit any number of Kaizen suggestions. 

    At the end of the month, all the Kaizens are collected and the Kaizen committee, which can be interested people and middle management employees who are comfortable with the system , maximum of three to four, segregate the good and implementable kaizens.  

    The Kaizens are segregated as A, B and C types depending on
    1. A - suggestions that can be implemented with no extra costs
    2. B - suggestions that  can be implemented with extra costs and 
    3. C - suggestions that are totally impractical.
    The first priority is for Kaizens of the A type (that do not have any financial commitment). There are many development opportunities that escape the attention of the operations personnel / management that do not need any resource commitment, but which can bring improvements straightaway. These are the opportunities that need to be tackled first.

    The next priority is for Kaizens of the B type (needing financial commitment). Depending on the availability of funds and management commitment, the organisation can think of taking up B type Kaizens. C type Kaizens are ignored.

    After the implementation is done, (after doing a thorough PDCA cycle) and documenting the benefits, notice is put on the notice board as a form of appreciation stating the name originator of the kaizen, his dept, the work area, benefits in terms of improved productivity, output and benefits in costs, etc.. 

    This method brings in gradual improvement over time and is different from Kaizen blitz which is a radical improvement workshop which brings in improvements in a matter of weeks. But generally in the Japanese or Toyota system, patience pays and it takes months for results and benefits to show up and this change is permanent and long lasting with the full support of the person doing it, ie.  the worker.

    If any organisation is interested in implementing Kaizens on their shopfloor / offices, they can contact the author.


    why US should never worry on gunshot deaths ..

    310 million firearms for a population of 314 million ..

    Every year for the past ten years on an average about 30,000 people are killed from gunshot wounds. Though two thirds of this is related to suicide, this is indeed a big figure. Considering annual death rate of 8.3 deaths per 1000, it says that if you are in US, there is a 1.17% probability that you will be lucky to die of a gunshot wound..

    In the past three years from 2010, only ten people have died from terrorist violence, of that 6 were sikhs in a Nevada sikh gurdwara last year. 90,000 people from gunshots compared to 10 from violence. ie. ratio of gunshot deaths to terrorist deaths is 9,000 : 1

    For US senators, Congressmen and the sluggish, somnolent citizens, it is just misplaced priority or inability to infer from the writing on the wall .. In their over zealousness to control the world and other citizens, they dare anyone else even to raise a finger at them .. What an empty-headed, dumb, nescient approach after all !! US does not need any outside terrorist to kill their people, there are home grown terrorists in their own people out there to kill them ..  

    Those with intelligence, read the writing on the wall !! No pressure from any country or people, only if you have it and you don't want to die like a dog ..


    Thursday, April 25, 2013

    Apple and ineffective operations strategies ?

    Some of my marketing colleagues have been upbeat about the inevitability of the Marketing function in modern day businesses. They claim Management is all about Marketing and Innovation - as claimed by a management thinker .. I cannot but differ, from this thought.. I feel a lot more needs to be said and done before anyone could conclusively say or write something in that respect and I feel it is but the most insane thought one can have. Though I do not fully subscribe to the view that marketing is just an exercise in futility for the short term, I understand that it does connect the markets to the products or services developed and thus performs an important function after Operations.

    The case of Apple is being introduced here. Even though it is too early to predict the collapse of Apple,  despite its well intentioned marketing strategies and brand image concepts, Apple is seeing a market freefall like never before. Its shares have plummeted from $706 to $ 406 in a year and its profits have declined by 18% last quarter despite slight increase in revenues.

    It is interesting from the academic point of view at how marketing and brand image concepts at Apple have taken a beating. Despite having the best focussed brains in the world, it is a surprise that Apple has taken a severe drubbing  of its stocks. Now Apple will be out of successful marketing case studies of Business Schools and will be a disaster case study at how to avoid some of the blunders .. It is a clear case of how in spite of the best, professional marketing theories of great thinkers and practitioners in place, a company flounders !!

    Despite its well thoughout strategies at giving the customer better products with advanced features at sky high prices, Apple may not be able to survive in the market where less costly, feature rich, technically superior items are available from the markets of India and China.. Apple now has to look around for more innovative strategies of offering 'great value' matching with its 'high pricing' strategy to the world. It may be difficult to take the customers for granted anymore ...

    The freefall of Apple stock is phenomenal and no force on earth can stop it .. Even though $100 billion of its cash reserve of $150 billion will be pumped into the market by 2015 to give customers the needed confidence, the onslaught of Chinese and Indian products in the market will surely give it a run for its money. Is it that Apple's game plans are over ?? the rabbit is out of the hat ?

    This does not in any way denounce the role of marketing in Business School curriculum .. In fact it just means that marketing may take a company to great heights, but cannot help it sustain that position unless it has strong fundamentals and a great work culture. Take for example Toyota Motor Company. It is a great product company of the world. It is known for its products, people and processes (Toyota Production System). A system founded on sound operations culture and value system which has stood the test of time for sixty years and is now among the most respected, adored, profitable and largest manufacturing concerns in the world.

    Marketing strategies are all temporal, just a momentary phenomenon, not for the long run. If an organisation concentrates only on Marketing and ignores other areas, it really gives meaning and substance to the famous proverb which goes this way, 'Make hay while the sun shines ". The gains are short-lived !! The mild and weak-hearted will fall for it, not everyone.. 

    So sad how the intelligent business community and academicians downplay the role of the correct operations strategies that decides whether a company survives inn the long run or not.

    If Apple had concentrated on an operations strategy on giving better products at better prices with excellent functional and technical  features, it would have stayed a little longer in the market. People may ascribe it to the absence of Steve Jobs at the helm of affairs in Apple to give value to customers, but it is not so, it is just absence of that effective operations strategy, a strategy to take the competition headon and give value to the customer..

    My next article will focus on what makes Walmart have the edge over TESCO, or Toyota over GM or Google over Yahoo ..


    Thursday, April 18, 2013

    insta sky scraper ..

    Zhang Hue and his Broad Sustainable building plans for the 220 storey tallest sky scraper which he plans to build in 7 months, in Hunan province, China ..

    Structural revolution as he calls it, this is going to be one of the greatest innovations to come out of China in the last 100 years ..


    The greatest innovators of all time - the Chinese ...

    China has been a land of innovations since time immemorial .. The most potent has been the gun powder which was properly exploited by the european colonisers to colonise East and North America ..

    What is the secret behind the Chinese innovative mind ?

    Getting into the psyche of the Chinese, was it

    a. necessity of products and services because of a huge population,
    b. inborn creativity of the people,
    c. an innate desire to do things better, efficiently  and with least effort,
    d. less of internal conflicts and lots of peaceful times for creative thinking and pursuits during the 5 to 6 millenia of its existence,
    e. a strong belief in societal knowledge than knowledge for personal benefit and wealth as observed in the West,
    f. a less individualistic and more community based orientation,
    g. a philanthropic mind set,
    h. stress on discipline and orderliness or
    i. great spirituality ?

    What could have been the reason for China having contributed so much to the world ?


    What more do you need, the most exhaustive from A to Z ...

    Compass, printing press, gun powder and paper, the biggest of them all ...  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Chinese_inventions

    The world can never be less thankful to China for their inventive, ingenious, creative mind .. ..


    Wednesday, April 17, 2013

    Selco solar power, Dr Harish Hande ..

    Story of SELCO is the story of Dr. Harish Hande ..

    How a committed social entrepreneur is changing the energy scenario in the country by his untiring work to remove darkness and bring light to millions of Indians in rural Karnataka. Gururaj Deshpande in his podcast to Chicago Booth School of Business talks of Energy and Life Sciences being the sunshine sectors of the coming century .. Dr Gururaj's a123systems is an example of this..

    400 million homes in India do not have access to electricity, but have abundant solar power during day time. Watch this video on Selco solar company working with the India rural poor in Kernataka ..



    Ashden award  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=cVQJI5fNqbI&NR=1

    The story of Dr Harish Hande, IIT KGP alumnus and UMass PhD .. the power behind Selco ..

    Yale School of Management case study .. on Selco ..

    Forbes India article on SELCO ..

    Dr Hande and Selco has just covered 50,000 homes in 12 years in Karnataka and almost 1.2 lakh homes in the country ..

    No wonder Dr Hande has already featured in Reshmi Bansal's "I have a Dream", story of top 20 social entrepreneurs in the country and also in IIT Kharagpur's top 25 entrepreneurs since its inception.

    There are potentially 400 million homes waiting to experience this.. The potential is limitless. There is scope for at least 1000 more entrepreneurs like Dr Hande .. Any entrepreneurs out there to take the challenge ??


    Some words from Santosh Bharamshetty on late Prof Amonkar ..

    Santosh was a quiet boy, very respectful and serious with his studies in Goa Engineering College. I found him to be a student who was ever willing and ready to take on new challenges and new knowledge in the Engineering domain. What immediately brought me to interact with him during his college days at Goa Engineering college was his fond affinity for Free and Open source software.

    When we used to organise small get-to-gethers of the free and open source software (FOSS) community ( Goa engg college linux user group - GEC - LUG) he used to be an active volunteer and help in arranging the demo of interesting free and open source software, engineering related like QCAD, productivty and publishing related like Open Office, LaTeX etc.., help in organising install-fests on student laptops, free 24 hour demos in the studen thostel and so on.

    Later on with the activities of thee Nature Club of GEC of which Santosh was a strong member, we had many treks to different locations in goa, scenic, at least five of them over two years and we enjoyed those treks very much. It also made our friendship grow stronger and long lasting.


    Some students create such a lasting impression in college that they do not go out of your minds for many years .. Santosh is one of those students.. Lot of fond happy memories ..


    Rs. 90,000 crore funds for 7300 kms of new National Highway ..

    As we all know, road construction is the basic source of heavy corruption in the country. The recipients of this corruption later on in life find their lives wasted with this illicitly earned money. Honesty needs to be cultivated in our lives to ensure that other  citizens of the country also benefit by better facilities  from infrastructure development and not just some vultures who grab these funds and transfer them to some illicit account in Swiss banks etc..

    The govt was planning to get public private partnerships in the project but to no avail. Which means the NHAI (National Highway Authority of India) will take up this project, giving it to major contractors, and they in turn to minor contractors and so on. This opens up terrific opportunities for corruption and waste of public money.

    To make this process transparent and the disbursal and utilisation of funds more accountable, a few suggestions are being made here, hope the authorities listen to them.

    1. Revise the terms of the contract, include the cost of maintenance and upkeep of the roads for five years as part of the contract terms.

    2. Let there be an ombudsman ( a public spirited learned individual or professor from a reputed Institute ) in each state to check the quality and progress of construction.

    3. Let the contractors give an undertaking that they will not pay any body either in government or outside any bribe to get undue favours in passing bills or inflating the bills etc...

    4. After certification of worthiness of construction by the competent authority, let the payment to the contractor be made within a period of 48 hours.

    5. Let there be a clause which states that PMP certified professional be included in the project if the contract amount is more than Rs. 100 crores.

    6. Let the accounts and utilisation, disbursal of funds, names of contractors, status of each project etc be put up on a Govt website for the public to keep a watch on

    The basic aim of this exercise is to see that public funds are utilised efficiently for common good and not private greed.

    George Easaw

    Friday, April 12, 2013

    Hope Indian Navy handles this issue professionally ..

    In one incident we have the likes of Lt. Cdr Abhilash Tomy circumnavigating the world and bringing honours to the country. In other incident, which is likely to bring great world shame on the inside happenings in the Indian Navy, corruption at the highest levels and wife swapping have been reported among the senior Naval officers at Kochi and as a bait to young ambitious officers looking out for promotions, Urgent action is needed from the authorities.

    Though the network of senior naval officers as reported had tried their best to silence the wife of the officer who was being harrased continuously to give in to the demands of the seniors and who stoutly refused, this incident is a damning one for the Indian navy. Indian Navy supposed to be a professional group of sailors, the Defence setup has to act fast and court martial the offenders in this heinous crime..

    Hope the Defence Minister does not take a lackadaisical go cool attitude on this news and instead acts with great haste and urgency to cleanse the system of all deviant behaviours.

    As a loyal tax payer who is paying salary to these sailors who are supposed to provide security and guard my land shores from foreign powers, how can I rest assured that the shores are in safe, competent hands ?

    Let us have an impartial probe and identify and eliminate all moles in the system out there to malign a system for personal aggrandisement.


    Toyota's next frontiers .. energy and sustainability ..

    It was surprising to read about the present Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda's targets for Toyota Japanese plants this year. Given that Japanese plants of Toyota produce about 45% of the total 8.5 million cars produced last year , this is a real challenging target given the production pressures at these plants

    The energy consumption will be reduced by 20% or in other words, energy efficiency will be increased by 20%. The CO2 emissions will be reduced by 30%...

    These are challenging targets and given the Toyota penchant for meeting impossible targets consistently one after the other, this is just a challenge given to the employees to see that they have enough zeal to work and give their best on the shopfloor. 

    Given Toyota's tough targets on quality, productivity and maintenance, this is a Godsend for them to give the needed challenge to their employees.

    There is no doubt that the systematic collective approach to team efforts co-ordinated with lean methodologies in case of quality, productivity and maintenance will now reflect itself in the areas of energy efficiency and green measures and be accepted as annexures to the existing knowledge on lean methodologies on how can companies go lean on energy usage and remain sustainable at the same time ..

    When in the class students used to ask why Toyota is only concerned about its internal production volumes, costs and productivity targets of employees and why it is not concerned about Energy, the environment and atmosphere, as Professors we ran short of words. But now with the new announcement Toyota has once again shown that it is not out of sync with reality and would try its level best to increase energy efficiency and match upto the best green companies in the world.. .


    Wednesday, April 10, 2013

    What differentiates the largest companies in the world ?? Marketing or Operations ?

    How Operations differentiates major organisations of the world.

    From an operations perspective I have to pose these questions to understand makes big organisations tick. How is Google different from Yahoo, or Toyota from General Motors or Walmart from Tesco, Alibaba from Amazon, Huawei from Siemens, Haier from Whirlpool ? All these companies are the market leaders in their own right and are some of the world's largest organisations.

    Toyota has its characteristic Toyota Production System, which concentrates on lean methodologies, helping to reduce wastes and lower costs, Jidoka helping to increase quality by detecting and eliminating defects right at the point of occurrence.  GM on the other hand depends on the age old, redundant  Mass Production technologies. Having a knowledge of the modern and efficient technologies helps managers to choose what is best for their organisations.

    Walmart's strength is its supply chain supported by a strong IT infrastructure. It has an effective and efficient supply chain with an equally strong Information System which differentiates it from Tesco or Carrefour. It is able to extract the Point of Sale data at different retail outlets and decide on lateral replenishment strategies to ensure effective service levels to customers at the right prices, handling order variance amplification (called  bullwhip effect) and the resultant inventory pileups, deploying the appropriate modes of transportation and storage points, deciding on cross docking, helping bring down operational costs, increasing the supply chain surplus and so on. These measures help it to retain its top spot as the worlds largest physical retailer.

    Google is vastly successful because of its efficient, technically superior search heuristics and algorithms. How to churn out relevant search output than Yahoo to make it the darling of the Internet community is more of a technical issue than anything else.The optimal and effective use of processing hardware, search algorithms, right keywords, Internet bandwidth, Random access memory, retrieval and storage technologies play an important role in deciding on the superiority of Google over other search engines.

    Alibaba, the largest e-commerce portal of the world from China (2.5 times Amazon and e-bay combined)  believes in volumes and is being served by 6 million vendors from within China. The complexity of inward logistics, outward logistics, order fulfilment, payment protocols, ensuring delivery and distribution within the promised time frame and handling returns is a nightmare in itself. Alibaba handles these by means of alipay.com and alifinance.com with efficient processes and digital infrastructure. Handling all these operational nightmares efficiently makes it the world's largest e-commerce portal.

    Haier is again a white goods giant of the world which dwarfs Whirlpool in its magnitude of operations. Huawei is again the world leader in networking technology and leads over the former world leaders Seimens and Ericsson both in terms of technology, service and low costs. The operational logistics of helping Huawei reach majority of Africa and middle east is stupendous.

    Facebook has virtually no competition in the social networking space because of the cost and operational benefits of adopting Free and Open Source Software over proprietary software for its operating system and powering the backend databases, relational database Management system, MySQL, which allow one billion plus subscribers free use of its website to interact with friends and colleagues from across the world. Their decision to adopt free and open source software made a big difference to the social networking community.

    By quoting these examples it is clear that Operations is a line function in the organisation. It plays a major role in deciding on the profitability and reach of the organisational to the population of the world. The Industry needs other disciplines throughout its lifecycle, but whether it is instrumental in the forward thrust of the company is open for academic debate. Their role as a maintenance function is an accepted truth.

    It may be more than true to say that the survival of the company depends on its operations strategy. Operations strategy differentiates the winner and the second position holder. While it is easy to hire talent in other functions, it is difficult to hire hire people with a particular operations culture, it has to be relived and experienced.

    What is happening to Apple which had some of the best marketing strategies in the IT world even though the all Apple products were China manufactured ? It is gradually losing to Samsung from South Korea and Huawei from China who are conquering market after market and emerging to the top spot of the world, on the quality of the products and their costs. Cost differentiation strategy is helping Huawei and Samsung conquer markets. Delayed product differentiation is an operations strategy which helped HP retain its lead over Canon in the inkjet printer market despite having Canon printer engines in HP printers. How Dell exploited the Internet to offer mass customised products to its customers  not compromising on the low costs is a characteristic operations decision textbooks speak of fervently. The right sourcing of the items is what decides retailers supply chain surplus.

    How companies innovate on their operations strategies decides finally whether they remain at the top or not in the long run. Toyota finding that no other automobile manufacturer can match up with its top quality and costs, is now giving itself targets to attain, concentrating on increasing energy efficiency and lowering CO2 emissions as innovative operations which will help them remain competitive over their competitors in the long run.

    In an emerging market, marketing does play a role but does it so in a saturated market, like for example mobile phones, where cost, performance and technical specs decides the customer purchasing preferences than the looks or brand image ?

    While operations strive to reduce variance and keep it to the minimum in processes, quality, production and inventory levels, helping to keep costs low, Marketing strives to profit from variance, the variance in customer needs, behaviour and market dynamics, so that one can sell whatever to whomever who needs it, provided a segment exists or is created.

    It makes sense to find whether effective Marketing would have made the difference to these organisations.


    An excellent explanation for Muda, Mura and Muri ..

    The beauty of the Japanese production system is that the ideas are so simple, but the relevance is so great and practical in the long run bringing in great benefits ..

    Muri - overburden

    Mura - unevenness

    Muda - waste

    The two illustrations give a great example of what Muda, mura and muri is in our daily lives ..

    How we do preparation for the exams ?

    Do we study uniformly from day 1 of classes (no muda) or study during mid sem and end sem (muri) or study during weekends and while away during weekdays .... ??

    ge.. (credit Arianne Nunes, loginlogoutjournal.blogpsot.com )

    Tuesday, April 09, 2013

    Top 5 top selling cars of all time ..

    No. 1 - Toyota Corolla , 37.5 million cars sold worldwide
    No. 2 - Ford F series, 35 m
    No. 3 - VW Golf, 27.5 m
    No. 4 - VW Beetle 23.5 m
    No. 5 - Ford Escort, 20 m.. (source www.autoguide.com)

    Toyota Corolla 

    Ford F-series

    VW Golf ..
    VW Beetle

    Ford Escort ..

    Lt. Cmdr Abhilash Tomy circumnavigates the globe unassisted and solo ..

    Lt. Commander Abhilash Tomy, the first Indian to do a solo around the world in a sail boat, INS Mhadei, without any engine, not touching any port, in 150 days, covering 40,000 kms and battling 10 m high waves and 100 kmph wind .. ( another Malayali success story ..)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0al54WRN2Y  - being received by the President of India at Gateway of India ..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiNYNpZI6Ok  - his ordeals and route ..  NDTV interview ..

    President of India, Governor of Maharashtra and the Naval Chief receiving him in Mumbai after the 150 day trip .. The plans of the Indian navy in training and equipping its personnel in long transcontinental solo sailings unassisted, are thus bearing fruits ..

    With the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces ..

    150 days since he last washed those jeans  ?? Originally from Alleppey ( from Anand, Mohan, Dinesh' land, now settled near to chapo in Thripoonithura..)

    ge.. ( I was surprised to get comments from Abhilash himself on his jeans !!) check the comments ..

    Bajaj RE 60 quadricycle ..

    The new Renault-Nissan-Bajaj baby RE 60, the new 216 cc petrol driven, 4 seater quadricycle, gives 35km/litre of petrol (long runs). Priced at Rs 1.2 Lakhs, it gives the least emission at 60g CO2 /km, (lesser than Toyota Prius at 90g CO2/km) ..  Technologically superior !!

    Saturday, April 06, 2013

    Interesting developments in Korean peninsula ..

    The silly petty posturing by the Communist North Korea ( GDP of $ 12 billion) with its Southern component of South Korea (GDP of $1200 billion) is there for the world to see.

    To divert the attention from the failed communist policies of North Korea ( a rogue nation patronised by China), it is trying to put the blame on its bad fortune and its problems on the West and South Korea .. Cartoon from The Economist ..

    If it dares to launch any petty missile on the South, the world can see a country being wiped out from the surface of the earth in a matter of hours.  But what does the poor people of North Korea do ? Their autocratic leaders are so dumb, the kid Kim Jong Un, does not even know what he is talking or doing..

    The next 24 hours can be interesting for the world if the silly posturing of Kim Jong Un continues and finally we may see North Korea backing out saying that in the interest of world peace they do not want to initiate a war.

    The petty posturing from North Korea is a shame and blot on the whole civilized world .. It sends strong signals to the outside world of their conclusive and decisive acceptance of defeat ( even Afghanistan is twice prosperous as North Korea) and of the failed attempts of the dictator and his cronies to continue to cheat the people of his country yet again ..

    For the sake of the people of North Korea and its future, stop this bluff once for all !!


    How gas subsidy in the country is to work ??

    The subsidy will thus go only to genuine customers and not to bogus customers like hotels, car owners etc..

    Great scheme ..


    In India, we mistake it for Development !!

    Just to clear the air regarding development in some parts of the country in relation to others .. Please read this article  from Times of India ..

    This is called development in Gujarat, investment leading to less than 0.27% returns .. Investment on show case infrastructure projects, (to impress the people) indebting the people of the state to an extent of Rs 26,000 per capita on loans, having among the highest debt burden in the country and still claim to be a "model state", get rapped on the knuckles by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for unproductive investments using borrowed funds at higher rates of interest, all said, to put sand in the eyes of a gullible and ignorant public. 

    The International Economic Development Council defines economic development as an "activity that seeks to improve the economic well-being and quality of life for a community, by creating and/or retaining jobs…"  

    Where is economic well-being ? Where is improvement of quality of life ? where are jobs ? Big business houses are being given out-of-turn concessions amounting to benefits for thousands of crores of rupees in allotting land to bribe them into speaking good about the government .. If every CM in the country takes up showing off as a substitute to development, what will be the fate of the country .. 


    Friday, April 05, 2013

    Is North Korea any threat at all ?? Why this belligerence ?

    It is interesting to see the posture of North Korea threatening to bomb US cities and wipe them off the surface of the earth.

    Economic analysis : 
    It makes sense if we analyse the financial might of the Koreas. South Korea in spite of its huge industrial base has a GDP of just $ 1.12 trillion, ie. $1120 billion .. This is just 0.58 of India's GDP of $ 1.95 trillion, 19% of their very immediate neighbour Japanese GDP of $5.87 trillion, 15% of another neighbour Chinese GDP of $7.13 trillion and barely 7.5% of US GDP of $15 trillion.

    How big is the north Korean economy ? With a GDP of $ 40 billion it is just double that of  Afghanistan at $ 20 billion and 19% of Pakistan GDP of $211billion.

    Then why is North Korea making so much of a noise and why is the world taking note ?

    Military threat :
    First of all it is the military threat, more specifically , missiles.. 

    Though the North Korean missiles have been developed clandestinely with Chinese help, the nuisance value it poses is grave.

    How big is the North Korean nuclear threat ?

    North Korea does have a nuclear bomb, but not the potential to deliver it to any part outside the country.. Which means it can show the might by detonating it within the country itself. With approximately 1000 centrifuges, a rather advanced Uranium enrichment facility and good quantity of Uranium reserves, North Korea can be a threat in another twenty years, if unchecked, but not as of now.

    Why is North Korea resorting to this rhetoric and frequent posturing ? Why is it upset with itself ?

    Coming under Communist rule after its partition in 1945, North Korea has had one party rule and low industrial growth. It has lagged behind its neighbour South Korea and is now just 4% of South Korean economy. To cover up its exasperation and the failure of the one-party Communist rule, North Korea frequently takes up such rhetorics and posturing to remind the world that Communism is not dead yet ..

    It is just a worm on the ground ready to be squashed by the shoes of a runner ..

    Let us not give much importance to its claims and boasts. But all the same, the rest of the world has to be aware of the nuisance this prick in the world stage can cause.


    Toyota story in India ..

    Here is the link of the Eco. Times article .. Good ..


    612 indians have black money stashed abroad ??

    Damining investigation by ICIJ ( International Consortium of Investigative Journalists) have revealed that 612 Indians cutting across businesses, politicians and professions have stashed money abroad ( literally called black money) and their names have been made public..

    Vijay Mallya, Rahul mammen Mapillai (MRF), Mirchandanai ( Onida), Mittal, Oswal etc figure in the list ..

    At least let these anti national elements be proceeded against as per law.. If not the common man will come to believe that the govt has the guts only to fight the small fish and not chase the large sharks. It definitely will improve the image of the govt and the opposition. Most of these people may be funders to the politicians and hence politicians dare not raise a finger against them.

    These criminals are the people who drain the country of resources and go and speak in public forums of the problems facing the country and how to solve them.

    What comes next ? Our politicians would do well to stall the parliament over such allegations and ask that action be taken against them. Why is it that Indians have a secret passion to stash black money abroad when they find their fellow Indians passing through such great hardships and diseases within the country ? Have we become so much selfish that we only think of grabbing the money which should have gone to the poor man and not care about him..  ..

    It is a very poor understanding of the greatness of our culture and inherent traces of insincerity and immoral behaviour running through the family of these people that forces them to resort to such mean, selfish steps. 

    Good Luck India !! Shouldnt we group all these anti-national elements with Dawood Ibrahim and such blood trafficking criminals ? Criminals be they from blood money, drug tarfficking , human trafficking or money stashing without paying proper taxes to the government, they are all anti-nationals. Day by day we find the list of anti-nationals and criminals in the country are growing long, latest by 612 people..


    Thursday, April 04, 2013

    Coursera.org, Democratic Development ..

    Dear friends,

    I have joined fro the course on Democratic Development (10 weeks starting from April 3 to June 12, 2013) offered on www.coursera.org, by Stanford University .. Even though India is the largest democracy in the world, our leaders and bureaucrats are not well informed on what constitutes principles of democracy. This course will help the citizens as well as the government officers and political leaders, what is the given in a democracy.

    These courses are called Massive Open Online Courses ( MOOC) and is a good way to enable dissemination of knowledge in selected areas as taught by reputed Universities to the people of the world.

    At the end of the course if you have successfully taken all the online quizzes at the end of each week as well at the end of the course, you are eligible for a certificate of completion from Stanford University. 

    Check out here for some of the courses offered by www.coursera.org

    Good wishes for a journey of enlightenment and knowledge !!

    Sincere regards,

    George Easaw 

    Wednesday, April 03, 2013

    Industry analysis presentations ..

    Over the past two days for seven hours, I had the good opportunity to listen to MBA sem 2 students of Alliance University presenting fourteen Indian Industry analysis reports. The industries were very diverse from telecom to hospitality, Banking, Life Insurance, Management Consulting, Cement, Real Estate, Textile, Paint, Computer, Aviation, Newspaper, Broadcasting and Retail Industries.

    It was an eye opener and offered lots of information to me. The students did a SWOT analysis, PESTEL analysis, computed the HHI Index and gave their view on the future outlook for the Industry as part of the presentation. Overall the scenario is quite bright and does not look that bleak.

    If we as Indians are able to deliver clean governance and good leadership for the country, we can march to be the second biggest economy of the world, even the first economy, given our firm foundation in human rights, democracy, rule of law, secular framework, an army in the barracks and talented intelligent workforce.


    Tuesday, April 02, 2013

    BMI pic ..

     Body Mass Index is weight of body in kgs divided by height in metres squared.

    After the 50 day lent when I have been taking pure veg food, my BMI has fallen to 25.88, bordering with normal BMI .. 

    Risk of a cardiac attack is less ...`


    6000 killed in Syria in March 2013, upto 60,000 killed so far .. ..

    In Syria, a land of 20 million people, 6000 people to be killed due to internal violence during a month, ie. March 2013, is a very serious thing.

    Very shocking and appalling ..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

    The death over all the years has crossed more than 60,000. Read this link 

    A UN video of 2012 .. 

    It is indeed inaction of the whole world that is the cause of this grave tragedy unfolding. 

    Throw Basher Assad our or throw the people out, do one of these things.

    The world has got fed up of Syrians killing fellow Syrians ..

    Data Visualisation Presentation..

    Dr. Sukanya explaining the finer aspects of Data Visualisation in R Today 19 July 2019, Business school and Engineering school of Alli...

    My popular posts over the last month ..