People usually believe that production, business and management are lifeless. They suppose that these are concerned with material things. But whatever activity man engages, some life forces are involved. There are five life forces (also referred to as life breaths) in humans – Praana, Apaana, Vyaana, Udaana and Samaana. If there is any deficiency in any one of them, human life suffers. Similarly, business also has five life forces. If there is defect in any one of these, business will suffer. In the first place, goods should be produced. They have to be gathered, stored and marketed later through agents. Finally, the whole process has to be coordinated properly, for which one has to develop the necessary skills for direction. Therefore, the five life-breaths of business are Production, Collection, Protection, Connection and Direction.
FIVE LIFE-BREATHS OF BUSINESS
If any one of the five life-breaths of business is not in proper condition, the concerned business may have to face many problems. Again, all the five are equally important and iniquitous emphasis on any one or only few of them would cause imbalance in the business and make it unsuccessful. So, if one concentrates exclusively on production, collection and protection of goods alone, it will be of no use since the commodities are not related to the market. For a train, the engine is in the front and the guard, at the rear. For business, production is the engine and direction is the guard, and in between are the other three life-breaths.
These are the crucial factors for success in management. These five life-breaths of business have to be in harmony with the ‘Nature of the Nation’. Business has to be conducted in accordance with nature, traditions and ethos of the nation concerned (these three elements put together can be referred to as culture). Today, business is conducted on a global scale. Machinery is imported from various countries and for subsequent uninterrupted operation even spares and components have to be imported. Management is no longer limited to certain geographical boundaries of a given state. As business has become global, management should have a global mind-set with a cross-cultural orientation.
An injector connects the carburetor to the petrol tank. In India, it costs less, but if imported from America, it costs more. Earlier in India, even such small parts like injector were not made indigenously. Even today, there are many such examples. In India, Maruti cars are made.[i] But it is reported that most of its parts are imported and the final product is assembled in India. The horns for that car are imported from Japan. However, such horns have a short life in India because they are produced for Japanese conditions. In Japan, it may not be necessary to use the horn frequently, but in India, it has to be used frequently and so it may wear out quickly. (Maruti is cited here only as an example to emphasise that businesses should be conducted keeping in mind the local conditions and the national ethos. Further, the observation is contextual and was made during a Discourse in the late 1980s when India was not yet a liberalised economy.).
Global business has many challenges. Does not importing one component from one country and yet another from another country result in many complexities? This may not be a proper approach from the standpoint of overall growth of an organisation. Ideally, when a product is made, all its components must also be made in that nation. Only this can lead to better understanding of the local needs resulting in better products. Would it not be dangerous in case of car driving, if one person controls the steering and another the accelerator? Yet, in today’s business in a similar manner, control (acceleration) is in one’s hand and driving (steering wheel) is in another’s hand! It is important that one knows all the aspects of the business and possess an inclusive vision of the business.
[i] Maruti Suzuki (India) Limited is a publicly listed automaker in India. It is a leading four-wheeler automobile manufacturer in South Asia. Suzuki Motor Corporation of Japan holds a majority stake in the company. It was the first company in India to mass-produce and sell more than a million cars. It is largely credited for having brought in an automobile revolution to India. It is the market leader in India. On September 17, 2007, Maruti Udyog was renamed as Maruti Suzuki India Limited. The company's headquarters is in Gurgaon, near Delhi. Maruti Suzuki offers 10 models, ranging from the people’s car, Maruti 800, for less than INR 200,000 (US$ 5000) ex-showroom to the premium sedan SX4 and the luxury SUV – Grand Vitara.
Source: Art and Science of Management in Ancient India, Chapter 4, Man Management: A Values-Based Management Perspective