Crisis offers opportunities to Change 6 674

By Deepal Sooriyaarachchi.
Management Consultant, Author, Speaker, and Executive Coach.Former Managing Director of AVIVA NDB Insurance and a Former Commissioner of Sri Lanka Inventors Commission.

The current crisis compels us to review all our operations from a ground zero position without taking knee jerk reactions. Experts who have examined many organizations that have survived major crisis whether they are internal or external driven, tell us one of the most important things is to consider what is the core purpose of the organization, what are the core capabilities of the organizations, and what are the strategic steps that must be taken leveraging them. In that situation what is equally important is asking the question of whether the same strengths will be relevant in the emerging new scenario. In our economy, the public sector plays a significant role. With 1.5 million public servants, more than 600, 0000 pensioners, and all the politicians accounts for at least 40% of the national expenditure.
There had been a number of efforts to rationalize and improve the public sector with various
initiatives. I myself was once volunteered to serve on one such initiative called the National
Administrative Reforms Commission ( NARC). But they were not done at times when the need
is so compelling. In management, we talk of showing the elephant in the room to make change relevant.
The present situation is an ideal moment to approach to Rationalize, Right Size, and Improve
the productivity of the public sector organizations because of a number of reasons.

1. The Current Financial Situation in the country is one of the worst we have been so the
need to rationalize expenses is seen as one of the topmost tasks.
2. The last two months gave us ample opportunities to try newer ways of working and
service delivery and people have experienced the efficiency and effectiveness of those
so we will be able to sell the change.
3. There is a leadership that is visionary and willing to move the change agenda forward.

In order to develop a discussion and to move towards a national action plan the writer wishes to make a few proposals that can have far-reaching consequences. These are written not as an expert on public policy and administration but as a concerned citizen with some knowledge and experience in management.

1. CENTRALIZE VEHICLE OWNERSHIP

Most service organizations even in the public sector employee cost and transportation-related costs account for a high proportion of the overall cost. One can assume the same with the government agencies. I was trying to find out the latest statistics pertaining to the number of vehicles and associated costs but was not possible. But having led a government agency for a short period of three years I have made the following observations.

– Most government vehicles are overused and due to lack of cash flow reasons they are
not maintained at optimum levels.

– Due to the very laborious process involved with selling off an old vehicle in many
organizations, there are vehicles just left to decay. There are many such yards.

– Vehicle usage is not optimum. Every organization will have a number of vehicles.

– There is a lot of management time spent to ensure the governance processes involved
with using these vehicles yet misuses are very common.

– Every institution is duty-bound to maintain detailed running charts and these have to be
sent to the AGs department for scrutiny.

Rather than allowing every single organization to own vehicles, re-acquire all the non-strategic vehicles to a central transport service corporation that can be operated as a fully pledged cab company using an ICT platform such as Uber or Pick Me. Preauthorize the Type of vehicle that can be used by different grades of officers and encourage ride-shares by giving bonus points. This will cut down waste, improve efficiency, and be able to provide better quality vehicles for the officers to travel as well. Because this institution’s core responsibility is vehicle fleet management it will ensure proper maintenance and upkeep of vehicles. This kind of arrangement will provide valuable data to manage vehicle usage and resource planning. I am sure this is not a new suggestion.

2. MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS

In order to optimize the scarce resources suggest organizations that have similar mandates and those that can produce better results through synergy be merged into single entities. To do this meaningfully a high powered cross-functional team must be appointed with Legal, Financial, ICT, Human Resources, and Public Administration experience and expertise. More importantly, those individuals must be those capable of thinking out of the box.

Eg all trading organizations such as state trading Corporations, etc can be brought under LANKA SATOSA.
The businesses that are better done by the private sector the government can exit ie. Salusala and Laksala etc. All research institutes must be brought under a central authority to ensure proper coordination where resource allocation must be done based on the short to medium term needs of the country. This can avoid duplication of limited resources.

There can be many other departments and agencies that do overlapping functions while there are no organizations to address newer issues. These are made more complex of the Provincial Council structure and the plethora of ministries created to accommodate politicians to ensure power consolidation in the parliament. These structural changes will require changes in respective acts and comprehensive M&A work. Before embarking on detailed work a preliminary study should be done to reveal the financial and social impact. However, the starting points could be restructuring commercial organizations.

2. CREATE CENTRALIZED SUPPORT SERVICES.

Centralize all the support services such as Human Resources, Administrative, Procurement, and Finance functions of those clustered entities so they can focus on core delivery function. This model should be tried at least for different institutions under a single ministry.

3. WORK FROM HOME (WFH) and Provide end to end service online.

Identify functions that can be done remotely in as many organizations as possible and create
infrastructure, and work norms for the state employees to work from home, take files home
complete, and deliver on given deadlines. They will have to be monitored not by the number of
hours they work but by the delivery of outputs. This will ease off the pressure on transport, operational costs of offices, and the personal costs of employees. Some institutions can work for less than five days a week without affecting delivery to the public. Encourage the public also to visit the government offices by making prior appointments. There can be some other organizations whose work can be done significantly online ie obtaining ISBN numbers by authors and facilitate online payments and credit card payments.

4. STRENGTHEN THE GRAMA SEVAKA OFFICE

Strengthen the GS office by converting it to the GS division based government contact center by attaching at least one of the newly recruited graduates. His/her job should act as a facilitator between the citizens and different government institutions. He or she should read and explain all the requirements to citizens, certify and upload applications and supporting documents, give clear instructions as to how to approach requirements needed by the government. This should ease the work of service providers, reduce repetitive visits by the citizens. The GS office should be equipped with Internet Connections, Video Conferencing facility, and high speed or at least
a flatbed scanning facility.

5. STRENGTHEN THE POSTAL DEPARTMENT AS THE LAST LEG DELIVERY PARTNER
FOR E-COMMERCE.

Allow the post offices to hire three-wheelers so the postman’s delivery area can be increased
and what can be carried too will be enhanced. This way they can specialize in delivering
pensions and such needs of the elderly, thus creating a very powerful user-friendly customer
service. Eventually, the profits can lead the postman to use their own Three Wheelers. POST is
the largest distribution network in the country. It might make sense for the Postal Department to
be converted to a commercial establishment fully owned or as a Joint Venture with a Logistics
company so Sri Lanka Post can be a fully pledged modern distribution network. If not, the
department will continue to be a major cost center without even being able to pay salaries of the
employees.

7. DISTRIBUTION OF PHARMACEUTICAL ITEMS.

Leverage the experiences of the recent medicine distribution through post offices and build a centralized platform that can be used by private as well as public pharmacies to distribute
medicine and dispense them to patients. Doctors should send the prescription to the preferred
pharmacy of the customer. They can either collect or get them delivered. This will improve the
regulated medicine consumption. There may be some legislative changes needed to make
these possible.

8. A PLATFORM TO BOOK GOVERNMENT SPACES

Create a platform such as booking.com where every single meeting room is listed, so they can
be used and shared by different government users and if available even by private sector
organizations. This will generate new income for those institutions.

These are just a few simple ideas that can propel changes in the system if implemented.

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Entrepreneurs are born or made 0 3443

By : Chantal D

Entrepreneurs are born or made?

Simon Arthur Wickramasinghe would have been a successful lawyer, had he continued to practice.  Although this was not what he had in the back of his mind?

If he was the ordinary, the Ceylon Biscuits Limited (CBL) would not have flagged its way to become the Sri Lanka’s largest confectionary manufacturer, producing and marketing 11 categories of branded food products catering to the diverse palates.

In 1939, Simon W. dropped out from the law college and bought over William biscuit factory from the owner. The lawyer capitalized in it and renamed the factory which came to be known as Williams Confectionary Limited. After relocating the location from Kolonnawa to Dehiwalaand then to Akuressa during the war.

Ceylon Biscuits - Meeting

The biscuits were handmade and baked in a long-fired oven. The dough was mixed by hand,rolled out and cut into shape and placed on trays. These were then baked and cooled. They were packed into gallon tins with a round lid for sale. It was sold locally.

Simon and his wife Enid had four children, sons.

Paul was their firstborn. He was in the first batch of graduates from the University of Peradeniya. He went on to setup Ceylon Essences. Ranjith, their second son excelled in the field of Engineering. Mineka, the third, also known as Micky was the first to follow in his father’s footsteps. Ramya was the youngest. His interests lay in food Science and Technology.

Simon W. was keen to expand the production of this non-traditional snack called a biscuit. A snack introduced by the British. He wanted to find new ways to make better biscuits, a greater variability and make all this easily available. He did this by introducing high-tech manufacturing machinery to the country.

Ceylon Biscuits - Chairman

During this period Mr. S W R D Bandaranayake was the Prime Minister of the country. Due to the mishandling of the economy imports were becoming challenging. Imports of biscuits were banned. It was up to Williams and Maliban which was opened in 1954, to meet the demand and satisfy the market.

Realize this in 1957, the biscuit production line was mechanized with the introduction of Baker Parkins lines from the UK. The then Governor General of Ceylon Sir Oliver Goonethilake declared open the new building which housed the factory.

As the company grew the ‘Williams’ brand packed biscuits in branded tins called ‘Orchid Assorted’ and ‘Cheese Cuts’ with advertising taglines that said ‘Pick the Best’. Simon W. even had many British nationals working for him at his factory.

The products made were Cream Crackers, Marie, Arrowroot, Tea Ginger Nuts, Nice, Custard Cream, Bourbon and Assorted.

In 1960 Simon W. installed an automatic wafer ovenwith 12 plates for better production. It also came with cream spread attached to a cooling conveyor. After cooling, it went to a cutting machine. The packing was done manually into 4 oz. packs and bulk pack into tins.

Munchee LogoTo Simon W. and his family this was a momentous and a historical venture. It was the birth of “Munchee”. The wafer manufactured were branded as Munchee. The name Munchee was given by Mr. Edger Corray.

Simon W. and his sons Mineka and Ramya realized that new machinery with high capacity was the need of the day. To expand, the Ministry of Industries approval had to be obtained. But, the ministry was not keen as private sector industry was not encouraged. Finally the Ministry wanted Williams Confectionary Limited to show exports to grant approval

With much difficulty an export order was obtained from Saudi Arabia. With this in hand approval for expansion was gained by Simon W. At that time William Confectionary Limited did not have land for expansion. This was the next obstacle faced by Simon and his sons. Finally land was bought at Pannipitiya.

Ceylon Biscuits Limited was incorporated in 1968 as a new company under the leadership of Simon Wickramasinghe’s son Mineka Wickramasinghe.

Simon Arthur (Artie) Wickramasinghe renamed Chairman of Ceylon Biscuits Limited until August 1984 when he passed away leaving behind a legacy of fair play, both by the worker and the consumer.

Today CBL offers diversity of captivating tastes to International consumers, stormed export market gaining acceptance in 52 countries and counting.

Winning Export Awards since the year 2003, having won recognition by awarding bodies including National Chamber of Exports and Presidential Exports Awards.

When it came to Simon W. a self-made Entrepreneur, the sky was not the limit.

Entrepreneurs aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work.

 

4 Ways to Stay Motivated as You Build Your Business 0 760

By : Chantal D

It takes consistent motivation to push through the hard times.

Tell me if this sounds familiar. You’re having an amazing month when things are flowing in your business. You’re signing new clients, your current customers are spreading the word about your business. Things are going so well that you pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming.

Then, the next month arrives. Business slows down. Potential clients decide to use someone else. One thing after another just doesn’t go your way.

In either case, your motivation affects the growth of your business. During the good times, motivation can be a little different to stay focused on the smaller tasks that grow a business. During the hard times, you don’t feel motivated to do anything but sit with a drink on the couch verging out on your favorite TV series.

It takes a lot to build a business. Your motivation is an important part of the equation. Being motivated 100 percent of the time is not a realistic expectation, but there are strategies for staying consistently motivated to achieve explosive growth in your business.

01. Take plenty of ‘you’ time. 

Take plenty of 'you' time

It’s easy and common to get lost in the hustle of building your business. You have long workdays, respond to message all hours of the day and chase down potential business when it looks within your grasp. Before you know it, you start to hate your business because it’s overtaken your life. You start to get bitter about what you once loved. To stay constantly motivated, you need breaks.

You need to schedule lots of “you” time. This includes vacations and hours when you turn off “business mode.” Set boundaries with clients and have lots of time set aside for doing the things that light your fire. You need to recharge your batteries so that you can come back stronger after the “you” time.

Those breaks will help you get more done because it brings greater consistency.

02. Build connections into each week. 

Build connections into each week

Human beings crave connection with other human beings. You can try building a business on your own, but at some point, you’ll need to involve others. It may be bringing on employees, a virtual assistant or strategic partnerships. But also, it’s human contact and connection through groups and masterminds. Don’t build your business on an island.

Consistent motivation comes when you’re sharing experiences with other motivated people. You learn from each other while getting the connection that’s built into your DNA. Set aside time to mastermind, connect and meet fellow entrepreneurs who can help your entrepreneurial journey.

03. Have your sources of instant inspiration. 

Have your sources of instant inspiration

No one is motivated 100 percent of the time, but with the right sources of inspiration, you can get motivated instantly. There are videos, podcasts, articles and different forms of virtual content that you can consume immediately. Have content on the ready for tapping into when you’re unmotivated.

Listen to what the entrepreneurial greats who are doing what you’re working to do have to say about taking action. When you feel down, hit “play” and get an instant boost of inspiration to keep going. You’ll be surprised by what a simple video or article can do for your mindset.

 

04. Have a mission bigger than just a business. 

Have a mission bigger than just a business

Take a look at any successful business and you’ll see it is more than the widgets, marketing or who is in charge. They are businesses that are built around a mission and vision. There was a driving force that caused the business to be formed with the main goal being to help people and change the world.

Constant and consistent motivation comes when you build your business around an idea that’s bigger than just making money. Build a business that makes an impact on the lives of those your business serves. A business that creates freedom and financial security. Get clear on your mission and the values that shape the actions you’re taking.

You’re an entrepreneur building your dream. You’re putting your dent in a world that’s full of conformity. It will take a lot of consistent motivation to push through the hard times because there will be plenty of them every single day. Use these four tips to tap into your inner power and use that motivation to do amazing things.