Monthly Archives: September 2013

Value chain mapping

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Found an interesting article by Justus & Sunitha in ‘Indian Management’ magazine. Article ‘Mapping the value chain’ highlights that assessing a company’s competitivness requires an understanding of the entire value chain system and not just the company’s own value chain.

 

Here are the bullets.

 

1-Input minimization

 

American airlines leaves aircraft surfaces unpainted.

Air Asia implemented a faster turnaround time.

Jetlite cut food items.

 

2-Alternative production process

 

Modified Solvay process for making Soda ash, with byproduct fertizer Amm. chloride

 

3- Tackling raw material shortage

 

Developing expertise in fermentation technology by Pfizer

 

4- Raw material quality

 

Vertical integration into steel by Timken, a bearing manufacturer.

 

5- Local customs and culture

 

Fish tanks by Walmart in China

 

6- Raw material from waste

 

Wealth out of Waste (WOW) scheme at ITC

 

7- Service

 

Eternity by Exide

 

8- Human relation

 

Contractual employment by Asia Motor works on the lines of oil-rig business

 

9- Technology

 

China Unicom low call charges for international calls

 

10- Marketing

11- Internet

 

1800flowers.com

 

12- Inventory turnover

 

Mulchandani of Baron Internatinoal borught down price of TV sets in India.

 

13- Supply chain

 

14- Erection cost

 

Second hand plants by Vedanta

 

15- Support facilities

 

 

 

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Be a coffee bean

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A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling.
It seemed that, as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans.
She let them sit and boil, without saying a word. In about twenty minutes, she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?”
“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” the young woman replied. The mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, “What does it mean, mother?”
Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity – boiling water – but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.
The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened! The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
“Which are you?” the mother asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?” Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong but, with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit but, after a death, a breakup, or a financial hardship, does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavour.
If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?

source-internet

Three filter test

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In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem. One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?”
“Hold on a minute,” Socrates replied. “Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say. That’s why I call it the triple filter test. The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”
“Well, no,” the man said, “actually I just heard about it and…”
“All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now, let’s try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?”
“Umm, no, on the contrary…”
“So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about my friend, but you’re not certain if it’s true. You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left—the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?”
“No, not really.”
“Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither true, nor good, nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”

source- internet

Money is not everything

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A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art.. When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.

About a month later, just before Christmas, There was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands..

He said, ‘Sir, you don’t know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly… He often talked about you, and your love for art.’ The young man held out this package. ‘I know this isn’t much. I’m not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this.’

The father Opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture.. ‘Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It’s a gift.’

The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.

The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection. On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. ‘We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?’

There was silence…

Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, ‘We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one.’

But the auctioneer persisted. ‘Will somebody bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?’

Another voice angrily. ‘We didn’t come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Gogh’s, the Rembrandts. Get on with the Real bids!’

But still the auctioneer continued. ‘The son! The son! Who’ll take the son?’

Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. ‘I’ll give $10 for the painting…’ Being a poor man, it was all he could afford.

‘We have $10, who will bid $20?’

‘Give it to him for $10. Let’s see the masters.’ The crowd was becoming angry. They didn’t want the picture of the son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections.

The auctioneer pounded the gavel.. ‘Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!’

A man sitting on the second row shouted, ‘Now let’s get on with the collection!’

The auctioneer laid down his gavel. ‘I’m sorry, the auction is over.’

‘What about the paintings?’

‘I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will… I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings.

The man who took the son gets everything!’

Money is not EVERYTHING. This may surprise few but is a fact.

Value of time

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Imagine there is a bank, which credits your account each morning with Rs 86,400, carries over no balance from day to day, allows you to keep no cash balance, and every evening cancels whatever part of the amount you had failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every pence, of course!
Well, everyone has such a bank. Its name is Time.
Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the records of the day. If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours.
There is no going back. There is no drawing against the “tomorrow.”
Therefore, there is never not enough time or too much time. Time management is decided by us alone and nobody else. It is never the case of us not having enough time to do things, but the case of whether we want to do it.

source-internet

My boss and me

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In last one week, 2-3 things happened which resulted in this post.

My boss Tina is very forgetful and sometimes absent-minded. So I am not surprized when she gives credit for my work to other people in front of me, or claims credit for herself. So it was a pleasant surprize when she acknowledged my suggestion. What happened was that an event was to be organised and two booklets were to be printed for the event. While designing was going on I suggested that we can avoid mentioning event date on the book cover so that if event is rescheduled, booklets are usable. She agreed to it. And 2 days later, government announces austerity measures and disallows govt. programmes in 5-star hotels, so our programme is cancelled. Boss expresses happiness that we did not print date on books. In a moment of sucking-up, and since it slipped out of my mind that it was my suggestion, I said- Boss, your foresight was bang on dot. She said-you only suggested it. I ended up having a mix of emotions- guilt for appearing to be sucking up, happy that she accepted my idea, surprized that she acknowledged me and so on.

But in another incident, we were to launch a redone website. So she planned it all with my junior happy. I was also okay since I trust happy, who is boss’s technical advisor and best-rated executive of our department. Happy lined up everything as discussed by her with boss. But being nice she kept me in loop and informed. So on the day of the launch, I let happy and ann manage all the work. Aniways I was not involved in the discussions also so i was a bit upset also. When the launch happened, i was asked to join. Post the function,Tina called me and said- Why don’t you supervise. I told her, happy had discussed with you, and moreover she will think I am interfereing and trying to grab the credit. Tina said-no you need to get involved, i can not go everywhere. I said okay.

Next day she calls a meeting on website, where senior officers from different departments come and take part. She calls happy, ann and others but not me. I am again confused what is her working style. She discusses work directly to my juniors, assigns tasks to them, and then asks me about progress. Am I supposed to beg juniors to tell me what all jobs boss assigned to them. Tina can always tell me and then I can assign. It’s all very confusing.

An aside, yesterday I went to a printer for some urgent job. He remarked-Sir, you are so polite in your dealing that I can not say no to you for any job. It made my day.

Meaningless goals

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A farmer had a dog who used to sit by the roadside waiting for vehicles to come around. As soon as one came, he would run down the road, barking and trying to overtake it. One day a neighbour asked the farmer “Do you think your dog is ever going to catch a car?” The farmer replied, “That is not what bothers me. What bothers me is what he would do if he ever caught one.”

Many people in life behave like that dog who is pursuing meaningless goals!!!

source-internet

A pound of butter

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There was a farmer who sold a pound of butter to the baker. One day the baker decided to weigh the butter to see if he was getting a pound and he found that he was not. This angered him and he took the farmer to court. The judge asked the farmer if he was using any measure. The farmer replied, amour Honour, I am primitive. I don’t have a proper measure, but I do have a scale.” The judge asked, “Then how do you weigh the butter?” The farmer replied “Your Honour, long before the baker started buying butter from me, I have been buying a pound loaf of bread from him. Every day when the baker brings the bread, I put it on the scale and give him the same weight in butter. If anyone is to be blamed, it is the baker.”

What is the moral of the story? We get back in life what we give to others. Whenever you take an action, ask yourself this question: Am I giving fair value for the wages or money I hope to make? Honesty and dishonesty become a habit. Some people practice dishonesty and can lie with a straight face. Others lie so much that they don’t even know what the truth is anymore. But who are they deceiving? Themselves

source-internet

Help Wanted: Servant Leaders

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Would have loved his description of servant leadership in your crisp writing.

The 16%

I’ve been preparing the material for a class on Servant Leadership, and it’s given me the chance to read and re-read some of the writings of Robert Greenleaf. Greenleaf, who had a long career with AT&T from the 1920s to 1960s, wrote the book Servant Leadership in 1970. Today that phrase is used a lot in many sectors, and sometimes it’s used without much explanation as to exactly what is meant by it. It seems that most people assume the meaning is self-explanatory. However, in Greenleaf’s writings, he paints a much clearer picture of what it actually means to be a servant leader.

However, what captured my imagination even more than his description of a servant leader were his thoughts on the important role that a servant leader plays in a prospering organization or society. Greenleaf said that the greatest problem facing us was not the system, nor the presence…

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