Monday, December 24, 2012

Point & Counterpoint: Jugaad is a great competitive advantage

Jugaad; an essentially Indian word which stands for the ability to work out an out of the box solution for problems. The solution may be permanent or not, but it does work as a quick fix and definitely helps makes life easier.
Recently when I had been to a newly developing part of Chennai for some classes I saw this very interesting sight; heavy duty electrical cables joined together in an impromptu manner and then capped with cut off pieces of water bottles.

An interesting and amazing Jugaad!
Sure, this is not very safe and neither is this long lasting but it provides an interim solution and keeps things working. More importantly it does serve the intended functional purpose.
Click here to read a wonderful Retail perspective to Jugaad and join the discussion about whether this will continue to be their core competitive advantage and also be sustainable.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Point & Counterpoint: What about the issues that exist today?

It is actually very heart rending to hear of all the supposedly extremes that are waiting to fall upon and ravage our lives, thanks to the FDI announcement in Retail. One of the comments in the debate was whether the MNC Retailer will bother about the farmer’s daughter’s wedding or something like that. I wondered if the local moneylender and their bouncers are nowadays taking so much of interest in the welfare of farmer's family that they are killing themselves.
I Read an article about how we are losing Rice varieties in today’s paper (link to the article and discussion is on my page) and something we all know came to my mind. The poor farmer has never been a priority or in focus. Increasing use of pesticides is already rampant and what is being done about it? Cultivation patterns are more by default than design. What is being done about that? The children of farmers go away after studying to work in call-centres. We are OK with these young adults becoming telephone operators but are concerned that similar young people will become sales girls and sales boys.
While I am not condoning anything which is incorrect, I do ask for some objectivity from all those who are making this out to be the single, sole reason why India will perish soon. Also, neither am I saying that FDI in Retail is the panacea of all evil, it will transform India and soon we will all be driving around on gold plated roads. Everything has a good and bad side to it. Sense and sensibility is to use the good and manage the bad to minimise the negative impact. Let us do the same with Retail first and the FDI will sort itself out.
Please click on this link to join the discussion on my Facebook page and also do LIKE the page.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Point & Counterpoint: A new idea for online discussion

"Point & Counterpoint" is a new idea that I would like to try to engage the readers of this blog. Some perspective about Retail, Indian Retail, Stores, Shopping, Customers, etc., will be shared on the blog as also on my Facebook Page. Please visit the page to share your comments and views and enable a discussion with points and counterpoints.To differentiate such posts, the title would start with the phrase "Point& Counterpoint".
Lets start the first such discussion on the hot topic Retail FDI. Here goes....
An article in "The Hindu" is about saying NO to the Retail FDI. Written by a Prof who has worked in a PSU bank earlier, he tackles this from a pure Foreign Vs Domestic fund perspective. One of his main contention is that banks are flush with funds and why are we seeking FDI?
Yet another completely flawed perspective from 3 points of view -
First of all Retail is not an industry and any business which does not fall under a specific industry classification has a tough time getting funding from banks, esp PUS banks. Especially start ups in India have a painful experience in getting funding in spite of all the much publicised schemes. How will the banks which are flush with domestic funds help in this context. Maybe, that's why they are flush with funds!
Funding is only one part of the story regarding Retail FDI. What about the systems, processes, etc., that will come into the picture. How will banks which are flush with funds help?
Lastly, while almost everyone keeps talking about why there should be no Retail FDI and how it will affect the small trader. No one wants to put on the table anything constructive in terms of helping the small traders and/ or the chain stores.
Please click on this link to join the discussion on my Facebook page and also do LIKE the page.