Saturday, March 30, 2013

Indian Retailers’ Priority Mismatch

I was going through  RAI – TCS Study 2013.
What I found interesting is this:
At retail store level priority wise  focus area for 2014 are 
1) Overall Profitability
2) Improving Customer Service
At organisation level priorities are ; 
1) Improving Bottomline
5) Improving Customer Services
6) Improving Loyalty  and Retention
9) People Training
10) CRM and
11) Process Improvements
Companies want to improve customer experience (CE) at store level however things which improves customer experience finds priority 5 onward at company level.
This is the problem not only of retail industry but most of the industries.
Every companies in every industries have become aware that Customer Experience is the way to be and that is the only thing that will give them sustainable competitive advantage. This is even clear from the above study as companies wants Customer Service as priority Number 2. I still doubt that what companies means customer services is not what customer experience is all about. However lets for a moment assume that what they mean customer service is infact customer experience.  Even though priority to better that is not visible at enterprise level.
Companies want to better Customer Service/Experience but do not put the same at higher priority @ enterprise level.  Therefore at enterprise level action will not be commensurate with the priorities stated at store levels.
For real experience creators like Starbucks, Virgin , Apple or Zappos , customer experience is the  top most priority. It is the better CE that drives bottom-line. These companies have focus on better and better CE which in turn drives top as well as bottom-line. CE has assumed the role of key differentiation for these companies.
Forrester Research says better CE drives bottom-line, top line and builds brands on social channels. In surveying nearly 5,000 consumers, Forrester found that across many industries they prefer better experiences than lower prices.  There are case studies which suggests better CE can support triple bottom-line i.e. profit, people and planet.
Point is , better CE drives top-line & bottom-line , Indian retailers wants the same at retail store level however at enterprise level they act differently.  Unless enterprise as a whole focus on better CE and aim to become champion of CE in their own segment , they will continue to have this kind of mismatch and they will continue to find bottom-line growth where it is hardly available.
This report is telling all the players in retail industry why they are struggling to achieve their priority number 1 i.e. bottom-line growth.
Put better Customer Experience at the center of your store level and enterprise level priority number – 1  ( Irrespective of Industry ). That is the starting point of every other initiatives and focus area.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Ignorant NPAs !!

We are bound to have NPAs, tax evasion and everything else that is wrong with business and corporate sector.
Every profession needs training and subject knowledge to practice.  There is nothing such for entrepreneurs. No entry barrier. No prerequisite or training or skill set check – nothing.
Everyone wants to become entrepreneur.  Form small Panwala to large businesses – all are entrepreneurs. Whether one like it no, many of our  entrepreneurs do not know WHAT and HOW of business. We have degree holders engineers, textile designers, graduates , under graduates, uneducated everyone you will find is doing business.
Why many of our real estate developers are in trouble? Asset rich but Cashflow crisis , why many are good at borrowing but do not know neither their overall  cost of capital nor profit margin ? why many business just survives on tax evasion?  Why smartest of IITsians fails in business? Why smartest of MBAs are failing in business?
There is a large number of entrepreneurs who do not know difference between cash-flow and profit   They assume cash flow as their own money and live accordingly. Many would assume hefty margin to be the only think they need to take care of.
Business acumen is one part and its is necessary however knowing what is the success and what is the parameters of financial success is equally if not more important.  Many of the entrepreneurs illiterate about this.
Deduct from your stated profit tax evaded, dead stock , bad debt , required provisions not made  and you will know what your real profit is.
Deduct from cash-flow , creditors to be paid , dead and slow moving stock , add receivable debtors and salable stock to know whether you are spending your own money or borrowed money?
Knowing all these critical data is very important for every entrepreneurs to know.  Unless these are known acted upon to improve, leakage will continue and entrepreneurs will keep living on borrowed money, bankers will face splurge of NPAs and tax department will have long list of defaulters.  How many businesses can afford to hire CXOs ?

Even the biggest entrepreneurial example we give of our time faces charges of business without integrity. That success story is based on many wrong doings.
There are entrepreneurs who thrives on tax evasion, who thrives on corrupt business practices, who thrive on bending rules of the land and who thrive on ignorance. Rest are really thriving. Select your real category.
Entrepreneurship is in vogue , it is important however we also need preparation for that.  Institutions like TIE and many others are doing great job but its spread must expand and expand very fast to all size , sector and geographies.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Capitalist Trap we are all in !!

During last week I had two conversations about the PEOPLE in organisations.
One of the new recruits of public sector bank told me that before joining public sector bank he was with the largest private sector bank.  On my asking why did he left  ? he responded  - It was highly stressed organisation. From Peon to CEO all are living in high stress.
Work culture in Public sector is relaxed in  a way. They employ more people , less efficient and these are less ROCE enterprises.
Same day I had an occasion to meet someone very senior in public sector general insurance company. Officer told me – yes we want to make change and want to make organisation customer centric but you know we are public sector company and people mindset is a major issue.
Job is mostly secured, union support, high employment ratio, pay scale is relatively less but work culture is also relaxed,  mostly corruption on higher scale, listed but suffers low PE.
Private sector companies less job security, high pay scale, high work related stress, low employment ratio so higher work pressure , corruption , hmm, well little less,  listed entities so huge performance pressure.
Companies in both sectors are competing with each other.
Inefficiency, low ROCE vs highly efficient and high ROCE , low pressure vs high pressure, high employment vs lean employment.
Which one is better ?
Do we want more efficiency , better ROCE and therefore high stress and pain or we want more employment, less stress &  therefore  more happiness ?
pvt pub
What do we really need ? In the name of privatization and capitalism,  humanity is lost somewhere.
My vote is for the man who switched to public sector job leaving highly paid private sector job.  People in public sector can be trained for efficiency  , attitude and customer centricity  but we cant train and convince capitalist for lesser ROCE for better happiness at large.
For sustainability of humanity private sector MUST learn and take some clue from public sector.
What do you think? Are we in a big trap of a few capitalists ?

Monday, March 18, 2013

8 Reasons for YOU to BLOG

Reasons can be many 8 or 18 or even 80.

Blogging is about: 

- expressing the self , 
- expression in what yo believe in, 
- expression of your point of view, 
- sharing your world and work experience, 
- it improves your writing i.e. communication skills ,
- it improves your subject knowledge you are writing about ,
- it makes you known for your area of interest and expertise ,
- if you have something to say and share with the world, you need to blog ,

Yes in the world we are in today BLOGs are huge opportunity to create our own platform  and our own audience. Opportunity like this was only available to a select few,  few years ago. Its a great equalizer. 

Select your subject, blogging platform, blogging schedule , blog promotional strategy on social media like Facebook, LinkedIn ,Twitter, Pinterest and write your first Blog. 

Content is King and Blogging by you creates content for brand YOU.  

Question is : Why do you think you are not blogging yet?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Are you acting in CSR drama?

Before you spend single penny on so called CSR, please check your  happiness scorecard of  employees, customers and community you operate in , tax evasion  & other corrupt practices your company is  indulging in.  

SR of C starts from with-in and goes with-out after taking care of everyone within. Most companies neither  take care of  their employees plight and life nor sincere in paying their Govt levies and rampant indulgences in corruption for getting benefits.  

This kind of companies doing CSR is neither SR nor desired by the society.

Purpose of any CSR initiatives  is to bring happiness and cheers for the under privileged. Now this objectives can not be achieved by money generated out of unhappy & stressed employees, anti social business practices of tax evasion and corruption.  

First and foremost SR of any corporate is be socially awaken towards people , community and environment impacted by the enterprise. Abide by the laws of the land and then  and only then indulge in so called CSR.  

We do not want a situation where in a thief robs people and donate to temple and by that means justify robbing.   

Don't indulge in corruption, pay your taxes right, keep your people happy, keep your customers happy, keep your community happy and pollution free and if then if something is left  including desire then look for CSR opportunities not before. All CSR initiatives must be judged on this count only.