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Corporate India looks within

Dec 19, 2008

Cost cutting, the new mantra
As per a leading business daily, Reliance Industries has launched its biggest cost-cutting drive ever. The company will set up a shared service centre in Mumbai which will handle support functions of most of the Mukesh Ambani led Reliance group companies. The functions include - Human resource management, training and IT services. This division is expected to reduce duplication of work and reduce costs.

Warren Buffett has something interesting to say on such initiatives. He says, "Whenever I read about some company undertaking a cost-cutting program, I know it's not a company that really knows what costs are about. The really good manager does not wake up in the morning and say, 'This is the day I'm going to cut costs’, any more than he wakes up and decides to practice breathing."

Guidelines for TV news
Indian television (TV) news channels had provided extensive coverage of the Mumbai attacks. However, they came in for criticism from many quarters for improper handling of the situation. In fact, the ministry of information and broadcasting has issued notices to two Hindi news channels. Yesterday, the News Broadcasters Association, an industry body of TV news channels, has announced a set of guidelines to address the concern. These six point guidelines will form a part of a larger code of conduct announced earlier. It remains to be seen if this self-regulation will provide to be sufficient to convince the government from probing further into the issue.

How not to create problems for oneself
As per a leading business daily, the government has ordered a probe to examine if Satyam had any malafide intensions in its controversial decision of buying group-promoted companies and the subsequent reversal. In the meanwhile, the company will consider a buyback of shares in its board meeting on the 29th of this month. While the opinion is divided on the extent of the buyback and the impact it will have on investor confidence, we wonder what the company was thinking in the first place. As Charles Munger says, knowing what to avoid is as important as doing the right things.

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