Retail Therapy – God is in the Details

HERD Pharmacy division offers a wide range of goods other than medications and health products that are all offered at retail pricing. The expanding workforce is provided with training, business information and advice as to how to go about making sales that hit the roof. The recent Maha Bachat Mela at the pharmacy located at Khamla is a case in point. Newly set up a few months back, the team needed to build up a retail customer base.

We have learned it along the way that retailing cannot be looked upon at, on an as-is-where-is basis. Proactive customer service to create a positive retail customer experience is going to be vital for establishing presence in an open market. And completion is right across the street and everywhere. This is why the focus has always been on a coherent and practical retail service model that would differentiate us from the others.

The sales staff at the front-end and back-end as well as from management level from top to bottom follow the essentials to help deliver exceptional customer service experience. We continuously drill the minds of our sales staff to exert themselves to befriend and convert customers who walk in through the door. Our salespeople have been ingrained to not just inform but also inspire, educate, and instill confidence in them so the next time round they want to walk in for another wonderful shopping experience.

We do not allow disengaged employees because such will become risky propositions. What we aim for is that when a customer walks in our sales staff should push himself/herself out of their comfort level. Whether they want general medicines, cosmetics, or a health product sales staff should be helping them make their purchases in a manner that will make them return back for more shopping later.

So how do they do it? Staff puts on a supportive attitude and encourages shoppers to try out new things apart from what they actually came in to buy. Overtime they have been trained to learn how to form customer-centric relationships. Offering the team members a certain leeway to chat up with clients, we know for sure this little bit of extra time acts as a fillip to approach and engage often times with total strangers!

New shoppers who venture into the store are happy about the exceptional experience. They are instantly at ease with the friendly atmosphere, attitude and manners of the attending staff. Soon in good time we hope to make them regulars. The Maha Bachat Mela held last week brought in very many new customers. The success of the three day event makes us plan for more such events on occasions.

HERD Pharmacy has been offering very simple concessions to drive home the point that we mean business. The one way in which we engage with them is over the counter or through a call to engage with them and assist them make their purchases. Simple gestures and free home delivery is to really attract them to respond to our customer service. We follow the simple dictum – make the customer happy.

Staff has been trained to employ measures that ensure a few norms in place. Like for instance greeting customers in a way that makes them want to buy and keep coming back. We pay attention and let repeat customers know that we recognize them. Anything goes to start a conversation – politics, cricket and the weather! And a bit of conversation is always good to set the ball rolling.

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Keeping the Peace

 

May 29Monday, 29 May 2017 is being celebrated the world over as International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. The occasion commemorates the importance to honour and remember personnel who are in the forefront to keep the peace around the world. India today remembers 168 of its soldiers who died in various corners of the world for the cause of peace. India actually contributes around 6,900 military personnel among 115,000 peacekeepers in various missions.

It was on December 11, 2002 that the UN General assembly designated May 29 as the International Day of UN Peacekeepers. The day was first observed on May 29, 2003. The International Day of UN Peacekeepers is a tribute to people who serve or have served in the UN peacekeeping operations. Since the first UN peacekeeping mission was established in 1948 until April 2016, 3,400 military, police and civilian personnel have lost their lives in the service of peace as a result of acts of violence, accidents and disease.

The global theme being celebrated this year is – Investing in Peace around the World. Today the focus is to be on offering tributes the world over to the uniformed and civilian personnel’s whose invaluable contribution results in peacekeeping by the United Nations. UNO therefore honours the peacekeepers that have lost their lives serving under the UN flag since 1948.

“Peacekeeping is an investment in global peace, security, and prosperity. It is a flagship enterprise of the United Nations. Today, it deploys more than 113,000 military, police and civilian personnel in 16 peacekeeping operations on four continents. It is a flexible, evolving instrument that brings together political, security and technical tools to assist countries make the difficult transition from conflict to peace.”, as per the statement issued by the UN on the occasion.

“Over time, peacekeeping has grown from simply monitoring ceasefires to protecting civilians, disarming ex-combatants, protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law, supporting free and fair elections, minimizing the risk of land-mines and so much more. They have also work to ensure that women are fully represented in peace processes, political life, and in branches of government including in uniformed services. All of these efforts are fundamental investments in building lasting peace,” adds the statement.

With time peacekeeping has moved on from just simply monitoring ceasefires to protecting civilians, disarming ex-combatants, protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law, supporting free and fair elections, minimizing the risk of land-mines and more along these lines. UN has also worked to ensure that women are represented in peace processes, political life, and in branches of government including in uniformed services. All such efforts assist in being able to make fundamental investments in building lasting peace.

Peacekeeping mission focuses on ensuring rule of law. Currently, UN peacekeeping operations receive contributions of military and police personnel from 124 Member States. This impressive number reflects strong global confidence in the value of UN peacekeeping. Despite the breadth of its operations, peacekeeping’s budget is less than one half of one percent of global military spending. Every mission aims to save lives and prevent mass atrocities to set the stage for peace.

 

 

 

Building the Business Environment for Social Enterprise

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HERD Education and Medical Research Foundation undertook secure steps for building a sound business environment to be able to create conscious entrepreneurship. Having started off as a plainly philanthropic organization with a focus on healthcare delivery, improved educational inputs, rural betterment and participation in development, it now includes more diverse business enterprises in order to maintain financial stability for its primary intentions.

We had struck out with an unassuming and all inclusive outlook. In the past couple of years we adopted strategic business development plans that came by through our experience of opportunistic enterprise development needs. We did this in the fond hope of creating in-house financial avenues that would sustain the social development agenda. Since our initial philanthropy could only continue up to a point, it became essential to create sound business routes to keep our passion fueled.

It has been over a decade that we had been tracking the trajectory of our social work impact. And we realize we still have miles to go. This then made us add on specific strategies to shape our future. On the one hand we want to continue with the social development agenda, particularly in the oft neglected rural regions. On the other hand we are keen to broaden our perspectives on successful management of the startup companies.

While doing them both, the objective remains to provide relevant context to both ends of the spectrum. We will be continuing with our quest in achieving the four pronged social change that we envision. At the same time we also need to embed deeper insights and experiences into the mindsets of our young business managers, so that they know the importance of business leadership, competition, focus and differentiation strategy.

Roping in the best talents, senior management is keen to nurture and invest in the division heads who are being cultivated with the desire to grow. At this point in time we are facing it all – financial pressure, pressure on human resources, difficulty in overcoming fierce competition, and dealing with market trends and competitors. Since our businesses are largely consumer-centric we need to invest in the best HR grooming. Also, in order to stay on top of the game we need to invest in the best.

Concurrently we are developing sound briefing/reporting systems that inform everyone in the organization about the successes and failures. The aim is to assess gaps, undertake measures, re-strategize if need be to strike at success. We are cultivating an effective reporting-communication system with regard to strategies deployed and targets met. Weekly and monthly review meetings include planned agenda and PPT scorecard methodology for internal communication processes that act as a democratizing strategy. It gets everyone on board to be on the same page and to add their inputs wherever needed. This not only shares the measure of achievement and progress of works towards particular goals, but also keeps the business heads goaded and glued to the targets.

Such debriefing sessions also become essential strategy planning meetings. Such open communication processes provide the complete picture to the management and employees at the same time. Also this becomes a means of effective communication channel, when top to bottom everyone, together hear, see and approve business moves and directions. The crucial part here is to ensure that staff is well prepared to offer timely review, assessment and feedback. HERD Group of Companies within the ambit of HERD Foundation is thus moving ahead in areas of competence, pragmatism and full-on involvement and collaboration.

Unconventional Options for HR

In the current business environment it is a challenge for HR to manage with the simple dictum one-rule-fits-all strategy. This is why many organizations continually assess the nature of the work that is allotted and how that translates with the different people in the workforce involved from their vantage skill-set points. In doing so HR needs to understand how to capitalize the situation by knowing how to most effectively utilize its human capital.

The variegated business divisions in a conglomerate need to cater to the dynamic demands of the external competition in order to withstand market-forces. So also organizations need to look inward to identify areas where the workforce needs to be given leeway for inevitable differences in capacities of the human capital. And we well know that the composition of a workforce includes employees of all ages and talents.

The moot point is how do organizations make full good use of all kinds of employees and also allow them to benefit beyond their salary packet. Strict HR compliance may not always be the answer as experienced managers and academics have come to conclude after grappling on the issue for long. Adopting ambidextrous measures are a neat way to manage such imperceptive problems.

Often such an issue may occur with an aging staff. A proactive policy and practice response would be crucial to the success of retention of seasoned talent. HR needs to anticipate the changing needs of an aging workforce through job analyses and job specifications or work functions that can readily be modified to accommodate an aging employee. Management needs to be cognizant of the issues faced by older employees and find ways to accommodate them.

It will certainly be great for management to dwell on older-worker policy development process with a firm understanding of the situation within the organization. Presently many organizations have begun to adopt strategies that encourage aging employees to carry on working in line with the dynamics of their living situations. HR is also now increasingly adopting many diverse flexi-work environments for such staff.

More and more companies are now reducing the intensity of the emotions generated by this problem. It is open to HR to see the possible alternatives that would allow in making clear choices available to an aging staffer. Having an HR policy in place is always better than ensuing disturbance that usually accompanies such problems. Studies confirm that necessary provisions in management policies and practices for older workers is much better than a simple letter stating the person is fit to work!

Need to Reinvent Institutionally

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One of the most difficult things to do after building a respected organization is to reinvent the institution that may perhaps not be performing to its full potential. The best amongst us often face strange snags – embedded cultures, weighty reputations to live up to and worst of all resistance to change. With passing time, all of this makes it yet harder to transform organizations in order to take them to the heights they deserve to reach.

Apathy, lackluster culture, or vested interests can really put a spanner in the works! The best efforts and an established reputation would not be visible to the outside world, if new, innovative things were not to occur in an institution. We have to therefore continually plan for culling in the state of the art goings-on in the world of medicine so that we can be abreast with modern world of medical education.

‘So what have you done lately’ may well be the question of the brave new modern medical world! ‘So what’s new’ – this oft asked common-place query should really become an impetus for all of us to look for answers that lead us on to explore avenues for expanding our horizons. As affiliates in the management of these medical institutions, the common search in these establishments would help determine and differentiate issues that hamper progress and growth. There is only way for them to go – and that is up!

The need really is to develop and enlarge the framework of these medical institutions so that they outshine and grow alongside world class institutions. This is essential to allow them to emerge as recognized institutions of higher learning across the globe. One cannot afford to sit on past laurels nor allow any kind of complacency to set in. Such might obstruct plans for envisioned transformational processes. In all likelihood these then would be successful steps that will alter the course of these institutions.

When Shri Ranjitbabu Deshmukh and his devoted team took over the reins of NKPS Institute of Medical Sciences and Lata Mangeshkar Hospital, few outside of Nagpur even knew it existed. In no time these coveted institutions had made their mark in Central India, doubled residential students, jumped student enrollment, and now the Medical College and Hospital attract the best talents and students from all over.

So much groundwork and effort has gone into the Institutions to bring them to their present stature. Undoubtedly it has been the vision and vigil of the founding fathers that serves as an inspiration to this day. Putting up the right people together with given responsibility and due authority helped in making everything work and grow. Decisions were made that made things going bigger and better.

And now once again the time has come to strengthen affairs with a plan of action. The present sets of guardians have a vision in place. Added to this, they have the propensity to act, to make decisions, to make things happen. The team is a strong believer in opportunity. And looking into the kind of prospects and targets that appear quite reachable, they sense the time has come to move fast to be at pace with contemporary medical science around the world.

Some of the opportunities that have of late presented themselves make it urgent to move forward for the rapid growth that is for the asking. New joint ventures, new technology and new associations will most certainly offer a lot more opportunities. There is so much ahead going on in the medical world of which we have to become a part. And we have to take advantage of it. It is in this context that both Dr Amol Deshmukh and Dr Suchika Gupta want to reinvent institutionally to be ready for the next level of achievement. With an inherent propensity to get things done, it is time to create the environment to get the faculty involved in this vision to succeed beyond expectations. And that’s the very real transformation through which they want to lead the change.

International Midwives’ Day 2017

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May 5 is celebrated as International Midwives Day. The day was marked out by the International Confederation of Midwives in 1980. However it took time for the concept to take off and it was finally formally launched in 1992. Celebrated all over the world, this year’s theme is “Midwives, Mothers and Families: Partners for Life!”

As we all probably are aware a professional in midwifery is known as a midwife. Midwifery is really only what is commonly understood as obstetrics that is the health science profession that deals with pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum care including care of the new-born. Midwifery deals with continuity of care with the primary responsibility of care and well being of childbearing women.

In our country too we have always had the traditional Dai who actually took on the responsibility much like the trained midwife in assisting pregnant women with the birthing process. Aside from this they also offer due support to the women when needed. Many government and non-governmental programmes of late have focused on enhancing the role of dais to make them take on a more educated role.

The dai turned midwife has a critical task in health counseling and education of pregnant ladies. Especially in rural areas and remote locations lacking hospital facilities, the midwife may be the only recourse for families and communities for assisting with childbirth. Therefore looking into the essential role played by the midwives in India, several innovative training programmes have come up that involve antenatal education and preparation for parenthood for new mothers.

The midwives role aside from assisting expecting mothers also extends to sexual reproductive health and child care. With increased esteem and regard given to the midwives role they are now increasingly practicing in all kinds of settings besides the home. Adapting to their new found status they are playing an integral part in communities, hospitals, clinics and health units. Trained Dais with demonstrated competencies are being registered as legally licensed to practice midwifery.

Today’s midwife in India is recognized as a responsible and accountable professional who works in partnership with government or non-governmental agencies in giving necessary support and care during pregnancy, labour and postpartum period, along with providing care for the newborn infant. Such care includes preventative measures, promotion of normal birth, detection of complications in mother and child, accessing of medical care or other appropriate assistance and the carrying out of emergency measures.

HERD Foundation offers salutations to midwives on this International Midwives Day knowing full well that they play a unique role, especially in rural settings. Rural communities are grateful for their partnership in promoting health-care for mothers, infants, and families. They remain culturally sensitive to their job working with families and healthcare givers. HERD Foundation joins in to commend their essential role on this International Midwives Day!

Virtual International Day of the Midwife (VIDM) 2017

The Virtual International Day of the Midwife (VIDM) is an annual free 24-hour online international conference celebrating midwifery and birth-related matters on IDM.  This year sees the 9th annual conference and is organized by individuals having backgrounds in midwifery, education and online facilitation. The committee gives their time voluntarily and is proud to offer this conference entirely free of charge in order to enable midwives, and others interested in the birthing process, to network and participate in continuing professional development. Here is the link to get access to the VIDM 2017:

https://vidofmid.wordpress.com/vidm-2017/vidm-2017-programme/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Futuristic Healthcare – Telemedicine!

 

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The remote use of telecommunications for diagnosis and treatment of patients is known as telemedicine. Information technology now provides clinical health care from a distance. This capability may be used to reach out to remote locations when distance becomes a hurdle in accessing critical medical services. Telemedicine is especially useful to save lives in emergency situations.

Telemedicine makes use of technology that includes videotelephony, internet, servers, and also telemedical devices! Telemedicine is a product of 20th century telecommunication and information technologies. It facilitates communications between doctors and technical expert  staff easily and complete fidelity of transmission for medical imaging and health data.

The Indian Medical Association at national level is keen to adopt the concept of ‘virtual clinics’ run by telemedicine.  However the Nagpur IMA branch is still uncertain about the pros and cons of the subject. It is yet to take a stand for or against the concept as it involves a lot of legal intricacies. Conformists feel that the move needs to be debated at length. And the interests of both patient and doctor need to be carefully examined.

Moving along with the times it does appear that telemedicine is the need of the hour.  Considering the shortage of specialists in various fields who are not readily available in smaller towns virtual clinics appear to be a good idea. However on two essential counts – patient doctor relationship and terms of payment the idea seems to go for a toss.

Patients of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, AIDS etc can be treated through virtual clinics very well. Overall it is possible for expert diagnostics to be a feasible aspect but the medico-legal side remains a big question.  If things go wrong with incorrect diagnosis doctors could get into trouble. It is still true that physical examination cannot be taken in virtual clinics.

The downsides of telemedicine include the cost of telecommunication and data management equipment and of technical training for medical personnel who will employ it. Virtual medical treatment carries the peril of decreased human interaction between medical professionals and patients, an increased risk of error when medical services are delivered in the absence of a registered professional. All said and done it is the future and here to stay even as conventional healthcare is not going anywhere.

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