May 31, 2012

Management Theory and Practice - Bulletin Board - May 2012

Engineering and Management News  -  Knowledge@Wharton  - HBR Blogs

Cost Accounting Introduction - Updated

Risk Manager's job is to quantify the risk and when the project is approved by management with the quantified risk, the project managers is allowed to fail and the failure is well tolerated by the organized.
Permission to fail - HBR blog post by Aaron Brown 30 May 2012

Innovation Projects need to be supported by Executives who can say Yes without Permission
Vijay Govind Rajan and Mark Sebell in HBR blogs
29 May 202

Six Keys to Being Excellent at Anything
Tony Schwartz
HBR Blogs August 2010


Marketing Management - Online Book
updated with more entries

Managing Risky Behavior
HBR Insight Center

Leaders Make or Break Employee Engagement


Lecture Transcripts of Financial Accounting Course

Professor Larry Tomassini

Professor provides transcripts for all his courses and additionally video lectures and audio lectures.

Management Videos

What are strategies?
_____________________________ _____________________________
Integrity - What  is it?

_____________________________ _____________________________
Electronic Records Management
UC Berkeley Even April 2012
______________________________ _______________________________

Five Employee Management Strategies To Start Using ASAP


Management Theory - Literature Review Papers

Strategic Issue Management Theory
Peter Kunnas

May 30, 2012

Decision Making


Decision making is the actual selection from among alternatives of a course of action.
Decision making is involved in various functions of management. Hence, it is a step in planning. Planning occurs in managing organizations or in personal life whenever choices are made in order to gain a goal in the face of such limitations as time, money, and the desires of other people. The steps involved in planning are:
1. Being aware of opportunity
2. Establishing objectives
3. Premising
4. Determining alternative courses of action
5. Evaluating alternative courses
6. Selecting a course
7. Formulating derivative plans

Developing Alternatives

Planning comes into picture whenever a goal is to be attained. Choice of goal itself is a planning problem. If we assume that there is a goal to be achieved, the next step in the planning is to develop planning premises. Premises are planning assumptions, the future setting in which planning takes place. We can term them as the environment of plans in operation. Premises include forecast data of a factual nature, applicable basic policies, and existing company plans.
Developing alternative courses of action is taken as the first step in decision making. Managers have to develop alternative courses for any decision to be made. A sound adage for the manager is that, if there seems to be only one way of doing a thing, that way is probably wrong. More rationally, a planning priniciple called principle of alternatives can be specified. In every course of action, alternatives exist, nd effective planning involves a search for the alternative representing the best path to a desired goal.
The ability to develop alternatives is often as important as making a right decision among alternatives. Ingenuity, research, and perspicacity are required to make sure that the best alternatives are considered before a course of action is selected.

Principle of Limiting Factor

Chester Barnard has written, "the analysis required for decision is in effect a search for the "strategic factors."

Stategic factors and limiting factors are synonyms but Barnard suggests that we use the term limiting factor for physical things and when personal or organizational action is the element, we should use the term strategic factor. When we want to achieve some goals of system, we examine its parts or factors. Strategic factors or limiting factors are those parts or factors which if changed would accomplish the desired purpose if other factors or parts remain unchanged. The principle of limiting factor says, if in developing alternatives, the more an individual can recognize and solve for those factors that are limiting or critical to the attainment of a desired goal, the more effectively and efficiently he can select the most favorable alternative.
Discovery of limiting factor lies at the basis of selection from alternatives and hence of planning.
Process of Evaluation
After a reasonable number of alternatives have been developed, the next step in decision making is evaluating these alternatives. In most decisions, there are certain tangible factors to be assessed in terms of dollars, man-hours, machines hours, units of output, rates of return on investment, or some other quantitative unit. There are other factors that can be hardly quantified. However, both the tangible and intangible factors must be weighed in deciding upon a course of action.

Basis for Selection Among Alternatives

Business Research and Analysis
Operations Research

Evaluating the Decision's Importance

Size or length of commitment: If a decision commits the enterprise to heavy expenditure of funds it should be subjected to suitable attention at top management level.
Flexibility:Decisions involving inflexible courses of action need attention.
Certainty of goals and premises: Production decisions based on order backlog are more routine in comparision to made to stock decisions.
Quantifiability of variables: If variable can be quantified decision making is more routine.
Human impact: Where the human impact of a decision if great, its importance is high.
 Rationality in Decision Making

Economics is a subject that is developed under the assumption that people take rational decisions. When is a person thinking or deciding rationally? A rational decision making implies that the decision maker has a clear understanding of all alternative courses of action by which the goal sought can be reached under existing circumstances and limitations. The decision maker also must have the knowledge to analyze the alternatives in light of the goal sought with a desire to find out the best solution that effectively and efficiently satisfies the goal achievement.

Herbert Simon proposed that managers may not achieve complete rationality in many decisions. It is difficult to recognize all alternatives to reach a goal and also it may not be possible to analyze all alternatives. Hence managers resort to satisficing and find solutions that appear satisfactory to them and their associates in the circumstances.

Creativity and Innovation

Developing alternatives and finding novel ways that are profitable alternatives requires creative thinking. Weihrich and Koontz explain creative thinking as four step process.

1. Unconscious scanning
Allowing the mind to think over the problem and do its process without a conscious effort.

2. Intuition
Intuition is an answer to the problem that is thrown up by the mind. This is the output of the unconscious scanning effort.

3. Insight
Insight also an idea that comes up during investigations to solve a problem. They are to be captured immediately on paper to make us of them later.

4. Logical formulation or verification
Intuition as well as insight is to be tested through logic or experiment. The logical verification is done first by the person himself and then by inviting critiques from others.


Video Lecture - Presentation - Making Great Decision


Updated 29.5.2012
Original knol - 2utb2lsm2k7a/ 188

Business Logistics - An Introduction

Logistics – Introduction

A dictionary definition of logistics is “the branch of military science having to do with procuring, maintaining, and transporting material, personnel, and facilities.”
The definition promulgated by the Council of Logistics Management (CLM), is: “Logistics is the process of planning, implementing, and controlling the efficient, cost-effective flow and storage of raw materials, in-process inventory, finished goods and related information from point of origin to point of consumption for the purpose of conforming to customer requirements.”
Ballou explained that in the context of manufacturing it appears from the definition that the logistician is concerned with flow of goods to and from his firm. But the responsibility extends to the flow of components and goods through the production process as well. But the logistician may not deal with detailed production processes, machine scheduling, quality control etc. in the production process. Also the manufacturing logistics definition excludes maintenance which is a part of military logistics.
The mission of logistics in a business firm is to get the right goods or services to the right place, at the right time, and in the desired condition, while making the greatest contribution to the firm. Value in logistics is a combination of time, place and cost.
Logistics is about creating value – value for customers, value for suppliers and value for the firm’s stakeholders.

The Activities of Logistics Function

Council of Logistics Management identified the following:

  • Customer Service
  • Demand Forecasting
  • Distribution Communications
  • Inventory Control
  • Material handling
  • Order Processing
  • Part and Service Support
  • Plant and Warehouse Site Selection
  • Purchasing
  • Packaging
  • Return Goods Handling
  • Salvage and Scarp Disposal
  • Traffic and Transportation
  • Warehousing and Storage

Case for Organizing a Separate Logistics Department

Both marketing and production have recognized the importance of logistical activities. According to Philip Kotler, “Marketing management is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges with target groups that satisfy individual and organizational objectives.”

Therefore distribution of goods is identified as an important activity in marketing. Ballou quotes, McClain and Thomas, who stated that operations management has the responsibility for the production and delivery of physical goods and services. Hence delivery of goods at destinations required by the customer or the sales department is recognized as a part of operations management function.

But Ballou argued that both marketing and production have more important core activities to perform and hence logistic activities may not get adequate attention. According to him marketing may be given the job of creating possession value and production may be given the job of creating form value. A separate logistics department would be concerned with providing time and place value. Ballou recognized the interface problems that arise as more departments are created and hence stresses the need for coordination.

Objectives of Business Logistics Function

The logistics function has to earn the highest possible return on investment over time as far as internal objective is concerned. But to achieve this internal objective it has to first achieve external objectives. It has to earn revenue and minimize costs.

Therefore a logistics system has to be designed and operated considering its impact on revenue contribution that comes through the quality of customer service provided and cost of logistics facilities, system and operation.

Costs of logistics function include capital costs are operating costs. Wages, public warehousing (rented warehouses or warehouse space) expenses, public transport expenses, financial expenses related to inventory investment, other administrative expenses are examples of operating costs. Capital costs are one time costs, own warehouse, own trucks are examples of capital costs.

The financial objective of the logistics function can be expressed as “Maximize over the time the ratio of the annual revenue (due to the customer level provided) less the operating costs of the logistics system to the annualized investment in the logistic system.”

Time value of money may be considered and the objective can be expressed in net present value (NPV) terms or internal rate of return (IRR) terms.

Study of Logistics

Study of logistics can focus on management process and the skills needed to perform the activities involved. Management process can be briefly described as planning, organizing and controlling. The three important domain areas of logistics are facilities location, inventory levels and mix, and transport facilities. Logistics function is concerned with providing service levels to customers and managing costs appropriately for the company. All decision making requires information. Study of logistics includes principles and practices related to the above issues.  Some of the issues are discussed in detail in specialized texts related to those areas and a logistician has to examine them now in the context of logistics.


Ronald H. Ballou, Business Logistics Management, Fourth Edition,  Prentice Hall Int. Inc., USA,  1999.
Joh O. McClain and L. Joseph Thomas, Operations Management: Production of Goods and Services, Second Edition, Prentice Hall, USA, 1985.

Dean Clemente - Presentation on Logistics and Distribution

______________ 2utb2lsm2k7a/ 1384

Financial Management - An Overview

Financial Management - An Overview

Financial Management - An Overview

Financial management revision article series


Financial Management - The Scope

Financial management is concerned with monitoring financial markets, approving financial investment projects in the organization, procuring the finance from the market to finance the project, and conforming to the contracts signed with the providers of finance.
Thus the important activities are
1. Monitoring financial markets to understand the desires of the providers of finance
2. Investment decisions within the company
3. Financing decisions - From whom to procure funds?
4. Dividend decisions - Conforming to the contracts.

Evolution of Corporate Finance Area or Subject

The early phase of corporate finance subject had  focus on episodic events in the life cycle of a corporation. The typical and popular book of this phase is the book, The Financial Policy of Corporations by Arthur S. Dewing, Professor of Finance at Harvard University (published in 1918). The book had a descriptive and institutional material regarding formation of company, issuance of capital, major expansion, merger, reorganisation, and liquidation.
In the early 40s a transition occurred and along with the external focus related to major events, greater emphasis was placed on the day-to-day internal activities of financial management in the area of funds requirement analysis, planning, and control. A representative work of this phase is Essays on Business Finance by Wilford J . Eiteman et al. (published in 1953).
The modern phase began in mid-fifties with application of economic theory and quantitative methods of analysis. Financial decision making has become analytical and quantitative and financial decision making activity has become dominant.

Goals of Financial Management

Financial theory, rests on the premise that the objective of the firm should be to maximize the value of the firm to its equity shareholders.
This value is could be equal to the market price of shares in stock market with good liquidity. But financial managers may have to calculate the discounted value of expected future cash flows and compare with the market price. In case of discrepancies they may have to communicate to the financial markets their point of view.

Basic Considerations of Financial management: Risk and Return

In the context of evaluating an investment proposal, from the point of view of finance function, risk and return are the relevant dimensions. Higher return from a proposed project increases market value and higher risk decreases market value.

Financial Decisions in a Firm

While a formally specified person performs the financial market monitoring and procurement of finance functions, the investment decisions and performance of investments are in the hands of operating executives. Finance sense has to be there in each and every employee of an organization to make an organization financially viable and successful.
The marketing persons who do market research provide estimates of market size, revenue generation which form the basis of project proposals.
The engineers, who select location for the plant, equipment shape the investment decision of the firm by providing various alternatives.
The purchase managers actions influence the level of inventories.
The sales managers' assessments determine the receivables policy.
Department managers actually plan and control expenditures.
Thus many activities that are a part of financial function are performed by operating executives. But there are many tasks of finance function that can be done by specialist financial officers. Traditionally, the financial officers are grouped into controller's office and treasurer's office.
The treasurer's office is responsible for
Obtaining finance
Banking relationship
Cash management
Credit administration
Controller's office is responsible for
Financial accounting
Internal auditing
Management accounting and control



Prasanna Chandra, Financial Management, 5th Ed.,  Tata McGraw Hill, 2001
Brealey and Myers, Corporate Finance, Fifth Edition, Prentice Hall India, 2001


 Video Lecture on Introduction to  Financial Management

__________ __________

May 8, 2012

Management Theory and Practice - Bulletin Board - April 2012

May 2012
How to engage your customers and employees?

April 2012

Leadership Issues

How to become better leader by improving Big Five Personality Traits

Relational intelligence for managers

Supply Chain Themes

1980s - JIT
90s Outsourcing
2001 to 10 Internet
2010s - What is the theme? Sustainability or Supplier Innovation?

Increasing Supplier Driven Innovation

Sustainability Ideas for Supply Chain Managers

What the current supply chain strategic issues?
Supply chain issues become value chain issues.

Supply Chain Cost Reduction Potential - How to identify it?

Supply Chain Key outputs are now Six
Cost, Responsiveness, Security, Sustainability, Resilience and Innovation

Greeting Transportation in the supply chain