Random B-School Musings

Random B-School Musings

Even as term 4 for PGPM 2018 is underway, it seems like yesterday when I entered the campus of Great lakes institute of management, Gurgaon. I think it will be fair for me to say that by now our learning curve has grown exponentially (I was actually looking for an even more superlative word) for having studied twenty two courses in these four and a half months. In the aftermath, however, we have sixteen ‘not so frequently opened’ yet bulky pillow sized books for our perusal (I honestly don’t know when and how these will actually be used.)

But as I recount the seemingly short experience here, I struggle to describe how awesome this journey is panning out to be. I am unable to elucidate that feeling where, on a Friday night – 11:53 PM to be exact – you are still in the Academic block and ceaselessly trying not to miss the midnight deadline for a class group project and at the same time keeping your subconscious mind alert about the pre-reads you have for next day’s schedule that has an early morning lecture on Statistical methods for decision making and Financial accounting.

TGIF? Nah, not for a B-schools student. (Now I know why corporates crave for Fridays)

But all this seems lame and off-centre without the most important ingredient in this recipe for what I call the ‘B-school Khichdi’ – “The almost ready future Manager”.  Yes, the My B-school herd has been the most entertaining and the most Heteroscedastic (Prof. Bharadwaj, please forgive me for the usage) bunch of individuals. Ok, a quick recap – Heteroscedasticity refers to the circumstance in which the variability of a variable is unequal across the range of values of a second variable that predicts it. Thank me later.

These people have made life interesting and I would be irreverent if I don’t mention the kind of people I have encountered here. So, in no particular order, let me first introduce you to:

  • The Future CEO. No, the batch’s current CEO. PGPM batch of 2018 knows who that is. This person is extremely good at everything without being the best at anything. We all know the phrase – “Jack of all trades and Mas…” (Just kidding. Or am I?) Talking of class participation, this person speaks regularly and intelligently in class without ever saying anything remotely controversial. Diplomacy is the word!
  • Ok sorry. I am getting ahead of myself – In economic theory, and also in lay man’s opinion, there is a notion that whatever goods and services are provided, they must be paid for by someone – that is, you don’t get something for nothing. As Prof. Himadri would say, “There ain’t no such thing as free lunch”. Or as I abbreviate it, Tanstafl.
    But we sure have “Free- wait for it-loaders”. These are the clever ones. They know the knack of delegating responsibility without giving the slightest notion that part of the onus is on them too. But we all sure have a lot of things to learn.
  • Moving on, we have the ‘Friend-setters’ who have continued their trendsetting attitude of being jovial and cordial with everyone. But there are also people from the exact bipolar end.
  • The Solitary Reaper – No, that is too optimistic a phrase for this person who thinks the world is an illusion and human interaction is a mystery. William Wordsworth would never want me to tag such a person with his beautifully written metaphor of a nightingale. The lone wolf would be a suitable phrase, yes. But who knows. Although termed aloof, they are the fiercest of friends and they have their own little world. They are focussed with full intent on one goal. Ok, too much philosophy. Apologies.

By the way, this ‘One goal’ theory brings me to the most important subject of discussion that any B-school has to offer – Placements.

Needless to say, even as I am drafting this, the Pre-Placement preparation scenario is in full swing and it never ceases to give jitters as soon as a JD from a firm that is offering jobs is released. But the most dominant part of this preparation has to be the “Group discussion” prep and it is hilarious at times.

I hope the PlaceComm doesn’t throw me as an outcast when I talk about the observations I have made in these sessions. The observations are actually on the participants. So I think I am safe.

Every group discussion (I’ve observed) has these. And I am one among them (so much for modesty). Here’s a broad categorization of the four typical characters I have encountered in GDs so far:

  • The “Know it all” sort – The genuinely, just, ridiculously smart person of the batch who often brings up unusual and weird (yet relevant) opinions on the table during a discussion. This person sure has a way of getting noticed, for the right reasons. Sadly, all we can do is look up to him/her.
  • The “I agree with you” sort – Always finishes the other person’s sentences and adds the aforementioned phrase. Seldom has unique points but vehemently participates nonetheless.
  • The “Search engine optimist” – This person has gone through that One link on the internet (Invariably the first link that pops up on a basic google search. No matter how remotely irrelevant the current topic of discussion is, this genius will try to bring in some fact or figure from that One link
  • The “Silencer” – The loudest noise this person makes is from his pen when he is scribbling stuff during the initial two minutes that are given to gather ones thoughts. This person has all the right points to discuss, but fails to bring them out in speech. Definitely noticeable when the group discussion is a fish market.

There are innumerable memories that are etched on our minds since the past four and a half months and I am sure a lot more is in store for us as we head on to the placement season with vigour and zeal.

Godspeed!

Author: Samuel Johnson

PGPM, Class of 2018, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

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Is a dot-com bubble shaping up in general merchandise retailing?

Internet business has definitely altered the way we shop but internet retailing will keep existing along with Brick and Mortar shops in future. Yes, “along with it”, as people will always have socializing needs as well as convenience of shopping online. I predict that brick and mortar shops will soon convert into something like life-style-shops, where people will come to have socializing time in an ambience and environment that will allow them spend quality time along with shopping goods with confidence of touch and feel. For example, there might be Mid-size or large cafes having a small-boutique store inside with a classy-touch so that women can shop while their husbands can sit down, sip a cup of exotic coffee or play games on a play station (A large-scale existing model of this is malls with shopping stores along with food and gaming stores; such models may change but will not erode away) and socialize with other people around in many ways. There can be ways to incentivize customers to socialize, network with people and refer their “experience” further; this can induce exponential demand. The whole idea is about creating user-experience because people don’t just buy products/services now…. they buy experience, whether its offline or online.

1

I would be delving into the internet retailing business in India to see if it’s another bubble-burst in making, more so for the top-three players that claim 70% of the market share in India viz. Amazon, Flipkart & Snapdeal and analyze who stand to win.  Among these three Amazon seems to be pacing much faster than other two. Each E-retailing company has its own strategy to increase its market share; What would help them to win would be business fundamentals rather than winning the “who-has-better-valuation-race” (based on some model, matrices and cash-flows in future….blah..blah …blah) While they are doing everything from price-slashing-discounts, Faster Delivery, exclusive tie-ups with brands, acquisitions to even backward integration in supply chain, the consumer is clearly able to get a different experience with every new move. Valuations can be subjective, over-optimistic or even completely off-the-track; what I would want to look at is whether this is again a bubble-bust scenario or is there some stability or sanity shaping in the online-retailing industry mostly driven by Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal.

As per industry report from various sources collated by Brand equity forum, Indian Retail Market is poised to grow at 12% per annum to about US$ 1 Trillion till year 2020 from US$ 600 billion in year 2015. Out of this B2C E-commerce is expected to reach US$ 102 billion by 2020 and US$ 220 billion (in terms of Gross Merchandise Value) and 530 million shoppers by 2025. Overall E-commerce market is expected to reach US$ 120 billion by 2020 supported by faster internet speeds and faster adoption of internet services along with increase in app-based customer base.

2

Brand equity

I strongly believe that any business proposition has to comply to established economic theories; Like how a country cannot keep printing its own currency at will, without substantial products, services & other fundamentals in the economy to back it up, any business also cannot be ascribed a value/assessed without strong fundamentals, products & services to back it up. Brand equity reflects a lot of these parameters as it also covers the perceived confidence of sellers and buyers. While recognition of a Brand as a performing brand, increasing market share and price inelasticity reflect a lot about brand equity, Online retailing industry is not yet  in a price controlling position (Can’t raise their margins, they don’t have any for that matter).

a) Customer’s Side

3

In B2C online retailing, Amazon has steadily increased its market share and has captured more than 1/3rd of the market-share, whereas Flipkart and Snapdeal combined have nearly 40% market share. If we talk about most used apps the numbers are still high for Flipkart at 34% along with 11% for Myntra and 6% of Jabong that it already owns. Amazon is installed on 21% of the mobile devices, whereas snapdeal on 16%. Noticeably Amazon seems to have picked up at the app-installation figures since November 2015, the time when Flipkart decided upon the strategy to provide mobile-friendly site for direct browsing rather than from app.

4

b) Seller’s Side

An important point that I would make is that assessment of any online retailer from sellers’s point is as important as it is from customer’s perspective. As per the results from a study (Neilsen’s E-commerce Sellers study Q1 2016-Jan-March) highlighted by Business Standard, starting point to assess the brand equity  is the brand-recall for most sellers (Amazon-25%, Flipkart-21%, Snapdeal-20%), second is the overall awareness (Amazon-86%, Flipkart-82%, Snapdeal-20%.). Providing a favorable platform to sellers increases the brand equity of an online retailer manifolds.

Fundamentals

Tracxn Technologies Pvt. Ltd. Has its own list of Deadpool companies (online business) in India and has its own matrices (like shrinking team size, , suspended operations and decline in user traffic) to list them. This approach seems logical when we look at recent failures in e-commerce business like askmebazaar that suspended its operations due to lack of funds/Cash and  as reported, left 4000 employees jobless in August 2016 ,was looking out for a potential sell-out.  There have been many dead and walking dead companies in the Deadpool list of Tracxn. Looking at recent sell out of Jabong at much lesser a price than valuation (giving rise to a terminology called Jabonged) and downfall of askme bazaar there are new rounds of discussion on e-commerce bubble.

So simply building an online business & burning cash to achieve figures that help you to make it saleable (be it Plan A or Plan B) is a “well-planned-scam” under the daylight, atleast for the stakeholders (Investors, debtors, vendors, employees…..well not customer… they just have to download another app and shop like a boss). Though finance is fungible and the money can be rolled but there has to be enough cash to be rolled. A business that was not started with intent to run & sustain on its own constructs rather than just the mercy and so called loyalty of its customers is a scam as somebody is going to lose sooner or later. Abidali Neemuchwala, new CEO of Wipro (although from a different industry) interestingly said, in an interview for Mint, “I am not afraid about falling Revenue or profitability, I am excited about profitable growth, we will not buy revenue by sacrificing margins”. Most of the internet businesses focus on growth, expansion, revenues and await success that never happens. Simply put the business has to generate its own cash from margins. On contrary all online retailing companies (taken in this write-up) have negative profits.

In case of internet retailing there are lines of products mostly common across all companies (only Snapdeal, Flipkart & Amazon in this write-up) whereas services, value proposition & operations would definitely vary as per their own common or mutually exclusive strategies because each one of them is trying to differentiate & win maximum market share whether it is volumes, Revenues, Product segments etc. So to have a pulse of the industry and see which company is going which direction, we should look for their past & present operations as well as current strategies that have futuristic approach or scope for profits as well.

FLIPKART

  • Flipkart has acquired Myntra and Jabong that have already been leaders in apparel retailing and it is going for strong private brand tie-ups (like how Myntra’s 25% revenue comes through Roadster, Mast & Harbour and Dressberry). HRX by Hrithik Roshan is a lifestyle & sports clothing brand (and some accessories) which is soon going to tie up with Flipkart (Flipkart is targeting the majority stake)
  • As per a report by A.T. Kearney and Google; fashion is expected to be dominantly, the largest product category in online retailing by 2020. Fashion segment offers much fatter margins viz a viz books and electronics and in fashion, private brand tie-ups reap larger margins than third party.
  • Flipkart is much ahead than everybody else when it comes to fashion segment (with 12 private brands of Myntra). As per a commentary by EY, having private brand tie-ups helps a company learn about merchandising and branding giving them better negotiation power with external brands. Flipkart is aggressively trying to improve in this segment as it offers fat margins and may help them become profitable.

AMAZON

  • Amazon is consistently improving on Revenue and market share and surpassed Flipkart in gross sales in July
  • Amazon is catching up well in Smartphone segment with Flipkart while it is already a leader in book sales.
  • Amazon is coming up with its fulfillment centers in Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Jaipur and Mumbai with a total of 5.5 Million square feet storage space (adding to 2.5 million sq-ft. already existing over 21 centers in various states in Gujarat, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, Punjab, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamilnadu, Telangana, West Bengal) for sellers which shall bring down their fixed costs. This strategy as per my opinion is going to have double impact for Amazon as it will get products at real lower rates (bringing down storage/logistics cost for sellers, also building closer association with them-80% of sellers on amazon use its fulfillment service) and consumers will keep getting lower rates on Amazon with faster delivery (two important factors in user experience). This strategy will have a strong backward integration advantage and strong geographical hold across India in supply chain.
  • Amazon Prime is a paid service that gives customer a faster delivery (1 or 2 days). This has seen success in US and other markets. But Indian consumers want more than just the faster delivery. However even a small part of the 50 million user base can be enough to give benefits.
  • Fulfillment center and Amazon Prime combined can help Amazon do away with discounts. Any company that can build a strategy around this idea will eventually see the sustainable success (profitable growth). Amazon seems to have taken a formidable position.
  • AmazonBasics (by cloudtail India pvt. Ltd.) brand selling headphones, charging cables, bags and various other accessories contributes more than 40% of its business and is set to expand it substantially this year (2016)
  • Have aggressive plans in private label offering in electronics accessories, groceries and fashion segments. If this happens they can take Flipkart head-on.

SNAPDEAL

  • While GMV (Gross Merchandise Value-Value of goods sold on an online-marketplace company) has remained a dominant metric to monitor the growth, Snapdeal-CEO, Kunal Bahl said Snapdeal is focusing on net revenue rather than GMV. It has cut down discounts and cost of advertisements; helps fight cash-crunch situation.
  • Snapdeal has diversified portfolio wherein it has FreeCharge (mobile recharge), Shopo, Vulcan, Gojavas, Rupee power (online financial services platform), exclusively (luxury ecommerce site) etc. in its basket.
  • Shopo is a market place for sellers of handicraft products (with zero-commission in revenue, just a fee). It has seen good amount of success with one lakh sellers onboard in just nine months. Shopo can be a promising online shop for small businesses with logistics (connects to logistics companies) and payments tools (freecharge) embedded.
  • Vulcanexpress and Gojavas were conceptualized by snapdeal to compete with its rivals flipkart and Amazon as having in-house logistics is more economical for marketplace companies (it makes logistics reliable & scalable) but snapdeal was late to do this and has faced problems with these two ventures.
  • Freecharge has much younger customer-base 18 to 25 years (age-bracket), with 10 million app-install-base. Snapdeal has a app-install-base of 20 million and its customers belong to 25 to 35 years age-bracket.
  • While Snapdeal seems to have taken a diversified approach, success is yet to be seen in these ventures as well and focus will be shared on all such ventures, whereas its rivals are focusing to improvise on lesser diversified models.

Conclusion

5

The financials available for the online-retailing companies (on public forums and platforms) do not give a veritable insight. However, I have tried to track the fundamentals and strategies being followed by the major players in the industry.  While Amazon and Flipkart seem to have taken the formidable position of top-two players over last one year, Snapdeal despite its move to focus on profitable growth, is losing market share and its strategy doesn’t seem too focused. Snapdeal is trying to grab everything it can, Flipkart is much focused on its most profitable segment, Amazon has a sound approach of wooing both customers and sellers on its market place and is working towards weaning off the discounts. My personal opinion is that Amazon and Flipkart can be the last survivors with profitable growth. Snapdeal and other players may lose the game. It’s a boom-bust situation for everybody else than Amazon and Flipkart.

Disclaimer: This study is based on use of data from private company database, newspaper articles and internet-trends. The data collated through different sources like “similarweb” etc. have been duly credited to and are indicative in nature. The author doesn’t claim any ownership or the veracity of figures mentioned. The ideas that have been borrowed have been duly credited and other self-proposed ideas are inconsequential and meant only for the academic-engagements of the institute.

Author : Gaurav Chauhan

Senior Research Fellow, Great Lakes

Chairman Emeritus Reconnect 49 “Education & Spirituality”

Chairman Emeritus Reconnect 49 “Education & Spirituality”

My dear friends,                 

Once I was captivating introduction of the new batch of MBA at NPTI. The dialouge went as follows:

A Student:          Sir, I am Shrivastava, BE(Elect)

Me:                       I am not interested in your surname and your degree

-These are on our records

Student:             Sir, I am Mahesh Kumar (Imaginatively substituted name)

Me:                      That is your name given by your parents-drop it

Student:             I am a student of NPTI

Me:                      That’s your present occupation-I know it

Student:             Sir, I am a boy

Me:                      I am not interested in your gender

Student:              I am becoming conscious now, who am I?

Another Student: I am feeling intrigued, I am thinking now,

His next:               I am sensitized on my existence today,

Next to next:        My conscience says I am God’s creation,

Yet another:         I am motivated to think, I am divine.

Me:       When you drop all your labels, you come out as “the pure you” :

  • Your consciousness (awareness)
  • Your conscience (sense of right and wrong)
  • Thinking & feeling part of you
  • Your sensor/ sensitivity
  • Your motivation/ inspiration
  • Your divinity

-is your Spirit . Keep it awakened!

We need it all the time for the spiritual paradigms of our MBA education at NPTI, I indicated. I further clarified to them that subjects like “Power Reforms” , “Customer relationship & Entrepreneurship”, “Energy Environment Interface & Sustainable Development” etc. derive their essence from holistic spiritual paradigms of our survival. Besides technicalities, they involve ethics and ethos, human values, customer care, environmental sensitivity, resource renewability, society’s anxieties over clean energy, electricity for all and its availability 24×7 and so on.

Spirituality

Spirituality is a rather mysterious term for the scientific community who keeps experimenting with external and physical world only. There are several inner dimensions of human existence which can not be denied; for example Mind, Intellect (consciousness transforms intellect into wisdom), Innner voice/ Intuition (sixth sense) etc. An encounter with one’s own “inner dimension” is spirituality.

Spirituality is manifested by original qualities of “the spirit or the soul” such as love, compassion, wisdom, bliss, peace, purity, humility, power, forgiveness, sacrifice, contentment, self-responsibility, values, self-esteem, harmony and connectedness to others.

Spiritual literacy is a basic literacy for all that enables the understanding and use of the deeper meaning and connection in all aspects of life. Spirituality teaches us how our lives fit into the greater scheme of things.

Education & Spirituality

 Swami Vivekanand said : “Education is not the amount of information that is put into your brain, undigested all your life. We must have life-building, man-making, character-making assimilation of ideas. If you have assimilated just five (5) ideas and made them your life and character, you have more education than any man who has got by heart a whole library.

A semi-literate man “Anna Hazare” also talked of 5-ideas

  1. Pure Thoughts
  2. Pure Conduct
  3. Unblemished Life
  4. Sacrifice and
  5. Capacity to withstand humiliation;

which he assimilated, practiced and demonstrated, becoming the most literate man of today, saluted by the Indian Parliament.

Education is not merely Academics

Somehow we have misunderstood academics to be education

– We teach our children to read and memorise history but we don’t teach them to create history

– We teach them geography, but not geographical cultures and respect for them

– We teach them science, but not the science of life

-We teach them external management, but not internal management of Mind

Education is to lead a person to knowledge (know-how & know-why) graduating further to wisdom (discovery of truth by himself) to see life in its totality and to face it in its completeness. It is to set a higher goal of life, inner transformation, vision of oneness and genuine care for others.

Best wishes and Regards,

Dr. B.S.K.Naidu

BE(Hons), M.Tech., Ph.D., CBI-Scholar, D.Engg. (Calif.), FNAE, Hon.D.WRE (USA)
Chairman Emeritus, Great Lakes, Gurgaon, NCR, New Delhi, INDIA
Former Director General (NPTI & CPRI) Govt. of India

No job is small or big, the way in which you do, makes it small or big (c)

Chairman Emeritus Reconnect 45 “Solar Rooftops in India”

My dear friends,

India has been a land of revolutions witnessing the life changing upheavals like the Green Revolution and the White Revolution. Now she is on the verge of next revolution i.e. “Solar Revolution”. The newly set target of 100 GW Solar Energy by 2022 will change the position of India on the map of solar powered nations across the world. With 38 GW, Germany has led the world in Solar PV with a global aggregate of 177 GW. Can India follow suit?

Out of the Indian target, 40 GW is earmarked for Solar Rooftops. Our country has around 337 million houses as per the census 2011. A 1-kW system per house could add up to 337 GW of installed capacity; commercial and industrial rooftop space being additional avenue for generation which signifies that the 40 GW target is a small fraction of the potential. The commencements of “Make in India”, “Start-up India”, “Stand-up India”, “Housing for all by 2022” and “Digital India” missions are other elements which can complement and accelerate the transition.

Today, India’s 1/3rd population has no access to electricity and lives in darkness. This can only be answered by decentralised sources of energy like solar. Solar Rooftop PV (SRPV) is a decentralised technology, which is being encouraged due to its low land footprint and ability to reduce transmission and distribution (T&D) losses. Weak local distribution infrastructure, lack of economies of scale and poor social outlook has prevented SRPV systems from penetrating the Indian market. Currently India has only 300 MW of rooftop solar projects.

Consumer awareness

A survey was conducted by one of our PGPM (Energy) students to gauge the awareness of consumers towards solar technology and the apprehensions/partial knowledge related to it. It was an on-line survey and more than 50% respondents belonged to the age group of 25-30 yrs. Most of the respondents (98.3%) were aware of solar technology and the cost of the system which signifies that people now know about the solar rooftop PV technology.

Encouraging feedback was that about 84% of the respondents showed their willingness towards installing SRPV system in future. Most of the respondents are not fully aware of the incentives and subsidies provided by the Government. Almost 41% of the respondents knew about the area required for the installation of SRPV. However, only 6% of the total respondents have installed SRPV systems.

Almost 38% of the respondents were not aware of the new target of 100 GW of Solar deployments by 2022. About 59% of the respondents didn’t know about the Net-metering scheme. There were some ‘true-false’ questions which were asked to test the apprehensions in the minds of consumers. The results show that the respondents are still not aware of the basic features of the SRPV system and have certain false assumptions like solar PVs may cause electric shocks; it will not generate electricity during clouds, etc.

The results show that still a lot is to be done at the awareness front to give a boost to the SRPVs in India. An awareness and a promotional program is proposed to remove the apprehensions and for the better penetration of the technology with promotional ads like that of “Clean Water”, “Sanitation”, “Child Education” etc. The Government can also mandate each energy generator whether conventional or non-conventional to put an information board emphasizing the benefits of Solar Rooftop PV.

Possible Elements of Awareness Campaign

  1. With about 300 clear sunny days, the solar energy available in a year (5000 trillion kWh) exceeds the possible energy output of all fossil fuel energy reserves in India.
  2. India is ranked number one in terms of solar electricity production per watt installed.
  3. The electricity generated by Solar PV becomes free in 6-7 years (payback period) and you enjoy free power thereafter.
  4. Government provides 15% subsidy on the capital cost of installation of solar rooftop PV.
  5. Solar PV works more efficiently in cold climates (see graphs below).
  6. On a cloudy day, typical solar panels can produce 10-25% of their rated capacity. The exact amount will vary depending on the density of the clouds, and may also vary by the type of solar panel.
  7. The Solar PV doesn’t give electric shocks if touched rather they are required to be cleaned daily to keep them dust-free to increase efficiency.
  8. 1-kWp of solar panels typically require 8-12 m2 of shade free area to generate 4 kWh per day.
  9. Cost of Solar Rooftop PV varies between ₹80,000 to ₹100,000 per kW system.
  10. The electricity generated from solar PV costs ₹6/kWh.
  11. The solar energy generated can be supplied to the grid if in surplus.

Recently, a team of researchers from Stanford University have devised an ingenious means of boosting the efficiency of solar panels by exploiting a fundamental physics phenomenon. Solar panels lose efficiency as they heat up. Just as the top of our head radiates excess body heat as infrared light, the researchers have developed a translucent overlay comprised of patterned silica that does the same for solar panels. The overlay separates the visible spectrum of light (which generates electricity) from its thermal radiation, effectively “cooling” the incoming light, radiating the heat away from the panel while allowing more photons to be converted into electricity. Thermal overlay cools the panel’s surface by as much as 22o F and boosts energy production by 1 % (a sizable efficiency jump in the world of solar energy production @ 11-15% panel efficiency).

The fact that the “Solar panels lose efficiency as they heat up” and “that they can suit more the colder and sunny climate” seems to have been ignored in the state-wise target allocation of SRPV out of 40 GW by MNRE in June’2015.

Climate Change and Solar Rooftops

The National Action Plan on Climate Change obligates use of Renewable sources of energy to reduce the carbon footprint. The recent move of the Government in continuation of Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (2010) to install 100 GW of Solar by 2022 is a step forward to Climate change mitigation and connecting the unconnected through distributed source of energy. As the country moves towards the clean energy deployment, it also happens to be a good time for all stakeholders to spread their wings in the new market.

Solar energy revolution seems to be the next big thing after the achievement of Mars mission for India. It is high time for Government to prioritize its further movement towards the building of healthy and sustainable policy & regulatory regime to nourish the sector. A lot of improvement will also be required in the infrastructure to avail the net-metering and feed-in-tariff schemes.

reconnect

Graph 1 & 2 : Temperature coefficient for crystalline cells

The Government can obligate the banks for financing an allotted target capacity of solar rooftop projects in a way similar to the RPOs for Industries/Utilities. Housing financing scheme should attach Home loan with a loan for Solar Rooftops. T
he “Make in India” program is an attraction to many foreign investors and soon the companies will base their units in the country; the Government can mandate Solar Generation Obligation (SGO) to utilize their rooftop space. An agreement and support from Discom’s would smoothen the trajectory of growth.

 

India’s Latest Initiatives at Global Level

It was our Prime Minister’s dream to associate 100+ Solar rich nations like consortium of Oil rich nations to harness solar energy faster by pooling their resources. This indeed happened in Paris during 2015-United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21, during 30th Nov-12th Dec’2015. [ It was the 21st yearly session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 11th session of the Meeting of the Parties to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.]

The Paris declaration aiming at containing the earth’s temperature rise to 2o C above pre-industrial level by limiting to 1000 billion tonnes of carbon, encompassed  “International Solar Alliance” of the countries to share the collective ambition to undertake innovative and concerted efforts for reducing the cost of finance and cost of technology for immediate deployment of competitive solar generation, financial instruments to mobilise more than 1000 Billion US $ of investments needed by 2030 for the massive deployment of affordable solar energy and to pave the way for future solar generation, storage and utilization for countries’ individual needs. Soon thereafter International Solar Alliance – the First International and Inter-Governmental Organisation of 121 Countries with United Nations as Strategic Partner was inaugurated by our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, and the President of France Mr François Hollande. They jointly laid the foundation stone of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Headquarters and inaugurated the interim Secretariat of the ISA in National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), MNRE, Gurgaon on 25-Jan-2016.

These are positive steps which may also boost Solar rooftops segment in future.

Satyamev Jayate !!!

Best wishes and Regards,

Dr. B.S.K.Naidu

BE(Hons), M.Tech., Ph.D., CBI-Scholar, D.Engg. (Calif.), FNAE, Hon.D.WRE (USA)
Chairman Emeritus, Great Lakes, Gurgaon, NCR, New Delhi, INDIA
Former Director General (NPTI & CPRI / REL), Ex. Director (REC) / Executive Director (IREDA)

No job is small or big, the way in which you do, makes it small or big (c)

 

Chairman Emeritus Reconnect 43 – “Goal Setting”

My dear friends,

Having explored the purpose of your life, you will have to set your time bound goals. It is desirable to recheck once the purpose of your life. Strong lives are motivated by dynamic purposes” said Kenneth Hildebrand. Goal setting starts with dreaming, envisioning and fixing your mission. “Do not worry if you have built your castles in the air. They are where they should be. Now put the foundation under them” said Henry David Thorean. “He is in possession of his life, who is in possession of his story” said Carl Jung.

Purpose→Dreams→→SWOT→→ Vision & Values →→Mission & Objectives→→Goals/ Targets/ Milestones

“Dream, dream and dream. Dream transforms into thoughts. Thoughts result in actions. Small aim is a crime” said Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. “Think BIG, Think AHEAD and Think FAST” said Dhirubhai Ambani. Goal is a dream with Deadline & Direction.

Bi-focal Vision is necessary. You should see your life with a bifocal spectacle which facilitates you to have a clear long-range vision of the purpose and goal of life and to visualize with equal clarity the short-term action plans and milestones compatible to the roadmap of your life.

Do you write down 4 or 5 personal goals for the year on 1st January each year, or on your birth day? According to a Study at Harvard, only 3% of people have set goals and they achieve what 97% achieve put together. Discovering your Personal Mission Statement from ‘your fire within’ gives your life a defined purpose and direction and empowers you to lead your life instead of spending your life reacting! Family mission statement can in fact be displayed in your Drawing Room. It’s the fire within, the deep-burning “yes” that empowers us to say “no” confidently to the less important things in our lives. Priorities of mission objectives having been set, your goals have to be SMART, the abbreviation standing for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time bound.

Goals are cascaded throughout the organization you work for. Personal and organizational goals can be synchronized for resonance and unbelievable amplitudes of performance. For instance, if you wish to become world’s most renowned expert in IT and your Company is into IT products, there can be a perfect synchronization of the two enhancing each other’s brand value. The Magic of Organizational Physics is in the understanding of the intrinsic natural frequency of individuals and synergizing the same with the induced frequency of the organizational enthusiasm.

“Vision without action is merely a dream; action without vision just passes the time; vision with action attached with passion can change the world.” Passionate people have benchmarks of yesteryears. Nothing is impossible as “impossible” itself sounds “I-m-possible”. Strong will, determination and passion make impossible possible.

The entire process from dreaming to goal setting can be understood through an example. I wish to quote an organizational example of National Power Training Institute (NPTI) with my first-hand experience as CEO for 5-years.

 

Dreams

At NPTI we had spent first 3-months on the “Value-Vision” exercise. “NPTI in the new millennium” containing a 30- point dream tagged on phrases starting from each of the 30-letters of the institution’s name i.e. National Power Training Institute; was displayed at the entrance of each Unit including the Corporate Center. Every letter of the institute’s name was expanded in a phrase to capture the common dreams, values, vision, hopes, aspirations, ethos and commitments. They not only became the “dream in shape” for NPTI family but turned into “Mantras” with vibrations and resonance.

No

Starting Letter of the Mantra

Mantra

1

N

Nurturing Human Resources Development in Power Sector

2

A

Absolute Quality consciousness

3

T

Train and facilitate the growth of every power professional

4

I

Integrating Information Technology with Hi-Tech Training

5

O

Organizational Excellence

6

N

Nonpareil

7

A

Attitudinal Reorientation to Cultivate Values & Ethics

8

L

Leadership in interfacing technology with management

9

P

Proactive Client – Orientation

10

O

Orchestrate values with Business

11

W

Work to evolve as transnational organization of distinction

12

E

Energize people who energize the nation

13

R

Reverberating with Enthusiasm to tap human endowments

14

T

To emerge as Global Leaders in HRD of Power Sector

15

R

Rendering Cutting Edge Technologies

16

A

Attain Self-sustenance

17

I

Institutionalizing Best Practices

18

N

Nourishing boldness and benevolence

19

I

Inputs designed to improve outputs

20

N

Network to pool expertise

21

G

Galvanize Power Professionals

22

I

Innovation at its best

23

N

No end to learning

24

S

Sharing our knowledge – caring for your needs

25

T

Touch of perfection every where

26

I

Internalizing environmental concerns in power technologies

27

T

Together in pursuit of brilliance

28

U

Upgrading skills & knowledge continually

29

T

Temple of wisdom & motivation is our workplace

30

E

Enhance value additions

SWOT Analysis (Environmental Scanning)

SWOT Analysis (identifying Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) of individuals as well as organizations is extremely helpful in goal setting. While analyzing the above, constraints start appearing very clearly and action plan to overcome weakness and to defuse the threats emerges as described by Eliyahu M. Goldratt in his popular book “The Goal”. He outlines the Theory of Constraints (TOC) to save your plant/ industry/ organization. NPTI was on the verge of merger with some larger organization of Power Sector due to its insolvency.

A pocket size booklet on SWOT culminating into a 40-point strategic charter was published and slipped into the pockets of all NPTI staff. It was drawn under the following heads:

  1. Multi-dimensional enlargement of Scope
  2. Backward Integration of Power Training Experience with Academics
  3. Turn-around on Self-sustenance
  4. Esteem Building for the institution
  5. In-house Capacity Building and Performance orientation

Vision with Values & Convictions

NPTI cherishes a vision of value addition to national and transnational power and energy sectors through Training & HRD, facilitating the growth of every professional, sharing our knowledge and caring for their needs. It endeavors to energize people who energize the nations. Vision is to emerge as global leaders in enhancing human and organizational excellence in Power and Energy Sectors by blending frontier Technologies with Management to facilitate HRD interventions that are instrumental in providing reliable, safe, economic and clean power.

We value our drive and commitment to provide top quality service to our clients. We constantly strive to motivate power professionals to tap their unique human endowments, consciousness, imagination and willpower. Together we make a difference. We believe that no job is small or big, the way in which you do, makes it small or big ! Every job is an important link of the organizational chain of activities. We value ‘understanding’ amongst colleagues and respect each other as team members of a human chain of our larger family i.e. the students, trainees, expert faculty, client organizations etc. We have an unyielding commitment to our targets. We mentally achieve them even before realizing them physically.

Training is a Religion for us. It is the Highest Multiplier of Productivity of individuals as-well-as Organizations. Training is an Investment, not Expenditure. Cost of Training is always less than the cost of non-training. “Power for All’ cannot be ensured without ‘Training for All’.

Mission & Objectives

Vision, values and beliefs should drive us on a mission mode. An empowering vision on the format of a 5-Year destination statement of “Do–or-Die” nature was injected in the DNA of the management team with 3-clear missions:

  1. To achieve 100% self-sustenance
  2. To become largest training organization in Asia Pacific- reaching a turnover level of 75,000 Trainee-Weeks (ultimate goal to become world’s largest reaching 100,000 Trainee-Weeks)
  3. To occupy a unique position on the world map on sectorial specialization

An empowering vision is like setting a high voltage for pushing electricity ensuring flow of electrons in the desired direction. On a mission mode we stop not till the goals are achieved.

Goals/ Targets/ Milestones

  1. To achieve performance parameters during 2000-01 highest ever achieved in any of the past 34 years of existence.
  2. To beat the achieved benchmark of yesteryear, every year thereafter.
  3. A performance jump of 25% in major parameters from the previous year, achieving “Excellent” rating in MoU each year.
  4. Start Post Diploma in Thermal Power Plant Engg. In 2000-01 at New Delhi, Nagpur, Neyveli & Durgapur.
  5. ISO 9001: 2000 Certification in 2001 by DNV, Norway (accredited by the RvA, The Netherlands).
  6. Start B.Tech.(Power Engg.) in 2001-02 at New Delhi.
  7. Start B.E.(Power Engg.) in 2001-02 at Nagpur, Maharashtra.
  8. Launch “National Training Policy for the Power Sector” approved by Govt.of India by 2002.
  9. Start B.E.(Power Engg.) in 2002-03 at Durgapur, West Bengal.
  10. Start MBA (Power Management) in 2002-03, at Faridabad, Haryana.
  11. ISO 14001:1996 in 2003 by DNV Certification B.V., accredited by the RvA, The Netherlands.
  12. Start Post-Graduate Diploma in O&M of Transmission & Distribution in 2004-05 at Nagpur & Bangalore.
  13. Deemed University Status by 2005 from UGC.

The above realistic goal setting exercise based on concrete concepts proved to be an historic driver of a paradigm shift in NPTI’s existence and made it a self-sustaining Power Training Institution-largest in the world expanding 4- units into 10 across the country (adding 2 at Guwahati & Nangal, taking over from CEA, PSTI & HLTC at Bangalore, activating CAMPS & Corporate Centre at Faridabad besides 4 existing Regional Units) in a term of just 5-years, achieving all the above mentioned goals. UGC approved in-principle, the Deemed University Status to CAMPS in April’ 2005. Though I have cited an example of an organization, same philosophy is true for personal goal setting.

I hope, the above clues will help you set your goals in life and achieve them.

Satyamev Jayate !!!

Best wishes and Regards,

Dr. B.S.K.Naidu

BE(Hons), M.Tech., Ph.D., CBI-Scholar, D.Engg. (Calif.), FNAE, Hon.D.WRE (USA)
Chairman Emeritus, Great Lakes, Gurgaon, NCR, New Delhi, INDIA
Former Director General (NPTI & CPRI / REL), Ex. Director (REC) / Executive Director (IREDA)

No job is small or big, the way in which you do, makes it small or big (c)

Chairman Emeritus Reconnect 20 – “Bharat Ratna” to Sachin Tendulkar

My dear young friends,

The President of India has bestowed upon Sachin Tendulkar  “Bharat Ratna” the highest civilian honour. At 40, he is the youngest recipient ever. Was it given to him for his unconquerable record of 100 centuries, 164 half centuries, 76 times man of the match; 33,896 runs in international cricket and 50,000 runs in all recognized cricket ? Or was it something beyond?

Sachin had a unique combination of aggressiveness and speed with patience and seriousness. His humility, devotion, determination, commitment, passion, hard work and discipline were exemplary. First glimpse of his passion was seen when he was 16 and in his first match Waqar Younis’ bouncer hit his nose that started bleeding. He went for dressing. On return he slapped 3 fours on his ball in a sequence. Since then no bowler around the world could breathe in peace against Sachin. During 1998, in Sharjah test match Sachin hit Shane Warne’s balls so intensely that he had to say that he sees him slap sixes even in dreams. His regular net-practice before the matches speaks of his dedication. He used to enter the ground with the same devotion be it a charity match or an international test match. He never lost his cool during worst of provocation; he used to answer his critics with his bat. On being declared “out” he never questioned the umpire or his destiny. He simply left the wicket most humbly and obediently, accepting the failure with highest grace.

There are numerous stories about his providing inspiration and healing emotional wounds of his co-players in the dressing room. After Sachin’s retirement, Coach of South African team Russell Domingo stated that absence of Sachin Tendulkar in the dressing room would make an easy way for their team. No wonder, for setting up such sports culture, his photograph hangs in Lord’s dressing room.

Did we recognize this kind of Sports Culture and Sportsmanship?

Manoj Tiwari says when he was selected first time for Team India; he had to return to Kolkata from Bangladesh trip without playing a single match due to an injury. As per directions of BCCI he was getting ready to go to Mumbai for treatment. Same day Sachin was going to Bangladesh via Kolkata. He took his phone number from the local manager and made a call to enquire about his injury. During the talk Sachin asked him which doctor he has been referred to. When he told his name, Sachin said “he is a good doctor but is a specialist of knees while your injury is in the shoulder” Manoj told him that he may have to follow the instructions of BCCI and moreover he did not have any idea of another appropriate specialist. Sachin said he should wait for a while, he would do something. After half-an-hour Sachin telephoned him to say that he has fixed up an appointment with another suitable doctor and Board officials would help him in this. Without accepting captainship for long, his inspirational leadership was exemplary. The way he was carried on shoulders round the ground by his team members including the captain after the World Cup win in 2011 speaks of it all.

Did we recognize this kind of Humane Leadership?

At the time of his father’s demise during a world cup match he came to India to participate in rituals and immediately returned to England. In the next match when he made a century his tearful eyes looking at the sky were signifying that it was a salutation of a real patriot to his father. During 1999 Chennai test match against Pakistan, Sachin after making a century taking the team to a near win situation was declared “out” at 136 and India lost a romantic match. Disappointed Sachin returned to the dressing room and wept like a child. He did not go to receive his “Man of the match” award. After team’s defeat, his century and award both became meaningless to him.

Lalchand Rajput coach for Indian team in Australian tour during 2007-08 informs that several controversies had shadowed that tour. During that trip itself one day in Perth he was coming down in a Hotel Lift along with Sachin and Harbhajan for dinner. The lift stopped at eighth floor. An Australian entered and the moment he realized that he was face to face with Sachin, he almost became mad. He said his life became worth since he could directly see the God of Cricket. During the Australian tour in 1998 itself, Matthew Hayden had stated “I have seen God. He bats at No.4 in Indian Team in Tests”

Sachin’s benevolent farewell speech was telecast alive in Pakistan. Many newspapers praised him vehemently. Urdu daily “Insaph” wrote “Sachin like cricketers are not born every day. All love and respect him beyond limits”. Even Pak Taliban “Tehreek-e-Taliban” had to issue clarification that they never meant that Sachin should not be praised simply because he is an Indian.

When India plays its old enemy at cricket the ideal solution for many Pakistani spectators is for Sachin Tendulkar to score a hundred and Pakistan to win  according to the writer Suresh Menon. This speaks volumes of modesty, goodwill and consideration that Sachin has earned and spread across the Indian sub-continent, nay, the entire world. There are stories after stories to indicate that Sachin became an underpin of international goodwill which diplomatic machineries may take ages to build!

Did we salute his statesmanship?

Sachin was on the Golden Coin that was tossed in his farewell match, he is on the postal stamp, he is in the school curriculum, he is in Madame Tussauds and he is in a temple. He was an accepted “Bharat Ratna” for the unmatchable grace of Sportsmanship, Humane Leadership and Statesmanship even before the formal conferment by Govt. of India.

You would have realized my dear friends, the focus was not Sachin but insights into his aura of multiple layers of glory and grandeur which is generated by great human effort.

Satyamev Jayate !!!

Best wishes and Regards,

Dr. B.S.K.Naidu

M.Tech., Ph.D., CBI Scholar, D.Engg.(Calif), FNAE
Hon.D.WRE (ranked amongst 30-most eminent scientists in the world)
Chairman Emeritus, Great Lakes, Gurgaon, NCR, New Delhi, INDIA
Former Director General (NPTI & CPRI / REL), Ex-Director (REC)/ Executive Director (IREDA)

No job is small or big, the way in which you do, makes it small or big (c)

Chairman Emeritus Reconnect 14 – Attitude decides the Altitude

My dear young friends,

On 01-Aug-13, I was speaking at the Commencement Program of a new “Energy Management” batch. When you join a Management Institute you boost of your CAT percentile, specialization, work experience, computer skills, good scores in tests and interviews etc. These are not important indeed. What matters is what you have brought inside you? Hydrogen, Helium or Nitrogen & Oxygen combine?

Let me tell you a story to clarify what I am saying. A balloon seller was selling his colorful balloons- yellow, blue, red and green. Children getting attracted to these colors were rushing to him to buy balloons. After a while the crowd would disappear. For attracting them once again, the balloon seller would fill in a few balloons with Hydrogen and would release them in the sky which would go very high. Children would get fascinated once again and rush back.

Once a small kid came to him and started pulling his jacket gently. “What is the matter my child, do you want a balloon, don’t you have a coin to pay” he asked. The child said “No Sir, I wish to ask a question, may I?” He said “go ahead”. The child asked “If you release a black balloon next time, would it also go up the sky?” Melting at the innocence of the child, he said Oh my dear son “It is not the color of the balloon that matters, what is inside it matters. Similarly, it is not your dress, not the color of your skin, nor your qualification that matters. Barack Obama’s black skin could not stop him to become the President of United States for 2-terms. Bill Gates’ meagre qualification could not stop him to become the richest man and the largest donor in the world. It is the attitude inside that decides the altitude outside.

Marketing Gurus generally tell a story to the beginners that a marketing executive was posted to sell the shoes made by his company in a Tribal area where nobody was in the habit of wearing shoes. He did not find any shoe shop either. He immediately faxed to his Company that this was a wrong posting for him. He was called back and another executive was posted. After seeing the situation, he telephoned “Please send enough packs of shoes since there is a great opportunity to market the very concept of shoe-wearing and selling our shoes”.

Similarly after joining an institute, some of the students may take an impression that the Institute has a small library and some may take an impression that “Wow! this Institute has a huge electronic library, including access to EBSCO, Ace Equity, HBR online, Canvas etc. and the adjunct faculty is very strong-the real experts from Industry which makes this course really “Industry matched” and a series of CEOs/HoDs come and interact from the Industry and Policy making hub of the Government. For instance, the very next day Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Head of Planning Commission addressed our Global Energy MBA program. This is like Johns Hopkins in Washington, D.C. Infrastructure is not just the building but comprises also the software and the thought processes making rounds in it.

Mikhail Gorbachev once visited a construction site. He saw a small boy chiseling stones. He asked “ My dear boy what are you doing?” The young boy replied “Can’t you see, I am chiseling stones hurting in the process my fingers which are bleeding, can’t you see my sweat; I am struggling for my survival”. Gorbachev went to the other side of the same construction site and found another small boy doing the same. He asked him the same question. Quick came the reply “Can’t you see Sir, we are building a great Chruch where thousands of devotees would come for thousands of years and pray God” Same job different perception! After you join this course someone may ask “Why did you join this course? One may reply “I did not have much choice, so I am doing this course” while another may say “I am doing this course for a unique “value-add” that can make a difference in the Energy sector. And I am going to make it” Same course different perception!!

According to David Rosenfield, students can be classified in 4-categories 1)  Sponge which soaks every thing, can’t discriminate between good and bad. 2)   Funnel which   can’t  retain anything 3)   Filter which collects waste  4)  Thresher which collects essence and throws away waste. In order to create Threshers; we need to create a mindset of “discretion and prudence”, consciousness about the real purpose and value of the course and the art of selecting the “vital few from trivial many”. Learning is not simply listening to lectures, taking notes, memorizing the text and passing tests. One can complete Masters, with his laptop and his head top full of data, but little knowledge and wisdom in the absence of its application. You have to become a “Thresher” almost 18-hrs a day making life a school. Dr. Abdul Kalam, did not go to MIT, Harvard, or Stanford to get Best of Education, but he made Best out of Education. That should be your motto.

Two frogs accidently jumped into a bucket of cream one day. “We are in a mess” croaked one, after trying in vain to get out. “Keep on paddling” said the other. “It is no use” replied the first, adding “it was too thick to swim, too thin to jump over and too slippery to crawl. “We are going to die” he concluded and actually sank to the bottom and died. While the other one kept on paddling and paddling and paddling throughout night! By morning next he found himself resting on a lifesaving mass of floating butter, churned all by himself from within the same unfavorable fluid environment. “Winners never quit and Quitters never win”.

Having accidently or knowingly jumped into a course; one can’t say it is too thick to swim or too thin to jump over. He has to keep on paddling and paddling and paddling to churn the butter out !!!

Summarizing,

1. Your inner attitude decides the altitude outside.

2. You can have two entirely different perceptions about a job, choose the positive one.

3. “Make best out of education” becoming a thresher.

4. Winners never quit and Quitters never win. Keep on paddling…….

Best wishes and Regards,

Dr. B.S.K.Naidu

M.Tech., Ph.D., CBI Scholar, D.Engg.(Calif), FNAE
Hon.D.WRE (ranked amongst 30-most eminent scientists in the world)
Chairman Emeritus, Great Lakes, Gurgaon, NCR, New Delhi, INDIA
Former Director General (NPTI & CPRI / REL), Ex-Director (REC)/ Executive Director (IREDA)

No job is small or big, the way in which you do, makes it small or big (c)