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Key to Competitiveness

Our country is not a powerhouse in exports, except in software development. One often reads

that an increase in exports will lead to faster economic growth which is sorely needed given the large number of unemployed youths. This is definitely true.

For a country to be competitive in the international arena, its businesses must have the ability

to produce goods and services for which there is demand. Further, potential customers will

evaluate products from cost and quality perspectives before they will place orders. This much is known.

How do the 5 FLY Pillars play into the above scenario?

Let’s think about the broad steps required to make a line of a certain product. These steps are generic enough that they apply to both goods and services.

 Identifying product(s)

 Doing a market survey

 Making a business plan

 Arranging capital

 Planning and designing the product realization process

 Staffing

 Producing

 Testing and quality control

 Marketing

 Providing after-sales service

As you can see, in order to achieve success, many individuals will have to work in a coordinated fashion so that their efforts are in alignment. Clearly, a huge amount of work would be required before a company can carve out a niche in exporting a line of automobiles, for instance. But think of something much smaller. Say, an electric hot plate. Much less complex. But even in such a simple product, it is easy to see the need for innovation, problem-solving, taking initiative and perseverance. But is conscientiousness really necessary? Actually, it is as critical as the other four. Maybe even more so. Any step executed without integrity will lead to trouble at some point in time. When all individuals involved in the project are conscientious and know that others are too, there would be mutual trust, respect, and understanding leading to a better outcome.

The author’s first job was with L&T in Powai. He moved from Delhi to Mumbai and bought a

hot plate for cooking. The purchase turned out to be a disappointment. It was manufactured

by a leading company but kept on breaking down every now and then. Fortunately, I got a gas connection in a few months. That ended the headache.

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