Saturday, 20 August 2011

A Green Future

The fundamental idea behind having a green future is that while fulfilling the requirements of the present, we leave sufficient natural resources for the future generations to come. This calls for responsible behaviour on part of the world's existing population and initiatives to build environmental sustainability.

Some ways in which we can work towards a green future are:

Promote sustainable architecture, which endorses environmentally conscious design techniques. While being an environment and ecology conscious approach, sustainable architecture advocates moderation in the use of materials, energy and development space. This may be done by the use of recycled lumber as building material and the usage of solar panels for electricity generation and water heating.

Waste Management is important as the amount of waste per house can be reduced by on-site composting of food waste and off-site recycling. Composting of toilets may be done to reduce sewage and grey water may be used on garden beds to make waste management efficient.


Phasing out of plastics by means of replacing them environment-friendly paper bags or bags made of biodegradable material is also a viable solution. Phasing out of vinyl plastic and brominated flame retardants by companies are prominent steps in this direction.  

Harnessing renewable energy sources and usage of alternative fuels is highly recommended considering the fast-depleting natural sources of energy and fuel. Using turbines to harness wind energy is increasingly prevalent to reduce dependence on conventional reserves of energy sources. The concept of a water-fuelled car serves to reduce demand for hydrocarbon based fuels, cut back on pollution and prevent environmental damage.


Technology has changed the world in a big way. Technological advancement has changed human habits, the way of life, how humans interact and all this has had a significant impact on the thought processes of humans.

Let us have a peek into the future (about three decades from now) and envision what changes may come about by the year 2040:

Greater access to mindpower and usage of mental faculties

It is a well-known fact that at any given point of time humans utilize less than 10% of the potential that their brains have. Medical science is likely to find out ways of using a greater percentage of this brainpower to carry the human race forward.

A pill for every state of mind

It shall be possible to purchase emotion and states of mind. Medical pills corresponding to every state of mind shall be available for sale giving humans greater choice to get into a particular frame of mind before any activity.

Humans competing with robots

We shall have sports and activities in which teams are comprised partially of humans and partially of robots. This will be in line with human evolution to the extent of capabilities that advanced robots have.
Man and Machine come together

We have witnessed lots of humans getting married to each other. The future will bring man and machine together by means of wedlock as the world will embrace marriages between robots and humans. To offset the trend of rising divorces, robots will be configured for compatibility as a mate. Cross-breeding between human and robots will serve to give birth to a new modern species.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Service attributes of Apollo Hospitals

Product: The hospitals offer health care services and medical treatment high in credence attributes as product. India has demand for premium service in this sector.

Place: The health care is being provided by Private nursing homes, Missionary hospitals and Government hospitals, with Apollo Hospital being the first ``for-profit`` private hospital.

Promotion: The promotion for healthcare service is by Word-of-mouth. The public relations management becomes important. The referring doctors are convinced about the quality and ability of service being offered at the hospital. Apollo launches yearly magazines for spreading information about latest practices and research in the healthcare segment. They also call doctors for conferences to discuss the latest innovations in the field. Efforts are put to increase awareness in women to improve overall health of families. 

Price: Apollo is targeting the middle and premium levels. The price charged is slightly higher than competitors. Apollo also promotes special pricing for specific ailments to improve customer base.

People: Apollo recognises employees and medical staff as Stars for good performance of the hospital. Being a service, the internal marketing is important to manage the motivation of employees for serving the customers. Dr. Reddy made sure that the employees understood the larger ambition of the business. The human resource managers ensured task identity and significance of each step of work is understood by employees. 

Process: The work process has to be defined for consistent and organised approach for repeated service. The various stakeholders of Apollo:

Consulting doctors

 The goals of consulting doctors and management are different, but by defining the process, a symbiotic working relation can be ensured.

Physical evidence: The equipments and facilities being offered are kept state of the art and always in operating conditions to ensure proper physical evidence of services to be delivered. The customer assigns tangibility and credence to service offered and it helps for repeat service demand and positive word of mouth promotion.

The distinct characteristics of service offered:

Intangibility: The service being offered by doctors is intangible as the patients do not end up with the ownership of anything.

Inseparability: The health care service is inseparable. Doctors and patients have to be present for diagnosis and treatment.

Variability: The service varies with change in context (who, where, to-whom) of service being offered. To ensure consistency and reduce risk perception, following steps are taken:
Ø  Proper training was provided to new recruits
Ø  Training for skill & ability improvement
Ø  Standardising service performance process throughout the organisation
Ø  Monitor patients feedback to deliver best levels of service

Perishability: The service cannot be inventoried and has to be delivered promptly. The fluctuation in demand is handled by:
Ø  Differential pricing to promote non peak demand
Ø  Complementary services:  Free overnight stay during slow festival season
Ø  Peak time efficiency: To focus on essential tasks during busy periods

How has the evolution of the telecommunication industry made it more complex for businesses to grow?

Ø   The print media business has found an arch rival owing to e-books and other reading material available on the Internet.

Ø  The travel business has also been affected negatively as people can share information by telephonic/electronic means instead of travelling and meeting in person.
Video Chat
Ø  Postal orders and courier services have seen a decline owing to online delivery and receipt of data.

Ø  The medium of internet has also helped people to quickly become aware of fraudulent deals and businesses, so fly-by-night and unscrupulous business dealers get fewer customers.

Ø  Owing to the growth of the telecommunication industry, transparent sources of information and actual market rates of commodities have been displayed over the internet, thereby, not allowing businessmen to charge their customers exorbitantly. So, businessmen reap lower profit on the sale of a commodity.

Ø  People get readily available information on the internet so they don’t have to rely on dealers who will add service charges for giving information.

Online information
Ø  Higher employment numbers in the telecommunication industry owing to its growth has reduced the number of skilled employees available for other businesses.

On the positive side, however, the growth of the telecommunication industry has helped businessmen reach out to people and to make their products/services more visible. This has made marketing of goods easier.

Newspaper Distribution in India

·         The newspaper is a highly perishable product whose utility ends by afternoon and it has to be distributed under severe time constraints
·         The printed newspapers have to be dispatched to various agencies/distributors across various regions. Newspapers are transported in contract vehicles. At times multiple newspapers are carried in the same van
o   Public transport such as trains are also used at times for places which are far from printing facilities
·         The newspaper distributor/agency has the right to distribute the newspaper in their area. Their income based on a commission on the sale of every newspaper. The circulation is normally through salesmen appointed and salaried by the vendors
·         Hawkers, vendors and book stall owners are the last link of the supply chain before newspaper reaches readers. The hawkers' remuneration is also normally based on the commission system and is generally the highest in the entire supply chain

Overview of distribution structure adopted by newspaper companies

Role of each member in the distribution chain

Printing Press
The press prints the required number of newspapers for the day according to the production plan. It takes the template and layout from the design team and prints using high capacity advanced press machines that deliver the paper in packaged condition.
The packaged newspapers are transported through contracted vans or public transport to different distribution centers or agencies.
 Distribution Centre / Agency
The distribution centre or the agency is the place where the copies are received and handed over to various vendors and hawkers. The payment for the goods is on a daily basis.
Vendors and hawkers source their newspapers from the distribution centre or agency and deliver them to the readers. Vendors employ beat boys who have demarcated regions/housing societies, which they serve.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Variable Pay in Organizations

Types of Variable Pay:
  Piece-Rate Pay
  Merit-Based Pay
  Skill-Based Pay
  Profit-Sharing Plans
  Personalised variable pay

Benefits of variable pay:
  Innovative, productive, and efficient
  To align individual motivation and goals with the objectives of the organization
  Psychological theories suggest that incentive pay motivates performance
  Risk shared with employees
  The idea of creating a culture of ownership
  Lesser turnover
  Eliminate weak links, reward performers

What the organization needs to decide upon?
·        Eligibility
·        Defining measures
·        Developing a reward formula
·        Developing distribution criteria
·        Frequency of payment

The pros and cons of the IPL model

The IPL (Indian Premier League) has been a commercially successful venture. Money has been pooled in from various sources, which include:

Ø  Media Rights of US $ 1 billion for 10 years
Ø  Title sponsorship
Ø  Sale of match tickets
Ø  Selling advertising in stadia
Ø  Franchise Bid Money

This money has been utilised to promote the newest form of cricket, that is, Twenty20. There are many positives in favour of the IPL model:

  • Promoting Indian cricket and India as a major cricketing nation
  • Career enhancement of domestic cricketers who were otherwise languishing in neglect
  • A major source of income for cricketers, media and IPL franchises
  • Introducing glamour to the game of cricket
  • A great source of entertainment for viewers and audiences

However, there are flipsides to the IPL model as well. Among them are:

  • Decreasing popularity of other forms of cricket
  • Disputes with cricket boards of various countries
  • Making playing schedules more hectic for international cricketers for other tournaments
I feel that Lalit Modi has done very well as the IPL Chairman. Lalit Modi has implemented the IPL model successfully in a short span of time. Credit goes to him for bringing in money and glamour to the game of cricket. His vision has also been an encouragement for domestic cricketers and has made India shoot into the limelight as a “Cricket Lovers’ Nation”.

Considering the improvement of ethical aspects, sources of money could have been made more transparent. Also, it is believed that a certain amount of personal bias is involved in IPL dealings. A fair and just procedure would have strengthened the faith of people in the cricketing administration.