Remember those Linear Programming Problems in College? We used to find an optimized solution based on certain constraints. Some of the popular methods of solving these were Graphical, Simplex and Big-M Method. Also, there were software programs available to minimize the computation efforts.
Typically when we talk about improvements on the shop floor, we hear a lot about Pull Production. Originating from the Toyota Corporation, pull production is a process that aims to arrange an organization so that customer preference or orders are what cause materials to be “pulled” through a system.
In his classic best-seller ‘The Goal’, Eliyahu M. Goldratt discusses about the three fundamental ways of making money for a going concern namely,
1. Increase throughput (the rate at which the system generates money through sales)
2. Reduce Inventory (all the money that system has invested in purchasing things which it intends to sells)
3. Reduce Operational expenses (all the money the system spends in order to turn inventory into throughput)
The name ‘Brazil’ in our minds is synonymous with Soccer and Samba. To minimize the impact of US slowdown, more and more companies are turning to the BRIC economy which has strong fundamentals. While it is yet another country, there are unique legal requirements which need to be taken care of while doing business in Brazil. Oracle E-Business Suite offers a set of Brazil Localization Modules to cater to these requirements.
I faced this particularly nagging error with a personal install of Oracle XE (Oracle Database 10g Express Edition) on my Windows XP laptop:
ORA-12514:No TNS Listener
The SQL Command prompt that came with Oracle XE would work but none of the other tools like Toad, SQL Plus or even the Oracle XE Database Homepage which would open in a browser window would work.
The final resolution after a lot of research seemed to be painfully simple: Read More…
Interesting comments from Costco’s CFO Richard Galanti in the report “Finance Brings Value Discipline to Strategy Execution: Different Paths to One Truth” from CFO Research Services, in collaboration with Deloitte Consulting LLP:
“We tend to be arrogantly simple… Read More…
While looking at the proceedings of FIRe (Future in Review), found the web-page for Rafiq Dossani who is doing ground-breaking research on IT as it relates to South Asia, and India in particular. Here is an excerpt from the Executive Summary of the project Enabling ICT for Rural India: Read More…
Key Findings of an Accenture-sponsored survey conducted by the EIU looking into trends, risks and opportunities associated with finance outsourcing in the high-tech and electronics industries:
- Finance is among the most outsourced functions.
- Finance being outsourced by small and large firms at differing rates.
- Executives are satisfied with outsourcing arrangements.
- Barriers to increased finance outsourcing exist.
Useful EIU / PwC survey findings and report on the opportunities and the pitfalls involved in digital convergence and mergers and acquisitions (M&A). This is an exhaustive survey of 149 executives supplemented with over 30 in-depth interviews of industry veterans. Key takeaways:
- According to Dow Jones CEO Richard Zannino, “I’ve done 20 or 30 M&A deals, and one thing I’ve learned is never to rely on revenue synergies, because they never seem to materialise. No matter how great the brands, no matter how great the match, you’re going to lose some revenue in the process.” For this reason, says Zannino, “I put more weight on cost synergies, and that’s what makes up for the lost revenue.”
- Many executives prefer partnerships and alliances as a less risky way to explore unfamiliar terrain. But there are shortcomings, including an inability to control relationships, either with customers or even with other parties in the alliance or partnership. And risk aside, alliances and partnerships may also move too slowly to capitalise on fast-moving opportunities. By failing to place a significant bet, executives realise, their companies may fail to maximise the convergence payoff.
- But for those organisations choosing the M&A path, the warnings from the research are clear. Be certain you’re pursuing a realistic strategy-and then compare the value of that strategy versus the acquisition price. Markets today are heating up and few if any strategies in the history of business have been pursued successfully at any price.
- Which sectors do technology, media and telecom executives believe will become the overall winners in digital convergence?
- Entertainment content developers (42% respondents)
- Consumer electronics manufacturers (36%)
- Wireless operators and related service providers (30%)
- As for the role of mergers and acquisitions amid the many likely success stories, the last word goes to a CFO from a large, US-based high-technology company: “We know a lot of companies are going to stumble badly, but a lot more are going to do really well. I’d have to say strategy is important, but in the end, it’s all in the execution. A great strategy, poorly executed, is a waste of everyone’s time and cash. But a decent acquisition, well executed, with loads of cost synergies, can generate enormous returns. So in M&A, all you need is a good idea-not even a great idea but a good one-coupled with great execution and you can achieve amazing results.”
Also, a useful side-bar on “How to make a strategic alliance work” on pg.21.
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) just came out with the results of an Accenture-sponsored survey on innovation and growth strategies. Key findings:
What do you think will be the main drivers of profitable growth at your company over the coming three years?
- Globalisation – allowing their companies to tap new markets and new sources of materials and talent (54%).
- Demand from the marketplace for constant innovation (49%).
What do you think will be the two biggest drivers of innovation at your company over the coming three years?
- Technology advances-including convergence, ERM, biotechnology and automated sales tools (21%).
- Customer demand for better convenience, improved service and more advanced products (19%).
Importantly, few people (6%) believe that management focus or compensation structures are driving innovation at their companies.
Which of the following do you think are significant barriers to innovation at your company?
- Lack of collaboration within the organisation (43%)
- Lack of incentives to find innovative solutions (39%)
- Lack of end-to-end processes for getting an innovation to the marketplace (36%)
But there are differences in perspective among the top-management and middle-management groups, with the latter seeing more barriers to innovation. In particular, non-C-level executives see a greater need for compensation structures that reward innovation and a greater need for end-to-end processes to bring ideas to market. C-level executives express greater confidence in their companies’ abilities in all three stages of growth and innovation.
Does it mean that C-level execs know more because of their macro perspective or does it mean they are not in touch with the ground realities?