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Aggregating After School Tuition Services iv. Noticing Discrepancies in Higher Education. Livelihood Enhancement i. The World of Cooperatives ii. Transforming to Evolved Craft iii.

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Using Technology to Aggregate and Connect iv. Making Transportation Easy v. The Social Need for Logistics vi. Empowering With Technology and Financial Services. Healthcare i. From Doctor to Entrepreneur ii. Giving Customers a Reason to Pay iii. Affordable Medical Devices and Tele-Medicine iv.

Reaching the Eyes of the Masses v. Creating Accessibility Through Design and Innovation. It's simple: customers will spend money on things that add value to their lives. At the base of the pyramid, where wallets are limited and there is no money to waste, it can be difficult to figure out what these things are. With the increasing formalization and overall GDP growth of India's economy, tapping into the buying power of the economically disadvantaged is more important than ever. For businesses that want to work with customers at the base of the pyramid, this creates an interesting conundrum. If the assumption is that most of these buyers are uninformed and underserved, do entrepreneurs have a responsibility to sell products and services that will improve lives?


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Those that have answered this question affirmatively have helped create a new breed of businesses: impact businesses. In this ebook, I've decided to explore three types of impact businesses that Unitus Seed Fund has worked with over the past few years. The first group enhances the current state of education in India either by working with or outside of the academic system. The second involves livelihood enhancement and allows economically disadvantaged individuals to apply their skills in a relevant context.

The third provides access to low-cost, quality healthcare services and products. In order to establish their presence across India's vast, diverse and largely unorganized landscape, these businesses have had to combine affordability with quality, provide access to customers that live their lives in a diverse number of ways and scale rapidly without using much money.

Although many of these businesses are young and work with customers outside of the socio-economic strata of most readers, we are confident that their efforts will be immensely significant in a few years. The insights in this book are supported by hours of interviews, research and feedback collected from India's growing community of impact entrepreneurs, investors and thought leaders. Whether they are attracted by the immense market potential at the base of the pyramid or motivated by a desire to serve those with very little by building affordable and scalable products and services, we've seen that impact entrepreneurs face a series of challenges that are unique to the customer base that they work with.

The mission of this book is to shed light on a complicated ecosystem and help in the creation of a framework that will empower the poorest individuals in the world. Education is the most powerful weapon that you can use to change the world. The sheer scale and potential of the Indian education system raises several questions for the impact entrepreneur that wants to start an educational business: Why is the current method of education broken? How can an entrepreneur work within and around the system in order to improve the state of education in India?


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In recent years, the Indian government has passed two important programs: the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan or Education for All movement and the Right to Education act. Both of these programs attempt to establish free education for children between the ages of 6 and Unfortunately, the reach and results of these programs has been disappointing.

ISBN 13: 9781555580872

Despite the fact that government schools remain the single largest provider of education in the country, most are run-down, lack relevant curriculums and have poor teacher attendance. I was working with a microfinancing organization for a bit and providing loans to economically disadvantaged individuals, she reminisces. This was too far along in the cycle. Not everyone wanted to be an entrepreneur. We need to attack the issues that are happening much earlier in the process with our education system. The concept of pre-kindergarten schooling is foreign for most children in India.

There are no resources to ease children into India's school system.

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Especially in rural areas, parents can't read and their environment is stifling. For Umesh, this realization came to him as a result of a conversation with his precocious four-year-old son. The year was and Umesh was set to leave a glamorous job amidst San Francisco's bustling start up scene in order to return to India.

With his entrepreneurial experience, India's rapidly growing economy was a hotbed of opportunities. The situation did not fare as well for his son, however. He would be forced to part with a local library overlooking a lake and, unlike San Francisco's free public library system, India did not have many resources for younger children. For Umesh's son and others like him, the library represented a world of learning and self-education.

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He refused to leave the country. My son's stubbornness really opened my eyes to how lucky he had been growing up. In order to convince him to come with us, my wife promised immediately that we would open a similar library in India. Within the next few years, Umesh and his wife had established a chain of non-profit rural libraries. The libraries used a color-coded system in order to establish different levels of reading comprehension and were stocked with hundreds of volumes, including some of the couples favourite books.

This was an entirely new concept in India. One day, while conducting one of his regular visits to a rural village, Umesh was shunted out of his comfort zone with another conversation.

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I was sitting and having a coffee with a woman named Sharanamma in one of the villages that we were working with. Why cant we have a similar kindergarten and nursery school system in ours? She went on to talk about the problems her children faced in the local schooling system. They werent learning English, could barely do basic math, the private schools were expensive and inefficient It was shocking to me because this was , and we were in a very conservative village. I mean, we were chatting over tea and I was complimenting this lovely goat that she had tied up, and all of a sudden she was shaking me out of my comfortable life and demanding more.

I had to listen. And listen he did. We decided to establish pre-kindergarten and kindergarten schools across rural India. I want these children to have the same excellent education that my son did. And to be able to ask the same important questions. The most important thing that I wanted to prove was that you don't need to spend a lot of money to provide quality education, explains Umesh Malhotra.

That was my biggest problem with the government's approach to the system. They would blame their shortcomings on a lack of resources. That should never be the case. Rural markets are notoriously conservative. Despite the bad reputations of government schools, they continue to dictate the culture and attitude towards education across rural India.

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The most important challenge that Umesh faced was finding a way for Hippocampus Learning Centres to integrate within the existing framework of a rural village. It's a well-known fact that trust dictates the customer flow in rural areas, he explains. We had to penetrate the community in order to establish that. After entering a village, the Hippocampus team interviews local young women to hire as teachers. Each teacher is then connected with an individual from the management team. This helps establish a system of credentials and increases the sense of intimacy we have in our team, Umesh Malhotra explains.

When Id walk into a center, people would see me and say hey, youre the one who interviewed me, right? Since most of Hippocampus' centres are not easily accessible from the Bangalore based entrepreneurs' residence, Umesh has had to establish certain tangibles that allow him to remotely manage the work culture of the centres. If there is a student that is consistently getting bad grades, we don't blame anyone.

We look at the curriculum and ask what our mistakes are. Where are we missing the connection? How can we reach this student better? While the curriculum-led education minimizes the need for teacher supervision, they are still asked for monthly and annual feedback. Teachers are also left with the responsibility of. When asked to explain to students the meaning of the word large, for example, teachers are directed to find the largest building in the village. On the other hand, the community center or the temple is. The curriculum also works across local languages.

We currently work in areas where Kannada is the predominant language. Sometimes, when people meet, they ask if you've eaten instead of asking how are you?