Tuesday, June 30, 2015

How to do an effective Case Analysis ?

A case analysis is a project. Rigour and relevance are equally important in a case analysis.

Any case analysis should have these fundamental four points

1. Statement of the problem
  • always keep the strategic perspective in mind
  • some cases may also have a tactical perspective
  • clear definition of the strategic problem
  • try to identify the root cause problem, not the symptoms
2. Issue Analysis
  • this phase is the preparation of facts / litterature search
  • get an understanding of the strategic problem
  • try to differentiate between data / information / knowledge
  • do a content analysis and differentiate between facts, opinions and assumptions
3. Presentation / discussion of alternatives
  • once the case has been discussed in detail and viable alternatives have been generated, list them out
  • check out the practical ones and separate them based on advantages and disadvantages
  • check out the alternatives for ease of implementation
4. Plan of action
  • it is always a good idea to have a plan of action evolve out of the case discussion
  • alternatively students could be asked to come to the class with a plan of action for the case, to be discussed in the class
  • PoA should be backed by financial analysis, consumer analysis, market research, info systems etc.
5. Summary of the case
  • have a contingency Plan of Action. the PoA generated may be based on false assumptions. In case the thought out PoAs not accepted or feasible, the people should be able to discuss an alternative, rather than having to gothrough the whole process again
  • it will help to rely on a duplicate plan of action than having to do analysis all over again
These were the points which were discussed during a half day workshop arranged on Case Study Analysis at Alliance University campus by the Chancellor, Alliance University, Dr Madhukar Angur for executive PGDM students on 28 June 2015.


Onam Pookkalam in Orthodox Church in India.

Traditional Onam lunch ..
Orthodox Church in India is the 2000 year old church established in 52 AD by St. Thomas, Jesus' disciple,  and is the oldest church in India. It celebrates Onam festival, the harvest festival of Kerala, in all its fervour, traditions and culture.

The traditional Pookkalam (circle with creative geometrical designs, decorated using different colours of flower petals) is laid out in the church verandah or hall with the traditional sadya (lunch) with all seated on the floor. About 15-20 different vegetarian traditional dishes with 2-3 desserts are served on banana palm leaf on the Sunday following the festival in the church premises.

Ghee, rice and boiled lentils curry forms the first course. Aviyal, Sambhar, olan, pachadi, kichadi, upperi, mezhukkupiratti, thoran, chakkarapuratti, pappadam, achar (two or three types), butter milk and rice is the main course. The main course is taken as two or three sub courses. The desserts come in the final two or three courses, like payaru payasam, ari payasam ada pradhaman, curd and liquid jaggery (sarkara paani), green gram stuffed roti with sweet lentils dessert etc..

Kaikottikali, the traditional folk dance played by ladies, which requires great co-ordination, practice  and body flexibility, have not yet been played on church premises. Watch it here..  Some churches get the traditional percussion band, chendamelam played on the church premises. Here is a video ..

True reflection of the Indianness of a middle-east based faith. Even the church main premises (HQ) is in Kottayam, India with an Indian spiritual Head.

There is a branch of people who claim that Jesus got trained in spirituality and working wonders in India till the age of 30. (the Bible does not mention anything bout where Jesus ws till age of 30 years). Then he went to his home town in middle East and continued efforts only to refine Judaism which later became Christianity.

I have also heard learned people claiming that Jesus was not crucified and instead came to India and spent the rest of his life in Kashmir, India. A matter of contention !

Ge ..

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Jamaican Farewell, Basanthi juniors.

Basanthi juniors Stanford and Bangalore chapter performing at Ganesh Laxmis house in Whitefield Bangalore..

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Feedback, why should anyone fear it ??

This is a set of famous quotes by famous people around the world over the ages who have mentioned about the good impact of feedback on the performance of a business.

Unless we have the urge to improve our existing offering, we can never expect to improve. If we are complacent and have the feeling that our offering is unblemished and the best anyone can offer and no one can find fault with it, we can never improve. The first step to any improvement is the acceptance that there is always a scope for improvement and we can together do it.

Believe that whatever we offer, there is somebody else who can do it much better and will take our customers.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Ignorance quotes .

These are interesting quotes on ignorance I collected for understanding the different perspectives and meanings of ignorance. Hope you find this collection useful.


Designing a great questionnaire .. pdf doc..

This link gives a great questionnaire design that tells howto design a good questionnaire.



Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Finding the weak link in the supply chain ..- HBR June 2015 - a review

Running out of stock of inventory, especially critical items, is a nightmare for Operations Managers around the world. Is there a way out by assessing the right metrics ?

Let us look at two interesting metrics ..

Time to Recover (TTR) is the time taken by the supply chain to recover from a disruption of supply. This is a very vital metric for the supply chain. The new metric which the authors suggest is Time to Survive (TTS) which is the time period for which the existing inventory supply will last, before the system fails.

Even though the metrics look very simple, early literature which made mention of Time to Recover, gave an indication of the time it would take to recover from any inventory disruption in the supply chain. Any firm will overcome a disruption in inventory by being able to recover from a stock out, for which the vital metric now is of supply. The replenishment time for each supplier is that way important. If the supplier is not able to supply the items on time, a stock-out will result and the industry can come to a halt. 

Without having to depend on the dynamic nature of the supply chain through the supply, inventory replenishment, transportation modes, safety stock policies  etc, if the existing inventory on hand is just enough to cover the time period by which recovery is bound to happen, the supply chain is safe and can escape a stock-out situation. But if the TTS is less than the TTR, an inventory stock-out situation would result.

TTS > TTR, no inventory stock out
TTS < TTR, inventory stock out and business process disruption is the result.

The example of Ford Manufacturing where a complete analysis of the TTS and TTR scope of the different inventory items and suppliers was provided. This gave a clear idea of which stocks had a critical relationship between TTS and TTR. These critical stocks (TTS was a week or less of time for stocked items) gave an idea to Ford of the criticality profile of inventory items with it.

In the analysis, it was found that
1. for 202 suppliers, Ford never maintained inventory with the result that any supply / supplier disruption immediately impacted the Ford assembly line. TTS < TTR
2. There were 14 suppliers for whom Ford maintained one week worth of inventory and hence the TTS for those 14 suppliers were one week. ( if TTS > TTR, there would be no risk of stockout in the SC)
3. There were 147 suppliers for whom any disruption in supply would not matter much as Ford had inventory stocks of more than 52 weeks (a year) with it.  (TTS >> TTR, hence very low or zero risk)

Finding the weak link in your supply chain is an interesting article in the latest issue of Harvard Business Review, June '15. The author of the paper, David Simchi Levi, formerly from North Western University in US, presently with MIT, is the author of the book on Supply Chain and published by McGraw Hill. Through this paper Prof Simchi Levi brings a new metric of Time to Survive (TTS) to supply chain literature besides the one existing of Time to Recover (TTR). The paper lacks serious quantitative rigour but has some eye catching results thrown out of an analysis conducted on the Time to Survive studies in Ford Motor Co. which exposes the criticality or otherwise of stocks in an assembly line.

The paper through a study of Ford inventory profile helped understand the criticality of items in stock needed in the assembly line, to keep a tab on items which needed immediate replenishment and other items which could wait before replenished by the suppliers.

In short the paper highlighted the inventory supply criticality profile from a service viewpoint (stock-out situation) as different from all earlier inventory studies which looked at the economic or commercial perspective of holding stocks / inventory

Future scope : Further studies to relate the inventory supply criticality with both cost, service and quality implications and deriving newer and effective metrics to control both the service and cost aspects of inventory need to be taken up.

The paper looks at the very important assembly line but does not mention the applicability of this analysis in a project or batch setup. In this world of global manufacturing and supply chains spanning continents, it makes sense for future research to analyse in detail the impact of leadtime disruptions on the total lead time of a component. Necessity of more relevant and specific supply chain metrics which will help understand specific inventory functions and their dynamics better is felt, this paper is a humble effort in that direction.

George Easaw 2015

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Asia just overtook Europe in wealth..

Asia just overtook Europe in wealth for the first time in centuries — and North America is next - courtesy Yahoo Finance

The 300 year blip in the timeline of history of Western material dominance is saying bye for ever. Asia regains its dominance and asserts control led by India and China ..



Saturday, June 13, 2015

AAI personnel at Karipur, Calicut Kerala airport, murderers ??

It is a great shame that the Fire and Security personnel of Airports Authority of India have suceeded in killing a CISF personnel at Karipur, Calicut airp[ort. AAI personnel tried to prevent CISF personnel from discharging their duty. It is already very much known that Karipur airport is one of those notorious airports in the country where smuggling happens maximum in the country, last year 250 kgs of gold worth crores were smuggled inside the country. 


The media is trying to finger CISF who are doing an extremely decent job. Probably CISF did not allow the HEAVY SMUGGLING racket to freely operate in karipur, that may be the reason the airport authorities were against CISF .. The investigating agency should probe this angle too. 

Justice should be given to CISF who have responded to attacks when they were discharging their duty, CISF has not started the attacks on AAI staff. And it was a natural reaction for CISF colleagues to engage in minor destruction (could hv been avoided) at the airport when one of their colleagues was killed by the AAI personnel in the sciffle.

I am sure all central agencies who hv a stake in the smuggling racket happening at the airports, like customs dept and AAI unions will start their tirade against CISF and accuse them, but one thing I can say, being though not a frequent traveller, the CISF personnel are doing an excellent job should not be obstructed from discharging their duties as enshrined in the Indian constitution. 9 fire and security people may just escape the gallows but probably land 10 years in prison as a fallout of the events... 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Jitender Singh Tomar to be expelled from AAP ..

The disgraced minister from the cabinet of Arvind Kejriwal Shri Jitender Singh Tomar should not only be expelled from AAP, the Delhi government must give all support to the Delhi Police to proceed against the cheat 'Tomar', who should be given exemplary punishment so that people like him do not try their misdeeds against the people of the country.

Tomar  has set a bad example to the youngsters of this country. Cheats like him should be controlled..


Friday, June 05, 2015

Eastern star capsize and 442 lives lost ..

All that remains of the 76 m long, 2200 T Eastern Star.. very tragic ..

The capsize of the Eastern Star cruise ship on the Yangtze river on June 1 at 9.30 pm in a storm.  A photo commentary .. Only 14 survived of 456, 11 escaped and only 3 rescued !!

This should help China introspect especially when it is unilaterally, ambitiously and indiscriminately trying to expand its naval power and reach in the South China sea, the accident has exposed its weakness and helplessness on a river back home !


Thursday, June 04, 2015

Palmolein and GAIL pipe line in Kerala.. Chief Secretary opens up.. ..

Over the past few days some genuine and painful observations were made by the Kerala state Chief Secretary Shri Jiji Thomson. He opined that personal wishes, opinions of bureaucrats have no say in a democracy. On third of June 2015 at a Press meet in Trivandrum he repeated the same statements as a passing mention of a civil servant pained at the developments in a case that had been haunting him for the past twenty five years.

He was at pains to explain how he has been suffering for the past 25 years, in spite of registering dissent on the Palmolein deal of 1992, however fair it was, as no global tenders were invited and was forced to go as per the cabinet decision. His statements appear to have been misunderstood. The public should realise that these are the silent inner cries of a sincere and senior officer which was going unheard.

Let Kerala state not haunt its sincere senior bureaucrats..
Photo : Manorama.
The situation in 1991 was like this, as per my understanding - A limited quota of palmoil was being offered during 1991-92 by the Malaysian company and Indian states were vying with each other to get a share of this to keep the oil prices in their states low. Kerala under the CM ship of K Karunakaran and Jiji Thomson IAS as MD of Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation purchased the oil at $405/quintal while West Bengal purchased it at $ 407/quintal. Karnataka could not even get any palmoil as the quota offered by the Malaysian company had been taken by all the proactive states who were working overtime to prevent an edible oil shortage in their respective states and prevent an oil price increase.

By his statement of yesterday, one thing is made clear. The Chief Secretary has not tried to influence the court nor stall the court proceedings. If the fact that the palmolein purchase was profitable to the government as per the cabinet decision taken at that time and claimed by the Congress party is true, then why to unnecessarily penalise a senior officer for the past 25 years ?

If you leave him free to carry out his duties, he can work wonders, as has been shown in the National Games of 1987, the Common Wealth Games of 2010 and lot of other activities he has initiated through this link. The recent evictions of all illegal occupants from government land and cleaning encroachments on the drainage in East Fort Trivandrum Kerala, which was causing great flooding in East Fort area at a small rain too, followed up now throughout the state by Project Anantha are examples of how sincerely this officer wants to improve his home town of Trivandrum and the state.

His silence all these years in the palmolein deal has been misconstrued. Finally nearing the end of his career, CS must have thought it apt to open his mind on the issue now..

"Those who don't understand your silence, will never understand your words" - Anonymous
CS' silence and suffering can only be understood at a higher level of intelligence. It is not one of running away from responsibilities as can be understood from the above quote.

Opposition Leader in Kerala V S Achuthanandan has nothing to say of how the Left front govt in West Bengal purchased Palmolein from the same Malaysian company in 1991 at $407 per quintal when Kerala purchased it competitively at just $405  per quintal. It is a fact that Jiji Thomson did make a couple of visits to Malaysia to secure the deal as a large quantity of oil was bought by Kerala. Does Achuthananadan mean to say that buying at low prices is corruption in Kerala and buying at higher prices in West Bengal is no corruption at all and very transparent ? We should look under what circumstances the oil was purchased by the then CM, Karunakaran, it was to prevent an edible oil shortage in Kerala at that time.

Does not the leader of Opposition owe an explanation to the people of Kerala as to how long he is planning to fool the people of the state and why he is pursuing this case tooth and nail against Chief Secretary, when Achuthanandan's bete noir and former CM, Karunakaran is no more. Though the court had exonerated CS of any wrong doing stating that CS had only obeyed cabinet decision, why should Achuthanandan pursue the case against a senior sincere officer ? We have to believe that the cabinet at that time in 1991-92 took a right decision which would have benefited the people of Kerala at that time and helped hold price rise and inflation.

And the sad part is that after all these twenty five years, not a real chargesheet has been filed in this case, though the Left Front in Kerala had been in power for more than ten years since the case came out in 1998. The incident happened in 1991-92 time period. The simple strategy of the Left is to prolong the trial for the senior officers by attacking from behind the smoke screen and take political mileage from this "unresolved" case as long as possible by fooling the gullible public ! By raising the point that he had expressed dissent and noted it on the file, the CS has invited the wrath of the ruling party too. 

The moment a Malayali goes out of his state to other parts of India and the world in search of a job and a living, he/she becomes very intelligent, hard working, enthusiastic, sincere and would go out of the way to prove his/her sincerity, hardwork and intellect, while inside the state he behaves just the opposite (not a generalisation ..). Strange are the ways of "intelligent" people in Kerala.

At least let us hope the state tries to understand the sincerity of this able and senior officer and his wish to take the state forward by developing it. One thing I can vouch for is the CS believes very much in the supreme being taking care of all of us, the God. A person who is faultless in God's presence, has to fear nobody in this material and chaotic world. As long as one is in this world, do everything within our reach to help our fellow human beings and society.

The Gas Authority (GAIL) pipeline from Mangalore and Coimbatore to Kochi is another blessing for the people of Kerala. It is high time that the government and authorities educate the public on the benefits it can bring to the state in terms of development, organisation growth and employment and in turn encourage the public to give land for the same for its smooth completion.

MIT showing its willingness to open two Fabrication Labs in Kochi and Trivandrum is a real feather in the cap of this govt if it materialises and Kerala will be the first state in the country to do that.The CS is very interested in taking up novel projects not attempted by anyone and offering greatest challenges.

Another project begging for attention from the politicians, executive and the public in Kerala is the Vizhinjam port. With TN CM Jayalalitha already having called for a high level meeting on how the Colachel port in Kanyakumari district could be developed for the benefit of Tamil Nadu, is a direct competitor to the port of Vizhinjam as business is sure to get diverted. 

At least on these project let the people. decision makers and police remain together and see that with out much delay, blameshifting and corruption, the projects are executed and innocents are spared witch-hunting ..

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 ..