Friday, October 20, 2017

Why and How of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) .. ??

We have very frequently come across the term Standard Operating Procedure. What exactly does this mean ? Should we try to follow the SOP religiously, will it help us, how can it reduce defects, how does it improve the final output, does it finally lead to better quality, these are some of the questions that are constantly in the minds of production managers and top decision makers in organisations.

Let us see whether they can be answered by a discussion on SOPs.

Standard Operating Procedure is a written procedure prescribed for repetitive use as a practice, in accordance with agreed upon specifications aimed at obtaining a desired outcome. www.businessdictionary.com
A standard operating procedure, or SOP, is a set of step-by-step instructions compiled by an organization to help workers carry out complex routine operations. SOPs aim to achieve efficiency, quality output and uniformity of performance, while reducing miscommunication and failure to comply with industry regulations. - www.wikipedia.org
A neat template to implement SOP in the organisation
An SOP provides consistency, predictability and ensures consistency of outcome, in other words, it reduces the variability of the output. It does not require constant supervision, facilitates training for the employees to be better at the jobs they are good at. It also enables cross-training of the employees at different tasks by having very detailed and definite instructions neatly laid down enabling work to be done with great consistency and less variability.. 

I usually teach about Standard Operating Procedure by playing a game in the class. It is called the paper folding game.


Click here for the presentation on the Paper Folding game.

This game helps the students to understand the importance of having a formally accepted set of instructions to do any task the way it is done, which reduces the variability and thus improves the quality of the task. More clearer and detailed the SOP, better is the compliance and less the variability.
Lesser the variability means better quality and lower costs of non-compliance ..

Whenever there are repetitive operations organisations need to do on a regular basis, the only way to do it consistently and uniformly do it is by insisting on Standard Operating Procedures to be implemented and adopted.  

The other advantage of having an SOP is that the employees can come up with improvements over the existing SOP if it improves the quality.  An SOP can thus challenge the employees to constantly look to improving the quality of their work and the work output, as also to look at reducing the use of inputs and ensure better compliance.

george..

Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to make your phone faster

Japanese Management principles rely on Lean Operations to a great extent. Standard Operating Procedure forms a great part of the discipline anyone needs to follow to ease up your work, make it smarter, efficient and less cumbersome. 

In this day of innumerable smartphone apps available for download and cheap data, we tend to use more apps and download more data. More frequently than not, most of our smartphone systems software do not have auto cleansing features. It does not prompt us to

1. move apps from the phone memory to the SD card
2. delete cache data and other data stored in phone memory to clean the phone's internal memory so that the phone will be fast to use.

Here is an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) while downloading apps to our smartphone to keep the phone fast and healthy..

- Beginning of document -

Smartphone Cleaning and Sysem Updation Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)
SOP No.: A1
Department / Organisation : Personal / home
Country of Origin : India
Date prepared : 20 Oct 2017

Objective : To make smartphones / tabs work faster
Scope : To cover all smartphones and tabs work faster
Smartphone Operating System - Android
Recommended version - Android 5.1.1

Procedure :

     A) While downloading new Apps
        1. Go to Google store
        2. Search for the desired app from the most secure source
        3. Download the app
        4. Go to Settings,  -> App management, -> (downloaded) app, -> Move storage to SD card

     B) Weekly once, to clean up your phone
        a. Go to Settings, App Management, 
        b. click on apps taking more than 50 Mb of storage and
        c. ensure app storage is on SD card and
        d. data is deleted
        e. Reboot the phone

    C) Monthly Once, system updates
        a) go to Settings -> Phone -> System updates -> click on OK
        b) after system updates (from 10- 20 minutes), system will automatically roboot with updated features and better speed

Date prepared : 20 Oct 2017
Date of next revision : 19 Oct 2018
Originator Name / Designation / Signature : George Easaw, Author and Professor, -sign-
Approver Name / Designation / Signature : George Easaw, Author and Professor, -sign-
Version no : 1.0.0,
Previous version - nil

- End of document -

Being a heavy user on the phone for almost 50% of my waking life, I find my Lenovo Octacore, 2 GB RAM, 16 GB SD memory smartphone following this SOP gives me true value for money !!


george..

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Some more aspects of BPR ..




These slides give some very vital aspects of BPR. It helps us to demystify the common misconceptions of BPR in the minds of the public and organisations.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Tiangong 1 coming crashing from space ..

The 8.5T Tiangong I Chinese space station launched in 2011 after making 34,479 orbits around earth is coming on a crash visit (actually crashing) to earth between Oct '17 and April '18. Now it is at an altitude of 300 km ..

Tiangong 2 launched in 2016 is also in orbit. 

Compare this with the 77T US Skylab launched in 1979 and the 20T Salyut 7 launched in 1991.. Both of them have crashed to earth. 

George..

What the future beholds !!

Click here for the video link.  An excellent video which tells us what future technology beholds for humanity, especially the developed and developing world.

At the outset, let me say, the speaker Vivek Wadhwa is opposed to Chinese and Chinese manufacturing. He seems to be ridiculing Chinese manufacturing prowess in this video, but let us realise that it is Chinese interference in solar PV module manufacturing that brought down solar energy to INR rs. 2.9 per unit in Dubai, world's cheapest. 

As the speaker says 3D printers will be very powerful in the coming years. Wait till Chinese enter the 3D printer market, they will control the whole world then.. 

Banks and financial institutions will still be there, but may not be mainstream..

Growing organic foods in vertical farms on buildings etc is an interesting development, have to wait and watch how far it is practical ..

Overall, very many powerful, potential ideas were discussed .. 👌👌

BTW, recycling, waste management and environment concerns were not discussed..  😟😟

George .. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Defrocking Orthodox bishops as punishment ..

The delinquent trio of Malankara Orthodox Church..
Issues for Orthodox Church because of unruly, uncultured, indisciplined young bishops lacking devotion, commitment and spirituality

Do we as responsible people imbibe the values of Christ, the poor shepherd boy from Galilee in our lives and try to lead a simple and truthful, spiritual life, which the youngsters in the church look upto ?

Our priests elected to be bishops are supposed to lead pious lives, and always give a helping hand to the needy and downtrodden in the society. What we see is our young bishops, mainly the ineligible ones, are publicly flaying their failings and shortcomings. Here are three of them who need to be reined and prevented from causing more damage to the society and the community.

1. The 50 year old Yulios, Ahmedabad bishop who publicly abused Bawa Tirumeni, three years back and got away easily. He had behaved rudely with the earlier Catholicos too and is recognised as a habitual offender among the priests.

2. The case of the 50 year old Eusebius from South West US who got into sex case is very shameful and baffling too. He was banished from US, to protect the image of our church and is fighting it in Kerala now. 

3. To add fuel to fire, the skeletons keep dropping from the shelves. Gabriel from Trivandrum, 68 years, finds his confidantes are all criminals sharing lot of traits with him. One of these rowdies or goondas, Babu Parayil, sadly also a member of the Managing Committee of the church, was arrested two days back in Bangalore on charges of planning to murder a business associate Ganesh in a failed partnership deal and is currently cooling his heels in the Parappana Agrahaara jail in Bangalore. Sadly Gabriel is going all out, using his influence to get his close buddy and criminal Babu on bail !!

Is it because,  
1. they were misfits for the spiritual responsibility bestowed on them that expected too much sacrifice from them ?  
2. their selection processes were much flawed and lacked a spirit of sacrifice and spiritualism ? 
3. their selections were based on extraneous factors including cheap church politics ?  
4. earlier when the age was 55 to become bishops, the priests attained a level of wisdom and understanding, could accommodate differing views and were above selfish considerations. The case is just reverse now, most of the new youngsters are after money, riches, comfort and clandestinely even have shareholdings in believer's business establishments. How can such people care for the common believer ?
Let us not forget all this is being done in the garb of serving that poor shepherd boy. How far have evil, deceit, double-dealing, chicanery, fraud and treachery been assimilated by our young high priests. How unintelligent of them to think they would never be exposed and the believers have given them the unassailable right to fool the believers the whole life ?

We need to elect bishops with some basic level of intelligence too.. We need to think seriously about this, do a complete overhaul of the Bishop election / elevation process, before they bring more damage to the two millennia old traditional Malankara Orthodox Church, part of the Oriental Orthodox fraternity.

Why not keep such unintelligent, unruly priests lacking the spiritual touch away from negatively influencing the two million followers of Malankara Orthodox Church the world over, especially the youngsters ? When the Supreme Court of India recognises the independent stand of the church not wavering from the 2 millennia old ancient native customs and democratic traditions of the church, we need to be more open, more transparent and more unforgiving of such self-centred, self-serving, ego-centric personalities in the church.

To be a good model for the youngsters, why not the church after suitable deliberations and decision making, defrock them as a very mild punishment ?

If we don't pluck away such aberrations at the beginning itself, it can lead to irreparable damages to the church. These young bishops, deeply pained to say, are not leading by example. They are great failures as leaders. They are not role models for the younger generation and are sure to bring great disaster and damage to the community and society..

It is only when the leaders have humility they become successful. Humility is thus the beginning of intelligence and service. 

George..

Thursday, October 12, 2017

ERP failures cases ..

We all have heard success stories of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software in different organisations. But an great number of ERP installations fail. Why is it that these implementations fail, even after committing so much of human resources, material resources, money, time etc to the project. 

No study of ERP systems is complete unless we make an earnest attempt tp understand why high cost ERP systems fail.

ERP systems are just a collection of basic RDBMS software that connects all the departments in an organisation to help i the smooth functioning of the organisation. 

I had my first experience on RDBMSs with Ingres working  on mini computers, then came Unisys, ( both at Goa Engineering College) and Oracle in Ernakulam. Oracle now remains one of the top RDBMS sofware in the industry, mainly because of its reach and ability to convince customers of its user friendliness. 

In the free and open source software domain, we have two great RDBMSs , PostgreSQL and MySQL. MySQL was formerly powering Facebook but of late has been purchased by Oracle and to the best of my knowledge killed so that it would not be a competition to Oracle, the small commercial business package.  

RDBMSs form the basic component of any ERP package and SAP is now one of the most popular, widely used ERP software of the world. 

It makes better sense to stud about any system by first having a general understanding of the system and then what are its drawbacks. The links given here are examples of failures or weaknesses of ERP packages and what could be done to overcome them.

ERP failure at HP .. Click here ..

Top 5 reasons why ERP implementations fail and what one can do about it .. Click here ..

A student report from UT Dallas on why ERP systems fail.. click here ..

george..

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Jack Ma on the 3Qs of the human body and the third technology revolution ..

The Chinese business magnate Jack Ma was recently speaking at a conference where he spoke of the 3Qs of the human body.

All of us are aware of the IQ and the EQ. But how many of us are aware of the LQ - love quotient ? Jack says that it is this quotient that is going to help the world survive for the next thirty years.

The first technology revolution released the human body from the bondages of hard and heavy work and gave him leisure, free time and improved productivity.

The second technology revolution concentrated around transportation and gave the humans the ability to cover distances by automobiles, trains, planes etc..

The third technology revolution revolved around knowledge and wisdom, the developments surrounding Information Technology and its effective use have taken mankind a lot ahead. People and countries have stated competing with each other based on the knowledge they have or they can generate, not based on how they could leverage the muscles and conquer distances.

These are thoughts from a very plain headed person who is one of the top rich persons on planet earth and leading the world in e-commerce..

George ..

Monday, October 09, 2017

Business Process Re-engineering - Basics and links ..


What is a business ?

An organization or economic system where goods and services are exchanged for one another or for money. Every business requires some form of investment and enough customers to whom its output can be sold on a consistent basis in order to make a profit. Businesses can be privately owned, not-for-profit or state-owned. -www.businessdictionary.com

Business process reengineering (BPR) is the analysis and redesign of workflows within and between enterprises in order to optimize end-to-end processes and automate non-value-added tasks. - what is.com

A good BPR FAQ .. from albany.edu ..

A good presentation with case studies ..


Steps and procedures in BPR .. click here ..

Click here for the Hammer article Re-engineering work, dont automate, obliterate in HBR July '90

This document has interesting links ..

Diff between BPR and Kaizen .. ( a student paper, but neatly written..)

How to make reengineering work, Hall et al, HBR, Nov '93

george..

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

How predictive shopping can remorph supply chain frontiers ..

Most of us by now are aware of the most common e-commerce business model of shopping-then-shipping. Once the customers makes the choice of items, the e-commerce portal would initiate operations to get the ordered items to reach the customer by accessing different databases.

With advances in Artificial Intelligence(AI) which we are advancedly witnessing in our daily lives, a day will come soon when AI would be able to predict with more than 50% probability items which we would like to purchase or are looking to purchase and the e-commerce portal would ship the items to us in advance of our placing orders. On receiving the items, the customer would favourably look up the items and select the items which he wanted to buy but never had the time or inclination to purchase. The business model now changes to shipping-then-shopping.

This idea was discussed by Prof. Ajay Agarwal and team from the Rotman School of Management, Toronto, Canada in the Oct issue of HBR. They looked at the benefits it can bring to an organisation in terms of the change in strategy it entails. But from a supply chain professional's view point, it makes more of business sense to catch the customer earlier before he goes to competitors and their products. This brings in better profitability and in the long run dedicated customer base and better customer retention.

Knowing your customers' likes and dislikes before-hand and shipping the required items to him with higher probability of acceptance, reaching anywhere near to 90% acceptability and a proportionally high profitability,(as sales are realised faster, reliably, with less costs and with less returns) would in fact be the utopia a supply chain professional would be dreaming in his organisation.

George..

Ref : 1. How AI will change strategy, a thought experiment, Ajay Agarwal et al, HBR, Oct, 2017.

How to do effective brainstorming ..

Rational left and the creative right ..
Brainstorming got a fillip after 1981 Nobel medicine laurete Dr Roger Sperry of Caltech proposed the Split Brain Theory back in the sixties, which stressed that the left hemisphere of the brain was more rational while the right hemisphere of the brain was more creative.  Click here for my blog .. The term 'brainstorming' was proposed by Alex Osborn in his 1953 book, Applied Imagination.

The latest research undertaken by Prof. Leigh Thompson of Kellogg School of Management, North western University US was very interesting.

Any brainstorming session would focus on two aspects to measure the efficacy of the output, one being the quantity of ideas generated during the session and second, the variety of ideas (flexibility) generated during the session. 

In a research on about 93 managers divided randomly into three member groups done by Leigh Thomson, members of half of these groups during the introduction session was each asked to narrate an embarrassing event in their life during the preceding six months and each of the other half group members were asked to narrate their achievements during the preceding six months. 

Leigh Thompson and her team gave ten minutes for the introduction part and ten minutes for the brainstorming. She then observed the efficacy of the brainstorming session in terms of quantity and variety of the ideas (fluency and flexibility). 

It was observed that the groups that were asked to introduce with embarrassing stories over the past six months generated 26% more ideas (fluency) spanning 15% more use categories (flexibility) than their counterparts who introduced themselves within the group with achievements over the preceding six months. 

What could be the reason for this change in group behaviour of the embarrassments narration group over the achievements narration groups. My thinking led me to come up with these few thoughts.

1. By narrating embarrassing events, the team members were more aware of their shortcomings and thus were at a lower ground of thinking to start with, which helped them generate more diverse fields ideas.
2. By narrating embarrassments and failures, the team members unconsciously did more of innovative and self-corrective thinking than the achievements narration group 
3. By narrating their embarrassing actions and at the same time listening to others' embarrassing episodes, there was more realistic evaluation of events than the achievements narration group.

I am planning to test this on my students in the class for a first hand understanding of the psychology behind this research finding.

george.

Ref : 1. Leigh Thompson, For better brainstorming, tell an embarrassing story, HBR, Oct, 2007

Monday, October 02, 2017

Crowd science - how to manage a crowd .

The recent deaths of 22 people at Elphinstone Railway station of the Mumbai suburban train system was very disturbing. The casualty was high because of our poor understanding of how crowds form and how they behave.

Crowd Dynamics explained - 6 vital questions answered.

1. What is a high density crowd ?
2. how can crowds be deadly ?
3. what is a crowd crush ?
4. what is crowd collapse ? 
5. How do people die either by crowd crush or crowd collapse ?
6. How to protect yourself in a crowd ?

Answers to vital questions that could save or kill you ..

Prof. David Still, Prof of crowd science, Manchester Uty explains .. 

True Indians ..

Cannot agree more with Justice Katju .. 

How much do you agree or disagree with this one year old post from former Justice Markandeya Katju praising Keralites to be the *only true Indians* featuring all desirable qualities of hard-work, tolerance, intelligence, magnanimity etc.. 

Quote : "Keralites are hard working, modest, and intelligent. They are broad minded, liberal, cosmopolitan and secular in their views (though no doubt there are a few exceptions ). All Indians must learn from them. Long live the Keralites !," : unquote. Justice Katju finishes off in what is clearly a long, glowing tribute to Malayalis.


Probably, Justice Katju would have read ancient world history when Cranganore in Kerala (Muziris) had great trade with ancient Rome even during 100 BC and was the largest trading post in this part of the world..

Findings from the Lost cities of the world Project supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. (Muziris is Lost Cities #3) is reported by The Guardian ..


George

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Roc

Paul Allen and his 6 engine stratolaunch, Roc ..
When Paul Allen Microsoft co-founder first proposed the idea and funds, noone thought it would change human expeditions to space forever ..

What can we expect Stratolaunch, the 6-engine behemoth to be capable of carrying besides rockets to the Stratosphere for onward launch ?

Can it help launch space platforms or Mars settlements from the Earth's Stratosphere ? After having finished experimental flights, we can expect The Rock to be ready for launching rockets as early as 2020 AD. 

Will it help change human dreams to conquer space ?

George

Monday, September 25, 2017

Mt. Agung volcano in Bali, Indonedia ready to erupt anytime now ..

Mount Agung ready to erupt !!

Last time Mt. Agung, 3000 m high, in Bali, Indonesia erupted in 1963 for almost a year, the debris flew 10 km to the air at a speed of 700 km/hour and killed 1100 people. 

This time around a 12 km radius almost 16,000 people have been evacuated.. The ash debris after eruption, is expected to be of 1.6 km thickness.

Hope it does not get too active and cause great damage to life and property.

Watching closely ! click here for more details .

George..

Saturday, September 23, 2017

A Tourist Guide to Kerala - Where to visit and what to do in Kerala ?

Chinese fishing nets at Fort Kochi
 Most tourists agree with National Geographic Traveler "10 top places of the world to visit in one's lifetime", when they visit the only Indian place in the top ten - Kerala. Legend has it that when Parasuraman threw his axe to the sea, water cleared out till the place it landed, and there out of the sea was born Kerala.

Here is a short description of important historical, cultural and religious places in Kerala. Kerala was part of the famous spice route of 200 BC and is known for it's friendly people, greenery and scenic beauty. 

House boats of Alleppey
Kerala has three ancient kingdoms or regions, Malabar (north), Kochi (central) and Travancore (south). The official state of Kerala came into existence in 1956. Till then Kerala was only Tirukochi, Malabar came under Madras Presidency.

Cranganore (ancient name Muziris) in, central Kerala had trade with Romans, Arabs and Chinese from around 100 BC in spices and Ivory. Then on silting of Cranganore port because of heavy floods in Periyar river around 1400 AD, trade shifted to north in Calicut and south to Kochi, Alleppey and Quilon. 

Munnar, the Switzerland of India
There are two hill stations, Munnar (1500 m above MSL) in central east Kerala and Wayanad (2100 m above MSL) in North Kerala.  Both are great  places full of tea estates and spices plantations. .. 

Alleppey and Kochi are ancient seaside cities and ports and have famous backwaters and houseboats for overnight stay. Bolgatty islands in Kochi has the Kochi royal palace.

Padmanabha Swamy temple, Trivandrum
Kumarakom on the banks of the famous Vembanad lake in central east Kerala near kottayam is a favourite tourist spot for boatrides. Beatles visited here decades back in the 60s.

Down south in Trivandrum is the world famous Sri Padmanabha Swamy temple, richest in the world with underground treasures of diamonds, gems, gold and precious stones (got from the exploits of the first war of the Travancore King Anizham Tirunal Marthanda Varma with the Dutch at Colachel near Trivandrum) worth a trillion dollars. Kovalam beach is a very famous beach near Trivandrum. 

Light house and beach at Kovalam
South of Trivandrum, in Tamil Nadu is Cape Comorin, the point where the Bay of Bengal and Arabian sea merge with the Indian ocean.

While Kochi is the comercial capital of Kerala, Trivandrum is the political capital and Trichur the cultural capital.

Onam which is celebrated as the harvest festival comes by end of August / September and is celebrated by all Malayalees irrespective of casre, creed or religion. Trichur hosts the famous Trissur Puram during Onam time, mid September and is one of the great places in Kerala to be in to witness the fireworks and world-class percussion, Pulikali (tiger dance), elephants exchanging decorated umbrellas and the fanfare.

Pulikali, (body painting) in Trissur Puram
Cashew nuts, is an important cash crop of Kerala, was brought to India by the Portuguese around 1500 AD. Cashew factories processing cashews are found mainly around Kollam in the Southern part of Kerala. Rubber plantations abound in the districts of Kottayam, Pathanamthitta and Idukki.

Kochi boasts of having the world's first and only 100% solar energy powered International airport (the third largest in India). So if you are flying down to Kochi, you have already experienced the luxury of clean and green energy.

Sabarimala shrine of Lord Ayyappa
Even though the three main religions are Hinduism, Christianity and Islam, Judaism came here from the first century BC. The Paradesi synagogue, established around 1560 AD in Mattancherry, Fort Kochi is the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth countries. The Ayyappa temple, nestled among the eighteen hills in Perunad Pathanamthitta district of Kerala is a very popular devotional pilgrimage destination for Hindus across the world during the Makarajyoti festival during the second fortnight of January every year. It is supposed to be among the most popular pilgrimage centres of the world with almost 100 million pilgrims on an average visiting every year. 

Jewish synagogue, Kochi
Kerala has 100% literacy rates from 1991 onwards, the highest literacy rate in the country. Women on an average have literacy rate of > 90%, men > 94% because of which women enjoy a high social status. The standard of living in Kerala is the highest in the country (due to the heavy inflow of foreign exchange remitted by Malayalees settled in the Gulf region, Europe and US) and is equated to the state of New York in US. The highest sale of luxury brand foreign cars in the country, BMW, Mercedes etc happens in Kerala.

Athirapally falls, near Chalakudi, Trissur ..
Educational facilities are top class in the state with an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Calicut or Kozhikode, an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Palghat and a National Institute of Technology (NIT) too at Calicut.

Athirapally waterfalls near Trissur, beats Hawai in flora and fauna and is a beauty to visit in the monsoon. The silent valley in Palghat is one of the most preserved, diverse and rich ecological parks in Kerala.

Edakkal cave inscriptions, Wayanad of 6000 BC
A concept which has failed in the most advanced and modern nations of the world, the world's first carbon-neutral village is coming up in Meenangaadi in Wayanad.

Early history of Kerala dates back to 6000 BC and is the only state in the world to enjoy a very cool, comfortable, pleasant climate, humid at times, throughout the year blessed by two monsoons, the South West and North East from June to Sept and Oct to November respectively every year.

Thekkady wildlife reserve on Periyar river
Kerala also boasts of the famous medical treatment system of Ayurveda, three  millennia old and the famous classical dance forms of Kathakali and Mohiniattam.  The Periyar wildlife sanctuary at Thekkady near Kumili having elephants and the tiger reserve, bordering with Tamil Nadu and the lime stone 113 year old Mullaperiyar dam are also great places of interest.

A visitor who comes to this God's own country, will never be disappointed because he indeed is visiting God's own land, blessed and nurtured for millennia !!

george..


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil, interview after release from Yemeni captors ..


Having been brought up in a Salesian school (Don Bosco Irinjalakuda, Kerala), I feel so elated at the release of Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil from the hands of Yemeni captors after 18 months of detention (March 4, 2016 - Sept. 12, 2017) for helping refugees in war-torn Yemen, after help and negotiations by the Vatican and government of Oman ... 
While his colleagues, five nuns were shot dead, Fr. Tom was spared. Here is an interview he gave to ANS after his release.

(ANS – Rome) – Father Tom Uzhunnalil answers a few questions, an ANS exclusive.

*How have you spent these 18 months in captivity and how did your captors treat you?*

It was a long waiting and I did not know what to do except to pray.

My hand and legs were tied and my movements limited for a few days only.

I have spent my time praying as much as possible, for as many intentions possible. I used to sleep, pray, think of my technical classes and prepare some lessons etc and go to sleep each night. Each day used to go like that and I had no communication at all from the outside world, nor did I know where I was put up also.

My captors did not ill treat me or torture me. They gave me food all the three times and they asked me one time details about me, my family, the places visited, the people I know etc. I was their captive and the whole day I used be sitting on the ground on a sponge like material with my hands and legs tied, and when I am tired, I used to sleep a bit or lay down, and my days went like that.

*How did you feel when you came to know about the death of the sisters and the others in the attack in Aden?*

It was on 4th of March 2016, Friday, after the Eucharistic Adoration and Eucharistic blessing in the morning for the five sisters, I had breakfast. Then I spent some more time in the chapel for personal prayer. Around 8.40 am, I just came out of the sister's house. I heard a gun shot almost immediately, and one of the attackers held my hand and I declared I am an Indian. He made me sit in a chair, near the security room, near the main gate of the campus of the institution. The sisters were already at their place of work with the old people. The main man of the attackers went to the place of work, and brought out two sisters first, and went back again and brought another two sisters near to the main gate. He went and looked out for the fifth sister but could not trace her in the campus. Then he returned back to the place near the main gate, where the sisters were kept. Then he took two sisters first, moved them to some distance out of my sight and shot them, then he came back and took the other two in my vicinity and shot them,  all these took place within the campus. I only prayed to God to forgive the sisters and the persecutors and have mercy on them. I did not cry, nor did I have any fear of death.

Then he took me and put me in the boot of the car, which they parked near the campus, and closed the door of the boot of the car. He entered the sister's chapel, brought the tabernacle with the blessed sacrament in it and threw it in the boot of the car, where I was closed and kept in. They drove away the car with me in it.

I was experiencing a great distress. I prayed to God to be merciful to the sisters and the others who were killed and to forgive the killers. I prayed to the Lord to give the grace and strength to accept his will and remain ever faithful to God, till I am faithful to the mission, he has for me in this life, here on earth.

*How much did your life of prayer and Salesian Charism help you in this experience as a captive?*

The major part of my time be it day or night whenever I was awake was dedicated to prayer. I used to start the day with the angelus, followed by one our father and hail mary for each of the sisters who died, then go on to pray for my province, congregation, parish, family remembering as many as possible and praying for them. I used to pray also for my captors and ask the Lord to forgive them and pray for their conversion. I had no host or wine, nor any missal or lectionary, but I used to celebrate a spritual mass everyday. I used to offer it to the Lord, and for the readings each day I used to take some incident of the old testament or the new testament, and for the gospel some miracle, or parable or some episode in the life of Jesus and meditate. I used to also pray for all the deceased salesians, family members, parishioners and all people I knew. I used to keep on praying for as many intentions I could pray for. I also prayed that if it was the Lord's will that I should be freed, I prayed for my deliverance also. I used to pray the rosary often. Sometimes, I could not pray also, because they used to talk in Arabic and I could not concentrate on anything, in my mind.

*How were the videos of your appeal for liberation made?*

It was well planned by them. They used to tell me in advace that they were making a video to make an appeal to get some money, I had no other go than to obey them. They used to also shoot as if they were hitting me, and make some noise, but they never harmed me. They were hoping that these clippings would fetch them the ransom quickly.

*How do you feel after you have been released?*

The Lord has done a great miracle for me and given me another life. If he has saved me, it means he has still some plan for me and he wants me to live for Him and be a witness. I want to thank God the alimighty, the Church authorities both in India and Vatican, the Salesian Congregation, the family and to each an every single person who has been praying for my release. Definitely it is because of the prayers, that my life was spared.

*How do you feel after meeting the Holy Father?*

This is also a big grace bestowed on me because of my captivity.  I wept profusely before him sharing with him my experience. He was so sympathetic, compassionate and concerned and he kissed my hand twice. I cannot expect anything more than this, I have been given a new life and I requested the Holy Father to thank all the people for the prayers offered for me all over the world.

*What are your next plans? Are you going to return to India immediately?*

Right now, I feel physically weak, but with the medicines and food I am also beginning to feel better. I need to do a couple of medical tests and I hope I will be able to recover soon. When I was in Aden, I used to weigh 82 kgs and after my release when I checked my weight, I was 55 kgs and now with the food and medicines that I am taking the last two days, I am improving. I am sure I will feel better, because God's grace and the prayers of the people are helping me.

I have no plans except to do God's will, and that will be expressed to me through the Superiors of the Salesian Congregation. I would definitely love to get back to India and thank all the people and meet all my people, but I shall wait till the doctors certify that I am fit to travel. It may take some more time, and I am ready to wait for some more time.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Service providers, facilitators and customers ..

This chart gives us some of the world's largest service providers. It is an eye opener at the trend of global things that will emerge in the coming years, it also reminds of the great events that befall planet earth and its commercial world in future.

All of the service providers mentioned here act as middle-men and have been enabled by the Digital world and e-commerce. These companies have great unparallelled networking capabilities that connect the service provider and the customer .

One important player missing here is Google Tez, the Indian Unified Payment Interface (UPI). Without really having much money, Tez would in future control global payments acting as the middlemen between banks, businesses and customers not only within India but around the world

Impacts : 

1. With less of middle men, expenses are less, but often profits are huge. 
2 More consolidation and centralisation of money and power.
3. Streamlined, efficient, well laid out and clear procedures
4. Low risks involved
5. Networking brings more customers and service providers online making the middle-men stronger, more profitable and productive..
6. Small players (middle-men) vanish or are pushed out
The most important lesson this tells us is - the player who has the maximum networking ability is going to control the businesses of the world. 
Where will this global trend lead us to ??

George .

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Total Quality Management - basics

Concorde Motors alongside Tata Motors, Dairy circle, Bangalore, India.
A very efficient and customer friendly shopfloor environment that I have seen is the Tata Motors Service showroom of Concorde Motors in Dairy Circle, Bangalore. 

The moment you enter, these is enough communication media that tells you where to go and whom to contact. The ambience of the place is great and there are enough areas for the customer to sit. In front of the customer representatives there are enough chairs to make him comfortable. The counter clerk is an enthusiastic young lady. The coffee machine has an attendant to serve the customer or the customer can self-operate it any time. The customer representative notes down systematically the customer issues and directs him/her to the right department. An accurate analysis of the work involved is arrived at by the employee along with the approximate rates and delivery dates and informs the customer who then takes leave.  

This is an environment which nobody can find fault with. So comfortable, cool and customer friendly..

Total Quality Management (TQM) is based on the Deming Cycle famously referred to as the PDCA cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Act). It is also completely based on customer satisfaction ..

The eight elements of TQM are as follows -

1. customer-focused
2. total employee involvement
3. process centered
4. integrated system
5. strategic and systematic approach
6. continual improvement
7. fact-based decision making and
8. communications

If you look at the 8 processes and try to find what are the functions of each of these and how they contribute to the whole, we find TQM is nothing but an orderly and disciplined customer-focused, employee enriching fact-based control system that has a relentless focus on improvement and great communication. 

Click here for a good video ..

What are the pre-requisites one needs to acquire and master before embarking on a journey of Total Quality Management. ?

Of late we have Quality Management Systems which are systems that help organisations be systematic and orderly, but rarely it beings focus on customer satisfaction and employee enrichment. Even the Malcolm Baldridge Quality Awards or the Deming Prize concentrate fully on orderliness, processes, and customers, with a very small emphasis on employees ..
The six critical areas where any organisation implementing TQM needs to focus is (along with tools)
1. customer focus (feedback analysis)
2. total employee involvement (quality circles)
3. process-centred (5S, JIT, VSM)
4. continuous improvement (Kaizen) and
5. fact-based process-control (Ishikawa diagram, Pareto analysis, SQC) and
6. Communications (Visual systems and posters)
Great focused Leadership emphasising on the need to deliver the best quality to the customer by all counts and excellent long-term relationships with suppliers are two additional areas which are not emphasised here, but which carry great importance. 
For a University aiming to be among the top 20 of the world by 2030 AD, what are the planning and activities it needs to carry out ?

Here are three everyday activities. Take any one of these as a small project which one can take up to emphasise the importance and process of TQM

1. Everyday you take tea from the college canteen. Analyse each of the eight factors and prepare a strategic plan, how the tea stall owner can deploy TQM in his organisation and see that it thrives.
2. When you fall sick, you visit the hospital nearby. Prepare a TQM plan for the hospital, list out the tools you would use to deploy TQM in its different phases.
3.

Click here for great ASQ TQM resources..

george..

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Is Nature paying US back ?


Harvey and Irma in 3 minutes ! 


Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria after US bombing, looks better, than after this natural bombing of Texas and Florida !!  sad ..

Is nature paying back ?? The devastating US bombing in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria was over years back. 

Is it that the natural bombing of US has just started ??

George ..

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Managing technology - simplified ..

The other day I was trying to find the different technologies in use at my home in Bangalore. They are


1. Surveillance
2. Communication
3. Visual/ entertainment
4. Audio
5. Environment conditioning/heating
6. Refrigeration
7. Lighting
8. Computing / info tech
9. Vehicle/movement
10. Photographic
11. Electricity/energy  - conv / non-conv
12. Cleaning - clothes/dishes
13. Cooking
14. Water treatment
15. Water storage/distribution
16. Health monitoring - X-Rays, MRI/ blood tests etc.
17. House construction

On what basis do we decide what technologies to have at home and what not ?

The important aspects are capital costs and running costs, the effectiveness, comfort, the benefits and so on.

Technology is the application of scientific knowledge and principles for practical purposes especially in the industry. It refers to the machines and devices developed from scientific knowledge. It is also referred to as the branch of knowledge dealing with engineering and applied science. - www.dictionary.com
The inadvertant use of technology besides making human life much easier on planet earth has also destroyed our health and environment in many ways.

Of all the technologies listed above, information technology and the different apps related to IT are the ones that are in maximum use.
Technology management can also be defined as the integrated planning, design, optimization, operation and control of technological products, processes and services, a better definition would be the management of the use of technology for human advantage. - wikipedia.com
How does one adopt technologies and how does one tide through the technology cycle :

Whenever a new technology is introduced there is a period of low acceptance and adaptation. Once this period is overcome, then comes the period of slow acceptance and big technology adaptation. This brings a change in the systems and finally the fringe users also accept the technology.

What is the role of Innovation in this ?

Innovation helps us to extract more value from these technologies, by way of new products, processes, services and the like. 

Why and How of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) .. ??

We have very frequently come across the term Standard Operating Procedure. What exactly does this mean ? Should we try to fo...

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