2007年04月04日

kanban from Benet

Toyota is number three on Fortune's 2007 Most-Admired Companies list, largely because of its reputation as a super-efficient manufacturer with an eco-consciousness. But, despite all the talk of Toyota's sophisticated just-in-time (JIT) inventory system, the company actually relies on a more basic practice to stay lean and green — kanban — which means shop sign or sign of authority in Japanese. Kanban is a signaling system Toyota developed in the early 1950s to make sure that materials aren't ordered too soon in the production process. And there's a funny story behind the way it came to imply lean production.

In an article from FredHarriman.com, ex-Toyota Group manager Chihiro Nakao relates his experience with Taiichi Ohno, who originated Toyota's Lean Production in collaboration with Shigeo Shingo. Here's the punchline:

As Mr. Taiichi Ohno drove deeper and deeper in the effort to achieve Just in Time ideals among the companies of the Toyota Group, […] the struggle was to keep people from [ordering] too much too soon from their upstream process.

In once incidence remembered by Chihiro Nakao, Mr. Ohno caught someone he knew was about to pull his materials too soon and thundered: "Who are you and where did you come from?! What makes you think you have any right to this material? Show me your kanban!!" [i.e. prove your authority!]

Such incidents demonstrated the need to "show one's kanban" when procuring material or parts. They needed some way to prove that they had followed all the rules put in place to achieve Just in Time. Since Mr. Ohno's demand for a "kanban" left a lasting impression, the name for the cards that were issued to limit in-process inventory […] became "kanban."

Manufacturers all over the world now copy Toyota's kanban system to control their JIT inventory practices and stay competitive. But Toyota remains on top, lean and green as ever.

  
Posted by whispering1 at 04:24Comments(0)

2007年03月28日

miscellaneous

real estate

business speech

company annoucements

trafffic reports

how to use a copy machine

telephone message

NY. bus annoucement

 

  
Posted by whispering1 at 19:16Comments(0)

Steve Jobs' Commencement address (2005)

This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

SR

  
Posted by whispering1 at 19:03Comments(0)

Freeport

Freeport is located on the southwest coast of Grand Bahama, one of several islands that make up The Bahamas. Freeport is the capital city of Grand Bahama, and is bordered by the North Atlantic Ocean.

While Freeport is abuzz with commercial activity, sun seekers can still enjoy a tropical day at the beach in the capital. Many guests of the Freeport hotels frequent the Xanadu Beach, where the sand is warm and white and the water calm and turquoise.

For additional relaxation, be sure to visit "The Groves" -- lush gardens filled with thousands of species of exotic plants and shrubs from around the world.

Grand Bahama's other major city, Lucaya, which is just south of Freeport, also boasts lush gardens and breathtaking beaches.

Beach weather is abundant in both Freeport and Lucaya, with annual daytime highs ranging from 26 to 31 degrees Celsius. June to September are typically the hottest months. The sun also shines an average of 320 days a year.

But expect to see some brief, heavy rainshowers from May to November, which is the rainy season in The Bahamas. The northern islands, including Grand Bahama, generally receive more rain than the southern islands.

Tourists should also be aware that The Bahamas can be affected by tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes during the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.

If you're looking to take home some Bahamian souvenirs, you won't want to miss the International Bazaar in Freeport, which remains a top attraction with goods from all over the world.

Grand Bahama also features a wide array of water sports, including snorkeling, kayaking and windsurfing. On land, choose from a distinguished selection of golf courses, casinos and nightlife establishments.

  
Posted by whispering1 at 18:06Comments(0)

Report

Dear BNET reader,

There may not be an easy way to let someone go, but our new BNET feature package, Learning How to Say "You're Fired," can help you tackle this difficult task. It covers what you need to know before making the decision and how to deliver the news:

How to Fire the Employee Who's Holding You Back
When your efforts to improve an employee's performance just haven't worked out, it may be time to part ways. It's a painful decision for most managers, and hard news to hear as an employee, even when both know the fit isn't right. There are steps you can take to make the process as humane as possible, however, with some as simple as checking the calendar to make sure you don't fire someone on his birthday.

Firing and the Law
BNET went to the legal experts to find the six most important U.S. laws to bear in mind when you're thinking of firing an employee. Make sure to cover yourself (and your company) so an ex-employee can't claim wrongful termination.

Tales from the Firing Line
Three top executives weigh in on how they've handled the pressure of firing employees. Their advice? Stick to your guns, be compassionate, and think about the rest of your team. You'll find other words of wisdom from pros with more than 60 years of combined experience.

What Is Forced Ranking?
How do other companies decide who has to go? Some are using the controversial method of forced ranking. It may be in effect in your company under another name, or it could be used by the organization you just sent your resume to. Find out where it got started, who's using it, and how it works.

  
Posted by whispering1 at 17:56Comments(0)

Growth of Firms: Northern Rock, Virgin and Barclays

Companies are constantly looking for ways to expand and to increase profits.  The Times 100 case study describes how Northern Rock expanded through investment in important resources - people (for example, by providing training and well-paid career paths) and buildings and systems (including IT systems).  This week has seen news of two other companies attempting growth strategies, using very different ways.  According to the BBC, Virgin has been given permission to set up a new budget airline in the USA.
This represents a type of organic growth, as Virgin hope to achieve growth by improving their output and sales figures.  To do so, Virgin must adjust their management and ownership, in order to abide by a regulation that states that “airlines are 75% owned and controlled by US citizens” (BBC, 21st March).  

Meanwhile, the third largest British bank Barclays is seeking to take over its Dutch competitor ABN Amro.  The move would involve significant changes at the top end of the company with some of the higher jobs being shared.  Such a move would amount to “one of the biggest in the financial services sector” (BBC, 21st March) according to financial analysts, who also speculated that rival bids may follow.  Barclays’ acquisition of ABN would be an example of inorganic growth, as they seek to increase their
profits through merger.  Barclays are reputedly interested in ABN’s Asian operation.  The proposed takeover, which would result in a bank worth £80bn, would allow Barclays to move into this new market.

While both forms of growth have their respective advantages and disadvantages, inorganic growth is generally perceived as a faster way for a company to achieve economic growth.  This is particularly the case in industrial fields, with companies bonding with innovators, enabling them to produce new and effective products more efficiently.

Of course there is a potential risk attached to rapid growth.  It can become difficult for a company to keep up with its own development.  The company will require more cash from capital, and if this is not available, then they run the risk of serious problems.  A recent example of this was WorldCom in the 1990s.  WorldCom had bought many smaller telecommunications companies, allowing consistent growth.  However, to maintain this, they would have to buy bigger and bigger companies.  When a $115 billion bid
for Sprint Corp was blocked, the company’s value was severely depleted, along with its growth potential (Investopedia, 2003).  This is particularly a risk with companies growing inorganically, such as WorldCom.

Clearly then, growth can be a very positive thing, but it must be managed correctly, otherwise it cannot be sustained.
  
Posted by whispering1 at 17:55Comments(0)

How Do I Get to London From Heathrow Airport?

Located 20 miles (32km) to the west of London, Heathrow (LHR) is one of the world’s busiest international airports. Heathrow has got four terminals and a fifth is under construction.
1.Traveling by Train between Heathrow Airport and Central London

The Heathrow Express is the quickest way into central London. It takes about 20 minutes and is non-stop to Paddington station. HeathrowConnect.com also runs a train service between Heathrow Airport and Paddington station but has a few stops along the way so the fare is a bit cheaper.

2.Taking the Tube between Heathrow Airport and Central London

Heathrow Airport has two stations on the Piccadilly Line: Heathrow Terminal 4 and Heathrow Terminals 1, 2, 3. Both stations are in zone 6 (central London is zone 1.) London Underground is the cheapest way to travel to and from Heathrow but it takes a long time (about 1 hour to central London).

3.Coach Services between Heathrow Airport and Central London

National Express connects Heathrow’s central bus station and Victoria Coach station and takes about 40 minutes. Remember to allow time in case of traffic problems.

4.By Taxi between Heathrow Airport and Central London

You can usually find a queue of black cabs at all terminals or go to one of the approved taxi desks. The fare is metered, but watch for extra charges such as late night or weekend journeys. Tipping is not compulsory, but 10 is considered the norm. Expect to pay at least £40 to get to Central London. Only use a reputable mini-cab and never use unauthorized drivers who offer their services at airports or stations.

  
Posted by whispering1 at 17:50Comments(0)

car advertisement

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From the choice of materials in its construction to its fuel-efficient engines, every part of Tesoro reflects our commitment to driving towards a cleaner world.

From its elegant, compact exdterior to its contemporary cabin and dashboard, every inchi of  Tesoro is the essence of Spanish design:smooth lines, innovative shapes and not a superflouis element in sight.

  
Posted by whispering1 at 17:39Comments(0)

2007年02月13日

Mobiles, the Product Life Cycle and Innovation - Times 100

The mobile phone market has reached maturity with ownership levels now reaching very high levels.  It is estimated that by the end of 2009, some 2.6 billion mobiles will be in regular use around the world (BBC, 19th July 2005).  In countries such as Japan where technology has been adopted quickly, an estimated 78% of the population now own a mobile phone (BBC, 8th February 2007).  Maintaining sales of mobiles is therefore difficult given the high levels of ownership already.  

Recent news has reported a number of new innovations that have tried to extend sales within the mobile market.  Vodafone is reported to have introduced new software that allows users to update their MySpace site through their mobile phones (BBC, 7th February 2007), following innovations of cameras, MP3 players, TV, and smart phones.  One BBC reporter describes his impression of new technology within the mobile phone market (BBC, 29th December 2006):

 “The single coolest thing I saw in the last year was a demonstration on a Symbian smartphone, watching a TV signal from California, sent over the internet and controlled from the handset.”

More people than ever are becoming early adopters of technology, says research outlined in Las Vegas which suggests that increasing innovations in the market should encourage greater sales (BBC, 7th January 2007).   However some commentators are starting to question whether we need all this extra functionality on mobile phones.  Innovations such as television on mobiles have seen some disappointing sales levels (The Guardian, January 17th 2007).  

Whilst the pace of innovation within the mobile market is fast, business in other industries also invest in research and development to try and extend the lifecycle of products and services.  A good example is provided in the Times 100 case study relating to company Amway.

Sources:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4697405.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6337981.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6202947.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6238309.stm 
http://business.guardian.co.uk/story/0,,1991842,00.html
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6342001.stm
http://www.thetimes100.co.uk/case_study.php?cID=11&csID=57&pID=3

Potential Study Questions:
What are the stages of the product life cycle?
What is an extension strategy?
Other than developing the product itself, what other types of extension strategy might be used by a business?
  
Posted by whispering1 at 12:56Comments(0)

2007年02月08日

Global Warming and Sustainable Business - Times 100

Much of the news in the last week has been reporting on the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).   The panel highlights global warming as a man-made phenomenon (BBC, 2nd February 2007).  The EU states this to be “the starkest warning yet”, whilst the UK said “climate change threatened world peace and prosperity” (BBC, 3rd February 2007).  However the US administration said that whilst the report was "valuable", it rejected mandatory controls to reduce greenhouse gases.

There are also concerns about increasing emissions from China.  A report by the Chinese government states that China is failing to make progress on improving and protecting the environment (BBC, 28th January 2007).  Despite representing a fifth of the world's population, China consumes only 4% of the world's daily oil output.  However if the country continues to grow at a faster rate than the global economy, then the environmental impact could be significant.

Governments can do a great deal to reduce emission levels through regulation and taxation.  The European Commission has announced plans to force energy companies to produce greener fuels (BBC, 31st January 2007).  The UK government has introduced fuel and air duty increases in recognition of the environmental impact of air travel (BBC, 6th December 2007).   Businesses can also contribute towards reducing emissions.  The Times 100 Nestlé case study describes the company’s approach to sustainability.  It
highlights improvements made to its use of energy, as well as the reduction of packaging on its products.  
Many governments and businesses are starting to take steps in the right direction.  However the most effective way to encourage change and reduce emissions lies in the hands of the consumer.  Back in 2003, the UN Environment Programme (Unep) was working with psychologists and behavioural scientists to understand what makes consumers tick.  Their research tried to determine how to persuade consumers that being green was something desirable (BBC, 4th February 2003).
                                                                                                                                       Sources
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6324029.stm 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6326667.stm 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6306881.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6317059.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/6211176.stm 
http://www.thetimes100.co.uk/case_study.php?cID=7&csID=68&pID=1 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/2726847.stm

Potential Study Questions
How green are you?  Calculate your own carbon footprint at http://www.carbonfootprint.com/
How might modern operational methods such as JIT influence a business’s carbon footprint?
How might a businesses investing in green sourcing of raw materials, production methods and distribution systems be used to their advantage by the marketing department?
  
Posted by whispering1 at 19:23Comments(0)

Global Warming and Sustainable Business - Times 100

Much of the news in the last week has been reporting on the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).   The panel highlights global warming as a man-made phenomenon (BBC, 2nd February 2007).  The EU states this to be “the starkest warning yet”, whilst the UK said “climate change threatened world peace and prosperity” (BBC, 3rd February 2007).  However the US administration said that whilst the report was "valuable", it rejected mandatory controls to reduce greenhouse gases.

There are also concerns about increasing emissions from China.  A report by the Chinese government states that China is failing to make progress on improving and protecting the environment (BBC, 28th January 2007).  Despite representing a fifth of the world's population, China consumes only 4% of the world's daily oil output.  However if the country continues to grow at a faster rate than the global economy, then the environmental impact could be significant.

Governments can do a great deal to reduce emission levels through regulation and taxation.  The European Commission has announced plans to force energy companies to produce greener fuels (BBC, 31st January 2007).  The UK government has introduced fuel and air duty increases in recognition of the environmental impact of air travel (BBC, 6th December 2007).   Businesses can also contribute towards reducing emissions.  The Times 100 Nestlé case study describes the company’s approach to sustainability.  It
highlights improvements made to its use of energy, as well as the reduction of packaging on its products.  
Many governments and businesses are starting to take steps in the right direction.  However the most effective way to encourage change and reduce emissions lies in the hands of the consumer.  Back in 2003, the UN Environment Programme (Unep) was working with psychologists and behavioural scientists to understand what makes consumers tick.  Their research tried to determine how to persuade consumers that being green was something desirable (BBC, 4th February 2003).
                                                                                                                                       Sources
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6324029.stm 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6326667.stm 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6306881.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6317059.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/6211176.stm 
http://www.thetimes100.co.uk/case_study.php?cID=7&csID=68&pID=1 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/2726847.stm

Potential Study Questions
How green are you?  Calculate your own carbon footprint at http://www.carbonfootprint.com/
How might modern operational methods such as JIT influence a business’s carbon footprint?
How might a businesses investing in green sourcing of raw materials, production methods and distribution systems be used to their advantage by the marketing department?
  
Posted by whispering1 at 19:23Comments(0)

2007年02月05日

exchange rates and the impact on exports - Times 100

A good product and careful management of all the business functions isn’t always enough to ensure stable growth for a firm.  There are many external influences operating in the economy that a business needs to predict and respond to.  In particular, many firms are growing nervous about some worrying signs of inflation in the economy – and more importantly the impact that policy responses to inflation will have on their businesses.

For a number of months inflation has appeared to be on the rise.  Earlier this month, the official figures reported an 11 year high of 3% CPI inflation (BBC, 16th January 2007).  In trying to ensure that the levels of inflation do not breach the Government’s target (2% plus or minus 1%), the Monetary Policy Committee have increased interest rates to try and dampen down demand within the economy and so reduce inflation.  The most recent rise pushed rates to 5.25% (BBC, 11th January 2007).  However in doing
so – the Bank of England has caused a number of problems for UK businesses who are reliant on significant export markets.  Rising interest rates make the UK an attractive place for investors wanting a return on their money.  Movement of money to the UK has pushed up the value of the pound against major currencies.  As a result on the 24th January, the pound hit a 14 year record in its exchange rate against the dollar and yen (BBC, 24th January 2007).  Although the value has since fallen very slightly, it
remains high.  Whilst those planning foreign holidays will be rejoicing at their extra spending power, exporting businesses may feel the pinch as their products and services seem uncompetitive to consumers in other countries.

The Times 100 web site contains useful theory sections that you might find useful when trying to understand this area:

Inflation and interest rates – http://www.thetimes100.co.uk/theory/theory.php?tID=330
Exchange Rates - http://www.thetimes100.co.uk/theory/theory.php?tID=327

Sources
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6266263.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6251963.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6291343.stm

Potential Study Questions
What is meant by “business functions”?
The inflation target is known as a symmetrical target.  What does this mean?
What is CPI inflation?
How might an increase in interest rates reduce the level of inflation?
In the Times 100 list of companies, which do you think will be most affected by the growing strength of the pound?
  
Posted by whispering1 at 19:47Comments(0)

Reporting Profits   Times 100

Manchester United has reported that its profits have stayed flat for the season 2005/2006.  Operating profit for the 12 months to 30 June 2006 was £49.7m (BBC, 26th January 2006).  Whilst this still represents a very significant profit level, the BBC report makes efforts to explain why the club did not see higher profits still.  The report suggests that the club suffered from a loss of revenue of £2.8m from exiting the Champions League at the first stage.

Whilst reporting the flat profits from 2005/2006, the club has emphasised that this season’s financial reports are likely to be more promising.  "In the course of the next two years, I expect the club's revenues to show dramatic growth, due to a combination of greater sponsorship, television and match day income," Chief Executive David A. Gill said in a statement (Reuters, January 25th 2007).  This expectation results from increased ticket sales from the expansion of seating capacity at the Old Trafford
stadium and a record shirt sponsorship deal with AIG.  There is also the promise of increased TV revenues for premiership clubs in the next season.  The owner of Manchester United (Malcolm Glazer) has also tried to ensure increasing profits by reducing costs.  He has refinanced the enormous debts of the club to reduce annual loan repayments from £90m a year to £62m, as well as reduce costs of transfer fees on players (BBC, 26th January 2006).

Of course, financial reporting is much more then just revenues, costs, and the profit levels.  Unlike Manchester United which is now owned by Malcolm Glazier, limited companies (those owned by shareholders) are required by law to produce Financial Statements. These statements must be published and made available to shareholders as part of a company report.  The Times 100 provides a useful case study that explains how Cadbury Schweppes presents these financial statements.

Sources
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6300015.stm
http://today.reuters.com/news/articleinvesting.aspx?type=marketsNews&storyID=2007-01-26T000114Z_01_L25279875_RTRIDST_0_MAN-UTD-RESULTS.XML
http://www.thetimes100.co.uk/case_study.php?cID=15&csID=215&pID=1

Potential Study Questions
What are the three types of financial statement that a limited company is required to report?
Why might a firm have a high revenue but still not be profitable?
What is meant by debt refinancing?

  
Posted by whispering1 at 19:44Comments(0)

Testing and Launching New Products - Times 100

Microsoft have finally launched their latest version of Windows – called Vista.  It has been over five years since the introduction of Windows XP and the development of this latest product has been plagued by delays during its development (BBC, 22nd March 2006).   Microsoft founder Bill Gates launched Windows Vista claiming that it is "dramatically more secure than any other operating system released" (BBC, 30th January 2007). At the UK launch of the product, predictions were made that 100 million
computers would be using the operating system within a year.  The Times newspaper states that it is “the revamp of its biggest cash cow is being billed as the most important event for Microsoft in a decade” (The Times, 30th January 2007).

Has the development and testing of Vista been as thorough as the claims?  The technology giant has described the new systems as "the most thoroughly tested software releases in Microsoft’s history" (BBC, 30th January 2007).  Mr Gates said that there has been extensive testing, including the help of 5m volunteers who downloaded early versions of the software (The Guardian, 30th January 2007).  The corporate version of Vista has also been available to business users for the last two months.  

In the Times 100 case study series another high tech giant, Intel, also takes new product development seriously.  Intel predicts trends and developments in different market segments and uses customer focus groups to test its predictions, innovate and launch new consumer products.  In a high tech industry, where technological innovation moves so quickly, is vital.  However, only time will tell if recent launches prove to be as successful as Intel and Microsoft hope.

Sources
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4831374.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6313981.stm
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,9075-2573821,00.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/microsoft/Story/0,,2002078,00.html
http://www.thetimes100.co.uk/studies/view_summary.php?cID=85&csID=227


Potential Study Questions

Intel uses focus groups to test ideas in the early stages of product development.  What are the advantages of this type of market research?

Other than focus groups, what types of market research might have been used to understand user requirements when developing the new Windows Vista?

What is meant by the phrase “the revamp of its biggest cash cow”?
Testing and Launching New Products

Microsoft have finally launched their latest version of Windows – called Vista.  It has been over five years since the introduction of Windows XP and the development of this latest product has been plagued by delays during its development (BBC, 22nd March 2006).   Microsoft founder Bill Gates launched Windows Vista claiming that it is "dramatically more secure than any other operating system released" (BBC, 30th January 2007). At the UK launch of the product, predictions were made that 100 million
computers would be using the operating system within a year.  The Times newspaper states that it is “the revamp of its biggest cash cow is being billed as the most important event for Microsoft in a decade” (The Times, 30th January 2007).

Has the development and testing of Vista been as thorough as the claims?  The technology giant has described the new systems as "the most thoroughly tested software releases in Microsoft’s history" (BBC, 30th January 2007).  Mr Gates said that there has been extensive testing, including the help of 5m volunteers who downloaded early versions of the software (The Guardian, 30th January 2007).  The corporate version of Vista has also been available to business users for the last two months.  

In the Times 100 case study series another high tech giant, Intel, also takes new product development seriously.  Intel predicts trends and developments in different market segments and uses customer focus groups to test its predictions, innovate and launch new consumer products.  In a high tech industry, where technological innovation moves so quickly, is vital.  However, only time will tell if recent launches prove to be as successful as Intel and Microsoft hope.

Sources
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4831374.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6313981.stm
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,9075-2573821,00.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/microsoft/Story/0,,2002078,00.html
http://www.thetimes100.co.uk/studies/view_summary.php?cID=85&csID=227


Potential Study Questions

Intel uses focus groups to test ideas in the early stages of product development.  What are the advantages of this type of market research?

Other than focus groups, what types of market research might have been used to understand user requirements when developing the new Windows Vista?

What is meant by the phrase “the revamp of its biggest cash cow”?
  
Posted by whispering1 at 19:43Comments(0)Practice

2007年01月26日

Sponsorship Times 100

Sponsorship can be a very effective way of companies increasing the visibility of their brands.  The Times 100 Ford case study describes their sponsorship of the Champions League. The campaign contains both above-the-line and below-the-line components.  At the champions league matches, Ford's presence on the pitch in the form of perimeter boards means that the Ford brand is almost part of the game itself, and Ford can promote its brand message strongly for the full ninety minutes of the game.

The sponsorship of the celebrity version of television programme Big Brother has been high profile in the news.  The Carphone Warehouse has helped promote its brands through the sponsorship of the Big Brother programmes for a number of years.  However the most recent series has resulted in massive media attention – and for all the wrong reasons.  Several contestants on the show have been accused of making racist comments, which has resulted in criticism from the culture secretary and thousands of
complaints made by the public to Ofcom (The Guardian, 18th January 2007).

Whilst the increased media attention has increased viewing figures of the television show to record levels, the Carphone warehouse took the decision to suspend its sponsorship of the programme.  Chief executive Charles Dunstone said in a statement: "Our concern has rapidly mounted about the broadcast behaviour of individuals within the Big Brother house." (BBC, 18th January 2007).  A later statement made said that he was "unable to associate its brand with the programme" as long as the furore over racism
and bullying in the house continued.” (The Guardian, January 19th 2007).  The concern reached levels that the company felt might tarnish the image of its brand.

Whilst the Carphone Warehouse has very publicly suspended their sponsorship, they have left open the possibility of returning to the programme in the future.  The Guardian reports that Channel 4 is still in talks with the phone company (The Guardian, January 19th 2007).    It will be interesting to see if and when the company will associate itself again with this controversial reality television programme.

Sources
http://www.thetimes100.co.uk/case_study.php?cID=84&csID=225&pID=1
http://media.guardian.co.uk/site/story/0,,1993792,00.html
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/6283447.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/6274881.stm
http://media.guardian.co.uk/site/story/0,,1994606,00.html

Potential Study Questions
What are meant by above the line, and below the line promotional strategies?
How might sponsorship be used to target certain market segments?  What market segment do you think the Carphone Warehouse were targeting in its sponsorship of Big Brother?
Who are OfCom and what powers do they have?

  
Posted by whispering1 at 12:36Comments(0)

2007年01月22日

Internet Sales from Times 100

The Times 100 theory section highlights the importance of getting the right mix when marketing their products.  Much emphasis is given to the product characteristics, pricing, and promotion.  However is enough attention paid to the place when we study the 4 Ps?
In some businesses there is a clear distribution structure that provides alternative routes for the product to market.  For example, Motorola supplies phones through retail outlets but also recognises the importance of web sales (Times 100 case study).  In a high tech industry such as this internet has long provided a strong source of sales.  However the growing significance of the web is becoming apparent in many industries.  Analysis of Christmas shopping at the end of last year shows an impressive
increase in sales.  The figures, for the ten weeks to 24 December, marked a 54% rise from last year's total to reach £7.66bn (BBC, 17th January 2006).   According the IMRG report on which the figures were based, sales might have been higher, but demand outstripped supply as Internet sites struggled to cope with the increase sales traffic (The Telegraph, 18th January 2006).
With such a large increase in Internet sales in 2006, it will be interesting to see whether this trend continues.  The IMRG suggests a possible fall Internet sales next year, but what do you think?  Perhaps one day there will be a time when general Internet sales outstrip those on the high street.

Sources
http://www.thetimes100.co.uk/theory/theory.php?tID=185
http://www.thetimes100.co.uk/case_study.php?cID=86&csID=230&pID=4
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6270627.stm
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/01/17/nonline117.xml

Potential Study Questions
• Other than making the division between internet and retail sales, how else does Motorola categorise its distribution channels?
• A question for Economists: “Demand outstripped supply” suggests what Economists refer to as excess demand.  How might this be explained diagrammatically?
  
Posted by whispering1 at 22:30Comments(0)

2007年01月20日

Memory Training (copied)

 

Retelling in the Source Language: The instructor either reads or plays a recording of a text of about 200 words for the trainees to retell in the same language. The trainees should not be allowed to take any notes. In the first instance, trainees should be encouraged to retell the text in the same words of the original to the largest possible extent. The following tactics should be used by the trainees after a certain time of training on retelling: Categorization: Grouping items of the same properties; Generalization: Drawing general conclusions from particular examples or message from the provided text; Comparison: Noticing the differences and similarities between different things, facts and events; Description: Describing a scene, a shape, or size of an object, etc. Trainees are encouraged to describe, summarize, and abstract the original to a large extent in their own words in exercises (2) to (5). Shadowing Exercise: Which is defined as "a paced, auditory tracking task which involves the immediate vocalization of auditorily presented stimuli, i.e., word-for-word repetition in the same language, parrot-style, of a message presented through a headphone"(Lambert 1899:381). This kind of exercise is recommended for training of Simultaneous Interpreting, especially the splitting of attention skills and the short-term memory in SI.

There is another tool which is effective in memory training: Mnemonic to Memory. Mnemonic is a device, such as a formula or rhyme, used as an aid in remembering. Mnemonics are methods for remembering information that is otherwise quite difficult to recall. A very simple example of a mnemonic is the '30 days hath September' rhyme. The basic principle of Mnemonics is to use as many of the best functions of the human brain as possible to encode information.

The human brain has evolved to encode and interpret complex stimuli—images, color, structure, sounds, smells, tastes, touch, spatial awareness, emotion, and language—using them to make sophisticated interpretations of the environment. Human memory is made up of all these features.

Typically, however, information presented to be remembered is from one source—normally words on a page. While reading words on a page reflects one of the most important aspects of human evolution, it is only one of the many skills and resources available to the human mind. Mnemonics seek to use all of these resources. By encoding language and numbers in sophisticated, striking images which flow into other strong images, we can accurately and reliably encode both information and the structure of information to be easily recalled later (Manktelow:2003).

It is also advisable that Exercises with Interference (e.g. noises) be provided in order to prevent information loss in the Short-Term Memory, since the environment and other information present in the storage may reduce the information encoded. Recording speeches with specially 'inserted' noises as a background is a recommended classroom practice, since this is a very effective method to enable the students to concentrate and thus strengthen their STM duration.

  
Posted by whispering1 at 18:50Comments(0)

2007年01月16日

In the news … New Product Development

By guest writer Tom Heasman (year 12 student).

It has recently been revealed by the BBC that British Telecom is deciding to expand beyond the realms of telecommunication service into television (BBC, 6th December 2006).  They brought to light their plans to link up with Irish Football Network, Setanta, to form Vision, BT’s “vision” of increasing their market size. "BT is entering the pay-TV market as an aggressive price competitor, heavily targeting the home-video market." said James Healey, a senior analyst at Ernst & Young (The Guardian –4 December
2006).  They aim to get 2-3 million users to sign up for BT vision.  Whilst this seems an ambitious target, The Times highlights that they are in the beneficial position of already sitting on a customer base of 16 million fixed-line customers and three million broadband customers (The Times, 5 December 2006).

BT’s movement into the world of television has attracted some concerns that there is not a market for them. Mr Healey also said, “The challenge remains that with 40 free channels on Freeview, are consumers who don't have satellite or cable TV today willing to pay for any TV content, or is BT trying to create a market that doesn't exist?" (The BBC –4 December 2006).

The high tech manufacturer Philips has also expanded its product range into new areas (Times 100 Case Study). When Philips was first established in 1981, it made only light bulbs. Recently it has branched out into unknown realms with new state-of-the-art product development based on careful customer research. This research resulted in the ‘Senseo’ Range.  These are everyday objects which rely on touch and sense rather than a press of a switch. For example, an InTouch mirror, which turns from mirror to
message-board with a simple press of the finger.

However, in light of the criticisms made about BT’s move into television, is Philips and its Senseo range merely trying to establish a market which doesn’t exist? Do people want to be holding a glass ball watching a video? Or should they just stick to the ‘most wanted’ HDTV’s, coffee machines and razors? Is Philips in fact creating the wrong types of good to suit the customers’ needs? They would say no, as they constantly survey users to try and find the ideal product. However, it is certain that only time
will tell whether the product development shown by companies such as BT and Philips is really worthwhile and whether they have gone down the right route of product development.

Source:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6205332.stm?ls
http://www.btvision.bt.com/?com.bea.event.type=linkclick&oLName=link.searchresults&oLDesc=KB_784
http://business.guardian.co.uk/story/0,,1963583,00.html
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,630-2487327.html
http://www.thetimes100.co.uk/case_study.php?cID=75&csID=234&pID=4
http://www.senseo.com/en-uk/Senseous

Worksheets and Lesson Plans: Worksheets
http://www.thetimes100.co.uk/support/view_pack.php?cID=75&typeID=2&packID=298

Lesson Plan
http://www.thetimes100.co.uk/support/view_pack.php?cID=75&typeID=1&packID=297

Suggested Study Questions:
What are the key stages in new product development?
What type of market research methods could be used as part of the new product development process?
Why is new product development so risky?
  
Posted by whispering1 at 17:10Comments(141)

2007年01月12日

In the news…. Business Location The Times 100

Switzerland seems the place to move to if you are thinking about moving your business headquarters!
This week’s news shows reports that Kraft, the world's second-largest food and drinks firm, is relocating its European offices away from the UK (BBC, 4 January 2007).  They follow firms like General Motors, Hewlett-Packard, Procter & Gamble, and Pfizer who have also moved the European headquarters to Switzerland, known for its low corporate tax rates.

The Times 100 theory section provides many reasons why a business might move away from, or towards a location.  Push factors include: Rising competition in an area, rising costs, poor communications systems, falling demand. Car parts producer Cooper Standard Automotives quotes falling demand for transferring work away from South Wales to France and Poland (BBC, 30 September 2006).  Pull factors include: Government incentives, low labour costs, good communication systems, developing markets.  Barclays bank in Jersey is relocating some backroom operations from Jersey to India in part because of lower labour costs (BBC, 4 October 2006).  

The factors influencing the location of government offices can differ from those of profit maximising firms.  The Scottish Executive announced plans to move five government agencies (215 jobs) out of Edinburgh (BBC, 12 December 2006).  This policy was part of the executive's jobs dispersal policy, which aims to promote development across Scotland.

To understand how a business considers many different influencing factors when considering where to locate, take a look at the Times 100 Cadbury’s case study.    This provides some detailed explanation of how Cadbury’s located their Cadbury’s Café.

Sources
http://www.thetimes100.co.uk/case_study.php?cID=15&csID=47&pID=6
http://www.thetimes100.co.uk/theory/theory.php?tID=249
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/jersey/5406770.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/south_east/5393880.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/6172739.stm
http://www.thetimes100.co.uk/case_study.php?cID=15&csID=47&pID=6

Worksheets and Lesson Plans
Worksheets
http://www.thetimes100.co.uk/support/view_pack.php?cID=15&typeID=2&packID=263

Lesson Plans
http://www.thetimes100.co.uk/support/view_pack.php?cID=15&typeID=1&packID=262


Potential Study Questions:

Location of business is often considered to be a strategic business decision.  What is meant by strategic in this context?

“The relocation of business can result in some very high short term costs, before the long term benefits are experienced”.  To what extent do you agree with this evaluative statement?

How have the factors influencing the location of business changed over time in the UK?  
Posted by whispering1 at 17:52Comments(0)

2007年01月08日

Licensed for Product Placement by The Times 100

In the news…. 007 Licensed for Product Placement

Producers have long recognised the value of using tie-ins to successful films to help sell products.  A good example would be the above the line promotions by Kellogg’s with the film Star Wars (Times 100 Case Study).  The promotion included value-added offers brought to the trade and special pack inserts for the consumer.

The latest James Bond film, Casino Royale, cost a staggering $150m to produce.  However a massive 20% of the cost of its production was covered by advertisers’ fees for product placements (BBC, 2nd January 2006).  In the latest adventure, James Bond looks cool wearing his Omega watch, sipping his Smirnoff vodka-martini, having just arrived in his gleaming new Ford Mondeo.  Or is it that the Omega watch, the Smirnoff vodka and the new Ford Mondeo look cool being used by James Bond?  Given the $30m dollars
of placement fees, the latter must be suspected.

A report published by researchers PQ Media last year suggests that as digital video recorders, which allow viewers to skip advertisements, becomes more commonplace in homes, product placement becomes more appealing for advertisers (BBC, 17th August 2006).  The report highlights increased use of the tactic on TV as well as film in the US.  American Idol judges drink from prominent glasses of Coca-Cola, Desperate Housewives has promoted Buick cars, and characters in 24 extol the virtues of Cisco computer
security.  

However whilst product placement is common on US television, it is banned on television programmes produced in the UK, and likely to be heavily controlled across Europe as the European Commission introduce new regulations this year.  What next for new forms of advertising?
Sources

http://www.thetimes100.co.uk/studies/view_summary.php?cID=6&csID=228
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6225527.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/4801135.stm

Potential Study Questions
What is meant by above the line promotions?
Some commentators suggest that traditional adverts will soon no longer exist.  Explain (discussing changes in technology) why you think this view exists.
Why do you think that product placements are banned from UK television programmes?

  
Posted by whispering1 at 23:39Comments(0)