The Telecom Value Chain

The importance of telecommunications in today’s business cannot be over-emphasized. Beginning from employee post-paid connections to dedicated network data centers, telecom infra spending by organisations has become a tradition among new and start-up businesses alike. One aspect of telecommunications that touches us personally on a daily basis is the mobile phone. The simple device has completely morphed today to become the mascot of technology in general and telecommunications in particular today. The paper, whose link has been attached herewith, provides us key insights into what elements make the mobile phone such a versatile proposition for today’s businesses.

The authors very prudently utilise Michael Porter’s Value Chain framework of Primary and Supporting activities to explain which economic activities go into making the product a brand.

Students of Strategic Management, Business Management and Marketing Management will benefit from this article.–14-30-Coursaris,Hassanein,Head.pdf

FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInYahoo BookmarksWordPressRediff MyPageShare

The 4 Vs of Operation Management

Business operations can most easily be described as the focus of an organisation where the majority of direct labour occurs.

In a service based business, operations are usually task-oriented and will follow clear steps until the service is completed. Whereas in a manufacturing company, operations are even more central and will follow the product from inception through to completion and then on to a tertiary stage, which would usually be delivery.

Keys ways to learning about differences in Operations Processes

The 4 V’s Overview
All operations processes have one thing in common, they all take their ‘inputs’ like, raw materials, knowledge, capital, equipment and time and transform them into outputs (goods and services).  They do this in different ways, and the main four are known as the Four V’s, Volume, Variety, Variation and Visibility.

1. The Volume Dimension
A great example of this can be seen by looking at a fast food giant, such as McDonalds.

They are a well known example of high volume low cost hamburger and fast food production.   The volume of their operation is key to how their business is organised.  Essential to their operation is the repeatability of the tasks, as well as the systemisation of the work. From this, standards and procedures drive the way in which each part of the job is carried out and then by combining in this way provides the organisation with a low cost base. In contrast a local café or restaurant will have a much lower  volume of output, less labour, less systemisation, and each staff member completes a wider variety of tasks which results in higher unit costs.

2. The Variety Dimension
A common example used to describe the variety dimension is the contrast between a taxi and a bus service.  Both offer hired transportation services but a taxi service has a much higher variety dimension as they will basically pick you up and drop you off wherever it is you need to go.  A bus can only provide a defined route and schedule.  Whilst they offer a similar service, variety and flexibility is high for the taxi company and low for the bus company. It is worth noting here that a low cost model is more easily achieved with less variety.

 3. The Variation Dimension
Consider two home building contractors.  One offers prefabricated homes that you choose from a catalogue or online.  It is transferred to site and erected over the course of a few days.  The second building company offers customised homes they have display homes they have built that you can walk through. Each aspect of the home from the façade to the number of bedrooms to the floor materials to the type of heating can all be customised to the customer.  The design and build phase can take anywhere between 24 weeks to 52 weeks.   Company two will have a much higher level of cost and lower volume than company one who offers standard pricing and can control costs much more easily.

 4. The Visibility Dimension
This dimension refers to a customers ability to see, track their experience or order through the operations process.  A high visibility dimension includes courier companies where you can track your package online or a retail store where you pick up the goods and purchase them over the counter.  A low visibility dimension could be a web design company who takes your order and advises your new website will be ready in 4 – 8 weeks.  The service skill of employees will greatly affect the customers’ experience.

These four aspects should be carefully dealt with in ensuring process excellence. It includes higher efficiency, faster cycle time and higher overall productivity. In essence, adding value to organisation. As the competitive nature of the  business world increasingly demands, value creation is the key path to survival. It is well recognised that the four Vs of operation, once aligned and appropriately tuned, should ensure value creation.

A Government of Chaebols

What is commonly known as capitalism should ideally not be the one driving a democracy, a form of government created by the people, of the people and for the people, the famous saying goes.

What happened in South Korea might just be the tip of the iceberg. We live in paradoxical times of economic turbulence as well as abundance, with the latter going to a chosen few in capitalism and to the electorate in general in a democracy. But the South Korean scenario clearly shows that not everything is what it looks like in the annals of dangerous nexus between politicians and industrialists.

Just to put things in perspective, the alleged perpetrator, Samsung, has a iron-hold of the Korean economy, its annual world-wide revenue contributes to a whopping 20% to the country’s GDP! To make the picture clearer, just 4 such conglomerates (aka Chaebol in Korean) contribute 50% of the national GDP!

A valuable case for students of Strategic Management, Public Policy, Business Ethics and Economics.

How to Choose the Subject of Specialization in MBA

For most management students, choosing a specialisation is often a tough decision. And it is rightly so, because it plays a key role in determining their career path. If you have cautiously selected an MBA for your higher studies, then understanding the programme, market trends and expectations in the beginning is likely to help you. Nowadays, lots of students are opting for a recognized and credible degree in management after graduation for a better career prospects. However, it is important to select the suited specialization for MBA as per your core interest and aptitude.
A standard MBA degree program is usually completed in duration of 2 years; however there are certain executive programs which can be finished within a time-span of 1 year. Whichever of these courses you decide to pursue, you will get various fields of specialization to choose from, such as:
Human Resources
Information Technology
Strategy and Operation Management
Most b-schools need you to choose a specialisation in the second year, giving you ample time to know more about the various specialisations. There are three things that one has to take into consideration while deciding on the area of specialisation. First, you should examine your aptitude, interest in a desk job, liking for travel and whether you like interacting with people. Then, look at market opportunities. Currently, there are opportunities in finance, marketing, human resources, business analytics, media management, health management and hospitality management. One should also examine the educational background and experience and then find a match between them.”
The subject you choose for specialization in MBA will be the key factor that decides your future career and hence this decision is of utmost importance. You need to consider the below mentioned factors while making a choice:
Your Interest: If you make a career in the field which interests you the most, then obviously your scope of development will be a lot more. Hence choosing an area of specialization in MBA as per your interest is important. For example, if you have a knack for finances and you like to work on various strategies related to monetary field, then you should opt to go for MBA in financial management.
Aptitude: Experts suggest that if you are confused regarding choosing the right path for MBA, then taking an aptitude test generally helps. An aptitude test is basically way of knowing your areas of competency and skills. Based on an aptitude test, you can get a better idea of your areas of strength and make an informed decision while choosing specialization for MBA.
We also have to watch the market forces and current trends too and these days get a good grasp of at least two to three core functional areas, Conventional areas such as finance and HR are no longer the most sought after and popular choices. It’s IT, operations, marketing and consultancy that are doing well.
Now there are more options available such as entrepreneurship, rural development, sports management, hospital management, and brand management, giving more variety to students. If you have understood and researched the discipline well, you will make yourself better prepared and equipped to handle any kind of job change and also gather valuable experience and exposure in the long run.

Permanent demand excess as business strategy

Higher education is the backbone of all research activity in particular and development activity in general for a nation. The amount of investment done in research and development is also considered as a barometer to measure a nation’s attitude towards progress. Hence, for developing nations like India, South Africa, Brazil etc, it is imperative to lay stress on not just the quantity of higher education degrees awarded but also the outcome of such investment.

Governments can only fund education to a certain limit, thus leaving much of the market in higher education, open to private enterprise. Such entrepreneurs must take note of the following research paper which provides vital insights into not just sustaining their businesses but also running them profitably. The attached case is that of Brazil,a nation with comparable demographic attributes. It shows that investment made on developing and retaining quality teachers and students goes a long way in differentiating HEIs (Higher Educational Institutions).

Relevant for Entrepreneurs, Management and Trustees of private HEIs.

‘Powering’ Economic Growth

It is a widely accepted fact that a growing economy hinges on a robust power infrastructure. The demand for energy shapes the structure of an economy and if not managed properly, cost overruns may severely cripple the growth story of a nation.

The generation and transmission of electrical power in India remains a largely state controlled phenomenon although more and bigger private players are taking interest in it now. The latter development is driven by the fact that consumption of electricity, not only at the end user level but also at commercial level in India has sky-rocketed since the early 90s. Is this an encouraging sign? What is the relation between consumption of electricity and development?

The link below provides a look at the story of Uganda, an economy similar to India’s, though not as large. The authors try to analyse the nature of correlation between consumption of electricity and economic growth. Students of Strategic Management (Sustainable Development), Entrepreneurship Development and International Trade will find it useful.

BRICS in the current world order

Regional Economic Grouping is not a new phenomenon. Mostly used to bolster trade among nations with geographical proximity, these associations are very powerful as regards the global trade scenario, NATO and OPEC being the most prominent examples.

However, BRICS is an example of a club of nation-states that are geographically dispersed, have very different economic needs and are culturally worlds apart. It makes an interesting case for the students of International Marketing/Trade/Business to study the relevance of this REG at a time when it commands over 25% of the world’s GDP and makes up for 43% of world population. It also helps materialize the aspirations of each member nation by strengthening its perceived economic brand in the world stage. The following article will help students understand why we, India, are considered the OFFICE of the world or why China is quickly replacing USA to become the new global banker.