HERD TECSOL – IT Arm of HERD Group of Companies

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Images – Courtesy Google

HERD TECSOL is a private limited IT company attached to the HERD Group of companies. It came into existence in June 2016 that makes it a very young startup, just barely beginning to get noticed. Starting in a small way, it was self-financed and operated by founders Dr Amol Deshmukh and Dr Suchika Gupta. IT Manager Jigar Joshi runs the operations with help of a small team. As yet in its early stages the company is doing it all – developing, testing and marketing its IT services brand.

As we all know pretty well a startup company is an entrepreneurial venture that typically follows an emerging, fast-growing business aiming to connect with the marketplace. Improvising a viable business model around the idea, HERD TECSOL offers IT services through the platform offered by HERD Group of Companies. Small in size it is gradually working its way around to develop and validate its existence.

On a typical day we can see IT Manager Jigar Joshi responding to numerous in-house projects spread across the city as well as catering to out-station assignments every now and then. Just last week took him to Kurha and Titamba villages of Amravati district to install biometric machines in two remote schools located there. Fixing biometric machines, CCTV cameras, or computer peripherals as and where needed, he is also catering to installation of IT communication gadgets in sync with service providers.

It is ongoing research that opens up new markets. Aside from regular in-house jobs that come, HERD TECSOL watches out to offer services in under served areas. For doing this the manager has to stay alert around the local market to grab upcoming opportunities. With increasing number of web-based IT services the potential is definitely out there. Our best route as of now has been through the in-house niche that helps us to reach out to known institutions. We are now ready to offer IT services to the open market as well.

As HERD TECSOL prepares itself for offering needed IT services and skills, the team is advised to keep honing their talents to serve and ensure that they are at par with existing trends and requirements. Whenever feasible they attend seminars and conferences sponsored by IT sector to stay up to the mark in an industry that works on current knowledge. Credibility in the IT industry is critical and HERD TECSOL strives at being successful as a reliable IT company.

The founding directors of the company launched it with the knowledge that their networks and skilled operational team will help it get on its feet in the all-pervading robust IT environment. They were not wrong in their assumption. With a planned business approach in line with the HERD Group credentials it has been an experiential process thus far.  The team uses its work experience to identify customers, services, features and IT products that make it known as a hub for information technology. Satisfied customers will be our best bet to lay the foundation for HERD TECSOL.

As of now the prognosis looks good and we have secured good business even as we look beyond the potential of just profits. The small team wearing all kinds of professional hats is working hands-on with all kinds of tasks.  They have undertaken work for reputed companies and venture on in every direction to turn it into a profitable venture. They are confident to take on increasing targets for IT delivery services.

With customers in academia and education the going certainly looks good. Although the information technology industry can be highly competitive HERD Group of companies is confident it can establish HERD TECSOL on its own credentials with a stronger business plan and by offering innovative services. It is the drive and efficiency of the team that will pave the way to future success.

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Adopting Best Practices in Leave Management

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Poised on this last day of August, it is eight months checked off the calendar in the soon-to-be-gone year 2017! With barely four months (122 days, 6 hours, 46 minutes, 17 seconds – to be exact) left before we finally bid the year adieu, suddenly a sizable chunk of time appears to have vanished. This leaves us wondering whether we could have done things better if only we had managed our time more efficiently. Going through the company deliverables and charting out near-future projections we notice a pattern of absences that make us realize that despite having an HR policy in place we still need to adopt certain best practices for leave management.

We need to get more resourceful in the art of managing absences by creating fool proof processes to handle leave absences,  for whatever reasons be they due to illness or injury. These processes will have to involve better responsiveness and proactive stance by employees. The goal of better managing sudden leave processes would be to control unexplained, unscheduled or excessive absenteeism. Any company needs to take care of neat hand-overs and smooth run-of-operations to meet the requirements of functioning of its varied units.

Despite having stated leave-of-absence rules and norms in place, there are bound to occur incidental events, occasions or hazards that may disrupt an employee’s regular work pace. These sudden lapses will decidedly affect direct costs to the company in the wake of unannounced incidental absences. Unplanned absences certainly result in indirect costs to the company in terms of lost productivity or replacement of manpower. We know full well that no sincere employee plays truant but unless some best practices are set in motion we cannot disrupt the progression of operations.

Often times we are really struck by the spate of such events and it is then that we look for ways to manage these kinds of situations created by sudden leave of absence. It is not possible to replace an employee at the spur of the moment and temp positions are still not available to us in our city. All this makes the absence management situation very much more complex, leading to heartburn, confusion and disarray if HR attempts at administering intermittent leaves with a heavy hand.

It is for this reason that management seeks to establish a process to facilitate employees with a clear cut modus operandi to ensure that the charted work does not suffer. Herein it would become essential to monitor and appraise individual employee requests and assess the reasonableness, urgency and necessity for leave absences in lieu of their commitment to return-to-work performances.

The company can feel really quite challenged if employees leave them high and dry, how-so-ever it might be able to manage processes in-house. It is for this reason that following a set of best practices in managing sudden absences will be critical. For one, employees must inform about leaves in the first hour if a situation is coming up that will require their absence. They should never wait to inform at the eleventh hour or depend on well-meaning colleagues to inform management. It is for this reason that we need to develop a written information sharing policy. Such will clarify the disability of the employee and give management time to intervene for makeshift alternate duties by other staff members.

Such processes of necessity require individual assessments as well as accommodations by the company to facilitate smooth run of operations. Further the establishment of a central leave reporting system (WhatsApp leave record group) would be ideal. Herein all absences may be reported in a single line at the very earliest. This will enable the HR managers to understand beforehand how to fill the gap. Once sudden leave gets notified the employee may begin with regular administrative procedures leaving no one in any kind of uncertainty.

What is really needed here is to develop the attitude for being responsive. This will save one from being classified with some employees who are regular leave-abusers and yes every office has them! We have all done it – combined Friday leaves until Mondays to extend weekends to do our thing!! However in case of unforeseen circumstances we should be seen as following best practices that will suit both management and us. This will make the process of reviewing and establishing clear cut norms for sudden leaves, and easier on HR to manage administering such leaves of absence. It would be good to adapt to this format of sudden leaves and HERD Group of Companies will certainly stand to benefit from continually improving on it.

World Humanitarian Day

 

August 19 is designated as World Humanitarian Day by the United Nations General Assembly as part of a Swedish-sponsored GA Resolution on the Strengthening of the Coordination of Emergency Assistance of the United Nations. The day commemorates the tragic loss of Vieira de Mello and his 21 colleagues along with all humanitarian personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice while relieving the suffering of victims of humanitarian crises.

The day keeps the spirit of humanitarian efforts alive while offering the rationalist outlook for adopting the notion of an ethical stance to emphasize the value of human beings, individually and collectively. Humanitarianism reflects a democratic and ethical affirmation that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. Humanitarian vision stands for the building of a more humane society.

World Humanitarian Day 2017 campaigns with the theme ‘Not A Target’ and dedicates the day to recognize humanitarian personnel and others who have lost their lives working for humanitarian causes. It marks the day on which the then Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq, Sérgio Vieira de Mello and 21 of his colleagues were killed in the bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad.

Around the world, conflict is exacting a massive toll on people’s lives. Trapped in wars that are not of their making, millions of civilians are forced to hide or run for their lives. Children are taken out of school, families are displaced from their homes, and communities are torn apart, while the world is not doing enough to stop their suffering. At the same time, health and aid workers – who risk their lives to care for people affected by violence – are increasingly being targeted.

For WHD 2017, humanitarian partners are coming together to reaffirm that civilians caught in conflict are #NotATarget. Through a global online campaign featuring an innovative partnership with Facebook Live, together with events held around the world, voices are being raised to advocate for those most vulnerable in war zones, and demand that world leaders do everything their power to protect civilians in conflict.

This campaign follows on the UN Secretary-General’s report on protection of civilians, which was launched earlier this year. Laying out his ‘path to protection’, the Secretary-General calls for enhanced respect for international humanitarian and human rights law, and protection of civilians, including humanitarian and medical workers as well as civilian infrastructure. World Humanitarian Day 19 August, 2017 pays tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, and to rally support for people affected by crises around the world.

Of Chaos and Inner Clutter

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Images Courtesy Google

It’s a frenzied world out there. From aggrieved news channels reporting nothing but chaos to the information overload of the social media – everything seems to be clogging the brain.  The past few days have been especially harrowing. Ghosts of white supremacy in America, terror attacks in Spain, the stand-off between India and China – things appear to be going awry causing a sense of desperation all over.

The resignation today of Infosys CEO brings us back with a resounding thud to the way business has begun to be conducted. The quitting comes as a culmination to the never ending wrangles going on between the company and its founder-members for some time now. Top notch professionals locking horns over governance issues, attitudes and ownership.

Such extraneous crisis situations can actually play on individual minds. Our minds can only take in so many fracases. So when the world gets too much for you the good thing would be to just shut it off. That is the simplest and the best thing to do in the face of such irrelevant mental exhaustion. Bring out the stress balls and learn to eliminate all peripheral disorder. Gradually learn to concentrate on things you need to do for yourself.

Process. Prioritize. Play it out. Get your to-do-list out and start ticking it off. Once the mind becomes focused you become a little less frazzled and the clutter slowly dissipates. Start taking ways to actively focus and re-energize your brain.  Follow simple effective ways to un-clutter your brain to regain your composure. One of the best things to do is to just say stop to the thoughts inside you.

Easier said than done you might say. But it is possible. Sift through the themes of your thoughts and check out which ones you need to deal with in the immediate work-related situation. As you gradually come to grips with tasks to be done you eventually restore calm to the flood of thoughts. Continue in this manner and very consciously avoid taking in any outside information.

This kind of self-control allows you to focus wholly on the task at hand. Meet that client. Visit the depot. Write that report. The sense of doing something worthwhile and remaining committed to your responsibilities is something that will help you ease out of your over-stretched mind. Once you learn to tap into your thought processes you will have a hold on things around you.

Continue working positively on your mind beyond work hours too. Learn how to escape time! Start doing things that you just love to do. Allow your mind to focus on fun things. Most important release the need to control everything. Most of us with overactive minds have the need to remain in control of most everything in our lives. Just let go!

Do something interesting like start writing a diary. Or just live in the ‘now’ taking in the present more consciously. Connect with nature – go for a walk, exercise, yoga – whatever suits you. Listen to your body. Certainly positive affirmations and proactive stance for your inner balance will keep you balanced. Dismember the media thieves bringing in so much disruption for you. Finally, enjoy the changes you bring to yourself.

Clean India – Green India

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The Clean India Mission launched by the government is a laudable mission. Although begun with zest and passion with suitably amended systems of efficient garbage disposal, we still fail to keep our environs spick and span. For one, we have loads of natural debris free-flying all over and second, lack of civic sense makes matters worse. We Indians may be the cleanest of people within our homes but when it comes to keeping public spaces clean and spruced up we fail in every sense of the word. No brand ambassador can possibly get us to take up the cudgels unless we have been prepared for the task early-on.

Cleanliness and hands-on cleaning lessons should be made mandatory for children in school so that a whole new generation imbibes the importance of spotless surroundings. Both The USA and Japan teach young children in school to work at keeping sanitized bathrooms, ready for subsequent use by fellow classmates. Kids there feel no shame or repugnance in rolling up their sleeves, donning gloves and cleaning up toilets. It is our predispositions and learned susceptibilities that stop us from doing the same. Plus we have the luxury of cheap labour available to do these jobs.

Waste management of odds and ends in India has always run systemically through recycling, making it a sustainable business. We are again fortunate for having the ubiquitous ‘raddiwallahs’ doing the rounds and helping us get rid of clutter of all kind – old newspapers, old clothes, used bottles, tins and everything in between. Along with municipalities getting into the act for garbage disposal these ‘raddiwallahs’ too assist in restoring cleanliness in our homes. However present day over consumerist societies are losing the balance and disrupting these trends with the new culture of everything-throwaway. From plastic bags to online merchandise packing we are throwing paper, cardboard and plastics out the doors for someone else to collect.

The ever increasing waste materials have become a by-product of modern living. Despite norms and legislation for regulating disposal of waste, the unsightly heaps of overflowing rubbish mounds continue to abound. Even with licensed outsourcing of tasks and civic rules in place, compliance appears to be lax. This is especially dangerous during monsoons leading to clogged drains, gutters and nullahs, as well as posing serious threats for foraging animals and rag pickers alike. The recent shocking deaths of gutter-cleaners raised a big hue and cry on following days but ended a natural death. After all today’s newspapers are tomorrow’s rubbish!

As India celebrates 70 years of Independence, it is time to take stock of the rapid urbanization in our country that is making waste management to be such a big challenge. “Over 377 million urban people live in 7,935 towns and cities and generate 62 million tonnes of municipal solid waste per annum. Only 43 million tonnes (MT) of the waste is collected, 11.9 MT is treated and 31 MT is dumped in landfill sites”. These statistics are as per Down To earth environmental magazine. Solid Waste Management is still one of the most basic and essential services devised to keep our cities clean.  Yet the truth is that municipalities simply dump garbage outside city limits. There are no checks and balances on proper disposal.

Of late some cursory measures that are still to be followed systematically have begun to ensure due segregation of waste at source. Again here the people have to make sure that they do this conscientiously.  Since we already sell ‘raddi’ to the recycling industry it should not be an unusual task to segregate waste on a daily basis. This will ensure less waste reaching landfills. It should be the responsibility of the municipalities that just as they have set up a system for collection and transportation, like wise they should have good follow up mechanisms for processing and proper disposal.

With nearly 100 cities slated to be converted into smart cities, the first smart move should be implement effective waste management strategies and challenge people to adapt lifestyles accordingly. Aside from municipalities, schools, colleges, hospitals, corporate houses, government institutions should be made the first line of hand-holders.  A good move planned is to do away with landfill sites and replace them with compost pits for organic waste. Community participation will be crucial and they will have to be made aware of other kinds of waste like e-waste, bio-medical waste and so on. The way forward would certainly be to go full scale with Clean India and Green India as we step into the 71st year of our Independence.

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Crafting an Ace Sales Team

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HERD Pharmacy sales managers and marketing team comprising of Prasanjeet Dhepe, Sachin Salunke, Suresh Poonia and Stawan Bhujbal know it is very essential to create singular, effective sales people. For this purpose they ensure scrutinizing every single reason that goes into motivating each person of the formidable over-seventy sales team. Pharmacy managers have been drilled to never allow the slightest lapse in losing a single sale. If at all such an untoward incident were to happen by a front line sales staff, then it becomes the responsibility of the manager to rescue the deal.

It is here that the manager becomes accountable to teach and train the sales team to learn how to effectively deal with various issues that may affect their proactive sales techniques. Problem resolving in an effective, convincing and timely manner are key skills that have been inculcated to make sure they do not falter when it comes to making smooth sales. Herein the managers have been made proficient to continually tutor sales staff by coaching, reviewing, mentoring and offering motivation.

The series of on-going trainings that began with Dr Amol Deshmukh’s critical workshops on importance of customer-care are now a well imprinted roadmap. The team has learned to focus on additional critical aspects with the view to increase sales, enhance customer base and create brand value for the retail chain-stores. Of late the attempt is to focus on the significant functions of sales with an eye on performance management. Herein inputs like setting goals, evaluating performances, chalking out reasons for non-performance, and appreciating success become necessary.

Top level management does not hesitate to chastise staff members when they fail to perform optimally. This is really crucial so as to keep performance levels in line with set management targets. What this also actually means is that performances need to be kept sharpened. To this end management is always ready to provide more effective coaching. The past two years have seen no dearth of training inputs that very easily can be said to be the key to present levels of achievements.

As stated earlier, it is the projected successes for the sales team that creates the pulls and pushes for their constant coaching. The monthly debriefing sessions help in assessing and evaluating training needs of the staff at all levels. Such joint debriefing sessions help in bringing everybody on the same page and eager to go forward together. It is also a time to take stock, get emotional and then plan ahead for the subsequent phase. It is also the time to make commitments and work out improvised strategies to pitch forward.

Ultimately it is the Pharmacy sales managers who form the crux of the marketing team. Their contributions in spearheading the sales team’s successes cannot be negated. They are the nucleus that gets the entire sales team motivated to be on their toes to see business remains brisk. The pre-planned schedule and manner of approach for creating a sound customer base helps in enhancing effective sales. Herein the managers’ belief in the actions of the sales staff becomes vital for positive outcomes.

Important steps taken all the time by managers include – taking responsibility, distributing responsibility, giving clear communications, evaluating performances and most important of all  setting high standards of performance. Finally it is their sense of accountability that actually determines the outcomes. Presently we are moving ahead with expansion on our mind  and aside from opening medical outlets in new locations we have to continue to make sure that existing stores keep achieving their goals. With an experienced Operations Head, Mr Rahul Agarwal having very recently brought on board, it will not be long before HERD Pharmacy raises the bar responsibly for the business at hand.

Recording Biometric Attendance

There was naturally some trepidation when six months back biometric attendance recording system was introduced at HERD Group. Introduction of any new process changes at any workplace is bound to create a flutter among employees. TecSol Private Limited, the in-house IT unit became instrumental in sharing accurate, clear information about recording of biometric attendance to assuage qualms of an initially nervous staff. Changes were definitely going to involve the stragglers. It was certainly going to create unease regarding usage of the newfangled attendance system.

For starters, Jigar Joshi, IT Manager with HERD TecSol worked on focusing on the facts, since he realized that misinformation would probably do more harm by breeding resistance. HR too apprehended that sharing usage norms could play a calming role in raising morale. Since staff was already used to signing the muster-roll it would hardly be problem to facilitate them to adapt to the biometric time clocking system. All one needed to do was touch the screen of the biometric machine to record and clock their attendance.  HERD Group started the biometric time recording system because it wanted to avoid negative fall-outs of muster recording and at the same time deploy biometric time-clock technologies cutting across several establishments in order to support organizational culture and business needs.

However we do continue with signing the muster along with jabbing the finger on the machine. This is because HR department needs to double verify employee attendance data. The biometric/fingerprint or facilitates automation of salary calculations with up to date leave, late-comings or overtime records. Having grown from a small office of handful of employees to our present multi-location stores and offices we no longer have single point attendance record keeping. Admin and HR managers need to know details of all locations to track the hours worked by the employees.

We noticed that initially employees were a bit hesitant about the biometric systems. But this was mainly due to their unfamiliarity with the machine. Soon with ease of practice their distress generally disappeared after simply being given a brief introduction as to its use. We now have biometric attendance data at all our locations. After close follow up and clear instruction of usage the biometric verification has been working for us. Initially there were some teething troubles but after demystifying it all everyone uses the machines habitually now.

It is true when it comes to biometrics at first there are certain myths like concerns regarding potential invasion of privacy (fingerprinting) and hygiene to be reckoned with. However biometric attendance data allows HR department to gain official records of hours of employee work which they then calculate to pay employees accordingly. Barring a few slackers in most cases we did not encounter resistance. Most concerns were eliminated as soon as the employees were educated on usage. Once they learned how to operate the biometric reader and in time realized how easy it was, there has been little resistance.