Change of Guard! (by Amitava Chattopadhyay)

Mr. Ratan N. Tata stepped down as Chairman of the Tata Group on Friday heralding a change of guard after a 20+ year tenure at the helm of the Group. I remember when Mr. Tata was first appointed Chairman in 1991, there was much discussion about his suitability for the role. Yet, Mr. Tata proved to be a visionary leader. He transformed a sleepy and traditional business group, that was a loosely aligned set of companies which shared a common name, in to a $100bn global behemoth that had seven business lines under centralized management. Mr. Ratan Tata has also been responsible for converting the Tata Group in to a true multinational corporation; in 2008 its revenues outside India overtook revenues from within the country.

Mr. Tata’s transformative impact on the Group did not stop there, he changed the governance within the Tata Group companies, introducing a compulsory retirement age for company directors. As a good friend and senior executive at one of the Indian majors said to me in a conversation the other day, “beyond a certain age, it is difficult to hold the myriad details that a top executive needs to have readily accessible in their minds, so that they can make the important decisions that determine the future of the business.”

Not only has Mr. Tata transformed the Group and steered it through turbulent times, but the moves the group made during his tenure have inspired Indian industry at large. In March 2000, the then Tata Tea …

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Bathroom Habits Die Hard! What Can We Do?

Here I am sitting on a flight from New Delhi to Bangalore and just finished reading a piece entitled “India Needs a Latrine Policy” by V. Raghunathan in today’s Economic Times (November 16, 2012). I couldn’t agree more with the arguments made by Mr. Raghunathan and I hope the country does not let another dozen years elapse before addressing this critical and shameful issue head on. We need to provide India’s citizens with proper toilet facilities. “Under the skies” for a nation seeking a position on the UN Security Council, is not a proper option.

Having said that, I also wanted to add to what Mr. Raghunathan said. I just visited the loo on board the flight and the gentleman, and clearly I am using the word totally loosely here, who was in the loo before me, walked out without flushing the toilet. Not only that, while urinating, he had not bothered to lift the lid of the toilet, and given his shitty aim had left the seat totally spattered with his excretions! Now, this from a person who is flying on a plane really shocks me—but then again it doesn’t because flights in India and to and from India inevitably have a dirty toilet.

So, not only do we need more latrines as Mr. Raghunathan says, but we need to train our fellow Indians on how to use them properly, as well! And, given my most recent experience, this would apply to the vast majority of our citizenry, and …

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The best suggestions to manage cash pressures caused by Corona virus disruptions

Millions of people worldwide practice social distancing to stop the overall spread of Corona virus. Many companies experience or anticipate important constraints on both cash and working capital in particular liquidity challenges. Well experienced business people are aware the ever-increasing requirements for the cash flow scrutiny in the days and months ahead. Finance departments have the responsibility to manage the cash pressures during a crisis.

Consider important things at first

Almost every company nowadays sees the low revenue and gets less cash flow along with other problems like the delayed receivable collection and requirements to step up payables to leading suppliers. These companies expect to become much more nimble for the purpose of managing the inventory in the supply chain with maximum uncertainty and demands on working capital. This is worthwhile to follow the best guidance from experts to manage the cash and liquidity position in the business during the high uncertainty times.

As a business owner or administrator, you have to test the overall incoming and outgoing cash flows as comprehensive as possible at first. You can spend enough time to be aware of worst case financial scenarios as well as downsides such as the impact of foreign exchange on the overall cash position. This is because you must act in the measured way. If you know about the status of the cash and liquidity runaway in your business today, then you can estimate what changes your business get during the next three to four months.

A proper assessment

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Can Governments and Special Interest Groups Support EMNC Brand Building Effectively?

My answer is yes. A couple weeks ago I was teaching 40 young and promising executives in the TURQUALITY® program at my university in Istanbul. I have been teaching marketing strategy, brand building and global marketing within this program since its inception. I was so pleasantly surprised by the improved level and sophistication of marketing strategy and brand building knowledge in this group that I decided to share some insights on this program with you.

TURQUALITY® is a brand development program designed with the vision of “creating 10 global brands in 10 years,” very nicely fitting the focus of our book. It is mainly a support program aimed at creating global players out of Turkish company brands which have brand building potential. The brands go through a detailed application and screening process to qualify for the TURQUALITY® program. Selected brands/companies are provided with managerial, consulting and financial support on all links of the value chain, with an emphasis on marketing, branding, retailing and after-sales services. They also display the TURQUALITY® logo in their stores.

Recognizing that Turkish brands faced a negative country of origin perception in many of its export markets, especially in developed markets, the project was the brain child of State Minister Kürşad Tüzmen and was carried out by the Undersecretariat of Foreign Trade, Turkey Exporters Assembly and The General Secretariat of Istanbul Textile and Apparel Exporters Associations. As we explain in detail in our book, negative country of origin perceptions are major obstacles in brand building efforts …

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