Insights

Our team continuously strives to think out of the box and this section showcases our latest thinking on the current trends and topics which are of importance to our present and future clients. Through intense brainstorming and rigorous analysis, our experts draft the Tips, Blogs or any other material that is uploaded in this section.

So, please read on to get acquainted with KC Mehta Consulting's philosophy. Happy Thinking.

Strategic Management

Management process of understanding an organization's current position, making choices for the future and implementing changes as a means to achieving client's business objective.

  • Neil : Sir, What do you mean by "Strategic Management."
  • Kris : Strategic Management is "Management process of understanding an organization's current position, making choices for the future and implementing changes as a means to achieving client's business objective."
  • Neil : How do you interpret that definition in Laymen terms?
  • Kris : Let us have a short conversation to understand it better. You are a client who wants to add a room in your house and I am your Consultant for the same.
  • Neil : Hey Kris, I think I would like to add a room to my current house because I think its lacking the adequate space required.
  • Kris : Here, adding a room is your business objective and not having adequate space is the pain area. The next step is to approach the objective/pain area by brainstorming with the client team, conducting external research and design strategies. For example: Requirements discussion, location assessment, drawings, contractor's supervision and solution are some of the techniques which can be used in respect to adding a room.
  • Neil : Who do you think we will need to deal with?
  • Kris : Strategic Management has a wide scope, so every functional activity like manufacturing, R&D, Marketing etc. will come into play. So, we would need to deal with a contractor, Municipal Corporation, interior suppliers and so on while "manufacturing" our room.
  • Neil : So, now that we have defined the scope, what about the "Problem and/or solution source?
  • Kris : Our solution source can come from manufacturing new products, developing new distributor relationship or increasing manufacturing capacity. So, in terms of the room we will have to call on a number of agencies and material suppliers as our next step.
  • Neil :What are the tools that are used in "Strategic Management"?
  • Kris : Tools like PESTEL, SWOT Analysis, ANSOFF, 5F's and so on. Computer Hardware and Software for drawings can be our tools in the example we have used.
  • Neil : What is the level of "Expertise" required?
  • Kris : Management, Entrepreneurial, influencing without authority, product technology are all examples of expertise required in this field but in the case of our example we will need diagnostic, analytical, creative and engineering skills.
  • Neil : What is the sort of impact that strategic management can have on the clients?
  • Kris : The impact is long :term and wide - spread across the company. Now that we have implemented strategic management in adding a room, we can be sure of a change in elevation, plan, aesthetics and long term comfort.
  • Can results of Strategic Management be measured?
  • Generally, it is vague and difficult to measure the outcome. For example, the comfort, status and security offered by the room are very hard to measure.

Problem-Solving

Management intervention to address client's pain area and implement a solution to alleviate the same.

  • Neil : Hey Kris, what do you mean by "Problem-Solving".
  • Kris : Problem-Solving is "Management intervention to address client's pain area and implement a solution to alleviate the same." Do you want me to elaborate?
  • Neil : Sure Sir.
  • Kris : Lets take an example of a client who has a "Leaky Roof" (Pain area) and a contractor who is advising him/her on the same.
  • Neil : So, what approach does the Consultant take in "Problem-Solving"?
  • Kris : The approach is mostly participative contribution. For example, the contractor looks at the leak, discusses alternatives and implements solution.
  • Neil : I guess "Problem-Solving" must have a narrow scope?
  • Kris : Precisely Neil, it only consists of one or few functions which in our example only relates to dealing with the roof.
  • Neil : Where does the Problem/Solution source come from?
  • Kris : Mostly from inside the organization, like we will only need roof and some other materials to solve our problem.
  • Neil : Which are general tools that are used in "Problem-Solving" process?
  • Kris : Very simple techniques like "Problem Solving Methodology, Fish Bone Diagram etc. With regards to the roof we will need simple machine and hand tools.
  • Neil : Is there proven expertise that we require?
  • Kris : Diagnostic, Function specific and technological expertise covers most of the problems and the same skills will be required for mending the roof.
  • Neil : I can deduce from your explanation that the impact of "Problem Solving methodology" will be short term and localized.
  • Kris : Well, I must say you are one intelligent student.
  • Neil : But, what about the measurability?
  • Kris : Results from a "problem-solving" process are generally more accurate and easier. In our example we can easily calculate the cost of repair and savings from further damage.
  • Innovation does not have to be always "Inside out", it can be as effective when it is "Inside in"

    In the last few years, organizations vying for a share of the market in the face of increasing competition have resorted to the "More in Less" culture. Customers have been pampered to no ends and everyone is looking for extreme value in whatever they are being offered.

    In this environment of cutting margins, how do you ensure the survival of your organization let alone expanding it? The single most important tool which we all know of and is very well-publicized is "Innovation". Before looking outside for innovative measures, how about if employees learn to better collaborate together to unlock the internal potential of expertise and creativity.

    Let us take an example in "Customer Experience", to understand the point better.

    A Bank customer in a typical process withdraws money from an ATM on a particular day, the next day he/she accesses the bank's website to check his/her account status and make a transaction and later on any given day he/she visits the physical premises of the bank to ask for a loan or make some complaints. There are 3 different touch-points for a customer to experience the service quality of the bank and for all the touch-points involved we have 3 different business units responsible for it.

    I say 3 different business units because in a typical organization there is a vertical flow of responsibilities where one business unit is only responsible for the duties assigned to it. Once, the duty is fulfilled the product/service moves on to another vertical unit. For example: most ATM's are run by third-party institutions in partnership with the bank, website is run by the IT department of the company and the physical premises come under the day to day activity of the regular banking staff. As we can see, these three units mostly work in isolation to one another, so if there is a horizontal flow of responsibility everyone in the business unit becomes responsible for providing the best customer experience. In the Bank example that we took, there can be an opportunity realized if proper communication channels are established between the three units and all the employees are stimulated to work together to provide the best customer experience which is consistent across all the 3 touchpoints.

    There are a very few organizations which provide unswerving experience on all fronts to the customer. Each touchpoint has its own inimitable factors but there is also a harmonizing factor which is common to all the touchpoints.

    The key to unlocking the creative quotient of all the employees of the organization is to let them share the responsibility for all the end products that come out of the organization. This internal change in processes is one of the many innovative measures an organization can take for higher customer satisfaction.

    - Kaushal Chokshi

    Management Analyst, K.C. Mehta Consulting Private Limited

    K.C. Mehta Consulting Private Limited aims to improve clients' top and bottom lines, time to market, innovation, and customer and employee satisfaction outcomes. Kaushal's main job is to provide support to our expert associates with highly insightful information.

  • Management Consulting for SME

    The Customer's Dilemma

    The customer is receptive to accepting management consultants and their services as valuable inputs when the consultant brings specialized expertise on the table as in legal or tax compliance consultancy. As far as business or management consulting is concerned, the customer believes he knows more about the business and how to run it than anyone else.

    This premise is not altogether wrong. As management consultants, we know less about customer's business in terms of his unique opportunities, production processes, technology, competition and so on, than the customer himself because in an individual capacity consultants' domain or industry (D & I) expertise is restricted to one or two.

    However, there are a number of situations and contexts in which an aware customer would want to seek help of external consultants. One of the most common such predicaments is where a businessman in a growing SME company soon finds himself bogged down with the task of day to day management and little time for any innovative thinking. He loses both a 360 degree view of his environment and the time to think critically despite potential capability to do so. It is easy to lose sight of or overlook issues cropping up in various areas of business operations. At this point, external help for guiding the customer through a thinking and problem solving process where he is able to define the root causes more accurately, hypothesize alternate solution scenarios and decide on course of action is both handy and essential. This form of consulting is generally referred to as "facilitative consulting". Consultants' job is to lead or facilitate the customer through "critical thinking process" and even better, develop critically thinking leaders in the customer organization. While the job of facilitative consulting gets easier over time as consultants gain expertise in various domains and industries, their main forte is critical thinking and problem solving. This category of consultants can be a great value to the customer across the conventional areas of business including strategic planning, marketing and sales, manufacturing, customer service, logistics and supply chain and so on which are usual forte of internal managers or the owner-CEO. However, this is one category of consulting help that the owner-CEO of SME often shies away from seeking because he considers himself capable of doing it himself; that is if he ever got the time to do it.

    Another context in which the customer seeks external consulting help is where it is impractical to maintain in-house expertise due to various reasons. For example, Information Technology. Apart from minimum in-house help, it is becoming more and more customary to outsource IT initiatives to external vendors or consultants. Product design and styling is another area of expertise that is most often contracted out to external consultants. These are some of the functions that fall in "expertise based consulting" due to unconventional and specialized skills that they bring into play. It is not only prohibitively costly to maintain these expertise in-house, but they do not lend themselves to be sharpened or updated in a conventional organization setting. The expertise mentioned as examples here; Information technology and Product design; require extensive and continuous training and development due to fast advancements in technology. There are many other examples of similar expertise that collectively fall in the category of "expertise based consulting".

    Management Consultants: Experts turned Enablers

    All management consultants have D & I expertise in one or more areas. But, that is not the reason why they are management consultants. What makes them management consultants is their exposure and insight into multiple functions of an organization, their ability to extrapolate situations, explore multiple scenarios, coach, facilitate and above all think critically. Roger Federer, the 17 time grand slam winner from Switzerland, did not pick Stefan Edberg as his coach because Edberg is (or was) a better player than Federer. In fact by his own admission, Edberg has declared that barring the one handed backhand and serve and volley style of play in which he claims to be better than his pupil, Federer is better than Edberg in all other departments of the game. To quote Federer, he picked Edberg so he could "pick his brain". Together they narrow down to weak areas of Federer's game and try and improve using new techniques.

    Management consulting is somewhat akin to this situation. Take for example the case of a large textile conglomerate who hired a high ranking FMCG executive to coach their top management. Obviously he was not hired for his superior knowledge in textiles which he did not possess. With his expertise in management consulting, he could guide the textile company to perform better and produce better results. In another case, the chairman of a large nationalized bank, himself an authority in banking, hired an MNC consulting firm who with all their might did not come close to the level of expertise of the chairman and his team in banking. The fact is they helped the bank develop their revised business strategy which eventually led to remarkable improvement in customer service and substantial growth in revenue.

    Misplaced Perceptions

    The problem of mismatch between customer requirement and consultant's offering arises more often in those cases where the customer does not know better than to ask for "expertise based consultant" whereas in fact what he needs is a "facilitative consultant". The problem gets further aggravated when the consultants, instead of shaping customer's expectation properly with respect to his real need, allow themselves to be swayed by the need to feed customer's misplaced perception and pose as "expertise based consultants" in the hope of striking a bargain. The outcomes of such meetings invariably turn out to be unsatisfactory for both the customer and the consultant. The customer is not seeing an "expert" in the consultant and the consultant leaves without selling his real strength, that of "facilitative consulting".

    Setting Expectations Right

    The onus of helping the customer see his need as one of "expert-based consulting" or "facilitative consulting" falls squarely in the consultant's lap. The consultant should refrain from over selling "expertise-based consulting" to a customer who needs "facilitative consulting", which is true in 80% of cases, even though the customer might think he needs "expertise-based consulting." Instead of perpetuating the vicious circle, it would do a world of good to both the customer as well as the consultant in the long run to break out of it before it is too late. The consultant should take the lead in explaining the concept of "facilitative consulting" to the customer during initial sale cycle itself. The challenge is to make the customer see via concrete examples, how problems are really solved. Let them realize that it is they who solve the problems. The consultants act as their critically thinking partners. The goal is to change perception of customers' need from one of "expert consulting" especially when it is not the one they need, to "facilitative consulting" without using buzz words. This has the potential of freeing positive energy from the consultants' end because he is no longer pretending to be what he is not; an expert consultant; and makes the setting more conducive to open and transparent discussions.

    KC Mehta Consulting's main offering is about helping business leaders develop and apply critical thinking skills to run their organizations more efficiently, bring in expertise based consulting only where needed and generate positive impact for the customers' key goal areas like top and bottom lines growth, customer satisfaction and innovation. Ultimately, sustainable solutions must be owned within organizations and implemented by inspired internal champions. That is why KCMC' mission is to develop leaders for strategic impact. This translates into more competent leaders, better teams, more effective organizations and, most importantly, more mission-focused results.

    - Saurabh Vakil

    MD, K.C.Mehta Consulting Private Limited

    K.C. Mehta Consulting Private Limited aims to improve clients' top and bottom lines, time to market, innovation, and customer and employee satisfaction outcomes. Saurabh's role consists of development of panel of experts and addressing clients' needs around business and marketing strategies, IT and outsourcing strategies, product development and process improvement.

  • Motivation and Significance of "Make in India" Campaign

    Is this same as "Swadeshi" movement?

    Any developing country or economy would want that they experience vibrant and sustainable economic growth and one of the ways to do it is to bolster its industrial sector, that is, make things in our own country. It is a no brainer up to this point. So why is P.M. Narendra Modi making such a big deal out of it? Is this a "swadeshi" movement? Not to my mind it is not. While campaigning for "Make in India" theme, the PM is equally focused on providing fair and attractive playing field to motivate foreign investment in capital and corporate FDI. So, what makes "make in India" so relevant and significant now?

    Occupational Structure

    The PM and his advisors understand the fundamentals of how a vibrant economy could be developed, and understand them very well. At the root of the initiative is creation of well-paying jobs, increase in purchasing power and demand for goods and services. India has depended far too long on agriculture sector to create jobs. The chart below highlights some thought provoking statistics on occupational structure in India. The percentages of working population that is generally divided into three broad sectors, namely, agriculture, industrial and services remained relatively flat for about 3/4th of the 20th century. (1901 to 1971.) It rose somewhat starting with 1971 with the real changes coming post economic liberalization in 1991. The result is that the percentage of workers employed in the agriculture sector has gone down by 20-25 points while the service sector saw almost a 100% rise or 14 points. The sector that showed predictable but undesirable movement is the industrial with only 8 points rise over the same period.

      Occupational Structure - %
    Sector 1901 1971 2007
    Agriculture 72 72 50
    Industrial 12 11 20
    Services 16 17 30

    The Problem

    All developing economies begin their occupational journey with agriculture as the chief source of employment. As the next step, historically, most all of them have shed growing number of occupational percentage points in favor of industrial sector followed by service sector. Thriving industrial economy produces demand for services. However, India's journey on this path is somewhat peculiar. It bypassed the growth in industrial sector and showed considerable rise of occupation in service sector. While in itself this phenomenon was not so undesirable, a cursory analysis reveals that most of the service sector occupational growth came due to industrial economies of other countries. A number of services were outsourced by developed economies to India and other high skill/low wage countries. But, that increased dependence on the fate of economies on which India had little or no control. In order for India to experience sustainable occupational growth in service as well as industrial sectors, it must focus on developing its own industrial sector of which "manufacturing" is one major component.

    The problem of supply side constraint is also the target. By increasing the manufacturing activities and infrastructure creating activities the end result will be lower inflation, higher sustainability of economic growth and less intense impact of global economic swings. The demand in India is only growing. With 50% population under the age of 25, there is no question that supply will take a long time to reach the surplus territory.

    The Solution

    India needs to transform its growth model from being a services-focused economy to manufacturing-focused economy with the potential of creating 8 to 10 million jobs a year and leaving a healthy trail for services sector to pick up its share of occupational growth on. It also enables India Inc. to steer its occupational growth journey back to how it should be. Agriculture followed by industrial followed by services.

    This is what "Make in India" is all about.


    "K.C. Mehta Consulting Private Limited aims to improve clients' top and bottom lines, time to market, innovation, and customer and employee satisfaction outcomes. Saurabh's role consists of development of panel of experts and addressing clients' needs around business and marketing strategies, IT and outsourcing strategies, product development and process improvement."

    - Saurabh Vakil

    MD, K.C.Mehta Consulting Private Limited

    "K.C. Mehta & Co.(KCM) works closely with clients to provide a wide spectrum of fully integrated services in areas that include accounting, assurance, risk, tax, financial and capital management, business consultation and other advisory services. Chirag leads the Management Audit practice and contributes to the Indirect tax and FEMA verticals of the firm."

    - Chirag Bakshi

    Partner, K.C.Mehta & Co.

  • What Make-in-India Means to SSI?

    Make in India Eco System

    The movement is aimed at turning India into a global manufacturing hub. This vision can turn into reality with the individual businesses investigating and contributing in one or more of the areas of activity mentioned below within a business eco system that is highly supportive.

    The characteristics of a supportive eco system would consist of

    • (a) Easy and straightforward start up requirement
    • (b) Easy and straightforward compliance requirement
    • (c) Availability of robust infrastructure and
    • (d) Availability of effective lending system

    The areas of effort by individual business: Localization, Quality, Scale

    1. Manufacture products in India that are hither to fore not made in India (Localization)
    2. Manufacture existing or new products at superior levels of quality to attract both domestic and foreign customers to switch from foreign brands (Quality)
    3. Make products on a scale which can address both domestic and export demand and withstand global competition in terms of availability (Scale)

    Core Competence for the SSI

    Successful companies have been able to capture larger market shares because of their innovative approaches in product superiority and/or, quality and/or how they take the product to their customers. These companies get good at doing that one thing so well that no other company can match the same capability. Take the example of Sundaram Fasteners, who has become a global leader with auto companies from around the world choosing to source radiator caps because of their unmatched capability in features, quality and scale.

    In order to support Make-in-India theme, the SSI (small scale industry or in general companies of any size) must garner the ability to discover and latch on to that one core competence and make it a cornerstone of their business to win the competition war. In that sense, the idea is to make the SSI what it should truly be; a specialized skill industry, and not a "small scale industry" which tends to define and foreshadow their business activity within the shackles of self-imposed constraints.

    Make-in-India movement could facilitate businesses in analyzing their current approaches in one or more of the following functions and how they might make substantial improvement in them to achieve excellence in the way they do business in order to help them latch on to untapped potential.

    1. Incremental (or radical) localization effort entailing identification of products to be made in India and defining/executing the strategy to accomplish the goal. (A by-product of this effort could lead to innovation by way of identifying completely new products)
    2. Addition/improvement in product features that have greater appeal in the way they satisfy customer needs.
    3. Implementation of innovative marketing strategy which allows for more effective promotion and awareness of the products.
    4. Innovation in logistics and supply chain capability that helps faster times of delivery and support.
    5. Re-engineering of manufacturing and/or other critical business processes for improvement in quality and time to market.

    Conclusion

    An attempt is made to identify areas in which SSI's can develop core competencies which could be one or more among "product ideas", "product features", "marketing strategy", "logistics and supply chain" and "business process reengineering". The underlying theme in arriving at these core areas is one that assumes that Make-in-India is synonymous with "make more products, better products and reach more consumers".

    In the next post we will explore the subject of stakeholders and their roles with respect to each of the core areas mentioned above.


    "K.C. Mehta Consulting Private Limited aims to improve clients' top and bottom lines, time to market, innovation, and customer and employee satisfaction outcomes. Saurabh's role consists of development of panel of experts and addressing clients' needs around business and marketing strategies, IT and outsourcing strategies, product development and process improvement."

    - Saurabh Vakil

    MD, K.C.Mehta Consulting Private Limited

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