Daily Archives: November 1, 2006

Brandix adopts sophisticated ERP platform

Brandix, the single largest apparel exporter in Sri Lanka, recently signed a strategic contract with Lawson, a leading provider of collaboration solutions.

The multi-million dollar contract includes software licenses and implementation services for the Lawson Fashion Collaboration Solution, which is specifically designed to manage the complexity of today’s fashion and apparel industry.

It will be introduced through ETP International of India, the authorized licensee for Lawson Fashion Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software for the South Asia Region.

The partnership is aimed at streamlining all of the Brandix Group’s business processes and increasing efficiency levels through the implementation of the full suite of Lawson’s Fashion solution.

The solution will provide Brandix with complete support for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), customer relationship management, business performance management, value chain collaboration as well as supply chain management.

Over the years, Brandix has progressively developed a customized in-house ERP system coupled with an off-the-shelf accounting system. “We need to have an end-to-end fully integrated solution that has the focus and strong functionality required in the fashion and apparel industry. Additionally, the solution must support other vital aspects of the business such as capacity planning, production scheduling and inventory management. Accordingly, we found that Lawson Fashion offers the most cost effective process requiring minimum intervention in synchronizing demand and production. We will be implementing this across all operating units of the Brandix Group,” Hiranya Gunesekera, Head of Group Information and Communication Technologies, Brandix Lanka Limited said.

Some of the key benefits of this system are that it significantly improves the availability of real time information for management decision making, a seamless processing from receipt of customer order to delivery as well as the ability to incorporate e-business through the logistics chain.

“Despite the fact that the apparel industry is very competitive, relatively few Sri Lankan apparel exporters have invested in ERP or any other supply chain enabling technologies.

Customers seek total apparel service providers. Thus, it is important to utilize IT to maximize the synergies of the supply chain in order to provide the optimum concept to delivery solutions,” Gunesekera said. In April 2006, Lawson Software and Intentia merged to form Lawson, a company renowned for implementing world-class collaborative solutions.

With its reputation for service reliability and quality through continuous adoption of new and innovative technologies, the company develops and sells Lawson Fashion, an integrated enterprise management system for the apparel industry. -Financial Times

Geneva outcome and SLFP-UNP detente

by Dayan Jayatilleka

So that’s that then. The peace talks I mean. While it would have been infinitely better for talks to have opened the way for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, that hope itself was utopian, given the character of the LTTE and its leader Prabhakaran, described by pioneering Che Guevara specialist Oxford’s Prof Andrew Sinclair in his Anatomy of terror: A history of terrorism, as "more extreme than Bin Laden".

As for performance at the talks themselves, the game was drawn, though one can only speculate as to how much better we’d have done – if only in being able to utterly eclipse the Tigers and tilt the international coverage – had the team been reinforced by Jayantha Dhanapala, Sarath Amunugama or Milinda Moragoda.

In practical terms therefore the choice was between the talks ending in deadlock or the Sri Lankan government being coerced or cunningly cajoled into unilateral retrenchment. It is infinitely better that the latter didn’t take place, that Colombo did not blink, despite the weakening of our position due to the recent reversals – entirely predictable and avoidable –suffered by our military.

Therefore the breakdown of the talks is not entirely a bad thing. It clarifies matters and focuses the collective mind on what is fundamental, on what is real: war, politics, diplomacy, and economics. We can now get on with the practicalities of facing (which includes intelligently anticipating) and resisting the LTTE.

SLFP-UNP MoU

D`E9tente means ‘the relaxation of tensions’, which is what the MoU between the two major parties has achieved; nothing less, nothing more.

One does not have to trust Ranil Wickremesinghe (which I do not) or be satisfied with the contents of the bipartisan MoU (which I am not), to welcome the agreement between the ruling party ad the main opposition (which I do).

The opening address of the chief Sri Lankan delegate to the Geneva talks, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva shows that in a situation in which the Sri Lankan side had been weakened by its defeats in Muhamalai and Habarana, the only thing we really had to show for ourselves was the tentative bridge-building between the governing and main democratic opposition parties, the SLFP and UNP.

In a struggle against fascism, a broad front is an imperative, and the broader the front or bloc the better, even if it is with those who had helped in fascism’s rise! Any bloc between either of the main democratic parties and the smaller ones ( be it JVP or ethnic minority) would by definition be narrower than one which brought together the SLFP and UNP, which together represent the overwhelming bulk of the country’s people.

It is true that the agreement between the two parties is not a robust rebuttal of terrorism, but it does draw the UNP into an accord which is critical of terrorism. That is a first, in almost a decade! The MoU is certainly a dilution of ‘Mahinda Chinthana’, but MC is accepted only by those who voted for it, and no broader bloc could limit itself to that election platform. The broader the bloc, the more diluted the programme. That is inevitable.

Bitter but Better

Such a bloc is possible only on the basis of a common denominator. That denominator could have been higher if the UNP had another leader or had the dissidents been capable of ousting the present one (as distinct from defecting by degrees), which is another way of saying the same thing. But that did not happen. Therefore the choice was of a narrower front with a dissident section of the UNP or a broader one ‘from above’, i.e. with the existing leadership. The better – if bitter – option was a broader front, especially with the reversals incurred by the military. A bloc with the UNP as it exists has the drawback of being with the Tiger’s tacit ally or ‘asset’ Ranil Wickremesinghe, but has the compensatory virtue of drawing together, or at least lowering the hostility between, the two major southern – Sinhala – parties. This neutralises, or slightly narrows for a span of time, the division among the Sinhalese. That is surely worth some sacrifice of political correctness!

The JVP finds itself left out and to a lesser extent so too does the JHU. This is a pity. President Rajapakse did attempt to bring the JVP into the fold. As the Nandana Goonetillaka affaire shows, the JVP adopted far too extreme a stand to make this possible. Had the president accepted the JVP’s proposals the country would have been isolated. Without external resources, we cannot fight a war.

A bloc between the SLFP and JVP would be far narrower than that between the SLFP and UNP. It is also of lesser strategic importance, given the social sectors that the UNP represents. Be it the villages or the armed forces, it is the UNP and SLFP, in whichever order, that commands the overwhelmingly larger number. Therefore a bloc between these two unites more people or lessens enmity between a greater number, than would one between the SLFP and JVP.

The rapprochement between the SLFP and UNP helps the economy, buoys investor confidence and sustains international support, all of which are more important after the failure of the Geneva talks than before. Given the Tigers, Geneva could have been a "success" only if we surrendered, and fortunately we didn’t. If the SLFP-UNP compromise did not exist, the state and the country would have had no fall-back, especially in its international relations and standing. We may have been written off.

What does the JVP have to offer that can offset the gains, however short-term, of even a temporary, unsteady rapprochement with the UNP? Joint military exercises with its favourite state, North Korea?

Today we still have some hope that we can offer the outside world: the Southern d`E9tente, the All Parties Representative Committee and the promise of maximum devolution. Though it was entirely insincere on his part, even Tamilchelvan had to welcome the southern consensus and promise to resume talks if and when it produced a solution. That indicates the value and power of this political asset.

Though positive on balance, the bipartisan MoU has its dangers. To my mind Ranil Wickremesinghe entered the bloc for at least three reasons: to forestall the crossover of an important segment of the party; to turn the JVP on the SLFP; and (less obviously) to penetrate the Rajapakse administration and the state apparatus and pull the plug on it at a time most propitious to Prabhakaran. Still, the agreement was a risk worth taking, for the reasons that have been set out here.

President Rajapakse now has to watch his back and not permit either the Ranil faction or the JVP- JHU to subvert the state apparatus and the military machine. He must solidify the bloc with the UNP so as to forge closer ties with the UNP dissidents and win over the UNP’s rank and file supporters even if Ranil Wickremesinghe pulls his party out of the accord and back-stabs the administration. Winning over a section of the UNP’s social support would expand the SLFP’s base as a moderate centrist party, enabling it to win an election even without the JVP’s support. Above all the president must build upon the MoU, strengthening the bipartisan consensus, imparting momentum to the APC/APRC process, implementing a solution to the Tamil question with or without the LTTE- and it will almost inevitably have to be without (and against) the LTTE!

Meanwhile we must await Mr Prabhakaran’s celebration of his birthday with a gigantic fireworks display, and hope that our armed forces can spoil his party by raining (incendiaries) on his parade. -The Island

Zone24x7 a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner

Zone24x7 Inc., a leading provider of global technology innovation services, announced that it is a new member in the Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Program.

Headquartered in California, USA. Zone24x7 delivers innovative solutions and products for customers, which include Tier – 1 Retailer Federated Department Store, in USA, Motorola, Posiflex, ID Tech, Symbol and RDM Corp, Canada to name a few.

Zone24x7 has been named as a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner for Mobility Solutions, Custom Development Solutions and Data Management Solutions competencies due to its proven track record of customer satisfaction, and competence in leveraging Microsoft technologies to provide excellent business intelligent related solutions. Zone24x7 is one of the first companies in Sri Lanka achieving the Mobility Solutions competency within a short span of time. Membership in the Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Program will provide Zone24x7 with resources to help it develop and deploy robust business intelligence solutions that will help customers to better manage and capitalize on their company’s data.

"Zone24x7 is extremely pleased with our new status as a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner for Mobility Solutions, Custom Development Solutions and Data Management Solutions competencies, within a short span of time" said Llavan Fernando, CEO of Zone24x7. "Being a Gold member of the program allows us to clearly promote ourselves to customers as having proven expertise in providing high-quality Mobility, data management and development solutions. This also provides Zone24x7 access to some of the top technical resources at Microsoft which in turn helps us to develop superior software solutions for our clients".

Zone24x7 also has developed its flagship product Remote Device Agent (RDA) based on Microsoft Technologies. RDA technology is a breakthrough in enterprise device management. Intelligent agents take over most management tasks in devices to make them autonomous and self sustaining. In addition to improving responsiveness and reducing maintenance costs, the agents facilitate enterprise managers to make more informed decisions and to perform predictive maintenance within the enterprise. The Real-time CodeSync TM feature in RDA is the pinnacle of dynamic behavior in enterprise applications.

This enables enterprise application developers to deploy and execute code on devices without having to reset any device: which means that devices have 100% device availability in the production environment even through maintenance activities. RDA gives our clients the power to be in constant contact with devices on the enterprise network. The RDA Console allows the RDA enabled devices to configure ad-hoc device communities, remotely monitor and manage devices. RDA also is powered with location based visualization/tracking of the devices in dispersed locations of an enterprise.

"RDA’s perception capabilities and its ability to adapt itself to blend with the existing enterprise infrastructure opens a new dimension in device management in devices starts living in the enterprise space" says Shoba Wijayawardane, General Manager of Zone24x7.

"Microsoft recognizes that companies need a high-caliber technology partner who speaks the language of both business and IT and can deliver the most meaningful solutions through technology. Today, Microsoft recognizes Zone24x7 for obtaining Gold certifiction (which is the highest level of membership in the Microsoft Partner Program) and three competencies which enhance the solutions offered to their customers.

This distinction brings value to the local IT industry and makes it clear that Zone24x7 has the skills and experience to provide high-quality Business solutions utilizing Microsoft technology.

We also hope that there would be many more International Companies who would want to set up operations in Sri Lanka, and recruit high caliber Sri Lankan IT professionals to cater to the Global and Local IT needs and opportunities. “We wish Zone 24×7 well in all future endeavours and we will continue to extend our support towards them in many ways" said Sriyan de S. Wijeyeratne, Country Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka. -Financial Times

It should be either war or peace not both

By Subash Wickramasinghe

In the absence of a clear cut policy and relevant strategy to implement such a policy no living creature can achieve any goal. It will be like throwing sticks to a flowing river or trying to fill up a bottomless well.

Sri Lanka is a clear example of a country attempting to achieve a goal without a clear cut policy. Of all the countries Sri Lanka is one country that should have a very well planned strategy mainly because of the terrorist problem that has engulfed this country since 1980s. Ironically what is lacking is also a well planned out strategy to face the future.

When UNP and SLFP signed the MoU the country rejoiced believing such understanding would pave the way for a southern consensus to strengthen the government to meet the Tigers effectively and crush terrorism for ever. In fact what Tigers pointed out was also that without a southern consensus there is no point in seeking a solution. Unfortunately even the MoU has become a half-hearted, half-baked document as the main aim of the MoU is not to build up a southern consensus but to cooperate with the government while maintaining its views and identity. Initially the plan had been to induce crossover from one side to the other. Finally it turned out to be an understanding to prevent crossing over from either side. Hence the MoU which is meant to serve a different purpose would not bring in the desired results of a southern consensus. As a result this historic union is also patched up and hatched up to serve individual purposes but not a collective effort to save the nation from the clutches of the Tigers. That is why soon after signing the MoU the opposition declared that they will however retain their identity and would be a strong opposition. On the other hand the government in their remarks said that 90% of the population is now with the government. These statements clearly show that it is an act of maintaining their individual identity and of strengthening their lot against the other. Even the JVP was in the same situation when they were with the government. They ruined the government by staging work stoppages at crucial stages. They did so to enhance their power and show their might. Hence it is crystal clear that political parties in this country will never close their ranks to unite together for the sake of the country. Once they close ranks they can arrive at a common decision without vacillating between war and peace. Without such closing of ranks neither PA nor UNP would decide on a clear cut policy of war or peace. Hence it would always be half-hearted war and half-hearted peace and as a result neither will succeed. Ranil Wickremesinghe’s CFA is an example for a half-hearted and half-baked attempt at making peace. The decision to stop the on-going raids and assaults after Mutur and Sampur successes was an example for half-hearted attempt at war by the government. Under the present party system it is quite natural for the leaders to consider the pulse of the electorate to base their decisions even on military matters. Once the party leaders genuinely close ranks and educate the electorate the decisions they take would not be based on the pulse of individual electorate. Under such circumstances it will be either full scale war or fully fledged peace attempt. Until and unless that happens the country would be at the mercy of the Tigers. That is what happened at Geneva on the last day of the talks.

In addition to the leaders’ unwillingness to close ranks to fight for a cause in the name of the country, they lack vision to achieve a goal. That may be because they are attuned to the cut-throat system of politics. Political parties never mention the word ‘war’. In fact it was Ranil Wickremesinghe who propagated the theory of ‘no-war politics’. To prove his point he said that soldiers should not go to war and die. In fact by saying so he had demoralized the soldier fraternity and naturally such statements disturb the patriotism in the service personnel. In any country service personnel are held in high esteem because they are the guardians of the nation. Politicians should inculcate patriotism in people not disturb patriotism. Even patriotism has been negated in order to gain preferences at elections.

As a result of such attitudes terrorism is gaining ground in this country at an alarming rate. Governments have become the laughing stock of foreign nationals. Foreign organizations play a vital role in the Lankan terrorist problem. It is this support from foreign parties that have helped the terrorists to play havoc in this country and get away scot-free. The politicians should understand this reality and act accordingly.

One other cardinal factor any government of the day has to bear in mind is that it is the duty of the government to maintain law and order and sovereignty. No government can shirk that responsibility under any circumstances. Whether the soldier’s life is to be protected or the vote bank should be protected are matters that come second. The first priority is to protect and save the country. In doing so not only soldiers but everybody has to sacrifice. Considering the fact that large number of civilians also have sacrificed their lives, one cannot say that soldiers cannot be sent to war to die. When terrorism raises its ugly head everybody is at risk.

If one considers that human lives should be protected and reject war at any cost, then that party or government should declare that and withdraw the forces from the battlefront. Such an act would be an easy way to avoid a problem but not the way to solve the problem. In the same way if one considers a bit of war here and a bit of peace there that would help spread the cancer of terrorism everywhere. That is what is happening in Sri Lanka.

Under the present circumstances the biggest blunder this government did was to proceed with the peace talks even after the 120 unarmed sailors were massacred at Habarana and the attack at the Dakshina Naval Base at Galle. A government cannot act as if it is observing ‘sil’ when its citizens are being massacred en masse. Governmental responsibilities are to be carried out under any circumstances. The government decided to take part in Geneva talks under the oft repeated term that ‘a government cannot behave like a terrorist unit hence the government would have wanted to show its desire for peace even in the face of absolute terror. But the problem is the enemy. The opposite side should always size up the enemy and then act accordingly. The enemy Tiger is playing a shrewd game. Tigers always try to gain some kind of victory to dictate terms at the talks. In fact the Tiger game plan has become a shrewd one mainly because of the amenability and the indecisiveness of the government. Despite the Habarana attack the government decided to attend talks believing negotiation is the best policy under any circumstances. But government failed to understand the wise saying “never fear to negotiate but never negotiate out of fear” The results were crystal clear at Geneva. But as for Habarana massacre it was pure cowardice on the part of Tigers but as far as authorities are concerned it is nothing but sheer negligence that had made the unarmed sailors sitting ducks!

These are military weaknesses but on the part of the government it has to decide very soon whether it wishes to go on the peace path at any cost or face the Tiger fire power head on. The government should understand that so far the Tigers have taken the government on a ride when it came to peace parleys. The present Geneva sojourn is not the first of its kind. This is the second or third Geneva debacle. It is an accepted fact that no negotiation is possible without an accepted agenda. Of course the government submitted its proposed agenda of discussing the core issues. The Tigers vehemently protested to discuss core issues. No problem can be sorted out without discussing the core issue.

The Tigers do not agree to discuss the core issues. What they want is to beat around the bush and re-implement the flawed CFA. It is the CFA that has earned them the ‘right’ to play havoc in two provinces. It is the CFA that prohibited the government and its forces to enter such areas. No wonder they want CFA fully implemented. In addition to the CFA the Tigers now demand to have the A 9 road opened for vehicular and other traffic. The A 9 was closed by the military as a result of a camouflaged attack launched by the Tigers. This attack at Muhamalai on A 9 was launched by way of bus carrying passengers. The passengers who were in the bus were none other than fully armed female Tiger cadre and child soldiers. No sooner the bus reached the Muhamalai on A 9, they started attacking the sentries at the FDL. It was after that only the military decide to close the Muhamalai A9 road. But wonder whether the government delegation educated the world about why the A 9 is closed. The delegation spoke about unconditional terms the Tigers promised at the beginning but not the very valid point the government had as to why the government was compelled to close A9. The other fact that prompts Tigers to have the A 9 opened is the illegal tax collection from those who use the road. At a time funds from the Diaspora reducing the A 9 was a gold mine for them.

Since the government decided to attend talks despite agenda problems the delegation should have answered the Tiger accusations point blank. The omission of the reason why A9 remains closed is a case in point. Hence the government should have a delegation that is up to the mark. For example President Nixon used the best brain available at that time, Dr.Henry Kissinger to negotiate with Arab leaders at Mideast Peace Talks. Fortunately President Nixon did not allow Dr.Kissinger’s wife to accompany the husband as an advisor and not only that President Nixon did not allow his man-Friday to spy on the activities of his delegation. Now it is clear why this “country like no other” always wallow in the mud without knowing whether coming or going. -Daily Mirror

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