Thursday, August 31, 2017

Meet Padmasri Jadav Payeng, India's Forest man ..

Great selfless task
Jadav Payeng, is the forest man of India. It is great to learn about this villager from Assam who on his own enterprise went on to plant 1360 acres of forest.

Over 37 years he singlehandedly   planted the forest, which presently is being inhabited by elephants, tigers, deers, bisons and many species of birds and snakes .. 


Startups and their significance ..

Imagine you are carrying out the following activities, How does it differ from a startup ?

1. Opening a MacDonamld's franchise in Ejipura area in Bangalore.
2. Opening a medical store in near NGV on Bangalore ..
3. Open a small tea shop selling snacks near Sony World, Bangalore.
4. Open a photostat shop near Canara Bank stop in Koramangala, Bangalore.
5. Setting up a small CAD/CAM design and machining centre in Koramangala

Do any of these qualify to be called a startup ? No, Why not ?

ALL processes have infinite potential for improvement
There is nothing new in the idea, people have been doing these businesses for ages and the business does not have any great scope of being scaled up. The scope of providing great value to customers is very limited.

Clock here for a Forbes article on What is a startup ?

What qualifies an initiative to be termed as a start-up ?

First of all we have to understand that it is not looking at a great, new, invention as the output. It can be as simple as a pencil that lasts longer(because of a reinforced pencil lead that does not break..) or a new fuel injector that causes the right mixing of fuel and air in the fuel injection resulting in reduced use of fuel and hence great mileage for the vehicle.

Click here for an Investopaedia article on what is a startup ..

Customers only look for VALUE ..
The first main difference between an ordinary business and a start-up is INNOVATION. Innovation in inputs like new material, innovation in the process/technology or innovation in the output .. Innovation can also be in finding a new use for the same product

The other great difference between an ordinary business and a start-up is the scope of scaling up and growth. Start-ups can be scaled up fast with minimum of inputs and resources while an ordinary business cannot scale up so fast because of limitations of demand, capacity etc..

Try new ideas, fail fast, learn and move ..
Start-ups can be setup with minimum of infrastructure and resources, since it has great scope for growth and scaling up, it will need more resources very soon.

Start-up is all about IDEAS nobody has ever thought of !!

Start-up is about generating more value for the customer ..

Start-up is about fast pace of growth.

Start-up is also about EXECUTION - hardwork and perseverence ..

Google mantra - give more value to your customer ..
With the new mega trend of sustainability picking up and soon set to be a trillion dollar business, the new wave of innovations will be looking at

1. how solid and wet wastes can be effectively reduced, treated and disposed
2. traffic management - reducing accidents and commuting time
3. effective methods for conservation of water
4. low cost, high capacity industrial desalination plants 
5. reducing the carbon footprint of industrial, residential, transportation and domestic activities
6. reducing e-wastes generation and safe disposal
7. generation of energy from renewable non-polluting sources like solar, wind, tidal etc..
8. energy conservation through innovative design and usage of products 

we only wish humanity would come up with novel and innovative ideas to handle man's greatest and pressing problem in the coming centuries, ensuring environmental sustainability ..


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Is Uber or Ola car riding services better in Bangalore ?

The two major taxi services in Bangalore ..
Though not quite a regular taxi user in  Bangalore, I do use taxi services by Ola and Uber occasionally, say once or twice a fortnight.

Though an Ola fan for quite some time, of late I have been seeing a slump in the quality of services from Ola. The issue with Ola was the delay in getting taxis from Ola. Though the drivers have not made any difference with me from both these companies, the quality of the service offered by the companies, I found has been wavering. 

The stake holders in the internet mediated riding services industry, though pioneered by Uber around the world, are the customers, drivers (who also are in most cases owners too), the owners, the service providers like UBER, OLA etc who connect the customer with the driver using technology, the regulatory agencies from the government, like taxes, licences, traffic regulation, violation etc, GOOGLE Maps  and the government agencies looking after the maintenance of the infrastructure like the PWD , NHAI etc. 

Of all these stakeholders, the customer and the driver are the two stakeholders who are in direct contact during the duration of the ride and hence are the most important stakeholders. As much interest should be given to the employee or driver as these companies are giving to the customers. 

Customer friendliness : Uber is more customer friendly, both in terms of technology and people. Uber makes its drivers feel more looked after. For instance, when I took a Uber vehicle yesterday, (I was forced to migrate to Uber, as the Ola app repeatedly showed that there were no cabs to take me to Yeshwanpur Railway station from Koramangala Police station area at 8 PM at night), it is my habit to get accustomed with the driver and get into a conversation with him. I feel there is something I can learn from every person in this world, how small or mighty he or she is. Immediately as I got inside the car, I got a message from Uber, introducing the driver to me, telling me of his impeccable record of safe driving, how many hours he has so far logged with UIber and so on. I could also see his personal profile. You should see the pride on the face of the driver when I congratulated him for his safe driving.  

Employee friendliness : I immediately got into a conversation with him and you should see the professional satisfaction the driver was displaying when I asked him how he could keep so high a safety profile. I also asked him a few questions when he explained that he has a family and is not interested in working 16 hour shifts, instead is satisfied with 10 hour shifts and this gives him almost 30-40 K earnings a month. He was a satisfied person. Since his father used to drink too much and cause problems at home, he knew the perils of drinking and was very careful as to how he chose his friends. Most of his friends are from Islam, though he is a Hindu. He was trying to explain to me how because of his friend circle he could keep off intoxication and lead a very peaceful life.

In the course of the discussion the beans got spilled out, why he moved out from Ola to Uber since last eight months. 

Incentives : Of the many reasons he spoke about (I am sure Ola people are keeping track of these facts and will attend to the problems with their offering and offer effective customer and employee competition to Uber), he had lot of qualms regarding the services and incentives offered by Ola in comparison to Uber. Uber offers higher incentives to drivers and has more flexible working hours in comparison to Ola. 

Were it not for GPS and Google maps, Uber and Ola would be
very ineffective ..
Technology Intervention : Both the companies and their drivers are heavily dependent on Internet based apps and Google Maps which guides them through the dense traffic chokepoints of Bangalore city. Thanks to Google, I get to the destination within +_ 5% deviation from the time forecast by Google for the ride. Both these companies should be thankful to Google for the Maps facility and also to the US Government for the providing the GPS satellite for free use by mostly the Uber and Ola drivers as also the private drivers of the world.

Inefficient Transportation Infrastructure and Leadership : As long as we have very inefficient leaders who cannot get us the best mass and rapid transportation infrastructure in Bangalore, all of us will be still dependent on these two companies at least for the next five years to say the least. 

Advanced Renewable Energy Technology : Uber may be looking to reduce its costs by offering electric cars, I hear they have introduced it in a couple of cities around the world, that will be the new technology Bangaloreans can look to experience and savour in the next couple of years, much earlier than in any other city in India.  

My son is an infrequent user of Uber and me having had the first great Uber riding erxperience, Ola needs to be on the lookout, they are on the verge of losing a faithful Ola customer to Uber. Though Ola had an edge initially in Bangalore, of late by taking care of the customers, technology and drivers, Uber has been able to create a niche for itself in the city of Bangalore. 


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Decathlon showroom at ETA Mall, Binnypet, Bangalore.

On 23 August 2017, I got a good opportunity to visit a grand retail showroom of the European sports goods manufacturer, Decathlon in Bangalore. The objective was to involve the students from Alliance University in getting to know about the business processes that help world class performance and to to get some ideas on how to achieve lean setup in the organisation.

The cycling section, very impressive
The French sports eqpt manufacturer  has 50 showrooms in India of which 10 are in Bangalore. When I took 60 students of first year MBA of Alliance School of Business, Bangalore for an academic study visit to know more about retail shopping and retailing layouts, little did we realize that we were witnessing a world class retailing environment ..

Shop Layout : In a 10,000 sq ft showroom the manner in which Decathlon had neatly organised the different sports equipments on shelves, fixed and movable, for different sports and pastimes like camping, trekking etc according to the sports classification was really worth observing and learning for the students. While the shelves near the walls are fixed, the shelves in all other places are fixed on castor wheels to enable quick rearrangement of the shop floor layout.

Shop lighting : The lighting across the shopfloor was ambient and nearly perfect, not too high, nor too low.

Passion : Employees display great passion for the sports area they represent - A great observation we could make out was the passion each of the showroom personnel had for his or her sports area. Working at Decathlon for these employees is their lifeline and passion. I have never seen any retail shop floor where employees have felt so much engrossed and passionate about the sports equipment they were trying to sell or explain to customers. The large showroom area also saw customers checking out the items and sports equipments on their own on the shopfloor to get a feel of the item.

Footfall : In retail environments, it is usual to have higher footfall on weekends than on weekdays. The fast-moving equipments for the popular sports of cricket, football, basketball etc are kept at the farthest end of the store to ensure customers get to see the variety of items on the shop floor before they select these items and make a purchase.

The Store Manager Ching passionately explaining to students
Low Costs and variety : The most attractive aspect of the store is the low costs for the sports equipments and sports accessories. The great variety of items catering to almost all sports, even scuba diving, cutting across different age groups, is definite to catch the attention of every customer.

Product Arrangement : The items are supposedly of good quality and are arranged very conveniently at arms reach distance to a convenient vertical height, of about 7 feet.

The shopfloor employees seemed to be quite aware of inventory management principles too. One of them was telling us how for each of the rack they have to pay rent and thus they are under constant pressure to improve the returns from the shelf space.

The Store manager Ching, an Alliance alumnus was very helpful explaining about the growth of Decathlon in India and its customer centric approach through many live cases. (sorry for the poor audio..)

Sales channels : When some of the students asked the store personnel as to why Decathlon products are not available either on Amazon or Flipkart or any other e-commerce website, the reply was evident of the confidence Decathlon had for the products it was selling. Decathlon wishes to make a mark for itself through its efforts and not to piggyride on either Amazon or Flipkart. The indications are that Decathlon is slowly getting successful in their endeavours to establish online presence in India. Moreover  their 52nd store coming up in the country soon.

Customer Feedback : Feedback has a great role to play in the shopfloor layout as well as in improving the customer experience. Repeat visits from existing customers who come along with friends and family is a great way Decathlon reaches out to large sections of the population.

Wishing them the best in their India operations over the coming years..

This is definitely a retail outlet management students should visit to get to know what are international standards in retailing layouts ..


PS : we wish to thank the management of Decathlon for allowing the students to visit the shopfloor.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Sikka and Infosys ..

The recent Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka's exit from Infosys made great news. What prompted Sikka to take the drastic step ? Could not Narayana Murthy have handled the sitation in a more dignified manner ?

Here are few moves from Sikka (quoted in the press) which Murthy (NRN as he is popularly called) felt ran counter to the popular Infosys culture and damaged it, resulting in the quick and smooth intervention of the founders.

1. Raising personal salary or getting the board to raise his annual salary to $11 million, app INR 70 crores
2. Setting unhealthy precedence by giving a hefty separation bonus to former CFO Rajiv Bansal of app INR 17 crores
3. Traveling to meet clients in chartered planes 
These are some of the allegations raised by NRN against Sikka which NRN felt were against the initial entrepreneurial spirit that got Infy blooming to this scale from a small setup started 36 years before in Pune in 1981.

The culture of extravaganza and splurge initiated by Sikka and team with the resultant loss in social esteem and prestige, NRN felt, was divergent to the values the founders of Infosys had envisioned for the company in the long run.

While Sikka wanted everything to be seen solely though the mirror of financial performance of the organization, NRN raised the plates a lot higher, deviating from the usual run-of-the-mill type of organization, expecting the organization to be a role model for the entire  entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country, upholding high standards of fiscal discipline, fulfilling social commitments and being a global role model in corporate governance. 

NRN felt Sikka had failed completely in pulling his team up to be able to meet, even partially, the lofty goals and objectives Infosys had set for itself. 

Looking at the other side of the coin, the point which NRN completely missed was the level of commitment an employee has towards an organization as different from that of a founder. All employees cannot have the "founder mindset" and work selflessly for the growth of the organization, risking the employee's personal life. The employee is as much bothered of his well-being as he is about the organization he serves.

The case of Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon is an example NRN should try to understand. Though Bezos draws a very modest salary, he ensures that all his employees are paid a bomb. The employees are motivated to give their best to the growth of the organization.  

Bezos understands that money is what motivates his employees. In the final run, indirectly we find Bezos benefits, his employees have made him among the top ten richest people on Earth by virtue of the value of the Amazon stock he holds. The remuneration Bezos gets from Amazon is a pittance compared to the value of the Amazon stock he holds.

The other example for non-interference is from NRN's family itself. NRN's famous co-brother Gururaj Deshpande, the serial entrepreneur, who is known to start great companies in US, like Cascade Communication, Corel Networks, Sycamore networks, Tejas Networks, a123systems, airvana .. After it becomes a roaring success, he used to leave it for the professionals to manage, and set his mind on the next great entrepreneurial idea.. Click here for a detailed writeiup ..

Sikka's exit may not affect the Infosys stock value for long, it is sure to rebound, but the dent it has made in the employee minds of not being an employee friendly organization and of not being a pay master, is sure to pull down Infosys repute and impact it's growth in the long run, though NRN would differ.

It's high time founders keep off and allow professionals to run the organization .. . Is it fair to expect ordinary employees, even 36 years after starting, to have the same zeal, commitment and founding spirit attitude as the founders, especially when Infosys is very cut and dry with initial recruits and looks only for exacting professionalism in them ?

For a CEO, who came from a product based IT co, with almost $20 billion turnover to a process based company, home grown, to the HO in Bangalore, India for just 17 days in a year and prefers to spend the rest of the time with clients across the world, showed a clear disconnect with the founders philosophy and work culture.

Getting the required CEO talent (and not CTO talent as in the case of Sikka) from India or any part of the world would not be a problem at all for Infosys. But it's high time Infosys moved from a sidelined role of IT service organisation to a major IT products organisation and that is where the future and money for Infosys would lie. In future, automation of IT maintenance work would wipe out Infosys, even before any of them would be even aware of the fast developments.

Considering the remuneration of professionals in the west, could NRN have erred in his assesment of the growth of the company in the long run ?

Having quit the organisation and departed from taking active part in the day-to-day decision making processes, should NRN have interfered and made the whole Director board concerned with the fast developments in the company of late ?

The future will tell us who was right and who erred ?

George .. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Hoysaleshwara temple rock carvings ..

Photo courtesy Alamy pjhotos
Images of rock carvings from Hoysaleshwara temple, Hassan, Karnataka.  

Exquisite, par excellence !! (zoom in for the details). 

Done during 1100 -1150 AD ..

This temple also has the famous pillars which have been exquisitely turned, (the turning process as on a lathe) .. But where on earth did they have turning / lathe technology 850 years back ? Simple marvellous and unexplainable ... Click here to watch a video on how the pillars have been turned ....

The necklaces are not one, but indeed two, so exquisitely carved out of rock with barely 3 mm gap between the two necklaces ..

Lot of unexplained developments, either the Hoysala sculptors were far more advanced than the most advanced CNC machines or robots of today or mankind has taken a lot from knowledge gained 900 years back.


Were it not for the destruction by the Muslim rulers and Mughal emperors,

Frustration and inability to add value, the impact of Lean thinking..

Simple and brilliant illustration of lean thinking..
Frustration is a state of mind when one is unable to add value to the tasks he/she is set to complete.
What are the factors impeding adding value to a process or product ? Though the discussion is focused mainly on manufacturing, all the concepts are equally applicable in the services context too.

James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones in 1996 propounded Lean Thinking as the absense of waste either in a product, process or technology. More often than not, waste creeps into almost all of our activities. Though Womack and Jones classified only seven wastes, an eighth waste that has been discussed and researched much is the waste of human capability, resources and skills in underemployment.

An effort is made here to classify the prioritise the wastes for removal according to the impact it has on our society.

1. Over Waiting - Some examples of waiting are given here -

  • When a customer is waiting for the delivery of a service, there is a waste of time. 
  • When client in a litigation has to endlessly wait for the court to deliver the verdict, there is waiting, which is a waste of time. 
  • When morning commuters wait at a busy traffic junction for the lights to turn green, again it is waiting, a waste of time as there is improper matching of demand, traffic and commuters to capacity, the limitation on vehicles that can pass through a lane and speed limitations to avoid accidents. An ambulance carrying a critically injured patient to hospital waiting at a traffic signal can be fatal for the patient.
2. Excess Transport - Producing a resource at one place and consuming it at another place, (in the case of manufacturing) or trying to get the provider of a service and it's consumer at the same place (as in service organisations), is what drives the necessity of transportation across the world. If the provision of a product or service and its consumption can be brought closer, it would totally eliminate the need for transportation. Transportation according to me is the second largest generator of waste in the world.

The crux of the Lean Thinking process ..
3. Excess Inventory - inventory costs on an average almost 30% costs in a manufacturing environment and less in a service environment. Inventory can be kept in check by responding to demand almost every time.
Inventory is held to overcome uncertainties -

  • uncertainty in supply, 
  • uncertainty in transport, 
  • uncertainty in storage, 
  • uncertainty in the conversion process, 
  • uncertainty in the ability of the work force to add value, 
  • uncertainty in customer demand, 
  • uncertainty in government policies and what not. 
All these reflect on inefficiencies of the system and are reasons for us to keep some stock of inventory in order not to disturb the value addition process. Imagine how much inventory is piled across manufacturing and service organisations around the world

4. Under utilization of human resources - More often than not we find highly skilled and qualified people occupying less challenging roles in organisations across the world. The skills of the employee are being under utilized, though for a shorter period of time, as promotions and transfers to more challenging environments do take care of such anomalies.

5. Over processing - The next major source of waste is over processing, be it products or services. Be it patients entering a hospital, as a source of revenue, hospitals do over-process or over-treat a patient in the hope of generating revenues to the hospital, though actually it is generating waste. In the process of boiling milk, the pasteurisation process has taken care of 99% of microbes in the milk, still we boil it to kills the remaining 1% bacteria, though it may be an inefficient process.

6. Defects/Reworks - due to poor quality of machines and material, poor skills of workers or improperly maintained work or storage environment, we find lot of waste being generated across the world. Controlling these defects help save raw materials, machine time, worker time etc. We find the workers are more relaxed and focused on the necessary and urgent tasks to be completed.

7. Over production - Due to improper demand forecasts or bull whip effect (amplification of demand), we find production more often exceeding actual demand, generating waste and resulting in unsold stocks forcing disposal of stocks which could turn out to be very detrimental for the profitability of the supply chain.

8. Excess Motion - Needless repetition of a process results in waste of time, effort and costs. Machine intervention works well here, but involves additional costs. For example automation is a clean substitute for needless repetition of motion but entails great costs. The ideal thing would be to do simple work study of the process and eliminate unnecessary and all non-value adding tasks.

Having identified the prioritised ranking of wastes, the study needs to look at finding the priority of wastes for different industrial sectors. Knowing the priorities for wastes it becomes easy for managers to decide where to concentrate their limited managerial and technical resources to extract the maximum benefit from deploying lean thinking in the shop floor.


Ref :
1.  May, Mathew, Its time to wage an all-out war on waste, HBR, December 2012.
2.  Womack,Thomas, Daniel Jones (1996), Lean Thinking, Simon and Schuster, NY.

PS : The wastes ranking has been done with inputs from an MBA student group with limited industrial exposure but excellent practical exposure.        

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Diesel vs. Petrol, environmental pollution ..

Modern research states that if you are owning a diesel car expecting to save some money in the bargain, you are doing a great disservice to the country. You are polluting the environment four times more (4x) than a petrol car and doing a great disservice to your society and surroundings.

SUVs and other high powered vehicles run on diesel and pollute the environment heavily. Look at the situation practically, do private commuting vehicles require all that power ?

Though Diesel has a higher calorific value and Diesel engines are more efficient than Petrol engines, Diesel engines have higher emissions of NOx and particulate matter in comparison to Petrol vehicles with catalytic converters. (Catalytic converters help mostly oxidise the CO to CO2 besides NO to NOx and unburnt hydrocarbons which otherwise cause smog)
Pollution , pollution everywhere ..

Especially when these toxic emissions like NOx and SOx, have higher fatal health repercussions, diesel cars are a disaster ! In addition, the cost of fatal health repercussions like cancer is immeasurable !!

Ships too need to control their pollution
The general public look smartly at the parochial picture of keeping the running costs of vehicles low. To help industrial grow, mass use of public transportation and to control costs, most countries price diesel cheaper than gasolene (petrol) by way of subsidies. For instance it costs less for diesel than petrol in India, unmindful of the bigger picture of the damages it does to the environment..

Contrasting with earlier reports which found CO and CO2 to be detrimental to human health, recent research points to NOx emissions which are the main culprit in deaths related to automobile emissions.

Click on this Guardian newspaper link to read of how almost 38,000 people across the world (mainly from China, Europe and India) die every year to diesel pollution (or diesel vehicles failing to meet pollution regulation standards). These studies also point to the fact that excess NOx (having escaped regulators' lenses) will still be responsible for about 70,000 deaths annually by 2040 AD.

Studies point that For unit pollution, every diesel-km is equivalent to four petrol-km.
Let us be more responsible and leave enough of our beautiful environment for our future generations to enjoy and live in healthily. Let us dump those beasts and go for less polluting vehicles, still better electric vehicles in the very near future .


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Cheruvally Estate and the new Sabarimala International airport

KPY with his family

It has been very shocking to find out how K P Yohannan, the self-proclaimed preacher and his relatives from Tiruvalla had purchased the Cheruvally estate from Harrisons Malayalam plantation in 2008. The deal itself was flawed as Harrisons did not have any right to sell leased land to KPY. Though on paper it is only for Rs 80 crores in white, we are not sure how much more money has been paid under the table. KPY's Gospel for Asia is under scrutiny for having received Rs 1050 crores+ from US for missionary work which has been illegally diverted for purchasing land.

The Rs 2500 crore joint venture Sabarimala international airport between NRis and state govt is going to be a prestigious project for Kerala state and the state authorities should lose no time and effort to take over the 2263 acre Cheruvally estate for the purpose of building the airport which will benefit devotees visiting Sabarimala, Lord Ayyappa's shrine in Perunad, Pathanamthitta dist, 48 kms away at an altitude of 1260 m above MSL, situated among the 18 hills comprising the Periyar Tiger Reserve. In comparison the nation's third largest airport (in terms of infrastructure and fourth in terms of passenger traffic) at Kochi is on just 2000 acres of land while the nation's fourth largest, Bangalore International airport is on 4500 acres of land.

KP Yohannan who has been masquerading as a preacher is a self anointed religious leader who through his US entity Gospel for Asia has been amassing huge amounts of money from US to be used for helping the needy and downtrodden through his domestic entity called Believers Church. Yohannan has been using the foreign funds to amass real estate assets for the church and his family members. He is a married man and has no rights to establish a church claiming power from the throne of St Thomas. He needs to be exposed and taken to task.

Let us hope the Kerala govt gets a little more serious in exposing KPY and putting him behind bars.These are some people who bring bad name to all of us ..

george.. (photo courtesy The Hindu newspaper)

Ref :

Friday, August 11, 2017

Drip irrigation - Basics and prospects in india ...

Drip Irrigation - the basics

We have heard of how Israeli agricultural scientists turned the deserts of Sinai into greenlands producing fruits and vegetables, making Israel one of the largest producers of oranges in the world from the desert sand.

Details of a drip irrigation system, courtesy Jain Irrigation Systems,
As per a TOI newspaper report, Hungund taluk, Bagalkot dist in N Karnataka in India has about 11,000 hectares of farmland under drip irrigation. Drip irrigation is gaining in importance across the world especially since we have been observing erratic patterns in rainfall and precipitation and falling river and reservoir levels necessitating more efficient and effective use of existing resources of water.

Drip irrigation is a type of micro-irrigation that has the potential to save water and nutrients by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of plants, either from above the soil surface or buried below the surface. The goal is to place water directly into the root zone and minimize evaporation. Drip irrigation systems distribute water through a network of valves, pipes, tubing, and emitters. Depending on how well designed, installed, maintained, and operated it is, a drip irrigation system can be more efficient than other types of irrigation systems, such as surface irrigation or sprinkler irrigation. -
An Israeli drip irrigation farm

Simply speaking drip irrigation is a system of providing water to the roots of the plants through a network of pipes to increase irrigation

Drip irrigation which was started commercially in Israel during the 70s has now become an accepted practice in arid and semi arid regions of the world. In northern parts of Karnataka, drip irrigation is used for floriculture, cultivation of fruits and vegetables and possibly maize and jowar ...

Drip irrigation saves anywhere from 30% to 60% of water used for irrigation purposes. Drip irrigation saves labour and electricity, controls soil erosion and even saline water can be used for irrigation,

In any drip irrigation system one needs to be worried about two aspects of the system, the design of the system and its maintenance.

Design of the system :

1. Water sources and the pump -  either from a borewell or well, pond or river.

2. Filtration of the water - depending on whether the water is from a borewell (only screen filter) or whether it is from an pond, well or river, we require a sand filter and hydro cyclone filter besides the screen filter.

3. Network of pipes - has a system of main pipes, sub pipes and laterals spread across the field to which the drippers are connected (or end tubes). The mains and sub mains should be submerged 45 cms below the surface for safety of the pipes from being trampled upon by farm animals. To prevent rats and squirrels from damaging the pipes, it is recommended to keep bowls of water in the farm so that the drippers are not damaged.

For drip irrigation we need a pressure of 1.5 to 2 kg/sq cm in the lateral pipes while for a sprinkler system we need a pressure of 3-5 kg/sq cm. For widely spaced plants, the drippers need to be of 12 mm dia laterals which can carry 250-300 liters of water per hour while for closely spaced plants, we need 16 mm dia laterals which can carry between 450-500 litres per hour.The drippers should be placed at a gap of 30-40 cm for closely spaced crops.

Drip Irrigation Systems, courtesy FAO, United Nations.
Maintenance : 

Maintenance of the system is of great importance to ensure high effectiveness and longevity of the system. Use of high quality ISI mark pipes and valves made from virgin plastic instead of the cheap recycled plastic can ensure longevity of the system for upto ten years if the pipes are exposed to sunlight for upto 800 hours a year.

Clogging of laterals and emitters prevents the flow of water to the roots of the plants. This happens because of algae deposits, sand, organic material, Calcium Carbonate etc. Acid treatment and chlorination ate two methods by which clogging can be prevented. Filters are to be cleaned of impurities daily and flushed cleaned weekly of impurities. End caps of sections and laterals should be opened for upto 30 minutes occasionally once in a couple of days. Adding Hydrochloric acid at 25% concentration is an effective way of cleaning pipe from clogging of organic impurities. Maintaining a pH value of 4 (acidic) throughout the pipe for upto 24 hours, is a good way to do this.

This is an excellent video which University of Agricultural Sciences  Bangalore of 30 mins duration, which states all details about the drip irrigation system and the problems that can arise while operating it in Indian conditions.

Jain Irrigation Systems is one of India's top drip irrigation company. Click here for the more commercial details.

As per the Times of India, the world's largest drip irrigation project is coming up in Bagalkot in Karnataka.  Covering about 35000 hectares of arid farmland in two phases, the Rs 768 crore scheme will benefit almost 15,000 small and medium farmers in the area. The scheme will help the farmers in the area to double the production of maize and jowar in the area. After the first five years of operation and transfer of ownership based on a BOOT model, from the Jain Irrigation group, the farmers will pay a meagre charge of Rs 1330 for each acre to the Water Users Associations, who will help maintain the system in the long run.

The success of the Bagalkot project will give the needed boost for other drip irrigation systems in the country and abroad. With dwindling precipitation noticed in certain areas of the country, especially North Karnataka and the impact of the seasonal El Nino Southern Oscillation across the world once in seven years, it is all the more important that drip irrigation systems are given the needed fillip and encouragement across the country to help build the needed food stocks for food security in the country.

George Easaw

    Ref :
       1. FAO, Drip Irrigation, Last accessed August 2017
       2. Jain Irrigation Systems, Drip Irrigation, , Last accessed Aug 2017.
       3. Times of India, World's largest Drip Irrigation Project, Aug, 30, 2016.
       4. University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, Karnataka, India, Drip Irrigation a detailed overview, Your agri channel, Youtube, 2014.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Understanding the water and energy intensity of industries ..

Modern day industries depend heavily on water and energy, the two vital components of survival.

We use water in all our daily uses preparing food, for agriculture that gives us food, livestock that gives us proteins, meat etc and industrial use. It is said that more than 70% of water use in developing countries is for agriculture while it is about 30% in the developed countries. Combined with water, the other important component of growth, development and human life is energy. We need energy to power up our homes, kitchens, automobiles that guzzle non-renewable resources like fossil fuels and finally for private and public transport and industrial uses. 
The graph given here , courtesy Ross et al, HBR, gives us a measure of the energy and water intensities of use across industries in developed countries.

First of all we come up with three areas A, B and C in the graph.

Area A (bottom left) where the the water intensity (measured in units of cubic metres of water per million US dollars of sale) against the energy intensity (measured in units of Megawatt per million US dollars of sale) is linearly proportional, ie, in the region between 100 and 500 cu m of water and 100-200 MW of energy per million US dollars of sale. This Area A (green class) includes Technology companies like IBM, TCS, Accenture, Google, Infosys etc. All telecommunication companies like China Mobile, Vodafone, Airtel etc  fall in this group. Once the telecom infrastructure is in place, we find these companies need very less inputs in terms of water and energy. Defence, Manufacturing, automobile manufacturing like Toyota, Renault, VW etc and health care including hospitals, pharmaceutical companies fall in this category. We can also call them the green industries, to signify the relatively low levels of water and energy usage intensity per million dollars of sales. 

Area B (orange class, centre) includes industries where the water and energy usage is slightly on the higher side, we find in these industries like food processing (Brittannia, Nestle etc), beverages (Coke Pepsi etc) , hospitality, oil, gas and coal industry that includes conventional transportation industry, the water intensity is in the region of 1000-7000 cu m of water per million dollars of sale while the energy intensity is in the range of 300-1000 MW of energy per million dollars of sale. We call these industries the orange group of industries as they have greater pollution potential than the type A green class of industries. A society should try to invest in less of these industries for better sustainability of the environment.
Area C (red class, top right) includes industries that have water usage intensity in the range of 10,000 to 90,000 cu. m. and energy usage intensity in the range of 2000-8000 MW of energy per million dollars of sale. The industries that fall within this category are energy utilities like thermal, nuclear and hydro electric power plants and metal processing and chemical industries, which includes tyre, paints, chemicals etc.

We find technology industries like Information technology, chemical technology etc use the least of both these resources while the oil and gas industry uses energy on an average scale while energy utilities in organisations have the highest combination of use of both these resources. The more modern electronic commerce class of Industries also fall in this category as they have less warehousing needs (Alibaba model) and thus energy needs and slightly higher transportation energy needs, with very less water consumption intensity.

In densely populated cities and urban areas and societies which are very concerned about environmental pollution and safety hazards, it is better to have industries of the Green class or Type A industries that are technology based, automobile, defence, manufacturing health care etc. In areas less populated, the orange and red class of industries can be setup.

Employment potential is higher in the case of green class industries in comparison to orange and red classes of industries.

Airline industry is a vast and important sector in any economy and we find its water intensity is very less (in the range of 40-50 cu m of water usage/million dollar sales) while energy usage intensity is on the higher side (in the range of 5000-6000 MW of energy usage/million dollar sales). The same can be said about the retailing sector as they have huge warehouses,  transportation networks to power up with comparitively  less usage of water  We put them in the orange class of industries considering their higher energy intensity over water intensity.

The above chart is plotted for industries that are supplied by the conventional non-renewable sources of energy like thermal, oil and gas etc. As industries get supplied by renewable sources of energy like solar, wind, tidal etc, which is more efficient in generation and transmission compared to conventional forms of non-renewable sources of energy, the points get closer to the Y-axis, or the slope of line joining the industries increases, or the line becomes more vertical. Usage of electric driven vehicles in transportation is thus a big game changer in the transportation sector.

As industry develops and energy gets cheaper and widely available, we find water still remains the bottleneck as mankind is yet to produce great technologies that help reduce water consumption in major industries, Unless we are able to come up with a really cheap industrial class desalination technology to convert salty seawater for potable use in homes and industries, we are still at risk in future of running into water scarcity.  Really as James Ferguson in the April 2015 Newsweek article highlighted, the next global war will not be over boundaries or economic might, it will be over water.

george ..

Reference : 1. Ross, Kevin and Deborah Frodl, Solving the twin crisis of water and energy scarcity, HBR, Jan 2016

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Chicago chain tea stalls, Chennai ..

This chain of 15 year old profitable and high volume *Chicago tea stall chain in Chennai* is run by Gopalan, who believes in values, takes care of his employees very well with 9 hr work schedules and very good pay .. 

The employee perks are interesting !! Dress allowance, May Day treat a city 5 star hotel and so on .. 

An example of how happy and satisfied employees automatically bring in satisfied customers and thus help build a great business ..👌👌 ( don't miss the video..)


Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Youtube as an educational and entertainment channel ..

Some exciting Youtube statistics I collected (as of July 2017) :

1. Almost 5 billion videos are watched on Youtube daily.  
2. 1.3 billion population on planet earth (of the 7.44 billion-2016) use Youtube 
3. On an average there are 1 billion mobile Youtube views every day ..

No doubt Youtube and videos are getting to be the most widely used entertainment and information tools of the future. Even all the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) use videos for teaching their students. Most of the Universities use a mix of videos and quizzes to help students learn. I use videos heavily in my E-learning courses at

While it is easy to convey ideas at the school level, one of the greatest doubts higher education Professors have is, can videos based teaching help in higher education. The author believes that if used creatively, with a blend of white board and videos, even higher education can benefit a lot. 

It is said that a picture speaks a thousand words, similarly a video speaks a thousand pictures. Visual systems is an interesting lean manufacturing philosophy (Japanese) where by whatever actions, commands, situations, environments , choices, decisions, information etc are displayed by means of pictures. 

Videos take this information a step further and gives a three dimension view of the situation and the ecosystem around it. It is very comforting for the viewer to observe and imbibe what is good and what is bad from it.  Videos should always be used as an extension to the classroom lectures and not a s a substitute for it. If used carefully, it can be the best teaching mode to be used in a classroom. Used in the blended mode with a bit of oral teaching combined with occasional videos, also called blended teaching, learning can be made really interesting and fun. 

Worldover, Youtube videos are used more for entertainment than as a learning resource. But as a teaching professional, even the entertainment videos I watch on Facebook or Whatsapp social media, I find there is always a learning component to it. It is for us to discern the good from the bad and absorb the positive aspect. 

The research is to find whether there is a still better medium or mix of media that can help in effective learning .. The immersion experience of taking students to different places around the world for a better understanding of the situation, the environment and the eco system surrounding any event is a better way to understand a situation. 

Can every student of the world be able to do it around the world ?  It is definitely possible in one's near surroundings and nearby places. That is the reason why educational tours and industry visits need to be made mandatory along with industry internship in a student's educational life, whatever stream the student is pursuing, be it engineering, medical, law, arts, commerce, pure sciences etc..


Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Why organisations need to move from strategic planning to innovation planning ?

We are living in a world full of disruptions and uncertainties. It is difficult in the present world to plan strategically for a unchanging future. All planning needs to factor in the element of variability, uncertainty and disruption.

I was reading this Greg Satel article on how businesses will get disrupted in the future.. This article has some of his points while others have been added, especially the reference to Tata Sons. 

1. Having a very clear mission - Google's mission is to organise all the world's information. It could not be anymore clearer than that. Walmart's mission is to offer goods at the lowest price everyday. Similarly South West Airline believes in offering the lowest priced flights for the people of US. Getting great clarity in one's mission helps one to achieve the results much faster and effectively. Clear mission helps get stability in the business and prevents it from overspinning out of control. Tata Sons in India believes in serving the society ethically as much as in making profits as their mission. Click here for their core values and the philosophy of giving back to society .... How many of the global corporates we come across believe in giving back to society ?

2. Leveraging on the core competencies - SouthWest Airlines remained true to its mission by having only limited variety in its fleet. Sam Walton concentrated on organising the best logistics and supply chain operations to deliver items at the lowest cost to customers. Tata Sons ensures they have the right people and the rights sets of values imbibed in them to help reach their goal of being fair to its customers, society and other stake holders in the business. By ensuring they have the right team of suppliers and efficient supply chains, Tata Sons are able to serve the customers well.

3. Driving profitability - Once you have a clear mission and core competencies in place, getting one's products through to the customers at the lowest cost ensures profitability. Satisfied customers talk to other customers and help more products to be sold, driving profitability. Tata Sons has great core competencies that support their mission. Unless it succeeds in converting this core competency into profits, Tata Sons will find it difficult to survive in the long run. High customer value ensures customer loyalty, repeat purchases, and this brings in the needed profits in the long run. It is in this area that Tata Sons needs to concentrate to ensure it is able to survive in a cut-throat market focusing only at short term gains than long term goals.

4. Shift focus from strategic planning to Innovative planning - Walmart's planning is focused on the uncertainty and changes that can affects its operations on a daily basis. Tata Sons in its planning does focus on certainties as much as it does on innovative disruptions. By keeping its employees properly motivated and energised, it ensures that its employees are able to sense changes happening in the ecosystem and adapt to the new environment as fast as possible. 

5. Leadership : Any implementation of progressive thoughts and ideas need to be fully supported by the top management. The top down culture of promoting an environment of thinking innovatively needs to come from the leader.  Were it not for the great leadership by Sam Walton or Steve Jobs or Jamshedji Tata of Tata Sons pursuing excellence, innovation and a value based leadership, some of these great organisations on planet earth would not have existed.

6. Promoting a culture of innovation - understanding that the future is very dynamic, if an organisation needs to be in the forefront in any industry globally, it has to continually innovate, evolve and adapt to the changing technology, customer needs and dynamic economic, business, social, cultural and political environment across the world.

The best way to foster innovation is not to focus on ideas or solutions, but on problems. According to me, problems drive innovative thinking, innovative thinking drives changes in mindset, changes in mindset drive changes in the ecosystem and changes in ecosystem drive value, changes in value drive benefits. Tata  Sons tries its level best to be as close to the customer as possible. In addition to be innovative it should also understand that the problems of the present day Indian society is fast urban development, generation of waste and alarming rate of consumption of water and lowering of the water table across the country. Let these be the new problems that are going to drive the next set of innovations in India. 

No business model is fixed. In this fast changing world, the models are very dynamic. Innovative planning and innovative thinking are the drivers for organisations to turn out successful and profitable in the long run. Tata Sons founded by a group of Parsis who landed on the Gujarat coast from Northern Iran around the beginning of the nineteenth century, over one hundred and eighty years back around 1830s have over this time built a global organisation known for its values and customer loyalty.  Planning for innovation aimed at better serving the society has helped Tata Sons to establish itself in the growing markets of India and Europe.


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...

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