Hilmy Cader

Management waste

Views - 1470 Monday, 28 January 2013 00:00

At a recent forum, I was asked about corruption in business, which got me thinking. Rather than looking at a narrow definition of corruption, the real ‘thief’ in business is the ‘waste’ that takes place in management jobs. Thi

Brand managers: Essential or extinct?

Views - 1645 Monday, 21 January 2013 00:00

Like many white collar jobs that ‘float’ in the middle of organisational structures, the role of brand managers is now being challenged in the process of downturn cost optimisation. In many new-to-marketing industries (like technology,

Retailer brand power vs. consumer democracy

Views - 1683 Tuesday, 25 December 2012 00:00

In pursuit of higher profitability (and corporate ego) supermarket chains do try to ‘push’ their private labels, which certainly can be appreciated from a shareholder perspective.  However, if this comes by curtailing the consumers&r

Oppan Gangnam Style

Views - 1542 Monday, 10 December 2012 00:00

With close to one billion YouTube downloads, makes it the most watched. Even personalities as diverse as Ban Ki-Moon, Amitabh Bachan and Chris Gayle have tried it. What are the learnings from Psy’s Oppan Gangnam style? The fading geographic

Stickiness is not happiness

Views - 1554 Monday, 19 November 2012 00:00

Stickiness is a criteria used to measure the duration a customer remains with a service provider – the argument being if they have not moved out, they must be happy! In measuring customer satisfaction (particularly in industries like banking

The Wealth Test

Views - 1226 Tuesday, 30 October 2012 00:24

 The financially measured wealth of any person is only possible due to 3 reasons: 1. Adding value to someone else’s life or business 2. Inheriting   3. Speculative/imaginary wealth (artificially inflated) The world faces dange

Cost Cutting Vs. Slack Elimination

Views - 1115 Monday, 22 October 2012 00:00

When confronted with a need to reduce costs in a downturn, the kneejerk reaction of most businesses is to cut ‘headcount’. The number of staff on your current payroll is a function of your organization’s strategies, structure and sy

Consider it done

Views - 917 Monday, 15 October 2012 00:00

Delegation of tasks in an organisation can happen upwards, downwards and sideways in the hierarchy. A significant amount of management ‘energy’ is ‘sapped-up,’ making sure others do their assigned tasks as per expectation.

Never mind the T20 loss now, think strategy

Views - 907 Tuesday, 9 October 2012 02:26

While Sri Lanka mourns the T20 finals loss, is our ‘cricket strategy’ in need of a serious review? Where is our ‘supply chain’ to take over from the likes of Sanga, Mahela, Dilshan and Malinga? Whose KPI is this? In the last

Ground Zero thinking

Views - 845 Monday, 1 October 2012 00:00

If you take a closer look at how senior managers add value to their organisations, it all starts with and is significantly influenced by their thinking. It is such a simple yet critical competency that is often taken for granted or assumed as ‘

‘Ground Zero’ your organisational structure

Views - 992 Monday, 17 September 2012 02:40

As organisations age, their structures get firmly entrenched and run the risk of creating high cost, low agility bureaucracies. Consequently, their ability to sense and respond to new opportunities become impaired (think Kodak).Therefore, rather than

The Treasure Hunt

Views - 1258 Monday, 3 September 2012 01:30

The last 50 years has seen the emergence of nations that have prospered because of their ‘intellectual assets,’ think Japan, Korea, Switzerland, India (the ITES industry). This is quite a contrast, given that nations once succeeded on &

The new face of globalisation

Views - 1432 Monday, 20 August 2012 00:19

Who said the Chinese are only interested in infrastructure and minerals in Africa? Didier Drogba has moved from Chelsea to China – a sign of things to come! Welcome to the world’s largest multi-national, CHINA INC.  Economies and ent

Olympics: Will London follow Greece?

Views - 1684 Thursday, 9 August 2012 02:01

Is the spirit of Olympics (going back to its roots) still relevant today? What is the economic and environmental justification for building multi-billion dollar infrastructure in countries that least ‘deserve’ it? For over two billion hum

The other side of strategy

Views - 1621 Monday, 23 July 2012 00:57

Most strategies tend to focus on ‘demand gains’, for instance US$ 5 billion for the BPO industry, two million tourists etc. Often forgotten, yet critical in any strategic exercise is to address: What will competition do while we &ls

Telecommuting to work

Views - 1403 Friday, 13 July 2012 13:55

As knowledge workers, why do we have to physically commute to work every single day? In the process, consider the fuel costs, commuting time, traffic jams, wear and tear of vehicles and above all the carbon footprint? Imagine the time that can be s

Strategising ‘Ceylon Tea’

Views - 2122 Thursday, 14 June 2012 01:01

Strategy, in its simplest definition, is how a business responds to its environment (in terms of challenges and opportunities), in pursuit of its goals. Therefore, in a highly competitive market, nothing should be ‘sacred’ when it comes t

‘Loss leader’ airline for profitable tourism?

Views - 2163 Tuesday, 5 June 2012 01:56

Countries have used their national airline as a ‘loss leader’ to promote tourism. If this is the case, then a fair share of  a country’s tourism success should also be attributed to the national airline, particularly if the air

A Balanced Scorecard for the nation

Views - 1362 Tuesday, 29 May 2012 02:52

Economic indicators in its simplest form are an aggregation of human behavior. In a highly interlinked and complex global economy, over-reliance on a single indicator like GDP growth can be misleading and less than holistic. Countries should have

Storm in our tea cup

Views - 1048 Monday, 21 May 2012 00:08

The battle brewing between the ‘Tea Traditionalists’ and the ‘Hub Hopers’ is detrimental to the industry; there is a much bigger ‘battle’ to be fought in the ‘real world’ of retail shelves and consumer

IPL lessons for business leaders

Views - 1149 Tuesday, 8 May 2012 01:20

The IPL provides some hard lessons for business leaders. Consider the following: Kolkata let its iconic leader Ganguly go Murali and Dilshan have to ‘fight’ for their place Captains Sangakkara and Vettori dropped themselves from t

Payback time for dream holidays and cars!

Views - 980 Monday, 30 April 2012 00:00

If you are in the business of financial services, 2009-11 were unprecedented ‘bounty’ years for retail lending. Based on such liberal lending, many categories such as auto, travel, entertainment, fashion, etc. recorded phenomenal increase

Critiquing the CEO

Views - 966 Monday, 16 April 2012 00:10

CEOs, like politicians, can get ‘high’ on power and lose touch with ground reality. They can get surrounded by ‘Yes Men/Women’ (who will dare not be the messenger of bad news) and those who ‘pump-up’ the CEO with u

Earth Hour?

Views - 799 Monday, 9 April 2012 00:00

It is interesting to see the prominent international attention that the recent ‘Earth Hour’ received. We all wish the problems of the earth will disappear with a token show of ‘dimness’, but unfortunately it will not! The al

Thought prisoners

Views - 946 Thursday, 22 March 2012 01:37

A conventional prisoner is one who is confined to a limited physical space. In today’s highly-automated, process-driven and activity-addicted business world, many ‘knowledge workers’ have become ‘thought prisoners’. Th

Thought prisoners

Views - 1307 Thursday, 15 March 2012 01:14

A conventional prisoner is one who is confined to a limited physical space. In today’s highly-automated, process-driven and activity-addicted business world, many ‘knowledge workers’ have become ‘thought prisoners’. 

Economic cost vs. ecological cost

Views - 1360 Monday, 13 February 2012 00:01

The rate at which global population and resource consumption is growing is alarming. Yet, high users of resources continue to ‘drain’ these resources. In my opinion, the main reason is that the economic costs of many products we use today

Global financial crisis: What can we do?

Views - 1168 Wednesday, 8 February 2012 09:11

Not a day passes by without bad news on the economic and financial front. Globally, we seem to respond to these challenges with more and more ‘band-aid and plaster,’ when what we need is ‘surgery and soul searching’. The fact


Views - 1160 Monday, 16 January 2012 00:00

As businesses grow bigger and more complex, it is easier to hide inefficiencies and lose sight of value-addition. An ‘acid test’ for any job in such large organisation would be an affirmative answer to the following: How does your job (

Consumer ignorance

Views - 1077 Monday, 9 January 2012 00:00

Take a harder re-look at your business success – how much of this is due to well-informed and comparatively advantaged reasons and how much is due to ‘consumer ignorance’?  For instance, how much of monies in savings accounts c

Today's Columnists

Lasantha, journalists and diplomats

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

We find scarce little to celebrate in a sullied land, marking our days remembering the tragedies that tell our blood-soaked history. In the troubled decades preceding, many, from the highest in the land to average citizens, have met with violent ends

Automation and machine learning: Helping organisations extract deeper value from data

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

The world is in the midst of a data explosion. Humans are generating an estimated 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every single day1, according to Forbes, and more data was created in the past two years than in all of human history. No wonder data now r

SL tourism: From TOM to experience the brand in 2019

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Last week I had just crossed the border that separates Laos from Thailand and was on route via land to Thailand. My mind was on Laos – a country branded globally as ‘Simply Beautiful’ (backed by the ADB in 2018) to attract visitors into the cou

Questionable (or absurd) official report on poverty indicators

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

The latest Report issued by the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs on ‘Poverty Indicators’ is both questionable and outrageous.1This Ministry is under the responsibility of the Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe. Most of the sta

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