Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Giving a quotation

One might say: Giving a quotation is such a simple thing. We do it so many times in a day!
Even in my sleep I can give a quotation for an air-conditioner...

But it is not true!!

One has to think deeply before giving a quotation:
(1) To whom are we giving the quotation.
(2) At what rate did we supply to the same party recently?
(3) What are our competitors likely to charge?
(4) Are they regular buyers?
(5) How was their payments done:   Very good / good / poor
(6) Distance of supply and installation locations (if known)

These are some of the things one has to give a thought and then only a
proper quotation can be given.

After giving the quotation frequent follow-up is necessary to know the

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Never talk about service - render it !

In the service business one should never talk about service. Rather he should try to render the
best possible service at all times.

A few days back a customer rang up about 7 pm in the night on an emergency. The cooler
had stopped working and they had Rs.10,000 plus food materials in it. The next day was a

A call was registered and help would reach within 24 hours. But that was not enough!

None of my technicians were available. I rang up a friend of mine having similar business.
His technician was 20 kms. away on a job.

I didn't give up. I rang up yet another friend. He readily obliged and asked me to send the
address by SMS and he would ask his technician to attend on the way back home.

Yes, within half-an hour a minor issue was set right and the machine started working again.

The friend gave a timely FEEDBACK. He rang me up and informed me that the issue was
sorted out.

You see, he has a PASSION for SERVICE.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Communication tips

Communication is very important in any Business.

Recently a gentleman spoke to me and wanted an air-conditioner. He spoke late in the evening
and said "My company...".  He wanted a quotation to be sent and gave his (his personal) mail-id.

Subsequently he wanted me to send a Technician to inspect the site and suggest a suitable
air-conditioner. Though I rarely do this, I did send my Technician, feeling that I stood a fair
chance of bagging an order.

Later, I did get an order from him. He asked me to send the pro-forma Invoice which I did.

A day passed and nothing happened. Later he rang me up and said that the pro-forma Invoice
was not received!!

I then found out that he is an Executive in a Chinese company.  He had not seen his mail.

If only he had told me about his company in the beginning itself and given his official mail-id
the delay could have been avoided.

Information is lifeline in business. When we talk to customers we should try to get as much
relevant information as possible which is relevant to the transaction.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Go to Italy!!

Generally I do not believe in on-line leads from these lead generating companies.

Still I wanted to try it out and registered my company.

They will give a lead. And within seconds you will get a message that 49??? was trying to contact you.
Get in touch with them immediately to beat competition and so on.

I rang up a lead sent by them.

Customer: Do you deal in Electrolux products?

Me: What is the item you are looking for?

Customer: I am looking for an Electrolux potato peeler.

Me: Sorry. We are an air-conditioning company. We don't deal in peelers.

Customer: Please help me.

Me: (As I am always in the habit of helping customers). Why don't you look up the net. We don't deal
in peelers and have no knowledge about them. But so many peelers are available. Why don't you just
buy one.

Customer: I am speaking from XYZ company and our company has chosen the Electrolux one. I checked up the net but the call is going to Italy.

Me: Then why don't you ask your company to send you to Italy so that you can get one?


Tell me the price! Tell me the price!

A lady visited our showroom today.

Since the sales person had gone out for lunch, the Administrative Assistant telephoned me and
requested the customer to talk to me.

The customer said that she wanted an air-conditioner and wanted to know the price.

I asked her whether she wanted a window or split air-conditioner. She said "Window"

I told her that it is necessary to know what capacity of air-conditioner is required by her.

She said: I want a low budget model. Tell me the price.

After a minute or two talking to her she said that she is using a 1.5 ton window air-conditioner
which is out-of-order.

Tell me the price.

Again I told her that there are 2,3 and 5 star models and so on.

My husband is waiting outside. Can't you understand? Tell me the price.

I blurted out the prices of various 1.5 ton window air-conditioners. She said: Thanks.

( I told my office assistant to take down her name and number and that I would talk to her later
in the day)

Friday, August 19, 2016

A pro is a pro is a pro....

Yesterday our jet pump motor got burnt and we were in no mood to get it repaired.

We were one among the leading motor repairers in Chennai and on several occasions we have
rewound pump motors and delivered back to customers within 24 hours. But then those were the days
when people lived in independent houses and if the motor was not working water could always be drawn
from the open well. People could afford to wait a few days even to get a motor repaired...who cares? Water was available at any time!

Also if a new motor was to be purchased one would invariably refer to the Yellow Pages. Or one could go along with the electrician/plumber to the market in an auto and buy a new motor. Life moved in a fairly leisurely pace.

The city having grown beyond imagination going to the market to source a motor will be time consuming, tiring effort with a substantial amount spent in transportation.

Now to buy a motor one should know the exact specification of the motor. The name plate in our motor was obliterated. Think, think, think.  I knew that adjoining apartments built by the same builder had similar motors. I walked to the next apartment complex and took a photo of the name plate. I now knew what I wanted. Suguna jet pump, 1 HP, 2850 rpm pump size: 32x25x25 and Model No.SMSJ/LV-1(OT).

Armed with this information I went online in search of sellers of Suguna motors. I sent whatsapp image to one guy in Aminjikarai. But even after seeing the name plate, he says, come with the motor to our place.
Similarly another guy in T.Nagar had a similar request: Come with the motor.

Next I contacted the manufacturer in George Town. The moment I give the details, he says, the pump is available. He sends an image of a new pump. He says that though the model number is slightly different from the one which we have, it will suit to a T. Before you could say "Jack Robinson", he tells me that the cost is Rs.8,500. Give me your address and I shall send the motor to your house.

I had earlier checked the price on-line. The price quoted by him was a throw-away price. (Thanks to business competition and on-line onslaught). I gave him the delivery address and he said the motor would arrive around 2.30 pm. I never followed them. The driver rang me up around 1 pm and asked me for the directions. He promptly came around that time thanking me for giving precise directions and landmarks en-route which brought him straight to my home.

The local electrician, an experienced guy again, fixed the pump without any hitch within an hour.

So now we know who a PRO is and how he can be of immense help to anyone.

Meanwhile, I patted myself on the back, on proving myself to be a professional buyer, having passed
the two-year Materials Management diploma from Indian Institute of Materials Management in 1985!!!

Thursday, August 4, 2016


A restaurant customer of mine recently got mentioned as one among the top ten
eateries for breakfast in Chennai by NDTV.

I sent a message of congratulations and was pleasantly surprised to received
a kind note that our support was integral to the laurel.

These are the moments that make life and work interesting!

Monday, July 18, 2016

The MAGIC of Rajnikanth as Ranjith's Kabali is to be DISCOVERED soon.

People in India, US, Malaysia, EUROPE and elsewhere are eager to WELCOME the movie
with a red CARPET.

Some crazy fans will EXERCISE their interest with a large scale MIGRATION to the
theatres - to PITCH tents and remain SHELTERED to SPRAY milk on the cut-outs during
the auspicious time.

Some others would be GREEN with envy at those who managed the FDFS tickets.

COMMERCE has PRESERVED the Super Star's image in silver coins.

Die-hard fans may not remain COMPOSED sitting in the EDGE of their seats as the show
unfolds itself.

PRODUCTIVE work may be absent and DISAPPEAR on the opening days.

Let us enjoy the movie, remain COMPOSED and not ATTACH too much importance
to the movie and CONTEMPORARY look of the star which is to be admired.

Friday, June 24, 2016

G O P A L A P U R A M - Part 2

No TV, no cell phones, no internet. Having said that those born after the eighties may wonder
if the residents of Gopalapuram were living in "dark ages" !!

Far from it....

Gopalapuram was (and is) located strategically in Chennai.

No TV meant that people had time to live in a real world as against virtual.... People interacted
well within themselves and helped each other.

Cinema provided the entertainment. Quite a few cinema theatres were within walking distance
from Gopalapuram. For English movies it was Odeon theatre near the Royapettah clock tower.
(it is now known as Melody). The magnificent Safire complex was conceived and built by Dev
Vecumsee opened in 1965 with the movie "Cleopatra". It later added two more screens, Blue Diamond and Emerald. Close to that, Umapathy built his Anand theatre. Since there were a lot
of people coming to see the movies he added another screen Little Anand. Further down we
had the New Globe (later known as Alankar). A little beyond that was well, quite many.
Midland (later became Jayapradha when the actor bought it) Wellington, New Elphinstone (now
Raheja complex), Casino, Gaiety and Chitra. Near the Royapettah police station came up yet
another wonderful theatre Pilot. It was the first one with a cinerama screen. The movie could be
simultaneously screened from three projectors.... Unfortunately the cinerama concept didn't pick up.
Later came up the Woodlands theatre complex.

Even the so called theatres which were dubbed as being far off, were if one were to judge by
today's standards, quite near! To name a few...  Nagesh, Rajakumari (T.Nagar) Star (Triplicane)
Kamadhenu (Mylapore)... One could easily reach these places within 15 minutes on a cycle...
The cycle was a popular mode of transport....

....to be continued (please keep adding your own experiences and inputs!)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Time machine

The time machine has the fascination of almost everyone.

In 1895 H.G.Wells wrote The Time Machine. Very recently we had the Tamil movie 24
which also was made on the time travel concept. One should not forget that in the movie the
extent to which one could travel backwards in time was restricted to 24 hours only.

We cannot actually go back in time, but our thoughts and memories can!!

In the early part of the twentieth century, the area now known as Gopalapuram in Chennai had just begun to come into being.

"Go" refers to cow. It would almost be difficult for man to survive without milk. India is the largest producer of milk in the world. "Gopal" is Lord Krishna, the one who takes care of the cows, a cowherd so to say...

The area beyond Chola Hotel was full of bamboo trees....

Some of my elders have in the past told me that during some digging operations the idol of
Venugopalaswamy was found and it is this which is in the present Venugopalaswamy temple in
Gopalapuram.  So the area got to be known as Gopalapuram. (This however needs authentic corroboration.)

In the sixties and early seventies Madras was just what many people referred to as  "Big Village".
There was no TV, no cell phones, no internet....

My school was just 100 metres or so from my house. It worked between 10 AM and 4 PM.
I could hear the bell ringing from my house. Peaceful atmosphere. No pollution. No noise.
While playing in the Corporation Playground we could hear the Church bells pealing from
the Cathedral Church which was almost a kilometre away!

...to be continued

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Own apartment or rented?

One question which I invariably ask customers looking for an air-conditioner is whether they
are staying in a rented apartment or one which is their own.

Sometimes people get irritated with this question and ask, "What has that got to do with
my buying an air-conditioner?"

Well you see, you may buy a one ton air-conditioner which is okay for you now. Six months
or a year or two later when you buy your own apartment and if that room needs a one point five
air-conditioner, you might think that you could have bought a bigger unit in the first place...

Yes, they understand and there are instances when the customer has gone in for a bigger unit....

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Booking clerk vs sales executive.

In earlier days, before the advent of computers, if one wanted to travel by train, a visit to the
railway station was to be made. There used to be booking counters with booking clerks.
You know where you want to go, on which date you wish to travel and by which train and class.
The clerks job was just to make an entry in the relevant date and train chart manually and hand
you over the ticket after collecting the money.

These days with people enjoying holiday travel with family, thanks to disposable income and what not....  One would consult a travel executive or adviser to plan the trip. Where will one go? Singapore or Thailand or Malaysia? Which is the best time? Which airline is the cheapest? How many days? There are so many questions to be addressed...

The air-conditioner sales executive likewise has to get answers from the client for a number of questions. What is the area of the room? Where is it located? If an apartment, in which floor?
What would be the ideal place to locate the outdoor unit? What is the distance between the indoor and outdoor? Which star rating is ideal? What is the voltage in the area and what should be the regulation of the voltage stabilizer?

One can give a quote only after knowing the answers for these questions. Unfortunately today guys just from school or college are designated as sales executives. They should be given proper training over a period of time to enable them to be a sales executive graduating from the booking clerk status.

Machines are sold without educating the customer on the parameters to be looked into and helping him/her make the ideal choice!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Speak the truth.....always?

Speak the truth....always.

Yes one has to speak the truth always. But sometimes not telling the whole truth may help.

We had finalized order for a fairly large quantity of air-conditioners. Our getting the order
however had a condition!  We have to arrange finance for the client.

The client was very cost conscious and wanted finance only from a bank. Because they are
the ones who charge the least interest.

We spoke to a banker and he requested an executive to look into the matter. He came with us
and met the businessman and promised him to help. The businessman then said that the bank manager could come and meet him.

Sure Sir, said the executive. But you may please come just once to our head-office and meet him
in his office. The businessman understood that to get credit he had to put in some effort.
But there was one small issue.  He was a heart patient and not in a position to climb the stairs.

The executive said, "No issues Sir. We have lifts."

The businessman accompanied us and the bank executive to their head-office.

Now those were the days of poor voltage and frequent power cuts! The bank executive never
mentioned about this.

On reaching the bank we found that the lift was not working. Now the executive, very smart I should
say, said: "Sir, please, just a few steps. come, come".  The businessman for whom time was running out was in no mood to say no. The executive cleverly made him to slowly climb two floors!!

Subsequently the bank did give credit facilities and we got the order!!

So you see, sometimes it is better not to tell the whole truth.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Sometimes......it is better to lose an order!

Will a businessman or sales executive like to lose an order? The answer obviously is NO.

But then there are some buyers who are skillful negotiators. But these days there are quite
a number of people who just call the bluff. 100 Rupees? "X" is willing to supply at 97 Rupees.

Such a situation has to be deftly handled by you.

First, you should have the knowledge at what price the same product is offered by
different sellers in the market. What is the differential?

Secondly, can you supply at that price? Will it be profitable?

And, finally will you get the order at that price?

If the buyer is too much of a haggler, it is better to lose the order.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Order lost.........still don't give up!!

Once an order is lost most people tend to give up.

Last year a leading educational institute contacted us for air-conditioning a portion of their
premises. We gave our recommendation and also had several meetings with their
architects and management. They contacted us several times in connection with this
requirement and we were almost about to get the order.

They then appointed a consultant who gave a different plan - for machines which were
not in our range of supply.

In the meanwhile we had developed good contact with them. Being an educational institution
group, I knew they would be requiring split/window units from time to time.

So I kept talking to them once in a while. After a few months we received order for
two machines followed by some more recently.

Moral of the story: Losing an order is not the end of the road. Having established a
relationship, nurture it. Someday you may be rewarded.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

How to lose orders....

Sometimes orders may be lost after a lot of hard work for ever so many reasons!

But we have to take it in our stride.

Years back we were driving down Egmore and saw a huge old building being razed in
a prominent location.

"Mark this" my friend told me. " This could be one place where we could sell a good
quantity of air-conditioners....".

From then on for almost eight months we watched that place. As building work commenced
we would try to meet the owners. Later we came to know that a 2 star hotel is planned.
After many visits we gave our quote for air-conditioners. Then we obtained information
on where the owners were living ( so that we could meet them in their house.)

As luck would have it from the address I saw that a good friend of mine was staying
in the same address.  When we actually went to that place we found that my friend was
staying in adjoining apartment in ground floor.

We asked him to introduce us to the owners.....  We got closer to getting the order.

Finally we had succeeded in getting an order for 50 air-conditioners. But when we
actually got the order in our hand - it was for 40 air-conditioners.

Just the previous Sunday a competitor had met them in the church and managed to get
an order for 10 air-conditioners!

Had we not put in so much of hard work, we would have lost the entire order!!

Are salesmen prepared to do such work now?

Friday, June 10, 2016

How to get leads....

Salesmen depend on leads to get orders.

Nowadays, most, almost all salesmen expect the leads to be given to them on a platter.

There are ever so many ways to "generate" leads. Out-of-the-box thinking and quick
action is needed.

Some decades back company's sales executives were given personal targets as also
commission on sales. (This practice was subsequently done away with.) So much so they
were reluctant to give "sure-shot" leads to their dealers.

Once while I was discussing with an executive, I noticed a letter head of ABC company
peeping out of a bunch of papers.

I made a note of this and immediately recognized the company and knew that its head office
was close to my own office.

On the way back I dropped into the office and introduced myself and my company. After a
short while I came to know that they were in need of two air-conditioners and asked me to
send in a quote.

Those were the days before the computer and I had my brief-case with quotation pads, leaflets, etc.

I wrote out a quote then and there and handed it over to them.

Needless to say, I got the order within a week!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Volume driven sales

If you are in the business of only air-conditioning as a small company, you should appreciate
the fact that volume driven sales will not take you anywhere!

Reduce margin and increase sales? May work only on paper. It is only for companies with a regional or national reach with delivery logistics who can try to do this. Some of the Indian on-line companies are able to complete tens of thousands of transactions every day. Their ad-spend is enormous. Have they as yet started to make any profits?

Don't fall into this trap.

If you have been in the business for some years, you would have observed that 75% to 80% of your
business comes from 20% to 25% of your customers. Concentrate on these customers. Nowadays executives are visiting customers only when there is a specific call or request whereas they should
be visiting these "A" customers at regular intervals. They fail to understand how much of business they are losing because of this.

Small companies cannot afford to reach out to distant places for delivery or service. If only they concentrate on the regions closer to their base, give good service and sell at a healthy price they
would be in safer grounds!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Secret of the Japanese

Some thirty years or so back I was reading a book titled Management - Japanese style.

In that book it was mentioned that all the Japanese students who pass out of their management
studies will have to first compulsorily work in the villages for six months.

And what is the work that they will to there for six months? They have to clean the toilets
all of the six months. After that they will take up suitable positions in factories and so on.

Now what is this?

It teaches the dignity of labour. They will be prepared to do any job. The General Manager
will have no hesitation in picking up a waste bit lying on the factory floor and putting it in
the waste bin. It will be done just like that.

Alas! Where are we now? A sales executive when questioned why the quotation was not
couriered said that the person to do the job was busy and away. The courier office was
five minutes away and he could have done the job in fifteen minutes without waiting for
someone else to do it!!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Salesman and target....

Companies, particularly the smaller ones, appoint salesman to boost their sales.

But more often than not they fail to fix a minimum target to be achieved.

Based on the remuneration paid to the salesman, a minimum target is to be fixed
and monitored. If the salesman fails to achieve his target continuously for a period
of time (say three months), he should be given the handshake.

Also, incentive for sales should be applicable only after the minimum target is

Failure to do so only makes the salesman lethargic....

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Supervisor and technicians/helpers

For a business to sustain, grow and give proper service and revenues to the company,
there ought to be a healthy ratio of supervisor and workmen.

Unfortunately I find that many companies have a supervisor working with just
one or two technicians.

A supervisor should be able to take care of atleast four to five technicians and
another six to eight helpers....

Monday, May 30, 2016

Revenue streams

In the air-conditioning business, there are several revenue streams.

Sales, service, repairs, service contracts.

For a company doing only air-conditioning business sales can at best be
not more than 50% of the revenue stream.

If people think that they can survive mostly by sales, they are sadly

Friday, April 8, 2016

Cricket team has eleven players

Yes. A cricket team has eleven players.

Similarly for a company manufacturing air-conditioners a number of players - wholesalers, retailers and dealers are required to
move the goods. And each player's role is important.

Chasing a total of 212, after the 3 down batsman has scored 80 plus the score at one time tumbles to 209 for 9 with 5 balls to spare. The last batsmen scoring that 4 runs is important!

So everyone has a role.

Be sure of your role and play the game with pride!!

Happy Ugadi !

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Horoscope and selling air-conditioners

A horoscope is supposed to give some clue about what is likely to happen in future.

A leading businessman dealing in air-conditioners jokingly remarked that one should check
the horoscope of the buyer before selling him an air-conditioner.

This remark was made years back when air-conditioners came with a one year guarantee.

But due to competition all round companies have come up with five-year guarantee and what not.

In this scenario it will be well worthwhile to discreetly check on the buyer before selling him
a unit.

Chances are a customer might turn up after two or three years with henchmen and ask for
free replacement of unit and what not!

I know instances where sellers have avoided selling units to some given customers.

One has to be careful!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Bhuvan Shome - Hiss but don't bite

April 2.

Another famous Bengali director - Mrinal Sen. But a Hindi movie. Bhuvan Shome.

There is a story where God advises the snake to stop biting at the drop of a hat. Hiss.
And the people will run away. Don't bite!

In the corporate world the boss may show the gun, but he should not actually shoot.

The crux of the movie is how a transformation occurs in a very strict officer.

There are any number of directorial nuances in the 96 minute movie which one can

The train moving in fast track. Only the tracks are shown. Then the train changes
track. In real life too one must move away from the rat race. The modern management
jargon is "out-of-the-box".

Life has to slow down if it is to change. Shome is shown travelling in a slower vehicle.
The horse carriage. Later on he travels in a much slower vehicle. The bullock cart. While
he is travelling in the cart number of women walking in a row with pots on their head
suddenly branch out into two. When too much of weight on one's head he should change

I know only a smattering of Hindi. The cartman singing "chahe mujhe koi junglee kahe"
- very apt for the situation.

Shome shoots but the bird is not hit. It falls down out of fear. Shome is shown to return
the bird to Gouri after introspection. "You are the one who can take care of it and nurse it."

The movie ends with Shome shown to let go an employee without harsh treatment.

A must watch movie.

Friday, April 1, 2016

April 1

All Fools Day?

Far from it. April 1 is the first day of a new accounting year for business.

Wishing you all the start of a healthy and profitable year ahead!

We do not wish to fool anyone nor will allow anyone to fool us!

We are committed to customer service of the highest order!

For the AC&R business, the April-June quarter is the busiest months.

Wish you all best of luck!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Business is about making some money, but...

Business is about making money. Yes. But at times one has to do something
without expecting anything in return.

Let us say that an elderly person rang you up and informed that the
remote of his air-conditioner is not functioning.

You go to his house and find that only the batteries were to be replaced.
Replace the batteries and refuse to take any money, even the cost of the batteries.

Anyone should be able to imagine the satisfaction derived by the receiver and the giver!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Manager's job.

A manager's job is to simplify procedures and get the best possible results with
the least effort for everyone.

Water dispenser is a simple item which can be purchased of-the-shelf. It costs less than 10K.

For an office atmosphere basically it boils down to two varieties. With or without a freeze compartment.

The manager of a company sends an elaborate enquiry and also says that the technical bid and price bid are to be submitted in separate sealed envelopes!

Oh, come on Sir, can't you simplify the procedure of buying such items?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Strange coincidence

Yesterday was a very, very busy day. One of those rare days I go to office. My friend and I were busy, each doing his own work and office work side by side.

A smiling gentleman walked in around 4 p.m. At first for a few seconds I didn't notice him. He said, "I have come to buy a window air-conditioner".

I said "Please, Sir, take your seat and give me a minute!".

(I had to switch off my tension in the job I was doing and calm down to talk to the customer. That is why that one minute!)

"I am a loyal Voltas customer. I have a one ton window air-conditioner and I want to replace it now. I bought it when my wife was pregnant and my daughter is now 15 years old. So my Vectra air-conditioner is just that - 15 years old"

Me: "Trouble, trouble" thinking to myself.

I told him that present day air-conditioners are smaller in size and that
he would have to arrange a nearby carpenter.

Then I proceeded to check the size. The 3 star model chosen by him was 26" x 17" !! The very same size as his Vectra!

I said, "Sir, you, I mean we, are lucky. The air-conditioner is of the same size and we have to just pull out the old one and push in the new one".

He gave the cash in my hand!!

What a coincidence!!

Haughty or principled?

Haughty or principled?
Date: 23.1.2016
Place: Vijayanagar Bus stand signal. (The minimum wait period here is around 5 mins. and in peak hours may go upto 12-15 mins.)
Time: 6 p.m.
A young girl of around eight to nine years kept banging my car window like mad. She wanted to "hawk" small National Flags and some coloring book containing around 8 to 10 pages.
I kept nodding my head in the negative.
She wouldn't let go.
I signaled her to come nearer to my side of the car.
After taking one coloring book I gave her a tenner.
She says: No. Rs.20 each and 3 for Rs.50.
I gave back the book.
Still she was at her "game".
Now I offered her the tenner and said "Keep it, you need
not give me anything".
She refused to take the tenner.
How do you describe her behavior?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The only saving grace!!

The only saving grace!!

Grand sweets.

A grand name and an even grander fame (until recently?)

Grand sweets used to be a family business with only one shop in Adyar. People used to throng to this place. A homely atmosphere, something (particularly puliogare) used to be given free to all customers. If they bought for a particular amount, they could choose to pick up religious books.

Things change over a period of time. The family members (probably second generation) split and the name changed to Grand Sweets and Snacks. They managed to lease out very big swanky places be it Mylapore, Madipakkam, RAPuram, Triplicane, etc.

But then, what happened?

The homely atmosphere is no longer there.
The prices have sky-rocketed.
Quality has suffered.
Customer service is abysmal.

Some months back I purchased a packet of cashew-nut pakoras (sans cashews!!) Same item purchased from A2B was out-of-the-world.

Yesterday, I visited their outlet to get some "powders".

Three staff members were present, but they never took notice of a customer entering and standing near the counter craving attention.

I asked them for a list of items but the young woman just smiled and said everything is there before you (three feet away) and since you are an elderly person are not able to read (the small label!). A young techie said "Even, I can't read and nobody can" with a wry smile.

After purchasing for Rs.370 I gave a five hundred rupee note. The same smile (which didn't irritate you) " Don't you have change?"

Being a numismatist or rather one with a very great interest in Republic India Coins, I put my hand into my pant pocket and pulled out around 10 to 12 coins and threw it on the counter.
"This is what I know as change!!"

Again the smile, she carefully picked up the coins and gave it back to me.

Her smile was the only saving grace and I wonder how far the company will go in the years to come. Wishing them all the very best.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Efficiency and Effectiveness....

Efficiency and Effectiveness...

My dream was to study at the IIM, Ahmedabad. But that could not happen due to various reasons.

In the early eighties, while I was in business, I wished to pursue management education at the newly started LIBA (Loyola Institute of Business Administration).

After passing the entrance examination I was interviewed by three persons, one of them, Prof. Jay Amaran (who later married my aunt's grand-daughter).

I was bombarded with questions, more to know how I answered (perhaps). They were not all keen to give me admission since they opined that I was an entreprenuer. Seats were few.

In those days Peter Drucker was my role model.

One of the questions in the interview: What is the difference between efficiency and effectiveness?

Pat came my reply: One does things right and the other does the right things. (Courtesy: Peter Drucker!!)

The interview was interesting to both parties, but the admission was denied!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Hey, what's your problem?

Hey, what's your problem?
I was speaking to a friend of mine. He had a problem and was unhappy about his son's performance in the class. "He is not studious".
I asked him about his performance in exams.
"He gets around 50 to 60%." But says "I am passing the exams so what is your problem?"
I told him that it was true. Any one who passes goes to the next class.
I told him to check his son's passion. Is it music, art, cricket?
Encourage him in that.
If he becomes interested in studies he may fare much better in future.
I don't see any problem nor should you!!