Thursday, June 4, 2015

Visit to Hannover Messe' 15 (12th - 17th April '15)

I have had the opportunity to have participated as an exhibitor  four times and as a visitor twice at the Hannover Messe, however I must say that this has been the best show ever for India. 

Hannover Messe prides in being the largest show for Engineering on the planet and India got the desired and well deserved attention at the fair for the first time. The Made In India graphics were to be seen all over Germany at the airports, train stations, trams, hoardings and everywhere at the Messe itself. The whole experience filled every Indian with joy and pride.

The inauguration ceremony presided by Honorable Prime Minister Sh. Narendra Modi and Dr. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany was something never experienced before. The whole atmosphere was charged with pride, goodwill and friendship. One can only imagine the sentiments in that room by watching this coverage at

The following day was even more interesting when Honorable Prime Minister Sh. Narendra Modi and Dr. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany visited the Rajasthan Pavillion and met Honorable Industries Minister Sh. Gajendra Singh ji Khimsar, Sh. Abhay Kumar ji, Commissioner Industries, Rajasthan and delegates of the mission from Rajasthan. Sh. Modi visited and encouraged the Indians participating at the Messe and promised sweeping changes in EOBD and other areas to boost Make In India and encourage exports from India.

My visit to the Hannover Messe 2015 was very successful on account of the following achievements :

1.     Launching of our online E Commerce Marketplace for MRO products and services - WWW.MROMART.IN This is the first of its kind platform in India and recived a very positive responce from the MRO community present at the Hannover Messe
2.     I, on behalf of Ahuja Group signed an MoU with Government of Rajasthan, to set up a manufacturing unit for which 10,000 Sq.mts. land will be facilitated at Prahladpura Industrial Area, Jaipur.  Estimated investment in the proposed project is about Rs. 20 crores
3.     Introduced my long time associate and consultant, Mr. Wolfgang Hoeltgen (German Indian Business Centre, Hannover) to the Government of Rajasthan whereby both the parties agreed to work towards promoting bilateral trade for mutual benefit.
4.     Introduced my long time associate, Dr. Weisser (Avocado Rechtsanwalte ) to the Government of Rajasthan whereby both the parties agreed to work towards promoting bilateral trade for mutual benefit.
5.     Introduced my long time associate and friend, Mr. Michael Emmerich (GIZ) to the Government of Rajasthan whereby both the parties agreed to work towards promoting the Manager Training Program run by GIZ in Rajasthan.
6.     Re-establishing my old contacts with the Engineering trade and community.
7.     Represented the SME sector from Rajasthan at the Rajasthan Meet on 16th April and encouraged SME investors from Germany to attend the Resurgent Rajasthan in November and come and set up shop in Rajasthan, for this is one of the most progressive and peaceful states of all.

The delegation visit was very well managed by CII, represented by Sh. Bhuvnesh Sharma. Kudos to his hard work and planning that everything went smoothly.

The continuous guidance, support and vision provided by the Honorable Industries Minister, Shri Gajendra Singh Ji Khimsar made this mission a huge success and left a permanent impression of the hospitality and welcoming attitude of the state of Rajasthan in the minds of the Germans attending the Messe and looking to expand to India.

It was a pleasure interacting with the fellow delegation members, 

·  Mr. Dinesh Pahadia, Senior DGM, RIICO, 
·  Mr. Anil Saboo, Managing Director, Electrolites, 
·  Mr. Sanjay Shrivastava, COO, Mahindra World City and 
·  Mr. Abhinav Banthia, Director, Manu Yantralaya

and I wish them all the luck for their future endeavors with Germany which have resulted from this visit.

I would like to once again thank the Government of Rajasthan and the Chief Coordinating Officer, Mr. Abhay Kumar Commissioner of Industries for having given this opportunity to me and assure of any support that may be required in the future in promoting Rajasthan as the preferred destination for business to the Engineering community of the world.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Poland is not yet lost...

These are the famous words written by Józef Wybicki in 1797 and are the incipit of the national anthem of Poland.

“Cultivation, old civilization, beauty, history! Surprising turnings of streets, shapes of venerable cottages, lovely aged eaves, unexpected and gossamer turrets, steeples, the gloss, the antiquity! Gardens. Whoever speaks of Paris has never seen Warsaw. Whoever yearns for an aristocratic sensibility let him switch on the great light of Warsaw.” Cynthia Ozick

The ministry of economy of Poland organized a Buyers Trade Mission for food sector to Poland from India in May’2015.

The delegation landed in the Capital, the largest city, the financial and economic hub of Poland, Warsaw. The population of Poland is around 48 million and is a Christian country in Central Europe.

The mission to the 'God's Playground' started with a visit to the Warsaw Uprising Museum and visit to the old town at Warsaw on the 11th. A six minute 3 D film viewing at the Museum, took the viewer’s back to the Warsaw before the war and the devastation caused by the war.

After a good acclimatization on the first day, the entrepreneurs had the opportunity of B2B meetings with Polish companies at the Office of the Marshal of the Mazowieckie Voivodeship in Warsaw on the 2nd day.

An Introduction to India and Indian culture was shared by Ms. Shilpa Venugopol, an Indian living in Poland for over four years for the benefit of the Polish business representatives who were new to India.

Various cooperation opportunities for Indian companies were presented by the Polish entrepreneurs. Export potential and prospects of cooperation for food industry were also discussed. The participating Polish companies shared their product samples and encouraged the Indian importers to establish business contacts with them.

Indo-Polish relations have generally been close and friendly, characterized by understanding and cooperation on international front. However, it seemed that there is a lack of understanding on the Polish side regarding the statutory requirements in India in the food sector which are controlled by The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). The Indian market for packaged food is still in its nascent stage with the stringent standards laid out by the FSSAI on one hand and the lack of efficient cold chain logistics on the other.

The Indian delegation travelled to the city of Gorzów Wielkopolski and visited the Kaskat Dairy, a well-established, reliable supplier of powdered milk products and Łużyckie Praliny, a manufacturer of chocolate pralines on day 3.

The hectic schedule continued on day 4 (14th May) with an introduction and visit to Kostrzyn - Służbice Special Economic Zone where the Indian entrepreneurs had the opportunity to understand the advantages and nuances of setting up business in a SEZ in Poland. The perspective from an Indian entrepreneur, Mr. Mukesh Patani already operating in the zone was particularly of interest to all and the session saw a lot of sharing amongst the participants.

The short lunch meeting with Mr. Dariusz Lesicki, the Vice Mayor of the city of Zielona Góra, was a pleasant one. It was great to see a senior politician welcome the Indian delegation to his city and discuss the various business opportunities available for the Indian businessmen in Poland.

The last day of the mission, 15th was the most eventful with over 20 Polish companies participating in B2B meeting with the Indian entrepreneurs at the Millennium Plaza in Warsaw, with breathtaking views. The meeting started with a short introduction of the program by Ms. Justyna Markowicz, Agencja M Promotion, Communication & PR Specialist at the Program 'Export Stimulation on selected markets'. Each participant was given 2 minutes to introduce his/ her company following which the entrepreneurs had individual B2B meetings. 

The B2B meetings gave an opportunity for the participating companies to discuss business potential, share their experiences and showcase their products paving the path to future cooperation.

After successful negotiations and promises to keep in touch and explore the opportunities further it was time to say goodbye finally and the participants left for India on the 16th, boarding their flights from the Warsaw Chopin Airport, named after the famous Polish composer, Chopin.

The Indian and Polish entrepreneurs who participated in the program were happy about the prospects of the future cooperation and established new and potential contacts with experts in the industry. The mission schedule provided enough opportunities for networking on both sides and provided new business contacts and the possibility of extending Indo- Polish trade relations.

On the way to the city of Gorzów, the members had the opportunity to visit the famous; Christ the King, which at 33 meters is the tallest statue of Jesus in the world (Christ the Redeemer, at Rio stands at 30 meters). It is noteworthy that the reformist Pope, John Paul II, is a native of Poland.

The government of Poland announced the ‘’Go India’’ programme for Polish enterprises, as a response to the "Make in India" campaign, launched by the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. The ’Go India’ programme is expected to provide an institutional framework and financial incentives for promoting Polish enterprises in Indian markets. It also aims to support India’s imports from Poland.

It was heartening to see that the official travel portal of Poland has a separate section for the Indian travelers and also attracts Bollywood directors to come and shoot movies in Poland. One of the recent Indian movies made in Poland in “Kick”

The aim of the “Made in Poland” programme is to strengthen the image of Poland as a reliable source for food products.

Poland has a highly developed printed news industry, with many daily newspapers but all in Polish; it is difficult to come across any English newspapers.

Though most of the traditional Polish food is Non Vegetarian, thankfully there were enough choices for the visiting Indian delegation, most of whom were vegetarians.

The National Stadium in Warsaw, standing tall and noticeable from afar, hosts many Football (soccer) events which is one of country's most popular sports.

One can come across the statues of famous personalities from Poland, like Nicolaus Copernicus; the Renaissance mathematician and astronomer who formulated a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than the Earth at its center and the Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie, who discovered the mysterious element radium.

The entrepreneurs returned to India with their intellect enlightened and hearts warmed.  

And said Poland to them: "Whoever comes to me, will be free and equal, because I am freedom." Adam Mickiewicz

Saturday, February 7, 2015

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ganesh In The Boardroom – Our Inspiration

Ganesha's big head inspires us to think big and think profitably; the big ears show openness to new ideas and suggestions; the narrow eyes point to the deep concentration needed to finish a task well; the long nose encourages curiosity and learning
Corporate   ManagementGanesha is known throughout South Asia as the fountainhead of wisdom and courage. When laying the foundation stone of a building, he is invoked. No new business or industry is started without a prayer to him. Prayers to Ganesha precede every Hindu religious ceremony. Travellers on lonely roads pay homage to the elephant god at roadside shrines; trusting Ganapati to remove every danger from their path.
As a student of management, I was fascinated enough by Ganesha to research the subject. Clearly, there is much we could learn to become more effective managers. Management is always the major chunk of the problem on the job; in business and at home.
Symbols have been one of the most effective ways to communicate ideas since the dawn of civilization. Let's look into the symbols of Ganesha to get our managerial inspirations.


Ganesha's excellent image took thousands of years to evolve. In Hindu mythology, Brahma stands for creation, Vishnu for preservation and Shiva for destruction. Ganesha, son of Shiva and Parvati, took his unique place among these principal deities because of his wisdom and courage.
Emerging as early as 1200 BC, about the time of the Mahabharata, Ganesha has been worshipped by devotees across the country. He is believed to embody Om, the sound from which the world was created, and Yak, the first word.
Corporate     ManagementEarly representations of Ganesha show an elephant-headed warrior with the beard of a rishi, a sword and snake in one hand and a quill in the other, with a trident to one side—the embodiment of both courage and wisdom.
Later, in the Deccan region, Ganesha was pictured with a sheaf of corn and sugarcane, with a mouse as his vehicle. Invoking him made it possible for farmers to eradicate their worst problem, namely rodents, insuring a bountiful harvest. Ganesha is thus the guardian and protector of success, in this case, a good harvest.
Mythology is replete with stories of the origin and qualities of Ganesha. Many of these tales, which figure in the Puranas, poke good-humoured fun at the gods in their all-too-human predicaments. They teach the truths, beliefs and values of religion in the simplest ways possible and leave a lasting image in the minds of adult and child alike.


I have found inspiration in Ganesha's wisdom and judgment, his ability to solve problems and remove obstacles, his capability as a communicator, his goal-orientation and his adaptability. These qualities were much needed by our forefathers as they advanced from hunters to agriculturists. More than strength, they needed wisdom and judgment to survive. These qualities are no less at a premium today, especially for managers.
A Ganesha manager likes people, all kinds of people with their diverse skills and aptitudes, and he likes to work. He enjoys bettering his records. He is forward-looking, with clear and friendly eyes. He likes to set goals and solve problems, and because he is stimulated by this challenge, he becomes better and better at it. He likes to help others realize their goals. He nurtures his own understanding and discrimination by reflecting on his own and others' experience. He always operates at 150 per cent of capacity; he knows that's what keeps him happy and growing.
The opposite of the Ganesha manager is Gobarganesha—literally, a cow-dung Ganesha. Full of himself, he has no time for others. He's always oppressed, always overburdened. He carries his problems around instead of solving them. He's wary of change. He can't lead others, and he has no self-defined goals. The fact is, he doesn't know what he wants to be or do. It never occurs to him that this is something he needs to sort out himself. He makes others feel tired and unhappy.
A Gobarganesha avoids action and shuns the spotlight. He shrinks from challenges and wallows in self pre-occupations. He may do what he's told, but grumbles through the effort. He wastes the latent potential within himself.


Ganesha, son of Shiva and Parvati, is Vigneshwara, the Remover of Obstacles. And thereby hangs a tale. It is said that Shiva and Parvati didn't always see eye to eye. A nagging bone of contention was Shiva's insensitive lack of concern for Parvati's privacy. Shiva, who travelled a lot, would think nothing of strolling into Parvati's private chambers when he returned. Irked, Parvati posted Nandi, Shiva's attendant bull, to guard the door of her palace. The instructions were clear and precise: no one was to enter her chambers while she was in the bath. Nandi proved inept and inefficient. He was fired and Parvati fashioned her own attendant. A goddess in her own right, she 'created' a son out of the saffron paste she removed from her own body.
When Shiva returned from his travel, Ganesha placed himself squarely at the entrance of Parvati's chambers. There was no getting past him. Mythology has an enraged Shiva using his army, his associates and their armies, but to no avail. Finally Ganesha was beheaded by unfair means.
To keep Parvati's maternal fury at bay, Shiva was compelled to use his powers to revive Ganesha, who was given the head of an elephant. Shiva blessed him and decreed him to be worthy of worship forever. He also gave him the name Vigneshwara, one who can remove obstacles.
With an elephant head, a potbelly, and a mouse for a vehicle, Ganesha had many obstacles to overcome from the outset. Did he run away and hide? No. Did he try to bluff? Never. He met obstacles head-on. He converted perceived disadvantages into advantages.


The elephant head is the over-seeing, all-seeing, eternal witness, the unmanifest supreme. Below the head is the belly, the symbol of the manifest, the mortal.
Ganesha is the lord of all, manifest and unmanifest. The memory of an elephant is, of course, proverbial. Ganesha's twisted trunk represents the zigzag path to wisdom. It reminds us that there is no direct path, that we must turn right and left in the search for truth.
The elephant ears are like winnows that separate the wheat from the chaff. All experience must be subjected to scrutiny to determine what is essential and what is nonessential. This is a critical aspect of judgment. The discerning and the wise do what they must and let the rest be.
Ganesha's endearing potbelly is equated with space; it is vast enough to hold all wisdom and all life. Gentle and harmless, he uses his great strength only when provoked. Good managers can draw a lesson from this.


Corporate    ManagementThe elephant seems to swerve as it walks, but keeps to the path. He makes it to his goal with unhurried grace. Ganesharose from the ranks to hold high office. He was in the right place at the right time.
Ganesha's vehicle, the lowly mouse, stands for the dark, fertile forces of the earth into which it burrows, avoiding light. As a recurrent threat to the harvest, it had to be tamed. But the rat also represents swiftness of movement. He burrows with his sharp teeth, chews through anything, and squeezes out of the smallest hole. In this way, he proves an excellent transport for Ganesha, who has to be everywhere and anywhere at short notice to remove obstacles.


It is believed that Ganesha penned the Mahabharata. The sage Vyasa, under instructions from Brahma, dictated the Mahabharata to Ganesha. Vyasa was to dictate without pause and Ganesha was to understand every word and thought and its implications before writing it down. In the process,Ganesha honed his intellect and became wiser.
There is a lesson here for managers: as speakers or listeners, we must understand and cogitate deeply on the implications of spoken and written words. The Mahabharata, or for that matter any important document, should not be read in a hurry. To benefit optimally from the Mahabharata, one should proceed in slow and deliberate steps, ensuring complete comprehension and sustained reflection at every stage. The ability to write is one of the basic traits of a good manager. Good writing and good communication is possible only when thinking is clear and understanding deep.


Once Shiva and Parvati acquired a pot containing the nectar of supreme knowledge. Both their sons, Kartikeya and Ganesha contended for it. The hapless parents set up a competition. The rules read that the first one to go around the world seven times would be declared winner. Kartikeya, a man of action, instantly started circumambulating the world on his peacock. With a mouse for a mount,Ganesha needed to do some quick thinking. Using the mental library in his big head, he analyzed the situation, did the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) and realized that he was constrained by his bulk and slow mount. For inspiration, he went through the Veda floppies in his mind to arrive at an essential truth: one's parents are bigger than anything else in the world. So,Ganesha went around his parents seven times and claimed the pot of nectar.
Due to his unique form, Ganesha could absorb symbols over the centuries. Choosing adaptability as a way of life, he acted, observed, reflected and updated his image. When he found a better way, he adopted it. A god who changes with the times is a good one to emulate.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Attributes of enduring family businesses

Family businesses are an often overlooked form of ownership. Yet they are all around us—from neighbourhood mom-and-pop stores and the millions of small and midsize companies that underpin many economies to household names such as Tata Group, Ahuja Group, Birla Group, and Reliance Group. One-third of all companies in the S&P 500 index are defined as family businesses, meaning that a family owns a significant share and can influence important decisions, particularly the election of the chairman and CEO.

As family businesses expand from their entrepreneurial beginnings, they face unique performance and governance challenges. The generations that follow the founder, for example, may insist on running the company even though they are not suited for the job. And as the number of family shareholders increases exponentially generation by generation, with few actually working in the business, the commitment to carry on as owners can’t be taken for granted. Indeed, less than 30 percent of family businesses survive into the third generation of family ownership. Those that do, however, tend to perform well over time compared with their corporate peers. Their performance suggests that they have a story of interest not only to family businesses around the world, of various sizes and in various stages of development, but also to companies with other forms of ownership.

To be successful as both the company and the family grow, a family business must meet two intertwined challenges:
  1. achieving strong business performance and
  2. keeping the family committed to and capable of carrying on as the owner.
Five dimensions of activity must work well and in synchrony:
  1. harmonious relations within the family and an understanding of how it should be involved with the business,
  2. an ownership structure that provides sufficient capital for growth while allowing the family to control key parts of the business,
  3. strong governance of the company and a dynamic business portfolio,
  4. professional management of the family’s wealth, and
  5. charitable foundations to promote family values across generations.
Almost all companies start out as family businesses, but only those that master the challenges intrinsic to this form of ownership endure and prosper over the generations. The work involved is complex, extensive, and never-ending, but the evidence suggests that it is worth the effort for the family, the business, and society at large.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

New Product Development Process

In business and engineering, new product development (NPD) is the complete process of bringing a new product to market. A product is a set of benefits offered for exchange and can be tangible (that is, something physical you can touch) or intangible (like a service, experience, or belief). There are two parallel paths involved in the NPD process: one involves the idea generation, product design and detail engineering; the other involves market research and marketing analysis. Companies typically see new product development as the first stage in generating and commercializing new product within the overall strategic process of product life cycle management used to maintain or grow their market share.

The Eight Stages

  1. Idea Generation is often called the "NPD" of the NPD process.
    • Ideas for new products can be obtained from basic research using a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats). Market and consumer trends, company's R&D department, competitors, focus groups, employees, salespeople, corporate spies, trade shows, or ethnographic discovery methods (searching for user patterns and habits) may also be used to get an insight into new product lines or product features.
    • Lots of ideas are generated about the new product. Out of these ideas many are implemented. The ideas are generated in many forms. Many reasons are responsible for generation of an idea.
    • Idea Generation or Brainstorming of new product, service, or store concepts - idea generation techniques can begin when you have done your OPPORTUNITY ANALYSIS to support your ideas in the Idea Screening Phase(shown in the next development step).
  2. Idea Screening
    • The object is to eliminate unsound concepts prior to devoting resources to them.
    • The screeners should ask several questions:
      • Will the customer in the target market benefit from the product?
      • What is the size and growth forecasts of the market segment / target market?
      • What is the current or expected competitive pressure for the product idea?
      • What are the industry sales and market trends the product idea is based on?
      • Is it technically feasible to manufacture the product?
      • Will the product be profitable when manufactured and delivered to the customer at the target price?
  3. Concept Development and Testing
    • Develop the marketing and engineering details
      • Investigate intellectual property issues and search patent databases
      • Who is the target market and who is the decision maker in the purchasing process?
      • What product features must the product incorporate?
      • What benefits will the product provide?
      • How will consumers react to the product?
      • How will the product be produced most cost effectively?
      • Prove feasibility through virtual computer aided rendering and rapid prototyping
      • What will it cost to produce it?
    • Testing the Concept by asking a number of prospective customers what they think of the idea – usually via Choice Modelling.
  4. Business Analysis
    • Estimate likely selling price based upon competition and customer feedback
    • Estimate sales volume based upon size of market and such tools as the Fourt-Woodlock equation
    • Estimate profitability and break-even point
  5. Beta Testing and Market Testing
    • Produce a physical prototype or mock-up
    • Test the product (and its packaging) in typical usage situations
    • Conduct focus group customer interviews or introduce at trade show
    • Make adjustments where necessary
    • Produce an initial run of the product and sell it in a test market area to determine customer acceptance
  6. Technical Implementation
  7. Commercialization (often considered post-NPD)
  8. New Product Pricing
    • Impact of new product on the entire product portfolio
    • Value Analysis (internal & external)
    • Competition and alternative competitive technologies
    • Differing value segments (price, value and need)
    • Product Costs (fixed & variable)
    • Forecast of unit volumes, revenue, and profit
These steps may be iterated as needed. Some steps may be eliminated. To reduce the time that the NPD process takes, many companies are completing several steps at the same time (referred to as concurrent engineering or time to market). Most industry leaders see new product development as a proactive process where resources are allocated to identify market changes and seize upon new product opportunities before they occur (in contrast to a reactive strategy in which nothing is done until problems occur or the competitor introduces an innovation). Many industry leaders see new product development as an ongoing process (referred to as continuous development) in which the entire organization is always looking for opportunities.
For the more innovative products indicated on the diagram above, great amounts of uncertainty and change may exist which makes it difficult or impossible to plan the complete project before starting it. In this case, a more flexible approach may be advisable.
Because the NPD process typically requires both engineering and marketing expertise, cross-functional teams are a common way of organizing projects. The team is responsible for all aspects of the project, from initial idea generation to final commercialization, and they usually report to senior management (often to a vice president or Program Manager). In those industries where products are technically complex, development research is typically expensive and product life cycles are relatively short, strategic alliances among several organizations helps to spread the costs, provide access to a wider skill set and speeds up the overall process.
Also, notice that because both engineering and marketing expertise are usually critical to the process, choosing an appropriate blend of the two is important. Observe that this article is slanted more toward the marketing side.
People respond to new products in different ways. The adoption of a new technology can be analyzed using a variety of diffusion theories such as the Diffusion of Innovations theory.
A new product pricing process is important to reduce risk and increase confidence in the pricing and marketing decisions to be made. This is described as an integrated process that breaks down the complex task of new product pricing into manageable elements.
The Path to Developing Successful New Products points out three key processes that can play critical role in product development: Talk to the customer; Nurture a project culture; Keep it focused.
It is also worth mentioning what incremental, platform and breakthrough products are.
  • Incremental products are considered to be cost reductions, improvements to existing product lines, additions to existing platforms and repositioning of existing products introduced in markets.
  • Breakthrough products are new to the company or new to the world and offer a 5-10 times or greater improvement in performance combined with a 30-50% or greater reduction in costs.
  • Platform products establish a basic architecture for a next generation product or process and are substantially larger in scope and resources than incremental projects.