Tuesday, 26 February 2013

IKEA: Singularity of the brand

Profs. Arun Kumar and N. Meenakshi write about IKEA...
Authors can be contacted at ak2605@gmail.com and n.meenakshi.n@gmail.com

The success of any brand has to be based foremost on an original and unique idea. The idea has to be translated into a brand identity, i.e. developing the personality, culture and value systems of the brand that reinforce the original idea. Good brands manage to actually translate all these esoteric jargons into best practices.

IKEA is one such brand. Starting as a small business in Norway, IKEA went international much before the concept of globalization was conceived, because domestic demand was constricted. IKEA’s business success came from doing everything the other way around. At a time when the furniture that was sold was heavy with intricate designing, IKEA made light Scandinavian furniture. The furniture was flat and had to be assembled by the customer himself. Further, there was no home delivery, this was the responsibility of the customer. The brand offered a wide range of furniture with quality and style at affordable prices. The designs were distinctly Norwegian and continue to lend a distinctive edge after nearly 60 years since the inception of the company.




It is also important to remember that every element of the marketing strategy must reinforce and strengthen the brand values. Often companies confine their focus to communication, product range or prices. For IKEA, their mode of expansion and distribution strategy are also reminders of the character of the brand. IKEA does not go in for vertical backward integration because its strength lies in retailing furniture, not manufacturing it. Besides, having its own manufacturing base could seriously hamper the freedom to choose from the best suppliers, and ability to manage the supply-demand equation.

IKEA also uses only the organic mode of expansion simply because the company feels that no existing retail format or retailer can match its expectations of the retail ambience which is absolutely crucial to its success. The vast expanse of its retail stores and location in the outskirts of the city would automatically make acquisitions more complicated. Besides, the layout may not match with the company’s requirements, and modifications would be prohibitively exorbitant.

These brand values also have to be understood by employees. In fact, IKEA goes through an extensive selection process, where it is very important that the personality of any prospective candidate matches with the brand values that the company stands for.. Brand power comes partly from a employee’s conviction in its values. Lack of conviction reflects in poor performance.

Despite being in existence for such a long time, the singular idea that formed the key to success for the retail chain continues to remain unshaken. Though it is widely believed that differential advantages do not last long, it may not always be true. Any idea that is implemented consistently and with continued precision is extremely difficult to copy with the same degree of success by a competitor. IKEA is a living proof.

Visit Ikea at http://www.ikea.com/

Monday, 18 February 2013

Pursuing Happiness through Positive Psychology


Prof. Jitender Sharma,
Librarian & Marketing Manager - Journal of Marketing & Communication

writes...                       

Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. Philosophers and religious thinkers often define happiness in terms of living a good life, or flourishing, rather than simply as an emotion. Scientifically, happiness can mean many things to many people. Part of the challenge of a science of happiness is to identify different concepts of happiness, and where applicable, split them into their components.

President of the American Psychological Association, Martin Seligman is popularly known as the father of Positive Psychology. He is one among world leading psychologists. Martin Seligman also worked a lot on “happiology”. He has provided a systematic theory about why happy people are happy and used scientific method to explore it. He has also provided an acronym PERMA to correlate positive psychology's findings that humans seem happiest when they have:
  1. Pleasure
  1. Engagement,
  1. Relationships,
  1. Meaning, and
  1. Accomplishments
He writes that the most satisfied, upbeat people were those who had discovered and exploited their unique combination of “signature strengths,” such as humanity, temperance and persistence. This vision of happiness combines the virtue ethics of Confucius, Mencius and Aristotle with modern psychological theories of motivation. According to Seligman happiness has three dimensions that can be cultivated: the Pleasant Life, the Good Life, and the Meaningful Life.

The Pleasant Life is realized by appreciating basic pleasures such as companionship, the natural environment and our bodily needs. The Good Life is achieved through discovering our unique virtues and strengths, and employing them creatively to enhance our lives. The Meaningful Life is achieved when we find a deep sense of fulfillment by employing our unique strengths for a purpose greater than ourselves.

Seligman’s theory reconcile two conflicting views of human happiness, the individualistic approach which emphasizes that we should take care of ourselves and nurture our own strengths, and the altruistic approach, which tends to downplay individuality and emphasizes sacrifice for the greater purpose.

People now live longer, healthier, and most likely happier lives than ever before and this will almost certainly continue in the near future. As life gets better, people increasingly seek methods to fulfill their need for self-actualization and happiness. Positive psychology theory guides people toward more meaningful lives by developing new methods, testing of its theories and strategies, as well as the engagement of professionals in the field in more quantitative and qualitative work. It tries to understand, document, and promote the factors that make lives most worth living and encompass strategies that help individuals and communities to flourish. Research based studies in happiness reveal that we can teach happiness and that we can understand what happiness is, what it means, and how it can be attained, if we study it scientifically i.e. using positive psychology theories.

Psychology practitioners while dealing with clients those facing depression, or feeling low in life need to recognize that they can help them the most by focusing on happiness, making the understanding of what makes life worth living their primary task, and amplifying their clients’ strengths rather than repairing their weaknesses. Seligman advocates that the positive social science of this century provides the probability of preventing serious mental illnesses by focusing on human strengths, scientific understanding of happiness, and the building of what makes life most worth living. Moreover, this provides a scientific understanding of human strengths that can act as buffers against mental illnesses.

The positive psychology and its focus on happiness can help health professionals reconnect with the positive side of life, make them and their clients stronger, more resilient, and happier human beings. Seligman writes that there is no reason for people to fidget until death. Happiness can add years to life, as well as life to years. In very relevant phrase, he writes that we can learn more by lighting candles than by cursing the darkness. After all, “those who understand happiness have the best chance of attaining it”.

With an increased knowledge of happiness, as we age and look back at our accomplishments and failures, we will be able to ask ourselves how close or how far we are from a good life and using happiness-enhancing strategies, we will be able to make vital adjustments.

Contact the author at: jitendersharmaji@gmail.com, jsharma@niilm.com

Thursday, 14 February 2013

India needs a systematic policy on direct selling industry

Here's an interesting article by Professor Bibek Debroy's report on India's direct selling industry. The report, released by Indicus Analytics, examines the size of India's direct selling industry, its growing significance in the economy and the key policy issues plaguing the growth of this industry.
   
INDIA NEEDS A SYSTEMATIC POLICY ON DIRECT SELLING INDUSTRY

India needs to have a specific statute that regulates and facilitates direct selling industry like other fast growing economies such as Thailand, Malaysisa, Korea, Indonesia, Chaina, Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore.

Recent draft guidelines issued to the States has the potential of rendering many important sales and marketing activities like insurance and trade as illegal. Given the importance of the direct selling industry, a fresh piece of legislation is needed. Tinkering with sections and amending them here and there to cater to a new need is often a bad idea, because such amendments fail to take a holistic view. 

Economic policy framework legislation needs to be evenly spread across the country, and therefore the central Government needs to enact a policy for the direct selling and multi-level-marketing industry.
Direct selling today, accounts for 35.8% of non-store retail sales, 4.41% of organized retail sales and 0.07% of GDP. Therefore, direct selling is going to increase in importance in India.

Indicus Analytics, India's premier economics research firm has released a study "Direct Selling in India: Appropriate Regulation Is The Key". The study has been authored by renowned economist, Professor Bibek Debroy.

TheStudy has raiseda number of crucial issues facing the Direct Selling (DS) industry in India.

Demanding operational clarification and clear distinction at the central level, the Study urges amendment of the Prize, Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, by:

(a)    First, defining Direct Selling including Multi-level marketing(b)   Second, there needs to be an explicit qualification explaining that direct selling is not to be interpreted as a money circulation scheme
(c)    Third, a Pyramid scheme has to be defined, so that people know what is being prohibited. This will protect direct selling companies, protect consumers and facilitate enforcement.

The Study observes that there are empirical reasons for the growing importance of direct selling in India:

The number of direct sellers is estimated to be almost 4 million in 2010-11.   For that same year, sales revenue was estimated at Rs. 6300 crore (1149 million US dollars), accounting for 35.8% of non-store retail sales, 4.41% of organized retail sales and 0.07% of GDP. Therefore, logically, three propositions do follow.  First, direct selling is going to increase in importance in India.  Second, it will provide an additional source of employment, often part-time and often to women.  Third, its contribution to tax revenue will also increase.  These are empirical propositions, not theoretical. 

As an additional channel, it can lead to disintermediation, reduction in transaction costs and bridging the gap between consumer prices and manufacturer prices.

According to Dr. Bibek Debroy, who has authored the Study, "Surprisingly, the Government of India has failed to catch the nuances of the Direct Selling business vs. Pyramid Schemes putting the entire machinery to scrutiny and confusion among the companies, state level regulators, judiciary and the direct sellers themselves."

He argues in the Study that, "Policy and legislation that do not adequately understand the nuance of any industry have the potential of not only adversely impacting that industry, but other complementary upstream and downstream industries as well. Overall, India needs a more systematic policy on DS that is based on its own constitutional structure and also the realities and idiosyncrasies of the Indian economy".

According to the study, in India "direct sales and multi-level-marketing are all being inadvertently bracketed with pyramid and Ponzy schemes; consequently consumer protection considerations are being imposed on perfectly legitimate and beneficial economic activities with significant positive externalities.  The adverse outcomes of such flawed policy could be many - increase in cost of sales, reduced competition, greater inefficiencies and increased cost of entry for new firms being some.  Not only developed, even fast growing developing countries have recognized this and have drafted a facilitative structure for Direct Sales and Multi-level Marketing that clearly distinguishes them from Pyramid schemes."

"However, recent draft guidelines issued to the states show no such vision; they could be construed to be describing direct product sales as disguised form of a pyramid / money circulation schemes.  This only reflects that policy-makers need to better understand the nuances of the DS and MLM industry, and also appreciate its current and potential importance.  It is critical for the government to understand that any economic activity that is based on ‘regular consumption of real consumable goods or services', irrespective of the cost of the goods, cannot be simplistically classified as a ‘disguised form of money circulation'."

"The current draft guidelines envisage eliminating all direct selling activity where the entity higher in the hierarchy is able to earn commission's basis the sales efforts of those down the line, without having to work equally hard. This is of course a rather na├»ve form of identifying an undesirable or undesirable economic activity – by this route insurance agents, almost all of trade, and most forms of economic activity could be considered to be undesirable."

"It is obvious that direct selling and MLM are forms of economic activity that could play a very important role in a country like India.  These are low transaction cost mechanisms for sales that have a very high value added component, and are not very resource intensive unlike other forms of sales. Unlike business models, however, the economic policy framework needs to be evenly spread across the country, and therefore the central government needs to play a leadership role in many areas.  DS and MLM is one such domain, since sales and marketing in the new economy will necessarily be many times across borders, a common framework would help in creating a fracture-less marketplace."

"Many countries in the world (Singapore, Malaysia, United Kingdom, United States, Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore) have specific pieces of legislation on direct selling. For example, these cover conduct towards consumers, conduct towards direct sellers and conduct towards companies.  One must also remember that direct selling need not always be B2C.  It can also be B2B.  If one scans the legislation in these different countries, they generally tend to involve a licensing cum registration system for direct sellers, prohibitions on certain categories of products, restrictions on collecting money, a cooling-off period (during which consumers can cancel the contract), restrictions on multi-level marketing modes and prohibitions on pyramid schemes."

The Study further debates that "There is thus recognition that there is a double kind of problem.  First, stated explicitly, companies indulging in pyramid structure marketing schemes were claiming exemption from the Prize, Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act.  Second, left implicit and not explicitly stated, since direct selling can also be multi-level, companies indulging in multi-level marketing were being equated with those that dabbled in pyramid structures.  In pyramid structures, people are persuaded to join and pay money, because they gain from the payments made by people who join later.  In practice, it shouldn't be difficult to distinguish between the two.  For instance, there is often no clear product in a pyramid structure and commissions are paid on registration and entry fees, not on sales of products.  Even if there is a product, it may be of dubious value.  Having said this, does the Prize, Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act clearly distinguish between the two, without having to go in for judicial interpretation?"

"In addition to amending the Prize, Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, it is also necessary to amend the Consumer Protection Act.  For instance, Section 2® of the Consumer Protection Act is against unfair practices and "unfair trade practice means a trade practice which, for the purpose of promoting the sale, use or supply of any goods or for the provision of any service, adopts any unfair method or unfair or deceptive practice including any of the following practices… ". Although this listing is meant to be indicative and not exhaustive, it is sometimes interpreted as being exhaustive, the point being that a pyramid scheme is not explicitly mentioned as an unfair trade practice."

These two amendments are the bare minimum that is necessary.  However, there is a reason why these have been described as a second-best solution.  Laws are enacted at various points in time, to cater to a specific need.  Tinkering with sections and amending them here and there, to cater to a new need, is often a bad idea.  Such amendments fail to take a holistic view.  Given the importance of the direct selling industry, an importance that is only likely to increase in the future, a fresh piece of legislation is needed.

About Indicus Analytics

Indicus Analytics was established in December 2000 and has since become India's premier economics research firm. National and International corporate bodies, industry associations, governments, academia and media houses have used our research to better understand the Indian economy and markets. Our multidisciplinary team draws from the analytical inputs developed in several fields – economics, statistics, demography, management, engineering, sociology, etc. We have been servicing a range of Internationally renowned organizations such as World Bank and various UN organizations, academia such as Harvard, Stanford and Cambridge Universities, government organizations such as Finance Commission, Competition Commission of India and Reserve Bank of India, top media houses such as India Today group, Outlook group, Indian Express group, and the topmost national and multinational companies.

About Dr. Bibek Debroy

Professor Bibek Debroy is an eminent Indian economist and currently a Research Professor at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi. His past positions include the Director of the Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies, Consultant to the Department of Economic Affairs of Finance Ministry, Secretary General of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Director of the project LARGE (Legal Adjustments and Reforms for Globalising the Economy). Professor Debroy has authored several books, papers and popular articles, has been the Consulting Editor of Indian financial and other newspapers. He has done extensive research on economic policy, law, regulation and states.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Placement season'13 at NIILM CMS campus

Mollshree,
Batch of 2013 writes about placements at NIILM CMS this year...

Here comes the most awaited time of the year.... its Placements Time!!! This is the phase in MBA where a student finally gets the result of his hard labour of two years. Placement Season in NIILM CMS starts from as early as October – November when the company starts coming to the campus. Students get opportunities to sit in the company of their choice and according to the specialization they have opted for. Since there is dual specialization in NIILM CMS so we have the chance to sit in companies of both the specializations.

The placements for 2011-13 batch is on and many companies have already visited the campus like:
DELOITTE, CAPITAL IQ, F1F9,  AMEX, REDINGTON,  ZYCUS, BAJAJ FINSERVE, XL DYNAMICS, HSBC, BERGER, CITY BANK  (Dubai and India), PEPSI, NOVASOL, O GENERAL, TECH MAHINDRA, INDAG RUBBER, WNS GLOBAL RESEARCH, INDUSIND BANK, COLGATE, COSMIC,  JARO, NAUKRI, ICICI  SECURITIES, ASIAN PAINTS, GENESIS,  DCB, VISHAL RETAIL, VODAFONE, DISH TV,  ADITYA BIRLA,  JK CEMENT, ALCATEL LUCENT, ST GOBAIN,  TRIDENT, NESTLE, etc to name a few.  Many companies are lined up for the process like GE, INVESTORS CLINIC, SIB for further interviews.

We undergo specific Mock and GD Sessions conducted by our expert faculties for the Interview Preparations. As a result many of students have already got placements and many are appearing on their concerned companies. But as this process continues we have started getting a feeling of bidding Goodbye to our college life and Welcome a new life ahead “CORPORATE LIFE”



Monday, 11 February 2013

Psychometric Testing: Myths & Realities


Prof. Rituraj Kumar,
Professor of OB and HR,
NIILM CMS writes...

Contact Prof. Rituraj: riturajmfp@gmail.com

The term “Psychometric Testing” evokes different reactions in different people. Some people think of it as an enigmatic thing, some others treat it as a recent fad and still others tend to think of it as something fearsome. By and large, several myths abound and a negative perception has been woven around psychometric tests.

In one of the multinational organizations where the author of this article was asked to administer psychometric tests at the time of selection, the reaction of the candidates was to be seen to be believed. Most of the junior level candidates were mortally afraid and a few were extremely apprehensive. At the senior level, the reaction was out rightly negative and the resistance was all the higher. People thought of it as some kind of a rejections devise, an invasion into their privacy and as something mysterious.

Even for the most enlightened ones, psychometric testing appears to be a concept and practice that is shrouded in mystery, some kind of mumbo-jumbo, and a kind of pseudo-science. Some people even equate it to palmistry, astrology and graphology.

In reality, it’s none of the things mentioned above. Psychometric testing is simply a standardized, objective measure of a sample of behaviour. It is standardized because the procedure of administering the test, the environment in which the test is taken, and method of calculating the individual score are uniformly applied. It is called objective because a good test measures the individual differences in an unbiased, scientific manner without the interference of extraneous factors.

A psychometric test typically is designed to produce a quantitative assessment of one or more psychological attributes. It includes ability tests that measure achievement, aptitude, intelligence etc. and personality tests that measure different dimensions of an individual’s personality.

There are psychometric tests to measure verbal reasoning ability, numerical aptitude, mechanical aptitude, spatial reasoning ability and general intellectual ability. Similarly, personality tests can be used to explore critical facets of an individual’s personality such as extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, openness to change, self-confidence, interpersonal orientation, independence, frustration tolerance and team working ability.

Psychometric Tests are carefully designed so that each person who completes a particular test has the same experience, that is, they are presented with the same set of questions and have the same amount of time in which to answer them.
The raw score is then converted to a standard score by comparison with a representative sample of people who have completed the test in the past. Comparison with the norms make it possible to say whether a person has scored above or below the average, and how much above or below.

In some recent years, the popularity of psychometric testing has increased as the corporate world has recognized the importance of these tools and is using the psychometric tests on a large scale for various purposes such as recruitment & selection, training & development, career planning, succession planning, potential appraisal, counseling and personal growth & development.

Psychometric tests are used a great deal for HR function, especially through Assessment Centres and Development Centres. They also help in competency mapping and thus provide valuable inputs to the organization with respect to its human resources.

The focus today is not merely on hiring people with relevant skills but also on behavioural skills which become so essential for organizational success. Factors like ability to work in teams, tolerate ambiguity, devise innovative solutions, and resist stress are things which an employer would like to know beforehand.

And it is to reveal the factors like those mentioned above and many more which are not easily observable that psychometric testing can be applied. All of us do have a fair idea about our own selves. But in many cases, it is found that the conceptions that we hold of ourselves turn out to be misconceptions. Therefore, a psychometric test can help to detect our true selves and thus help us to become a better person.

Research points out that in a traditional interview, managers typically decide on a candidate in the first two minutes and spend the rest of the interview convincing themselves that this snap judgment is correct.

Kelvin Murphy, the former head of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychologists, estimates that such interviews are only 65 percent accurate in judging an applicant’s potential strengths and leadership style. Adding psychometric testing or other psychological tools can raise the accuracy to 85 percent.

Organizations like Modi Xerox, Apple Computers, AT & T, IBM, Intel, Citicorp, GE, 3M Co., and Exxon etc. have been using the psychometric tests for a long time. Of late, even Indian companies like TCS, L&T, LG, UB, PCS, ESS, ICICI, Telco, Max New York Life Insurance, HCL Infosystems, Bharti Telecom, TVA Infotech, and Ecosoft Technologies etc. have started using the psychometric tests for various purposes.

The PSU giants like BHEL, SAIL, ONGC, Indian Airlines, Hindustan Steel Limited, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, ITI, etc., have also taken welcome measures to incorporate the uses of psychometric tests for various purposes in their organizations. And of course, the Indian Defense Services have always been using the psychometric tests for the purpose of selection of the cadets for quite a long time.

Some of the popular psychometric tests being used today by Corporates the world over are 16 PF, MBTI, OPQ32, Thomas Personal Profiling System, Gordon’s Personal Profile Inventory, Rorschach Ink-Blot Test, FIRO-B, Picture Frustration Test and TAT.

From the industry perspective, however, it is to be borne in mind that psychometric tests can only aid and inform a decision, they cannot provide a definitive answer. There cannot be a substitute for experience. Therefore, the psychometric tests should ideally be used in conjunction with a thorough interview by experienced and trained individuals.

And it’s not only in industries, but in educational institutions also where psychometric tests could be used for different purposes such as career counseling, SWOT analysis and IQ/EQ assessment.


The author has successfully used psychometric tests for preparing the personality profile of a large number of MBA students, analyzing their strengths and weaknesses, and subsequently counseling and providing developmental inputs for minimizing the weaknesses and maximizing the strengths.

The key to taking psychometric tests is being relaxed, genuine and sincere. It’s futile to attempt faking answers by trying to guess what the employer wants and giving socially desirable responses, as there are in-built mechanisms in most of the psychometric tests today which measure the honesty and consistency of your responses and can catch you if you are trying impression management.

Also, there is little point in being someone you are not. Even if you do manage to get by through faking your responses, it would be all the more troublesome for you when you actually perform a job for which you are not ideally suited in the first place.

So, the next time you are required to undergo a psychometric test, do not be afraid at all. Rather, look forward to it as it could help the organization/employer to know you better and also help you to understand yourself better.



Tuesday, 5 February 2013

NIILM CMS In Outlook...


NIILM CMS coverage in Outlook...
Prof. S. Neelamegham, President, NIILM CMS, and 
Mr. Brijesh Agrawal, COO, IndiaMart, NIILM CMS alumnus

It is in a similar vein that Prof. S. Neelamegham President NIILM Centre for Management Studies speaks with pride about the Institute and the quality of manager created by them. Given the changing dynamics of the business world, Prof. S. Neelamegham says, “In the context of changing business environment the real challenges before the business schools is not to get better but how to make it different. We at NIILM CMS do it in a number of ways.” Explaining in detail he says,” Firstly the mission of NIILM CMS is to provide professional education that will enable them to become capable leaders with values and vision and who are globally adaptive and have the capability to bring about change in their business environment . Secondly we focus on integrated learning . We inculcate in our students the ability to learn, un-lean and re-learn as the new knowledge replaces the old. We constantly improve to their skills sets and develop their problem solving capabilities to face competitive challenges in a world of accelerated change. Thirdly, we make all the possible efforts to keep NIILM at the cutting edge of change and innovation. Last but not least our  message to the faculty is to inspire, ignite and transform our students through mentoring programme with one to one relationship with the students with a focus on their personality development.”

With these in mind, the Institute has also set up new centres of excellence-NIILM Centre for Entrepreneurship which is aimed at developing entrepreneurial traits amongst students. The centre also focuses on social entrepreneurship with the objective of promoting social development. Centre for Service Management to focus on IT, Banking and Financial Services, Insurance, Healthcare, Retailing, Tourism and Hotels, Media and Entertainment, Real Estate etc, and Centre for Sustainable Development. The Centre is set up to undertake research and conduct programmes through practical objectives that will meet the, local needs and that are community focuses, environmentally friendly, financially healthy and replicable.

Speaking of the future Prof. Neelamegham says, “While NIILM has accomplished a great deal, we recognize that we have to face several new challenges which include the need to internationalize our curriculum and courses, the need to remain at the cutting edge of research, the need to attract best students and faculty and the need to contribute to the society.”


Alumni Speak

Mr. Brijesh Agrawal, COO, IndiaMART InterMESH Ltd, Alumni of NIILM Center for Management Studies.

I totally believe in what NIILM CMS stands for – ‘Shaping Leadership through Values & Vision’. The environment, the faculty here allows you to explore your true potential. What better way to acquire knowledge and get hands-on experience than by becoming a management professional. This is why I opted for management for both my graduation and post-graduation.

Monday, 4 February 2013

HUL (HINDUSTAN UNILEVER) STRATEGIC TURN


Deboshree Banerjee,*
Student, Batch of 2012-14 writes...

The MD and CEO (till March-end, 2008) Douglas Baille headed for London April, 2008 to assume charge of Unilever’s Western European Region as President. It was then that Nitin Paranjpe took over as HUL’s youngest ever CEO from April 1, 2008.

Dhaval Buch(Executive Director, Supply Chain), Leena Nair ( Executive Director, HR) and Nitin Paranjpe formed the perfect embodiments of a changing HUL and now more dynamic eight member management committee.

HUL was now finally able to strike up growth embers, improve profitability, region market shares, and grow fledging markets.
The business success of HUL can be attributed to two main reasons:
  1. ‘One Unilever’ exercise, &
  1. Comprehensive organizational makeover.
HUL was able to gain back its reckoning amongst various stakeholders. It wasn’t that way between 2001-2004, where the company’s topline just refused to budge, as consumers shied away from HUL’s product, often preferring the cheaper alternatives in the market.

“Other new formed expenses- homeland installments and mobile phone bills ate into the consumer’s wallet. Also, a haughty HUL, accustomed as it was to a decade of robust double-digit growth and high profitability, was finding it difficult to accept that it wasn’t innovating fast enough, and was thereby drift6ing away from consumer.” Paranpje, ED, HPC (home and personal care), which is easily the largest portfolio at HUL.

In 2001-2004, the consumer had a lot of things to spend on, as interest rates were low. There was a competing demand on her funds. So, she compromised on things that did not really improve the quality of her life. Therefore, erosion of HUL’s market share in key categories- detergents soaps and, shampoos.

Therefore, in 2006 € 40 billion consumer goods major, Unilever, adopted a new structure- a single top executive team into which the foods and home and personal care business were integrated, called One Unilever, the programme also simplified the global business into 3 broad regions- Asia-Africa, Europe and the Americas. Then a new region of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) was carved out as a part of Unilever’s sharp focus on the high-growing, developing and emerging markets.
Harish Manwani, (the then) Chairman HUL, and President (Asia-Africa), Unilever said, “We were required to play our global scale with our regional might.”
HUL’s supply was organized on a regional and global basis which helped it derive efficiencies in buying and sourcing in the following ways:
1. Helped improve execution at the front end.
2. It now had two sales teams in the market (HPC and foods) as against 5 earlier.
3. It was now able to generate scale at the distributor end through a common channel programme across the companies.
4. There was little room for duplication as HUL did not have separate teams for foods, beverages, detergents, ice-creams etc. today, it was all one team.
In the tenure of Baille (CEO HUL), profitability could not be compromised at the altar of market share. So, despite an increase in advertising & promotional (A&P) expenditure- up by 32.3% in the 4th quarter of 2007 over the previous year’s corresponding period & higher by 11.8% in 2007 over 2006- HUL was been able to up its margins.

The competitive battle that began a few years ago called for unblinking defense. The defense was against global competition- P&G in detergents and shampoos, ITC in foods (& now in soaps) and; local rivals- Tata, Marico, Godrej, Cavin Kare etc.

ITC got into an already crowded personal care business. HUL’s approach had always been to provide consumers with an exciting portfolio of world class products. Thus, the trick of battling competition was to make a tradeoff between profitability and market share. It was now time to claw market share by market development and penetration and conversion. HUL earlier built the detergents and soap market & now, did the same with packaged foods. Here, it was now a fight for market share conversion from home-made foods to ready-to-cook. Therefore, maintaining market share by doubling or trebling the sizes of some markets. Knorr, Kisan Chatak Daar Ketchup, Amaze milkfood & snack food, etc were the new products to achieve the new purpose.

Leena Nair said, “What was going against the company on campus was its fuddy-duddy, traditional and hierarchical perception.” It was time to break the perception. HUL’s rah-rah growth in the ‘90s did bring with it some problems. The success HUL enjoyed for 10-12 years did breed arrogance. It had to pay the price for it, and the tough years between 2001-2004 taught the giant virtues of humanity.

Today, ‘Flexibility’ is a key mantra at HUL- be it in terms of sabbaticals, working out of home, or compensation. “It now believes to motivate, attract and retain people; excite people about the future”, said Nair.

Therefore, HUL has witnessed a drastic revival over the years by switching from an evasive to a defensive strategy; but the marathon is far from over.


* About Deboshree:

Hello everyone, this is Deboshree Banerjee and you can call me ‘Debo’. Yeah you would hear the abbreviated version more often than the original, in my Institution: NIILM-CMS and amongst friends. Well, I guess by this time you must have got a fair idea that I am a very energetic and amiable kind of a person. But then that does not mean that I am not sincere with my work, contrarily it helps me enjoy any work at hand and manage stress. My interests are marketing and human resources management. Though I am a greenhorn at NIILM, just stepped in the IInd semester, but my journey here till date has been a learning experience and full of fun, and hope will continue the same way. I am a progressive learner, and optimistic about first getting a job as marketing/ HR executive at the end of my tenure here, and after gathering experience would establish my own venture in the long run. And in the pursuit would also brush up my hobbies of dance and casual photography.

FAQs for taking admission at NIILM Centre for Management Studies


1 . What is the admission/ eligibility criterion at NIILM?
(a) Candidates applying for admission to the first year of PGDM Program must have pursued at least a 3-year Bachelor's Degree Program after 13 years of formal schooling in any discipline.
OR
Post Graduate Degree after 10+2+3 scheme
Note: Candidates appearing for the final examination of Bachelor's / Post Graduate Degree examinations may also apply.

(b) CAT score (November 2012) 
Candidates should have good CAT/MAT/XAT/ATMA scores, a good academic record, and a clear idea of why they prefer NIILM-CMS for doing their PGDM course.

Yes, the PGDM program of NIILM-CMS is AICTE approved since its inception in 1996 and is also recognized by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) as equivalent to an MBA degree.

Yes, NIILM-CMS for its AICTE approved PGDM Program considers GMAT, GRE, MAT, XAT , CMAT and ATMA Scores other than CAT.

Yes, the PGDM program of NIILM-CMS is AICTE approved since its inception in 1996 and is also recognized by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) as equivalent to an MBA degree.

Yes, NIILM-CMS for its AICTE approved PGDM Program considers GMAT, GRE, MAT, XAT , CMAT and ATMA Scores other than CAT.

Student should have a good score in CAT/MAT/ATMA/CMAT/XAT with minimum 50% marks in graduation. However, selected candidates are likely to have had a consistently good academic record.

Admission for XVIIIth Batch of PGDM programme commences from October 2012. The institute is advertising in all leading newspapers. For regular updates please visit our website www.niilm-cms.edu.in.

* CAT/MAT/ATMA/XAT Score ...............................................................................25%
* Group Discussion ............................................................................................25%
* Interview .....................................................................................................30%
* Extempore ...................................................................................................10%
* Academic Background (Including work experience)…….……….................….....................10%
Selection will depend on the cumulative score obtained in CAT/MAT/XAT/CMAT/ATMA, Academics, GD and Personal Interview.

2. Does NIILM-CMS offer scholarships to the students? 
NIILM-CMS offers excellent scholarships to deserving meritorious candidates. The scholarships are based on the over all performance of their CAT/MAT/CMAT/XAT/ATMA/GMAT score, academic background and performance in GD & PI.

3. Are there any attributes/parameters for evaluation in GD/Interview, on the basis of which I can prepare for NIILM-CMS? 
Yes, to help in this way we can suggest that you can prepare for your communication skills, leadership ability and clarity of thoughts other then listening and summarizing your ideas. For interview your work experience and aptitude for management career along with general awareness can help you.

4. Do you conduct interviews only in Delhi ? 
The Interviews are also conducted in Lucknow , Kolkata, Jaipur, Patna, Indore, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Guwahati, apart from Delhi depending upon the number of applicants

5. Does the Institute have a Placement Cell and which are the companies visiting the Institute regularly ? 
The institute has a dedicated Placement Cell. However, placement is a student driven activity and both student and placement cell work together at NIILM-CMS to achieve 100% placement every year. Our major recruiters are : IOCL,GRAIL research, ICICI Bank, AXIS Bank, Capital IQ, Spencers, CITI Group, Cease Fire, Videocon, Britannia, Nestle, Reckitt Benciser, Havells India, Matrix Cellular and many more.

6. What is a day's schedule at NIILM-CMS? 
Our day normally starts as early as 9.30 a.m. and goes on till 5 p.m. with a mixture of academic and extra-curricular inputs. The day remains hectic with surprise tests, presentations, projects and discussions on corporate case studies. Additionally enthusiastic students also hone their skills by volunteering in committees & clubs and participating in inter-collegiate competitions

7. What are the specializations offered? 
NIILM-CMS offers dual specialization to all its students, You must select the specialization based on your career plans. The different specializations offered are Marketing, Finance, Information Technology, International Business, Human Resources Management, Productions and Operations. (The specialization subjects can be changed depending upon the desire of the students to study any particular subject).

8. From where can we get a NIILM-CMS application form? 
a. 
NIILM forms can be bought from the campus on a payment of Rs.1650/-
b. The forms can also be downloaded from the website, www.niilm-cms.edu.in and filled forms can be sent to NIILM-CMS along with a demand draft of Rs.1650/- in favour of NIILM payable at New Delhi .
c. Online Application form can also be filled and submitted online on website along with online payment of the application fee of Rs.1150/-
d. The forms are also available at all Cerebral Heights Centers, IMS Centres and TIME centers across India on a payment of Rs.1650/-
e. You can also send a demand draft of Rs.1650/- and request for the form, which will be sent to you by courier.

9. Does NIILM-CMS provides hostel facilities? 
Yes we provide separate hostel facilities for boys & girls.