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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Mr. ‘Pleasure’

Leading a company that is a ‘market leader’ for the past two decades is no mean feat. The job is even more difficult as you have the burden of consistently excelling your own achievements! Pawan Munjal, CEO of Hero Honda Motors has successfully charted out the growth for his company with a vision for sustaining Hero Honda’s number one position. Here’s how he manages it: “At Hero Honda we constantly strive to provide the best quality and value for money products to our customers. Since the inception we adopted a customer-driven approach for all our initiatives.” Armed with a graduate degree in Mechanical engineering, Pawan is credited with bringing about technological and managerial excellence in the company’s day to day operations. His dedication toward product improvement has helped Hero Honda in launching products that are not only ahead of competition, but always way ahead of time. Remember the just4her Pleasure, an effervescent 102cc scooter, which has already become quite a rage in the market? Watch out for more from this keen business tycoon, who’s also an avid golf enthusiast.

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IIPM Editorial, 2006, Editor - Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri

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Ms. ‘Write’ Woman
Girls uninterrupted!
Suddenly, many Indian consumers are waking up to what was considered a hilarious joke earlier
The precarious and profound implications of P2P on business and social domains
Corporate America’s penchant for enriching their top-lines has taken catastrophic proportions
Britannia on growth binge
The Goldman Vanguard
Extra miles ain’t an issue with the new Wagon R!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Angie and Uma go ‘beyond borders’ in love, life and acting

When goddesses placed their ethereal feet on Earth and mingled with mortals in epic times, their devastating beauty and power destroyed nations (remember the golden Apple of Discord?). Once again, two goddesses, who have no golden apple but who rule the silver screen nonetheless, are mesmerizing audiences. Racing towards legendary Hollywood status, Uma Thurman and Angelina Jolie have married femininity with athleticism, and spirituality with the material. Emblematizing the American melting pot, Angelina, born on June 4th 1975, inherited her enviable genes from French-Canadian model/actress Marcheline Bertrand and the Academy Award winning actor Jon Voight. Uma, born on April 29th, 1970, also grew up in a multi-cultural milieu with a Swedish model as a mother and a father who is a professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies. Besides their privileged and culturally diverse upbringing, the Uma-Angelina story has been running a parallel course for years.

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Source :- IIPM Editorial, 2006, Arindam Chaudhuri's Initiative

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Harmful Chemicals In Soft Drinks


Imagine the following scenario: Your favourite soap brands are found to have chemicals that irretrievably, albeit slowly, damage the skin of the user. Three years after the discovery, the top FMCG companies continue to insist that they follow the best safety practices and urge policy makers in India to set proper norms for them to follow. Later, when it is discovered that the most advertised brand of shampoos permanently damage your hair, the same FMCG giants mouth the same platitudes. Imagine ready to eat soups slowly poisoning you with pesticides and chemicals and a big multinational claims that the government is yet to fix the exact definition of what is acceptable poison. Imagine Indian butter and cheese riddled with traces of poisonous chemicals and some of India’s most admired consumer companies polemically pronounce that both the companies follow the best international practices.

Even worse: imagine these ‘world class’ companies peddling best selling brands whining that local brands and products are equally, if not more, harmful; and further squeaking on why a ‘vindictive’, publicity seeking’ organization and the media are singling out these companies. The whole brouhaha about unacceptable quantities of pesticides & other harmful chemicals being found in carbonated soft drinks, including the blockbuster brands Coke and Pepsi, really boils down to this: the incredible arrogance and sheer effrontery of the cola giants; smug in the belief that the Indian consumer is basically a moron and that policy makers can always be trusted to abdicate their responsibility towards public health and safety.

Suddenly, Indian consumers are waking up to what was considered to be a joke earlier. They now believe stories about how farmers in Punjab, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh have been using the colas as pesticide since they are cheaper! And the stinging words of religious preacher Swami Ramdev – “Thanda Matlab toilet cleaner” – appear less a publicity stunt and more a home truth to the Indian consumer. Suddenly, the March 2006 news about a Consumer Court fining Pepsi Rs.1 Lakh because a condom was found in the bottle is no longer a mere funny incident, but a deadly and poisonous reality that Indian consumers must confront. Forget the gory details of the chemical composition of pesticides found in colas; forget the nitpicking that lobbyists speaking on behalf of cola companies are indulging in; forget the shocking statement from Union Minister Sharad Pawar defending cola companies by saying that pesticides are found even in mother’s milk. Quite simply, the Indian consumer is asking one question: Have cola companies – who claim to be world class – been poisoning Indian consumers despite credible reports of the harmful contents prevalent in their products?

In 2003, the Center for Science & Environment (CSE) released a report that revealed that soft drinks sold in India contained unacceptable levels of pesticides and other harmful chemicals. The Director of CSE, Sunit Narain, recalls that she was able to observe three sets of reactions. The first set: The lobby led by Pepsi and Coke sought to completely discredit the report, some inspired leaks in the media even calling her a stooge of European lobbies out to damage the reputation of American multinationals! The second set of reactions: The then NDA government set up a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to investigate if the “recent findings of the Center for Science and Environment regarding pesticide residues in soft drinks are correct or not.” And the third set of reactions: The Indian consumer voted with her wallet and there were reports of a substantial drop in sales.

Of course, Narain recalls how the soft drink giants used Bollywood celebrities like Aamir Khan to reassure Indian consumers that their products were indeed safe. But much to the chagrin of companies like Coke and Pepsi, the JPC found that virtually all allegations made by the CSE report were correct and that Coke and Pepsi were indeed selling products laced with unacceptable levels of pesticides. The JPC strongly recommended that a law be enacted to set clear norms for health and safety of Indian consumers. Three years down the road, the proposed law is yet to be enacted, notified and enforced. (Do remember it took our Parliamentarians just one day to unanimously pass a law enabling criminals to contest elections!). And now, three years after the original report, another CSE investigation – this time even more widespread & scientifically rigorous – reveals shocking details:

  • The average pesticide residues in all brands of PepsiCo were 25 times the norms set by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

  • The average pesticide in all brands of Coca Cola India was 22 times the norms set by BIS.

  • The concentration of Lindane, a confirmed cancer-causing chemical, was 54 times the standards set by BIS.
No wonder, the latest findings have created another storm of controversy. Says Atul Kumar Anjan, CPI Secretary and Rajya Sabha MP, “What happened to the JPC report that was constituted under Sharad Pawar? The entire report was hushed up. How were cola companies allowed to sell their produce for three years without verification? Why didn’t government conduct random checks? Does it require an NGO to point out loopholes in government’s own procedures every time? Will it take action against the lax officials?” It is of course quite natural for politicians to raise these issues. But what can be felt across India is a kind of seething rage amongst consumers at the cavalier and disdainful manner in which cola giants have been treating them.

Says Bangalore based working wife and mother of two children Geeta Ranjan, “I feel betrayed. I always thought that all this talk of Big Business subverting the government and the law to cheat the consumer was propaganda of the Leftists. I used to vociferously support American multinationals. I don’t think I can do that now.” Delhi based housewife Sudha Sadanagi is even more scathing, “My daughter adores Aamir Khan & is now throwing a tantrum because I have stopped her daily bottle of Coke. She insists what Aamir Khan drinks has to be good. He made such a noise about Narmada Dam. Now will he also raise his voice against Coca Cola for poisoning my daughter?”

Politicians have an unerring knack for figuring out the pulse of public opinion. So you have the state governments of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh banning the sale of colas in schools and colleges. Many other states are scheduled to follow suit. Colas had been banned from the Indian Parliament in 2003 itself when the first CSE report revealing the presence of pesticides was released. But more action might be taken if politicians raise the bar of protests and demand more action. Says Tom Vadakkan, Secretary, All India Congress Committee, “The findings are shocking. If Coke & Pepsi are maintaining the FDA (or any other standard) in US, the same parameters should be applicable here as well. Government must come forward in this matter.”

Secretary of CPI, D. Raja, is even more persistent, “The immediate action should be a ban on Pepsi and Coca Cola as it is a heinous crime against the Indian consumers. There should be an immediate ban on Coca Cola and Pepsi in schools right up to 12th standard, at railway stations, bus stands, & at those places where mass consumption is possible. It should be sold at select sites for those who are (still) willing to take it.”

Even as politicians find yet another cause to chase and score some brownie points, Coke and Pepsi need to be more worried about how the average Indian consumer is reacting to this latest controversy. Bangalore based Ranjan & Delhi based Sadangi quoted above have already revealed the depth and intensity of anger against the cola giants amongst Indian consumers. This seems to be having a clear effect in the place where it matters the most – the market place. While it is impossible to get any accurate sales figures, since both Pepsi & Coke think it is privileged corporate information, there are clear indications that the adverse publicity is hurting the cola giants. Says Amandeep, Marketing Head, Papa John, a global giant that recently launched a pizza chain in India: “Virtually every parent who has booked our place for a birthday party for their child has specifically instructed us not to serve any cola.”

Of course, both Pepsi and Coke have already unleashed an expensive damage control campaign with huge advertisements in newspapers that have banner headlines screaming how safe and world class their colas are. In fact, Coke has blithely asked “esteemed customers” to send a mail to an e-mail address so that the company can take them on a tour of how world class Coca Cola’s facilities are. (Hilariously, even technology seems to be conveniently deserting these giants. E-mails sent to the mail id bounce back with a message, “Mail box not available!”) Yet, many activists in India seem outraged that companies like Coke and Pepsi repeatedly get away by behaving in a manner that would not go unpunished in a country like the United States. In the land of capitalism and free markets, corporate entities are imposed huge penalties and fines if they take investors or consumers for a ride (See table). Yet, something like that can be a distant dream in a country like India where even rapists and murderers get off the hook by using ‘connections’. And Narain of CSE clearly hints that the two cola giants used their clout to thwart effective legislation that would “officially” expose their duplicity, hypocrisy and strong arm tactics. In fact, CSE claims that their offices were visited by Intelligence Bureau officials and pressurized by the government to reveal sources of funding, audited account details and employee details for 20 years!

Consumers being taken for a ride has become a regular habit for companies (see box on right). There is virtually no food product in India that is not contaminated by pesticides and other harmful chemicals. The real solution is to enact effective laws & ensure they’re implemented in letter & in spirit. For the last three years, Indian policy makers have been working at their own elephantine pace to enact such a law. In the first week of August, the Rajya Sabha did pass the Food Safety & Standards Bill, 2005. Yet, even this might not prove sufficient to deter a company with deep pockets from running rings around the Indian consumer. Hailing the new law as a land mark, the Food Processing Minister, Subodh Kant Sahay, remarks, “The new Food Bill has a provision for consumers to lodge complaints... Action will be taken against manufacturers if the complaints are found valid.” The penalty: A fine ranging from Rs.1 lakh to Rs.7 lakh. But then, how much of hurt would a Rs.7 lakh fine cause to a company that can pay millions of rupees to celebrities like Aamir Khan to endorse its products & then spend hundreds of millions more in advertising?

Many senior level managers who spoke to B&E pointed out that the problem in India has never been a shortage of laws, but the right mechanism to enforce those laws. And all agreed that the only possible way for making companies like Coke and Pepsi listen to the wake up call is when the Indian consumers decide to vote with their wallets.

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Source :- IIPM Editorial, 2006, Editor - Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The last couple of years did not prove to be too pleasant for him

McKinnell, with all his considerable executive, Hank McKinnellpolitical & leadership skills couldn’t do much. The last couple of years did not prove to be too pleasant for him. Investors relentlessly condemned McKinnell for his petulant nature and the huge compensations that he continued to draw during the worst of times for Pfizer – when it was struggling to somehow apply the brakes to its plummeting stock prices (which have dropped by almost 40% since 2001). Realising the need of the hour, the Pfizer board was compelled to replace McKinnell. Publicly, McKinnell did applaud Kindler when he said, “It is time to transition to new leadership to accelerate the company’s transformation. And Kindler inspires confidence and offers vision and a fresh perspective.”

Kindler, 51, a Harvard law school graduate, is associated with Pfizer since 2002 and plays a vital role in Pfizer’s worldwide legal affairs. No doubts, the success in the Lipitor case is his major claim to fame till date. And perhaps, it explains why he was elected as the CEO even though his experience in the pharma sector doesn’t really account for much.

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Source :- IIPM Editorial, 2006, Editor - Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri

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US exposing double standards again, not sparing even the poorest countries

As the current “development round” of trade talks moves into its final stages, it is becoming increasingly clear that the goal of promoting development will not be served, and that the multilateral trade system will be undermined. Nowhere is this clearer than in a provision that is supposed to give the least developed countries almost duty free access to the markets of the developed countries.

A year ago, the leaders of the world’s richest countries committed themselves to alleviating the plight of the poorest. At Doha in November 2001, they pledged to give something more valuable than money: the opportunity for poor countries to sell their goods and earn their way out of poverty. With great fanfare, developed countries seemed for a while to be making good on their promise, as Europe extended the “Everything but Arms” initiative (EBA), under which it was unilaterally to open its markets to the poorest countries of the world.

The opening was less than it seemed. The devil is in the details, as many less developed countries discovered that EBA’s complicated rules of origin, together with supply-side constraints, meant that there was little chance for poor countries to export their newly liberalized products.

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Source :- IIPM Editorial, 2006, Editor - Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

IIPM Academics : Curriculum

IIPMManagement Institute
The Indian Institute of Planning & Management is one of the many national level management institutes set up by Dr. Chaudhuri. The Institute's mission is to help improve the management of the corporate and the noncorporate sectors and also the public systems, through pursuit of excellence in management education, research, consultancy and training.

"Winners All The Way ! ! ! IIPM's Full time & Integrated programs in National Economic Planning and Entrepreneurship are in a different league. Students are exposed to case studies & industry projects apart from undertaking tours to countries in Europe & US under the GOTA program, providing entrepreneurial outlooks to students..."
{Source: The Times of India, June 2002}

"IIPM's initiatives exposes students to international management practices of global organizations... IIPM's alliance with IMI, one of the top three business schools enables IIPM students to get joint globally recognized certification..."
{Source: Financial Express, June 2002}

"What makes IIPM programs different? The focus of the Full time & Integrated programs is National Economic Planning... The students visited organizations like Nestle in Vevey, Switzerland, Federation of Swiss Watch Industry (Bienne), Sulzer (Winterthur), IMD Lausanne etc. This international exposure not only broadens the students' horizons, but also brings them at communication terms with global management professionals..."
{Source: Hindu, May 2002}

The integrated and full time programme in national economic planning and entrepreneurship provided by IIPM (which are superior to standard MBA and BBA programs), alongwith IIPM's Fellowship, Executive Education (and Global Opportunities and Threats Analysis programs where students visit organizations like the United Nations (Geneva), World Bank, ILO, Nestle S.A. Vevey, IMD Lausanne, Credit Suisse etc.) have created some of the highest standards in the management field.

Source :- IIPM Editorial, 2006,

Dean of IIPM :- Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist)

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Management Guru 's Speak on IIPM
IIPM Management Guru India, Planman Consulting India
Management Guru 's Message

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Everybody’s wrong; US is ‘wrongest’!

The US must stop its tacit support of Israeli bombing for peace to exist
The fresh violence that has engulfed the Middle East is the nth start to a war that never ends. Israel’s continuing attack on Hizbollah targets in Lebanon after the banned outfit kidnapped two Israeli soldiers, has already killed over 270 people and displaced many more. In response, Hizbollah called for a fight to the finish.

No one really expected Israel to turn the other cheek. Neither can we look to the Hizbollah for reason. And with the US unofficially giving Israel another week (after the G8 summit) to blast Hizbollah, an early end to the conflict appears remote. The Israeli bombing began on July 12, with the deployment of a posse of Israeli helicopter gunships. Predictably, the US looked the other way. The US believes that the Hizbollah’s spine rests in Syria and wants Israel to end the role of Da- mascus. Israel’s massive use of force is not aimed at winning a popularity contest; and neither is the conduct of Palestine and Syria. The impasse is reflected in global fora like the G8, and the UN as well. The US takes one line, Russia the other. It suits everyone, barring those dying in the conflict. Worse, on July 16, mirroring an erstwhile statement of Iranian President, Ahmedinejad, Iran’s supreme religious head Ayatollah Khamenei said Israel is an “evil and cancerous being” and called for its destruction. These are not acceptable words.

But then, these are as unacceptable as is Israel’s current bombing spree, as is the democratically elected Hamas’ current anti-Israel unlettered balderdash, and as is the funding provided by Arab states. And the worst of them all is the United States, whose tacit support (in terms of funding, technology, weaponry, & worse, acceptance of bombing) proves its hypocritically selfish stance. For whatever, the US has to change... and now.

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Source :- IIPM Editorial, 2006, Editor - Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri

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