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Thursday, March 6, 2008

The [ B I M A N ] Ethics

Biman Bangladesh Airlines, Your Home In The Sky! My post will illustrate some of the works of that home you fly in. Before we dive into the stories, I’d like to come clean that the information provided in the article has no evidence. My friend who is a son of a Biman pilot, and a Biman official helped me a lot in getting this post ready. Therefore, much of the credit goes to him.

Now, what to start with? How about Biman's purchasing of one US $28 equipment with US $4,500? They bought more than 100 pieces of the same equipment with the same price. What can we draw from it? It becomes very easy to say why Biman has suffered substantial losses over the years. No organization can make profit out of these circumstances. An important question may be raised, where did the money go then? Who were actually involved? Who got the shares of the money? I know you are thinking about the involvement of the political leaders in these cases. But it’s not always like that. Most of the times, in fact, the insiders are more enthusiastic in these issues over the externals. In the ladder of the hierarchy the management seems more passionate in the field while playing.

The Biman Aircraft Scanner was worth a million US dollars. It became invisible right after the purchase was made. How come such a monstrous piece of thing can get lost. The ultimate answer we reach to is- it was either sold or in point of fact Biman did not buy it but showed in papers. Interestingly, nobody in Biman took much interest in finding that machine out. How could an organization survive when its own people kill it cutting through its veins? There are more. The only way Biman earns revenues is from the sales of tickets to the passengers. But Biman officials do awesome practices here as well. Most of the times normal passengers (without confirmation) do not get tickets, since the tickets are provided for free to the Biman officials’ kith and keen or to the cabin crew’s family members.

Now, some information regarding the cabin crews. The way they smile at you (well, they don’t actually do so unless you look posh in your manners and dresses or you are someone important to them), they way they behave with you might make you at home at times. Do you have any idea what’s their first job while boarding the plane? As soon as they board the plane they fill their bags with the food that was intended to serve you with. In addition, they take the spoons, tissue papers, lights . . . and what not? Did you know, the cabin crew's luggage are never checked or scanned? Often the buy goodies form other airports and sale them at different shops at Uttara, Gulshan, Banani and so on. Will you believe if I say Biman's security officer's home's light, hand wash is from Biman (with Biman’s official logo)? These goods are strictly prohibited to use outside.

I’m quite sure that most of you haven’t heard about BFCC, the Biman Flight Catering Centre. They provide the food for the passengers of the planes. They have started a cool business of producing cash. The food that are not taken into the planes or somehow labeled as waste, are regularly sold by the BFCC people at different hotels and fast food shops at Uttara, Gulshan & Banani. In most of the cases, they sell rotten pieces of chickens in those shops. The shops getting them for lower prices do not want to lose a chance!

What else can be written? Ah! The immigration officers! Biman always recruits cows and goats (in some cases lambs!!) as immigration officers so that they can be easily fooled. I bet, none of them are familiar with the rules and regulations of the Airport and immigration. I strongly believe none of them is good with computers, and some of them are too old for PCs. They just know how to click the mouse and press the keys of the keyboard while checking the papers of the passengers. No brain at all, No creativity as well.

The Biman ethics seems too pushy, don't they? I think nothing can be done to the people running the business. We should know they are not the members of the team; they are behind the wheel!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Changing the landscape of Bangladeshi business journalism

I wonder if you have noticed the recent change in the business journalism horizon of Bangladesh. Amidst a plethora of newspapers and magazines (both Bangla and English) and TV programs, a few who are trying to make a mark in business journalism in those domains are respectively the Daily Star, a newly launched monthly business magazine called Bangladesh Brand Forum and Ekushey TV’s ‘Ekushey Business’ program.

The Daily Star has increased its business page from 2 to 4 with renewed focus on various business issues of the country. Although its pretty early to comment, the Star seems to have the capacity and the brand name to nurture star business feature writers. Their recent e-version of the newspaper also appears to be a right step in the right direction, alluring more international internet audience to log on to their website for latest news and views from Bangladesh. What remains to be seen is how analytical the articles will be, other than posting only news or news-like stories, it is very important to provide a critical insight to business issues. Who knows Star might come up with a business blog in near future to stir up more interaction among topics and its readers.

P2P connections take you far and there is no branding better than self-branding. Although I personally always shied away from that, and thus find myself idling away writing in this blog, there are people who branded themselves as ‘gewrews’ in their respective fields and gave the world a larger than life impression about their expertise. Its also a good idea to keep a good relation with your past teachers….who are good teachers and especially business teachers who are adept in applying the business theories to real life and to themselves. Something similar came into realization when Bangladesh Brand Forum launched recently a brand new business magazine by the same name. Their ‘expert’ panel not only flaunts the name of the very best in the industry (like Kotler and Quelch) but also puts into limelight some ‘desi’ versions of Porters and Kotlers and Druckers mainly comprising of a few far-sighted IBA teachers, equally (if not more) far-sighted IBA graduates, and well established (perhaps IBA alumnus) business executives in the leading MNCs of Bangladesh. Their appearance in the business journalism horizon of the country surely spells doomsday for early starters like Executive Times and Economic Review who always lacked glamour and glitz. On the contrary, Bangladesh Brand Forum kicked off in style and glamour when they arranged a series of leadership forums by inviting famous foreign business leaders and arranged high-priced closed-door sessions in five star hotels in the country. That also got very good response from the business wanna-bees and wanna-babes who didn’t let go the opportunity to brush some shoulder with the movers and shakers of business literature and practices. All this, did give a good start and a certain element of class to the newly born business magazine. Let us wish the venture a success and a lot of fan following in the business community of Bangladesh.

Last but not the least is the advent of the business program in Ekushey Television called Ekushey Business. They have started providing live coverage of the stock prices directly from the exchanges. They are also arranging talkshows on contemporary business issues with different business personalities of the country. Its high time that ETV comes up with its own website so it can start streaming its programs over the internet for an interested non-resident Bangladeshi audience.