Thursday, July 12, 2007


Returned home one evening and found 2 interesting pieces of paper peacefully sharing space on my bedside table .

One ( the smaller image ) the Tag from a SEWA garment I had purchased at an exibition . I had liked the tag and somehow did not feel like tossing it in the bin .

Another ( the hot Sale event ) was a mailer from a lingerie brand that has launched in India recently .

The 2 images are a striking contrast to each other . Yet are linked in the sense that they pertain to women and the fashion/clothing industry . Alluding perhaps to the fact that there's space for both to co-exist . Like the 2 pieces of paper sharing the table space .

Monday, July 2, 2007

Build your ecosystem carefully

A sequence of events - seemingly straight out of the book of Murphy's laws - sparked this conscious realisation .
2 packages being delivered by 2 different courier companies had to be received and sent out to a client to meet a commitment. Interestingly both parcels were sent from one location. The only difference was the time of handing over to the courier . And as it turned out - to 2 different companies. Strangely both parcels had to be collected from the respective offices of the courier companies in Bombay since they would assure delivery only the subsequent day . One(Bluedart) took 2 days after promising next day delivery and the another(First Flight) took nearly 4 days after promising delivery in 2 days ( notice the consistency of 100% extension from the commited time frame !)
International couriers not to be outdone in this seeming race towards inefficiency - DHL joined the fray by adding their contribution to eroding time and energy . Finally the saga came to an end with DHL collecting the package .
As a company in the clothing business we use + are the recipient of the "services" of several courier companies . From time to time they seem to attempt vigorously to be deemed the most inefficient company in their business . Seldom has it happened that 3 of them decide to do so within a span of few days and to one set of contents .
We were determined to meet the commitment made to the client . So if that entailed repeated calls to various offices of the courier companies to ensure receipt of the incoming packages , sending someone to collect the packages , repeating it all over again to send it out and ensure it connected on the flight to it's final destination - then that's what was done . At the end of the day we met the commitment . But at the cost of significant time and energy which undoubtedly could have been to better use .
It brought about a conscious realisation of the need to build the ecosystem - of customers , suppliers , service providers - consciously and carefully . Often when individuals , teams , organizations seek to improve their productivity and output - they introspect and seek to identify , analyse and weed out habits , practices that are internal to them . Unless the net is cast wider to include the players from the related ecosystem the impact of such introspection could be limited . Or worse - bandwidth is freed up only to deal with a growing tribe of energy drainers within the ecosystem . From a customer who seems to take an inordinate time for most issues to service providers/suppliers who seem to exist only to 'serve' their needs ( or serve if and when convenient ) to all shades of grey in between . This impacts organisations differently . Smaller organisations are likely to experience a direct impact in terms of time and effort wasted . Larger organisations may experience this plus the cost of building an army to deal to mundane tasks simply because the scale of it's energy draining ecosystem necessitates it
( assumption being that both the small and the large organisation are conscious of and continually work to improve their internal productivity ) .
As my former yoga teacher would reiterate - a part cannot be treated without treating the whole .
Build your ecosystem - consciously and carefully .