Making your home energy efficient and cash friendly

Just as we know that “Charity begins at home”, it is imperative that the habit of saving first strikes its roots if you are taught the same at home. We adopt several measures to save some of our hard earned money every month. But have you ever thought that there’s a lot you can do to start saving at home. All you need to do is make certain changes in your lifestyle. Let us say, you can install energy efficient appliances that can save a lot of energy every month. And you will perhaps be surprised to find out how much you can actually save. In this article, we will catch a glimpse of the changes that you can make in your nest in order to save some money every month. Continue reading “Making your home energy efficient and cash friendly”

What is Quality Research and a Good Research Paper

Often a question that plagues many a beginner research student is the major question: What is good research or How to write a good research paper. Often, this becomes a major headache for students striving to complete a dissertation for their masters programme or even their doctoral programme. So what are the dimensions of a high quality research or a high quality research paper that one needs to keep in mind while writing the same?

Typically, as I would go about it, a good research should follow a simple methodology which should transcend to a publishable good research paper. So here are the few basic steps which one should follow while writing a good research paper.

  1. First challenge is choosing the topic of the research. How does one identify what topic is actually a good topic of interest? A major point to ponder would be is the problem statement significant enough? How relevant is the context in the current scenario? If there is substantial past literature which has been already published, then it is likely that it is a good research topic, broadly. I would advise students who are yet to establish themselves in the academia to refrain from choosing topics which may be interesting, but would have very less literature to support the building blocks of the same.  Choose a title for your work, which brings out its essence within 5 to 12 (maximum 15) words.
  2. Research studies typically have 3 important dimensions: Applicability (relevance of the study to the outer world), Rigor of methodology (to allow replicability of the study and the findings and thus the falsifiability of the theory), and the generalizability of the findings/results/theory generated through the study. However, many senior researcher feel that it is difficult to address more than 2 of these dimensions stringently while conducting a research, without compromising the 3rd dimension.
  3. Next start with a thorough literature review in the area in which you are planning to do a study. Typically remember, most quality research papers would have more than 30-50 citations and these researchers would have gone through 3 times the number of cited literature while developing the study. Not only a detailed literature review clarifies what could be the possible contribution in the paper, but also will help you to get a very strong idea on what could be the possible ways to go about the research methodology for such a problem. While conducting a literature review, it is of paramount importance to validate the degree of authenticity of the sources based on which you would build your work.
  4. After a thorough review of literature is conducted, it is time to define the contribution of your study. Always remember, the best research works are often those which strive to make a small yet significantly clear contribution. Attempting a huge amount of contribution often affects the quality of the work.
  5. Next is the step of designing a research methodology.  Every research would be having an ideal methodology based on the focus of the study, the limitations of doing research in the problem domain and replicability of the methodology across other studies with a similar focus. typically research is often evaluated based on the methodological rigor with which the contributions are evaluated and subsequently highlighted.  However, due to practical reasons, one needs to remember that limitations of available resources like access to data, technology, connections and other factors often limit the scope of following a “tailor made research methodology” and this often is an inherent issue of the problem under investigation. Not all studies can follow the ideal path due to lack of resources available to travel on the same. However, research methodology is of paramount importance and care should be taken to ensure that the best possible methodology is undertaken while planning out the research design.
  6. Then comes the major question of going about with the planned methodology. In various studies, this phase would be different. Sometimes methodologies need to be modified from the one that was planned, in due course of progress in the study. In social sciences (business management, other social sciences) this would essentially be the data collection phase, while in the domain of technology, this may entail the development of algorithms/hardware to meet the objectives to extend existing theories. This is followed by the stage where the analysis is done (on the data collected, or through the new proposed algorithms or using new technology) and the results need to be rechecked with existing literature for their validity on how they concur yet extend the same. Every details in these steps should be noted so as to allow the replicability of the study by another research following your methodology on a similar problem.
  7. Finally the last question is how to go about writing a great dissertation paper. Ideally the paper should have few mandatory sections like a brief introduction to the topic highlighting its significance and what you contributed, and the boundaries of your study. Next important section is the detailed review of existing literature in the topic so as to be able to bring out the existing gaps in the same. Next important section is writing in details about the contribution of your research and compare the same with the existing literature, and highlighting what existing theories it takes forward or contradicts. Then comes the theory section where you should describe in details what is your main proposition (including the model) in the paper, by building on the blocks taken from existing literature. Then you should give a detailed explanation of your research methodology through which you attempted to provide empirical validation to your propositions in your study. Then you should discuss the results of the research after it is conducted. Finally in the conclusion section, you should discuss the significance of your propositions/findings and highlight how it concurs with existing body of knowledge and yet takes it further, or disagree with the existing body of knowledge, suggesting reasons for the the same. Some research papers would also like to end with few notes on the limitations of the study and future research directions for someone to extend your work.

Hope this helps all the students who are writing their dissertation paper. Do get back to me if you feel any important dimension which has been missed here, can be added back. Also, if you have any clarification, feel free to shoot them to me. Ph.D. with first class or equivalent at the preceding degree in the appropriate discipline. Research is an art which can only be guided by some professionals like PaperWritingHelp.net.

How to write a Resume or CV – Tips and Sample

The most important facet while applying for a job is presenting one’s competency through a resume or CV. So how should one present one’s CV so that the first barrier, of getting noticed amidst hundreds of applicants, is successfully crossed. Here are few tips every professional should keep in mind while writing the curriculum vitae. Always remember, the first round while selecting a candidate through the CV is via elimination, while the second round to finalize a hire is through selection via interviews. Continue reading “How to write a Resume or CV – Tips and Sample”

Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Management is often defined in Operations Management literature as the integrative planning and management of all activities involved in sourcing and procurement, conversion, and all Logistics Management activities (Handfield & Nichols, 1999; Mentzer et al., 2001). Importantly, it also includes coordination and collaboration with channel partners, which can be suppliers, third-party service providers, In fact, the coordination is one of the major challenges in effective supply chain management (Thomas & Griffin, 1996). Stakeholders could be intermediaries, and even customers. At its core. Supply Chain Management integrates supply and demand management within and across companies.

Supply Chain Management can also be defined as the integrative planning and management of all activities involved in sourcing and procurement, conversion, and all Logistics Management activities. Securing one of the few respected logistics companies can be a great way to have a more efficient supply chain management.

However, selection of any supply chain partner is a multi-criteria decision making process and is extremely complex. Therefore a lot of advanced decision support systems are used for partner selection for effective supply chain management. There has been lots of studies which has focussed on the challenges and approaches for supply chain partner selection (Kar, 2009; Pani & Kar, 2011, Kar, 2014; Kar & Pani, 2014a; Kar & Pani, 2014b)

The structure and activities of a typical Supply Chain for a large manufacturing firm is displayed above.

So what does integrative supply chain management?

Integrative supply chain management consists of all the activities involved in logistics, supplier identification and management, reverse logistics, cash to cash management, service level distribution, management to demand and responding to fluctuations, manufacturing, management of e-SCM issues, management of technology, auctions, negotiations, reverse auctions, customer relationship management (to an extent), ware house management, inventory management and so on.

However the most crucial activities in proper management of the supply chain focuses on activities involving logistics management, supplier / vendor selection, procurement strategizing (make vs buy decisions), vendor management, value co-creation with partners and collaborators, and daily operational aspects. Essentially, the crux of excellence in Supply Chain Management lies in managing the Supply Chain Network, which extends from the many tiered suppliers (vendors) to the end customer through distributors or retailers.

Research on supply chain management started as early as in the late 1950s, and research issues were centered around few key themes as described by the diagram below.

Thus Effective Supply Chain Management encompasses the planning and management of all the ploys and strategies, including the implementation of the same, for improving the sourcing and procurement of a firm, conversion, demand creation and fulfillment, and all Logistics Management activities. Thus, it also includes coordination and collaboration with channel partners, who can be suppliers for the firm, third-party service providers, intermediaries, and as mentioned earlier, collaborating customers on the network.

Those who feel as though they have a strong understanding of the many relationships involved with supply chain management may be able to own a franchise like Quiznos or other restaurant franchises with their expertise. The act of owning and establishing a franchise or chain restaurant in one’s area is fairly complicated, but certainly not impossible. It is also an excellent way to gain an understanding of what goes into owning and managing a business. Those who are relatively new to some of the aforementioned concepts may also find that they would have an easier time managing a franchise that is already established versus managing a business from the ground up.

By the way, did you hear about Interlink Parcel Delivery? They are a part of the UK based Interlink Express. They offer an excellent courier service, based on effective management of the logistics value chain.

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P.S. Article inspired by the presentation of my friend and colleague, Dr. Priyal Singh

References:

  • Handfield, R. B., & Nichols, E. L. (1999). Introduction to supply chain management (Vol. 183). Upper Saddle River, NJ: prentice Hall.
  • Kar, A. K. (2009). Using Fuzzy Neural Networks and Analytic Hierarchy Process for Supplier Classification in e-Procurement.
  • Kar, A. K. (2014). Revisiting the supplier selection problem: An integrated approach for group decision support. Expert systems with applications, 41(6), 2762-2771.
  • Kar, A. K., & Pani, A. K. (2014a). How can a group of procurement experts select suppliers? An approach for group decision support. Journal of Enterprise Information Management, 27(4), 337-357.
  • Kar, A. K., & Pani, A. K. (2014b). Exploring the importance of different supplier selection criteria. Management Research Review, 37(1), 89-105.
  • Mentzer, J. T., DeWitt, W., Keebler, J. S., Min, S., Nix, N. W., Smith, C. D., & Zacharia, Z. G. (2001). Defining supply chain management. Journal of Business logistics, 22(2), 1-25.
  • Pani, A. K., & Kar, A. K. (2011, January). A study to compare relative importance of criteria for supplier evaluation in e-procurement. In System Sciences (HICSS), 2011 44th Hawaii International Conference on (pp. 1-8). IEEE.
  • Thomas, D. J., & Griffin, P. M. (1996). Coordinated supply chain management. European journal of operational research, 94(1), 1-15.

Why MBA

The question “Why a MBA” is one that haunts both MBA aspirants and recruiters. Today slowly MBA is becoming a fad which often delivers much less substance to the business and is mostly about the way the little that is delivered is packaged. The problem is that this issue is also getting recognized by aspiring students and recruiters alike. And a bigger problem is all aspirants face this daunting question during the selection interviews.

So why do so many people start running after the craze despite its apparent limitations unless its from a highly recognizes institute like the IIMs, XLRI, FMS, MDI and the likes?

 

There are many perceived benefits of a MBA program from the viewpoint of the aspirants.

  1. Switching career to some other Industry or function within the same firm.
  2. Starting ones own business venture.
  3. Progressing to a higher responsibility in the same industry or function.
  4. Joining a dream company (the hottest being banking, consulting and marketing roles amongst the top business schools)
  5. Faster growth within a stipulated time in the career track.
  6. Filthy Lucre (Dirty Money) and lots of it.

So what skills MBA aspirants already posses and what new skills are developed in the programme.

  • Technical knowledge – Developed within the programme
  • Analytical skills – Strengthened from a basic level
  • Client skills – Developed a bit, further developed during post-MBA work.
  • Leadership skills – Has to be present in the aspirant’s core.
  • Business skills – Developed during the course work.
  • Management skills – Refine, but has to be in the aspirant’s core.
  • Communication skills – Must be present in the core, but presentation skills are improved.
  • Relationship skills – Further refined.
  • Problem/Contingency handling skills: Extensively developed in the programme.
  • Smart thinking – Has to be present in the aspirant’s core.

So does this justify burning that hole in your pocket and getting burdened by that huge bank loan, unless you are actually doing it from a premier institute? Think before you take the leap and invest your future in less known business schools just for the heck of it.

FDI and Economic growth

The past decade was marked by the increasing role of foreign direct investment (FDI) in total capital flows. In the late 90s, FDI accounted for more than 50% of all private capital flows to developing countries. This growing change in the composition of capital flows has been synchronous with a shift in emphasis among policymakers in developing countries to attract more FDI, especially following the 1980s debt crisis and the recent turmoil in emerging economies. The rationale for increased efforts to attract more FDI arises from the belief that FDI has several positive effects which include productivity gains, technology transfers, the introduction of new processes, managerial skills, and know-how in the domestic market, employee training, international production networks, and access to markets.

If foreign firms introduce new products or processes to the domestic market, domestic firms may benefit from accelerated diffusion of new technology. In other situations, technology diffusion might occur from labor turnover as domestic employees move from foreign to domestic firms. These benefits, in addition to the direct capital financing it generates, suggest that FDI can play an important role in modernizing the national economy and promoting growth. Based on these arguments, governments often have provided special incentives to foreign firms to set up companies in their country.

While it may seem natural to argue that FDI can convey greater knowledge spillovers, a country’s capacity to take advantage of these externalities might be limited by local conditions. In an effort to further examine the effects of FDI on economic growth, research indicates the same from the recent emphasis on the role of institutions in the growth. In particular, there is great emphasis on the role of financial institutions and many economists argue that the lack of development of local financial markets can limit the economy’s ability to take advantage of potential FDI spillovers.

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This article had been written by Rajeev Malhotra and edited by Arpan Kar. Rajeev has done his Masters in Financial Engineering from an Ivy League B-School from the United States. Besides his MBA, he also holds a CA and a CFA degree. He is currently working with DSP Meryll Lynch, USA.

How to meet impossible business requirements

Business requirements often seem an impossible target for most of us when they are chalked out. What creates a difference in the successful completion of the same is how one plans out the fulfillment of the same. Planning is the crucial part which many professionals fail to pay sufficient importance to. Continue reading “How to meet impossible business requirements”

How to analyze business case studies

There is no one best approach to analysis of an management case study. However, a number of general steps and guidelines can be followed to ensure better case analysis. Although the following steps are presented sequentially, it may be necessary during a specific case analysis to reorder or modify them, as they are intended to provide a general framework. Continue reading “How to analyze business case studies”

How to price internet services

The Internet is a world-wide network of computer networks that use a common communications protocol, TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol). TCP/IP provides a common language for inter operation between networks that use a variety of local protocols. To support such a system, two costs are involved. One is to maintain the routing table, to specify the path that information packets need to travel, to reach from the source to the destination. Keeping these tables organized and up-to-date is not a trivial task. Second issue facing the internet usage is the speed of service that is to be provided, and at what price should such a service be charged. Continue reading “How to price internet services”