Boom Review: Conquering the Chaos: Win in India, Win Everywhere



This book is written by Ravi Venkatesan, Ex-CEO of Cummins India and Microsoft India. Ravi makes a case of why India is a great destination for multinational corporations (MNC) and associated challenges. According to Ravi, in spite of the well-known issues of poor infrastructure, bureaucracy, red-tape, corruption and land acquisition issues, India presents an excellent opportunity for MNC’s (even if Indian market contributes to less than 1% global revenue for the company). The author argues that there are more benefits than just low cost labor and low cost manufacturing (commonly termed as the offshoring) for setting up operations in India.

Several examples of world class companies like John Deere, Cummins, Nokia, Microsoft, Samsung and Unilever are included with case studies. One example stands out – John Deere and Mahindra. Mahindra has a majority of market share in India when it comes to low horse power tractors. Recently, Mahindra was also challenging John Deere in their strong foothold market in the some western countries by introducing low cost (but value) products. John Deere was losing on home front and also on foreign turf. For John Deere, all aspect from design to manufacturing to marketing were controlled from the headquarters. In the light of changed market conditions, John Deere decided to open a new facility in Pune, India for developing low power-low cost tractors. All aspects of the product development were managed form the Pune facility. The strategy paid off – John introduced a new tractor specifically tailored to the developing market like India. They were able to penetrate the market and claim a sizable market share. Additionally, they were able to launch modified version of these products on the home front to regain the lost share in the developed markets. Thus, by expanding in India and taking the competitors head-on, John Deere acquired essential skills and capabilities to innovate and develop tailored products.

For the India strategy to succeed, the author suggests a few tips:
- Instead of a strong headquarter control where every small policy and directive is issued, the author suggest to have some local autonomy for the Indian executives. Many MNCs control each and every aspect of business from the headquarter normally located in its parent country. The author argues that such a model is detrimental for India operations due to the differences in the cultures, business, political and social structures with respect to a typical western country. The strategies which  work well in a developed western country do not necessarily apply in India.
- Many MNC try to standardize and use the “one size fit all” model. This might need some change – Indian customers are not necessary ready to pay premium prices for premium brands – A typical Indian customer will look at the value versus allied services and brand name. For example, the sachet  size shampoos and conditioners packaging.
- The most important point which was highlighted in the book was – Use India as a testing ground for other developing countries. The author argues that skills a company will acquire as they work in India will be useful for other developing countries which ,might have even adverse conditions. If the company is successful is India, it can easily replicate the strategies in other developing countries, expanding their reach and market potential.
- Strategies to work with local politicians, corruption and red tape are interesting.
- Author’s views and suggestions of entering the Indian market with acquisition or joint venture with an Indian company are noteworthy.

Manufacturing Future with MTConnect + Google Glass + iBlue


The advent of MTConnect has revolutionized the manufacturing industry where propriety software and closed systems was common. MTConnect is an open, royalty-free standard that is intended to foster greater interoperability between devices and software applications.  By establishing an open and extensible channel of communication for plug-and-play interconnectivity between devices, equipment and systems, MTConnect allows sources to exchange and understand each other’s data.  This common communication is facilitated by XML and HTTP technology to provide real-time data from throughout a factory.  This common communication empowers software developers to implement applications aimed at providing more efficient operations, improved production optimization and increased productivity.

The presentation will focus on two MTConnect complaint “apps” which provide a holistic view of your manufacturing operations i.e. iBlue for real-time data collection and Google Glass for real-time data visualization.

iBlue, the world's first MTConnect enabled industrial Bluetooth transmitter lets you wirelessly acquire, record, and share manufacturing shop floor data by connecting to your computer, tablet or smartphone device. The (free) mobile application allows users to perform various tasks including check material hardness, temperature, and collect data with an easy to use interface.

Additionally, MTConnect enabled application developed for “wearable” Google Glass technology ensures that the information is available anytime and anywhere. Google Glass is a combination of computer and display, camera, touchpad, microphone, email, and Internet connection, all consolidated into an eyeglass frame, which maximize the benefits of “augmented reality”. One can monitor real-time machine information including but not limited to Power Status, Emergency Stop, Alarm/Messages, Block, Controller Mode, Line, Program, Execution, Path Feed-Rate, Spindle, Axis Positions, Spindle Overrides, Feed-Rate Overrides, Machine Location, Part Location, and Current Part Status. Also, if the machine is outfitted with a camera, Google Glass will stream video to the user and overlay the machine data so the user can compare, analyze, and decide.

Additional business-related data can be viewed by integrating functions such as purchase order management, master scheduling, material requirement planning and shop floor control with other business functions such as accounting, sales, maintenance and shipping. Benefits include real time production dashboard, alerts, equipment availability and usage, overall equipment effectiveness, production reporting/tracking, visualization of maintenance tracking, problem resolution and planning, energy conservation, quality, statistical process control, data mining, genealogy and security.

The presentation will highlight a case study describing the economics of using MTConnect compliant “apps” at a gear manufacturing factory along with benefits, limitations, return-on-investment, and future work.


Reference: Manufacturing Future with MTConnect + Google Glass + iBlue; Deshpande A., Neidig J.; IMTS 2014 Conference, Chicago IL, Sep 2014.

Book Review: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Millennium Trilogy: Book 3)


The third book in the Millennium series “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest” describes Salander’s fight against the charges by the Police prosecutor, the court drama and finally the verdict that she is not guilty of any charges (actually she is victim of the government bureaucracy). The whole investigation is described in excruciating detail where none of the characters are well developed and prominent. An exception to this might be Inspector Monica Figuerola. There are loose ends (or maybe I just missed it ! – As I was bored) – What evidence was presented which proved Niedermann killed Buerman ? Were the charges against Bloomkvist dropped for possessing the illegal weapon ?  Even if we assume that the charges were dropped, why didn’t police interrogated as how the weapon was acquired ?  Paolo Roberto was completely forgotten, no mention at all ?

Overall, I found this book less than average. The story is not well developed and certainly not coherent. The way the Section's activities are described it seems more of a road-side gang conspiring instead of Government agency with top secret. This book is certainly no match with the first and second book in the series which kept me on my seat till the end.

Favorite Quotes

“The Doctor (Johansson) was the goalkeeper who stood between the patient and (Death) Fonus Funeral Service. His job was to decide what to do.”

“Intelligence officers never really retire, they just slip into the shadows.”
“All food is decent. ... No, I'm a workout fanatic. If you work out, you can eat whatever you want. Within reason.”

“The reason I work out is that it feels great. That's a normal phenomenon among people who do extreme training. The body produces a pain-suppressing chemical and you become addicted to it. If you don't run every day, you get withdrawal symptoms after a while. You feel an enormous sense of well-being when you give something your all. It's almost as powerful as good sex.”
“I don't read fiction, I never go to the cinema, and I watch only the news on TV.”
“But she was not someone who went in for one-night stands, although she did think that sex was an underrated therapy for just about all ailments.”
“If loving someone is liking them an awful lot, then I suppose I’m in love with several people.”
“But strangely enough despite your personality, You have a number of loyal idiots working on your behalf. I have already established an elite body called the Knights of the idiotatic table. We will be holding annual dinner at which we will have fun talking about you. No, you are not invited.”

Book Review: The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium Trilogy: Book 2)


The second book focuses on Elizabeth Salander’s life where the main plot revolves around a murder mystery in which Salander is falsely accused. I found the story more gripping than the first book where Bloomkvist is appointed to find the missing 16 year old girl from the Vanger family.

There are some missing threads – for example- the first 75 pages or so describe Salander’s time on Grenada island and murder of Mr. Forbes. There is no mention or link of these events in the main plot. I am assuming that everything will tie together in the third and the last book in the Millennium trilogy.

Overall a very interesting read – Once you start reading its difficult to stop before the suspense is finally revealed at the end. The police investigation is explained in too much detail which was a bit overdone in my opinion. There are more than required police investigation characters who do not relate to the main story nor have any relation to the main plot.

Favorite quotes:

“The opportunity makes the thief.”

“I have a truly marvelous demonstration of this proposition which this margin is too narrow to contain.”

“It proved once that no security system is a match for a stupid employee.”
“I’m a cynic. I believe that everyone has it in them to kill another person. In desperation or hatred, or at least to defend themselves.”

“Nobody was innocent. There were only varying degrees of responsibility.”

Book Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Trilogy: Book 1)



The first book in the Millennium trilogy “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”   describes the investigation led by Mikael Bloomkvist (journalist) and Elizabeth Salander (computer hacker) to resolve the 40 year old mystery of a missing 16 year old girl - Harriet Vanger - from a family owned island in Sweden. The novel is a pretty easy read, gripping and a great thriller.

By the way, the book is much more interesting than the movie. The movie just misses on many details which enrich the overall storyline.  

Favorite Quotes:

“Armageddon was yesterday – Today we have a serious problem”

“The media have the ability to attract the craziest people to call in perfectly absurd tips. Every newsroom in the world gets updates from UFOlogists, graphologists, scientologists, paranoiacs, and every sort of conspiracy theorist.”

“Everyone has secrets. It's just a matter of finding out what they are.”

“The Stock Exchange is something very different. There is no economy and no production of goods and services. There are only fantasies in which people from one hour to the next decide that this or that company is worth so may billions, more or less. It doesn't have a thing to do with reality, or with the economy.”

“Being a homicide detective can be the loneliest job in the world. The friends of the victim are upset and in despair, but sooner or later after weeks or months they go back to their everyday lives. For the closest family it takes longer, but for the most part, to some degree, they too get over their grieving and despair. Life has to go on; it does go on. But the unsolved murders keep gnawing away and in the end there’s only one person left who thinks night and day about the victim: it’s the officer who’s left with the investigation.

“I've had many enemies over the years. If there is one thing I've learned, it's never engage in a fight you're sure to lose. On the other hand, never let anyone who has insulted you get away with it. Bide you're time and strike back when you're in a position of strength - even if you no longer need to strike back.”

“Friendship - is built on two things. Respect and trust. Both elements have to be there. And it has to be mutual. You can have respect for someone, but if you don't have trust, the friendship will crumble.”

“There’s always someone willing to believe malicious rumors.”

“Don’t ever do anything for nothing.”