How would you analyze competitor’s assumptions

07 Sep

Strategic Management

Q.1) You are the head of a strategic business unit under ABC Business Group. The Unit is engaged into manufacturing of telecommunication handsets. You are planning to change the strategy at business level and you have chosen ‘product differentiation’ as your strategy. You want the board of directors to approve your decision for which you will have to make a strong case for choosing this strategy. Explain how you will convince the board of directors.

Q.2) You are the strategy consultant to fortune 500 companies and you are asked to conduct a training session for executives of a leading automobile company which is planning to expand its business in international market. This company is based in India. Explain how you will convince the trainees that the global environment is highly complex.

Q.3) You are a CEO of a XYZ Pvt Ltd, a leading FMCG company headquartered in Germany. Your company is planning its expansion in Asia and you are now involved in rigorous analysis of competition in FMCG sector in Asia. In this background, answer the following questions.

a) Use Michael Porter’s Framework for analyzing competitors.

b) How would you analyze competitor’s assumptions?

Use Michael Porter’s Framework for analyzing competitors

07 Sep

Strategic Management

Q.1) You are the head of a strategic business unit under ABC Business Group. The Unit is engaged into manufacturing of telecommunication handsets. You are planning to change the strategy at business level and you have chosen ‘product differentiation’ as your strategy. You want the board of directors to approve your decision for which you will have to make a strong case for choosing this strategy. Explain how you will convince the board of directors.

Q.2) You are the strategy consultant to fortune 500 companies and you are asked to conduct a training session for executives of a leading automobile company which is planning to expand its business in international market. This company is based in India. Explain how you will convince the trainees that the global environment is highly complex.

Q.3) You are a CEO of a XYZ Pvt Ltd, a leading FMCG company headquartered in Germany. Your company is planning its expansion in Asia and you are now involved in rigorous analysis of competition in FMCG sector in Asia. In this background, answer the following questions.

a) Use Michael Porter’s Framework for analyzing competitors.

b) How would you analyze competitor’s assumptions?

You are a CEO of a XYZ Pvt Ltd, a leading FMCG company headquartered in Germany

07 Sep

Strategic Management

Q.1) You are the head of a strategic business unit under ABC Business Group. The Unit is engaged into manufacturing of telecommunication handsets. You are planning to change the strategy at business level and you have chosen ‘product differentiation’ as your strategy. You want the board of directors to approve your decision for which you will have to make a strong case for choosing this strategy. Explain how you will convince the board of directors.

Q.2) You are the strategy consultant to fortune 500 companies and you are asked to conduct a training session for executives of a leading automobile company which is planning to expand its business in international market. This company is based in India. Explain how you will convince the trainees that the global environment is highly complex.

Q.3) You are a CEO of a XYZ Pvt Ltd, a leading FMCG company headquartered in Germany. Your company is planning its expansion in Asia and you are now involved in rigorous analysis of competition in FMCG sector in Asia. In this background, answer the following questions.

a) Use Michael Porter’s Framework for analyzing competitors.

b) How would you analyze competitor’s assumptions?

You are the strategy consultant to fortune 500 companies

07 Sep

Strategic Management

Q.1) You are the head of a strategic business unit under ABC Business Group. The Unit is engaged into manufacturing of telecommunication handsets. You are planning to change the strategy at business level and you have chosen ‘product differentiation’ as your strategy. You want the board of directors to approve your decision for which you will have to make a strong case for choosing this strategy. Explain how you will convince the board of directors.

Q.2) You are the strategy consultant to fortune 500 companies and you are asked to conduct a training session for executives of a leading automobile company which is planning to expand its business in international market. This company is based in India. Explain how you will convince the trainees that the global environment is highly complex.

Q.3) You are a CEO of a XYZ Pvt Ltd, a leading FMCG company headquartered in Germany. Your company is planning its expansion in Asia and you are now involved in rigorous analysis of competition in FMCG sector in Asia. In this background, answer the following questions.

a) Use Michael Porter’s Framework for analyzing competitors.

b) How would you analyze competitor’s assumptions?

You are the head of a strategic business unit under ABC Business Group

07 Sep

Strategic Management

Q.1) You are the head of a strategic business unit under ABC Business Group. The Unit is engaged into manufacturing of telecommunication handsets. You are planning to change the strategy at business level and you have chosen ‘product differentiation’ as your strategy. You want the board of directors to approve your decision for which you will have to make a strong case for choosing this strategy. Explain how you will convince the board of directors.

Q.2) You are the strategy consultant to fortune 500 companies and you are asked to conduct a training session for executives of a leading automobile company which is planning to expand its business in international market. This company is based in India. Explain how you will convince the trainees that the global environment is highly complex.

Q.3) You are a CEO of a XYZ Pvt Ltd, a leading FMCG company headquartered in Germany. Your company is planning its expansion in Asia and you are now involved in rigorous analysis of competition in FMCG sector in Asia. In this background, answer the following questions.

a)Use Michael Porter’s Framework for analyzing competitors.

b) How would you analyze competitor’s assumptions?

Strategic Management

07 Sep

Strategic Management

Q.1) You are the head of a strategic business unit under ABC Business Group. The Unit is engaged into manufacturing of telecommunication handsets. You are planning to change the strategy at business level and you have chosen ‘product differentiation’ as your strategy. You want the board of directors to approve your decision for which you will have to make a strong case for choosing this strategy. Explain how you will convince the board of directors.

Q.2) You are the strategy consultant to fortune 500 companies and you are asked to conduct a training session for executives of a leading automobile company which is planning to expand its business in international market. This company is based in India. Explain how you will convince the trainees that the global environment is highly complex.

Q.3) You are a CEO of a XYZ Pvt Ltd, a leading FMCG company headquartered in Germany. Your company is planning its expansion in Asia and you are now involved in rigorous analysis of competition in FMCG sector in Asia. In this background, answer the following questions.

a) Use Michael Porter’s Framework for analyzing competitors.

b) How would you analyze competitor’s assumptions?

Strategic Management

02 Sep

CASE – 1    MANAGING HINDUSTAN UNILEVER STRATEGICALLY

Unilever is one of the world’s oldest multinational companies. Its origin goes back to the 19th century when a group of companies operating independently, produced soaps and margarine. In 1930, the companies merged to form Unilever that diversified into food products in 1940s. Through the next five decades, it emerged as a major fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) multinational operating in several businesses. In 2004, the Unilever 2010 strategic plan was put into action with the mission to ‘bring vitality to life’ and ‘to meet everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene and personal care with brands that help people feel good, look good, and get more out of life’. The corporate strategy is of focusing on bore businesses of food, home care and personal care. Unilever operates in more than 100 countries, has a turnover of € 39.6 billion and net profit of € 3.685 billion in 2006 and derives 41 per cent of its income from the developing and emerging economies around the world. It has 179,000 employees and is a culturally-diverse organisation with its top management coming from 24 nations. Internationalisation is based on the principle of local roots with global scale aimed at becoming a ‘multi-local multinational’.

The genesis of Hindustan Unilever (HUL) in India, goes back to 1888 when Unilever exported Sunlight soap to India. Three Indian, subsidiaries came into existence in the period 1931-1935 that merged to form Hindustan Lever in 1956. Mergers and acquisitions of Lipton (1972), Brooke Bond (1984), Ponds (1986), TOMCO (1993), Lakme (1998) and Modern Foods (2002) have resulted in an organisation that is a conglomerate of several businesses that have been continually restructured over the years.

HUL is one of the largest FMCG company in India with total sales of Rs. 12,295 crore and net profit of 1855crore in 2006. There are over 15000 employees, including more than 1300 managers. The present corporate strategy of HUL is to focus on core businesses. These core businesses are in home and personal care and food. There are 20 different consumer categories in these two businesses. For instance, home and personal care is made up of personal wash, laundry, skin care, hair care, oral care, deodorants, colour cosmetics and ayurvedic personal and health care, while food businesses have tea, coffee, ice creams and processed food brands. Apart from the two product divisions, there are separate departments for specialty exports and new ventures.

Strategic management at HUL is the responsibility of the board of directors headed by a chairman. There are five independent and five whole-time directors. The operational management is looked after by a management committee comprising of Vice Chairman, CEO and managing director and executive directors of the two business divisions and functional areas. The divisions have a lot of autonomy with dedicated assets and resources. A divisional committee having the executive director and heads of functions of sales, commercial and manufacturing looks after the business level decision-making. The functional-level management is the responsibility of the functional head. For instance, a marketing manager has a team of brand managers looking after the individual brands. Besides the decentralised divisional structure, HUL has centralised some functions such as finance, human resource management, research, technology, information technology and corporate and legal affairs.

Unilever globally and HUL nationally, operate in the highly competitive FMCG markets. The consumer markets for FMCG products are finicky: it’s difficult to create customers and much more difficult to retain them. Price is often the central concern in a consumer purchase decision requiring producers to be on continual guard against cost increases. Sales and distribution are critical functions organisationally. HUL operates in such a milieu. It has strong competitors such as the multinationals Procter & Gamble, Nivea or L’Oreal and formidable local companies such as, Amul, Nirma or the Tata.

FMCG companies to contend with. Rivals have copied HUL’s strategies and tactics, especially in the area of marketing and distribution. Its innovations such as new style packaging or distribution through women entrepreneurs are much valued but also copied relentlessly, hurting its competitive advantage.

HUL is identified closely with India. There is a ring of truth to its vision statement: ‘to earn the love and respect of India by making a real difference to every Indian’. It has an impeccable record in corporate social responsibility. There is an element of nostalgia associated with brands like Lifebuoy (introduced in 1895) and Dalda (1937) for senior citizens in India. Consequently Indians have always perceived HUL as an Indian company rather than a multinational. HUL has attempted to align its strategies in the past to the special needs of Indian business environment. Be it marketing or human resource management, HUL has experimented with new ideas suited to the local context. For instance, HUL is known for its capabilities in rural marketing, effective distribution systems and human resource development. But this focus on India seems to be changing. This might indicate a change in the strategic posture as well as recognition that Indian markets have matured to the extent that they can be dealt with by the global strategies of Unilever. At the corporate level, it could also be an attempt to leverage global scale while retaining local responsiveness to some extent.

In line with the shift in corporate strategy, the focus of strategic decision-making seems to have moved from the subsidiary to the headquarters. Unilever has formulated a new global realignment under which it will develop brands and streamline product offerings across the world and the subsidiaries will sell the products. Other subtle indications of the shift of decision-making authority could be the appointment of a British CEO after nearly forty years during which there were Indian CEOs, the changed focus on a limited number of international brands rather than a large range of local brands developed over the years and the name-change from Hindustan Lever to Hindustan Unilever.

The shift in the strategic decision-making power from the subsidiary to headquarters could however, prove to be double-edged sword. An example could be of HUL adopting Unilever’s global strategy of focussing on a limited number of products, called the 30 power brands in 2002. That seemed a perfectly sensible strategic decision aimed at focusing managerial attention to a limited set of high-potential products. But one consequence of that was the HUL’s strong position in the niche soap and detergent markets suffering owing to neglect and the competitors were quick to take advantage of the opportunity. Then there are the statistics to deal with: HUL has nearly 80 per cent of sales and 85 per cent of net profits from the home and personal care businesses. Globally, Unilever derives half its revenues from food business. HUL does not have a strong position in the food business in India though the food processing industry remains quite attractive both in terms of local consumption as well as export markets. HUL’s own strategy of offering low-price, competitive products may also suffer at the cost of Unilever’s emphasis on premium priced, high end products sold through modern outlets.

There are some dark clouds on the horizon. HUL’s latest financials are not satisfactory. Net profit is down, sales are sluggish, input costs have been rising and new food products introduced in the market have yet to pick up. All this while, in one market segment after another, a competitor pushes ahead. In a company of such a big size and over-powering presence, these might still be minor events developments in a long history that needs to be taken in stride. But, pessimistically, they could also be pointers to what may come.

Questions:

1. State the strategy of Hindustan Unilever in your own words.

2. At what different levels is strategy formulated in HUL?

3. Comment on the strategic decision-making at HUL.

4. Give your opinion on whether the shift in strategic decision-making from India to Unilever’s headquarters could prove to be advantageous to HUL or not.

 

CASE: 2    THE STRATEGIC ASPIRATIONS OF THE RESERVE BANK OF INDIA

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is India’s central bank or ‘the bank of the bankers’. It was established on April 1, 1935 in accordance with the provisions of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1935. The Central Office of the RBI, initially set up at Kolkata, is at Mumbai. The RBI is fully owned by the Government of India.

The history of RBI is closely aligned with the economic and financial history of India. Most central banks around the world were established around the beginning of the twentieth century. The Bank was established on the basis of the Hilton Young Commission. It began its operations by taking over from the Government the functions so far being performed by the Controller of Currency and from the Imperial Bank of India, the management of Government accounts and public debt. After independence, RBI gradually strengthened its institution-building capabilities and evolved in terms of functions from central banking to that of development. There have been several attempts at reorganisation, restructuring and creation of specialised institutions to cater to emerging needs.

The Preamble of the RBI describes its basic functions like this: ‘….to regulate the issue of Bank Notes and keeping of reserves with a view to securing monetary stability in India and generally to operate the currency and credit system of the country to its advantage.’ The vision states that the RBI ‘….aims to be a leading central bank with credible, transparent, proactive and contemporaneous policies and seeks to be a catalyst for the emergence of a globally competitive financial system that helps deliver a high quality of life to the people in the country.’ The mission states that ‘RBI seeks to develop a sound and efficient financial system with monetary stability conductive to balanced and sustained growth of the Indian economy’. The corporate values of underlining the mission statement include public interest, integrity, excellence, independence of views and responsiveness and dynamism.

The three areas in which objectives of the RBI can be stated are as below.

  1. Monetary policy objectives such as containing inflation and promoting economic growth, management of foreign exchange reserves and making currency available.
  2. Objectives set for managing financial sector developments such as supervision of systems and information access and assisting banking and financial institutions to become competitive globally.
  3. Organisational development objectives such as development of economic research facilities, creating information system for supporting economic decision-making, financial management and human resource management.

Strategic actions taken to realise the objectives fall under four categories:

  1. The thrust area of monetary policy formulation and managing financial sector;
  2. Evolving the legal framework to support the thrust area;
  3. Customer service for providing support and creation of positive relationship; and
  4. Organisational support such as structure, systems, human resource development and adoption of modern technology.

The major functions performed by the RBI are:

  • Acting as the monetary authority
  • Acting as the regulator and supervisor of the financial system
  • Discharging responsibilities as the manager of foreign exchange
  • Issue currency
  • Play as developmental role
  • Related functions such as acting as the banker to the government and scheduled banks

The management of the RBI is the responsibility of the central board of directors headed by the governor and consisting of deputy governors and other directors, all of whom are appointed by the government. There are four local boards based at Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi. The day-to-day management of RBI is in the hands of the executive directors, managers at various levels and the support staff. There are about 22000 employees at RBI, working in 25 departments and training colleges.

The RBI identified its strengths and weaknesses as under.

  • Strengths A large body of competent officers and staff; access to key data on the economy; wide organisational network with 22 regional offices; established infrastructure; ability to attract talent; and financial self sufficiency.
  • Weaknesses Structural rigidity, lack of accountability and slow decision-making; eroded specialist know-how; strong employee unions with rigid industrial relations stance; surplus staff; and weak market intelligence.

Over the years, the RBI has evolved in terms of structure and functions, in response to the role assigned to it. There have been sweeping changes in the economic, social and political environment. The RBI has had to respond to it even in the absence of a systematic strategic plan. In 1992, the RBI, with the assistance of a private consultancy firm, embarked on a massive strategic planning exercise. The objective was to establish a roadmap to redefine RBI’s role and to review internal organisational and managerial efficacy, address the changing expectations from external stakeholders and reposition the bank in the global context. The strategic planning exercise was buttressed by departmental position papers and documents on various subjects such as technology, human resources and environmental trends. The strategic plan of the RBI emerged with four sections dealing with the statement of mission, objectives and policy, a review of RBI’s strengths and weaknesses and strategic actions required with an implementation plan. The strategic plan reiterates anticipation of evolving external environment in the medium-term; revisiting strengths and weaknesses (evaluation of capabilities); and doing away with the outdated mandates for enhancing efficiency in operations in furtherance of best public interests. The results of these efforts are likely to manifest in attaining a visible focus, reinforced proficiency, realisation of shared sense of purpose, optimising resource use and build-up of momentum to achieve goals.

Historically, the RBI adopted the time-tested technique of responding to external environment in a pragmatic manner and making piecemeal changes. The dilemma in adoption of a comprehensive strategic plan was the risk of trading off the flexibility of the pragmatic approach to creating rigidity imposed by a set model of planning.

Questions:

1. Consider the vision and mission statements of the Reserve Bank of India. Comment on the quality of both these statements.

2. Should the RBI go for a systematic and comprehensive strategic plan in place of its earlier pragmatic approach of responding to environmental events as and when they occur? Why?

 

CASE: 3    THE INTERNATIONALISATION OF KALYANI GROUP

The Kalyani Group is a large family-business group of India, employing more than 10000 employees. It has diverse businesses in engineering, steel, forgings, auto components, non-conventional energy and specialty chemicals. The annual turnover of the Group is over US$2.1 billion. The Group is known for its impressive internationalisation achievements. It has nine manufacturing locations spread over six countries. Over the years, it has established joint ventures with many global companies such as ArvinMeritor, USA, Carpenter Technology Corporation, USA, Hayes Lemmerz, USA and FAW Corporation, China.

The flagship company of the Group is Bharat Forge Limited that is claimed to be the second largest forging company in the world and the largest nationally, with about 80 per cent share in axle and engine components. The other major companies of the Group are Kalyani Steels, Kalyani Carpenter Special Steels, Kalyani Lemmerz, Automotive Axles, Kalyani Thermal Systems, BF Utilities, Hikal Limited, Epicenter and Synise Technologies

The emphasis on internationalisation is reflected in the vision statement of the Group where two of the five points relate to the Group trying to be a world-class organisation and achieving growth aggressively by accessing global markets. The Group is led by Mr. B.N. Kalyani, who is considered to be the major force behind the Group’s aggressive internationalisation drive. Mr. Kalyani joined the Group in 1972 when it was a small-scale diesel engine component business.

The corporate strategy of the Group is a combination of concentration of its core competence in its business with efforts at building, nurturing and sustaining mutually beneficial partnerships with alliance partners and customers. The value of these partnerships essentially lies in collaborative product development with the partners who are the original equipment manufacturers. The foreign partners are not intended to provide expansion in capacity, but to enable the Kalyani Group to extend its global marketing reach.

In achieving its successful status, the Kalyani Group has followed the path of integration, extending from the upstream steel making to downstream machining for auto components such as crank-shafts, front axle beams, steering knuckles, cam-shafts, connecting rods and rocker arms. In all these products, the Group has tried to move up the value chain instead of providing just the raw forgings. In the 1990s, it undertook a restructuring exercise to trim its unrelated businesses such as television and video products and concentrate on its core business of auto components.

Four factors are supposed to have influenced the growth of the Group over the years. These are mentioned below:

  • Focussing on core businesses to maximise growth potential
  • Attaining aggressive cost savings
  • Expanding geographically to build global capacity and establishing leading positions
  • Achieving external growth through acquisitions

The Group companies are claimed to be positioned at either number one or two in their respective businesses. For instance, the Group claims to be number one in forging and machined components, axle aggregates, wheels and alloy steel. The technology used by the Group in its mainline business of auto components and other businesses, is claimed to be state-of-the-art. The Group invests in forging technology to enhance efficiency, production quality and design capabilities. The Group’s emphasis on technology can be gauged from the fact that in the 1990s, it took the risky decision of investing Rs. 100 crore in the then latest forging technology, when the total Group turnover was barely Rs. 230 crore. Information technology is applied for product development, reducing production and product development time, supply-chain management and marketing of products. The Group lays high emphasis on research and development for providing engineering support, advanced metallurgical analysis and latest testing equipment in tandem with its high-class manufacturing facilities.

Being a top-driven group, the pattern of strategic decision-making within seems to be entrepreneurial. There was an attempt to formulate a five-year strategic plan in 1997, with the participation of the company executives. But no much is mentioned in the business press about that collaborative strategic decision-making after that.

Recent strategic moves include Kalyani Steels, a Group company, entering into a joint venture agreement in may 2007, with Gerdau S.A. Brazil for installation of rolling mills. An attempt to move out of the mainstream forging business was made when the Group strengthened its position in the prospective business of wind energy through 100 per cent acquisition of RSBconsult GmbH (RSB) of Germany. Prior to the acquisition, the Group was just a wind farm operator and supplier of components.

Questions:

1. What is the motive for internationalisation by the Kalyani Group? Discuss.

2. Which type of international strategy is Kalyani Group adopting? Explain.

 

CASE 4:     THE STORY OF SYNERGOS UNFOLDS

Synergos is a young management and strategy consulting firm based at Mumbai. It was established in 1992 at a time when there were a lot of expectations among the industry people from the liberalisation policies that were started the previous year by the Government of India.

The consulting firm is an entrepreneurial venture started by Urmish Patel, a dynamic person who worked with a multinational consulting firm at the time. He left his comfortable position there to venture into the management consultancy industry. The motivation was to be ‘the master of his own destiny’ rather than being an employee working for others. Urmish comes from an upper middle-class Gujarati family, settled in a small town in Rajasthan. His father was a government servant who retired with a meagre pension. His mother is a housewife. His other siblings are all educated and well-settled in their respective careers and professions. Urmish is a creative individual, uncomfortable with the status-quo. During his student days at a college at Jaipur, he was continually coming up with bright ideas that some of his friends found to be preposterous. To him, however, these were perfectly achievable ideas. He studied biotechnology and then went to the US on a scholarship to do his Masters. After a semester at a well-known university there, he lost interest and switched to pursue an MBA. He liked it and soon settled down to work with an American consultancy firm and toured several countries on varied assignments during the seven years he worked there.

In 1992 came the urge to Urmish to chuck his job and be on his own. It was risky, yet an exciting step to take. His accumulated capital was limited—just enough to rent office space, buy a few computers and hire an assistant. There were no consultancy assignments for the first three months. But an acquaintance soon came to his aid, introducing him to the CFO of a major family business group who needed advice on a performance improvement project they wanted to launch. The opportunity came in handy though the returns were nothing to write home about. That project was the first step to

many more that came gradually. Synergos started gaining presence in the competitive management consultancy industry and attracting attention from the people whom they worked for. Word-of-mouth publicity led them from one project to another for the first three years till 1995. Synergos took up whatever came its way, delivering a cost-effective solution to its clients. A team of four had formed by now, each member of the team specialising in services rendered to the clients. For instance, one of the members is a specialist in engineering projects, while another has expertise finance. The third one is a service sector specialist, also having experience in dealing with government matters.

The phase of rapid growth started some time in 1995 when the Synergos team decided to focus on the small and medium enterprises (SMEs). These were firms that realised they had problems needing specialist advice, but were apprehensive to approach the big firms on account of their limited outlay and inexperience of dealing with such firms. Synergos came to their aid by tailoring their services as near as possible to their needs. Another differentiation platform Synergos offered to its client was a fully-integrated consultancy service where it got involved right from the stage of planning down to its implementation and monitoring.

Presently, Synergos has grown to be a medium-sized consultancy firm, serving clients in India and abroad, working for industries ranging from auto components to financial services and for manufacturing organisations to service providers. Some-how, nearly half of the assignments it has worked on have been for mid-sized, upcoming, family-owned businesses, a niche it has served well. These organisations typically need a boutique sort of consultancy that can offer customised services dealing with a broad range of practices related to strategy, organisation design, mergers and acquisitions and operational matter such as logistics and supply-chain management. Synergos fits in with their requirements owing to its personalised service and reasonable commission structure.

The organisational structure at Synergos has a board at the top, consisting of seven people, including the four founding members and three independent directors. One of the independent directors is the chairman of the board. Urmish, as the founder CEO, also heads an executive management committee with each of the founding members, leading three other top-level committees dealing with business portfolio, service management and executive recruitment.

The management team is called the professional group. The rest of the employees are referred to as the staff. The professional group has young women and men who are graduates from some of the best institutions in India and abroad. They are assigned to taskforces based on their qualifications, experience and interests. The departmentation at Synergos is flexible, based on an interplay of the three categories: skill, service and specialty. For instance, a professional may have IT skills, may have worked to provide supply-chain management services and developed expertise in handling operational assignments for medium-sized food and beverage firms. There is a lot of multi-tasking however, to utilise the wide range of skills and special expertise that the professionals have. For administrative matters, the professionals are assigned to client-service departments of industry solutions, enterprise solutions and technology solutions. The flexibility that such an organisational arrangement affords seems to have been the major reason for the evolution of the organisation structure at Synergos over the years.

The staff group of employees consists of the support people who provide a variety of services to the professionals. Among these are research assistants, industry analysts, documentation experts and secretarial staff. There is no set pattern for assignment of staff to the administrative departments and generally, a need-based approach is followed, depending on the workload at a particular time.

Recruitment for professionals is stringent. Synergos typically looks for a good combination of education and experience and lays much emphasis on the compatibility of the prospective employee with the shared values. Creativity, broad range of professional interests, intellectual acumen, team-working and physical fitness to undertake demanding tasks and work for long hours are the criteria for hiring. There are not many training opportunities except the on-the-job learning. New professionals are assigned to a mentor for some time till they are ready to handle assignments autonomously. The staff members are usually recruited from fresh graduates, with good degrees from reputed institutions, in arts, sciences and commerce. The staff positions are also open for persons wanting to work on part-time or project-bases. Emphasis is given to the ability of the prospective staff to undertake multi-tasking and work with documentation and word processing and presentation software packages.

The compensation system consists of a base salary with commission and bonus depending on performance. There are other usual elements such as medical reimbursement, loan facility and gratuity and retirement benefits. the performance appraisal is informal, with at least one of the four founding members being part of the evaluation committee for a professional. Usually, the founding member closest to the work area of the employee is involved in determining the rewards to be given. The time-cycle for appraisal is one year. Management control is discreet and performance-based rather than behaviour-based. The means for control are informal, such as direct supervision.

Urmish is a strong proponent of the emergent strategy and is not in favour of tying Synergos to a fixed strategic posture. So are the other founder members, though at times they do talk about deciding on a niche such as SME organisations as clients and enterprise solutions as the core competence. In the highly fragmented consultancy industry where it is possible for even one person to set up an office in a commercial area and leverage connections to secure projects, Synergos is open to opportunities as they emerge, while trying to maintain the flexibility that has made it successful till now.

Questions:

1. Identify the type of organisation structure being used at Synergos and explain how it works. What are the benefits of using this type of structure? What are the pitfalls?

2. Express your opinion about whether the structure is in line with the recruitments of the strategy that Synergos is implementing.

3. Based on the information related to the information, control and reward systems available in the case, examine whether these systems are appropriate for the type of strategy being implemented.

 

CASE: 5    EXERCISING STRATEGIC AND OPERATIONAL CONTROLS AT iGATE GLOBAL SOLUTIONS

The Bangalore-based iGATE Global Solutions is the flagship company of iGATE Corporation, a NASDAQ-listed US-based corporation. Known earlier as Mascot Systems, it was set up in India in 1993, to offer staffing services. It acquired business process outsourcing (BPO) and contact centre businesses in 2003, making it an end-to-end IT and ITES service provider. Its service portfolio includes consulting, IT services, data analytics, enterprise systems, BPO/BSP, contact centre and infrastructure management services. iGATE has over 100 active clients and centres based in Canada, China, Malaysia, India, the UK and the US. Chairman, Ashok Trivedi and CEO Phaneesh Murthy, an ex-Infosys IT professional and their partners hold a major stake, with some participation by institutional and public investors. The revenues for 2006-2007 are over Rs. 805 crore and net profits, Rs. 49.6 crore.

The corporate strategies of iGATE are offering integrated IT services and divesting the legacy IT staffing business and possibly making acquisitions in the domain expertise for financial services businesses. The business strategy is focused differentiation based on the focal points of testing, infrastructure management and enterprise solutions. The competitive tactic is avoiding head-on competition with the formidable larger players in the industry by carving out a niche. The business definition is serving large customers and staying away from sub-contracting work.

iGATE adopts a differentiation business model based on an integrated technology and operations model which it calls as the iTOPS model. This is an advancement over the prevalent model in the ITES industry based on low-cost arbitrage model. iTOPS is based on transaction-based pricing for services and supporting the clients by providing the platform, processes and services.

The strategic evaluation and control has both the elements of strategic as well as operational controls.

The functional and operational implementation is aimed at achieving four sets of objectives:

  • Shifting from small customers to large customer (Fortune 1000 companies)
  • Shifting away from stocking to project-consulting assignments
  • Working directly with clients rather than with system integrators
  • Moving from a local to international markets

Some illustrations of the performance indicators that reflect these objectives are:

  1. On-shore versus off-shore mix of business revenues: In 2004, this ratio was 55:45 and in 2007, it has improved to 27:73, indicating a much higher revenue generation from off-shore business.
  2. Billing rates: Revenue charged from clients on assignments. With project consulting assignments from off-shore clients, where the revenues are typically higher, with lower costs and higher productivity in India, the realisations from billing have to be higher. The industry norms for ITES are US$18-25 per hour for off-shore and US$ 55-65 per hour for on-shore assignments.
  3. The number of large clients from Fortune 1000 companies: Presently, iGATE has nearly half of its more than 100 clients from Fortune 1000 companies, of which the top 10 account for 70 per cent of its business.
  4. Controlling employee costs: This is an area where concerted effort is required from the HR and finance functions. Hiring less experienced employees lowers the compensation bill. In the IT and ITES industry, attracting and retaining well-qualified and experienced employees is a critical success factor. The performance indicator for this objective is the cost per employee.
  5. Human resource metrics such as the hiring and attrition rates: In the IT and ITES industry, the human resource metrics such as hiring and attrition rates are critical indicators. Increasing the number of employees and lowering the attrition rate by retaining the employees is a big challenge. There are presently about 5800 employees, likely to go up to 8500 in the next two years. The attrition of 20 per cent presently at iGATE is on the higher side. But such attrition is common in the industry where the employee mobility is high and employee pinching a widespread trend.

The human resource management function being critical in an industry where so many challenges exist, needs a strong emphasis on training and development, motivation, autonomy and attractive incentives. iGATE has an integrated people management model focusing on developing technical, behavioural and leadership competencies. The three metrics by which the HR function is assessed are: human capital index, work culture and employee affective commitment. The reward system at iGATE consists of meritorious employees across all levels being granted restricted stock options, thus providing an incentive to remain with the company till they become due. The company, though, is an average paymaster, which disadvantage it tries to trade-off offering a more challenging work environment, quicker promotions and chances for practising innovation.

Critics say that that iGATE lacks the big-brand appeal of the larger players such as Infosys and Wipro, cannot compete on scale and is still under the shadow of its original business of body-shopping IT personnel.

Questions:

1. Analyse the iGATE case to highlight how it could apply some of the strategic controls such as premise control, implementation control, strategic surveillance and special alert control.

2. Analyse and describe the process of setting of standards at iGATE.

3. Give your opinion on the effectiveness of the role of reward system in exercising HR performance management at iGATE and suggest what improvements are possible, given the environmental conditions in the IT/ITES industry in India at present.

 

Strategic Management

02 Sep

Case I

THE STRATEGIC ASPIRATIONS OF THE RESERVE BANK OF INDIA

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is India’s central bank or ‘the bank of the bankers’. It was established on April 1, 1935 in accordance with the provisions of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. The Central Office of the RBI, initially set up at Kolkata, is at Mumbai. The RBI is fully owned by the Government of India.

The history of the RBI is closely aligned with the economic and financial history of India. Most cen­tral banks around the world were established around the beginning of the twentieth century. The Bank was established on the basis of the Hilton Young Commission. It began its operations by tak­ing over from the Government the functions so far being performed by the Controller of Currency and from the Imperial Bank of India, the management of Government accounts and public debt. After inde­pendence, RBI gradually strengthened its institu­tion-building capabilities and evolved in terms of functions from central banking to that of develop­ment. There have been several attempts at reor­ganisation, restructuring and creation of specialised institutions to cater to emerging needs

The Preamble of the RBI describes its basic functions like this: ‘…to regulate the issue of Bank Notes and keeping of reserves with a view to secur­ing monetary stability in India and generally to op­erate the currency and credit system of the country to its advantage.’ The vision states that the RBI ‘…aims to be a leading central bank with credible, transparent, proactive and contemporaneous poli­cies and seeks to be a catalyst for the emergence of a globally competitive financial system that helps deliver a high quality of life to the people in the country.’ The mission states that ‘RBI seeks to de­velop a sound and efficient financial system with monetary stability conducive to balanced and sus­tained growth of the Indian economy’. The corporate values underlining the mission statement include public interest, integrity, excellence, independence of views and responsiveness and dynamism.

The three areas in which objectives of the RBI can be stated are as below:

  1. Monetary policy objectives such as containing inflation and promoting economic growth, management of foreign exchange reserves and making currency available.
  2. Objectives set for managing financial sector developments such as supervision of systems and information access and assisting banking and financial institutions to become competitive globally.
  3. Organisational development objectives such as development of economic research facilities, creating information system for supporting economic decision-making, financial management and human resource management.

Strategic actions taken to realise the objectives fall under four categories:

  1. The thrust area of monetary policy formulation and managing financial sector;
  2. Evolving the legal framework to support the thrust area;
  3. Customer services for providing support and creation of positive relationship; and
  4. Organisational support such as structure, systems, human resource development and adoption of modern technology.

The major functions performed by the RBI are:

  • Acting as the monetary authority
  • Acting as the regulator and supervisor of the financial system
  • Discharging responsibilities as the manager of foreign exchange
  • Issue currency
  • Play a developmental role
  • Related functions such as acting as the banker to the government and scheduled banks

The management of the RBI is the responsibility of the central board of directors headed by the governor and consisting of deputy governors and other directors, all of whom are appointed by the government. There are four local boards based at Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi. The day-to-day management of RBI is in the hands of the executive directors, managers at various levels and the support staff. There are about 22000 employees at RBI, working in 25 departments and training colleges.

The RBI identified its strengths and weaknesses as under:

  • Strengths A large body of competent offers and staff; access to key data on the economy; wide organisational network with 22 regional offices; established infrastructure; ability to attract talent; and financial self sufficiency.
  • Weaknesses Structural rigidity, lack of accountability and slow decision-making; eroded specialist know-how; strong employee unions with rigid industrial relations stance; surplus staff; and weak market intelligence.

Over the years, the RBI has evolved in terms of structure and functions, in response to the role as signed to it. There have been sweeping changes in the economic, social and political environment. The RBI has had to respond to it even in the absence of a systematic strategic plan. In 1992, the RBI, with the assistance of a private consultancy firm, embarked on a massive strategic planning exercise. The objective was to establish a roadmap to redefine RBI’s role and to review internal organisational and managerial efficacy, address the changing expectations from external stakeholders and reposition the bank in the global context. The strategic planning exercise was buttressed by departmental position papers and documents on various subjects such as technology, human resources and environmental trends. The strategic plan of the RBI emerged with four sections dealing with the statement of mission, objectives and policy, a review of RBI’s strengths and weaknesses and strategic actions required with an implementation plan. The strategic plan reiterates anticipation of evolving external environment in the medium-term; revisiting strengths and weaknesses (evaluation of capabilities); and doing away with the outdated mandates for enhancing efficiency in operations in furtherance of best public interests. The results of these efforts are likely to manifest in attaining a visible focus, reinforced proficiency, realisation of shared sense of purpose, optimising resource use and build-up of momentum to achieve goals.

Historically, the RBI adopted the time-tested technique of responding to external environment in a pragmatic manner and making piecemeal changes. The dilemma in adoption of a comprehensive strategic plan was the risk of trading off the flexibility of the pragmatic approach to creating rigidity imposed by a set model of planning.

Questions:

1. Consider the vision and mission statements of the Reserve Bank of India. Comment on the quality of both these statements.

2. Should the RBI go for a systematic and comprehensive strategic plan in place of its earlier pragmatic approach of responding to environmental events as and when they occur? Why?

 

Case II

WHAT LIES IN STORE FOR THE RETAILING INDUSTRY IN INDIA?*

India is not known as the ‘nation of shopkeepers’, yet it has as many as 5 million retail outlets of all shapes and sizes. Some other optimistic estimates “place the number at as high as 12 million. Whatever be the number, India can claim to have the highest number of retail outlets per capita in the world. But almost all of these are small outfits occupying an average of 500 square feet in size, managed by family members, having negligible investment in land and assets, paying little or no tax and known as the kirana dukaan (‘mom and pop’ stores in the U.S or the corner grocery stores in the U.K.). These outlets offer mainly food items and groceries—the staple of retailing in India. Customer contact is personal and one-on-one, often running through generations. There are a limited number of items offered! often sold on credit—the payment to be collected at the end of the month. The quality of items standard, with moderate pricing.

There is great hype about the growth and prospects of organised retailing industry in India. It must be noted, however, that organised retailing constitutes barely 2 per cent of the total retailing industry in India, the rest 98 percent being under the control of the unorganised, informal sector of’ kirana dukaans. Market research agencies and consultants come up with encouraging forecasts about this segment of the retailing industry. For instance, AT. Kearney’s Global Retail Development Index ranks 30 emerging countries on a 100- point scale. Its 2007-ranking places India at number one for the third consecutive year, with 92 points, fol­lowed by Russia and China. The size of the organised retailing industry is estimated at US $8 billion and projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 40 per cent to US $22 billion by 2010. Overall, the Indian retailing industry is expected to grow from the current US $350 billion to US $427 billion by 2010 and US $635 billion by 2015.

The economic environment in the post-liberalisation period after 1991, has created several factors that have made this high growth of the organised retailing industry possible. India’s impressive economic growth rate of 9 per cent is the prime driver of increasing disposable incomes in the hands of the consumer. The growing size of the consuming class in India, in tandem with the entry and expansion of the organised sector players in recent years, has set the pace for corporate investment in retail business. Practically, every major Indian business group is looking for opportunities in the growing retailing industry. Among them are the big names in the Indian corporate sector such as the AV Birla group, Bharti, Godrej, ITC group, Mahindras, Reliance, Tatas and the Wadia group.

The international environment presently is replete with examples of the fast-paced growth of the retailing industry in many developing countries around the world. In the post-liberalisation period, there is more openness and awareness of the international developments among Indians. The ease of travel abroad and the exposure through television and Internet have increase the awareness of the urban Indian consumer to the convenience of modern shopping. The modern retail formats thus have gained acceptance in India. Carrefour, Tesco and Wal-Mart are the international players already operating in India, with several others like Euroset, Supervalue and Starbucks having plans to enter soon. These international companies bring to India the latest developments in the retailing industry and help to set up a benchmark for the domestic player.

The market environment is one of the most significant in terms of the growth and prospects of the retailing industry in India. In terms of geography, the reach of the organised retailing industry has been growing. In addition to the mega-cities of Mumbai and Delhi, cities such as Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chennai are also witnessing a boom in organised retail activity. Retailers are now trying to focus on smaller cities such as Nagpur, Indore, Chandigarh, Lucknow or Cochin. There are interesting possibilities regarding the re­tail formats. Traditionally, street carts, pavement shops, kirana stores, public distribution systems, kiosks, weekly markets and such other formats unique to India, have been in existence for a long time. At present, most organised retail formers are imitations of those used abroad. These include hyper and supermarkets, convenience store, department stores and specialty chains. Among these formats, a notable trend has been the development of integrated retail-cum-entertainment centres and malls as opposed to stand-alone developments. Besides these, there are some attempts at indigenous formats aimed at the rural markets-such as those by ITC’s Choupal Sagar, DSCL’s Hairyali Kisaan Bazaar and Godrej group’s Godrej Aadhar. Pricing is an important issue in the retailing industry. Generally, the bulk buying yield lower costs of procurement for the big retailers—a part of which they pass on to the customer in the form of lower prices. In food retailing, for instance, there is a clear trend of low prices being the determining factor in purchase decisions by the cost-conscious Indian consumer. But, lower prices may not be a major issue with the higher-income groups that may place greater emphasis on the quality of products and retail service, store ambience and convenience of shopping. For the majority of Indian consumers however, price is likely to remain a significantly important issue in the purchase decision. Competition has already accelerated with many Indian business groups having entered or likely to enter this booming industry.

The political environment in India is ambiguous! in terms of its support to the organised retailing industry. This is obvious as the unorganised sector employs nearly 8per cent of the Indian population and is widely spread geographically. The whelming presence in terms of 98 per cent of the total retailing industry also is a significant political issue. In a democracy, the politics of numbers makes it imperative for the political class to adopt an ambiguous stand. In some cases, politicians have acted in favour of the unorganised sector by disallowing the setting up of large retail some states. Overall, however, there is ambiguity as there are several environmental trends in favor of the development of the organised retailing industry.

In the regulatory environment, there has gradual easing of the restrictions albeit at a slow pace, in view of the ambiguous political stance as indicated above. Interestingly, the retailing industry, is still not recognised as an industry in India, Foreign direct investment of up to 100 per cent is not permitted though it is possible for foreign players to enter through the routes of agreements, cash-and-carry wholesale trading and strategic licensing agreements. Another problem area is of the real estate laws at the level of state governments that are yet to be clear on the issue of allowing large stores. Restructuring of the tax structure for the retailing industry is another regulatory issue requiring governmental action. However, tariffs on imported consumer items have been gradually aligned to meet the prescribed WTO norms and reduction of import restrictions are likely to help the growing organised retailing industry.

The socio-cultural environment offers many interesting insights into the changing tastes and references of the urban and semi-urban Indian consumer. There is a large rural market consisting of nearly 720 million consumers, spread over more 600,000 villages. India’s consumers are young: 70 percent of the country’s citizens are low the age of 36 and half of those are under 18 years of age. These people have deep roots in the local culture and traditions, yet are eager to get connected with and know the outside world. According to a DSP Merrill Lynch report, the key factor providing a thrust to the retail boom in India the changing age profile of spenders. A group of seven million young Indians in their mid-twenties, learning over US$ 5000 per year, is emerging every year. This group constitutes people who are enthusiastic spenders and like to visit the new format retail outlets for the convenience and time saving they offer. Malls are also being perceived as just places for shopping, but for spending leisure time and as meeting places. There has been an emergence of a combination of the retail outlet and entertainment centres having multiplexes, with food courts and video game parlours.

But there are some pitfalls too. For instance, organised retailing in India has had to deal with the misconception among middle-class consumers that the modern retail formats being air conditioned, sophisticated places are bound to be more expensive.

The supplier environment probably offers the biggest constraint on the growth of the retailing industry in India. Reaching India’s consumers cost effectively is a distribution nightmare, owing to the sheer geographical size of the country and the presence of traditional, fragmented distribution and retailing networks and erratic logistics. For instance, the apparel segment that is one of the two top segments, the other being food, have had to invest in back-end processes to support supply chains. Supply chain management and merchandising practices are increasingly converging and apparel retailers are establishing collaborations with their vendors. Another area of concern is the severe shortage of skills in retailing. Human resource development for the retailing industry has picked up lately but may take time to fill the gap caused due to the shortage of personnel.

The technological environment for the organised retailing industry straddles many areas such as IT support to supply chain management, logistics, transportation and store operations. Some global retailers have demonstrated that an innovative use of technology can provide a substantial strategic advantage. The large number of store items, the diversity of sourcing and the gigantic effort required to coordinate actions in a large retail context is ideal for using IT as a support function. For instance, an innovative use of IT can help in a wide variety of functions such as quick information processing and timely decision-making, reduction in processing costs, real-time monitoring and control of opera­tions, security of transactions and operations inte­gration. The availability of supply chain management, customer relationship management an merchandising software can help much while performing activities such as ordering and tracking inventory items, warehousing, transportation and customer profiling.

Overall, the Indian scenario offers an interesting mix of possibilities and challenges. A successful model of large-scale retailing appropriate for the Indian context is yet to emerge. The modern retail formats accepted globally are in the process of implementation and their acceptability is yet to be established.

Questions:

1. Identify the opportunities and threats that the retailing industry in India offers to local and foreign companies.

2. Prepare an ETOP for a company interested in entering the retailing industry in India.

 

 Case III

HELPAGE INDIA

The developments in medical sciences—the lowering of mortality rates and the increase in life expectancy—have ironically led to a situation where there are increasingly, a larger number of aged people in the society. The situation in most countries of the world is that the number of ageing people is increasing. India too, like other developing countries, experiences a rapid ageing of the population, with estimated 80 million aged people. Almost eight out of ten of these aged people live in rural areas.

The challenges that the elderly people in society face are many. For instance, a report in the Indian context indicates the following challenges:

  • 90% of senior citizens receive no social se­curity or medical care.
  • 73% of senior citizens are illiterate and can only earn a livelihood through physical labour, which is possible only if they are healthy in their old age.
  • 80% of senior citizens live in rural areas with inadequate or inaccessible medical facilities; many are unable to access the medical facilities because of reduced mobility in the old age.
  • 55% of women over the age of 60 are widows with no means of support

The elderly people, or senior citizens, are the fastest growing segment of the Indian society. By 2025, the population of the elderly is expected to reach 177 million.

Unlike many developed countries, India does not have an effective security net for the elderly people. There have been sporadic attempts by governments at the central and state levels to pay old age pensions, but like most government schemes, there is a lot of leakage of funds and inefficiency. There is also a lack of post-retirement avenues for re-employment.

Socio-economic developments such as urbanization modernisation and globalisation have impacted the economic structure and led to an erosion of societal values and the weakening of social institutions such as the joint family. The changing mores of society have created a chasm between generations. The intergenerational differences have created a situation where the younger people are involved in education, career building and establishing themselves in life, ending up ignoring the needs of the elderly among them. The older generation is caught between a society which cares little for them and the absence of social security, leading them to a situation where they are left to fend for themselves. It is in this context that institutions such as HelpAge India play a positive role in society.

HelpAge India, established in 1978, is a secular, not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation, registered under the Societies Registration Act of 1860. Its mission is stated as ‘to work for the cause and care of the disadvantaged older persons and to improve their quality of life’. The three core values that guide HelpAge India’s work are rights, relief and resources. HelpAge India is one of the founder members of HelpAge International, a body of 51 nations representing the cause of the elderly at the United Nations. It is also a member of the International Federation on Ageing.

The organisation of HelpAge India consists of a head office at New Delhi, with four regional and thirty-three area offices situated all over India. The governing body of the organisation consists of ten distinguished people from different walks of life. Besides the governing body, there are three committees: the operations committee, the business development committee, and the audit committee. The CEO, Mr Mathew Cherian oversees the planning and implementation of policies and programmes, with the support of five electors. The regional directors are responsible for their own regions. The program division at the head office chooses the partner agencies to provide the services to the elderly people.

HelpAge India raises resources to perform three types of functions:

  • Advocacy about policies for the elderly persons with the national and local governments
  • Creating awareness in society about the concerns of the aged and promote better understanding of ageing issues
  • Help the elderly persons become aware of their own rights so that they get their due and are able to play an active role in society

The major programmes undertaken by HelpAge India include mobile medicare units, ophthalmic care for performing cataract surgeries, Adopt-a-Gran, support to old-age homes, day care centres, income generation and disaster relief.

The business model of HelpAge India is based on revenue generation through grants and donations from international and national source. Nearly half of the donations come from international donors. About a fifth of the donors are individuals. The sources of contributions come from fundraising activities that include direct mail, school fundraising corporate fundraising, sale of greeting cards, acting as corporate agent for insurance, organizing event and establishing a shop-for-a-cause that sells gift made by disadvantaged people. A review report on the activities of HelpAge India enumerates its strong points as below:

  • Wide Reach and Impact HelpAge India has been able to impact the lives of a large number of elderly people and their families by adopting a holistic approach that provide immediate relief as well as long-tern sustainable improvement.
  • Effective Partnerships in Development HelpAge India has evolved as a development support agency through creating partner agencies, that is funded to implement the projects.
  • High Degree of Charitable Commitment Typically non-profit organisations spend a loft; on overhead and administrative costs. But3 HelpAge India is able to put nearly eighty-five, per cent of the funds towards actual project implementation.
  • Focus on Efficiency and Transparency The partner agencies are chosen carefully and monitored thoroughly. This results in increased efficiency and low overheads. Project implementation through partnerships increases efficiency and cuts down on 3overhead costs.
  • Quality of Management The management; quality of HelpAge India is good and there are a lot of committed people. New employees are also trained to be sensitive to the mission of the organisation.

With a wide spread of activities and being a non-governmental organisation having limited funding, HelpAge India has adopted modern means of information technology and networking. Most of the HelpAge executives work in the field and have no direct access to the office network. They have to use e-mail in order to maintain contact with their regional or area offices. They use cyber-cafes or handheld devices for sending and receiving e-mails. HelpAge has installed a secure connection at an initial cost of Rs. 4 lakh and annual upgradation cost of Rs. 75,000 to access e-mail from anywhere, with a high level of security and protection of data and contents.

The nature of non-profit organisations demands certain requirements. Among these, transparency of operations and funds management is a major one. There are many NGOs that are accused or suspected of misappropriating funds for personal benefit. HelpAge India is conscious of this fact and gives high priority to information disclosure. The audited financial statements and the annual report are available on its website. The financial statements give a detailed account of the expenditure on individual projects. The expenses on travel and salaries of its employees and CEO are also mentioned. The individual donors are provided information regarding the use of the funds donated by them.

The functional approach at HelpAge India consists of developing projects based on the assessment of the needs of its target community rather than on implementing them directly. The implementation takes place through the partner agencies. Rather than outright grants, it supports income generation projects for the elderly people. The success of implementation critically depends on the identification and appointment of partner agencies. The officers of HelpAge India physically inspect the proposed agencies and check on their management to ensure that they are not family-run set-ups established for personal gains. HelpAge India works presently, with nearly 400 partner agencies. These include, for instance, about 150 charitable eye hospitals that act as partner agencies for the ophthalmic care programme.

HelpAge India with its slogan of ‘fighting isolation, poverty and neglect’ moves on its mission of providing ‘equal rights, dignity for elders’. It foresees its future activities in the area of rights based advocacy for a better life for the elderly people by bringing them into the mainstream of society rather than being marginalised to the fringes.

Questions:

1. In your opinion, what is the distinctive competence of HelpAge India?

2. Prepare a strategic advantage profile for HelpAge India.

 

Case IV

BHARAT HEAVY ELECTRICALS LIMITED CONCENTRATES ON THE EQUIPMENT INDUSTRY

Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) is India’s largest engineering and manufacturing enterprise, operating in the energy sector, employing more than 42000 people. Established in 1956, it has established its presence in the heavy electrical equipments industry nationally as well as globally. BHEL is one of the navaratnas (lit. nine gems) among the public sector enterprises in India. Its vision is to be ‘a world class enterprise committed to enhancing stakeholder value’. Its mission statement is: ‘to be an Indian multinational engineering enterprise providing total business solutions through quality products, systems, and services in the fields of energy, industry, transportation, infrastructure, and other potential areas’.

BHEL is a huge organisation, manufacturing over 180 products categorised into 30 major product groups, catering to the core sectors of power generation and transmission, industry, transportation, telecommunications and renewable energy. It has 14 manufacturing divisions, four power sector regional centres, over 100 project sites, eight service centres and 18 regional offices. It acquires technology from abroad and develops its own technology at its research and development centres. The operations of BHEL are organised into three business sectors of power, industry and overseas business. Besides the business sector departments, there are the corporate functional departments of engineering and R&D, human resource development, finance and corporate planning and development.

BHEL’s turnover hit an all-time high of Rs. 18,739 crore, registering a growth of 29 per cent, while net profit increased by 44 per cent to touch Rs. 2,415 crore in 2006-07. The company has a comfortable order book position of Rs. 55,000 crore for 2007-8 and beyond. The company booked ex­port orders worth Rs. 1,903 crore in 2006-07. It is looking toward to US$10 billion exports by 2012 from the present US$ 4 billion. The capital investment plan of BHEL for the 11th National Plan period envisages an investment of Rs 3,200 crore, mainly to enhance its manufacturing capacity from 10000 MW to 15000 MW.

BHEL has formulated a five-year strategic plan with the aim of achieving a sustainable profitable growth, targeting at a turnover of Rs. 45,000 crore by 2012. The strategy is driven by a combination of organic and inorganic growth. Organic growth is planned through capacity and capability enhancement, designed to leverage the company’s core are s of power, supported by the industry, transmission, exports and spares and services businesses. For the purpose of inorganic growth, BHEL plans to pursue mergers and acquisition and joint ventures and grow operations both in domestic and export markets.

BHEL is involved in several strategic business initiatives at present for internationalisation. These include targeting the export markets, positioning itself as a reputed engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor globally, and looking for opportunities for overseas joint ventures.

An example of a concentration strategy of BHEL in the power sector is the joint venture with another public Enterprise, National Thermal Power Corporation, to perform EPC activities in the power sector. It is to be noted that NTPC as a power generation utility and BHEL as an EPC contractor have worked together on several domestic projects earlier, but without a forma partnership. BHEL also has join1 ventures with GE of the US and Siemens AG of Germany. Other strategic initiatives include management contract for Bharat Pumps and Compressors Ltd. and a proposed takeover of Bharat Heavy Plates and Vessels, both being sister publics enterprises

Despite its impressive performance, BHEL is unable to fulfil the requirements for power equipment in the country. The demand for power has been exceeding the growth and availability. There are serious concerns about energy shortages owing to inadequate generation and transmission, as well as inefficiencies in the power sector. Since this sector is a major part of the national infrastructure, problems in the fibwer sector affect the overall economic growth the country as well as its attractiveness as a destination for foreign investments. BHEL also faces stiff competition from international players in the power equipment sector, mainly of Korean; and Chinese origin. There seems to be an undercurrent of conflict between the two governmental ministries of power and heavy industries. BHEL operates administratively under the Ministry of Heavy Industries, but supplies mainly to the power sector that is under the Ministry of Power. There has been talk of establishing another power equipment company as a part of the NTPC for some time, with the purpose of lessening the burden on BHEL.

Questions:

1. BHEL is mainly formulating and implementing concentration strategies nationally as well as globally, in the power equipment sector. Do you think it should broaden the scope of its strategies to include integration or diversification? Why?

2. Suppose BHEL plans to diversify its business. What areas should it diversify into? Give reasons to justify your choice.

 

Case V

THE INTERNATIONALISATION OF KALYANI GROUP

The Kalyani Group is a large family-business group of India, employing more than 10000 employees. It has diverse businesses in engineering, steel, forgings, auto components, non-conventional energy and specialty chemicals. The annual turnover) of the Group is over US$ 2.1 billion. The Group is known for its impressive internationalisation achievements. It has nine manufacturing locations ad over six countries. Over the years, it has established joint ventures with many global companies such as ArvinMeritor, USA, Carpenter Technology Corporation, USA, Hayes Lemmerz, USA and FAW Corporation, China.

The flagship company of the Group is Bharat Forge Limited that is claimed to be the second largest forging company in the world and the largest nationally, with about 80 per cent share in axle and engine components. The other major companies of the Group are Kalyani Steels, Kalyani Carpenter Special Steels, Kalyani Lemmerz, Automotive Axles Kalyani Thermal Systems, BF Utilities, Hikal Limited, Epicenter and Synise Technologies.

The emphasis on internationalisation is reflected in the vision statement of the Group where two of the five points relate to the Group trying to be world-class organisation and achieving growth aggressively by accessing global markets. The Group is led by Mr. B.N. Kalyani, who is considered to be the major force behind the Group’s aggres­sive internationalisation drive. Mr. Kalyani joined the Group in 1972 when it was a small-scale diesel engine component business.

The corporate strategy of the Group is a combination of concentration on its core competence in its businesses with efforts at building, nurturing and sustaining mutually beneficial partnerships with alliance partners and customers. The value of these partnerships essentially lies in collaborative product development with the partners who are the original equipment manufacturers. The foreign partners are not intended to provide expansion in capacity, but enable the Kalyani Group to extend its global marketing reach.

In achieving its successful status, the Kalyani Group has followed the path of integration, extending from the upstream steel making to downstream machining for auto components such as crankshafts, front axle beams, steering knuckles, camshafts, connecting rods and rocker arms. In all these products, the Group has tried to move up the value chain instead of providing just the raw forgings. In the 1990s, it undertook a restructuring exercise to trim its unrelated businesses such as television and video products and concentrate on its core business of auto components

Four factors are supposed to have influenced the growth of the Group over the years. These are mentioned below:

  • Focussing on crore businesses to maximize growth potential
  • Attaining aggressive cost savings
  • Expanding geographically to build global capacity and establishing leading positions
  • Achieving external growth through acquisitions

The Group companies are claimed to be positioned at either number one or two in their respective businesses. For instance, the Group claims to be number one in forging and machined components, axle aggregates, wheels and alloy steel. The technology used by the Group in its mainline business of auto components and other businesses, is claimed to be state-of-the-art. The Group invests in forging technology to enhance efficiency, production quality and design capabilities. The Group’s emphasis on technology can be gauged from the fact that in the 1990s, it took the risky decision of investing Rs. 100 crore in the then latest forging technology, when the total Group turnover was barely Rs. 230 crore. Information technology is applied for product development, reducing 3 production and product development time, supply-chain management and marketing of products. The Group lays high emphasis on research and development for providing engineering support, advanced metallurgical analysis and latest testing equipment in tandem with its high-class manufacturing facilities.

Being a top-driven group, the pattern of strategic decision-making within seems to be entrepreneurial. There was an attempt to formulate a five-year strategic plan in 1997, with the participation of the company executives. But not much is mentioned in the business press about that collaborative strategic decision-making after that

Recent strategic moves include Kalyani Steels, a Group company, entering into a joint venture agreement in May 2007, with Gerdau S.A. Brazil for installation of rolling mills. An attempt to move out of the mainstream forging business was made when the Group strengthened its position in the prospective business of wind energy through 100 percent acquisition of RSB consult GmbH (RSB) of Germany. Prior to the acquisition, the Group was just a wind farm, operator and supplier of components.

Questions:

1. What is the motive for internationalization by the Kalyani Group? Discuss.

2. Which type of international strategy is Kalyani Group adopting? Explain.

 

Case VI

CORPORATE RESTRUCTURING OF THE INDIAN REAILWAYS

On 16 April 1853, a locomotive pulling 14 carriages and 400 people left what was then Bombay, to a 21-gun salute, and shuttled to Thane, 34 km away. The journey took about 75 minutes. That was the way Indian Railways was born. Some estimates consider the Indian Railways as the world’s largest commercial enterprise in terms of the number of employees.

Indian Railways is a departmental undertaking of the Government of India. The Central Ministry of Railways oversees the policy making for the Indian Railways and is headed by a union minister. There are some ministers of state holding specific responsibilities. The administration of Indian Railways is done through the Railway Board headed by a chairman and having six members.

There are 16 railway zones, each headed by a General Manager who reports to the Railway Board. The zones are divided into divisions under the control of divisional railway managers. There are 44 functional departments, including those of engineering, mechanical, electrical, signal and telecommunications, accounts, personnel and operating, commercial and safety branches. At the operational levels, there are station superintendents and station masters who control individual railway stations. Apart from the Indian Railways, the Ministry also has a number of public sector enterprises under its administrative control. There is an autonomous organization called the Centre for Railway information System, dedicated to developing specialized application software for the railways.

The financial matters of the Indian Railways are dealt with through an elaborate system involving the parliament of India down to the accounts departments at the divisional headquarters. The Railway budget is presented every year and passed by both houses of the parliament. The budget is based on the expected traffic and the projected tariff and capital and revenue expenditure. Dividends are paid to the Central government on the capital invested. Indian Railways is subjected to the same audit control as other government ministries and departments.

The Indian Railways is Asia’s largest and the world’s second largest rail network under a single management. It is a multi-gauge, multi-traction system covering over 60,000 route kilometers, with 300 railways yards and 700 repair shops and covers most of the country’s vast geographical spread. The rolling stock fleet of the Indian Railways comprises 7,566 locomotives, 37,840 coaches and 222 million freight wagons. With a workforce of around 1.4 million, it runs more than 11,000 trains daily.

The Indian Railways has evolved into a vertically integrated organization. Various units are engaged in designing, manufacturing and maintaining the rolling stock, running institutions such as hospitals, schools, housing estates and hotels and catering. It issues licenses to a large number of uniformed porters and authorized hawkers. These are only some of the major activities that the Indian Railways perform.

There are many problems facing the Indian Railways. Among these, the major ones are:

  • Cross-subsidisation of passenger and freight tariff
  • High energy and fuel costs
  • High accident rate
  • Antiquated communication, safety and signaling equipment.
  • Ageing infrastructure including rail tracks and bridges.
  • High establishment and personnel costs.
  • Emerging competition from low-cost airlines.

Many areas of the Indian Railways are in need of improvement. Several actions have been taken over the years that include:

  • Upgrading technology, especially the application of IT
  • Improving the quality of railway services
  • Production of better quality locomotives and
  • Introduction of fast long-distance trains
  • Addition of value-added services such as introducing banking facilities on trains.

A Status Paper on the Indian Railways was issued May 1998, followed by another in 2002. These status papers underlined issues confronting the Indian Railways and possible options. The Status Paper-1998, for instance, focused on the strategies related to honing the marketing capability for bulk and non-bulk freight and passenger services, reducing operating costs, evolving a financial strategy, bringing about cultural change and addressed issues of concern in areas such as research and development and IT. Similarly, the status paper of 2002 presented several issues and posed several questions related to its functioning.

A report published in 2001 by a government appointed group chaired by Rakesh Mohan, now the deputy governor of Reserve Bank of India, called for a radical restructuring of the Indian Railways. The main thrust of its recommendations was on shedding the non-core activities such as catering and manufacturing not related to its main activities of passenger and freight transportation and becoming a focussed organisation.

Freight has been the key revenue earner for Indian Railways. The target for 2007-08 is at 785 million tonnes. The market share of freight traffic had been on the decline over the last few decades, owing to improvements in road infrastructure. To arrest this decline, it became imperative to: enhance customer responsiveness through cargo visibility and information dissemination, reduce operating expenses and improve asset utilisation. In order to achieve these aims, the Indian Railways installed a computerised Freight Operations Information System, with the assistance of CMC Limited.

There is much hype around the financial turnaround of the Indian Railways. Here, the major achievements have been in the areas of improved freight and passenger earnings, gross traffic revenue, higher cash surplus, higher net revenue, better operating ratio and return on capital. For instance, the Indian Railways is proud of its achievements in terms of an above 78 per cent operating ratio and a 20 per cent return on capital in 2006- 2007.

Overall, the Indian Railways have benefited from several managerial initiatives taken over the recent past, such as corporatisation of many of its activities and hiving off, separate companies to perform functions performed in-house earlier. For example, the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation took over the non-core activities of catering while Rail Tel Corporation was formed to create the optic fibre network for communications. Another subtle manner of change seems to be the creeping nature of privatisation of non-core services and adoption of modern business methods of marketing and human resource management to improve operational efficiency. These seem to be working though critics say that the increase in the general economic activity and overloading of wagons is the cause of this improved short-term performance.

Certain inherent issues have become a part of the Indian Railways heritage. Among these are: overdependence on freight business, much of freight business arising from a select few commodities, passenger traffic being concentrated in low-yield suburban traffic and high density of traffic in the certain areas coupled with under-utilised assets and facilities in others. The fundamental issues of the dilemma whether Indian Railways is an organisation in the nature of a public utility, designed to discharge social obligations, or is it a commercial orgarnisation for which financial performance and operational efficiency are imperative still remain.

Questions:

1. Comment on the steps taken to reduce the extent of vertical integration at the Indian Railways. Suggest a few more measures that could be taken.

2. Discuss the measures taken for corporate restructuring of the Indian Railways, in your opinion, are these adequate for dealing with the problems faced? Why?

3. Propose the basic elements of a corporate turnaround for the Indian Railways.

 

Strategic Management

03 Jul

CASE STUDY: 1

The Ahmedabad based Astral Poly Technik Ltd. is manufacturing and provider of chlorinated poly vinyal chloride (CPVC) piping and plumbing systems. Mr Sandeep Engineer, its managing director reported a strategic decision of manufacturing and marketing the ‘Blaze master’ fire sprinkler system under an agreement with the $ 4 billion global speciality chemical company, Lubrizol, whose wholly-owned subsididary Noveon Inc makes ‘Blazemaster’ for this purpose, Astral signed a licence agreement with Noveon to manufacturing and market its fire sprinkler system under the brand name of ‘Blazemaster’ which is a trade mark of Noveon. The company, in order to strengthen its business plans, had taken a strategic decision to enter into a techno-financial joint venture with speciality process LLC of USA, which provided if the required technical expertise for manufacturing CPVC pipes and fitting for home and industrial applications. Astral was also going for an initial public offering to further its growth plans.

Q1) Explain the term strategic decision making?

Q2) Explain the process of decision making?

Q3) What is the basic thrust of strategic decision making?

Q4) Explain in detail the issues in strategic decision making?

 

CASE STUDY: 2

The essence of vision is a forward-looking view of what an organization wishes to become, mission is what an organization is and why it exists.

Several years ago, Peter F Drucker raised important philosophical questions related to business what is our business? What will it be? What it should be? These three questions though simply worded are in reality, the most fundamental questions that any organization can put it itself. The answers are based on an analysis of the underlying need of the society that any organization strives to fulfill. The satisfaction of that need is them, the business of the organization.

Q1) Define vision? And explain the benefits of a vision?

Q2) What do you mean by mission?

Q3) How are Mission statements formulated and communicated?

Q4) Explain in detail the characteristics of a Mission statement?

 

CASE STUDY: 3

The major market players in Indian Food processing industry include local companies such as Agro Tech Foods, Dabur, Gits, Parle and Foreign companies such as Nestle, Cadbury and Unilever.

The business environment in which the food processing industry exists could be explained in terms of opportunities and threats.

Opportunities just like High demand potential, low output from organized sector. Exports of agricultural and processed food have been rising, low cost Indian labour, younger population, changing lifestyle, nuclear families, increasing personal income, number of working women, etc.

Threats just like conservative Government policies, inadequate infrastructure for distribution and preservation, limited assess to appropriate technology for processing and packaging, high taxation on packaged items etc.

Just observed how the food processing industry in India is affected by different levels of the environment at the global and national level.

Q1) Explain the concept of Environment?

Q2) Explain in detail the characteristics of Environment?

Q3) Explain Internal Environment?

Q4) Explain External Environment?

 

CASE STUDY: 4

According to a doctoral study on the corporate takeovers in India the major reason for increased Mergers & Acquisitions (M & A) activity were, legal reforms, economic reforms, economic slowdown, and depressed stock markets, etc.

Statistics related to M & A in India are quite impressive. The market research firm found that Indian companies spent over US $ 23 billion in 2006, a jump of over 400 percent over that in 2005, in acquiring foreign companies, more than half of which were in Europe Inbound (Foreign companies talking over Indian companies) and Outbound (Indian companies talking over Foreign companies) mergers and acquisitions have increased dramatically.

Q1) Explain the term mergers and acquisitions?

Q2) What are the types of mergers and acquisitions?

Q3) Explain in detail the reasons for mergers and acquisitions?

Q4) What are the important issues in mergers and acquisitions?

Strategic Management

14 Jun

Q1. M/s Divine Soul is into traditional Indian wear which sells multiple brands. The popular brand for male is “Raja” and for the females is “Rani”. The company sells traditional wear for children popularly known as “Shaayad”. The company has 120 outlets in India. The competition in this industry has been constantly growing. The profit margins are going down. The company has been profitable since the day of inception but there has been no growth. The company has remain stable from many years as the directors believe that the stability is the best strategy. The company adds you into the board as a strategy director and asks your view on Stability Strategy. You have been asked to prepare the pros and cons of Stability strategy for M/s Divine Soul.

Q2. Assume that the directors of M/s Divine Soul agree with your view on the challenges of Stability Strategy. The director asks you to suggest one corporate level strategy for the organization that will help them achieve growth for the organization.

Q3. From the case above answer the following question:

a. Explain the strategic Management process that needs to be followed for M/s Divine Soul.

b. Prepare a Porters Five competitive forces for M/s Divine Soul.