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Sorry State of Market studies

“What goes wrong with Market Studies”

Frequently I am asked to vet and assess market studies, business plans and DPRs (Detailed Project Reports) on the topic of supply chain, albeit specific to the Indian backdrop. This, after the document owner has, in all earnest, already paid a hefty amount to the researcher for the study and evaluation. 

These impulses to seek second opinions are retrospective in nature... One understands this reaching out, since no matter how big the hospital, one's personal physician is still a trusted referral!

Where I get utterly flummoxed, is the lack of quality & authenticity in the documents I am provided. Whereas, one ought to be barely dotting an odd alphabet (or none, preferably), the entire diagnosis and the conclusions suggested are often suspect. Especially when it comes to those on the topic of cold chain... I fail to grasp what is passed off as a study sometimes. Recently, there was once again a spate of annual releases on the cold chain sector, focus India. I was provided a couple to assess and confirm upon. I repeat, I failed to understand...

The subject of cold chain is not all that difficult; the logic backing it is rational, even simple and sufficient information abounds on the web. This first access to information is the easy part of the research and many a time I get my own dissertations staring back at me from these 'studies', loosely extrapolated. "Never-the-mind", says the sharing platform that I profess and progress. But, isn't some of that information & data dated yet!! Various researchers tending to secondary searches will pick on anything that seems interesting, or presented in simplistic fashion. Problems arise when domain inexpertise interprets only to color it with prejudged and complicated conclusions.

Truly speaking, the lack of a cohesive industry base (it is not even earned the tag ‘industry’) allows one only mere indicators to assess the where, how and what the cold chain in India is upto! I myself attempt to extend clarity on this domain by correlating seemingly disjointed information; from inflation data to road networks, from growth in agricultural yield to equipment lead times, from low hanging trousers to thonged bikinis. Somewhere even the inane reflects upon the sane, and one just has to stitch the collage together correctly and in logical fashion.

To infer realistic understanding from whatever information accessed, is truly the key to all studies. The butterfly effect is evident, one just has to realise it. While this ‘realisation’ is clearly not as tedious as the one Buddha sought, I sometimes wonder why a few imagine that ‘it’ and all associated ramifications are automatically inter-weaved into their silk ties.
I refer to the inexperience and total lack of hands on practice, peddling diagnostic solutions on a subject that they have merely looked up. This is misleading, even insidious and as bad as a duck in a doctor’s cabin and the quacking is clear to hear.

What really gets my goat, is when I read some of the interpretations put forth by these so called desk-top experts. Here is when, simplistic comprehension stemming from data analytics, mutates into something totally refutable. The desk top review rooted in zero field experience - with nary a sweat being raised ever, in the subject domain, asides from mouse movements and punching keys - is repeatedly evident in the conclusions projected which are at times disingenuous and misinforming.

The latest research of 2012, a research that people are purchasing (hence believing), has even got the their basics wrong. The data itself is not ratified, company referenced incorrectly, forget the rest which is about business, operations & strategy! This similar was the case with a bank's ‘thought leadership paper’.

I get so irked at the poppycock that is blatantly put out, and then surprisingly re-quoted as gospel, it is ample reason to stop bothering at times… but then someone will once again step forth to my face, use that same unsubstantiated and inexperienced fluff to argue an ineffectual case.

Sometimes I think that the sector suffers from too many unskilled cooks, and the broth tends to overflow, extinguishing the very fire that is the core.

On a bad hair day!!!