Monday, November 23, 2015

Book Review : Apparent in Hindsight

Title : Apparent in Hindsight
Authored by Vector Consulting Group
Publisher : Bestsellers 18
ISBN : 978-938406134-0

Long time back (at least that is what it feels like now) when I was a fresh grad, doing my masters, my sister recommended the book 'The Goal' by Eliyahu Goldratt to me. She had heard about this title in one of the New Year parties thrown by a reputed company for employees and their better halves. A book enthusiast, I did not waste any time and brought the shining book home. That was the time I was deeply interested in all management related books and had already devoured - Odyssey : Pepsi to Apple, Made in Japan, My Life and My Work, Iacocca and likes of these. But the experience of reading Goldratt's book was something very different and very unique. The way he presents the problem of a plant manager and how by thinking clearly and logically, he applies Theory of Constraints - is just amazing. One needs to read this fast paced adventure book to believe it. And very logically I went on to read a few more of Goldratt's books but the first one still remains the best of the lot.

Many springs later, I happened to read the book 'Apparent in Hindsight' which brought back the memories of The Goal. The book authored by Vector Consulting Group addresses the problems that most commonly plague Indian automotive industry. Using various analogical situations, it tries to peel all the layers of manufacturing and sales processes. It challenges the age old assumptions and procedures and gradually leads one towards analytically logical and practical approach. The proceedings begin with the problems of main heads of two integral divisions - sales and production, of an organisation. These are the two divisions which more often than not find themselves at the loggerheads with each other. While trying to unravel the core problem, the narrative highlights the commonly used methodologies like - JIT, TPM and Lean Manufacturing. The case study eventually leads the readers to the wisdom that the middle path and not exactly any one particular philosophy is the way to deal with certain situations. The idea is great and presentation is decent too. The understanding and knowledge that it leads the readers to are not specific to production only, the same can be applied to any problem that one confronts.

Though a management related book, yet it is easy to read, understand and follow. The characters are quite believable and relatable. It can be read by anybody and the prologue part comes very handy in understanding the area specific terminology that is heavily used all through the book.
However, a few things sound rather unreal and could have been edited out for better flow of the narrative. I would say if Goldratt's book is the bible then 'Apparent in Hindsight' is a hymn.

Just wondering wouldn't it be better if the names of the Founding Directors had actually appeared as authors of the book? I feel it helps to create that one-on-one connect between the author and the reader. Vector Consulting Group is doing very well in weeding out the problems in companies across sectors and fields by getting Theory of Constraints implemented. It would be great to have more of their success stories in written form as a series of books.  

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