Saturday, August 30, 2008

Job Title: Business Studies/ History & Geography Teacher

Sanford International School

Contact Person (position)
Andrew Spinks (Recruitment Manager )

Job Title
Business Studies/ History & Geography Teacher

Other (please specify in notes)

Addis Ababa - Ethiopia

Pay Range

The Sanford International School, formerly known as the English Community School of Ethiopia, is urgently seeking a teacher of IGCSE and IB Business Studies ( 14- !8 yrs) who will also be able to offer Middle School Geography and History. The School has a student population of about 700 which is drawn from approximately 50 nationalities. A significant percentage of the students are Ethiopian. The School itself works closely with various offices including the Ethiopian Ministry of Education, Ministry of labor and social affairs and other agencies. A comprehensive salary and benefit package including medical insurance, travel and accommodation is available for suitable candidates. If interested in this exciting opportunity please email asap

Sandford International School

Sandford International School
P.O Box 30056MA, Addis Ababa,Ethiopia

Tel:+251 11 1233725/30 Fax: +251 11 1233728

Mobile +251 911781872 , +251 911247699


Sandford International School is seeking to fill the following vacancies in the 2008/2009 academic year starting September 2008 .

Primary Section

We welcome applications from primary classroom teachers.

Secondary Section

1 Teacher of English to deliver IGCSE and IB Diploma
2 History TeacherS to deliver IGCSE and IB Diploma
1 French Teacher to deliver French as a second Language

(some positions will require some year 7-9 teaching)

Applicants are required to have a relevant degree, a teaching certificate and minimum of two years teaching experience in a similar school. Preference will be given to teaching couples and applicants with experience of:

IGCSE programs of study
IB Diploma programs of study
Theory of Knowledge .
A comprehensive salary and benefit package including medical insurance, travel and accommodation is available for suitable candidates.

A letter of application, detailed curriculum vitae with a photo, and the names and email addresses of two referees should be sent to the above address, attention to the “Senior Manager”. Candidates are encouraged to send applications by e-mail.

Teacher needed at Sheikh Zayed Private Academy For Girls in Abu Dhabi!

Teacher needed at Sheikh Zayed Private Academy For Girls in Abu Dhabi!

An experienced, female teacher is required immediately to teach in the senior division (Grade 10 Biology, Chemistry, Geometry and grade 12 Environmental Science)

If interested please call Ayesha Haq at 02 446 9777

And email your CV to:

Barbara McKenzie, B.A., B.Ed., M.Ed.

Principal / Head of School

Sheikh Zayed Private Academy

Abu Dhabi, UAE

Tel: (+971) 2 446 9777 Ext 209

Fax: (+971) 2 443 0110

Thursday, August 28, 2008

MSMW Case Study: Pro-forma Balance Sheet of Third Quarter, 2008

MSMW Case Study: Pro-forma Balance Sheet of Third Quarter, 2008

Current Assets
Cash at Bank: $800,000
Inventory: $250,000
Accounts Receivable/Debtors: $250,000
Prepaid Expenses: TBA/NA
Other Current Assets: TBA/NA
Total Current Assets: $1,290,000

Fixed Assets (Tangible)
Equipment/Machinery: $1,000,000
Buildings/Land/Factory: $2,005,000
Fixtures/Fittings: $100,000
Other Fixed Assets: TBA/NA
Less: Accumulated Depreciation: $1,500,000
Total Fixed Assets (less depreciation): $1,605,000

Other Intangible Fixed Assets: TBA/NA

TOTAL ASSETS: $2,895,000

Current Liabilities
Accounts Payable/Creditors: $400,000
Short-Term Loans: TBA/NA
Total Current Liabilities: $400,000

Long-Term Liabilities: $0.00
Long-Term Loans: $0.00
Mortgage: $0.00
Total Long-Term Liabilities: $0.00


Owner's Equity - Share Capital: $495,000
Retained Earnings (Previous Year): $2,000,000
Current Year Earnings: $267,200
TOTAL EQUITY: $2,762,200



First, I will assume that the pro-forma balance sheet of 2002 actually represents 2008 otherwise I would have calculated cumulative inflation and growth of 10-15% annually. In summary a positive balance in total liabilities and equity indicates a possible self-financing export plan which would be ideal. However, utilizing possible EDC buyer supported purchase loans would be a somehwat secure method of kick-starting international sales.

Current Assets

Cash at Bank: $800,000 could be exercised as performing assets either in high interest savings or as basis for capital loans extensions which might not exceed half of its net value therefore project a 400,000 loan could be available on this amount at any time.

Inventory: $250,000 appears to be almost equal to current years sales profits. While acting as inventory it is a little scary to imagine that much inventory in proportion to sales volume. I would rather see it as sold goods so the domestic operation needs to find a way to clear inventory and turn into increased sales.

Accounts Receivable/Debtors:$250,000 again appears horrendously like nearly an entire years profits are tied up in outstanding accounts. What are we paying all of these managers for if it is not to turn debits into credits? I would like to see no more 10-15% of accounts receivable on annual profits.

Prepaid Expenses: TBA/NA
Other Current Assets: TBA/NA

I suspect MSMW has not creatively explored its other current assets category if its inventory and accounts receivables are in such shape. It's time to start turning over rocks on digging up other assets.
For example, what exactly are the minerals located on our site? What about possible value of those healing muds in their gross form as plain old mud?

Total Current Assets: $1,290,000

As for liquidity we only really have our cash at the bank immediately. Optimism required to turn those kinds of figures in inventory and unpaid accounts as actual liquid cash at any time.

Fixed Assets (Tangible)
Equipment/Machinery: $1,000,000
Buildings/Land/Factory: $2,005,000
Fixtures/Fittings: $100,000
Other Fixed Assets: TBA/NA
Less: Accumulated Depreciation: $1,500,000
Total Fixed Assets (less depreciation): $1,605,000

Obviously our depreciation rates should be telling us something about the perceived value of our fixed assets we are only getting about 50% of their value out of owning them. Either we find a way to distribute our depreciation expenses over future time to minimize its impact on our total fixed assets or we consider investing in new machinery especially if the part sales of half of our fixed assets add up to more than accumulated depreciation.

Other Intangible Fixed Assets: TBA/NA

We might consider quantifying our accumulated staff as intangible knowledge assets which do have a monetary value to boost our fixed assets. Not sure if I would include the inventory or accounts department staffs.

TOTAL ASSETS: $2,895,000

Only about 25% of this is actual liquid cash and the rest is going to have a severe sellers discount attached to its value if we try to liquify it.

Current Liabilities
Accounts Payable/Creditors: $400,000
Short-Term Loans: TBA/NA
Total Current Liabilities: $400,000

MSMW is blessed with no accounts payable/creditors or short-term loans (GST calculated in annual earnings). However this would have to be the first and perhaps only business in Eastern Canada which does not owe money to someone. It wouldn't hurt to borrow a little. Look how we are lending to our buyers and inventory departments! Let's knock on EDC's door and see what water we can squeeze out of their stones.

Long-Term Liabilities: $0.00
Long-Term Loans: $0.00
Mortgage: $0.00
Total Long-Term Liabilities: $0.00

Again these are blessings which only a case study could bestow. Fast cash possible in all of these categories except perhaps mortgages at the current time and who wants liabilities? However the minute potential lenders see our inventory holding and accounts due as well as depreciation on assets they might just shake their heads and point the way to the door. Our company accountant has been sleeping at the wheel.


Owner's Equity - Share Capital: $495,000
Retained Earnings (Previous Year): $2,000,000
Current Year Earnings: $267,200

Retained earnings literally sitting there doing nothing. That's two million we have to play with and should have been playing with all along. Owner's equity - a nice cherry on that thick wad of cash ready for re-investment, over-ripe. That's nearly a decade of current year's earnings sitting there doing nothing like a lump of clay. Who could we be even just lending it to for impressive interest? Bear-Sterns? Lehman Brothers? Fannie Mae? Freddie Mac? We might make more money lending that money than exporting with it anyway?

TOTAL EQUITY: $2,762,200


We are equity rich! Let's do something with all of this cash! Furthermore, a stock offering would be a pretty sure way of gathering cash for lending and boosting our confidence. With all that money lying around and a water-tight export plan we should come up with a few investors. We already have annual 10-15% growth domestically. If we need to borrow money we would be crazy on this pro forma.

MSMW Case Study: Overhead Allocations

MSMW Overhead Allocation: I would recommend that the domestic business carry overheads based on its continued market profitability. John R. Jagoe at Export Institute USA also recommends this. His argument is that there is no reason an export customer should pay for domestic based overhead costs such as local professional fees, local rents, support staff not allocated to export trade functions, equipment or costs associated with domestic marketing or other local taxes, etc. As so many international buyers and consumers of global products make their choices based on cost versus quality issues, domestic overhead carrying costs of export products which are in competitive product or service segments will discourage consumption of those products. However whatever allocation is chosen real costs must continue to be covered or exporting would not make sense. This is the other reason our course as well as Jagoe emphasizes that a company like MSMW is only ready to export if it has a proven success in domestic markets first. This would imply domestic competitiveness is not a serious current challenge for MSMW. While I would not recommend a complete zero allocation of overhead for export products, I would consider limiting overhead to export related costs to those necessary incremental factors such as: insurance, freight, packaging, international trade finance costs, modifications, etc. Opportunity to sell our possible premium water products at inflated retail prices well over costs of exworks factory prices is not only likely but preferred. Good examples of wide profit margins exist in luxury category cars markets (in the past) which often represented few modifications to justify higher prices other than prestige factors. Depending on the retail or distributor arrangements made for sale of our products in a competitive market like Dubai for example, our profits-sharing could possibly be a percentage of sales method with projection-level incentives targets which would require simplified overhead costs to maximize overall profits to costs. In addition our possible supplier or distributor alliances will surely seek to review our costs to ensure they are not paying for domestic overhead. It would make our product that much less expensive to supply to a foreign market which should add up to some necessary minimum profits to take home to justify the process of exporting in the overall difference.

Global Promotional Strategies

Global Promotional Strategies

On my recent holiday in Sri Lanka I witnessed repetitive advertisements for "Lafarge" on television during evening/dinner prime-time soap operas. Would this be an example of a global corporation taking advantage of the benefits of television advertising in developing countries which include: highly believable advertising medium, comparatively low production/airing costs , increased point-of-purchase recognition through sponsoring popular shows?

Cement is not commonly a television advertiser in Canada from my experience. But it made complete sense in Sri Lanka as construction in developing countries is often owner-built without contractors. Would this be an example of modification of promotional strategies and would Lafarge mostly be targeting contractor association newsletters and magazines in Canada for their advertising or has Canadian television advertising become saturated by cement manufacturers lately?


"Lafarge India TV Spot"

eConcordia: Effective Promotional Strategy

I think eConcordia's promotional strategy has been effective. Wed quality programs with quality instruction and online learning platforms to access working learners otherwise unable to attend real time learning environments or classrooms. Providing quality education online available, anywhere at anytime embodies the concepts of "m-learning" or mobile-learning platforms which are identified as the future of accessible education globally.

As learning progressively becomes a life skill in developed nations the "Professional and Continuing Education Segment "offers fine-tuning of specific professional skills and expansion of knowledge through industry-specific certificates such as the FITT Skills courses provide.

Accruing awards such as: "2005 Award for Excellence and Innovation in Instructional Design by the Canadian Association for Distance Education" or "2003 Canadian e-Business Leadership Award in the category of E-learning" legitimizes eConcordia's historical record of instructional innovation in a competitive category of education. Further I would suggest seeking further global awards in these categories would be the next progressive step for eConcordia's online programs. While I am not suggesting Malcolm Baldridge I am suggesting viewing the global world as the next horizon in terms of awards.

Aligning itself with the FITT Skills program was a fortunate coinicidence for eConcordia which obviously indicates success in marketing to my particular consumer profile (I hope the feeling is mutual). I seek relevant information and respectable certification of that knowledge in the Canadian context through online studies. eConcordia meets that need and is a singular example and a Canadian educational market leader in that regard. Provide what others provide in a unique method. I think it works and I hope it is profitable?

Mass market and direct selling.

Direct selling, eptiomized by the door-to-door sales of Fuller brushes, insurance, vacuum cleaners, etc. would be inappropriate for mass market products as it is labour intensive, labour is costly, time consuming, and expensive as described by our text. Instead distributors and retailers are employed to market and sell mass market products. For example, "The Dollar Store" provides hundreds of mass market products which could not be direct marketed individually without incurring costly losses. The advent in Korea of travelling "Porters" diesel pick-up trucks which often stake out a corner of an apartment complex and lay out a carpet of dollar stock products for a few hours, would be the closest example to direct marketing of mass consumer products I have seen however it still represents a distributor or short-term retail sales scenario. Advertising and marketing the latest dollar store corkscrew or disposable razors set would require a new market segmentation and would not match user or price categories. Imagine if each item you possibly purchased at Walmart within the last month had a full advertising campaign associated with it? This explains why we cannot buy road-worthy cars for a dollar. Yet.

A couple examples of product modification

First, Hyundai Motor Company has modified prices and warranty options on various domestic and international product lines for several decades usually to the benefit of foreign markets and buyers. The latest to receive global attention is its luxury segment model the new Hyundai Genesis, where prices in the US are so much lower than locally that Koreans have been privately importing the model back to Korea from US sales outlets at significant savings and benefits. At the same time, a decade or more ago Korean cars were often exported with coffee holders which remained designed for the Korean market able to hold a small dixie cup which is the local norm but useless to carafe-sized quaffing coffee drinkers in the west.

"S Koreans Reimport Hyundai Genesis From Cheaper US Market"

"The new Hyundai Genesis"

Second, a load of Hong Kong made and designed talking dolls were trans-shipped to the United States and as language components were designed for various nations, the load delivered in question actually included the Spanish modules which when activated elicited the message, "Quiero a Mami" which means "I love mommy" in Spanish but sounds a lot like, "Kill Mommy" in English.

"Blunders in International Business"

Measuring Customer Satisfaction in Korea

One of the joys of working in South Korea is that there are more barriers to doing good research than language. If I consider just my role as a contract worker I have two sets of customers. Supply managers, as in the owners or superiors managing my contract employment and my fees-paying students. So I attempt to be creative.

The easiest to rely upon factors include:

- monitoring and actively soliciting improvement suggestions from the student clients. This can be effective but especially difficult with school-aged students as many are already forced to attend training institutes without any internal motivation and Confucian values systems do not encourage critical comments be made to teachers who are viewed as superiors. Serious warning signs would be empty classrooms and a decreasing pay packet.

- feedback from superiors which are more likely to receive critical customer comments from students and parents than a foreign instructor. Generally it is is best o be seen and not heard in respect to superiors. The silence is generally only broken if there are unanticipated customer service problems.

- direct comments in student evaluations and reviews. These are a critical portion of instructor contract satisfaction measures at colleges and universities. However they often more accurately reflect a student level of satisfaction with their grade. It is best to be rated in the middle to upper level of one's peer group or similar to a middle position if one were to compare evaluations relevance to being among a group of penguins diving into known whale infested waters.

For example, in the case of private institute enrollments, service quality customer satisfaction can often be measured by rate of enrollments increasing or decreasing on a monthly basis. However cyclical or seasonal rates apply to university students and corporate clients. While price is a factor often regulatory measures to fix prices in the private educational industry in Korea have faced mixed results thus usually legislated but unenforced. Price factors have determined to some extent the level of professionalism of ESL as an industry within Korea. For example, employment and hiring procedures have only recently become more stringent as of the last couple of years concerning criminal records checks of new hired employees as this facet of supply has faced increased scrutiny concerning the case of Christopher Neal, a Canadian who was charged and convicted on pedophile charges in Thailand. As a result demand only increasingly exceeds supply of native ESL instructors. Such basic screening measures have been in place in the majority of major ESL markets in Asia for sometime. At a basic level institutional measures of customer satisfaction are often rudimentary and any increase in procedural requirements results in two scenarios:

1. Increased costs of hiring and placement of foreign instructors.
2. Decreased supply of young inexperienced instructors.

Functional lecturers of core disciplines other than ESL face customer satisfaction measures beyond the base level of proper qualification. Essential qualifications in the past included BA degrees in English Literature however as customer demand increased, and arts degrees graduate enrollments fell throughout the early nineties in many western nations in response to net decreases in government employment positions, such customer demands were difficult to fill and general arts degrees positions became open to all major disciplines. Higher graduate degree holders in disciplines other than English as a Second Language are arbitrarily handled by immigration at the moment however increasing university educational focus is in specialized knowledge categories, for example, international business, trade or law which the average Master's program in ESL might not adequately prepare a teacher to lead.

As far as identifying trends and uncertainties regarding teaching opportunities in my discipline in Korea the most cost-effective tool has remained the internet. My current management encourage further and continued studies in the topic of international trade --- so here I am!

Three Research Resources

Three Research Resources

My first sources are usually pen and paper writing down and actualizing the questions I want to answer. I think our own head space, the largest and most useful research tool is often under-estimated. Where else do we make unique and innovative linkages between data and information? At what point if ever do we move beyond tentative to confident skills in research other than our own minds first? It takes perhaps some degree of self-awareness to develop a talent into a skill.

Then I seek my information generally through internet searches and despite what is said in our text about the usefulness of other search engines, being that much in our text dates from 1995, I have evolved fully during those dozen years through circus freaks like Askjeeves, Lycos, and the like and have come to rely on google almost exclusively as I feel it continues to set the trend in options while other bots, spiders, engines meekly appear to bob in its wake.

I seek to confirm and disconfirm through internet research and there has to be a palatable story in the end which explains why or how whatever I mine appears to float to the surface, either in business news reports, periodicals or what I would classify general knowledge sources.

Not saying that what is generally or publically known is the least common denominators of information usefulness, but I often attempt to exceed that quotident by further retrieval of esoteric historical texts from used book sellers or libraries, either on business sector or target market, country or cultural issue as the root sources of our human abilities in terms of sharing profits and dividing losses are often easily exemplified in the periodic nature of the historical record. Human nature remains unaltered through the centuries and anyone who studied English Literature as I did sees this revealed.

Especially this pertains to my view of information overload. I pay to study to learn what is commonly acceptably known and push that envelope in my own mind to my own economic advantage because in my own opinion, if it is informed, then I may be expected to rework that information uniquely and personally to my own benefit first which is the nature of man. We are really only ever overloaded with choices of action rather than real new information, and as this often provokes indecision and inaction of our individual versus collective needs to provide personally interested benefits out of mass media content strategically adapting to current positions in a technologically galloping world are at times hindered.

Simple escape lies in patience, reading books and writing. All three skills feed one upon the other and provoke diffusive reworking of the mind's own capabilities to formulate and summarize, rework and reformulate ideas, concepts which have at times been collectively known but often only revealed by some and at the right times and at later dates are newly innovative and profitable solutions. In a possibly "dumbed down world" complexity is often overlooked. However it is often simply structural and reveals competency in a topic. I think our current global business world has often simply narrowed and shortened our collective short-termism at the expense of long-term sustainability and saying so should not cast me as some sort of eco-fascist. Our technologies have hastened and come at the expense of our collective future. Greed predicts much of the business world today as ever. However fascinating such a world is. It even trumps ficiton in my book it is more fascinating than poems or short stories. The real is often so fantastic.

For these assignments, for example I have solicited more opinions from experts, for example at the BOI in Bangkok and plan to approach more experts at the embassies here in Seoul. However I trust my own opinions somewhat more than others at times as my interest is based on exemplifying competency in a task and sustaining small-scale consumption while theirs are often merely in selling a trade concept or market destination by comparison. No embassy would ever under-sell their own market. Similarly, few trade commissioners would ever publically discourage local market entry in a trading partner nation. It defies their purposes somewhat. However I did talk with a Chrysler agent in the middle east who warned me off their products there. Funny?

While I rely on my self and my own mind first I consume information much like a steam engine consumes coal. A mind needs exercise to continually gain competency in research. I am always attempting to maintain current usefulness and find it difficult to communicate with people who do not see the purpose of it.

I took a marketing class that described this as "selective filtering." As humans the theory relates we spend more time blocking out irrelevant and un-necessary information that does not meet our current needs or wants. As part of marketing theory advertising is designed to make it easier for consumers to "find" what they are looking for as it is designed to attract our attention especially when we are looking for that service or product category. This might make finding relevant research data easier. However the reverse scenario - when we seek to verify based on poor initial assumptions is a real nightmare.

Take for example the "Mars Anomaly Research" page. J.P. Skipper analyzes grainy photos of Mars and comes up with lucidly written but completely un-substantiated grandiose claims and completely baked conclusions based on what he "thinks" he already knows sans evidence.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

MSMW Case Study: Possible Supply Chain Benefits

MSMW Case Study: Possible Supply Chain Benefits

MSMW might consider entering a supply chain arrangement as a source of supply with Carrefour, Abella's, Spinneys, Lulus all major retailers in Dubai as this would be the most likely example of high inventory stocking levels thus are largest costs prior to sales.

Evaluation of MSMW's local/global product would have to be positive, as well as functional, and technical requirements would need to be met. However, with an upmarket product approach the actual preferred supply chain would be A&E (African & Eastern) and MMI (Maritime Mecantile International) where price, delivery, quality and reliability needs might be more easily met with smaller inventory requirements in smaller or less fequent cycles and match monthly customer markets forecasts. Especially exclusivity of the product would be assured as no Muslims or under-aged buyers would be permitted to enter and purchase the product perhaps increasing its allure to the general public.

African and Eastern


Palette-sized loads which conform to alcohol delivery dimensions would also allow partial loads and small orders to be fulfilled. Particularly supply chain alliances with Canadian alcohol exporters would possibly reduce collective delivery costs and assist distributors in filling out partial container loads of products. Our costs would increase on peak season demands which would conform to alcohol consumption patterns as our water product would be associated with ices, mixes, and minerals.

Canadian Alcohol and Spirits Companies

Some alliance or trade partnership with either local distribution company or with new to exporting niche market alcohol and spirits companies with a shared equitable distribution of earnings (inflated water prices for inflated egos) could preclude any needs for contracted warehousing and/or simplify logistics. It would also lower our overall risk for example, we could supply half-container loads instead of full and share the costs with another smaller new marekt entrant in a non-competitive product category.

Similar premium water products are sold exclusively under terms of supplier contracts in Las Vegas premium five star hotels. Dubai possesses in the range of, "more than fifty five star hotels... The Statistics Centre of Dubai notes a total of 302 hotels with 30,648 rooms with an average overall occupancy rate of 75.5% further supplemented 111 hotel apartments totaling 8652 serviced apartments with an average occupancy rate of 71.1% as of 2006. " (Costello, International Business Plan, 2008) All of these locally compete for consumer sales with often renovated and renewed lounge and bar facilities ranging from the ultra-chic to the common honkey-tonk.

For example Alpine Creek supplies 10,000 BC to the Las Vegas Hilton exclusively.

Similar supplier relationships might be favourably reviewed by Canadian hoteliers in Dubai such as:

Fairmont: Seeing rapid expansion in UAE with new plans for Abu Dhabi.

Four Seasons: No UAE hotels as of yet but a global network.

Progessive possible supplier roles abound and the simpler the better. If our product is designed and marketed correctly appeals for supplier relationships could be quite competitive in attempts to secure exclusivity. As demand grows then inventory may increase or conversely inventory might be highly limited also possibly affecting increased demand to maintain perceived exclusivity. We would want to minimize our direct and indirect costs and our management would prefer MSMW to function in a B2B environment. This would all require superior creativity carried through in successful global negotiation. Minimize storage times, minimize excessive packaging, move goods as little as possible, forecast and order fulfillment correctly, extensive strategic production planning required, superlative customer service required, consider moving entire export bottling facility line as close to Halifax Halterm container port as possible.

Actions and Reactive Reactions

The frequency of MIS reporting should be determined by the volatility of the product or service and market in question. Information gathering should then be categorized as periodic and include short, medium and long-term goals or decisions planning. There should be daily weekly and monthly monitoring goals as well. Annual reports market data arrive quarterly and satisfy many investors requirements.

For example, if our business is currency or commodities trading there are few moments which could be considered more important than opening or closing daily bells and information overload would be a preferred method of frequency as many stock traders appear to claim their occupation is one of the most stressful. So would managing a 24 hour store.

Current market reports should coincide with sales reports and as IBM assisted design of computerized EDI systems to report daily to plot sales cycles this would be necessary for retailers such as Walmart who employ extensive automatic shipping, order and delivery systems based on daily data. Real estate markets might rely more heavily on weekly sales reports as sales frequency would be slower.

John R. Jagoe of Export Institute USA recommends not throwing away a single piece of paper or information relevant to past market surveys or comparisons of agents or suppliers either selected or eliminated as our text recommends we should have a long term information repository on all decision-making processes from the past to the present and future to respond to sudden changes in market conditions which an effective MIS will determine. For example certain news feeds at Industry Canada deliver global market updates daily.

Monitoring and info collection should be a collaborative effort in responding to necessary decisions and to answer specific managerial questions. An annual survey would work well in the described general funnel technique of research methodology. However the more specific and detailed our decisions must be the more frequent the search for new current information must also be.

If we are only ever reactive in terms of management information systems we will never anticipate competitor or market conditions. I confuse action and reaction. We consider added new information in the equation to justify further actions and also pre-plan future actions based on possible future scenarios?

What is relevance?

What is relevance?
What is relevant and what is irrelevant?
How do we anticipate future information needs?

Relevancy: is the search for information which makes useful contribution to the decisions which need to be made as our text relates. However we must avoid certain contextual traps in the collection of useful information. For example, several kinds of information bias either source related, in or out group related or influence of leadership related, self-censorship related and over-critical analysis measures often taint and colour the data with skewed results and poorly influence the wrong decisions. Certainly information overload is to be avoided, but so is over-confidence, values attribution, devaluation and simple under-loaded information.

Plenty of market entry fiascos exist in several texts such as, "International Marketing Blunders
Marketing Mistakes Made by Companies that Should Have Known Better." by Michael D. White.

Or those listed here:

1. When Parker Pen marketed a ballpoint pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to have read, "It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you." Instead, the company thought that the word "embarazar" (to impregnate) meant to embarrass, so the ad read: "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant."

2. In Spain, when Coors Brewing Company put its slogan, “Turn it loose” into Spanish; it was read as “Suffer from diarrhea”.

3. When Braniff International Airways translated a slogan touting its upholstery, “Fly in leather”, it came out in Spanish as “Fly naked”.

4. When Pepsi started marketing its products in China a few years back, they translated their slogan, "Pepsi Brings You Back to Life" pretty literally. The slogan in Chinese really meant, "Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Grave."

5. Chicken magnate Frank Perdue's line, "It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken," sounds much more interesting in Spanish: "It takes a sexually stimulated man to make a chicken affectionate."

6. Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux”.

7. A hair products company, Clairol, introduced the "Mist Stick", a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that mist is slang for manure. Not too many people had use for the manure stick.

8. The American slogan for Salem cigarettes, "Salem-Feeling Free", was translated into the Japanese market as "When smoking Salem, you will feel so refreshed that your mind seems to be free and empty."

9. PepsiCola lost it dominant market share to Coke in South East Asia when Pepsi changed the color of its vending machines and coolers from deep "Regal" blue to light "Ice" blue as Light blue is associated with death and mourning in SE Asia.

10. We can't forget Chevrolet's attempt to launch the Nova -- Spanish translation, "Doesn't Go" -- in Mexico (turns out this one appears to be an urban legend and cannot be verified). Many sources on the internet allege this is untrue.

Judgement of relevance should include: as many managers, workers, target customers, experts, advisors as is effective, in general a diversity and range of opinions to ensure that the decisions made are based on the best information available in addition a full MIS should be in place to monitor our decisions and various group decision techniques, such as the Delphi Method included to ensure judgements do not lead to serious costly errors.

Future orientation to decisions: should be taken in the Deming Management Method's Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle as applied to knowledge management and as described in our text relating to maintenance of an effective MIS system (relevant, timely, flexible, accurate, thorough and convenient). There are many instances where globaly active companies have reacted too slowly to market conditions from supply chain all the way to customer satisfaction from Chiquita Banana to Nike. Daniel Litvin in, "Empires of Profit: Commerce, Conquest and Corporate Responsibility" makes a strong argument that the larger a company becomes as a result of its effective decisions to increase economies of scale the more isolated and distanced its decision-makers become from relevancy and judgmental competency which easily explains why companies themselves have life-cycles.

We may return to GM to illustrate a failure to monitor an effective MIS system in relation to product and market demands.

Pursuing the elusive 10% of research data...

Pursuing the elusive 10% of research data...

If 90% of the research data a business needs to make export related plans and decisions then is it worthwhile to pursue that extra 10%?

Our text relates that the marketplace reveals the extra ten percent of necessary information and reflects a firm's competitive advantage in attaining or acquiring it. That business environment, at the present and in the future will require further cyclical analysis and SWOT of a firm's relative positioning as well as competitors. My previous studies at eCornell defined strategic core competencies of a company as relative to its positioning in environment, to competitors, to market and past, present, future trends and uncertainties, as well as an ability to accurately predict environmental, market, competitor and even internal company changes which would determine or affect that competitive advantage. Much of it apparently is related to seeing or predicting what no one else is, includes serendipity to some degree (being in the right position at the right time and the right cost or price) and to seeing the unknown or at times making predictions more than ethereal but acting upon actionale sequences in research and development and seeing dreams into reality. This would highlight innovative thinking and action which is easier said than done. Actually being there and doing it essentially. A 10% that will be ever changing.

Regarding costs - the cost would be extensive for example, if we did not monitor and continuously update current information as related in chapter ten and which should be an integral portion of our company management information system (MIS).

Costs? Lost opportunities cost. For example, Dubai Knowledge Village where upwards of 18-20% annual growth in GDP has taken place in the last five years with an increase in population unofficially of nearly 1.4 million inhabitants. A costly missed opportunity for Concordia or any other Canadian university not participating in any offshore Canadian universities consortiums similar to those in Australia or The UK.

"The History and Future Development of the International Consortium for Higher Education, Civic Responsibility and Democracy"

Sunday, August 24, 2008

“What is your comfort level with strategic alliances?”

My latest studious response to the FITT Skills question, “What is your comfort level with strategic alliances?” posed by Douglas Marshall of Bombardier is here answered:

My having a global perspective on answering this question helps. I am a contract worker. In the days of yore this would make me quite similar to a mercenary, of whom the spoils were often great as in the days of the Turkish Empire or those spoils were sparing, as in the French Foreign Legion. My comfort level for working with developing nations educational institutions such as those in Korea or The UAE have been high, as the net benefits of contractual agreement have been better than those offered either in Canada or other developed nations to date. However I do often feel the effects of local perceptions of my presence in the negative either at home or locally abroad especially on a personal or social level for which my value is often questioned as culturally imperialist in nature or opportunistic. My own perspective is I continue to fill locally delineated niches and I am quite good at that.

For example after returning to work in the UAE following 9/11 some of my students’ immediate reactions included, "Teacher, why do you love the Jews?" This is a cultural difference of perspective and perception regarding 9/11. Whereas peaceable North Americans immediately suspected Osama Bin Laden and/or Muslim originated global terrorists, the same peaceable Arabs in the UAE suspected global Jewish terrorists. My response was, "How could I only love the Jews and then work for Arabs?" While my forte is now business education and studies in Korea I am often faulted for not speaking enough Korean or the opinion is that if I have lived here so long I should be fluent. However adequate review of my CV will reveal few time-based opportunities for concentrated study in the topic and I have often perceived my living here has always been until my usefulness ends and/or a better teaching and studying opportunity arrives. It remains my choice and I appear to repeatedly choose further business studies as I believe it is to my and my students’ net benefit.

Similarly, perceived alliances of nationality often preclude common sense. As some in Canada might feel politically or economically wounded by my continued international work as a business lecturer abroad effectively equipping the competition with profitable skills - no one has yet sought to provide me with equitable compensation to do otherwise. I am perceived thus to be heavily allied while in reality my services are available under contract terms to the highest bidders and thus immediately considered somewhat nefarious and the only alternate offer to date that I would reasonably consider is 250,000 a year sans benefits again for a foreign nation which would probably reinforce the turn-coat mentality at home. Some Canadian HR Managers and strategists among them often seem to think we are only reliable and responsible workers if we work for and among ourselves and at their will without alternative negotiation rights, owing on mortgages and Hummers. The mere fact of seeking work or studies abroad appears to confirm I may have never really fit in there. Learning more about Canada's competitiveness unless I am being hired to fix such problems on mutually agreed terms I don't want anything to do with them. Quick survey of many developing nations will reveal compliance based performance evaluations of contracted or non-national workers are often much more stringent than for most workers in Canada. Sometimes double or triple Canada's rate which makes me two or three times more reliable in terms of meeting corporate missions and visions than the average Canadian worker. Too bad complacency appears ranked so highly in Canada's business and political elites.

Besides the fact that the corporate world of today knows few such national affiliations but only the power and will of its shareholding majorities I would say there are many hypocrites in the rank and file of local global business decision-makers and hiring planners globally who delude themselves and "talk the talk" in terms of making global relationships based on personal bridge building yet rarely "walk the walk" and who have yet capitalized on the intangible skills and knowledge that oodles of well-educated and experienced expatriates like me have to bring to potentially several corporate tables proven subjugation and mission or vision statements notwithstanding. Bottom-line: I attempt to respect my contracts as they are really my only leverage in my current level of customer satisfaction and future orientation goals. Much of what I know remains in intangible and in alliance with others potentially highly profitable. At the same time I classify this as future opportunities, and accrued knowledge assets not yet actualized remaining in the realm of potentialities. One report I read years ago stated unequivocally that most western businesses surveyed as in 75% see no HR needs into the far future of any new applicants ever. It appears I am not the only one approaching middle age.

It also would not be considered Asia's Century without such corporate miss-steps in the western world. They pay me and I am a hard little worker.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Business Development Officer (International)

Business Development Officer (International)
Prince Philip Drive Campus

Temporary for 3 years, Commencing Immediately

The Business Development Officer (International) will be accountable to the Manager, International Business Development. The incumbent will be a member of the team responsible for international initiatives, with a primary focus on the recruitment of international students, and the acquisition and management of international contracts with countries of focus around the world. The incumbent must be able to work as part of a team while able to take initiative and make decisions when necessary, in consultation with colleagues and within established guidelines. The incumbent must have demonstrated well-developed inter-cultural skills and experience, and be able to function successfully in a multi-cultural environment.

Duties: As a member of the International Services team you will be responsible for recruitment of international students, including marketing, follow-up and tracking, as well as management and support for agents, and liaison with recruitment organizations. The team is also responsible for promoting the College's programs, training, consultancy and technical assistance capabilities to potential clients around the world. Duties will require international travel and include the development of successful international external relationships and the fostering of effective relationships within the college organization, proposal writing and the implementation of revenue-generating international contracts. Related duties will include involvement with international internships, internationalization activities, organizing incoming delegations, conducting seminars and pre-departure briefings, and participating in the design of international promotional materials.

Qualifications: The successful candidate will have a strong background in recruitment and support for international students, and in educational sales and marketing, in an international setting. This requires proven skills in effective interaction with students, parents, agents, administrators and others in a cross-cultural context, the fostering of productive relationships with relevant organizations and the implementation of promotional strategies. Candidates will have strong multi-cultural, interpersonal and organizational skills coupled with a high tolerance for the uncertainty and ambiguity that prevails in the international marketplace. S/he will be an adaptable, dynamic, highly-motivated individual with well developed written and oral communication skills, and should have a thorough knowledge of student support services, proposal development processes, contract development and management. Expertise in computer software applications such as Microsoft Office Suite, Windows, Excel, WordPerfect, internet communication and databases, is required. These skills would normally be acquired through graduation from a recognized college or university, preferably with a specialization in international business or international marketing, combined with relevant international experience in student recruitment and support, marketing and project management. Experience working and living in an international context and in international marketing would be definite assets.

Salary: On the CN-36 salary scale at $44,645 - $50,632

Competition Number: CNA.PPD.BDO(T).08.055-CB (please quote when applying).

Closing Date: August 22, 2008 (before close of business day).

The successful candidate will be required to provide a recent Certificate of Conduct.

College of the North Atlantic is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Please apply in writing complete with resume, University/College transcripts and names of three professional references to:

Human Resources Consultant
College of the North Atlantic
P. O. Box 1693
St. John's, NL A1C 5P7
Tel: 709-758-7269/7270 Fax: 709-758-7300

MSMW Case Study: Outsourcing Options

MSMW Case Study: Outsourcing Options

Logistics & Transportation: In agreement with glazopoulos! However I believe MSMW has the opportunity to develop new packaging outsourcing to suit possible luxury water products markets and therefore might seek to update its current local product selection accordingly as well. This would effect new needs in logistics and transportation beyond generic plastic PET bottles. For example, Sleever International, a premium product design and packaging company helped Icelandic Glacial develop an award winning design which raised its global profile winning the Bottled Water Design Awards in 2005 for “best overall concept” and “best label”,not only for Icelandic Glacial but also for Blu a “PET Bottle design award” for the Oasis Water Company.

Therefore I would add labelling and packaging to possible outsourced facets of MSMW's export strategy.

Sales & Marketing: MSMW needs a kick-ass luxury water product to showcase its web promotion and concept online, we need an online presence and we need banish all PETs from our global product image! No bisphenyl A here! No sir! I concur with glazopoulos! Furthermore if luxury products are on the menu I would recommend taking a look over FineWaters Media, LLC "FineWaters is an independent online publication dedicated to selecting, drinking and enjoying fine bottled water. With a keen attention to the epicurean life, FineWaters provides information on the products, places, events and passion that define fine living. " as a hint of the scope and opportunities which exist in rebranding MSMW as a luxury internationally. Much perspective may be gained by observing many of Canada's local PET representatives which already appear to shimmer in the discount bin category.

So far no one has marketed the beaver angle yet! Who do you think has spent centuries quietly paddling around Maple Springs? Icelandic beauty queens?

Distribution: Let's be careful who markets this product. It needs to share shelf space with the best and no less. Where do we want this water to be served? In economy class or first class? Global distributors abound in the luxury market. However I would recommend learning from export distributors and outsourcing externally and developing a domestic distribution of luxury water in house from what is learned from the export experience. Some examples exist where Canadian luxury water exporters do not even retail their products in the country.

Dutch distribution

US distribution

UK distribution

New Zealand

Yes, we need to import some serious bling. World's most expensive waters, move over.

Outsourcing Opportunities

Outsourcing Opportunities

Freight forwarders

My first and only household goods moving experience was through Allied Pickfords. As a freight forwarder they handled all arrangements, packing, labelling, transportation, insurance, documentation and consolidation of three cubic metres as well as lading. However the final leg of the journey, that being in Canada, was unquoted virtually until delivery and I discovered it was cheaper to rent a truck and pick it up myself which is what I did. The disadvantages may be that comparable pricing may be difficult in foreign markets and any savings may be impossible to gain due to contracts of carriage.

Market research

My one market research experience came about by fluke as their regular desk coordinator for Asia associates was on leave. Objective view of the OEM market was assisted by my in country network of contacts and language barriers were easily overcome. Similar surveys of manufacturers were being made in other local Asian nations. Timing and flexibility determined success of research. I developed at least two long-term contacts out of the experience and have gone on to deliver intel on Latin American markets as a result. The quality of the research depends upon the quality of the survey and the time deadline required. I was lucky to deliver and have a good experience.


As a university student I worked for a lobster export business called Hall's Harbour Lobster Pound. Regular agency orders were routinely met for a company named Skyfish in France whose regional coverage at times included the QE2's cooking staff. The benefits with a good agent are regular orders which meet forecasts. However a bad agent underperforms and misrepresents the company. For example during another shipper/receiver job an east coast agent routinely forwarded poorly packed lobsters with 25-30% dead weight where an extra sheet or two of newspaper would have lowered those rates to under 10%. A bad agent is death to a good company.

MSMW Case Study: Internationalisation Plan

MSMW Case Study: Internationalisation Plan

The owner may like to employ his daughter in a role of setting up MSMW international trade office on site however he might prefer someone with more experience for that position. Specifically an international market manager will be required followed up over time by administrative clerks, international sales manager, shipping manager, and procurement manager.

The first functions required will be as detailed in figure 6.2:
-experienced manager of all international market functions
-active markets development and research
-market intelligence database compilation
-selective market entry strategies
-coordinating sales manager and shipping manager functions
-marketing and sales plans
-advertising, promotion and trade fairs for foreign markets

Initially MSMW would be wise to take on an international trade manager to begin coordination of the internal reorganization and develop rapport with current domestic managers of sales, logistics and procurement. As these are ideal candidates for international trade training and possible transfer to the international trade office they should be offered the opportunity to develop international skills and perhaps groom domestic managers for their replacement. Additional staff will be required to fill new roles but initially the growth of the new trade office should be based on market profits similar to a passive mode of international sales in the introduction to its growth to moderate proportion of sales to fully dedicated office becoming a core business strategy at MSMW.

Some services may be outsourced initially, for example freight forwarders and customer service may be outsourced until the scope of foreign market strategy is established. The initial financing of the export office growth must come out of domestic profits and operating capital. As the development of international trade increases and it becomes a profits-based endeavour dependent upon growth and sales forecasts being met more allocations in terms of hiring and internal sourced management may be made directly from international trade related income.

The roles of international trade sales manager, logistics, and procurement will further increase complexity and importance of trade office relative to its increased share of company profits and growth. But introducing those positions and functions will require justification based on meeting or exceeding business plan results.

It would appear prudent to have a three to five year plan moving in first year with an international marketing manager, adding a sales manager in the second year or stage two, and additional staff as needed annually or in planned stages (for example meeting growth targets and forecasts) until the office is fully established and ideally contributing significant international profits to justify, enhance and fulfill its existence.

The qualities and skills of international managers

The qualities and skills of international managers

The qualities and skills of international managers should include an ability to share common interests and visions with individuals across a wide spectrum of cultural and language differences which actually helps define a corporate global culture when one compares the cosmopolitanism of many of the world's leading business and finance cities with its most successful global companies. The ability to enhance and embrace change and uncertainty will be an asset in a team which may often resemble a meeting or committee of the United Nations which mirrors those markets within which it operates.

Trompenaars,Hampden-Turner and Hofsteade represent global leaders in cross-cultural research.

International managers should have more than a passing understanding of the roots of cross-cultural management research and behaviour. Their skill in cultural context mapping and bridging especially in mediating or resolving disputes and conflicts due to differences in power-distance, individual versus collective decision-making, degree of masculinity or femininity (womens' rights), deference to authority, and uncertainty avoidance will determine their level of tolerance and negotiating success. A brief nod towards Canadian and Korean free trade failures lately to illustrate that. Cars, for example, are not the only Canadian products which should be on the table.

Expressly I believe global tolerance useful for business team-work cannot be an acquired trait without some cross-cultural behaviour education. Politicians and trade ministers indeed often lack this. For example, my Korean students had no idea that Western and Eastern minds view patterns of events and contexts dissimilarly. Explaining and activating any such self-realization early in an international career can help remedy many frustrations with working cross-culturally. International managers will naturally have some curiosity or interest in the differences and similarities in various cultures. But to develop such a talent into a skillful asset for the business cross-cultural training is recommended.

Domestic market managers will often be quite familiar with national culture and language requirements where their knowledge will be an advantage over market entry managers from foreign nations. However their limited experience in terms of dealing with customers from foreign cultures and nations will require a more local less global outlook, a more conservative context frame of business mindset and possibly less concern or tolerance for differences which occur as a result of such dissimilarities. It makes it easy to understand why Canadian businesses are perceived as risk averse. Too few are operating internationally.

Unfortunately it often appears from a foreign experience that Canadian government and business leaders expressly make their international decisions from an overly-domestic management perspective. However I believe in many cultures such as France and Germany, foreign managerial postings are a regular and rewarded portion of corporate training. In some other western countries such as the US and or Canada/Australia foreign corporate postings are sometimes seen as a means of distancing difficult managers from head-office essentially as a form of exile.

This might explain the growth of Asian multi-national corporate growth in the last few decades which takes the bull by the horns so to speak and makes international assignments an essential testing ground for innovation and creativity in international manager training. Such polarized views on international management and its usefulness for national global competitiveness might highlight a current trend away from teaching and learning good negotiation skills in countries like Canada where even entire provincial school boards may be deemed summarily incompetent and thus fired and/or entire provincial justice systems may operate without seeming public accountability. Such examples demonstrate evidence of domestic social movement towards the American litigious model of competitive individual business relations which is really not the basis of good international management.

Selling "long-life" milk in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Market Considerations

Selling "long-life" milk in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The country has a population approaching 55 million, over half of which is classified as rural.

As we know 55 million people live in the Congo. What is the actual market for "long-life" milk in Congo? Actually it must be highly lucrative otherwise Nestlé S.A. would not maintain an office there.

Market potential: How much "long-life" milk is imported to Congo at this time? How many units are bought and sold? Which companies dominate this market for powdered milk and alternative milk products? What is the size and scope of Congo as a "long-life" milk export market?

Demographics: Do Congolese use "long-life" milk in the same way as Canadians? For example, do they mix it with powdered milk, and with the assistance of milk nurses at maternity wards do they encourage nursing mothers to wither their own natural milk sources, namely their own breast milk by giving them samples for free and then encouraging them to malnourish their babies and mix it with unclean water supplies? Is the marketing of such "long-life" milk products ethical on global standards of corporate social responsibility? Are there unique positionings for "long-life" milk products in Congo?

Sociocultural: What disposable incomes are available for rural consumers of this product in Congo? Will prices exceed monthly incomes for profitable economies of scale sales? What higher income percentages of the population live in the rural environments of the Congo? What ratios of men to women exist in rural areas of the Congo? Who will be the primary purchaser of this product and who will be the primary consumer? Who earns the money in rural Congo and who decides where and when it will be spent? What age orientation do "long-life" milk products have in Congo? What level of disposable income is available in the Congo? For example is the product considered a breast milk substitute? Consider possible boycotts of company's other products.

Product market data: What pricing strategy would effect profits in Congo? Is this a viable product and is it being matched to a viable market?

Rawandan squatters and inter-border migrants in The Congo could effect local economy thus official statistics might provide inadequate assessment of actual Congolese purchasing power. For example earning a dollar a day to clear park lands and reserves would upset local pay scales and economic resources like eco-tourism. "Cattle were later introduced." "To protect the park, conservationists are now building a wall around a part of the UN World Heritage site to stop settlers from entering with their CATTLE..." This may flood the rural market with fresh milk and may affect viability estimates of complementary products such as "long-life milk."

Further evidence of cattle farming and interborder deforestation encroachment affecting unofficial fluctuation of local fresh milk resources are revealed at "Food Sector Transformation and Standards in Zambia: Smallholder Farmer Participation and Growth in the Dairy Sector" and "DR CONGO: A REGIONAL ANALYSIS - A Writenet Report by François Misser commissioned by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Emergency and Technical Support Service."

A few percentage points of market share perhaps determine a few percentage points of lost or gained revenue of complementary products. The Congolese environment and potential instability and small-scale dairy products are described in this video.

Adverse affects on a company’s activities

Adverse affects on a company’s activities

Political hostility, internal stability, legal restrictions or unfavourable business conditions adversely affecting a company’s activities.

Political Hostility: Zimbabwe provides a current recent example of asset expropriations of white farmers many of whom were invited by Mugabe himself in the sixties and seventies to assist in developing the agricultural assets of Zimbabwe. Many continue to legally battle the government at Southern African Development Community (SADC) tribunals. Their livelihoods were completely shattered as Zimbabwe's economy was similarly shattered.

Internal Stability: The recent clashes between armies of Georgia and Russia exemplify issues of internal stability. It might be very difficult to continue to operate or contemplate opening greenfield investments in Georgia at this time. A full coverage of the issues and events is available at VOA.

Legal Restrictions: Several layers of legal restrictions in terms of direct marketing exist in Europe and a detailed list for each nation may be reviewed at dbt. This could adversely effect any global marketing schemes in Europe.

Unfavourable Business Conditions: Southern European countries are described as having unfavourable business conditions when compared to their northern counterparts. Italy, Spain, Greece, and Portugal possess a lack of innovation due to comparative lack of competition, regulated markets, and inefficient education systems according to Enrico Deiaco, a Swedish economist and a former policy expert at the European commission.

Four major revolutions come to mind:

1. Mexico 1938: Expropriation of the Petroleum Industry of Mexico

Mexican oil industry remains out of bounds in terms of NAFTA (a sour point for the US).

2. Uganda 1972: Idi Amin

Amin ordered expulsion of Uganda's 70,000 Asian citizens and expropriated their property, including 5,655 firms, factories, and farms as well as U.S. $400 million in personal goods.

3. Egypt 1956: Suez Canal Nationalization ht

4. China 1949 and Russia 1917: Protracted nationalization of foreign-owned businesses

"Communism: Taking from the rich and keeping it."

The best ways to prepare and present a report

The best ways to prepare and present a report

Certainly the best ways to prepare and present a report are to meet the needs, requirements and standards of the client in question.

For example, strategis does provide a free software Interactive Business Planner (IBP) which includes sample business plans from regional locales across Canada.

These series of subtitles were included for a local business plan of a Bed and Breakfast in Nova Scotia:

Executive Summary
Business Description
Ownership and Management
Key Initiatives and Objectives
Marketing Opportunities
Competitive Advantages
Marketing Strategy
Summary of Financial Projections
Confidentiality and Recognition of Risks
Confidentiality Clause
Recognition of Risk
Business Overview
Business History
Vision and Mission Statement
Location and Facilities
Products and Services
Description of Products and Services
Key Features of the Products and Services
Production of Products and Services
Future Products and Services
Comparative Advantages in Production
Industry Overview
Market Research
Size of the Industry
Key Product Segments
Key Market Segments
Purchase Process and Buying Criteria
Description of Industry Participants
Key Industry Trends
Industry Outlook
Marketing Strategy
Target Markets
Description of Key Competitors
Analysis of Competitive Position
Pricing Strategy
Promotion Strategy
Distribution Strategy
Management and Staffing
Organizational Structure
Management Team
Labour Market Issues
Regulatory Issues
Intellectual Property Protection
Trademarks, copyrights, or patents are not applicable to our business.
Regulatory Issues
Market Risks
Other Risks
Implementation Plan
Implementation Activities and Dates
Financial Plan
Discussion of Projected Net Income
Discussion of Monthly Cash Flow Statement
Discussion of Projected Annual Cash Flow
Discussion of Pro-Forma Balance Sheet
Discussion of Business Ratios

A real whopper and rather long!

The Business Start Up Assistant at Canada Business provides alternative formats for business plans and a whole host of guides and online resources including a nice image map
which includes a basic list of must haves including:

General format and presentation: meeting certain business expectations.

Cover page and table of contents: identifying your business and making it easy for readers to find particular documents.

Executive summary: a high altitude description of the entire plan that emphasizes key success factors.

Business background: company-specific information, business organization, history, product or service to be provided.

Marketing plan: presents analysis of market conditions , explains marketing strategythe business will follow, provides a detailed schedule of marketing activities to support sales.

Action plans: how operational and management issues are resolved and contingency planning.

Financial projections: projections (and historical financial information) explaining how the business can be expected to do financially if the business plan's assumptions are correct.

Appendix: presentation of supporting documents, statistical analysis, product marketing, resumes of employees, etc.

Analyzing Central Tendancy Statistics

Analyzing Central Tendancy Statistics

A short sample survey includes merely five questions relating to product use, frequency of use, most recent purchase, future purchase intention and a limited set of purchase intention reasons. Therefore the scope of the study is strictly limited.

Questions requiring consideration:

1. What is the overall purpose of the study?
2. What would be an acceptable sample size?
3. What level of standard error is acceptable?
4. What will the cost of the study be?

Random sample survey method would satisfy time and cost factors which might assemble quite an accurate picture of consumer sentiment in fact described as possibly more accurate than conducting a complete census due to errors inherent in inspection processes.

Issues which effect method of sampling include:

-size and cost limitations
-accessibility of consumer population
-desired accuracy

A simple random sample is easy to select however may not completely represent a particular consumer profile. A systematic sample of known and catalogued prior consumers selected by every fourth or fifth name might be more relevant as their prior consumption is known with the same disadvantages of a random sample. A cluster or judgements based sample could be used on known regular or loyal customers but would take more time to compile. (Evans & Lindsay, Management and Control of Quality Fourth Edition, pp. 524-532)

As variation in responses are likely to be equally valued as in yes or no responses or spread over three choices as in the multiple choice responses several different questions utilize measurement of the mean response and might make sense in terms of a simple range of data, and measurement of the distance of each response from a central tendancy or standard deviation. Therefore mean or average reponses would be useful for yes or no type questions such as #1 or #4. For example questions #1 or #4 do not require mode ranges but merely average response either yes or no. Analysis of reponses to #2, #3 and #5 would require a combination of both median and mode analysis to establish average mean out of the median responses range and mode or most frequent response for more elaborate discussion of the topics. For example, in questions #2, #3 and #5 we could determine the average answer and the most frequent purchasing periods as well as performance indicators all out of median and mode.

Therefore one would seek not to exclusively rely upon one single method of central tendancy however using them all at various purposes as is their intention to represent data to meet the needs of the survey.

Recommended internet resources

Internet Sources

First, I recommend FITA (Federation of International Trade Associations) as a starting point for evaluating resources globally in it claims links to 8,000 international trade (export import) related websites.

FITA (The Federation of International Trade Associations) is described as having 450 association members and 450,000 linked company members engaged in promotion of international trade, import-export,
international logistics management, international finance and more.

Especially good is the export/import trade leads portal which provides a broad view of possible products available with different distributors and suppliers. However I do not recommend the contact server as it has not worked well in the past.

Secondly, I have always appreciated eclectic global news resources and trust kwintessential consulting in the UK as they provide accurate country culture profiles and the scope and breadth of their archived news is simply unparalleled in my experience. They also sell research. However they often have information I would not find anywhere else and add the human element to internet sources.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Useful websites to date in the last couple weeks:

Useful websites to date in the last couple weeks:

Thai-Canadian Chamber of Commerce
139 Pan Road,
Sethiwan Tower, 9th floor,
Bangkok 10500,
tel: 02-266-6085/6
fax: 02-266-6087

Sri Lanka Canada Business Council
Lower Level,
B3-220 Duncan Mill Rd
Toronto, ON. M3B 3J5
Tel: 416-445-3744
Fax: 416-285-8494

Sri Lanka Economic Quarterly:
Sri Lanka Economic Journal:

Thailand: Business Handbook for Royal Thai Embassies and Consulates-General 2000

Sri Lanka: Asia Development Bank: Handbook for Integrating Poverty Impact Assessment in Economic Analysis of Projects

Thailand: Economist Intelligence Unit

Sri Lanka: Economist Intelligence Unit

Library of Congress: A Country Study Sri Lanka

On the Fence Regarding Free Trade

On the Fence Regarding Free Trade

The benefits of trade agreements, bilateral or multilateral mutual interests are in some ways a foundational establishment of an agreed level playing field approach to trade where companies from two countries, as was the case with the FTA, can provide the incentives to preparing for a negotiated agreement where both parties will be ensured to walk away with some benefits or a win-win situation.

The movement to encourage negotiated trade agreements might be described as a legacy of market liberalization on the part of corporations who during the period of the early nineties and coinciding with the Clinton-era administration saw market-based global economics as a method to gain competitive advantage and extend tariff reductions globally. NAFTA further encouraged many companies from Asia for example to relocate portions of their assembly of manufacturing and production to the USA and Canada to meet but not eliminate net losses of blue-collar jobs.

Whether or not there is a loud sucking sound as Perot stated, Gore really got him on caricatures of Smoot and Hawley who enacted restrictive trade-based embargoes as an alternative which many economists describe as the real cause of the Great Depression so the dangers of free trade might better appear more like a steady drip. However it is difficult to imagine the net benefits available to manufacturing companies willing to locate in Mexico and the attendant impact upon unionized labour in the rest of North America.

Trade pacts like the EU and NAFTA facilitate an easing of trade processes and at the same time remind one of a reading of "The Lexus and the Olive Tree" by Tom Friedman where net economic benefits are seen as attendant to sovereignty issues in terms of limiting governmental legislations locally through the donning of a "golden straitjacket" which ultimately undermines government regulation of industry. Residents along the Rio Grande might be loathe to dip their toes in there as especially its American side are observant to environmental impacts of inter-regional under-regulated free trade.

Many economists of the humanistic perspective are beginning to question free trade which does not address sustainability and whether production standards, human labour rights or the general betterment of the world's poor are well served by free trade in commodities and money markets which are lately seen to claw back global trade gains in reduction of tariff barriers made since the late 1970s due to higher oil and commodities prices. These have caused significant inflation in many non-free trade zone protected nations and at the same time encouraged run-away growth in others providing many trading nations within free trade zones or not with "measurable economic growth within glass bowls" as Hernando DeSoto would describe trade regulated zones as existing in their own realm while the developing world surrounding grows and consumes wildly outside of statistical measures like the Big Mac index but more along the line of concrete and basic building materials exchanges where attendant unregulated growth may increase at rates fifteen to twenty times official GDP rates without services or tax gains. At the same time " The Wild West" is exactly what free trade appears to have under-capitalized.

Free trade is often more about minimizing risk for those within and excluding those without after all. What is actually really free about that? The EU at the same time has made a great stride in standardization of various regulations however the attendant lags in making agreements make it appear unwieldy in its scope and again undermining the net benefits as the WTO might at times appear as too many voices have yet grown the ability to listen and agree. At the same time free trade often represents the least of all evils as one might describe European/American global trade influences worldwide.

Criteria for Selecting a Researcher

Criteria for Selecting a Researcher

The criteria for selecting a researcher are:

* Cost
* Expertise
* Objectivity
* Time commitments
* Ability to understand the organization’s needs
* Research objectives

Priorities should be kept fairly flexible as all are fairly important but dependent upon the company's needs. For example an individual or group and internal or external researcher or team will depend on the size of the company, their skills and abilities as well as time required to perform research. While continuing and ongoing research may be easy for internal workers to assume it might be difficult during peak sales periods. Cost itself should be an important factor and if a company can not afford to do some external primary research then one has to wonder if they really have made a serious commitment to pursuing export trade.

Equally time will play a role and can be quite fortuitous for any available external researchers. While internal researchers are easily knowledgeable about a company's operations, are accessible and accrue internal expertise they are often prone to the psychologically influencing effect s of group-motviated biases. For example, if members of Canadian multinational companies make the assumption that their needs for external intelligence are next to nil they will miss out and lose market share opportunities that their competitors will gladly take.

If the thinking is internally we are fully competent to do international trade research than many more companies should/would be international or global in nature already. The very nature of corporate culture is isolating and often provokes the kind of company decline witnessed at GM Motors. There is a great book about these kinds of corporate disfunctionalisms. Manfred F.R. Kets De Vries explains in his book, "Life and Death in the Executive Fast Lane: Essays on Irrational Organizations and Their Leaders" some aspects of internal biases related to best practices in gathering good intelligence.

Of course after reading this book it is easy to suspect that some Canadian companies make most of their money completely by accident!

Finding the right agency might require matching your research or budget requirements and requiring the agent to submit a proposal. More often than not management will provide the management and questions relating to performance and delivery and continue to review the project if it is at all lengthy to make sure it maintains focus on management decision requirements.

I am surprised (not really) that individuals in specific countries with specific skills and experience are not listed as useful research providers for companies in Canada! Something Canadian Embassies might consider doing, posting CVs for relevant skilled individuals in specific countries available for research assignments and eager for JV work experience. Making such recommendations external and competitive is not a Canadian trait IMHO.

The Economist's free online country briefings reports section.

The Economist's free online country briefings reports section.

One specific secondary resource that I find useful is The Economist's free online country briefings reports section. These profiles combine forecasts, political and economic outlooks, fact sheets with basic data,
economic data, and ten economic indicators over four years from The Economist Intelligence Unit with recent news reports.

Country Profile: Sri Lanka

Country Profile: Thailand

I would categorize Canadian trade commissioners abroad as being part of primary sources of data as they would be available for interviews and could reveal trends and current trade enquiries in their region. Of course they could also reference and reveal secondary and primary resources available to meet any queries.

OECD, World Bank and market reports from DFAIT would be secondary research resources. Primary resources consist of interviews and surveys of suppliers, competitors, distributors, and customers.

The advantages of primary research include reliability, answers to specific questions are given which relate to trade research in question, and validity of information is currently useful. The disadvantages include possibly difficult to conduct and gather research, could be expensive thus implicating cost/value budget and could take a long time exceeding the time constraints of the decisions to be made.

One would use primary research to fine tune information that has been gathered to confirm and clarify points of possible dispute in terms of suppliers, distributors and customers needs and preferences . For example if secondary resources do not reveal an accurate, complete or meaningful snapshot of a possible target market primary research is the next natural step . Primary data collection is usually reserved for final stages of research where all indicators suggest time/costs value support the added cost and alleviates decisions-based risks and uncertainties.

MSMW Case Study: Performance Measurement Systems

MSMW Case Study: Performance Measurement Systems

Measurement of Delivery Performance and Customer Service

Vendor Delivery Performance: MSMW may seek to maximize point of sales volumes by ensuring stock of inventory is well positioned particularly to match two purchase modes. The first would be loyal customers with routine large volume purchases of either 500 mL or 1.5 L sizes either in multiples or cases. The second would be impulse purchasers who may later become brand loyal customers buying on the spur of the moment. So check-out proximity in smaller stores would be competitive while larger shops would have more space for larger purchases. Measurements of retail sales receipts may be analyzed as similar to Walmart with automatic order parameters and immediate sales results for locations and retail outlets.

Production Schedule Adherence: As the current production schedule supports volume for high season cycles already with regular overstock production this is essential as any volume shortages will impact sales not only at present but at future dates. This company is already working at virtually 100% capacity for domestic customers so additional shifts to support export trade will be essential. Any losses of production due to equipment problems will cost real money as there is no safety net or currently extra production time. Will require extra production schedules for export markets.

Order and Schedule Changes:
These will have an effect on export sales requiring more volume in the necessary identified sizes suitable for the target export market. For example, innovations in the water industry currently include single use disposable water containers for 18.5 L dispensers to avoid bisphenol A and other toxic plastic resin chemicals which are affecting purchasing behaviour and perceptions of PET bottle safety globally. Premium priced water products in Canada include which is first introducing waxed cardboard tetra-pak single use containers to differentiate product and distance it from toxic plastic issues. Impact will be immediate with initial stocking in a foreign market taking a significant amount of production time and delay in reorder stocking could be costly. This will require production and product design monitoring.

Customer Services Level: Depending on the export market multiple languages and EDI systems may be required to handle vendor, distributor and delivery agent inquiries not to mention individual customer suggestions, questions or complaints. Outsourcing some of these services may be an option. Interviews with customers may be cost prohibitive. Asking them to fulfill surveys at point of contact may be an option.

Lost Sales Analysis: In the case of production delays, low vendor delivery performance, order or schedule problems, or poor customer service issues sales volumes in current domestic market will drop and if this is indicative of being effected by export production all of a sudden the export market will be threatened. No domestic company well positioned is likely to sacrifice local sales for global ones. Production managers must ensure a water-tight approach to increasing production to avoid losing local customers due to disparity in inventory which could occur if export product launch is not well timed.

Management of Process Time

Manufacturing Cycle Time: MSMW could investigate current innovative new production plants, tools and techniques to regulate cycle time and ensure an advantage is met in terms of cycle-times.

Delivery Lead Time to Production Lead Time Ratio: A real concern for entering an export market for the first time. It will require a lot of thought and advance stock-piling of inventory to meet possible explosive sales demands. Monitored on production basis.

Setup Times: The current physical plant is geared for day shifts and extending to a night shift while possible may put added stress and strain on current factory equipment requiring additional routine maintenance checks, repairs and possible replacement of costly machines and parts. Monitored on shift-basis.

Material Availability:
The high cost of oils and resins based products for plastics production might encourage MSMW to consider new product container modes such as single use disposable 18.5 L bottles and tetra-pak waxed cardboard to reduce possible materials shortages and/or increasing costs. Monitored on invoiced materials costs.

Distance of Material Movement during Production: MSMW may possibly export large volumes and have units of production completed in a factory in a low-wage or production costs country en-route to export destination or in the export market itself. Depending on market-based analysis or aggregates costs comparison of production at home and in target production or export market. Already in domestic market Canada has high costs based on distances of transporting supply materials. Delivery documentation monitoring.

Machine up Time: MSMW will probably require 100% machine-up time which might require an entire identical processing plant capacity available on stand-by should there be any downtime due to repairs, parts, or maintenance schedules which will only increase with increased machine up time. Repairs schedule monitoring.

Customer Service Time: Basically the faster service delivered to customer the better. This is why outsourcing agencies would be useful as they may operate globally and regionally on a 24 hours basis. A good example is given through Nokia’s customer service experience. A nigh-desk representative with full access to Nokia’s local warehouse in Finland complained to management that she could easily process night customer requests for products or deliveries requests there at the warehouse but was not permitted to act on any requests in fact leaving them for day staff losing response times as much as 12 hours on processing customer requests. Management rewarded her with improvement awards and instated her request. Similar service issues could arise at MSMW. Monitoring rates and resolutions times.

Measurement of Production Flexibility

Number of different parts in the bills of materials:
This will only increase in diversity due to export market requirements or modifications in packaging and labeling requirements and export packing specifications.
Percentage represented by standard, common, and unique parts within the bills of materials: Again this percentage is likely to increase especially if any new packaging or marketing volumes formats are taken on. Monitor with intent of minimizing number of different parts.

Number of different production processes: Export markets can often represent different production processes. These could be simple substitution processes at fixed points in assembly however they could multiply with multiple export markets. Monitor with intent of minimizing number of different processes.

Position within production processes where the products are differentiated: This will be determined according to management of cost and quality/function of the new processes between design team and production engineering team. Monitor with intent of minimizing number of different processes.

Number of levels in the manufacturing bill of materials:
Along with possible new processes and export market requirements this could increase. Primarily there will be a level of domestic manufacturing bill of materials and a level of export manufacturing bill of materials. If they are rational and share many common products then costs may fall on large volume orders. Monitor bills of materials.

Number of new products launched each year and the time taken to launch them: This will depend on the scope of MSMW’s increases in market segmentation. Currently limited to three products and one local market the segmentation taken to include all Canadian provinces would increase this number by a rate of ten. Introducing premium products and/or innovative new modes of packaging would increase product launches and require more focus on developing products for diverse consumer profiles and markets. Monitor to ensure profits increases based on new products sales.

Cross-training of production personnel: Doing so at the managerial level would be beneficial as then the production teams could be similarly trained to produce multiple products for multiple export markets. This would also assist in morale as workers could change processes routinely to increase cross-functionality. This would also empower workers to fully contribute to a TQM workplace philosophy. Monitor through performance evaluations.

Comparison of production output and production capacity: This would require constant monitoring concerning export growth and maintaining local or global inventory for both domestic and new export markets. Sudden possible increases in demand must be expected in export market based on research quality and forecasts as well as any increases in domestic market due to possible new product launches in new provincial markets. Generally capacity should always exceed output.

Management of Quality Performance

Incoming quality from suppliers: Alternate suppliers must be held ready to engage production virtually at any time as any drop in quality of suppliers will translate into production losses and/or sales losses. A good example comes from defunct Canada Packers in Sheffield Mills Nova Scotia where a new line inspector accidentally stapled nearly an entire shipment of Quality Grade A poultry products. Extra production was needed to compensate for the losses on bird which usually retailed for premium prices as few consumers would accept or expect meat staples in premium products.

Production quality, use of statistical process control charts and direct measures of customer satisfaction: All to be measured for consistent increases in quality linked to customer satisfaction.

Data accuracy within the system, including accuracy of inventory, bill of materials, routing and forecasts: Essential. No room for error.

Effectiveness of preventative maintenance programs: Essential. No room for error.

Cost of quality: Measured not to exceed cost versus profits. Each quality measures implementation cost must match an attendant profit. In addition cost free quality improvements should also be a goal. Crate quality circles in company to implement quality cost reduction measures.

Measurement of Financial Performance

Waste Rate: For example in PEI it was found that night shifts at fish plants were becoming difficult to fill so the management decided to hire an entire shift of migrant labourers from The Ukraine. However they had significant problems retaining their workforce as a result with higher waste rates. Waste must be eliminated according to quality management precepts. Waste represents lost profits for rework, returns, and customer dissatisfaction.

Inventory Turns: An indicator that something is wrong with product positioning, marketing, brand image, quality or competitor actions which are effecting maintenance of matching customer desires and needs with loyalty and continued increase of switching non-loyal or undecided customers into loyal customers.

Value-added analysis:
Any product positioning, marketing, brand image, quality or competitor responses which are matching customer desires and needs with loyalty and continued increase of switching non-loyal or undecided customers into loyal customers will reward the company with value-added profits. The opposite scenario, a nightmare, is a loss of value added or losses. For example, Hansen’s, a premium fruit juices manufacturer in the USA introduced a line of their products in Korea with minimal packaging changes and fruit combinations which are generally unfamiliar to Korean customers. Their products now reside in the discounted bargain bins of every major discount retailer in the nation.

Cost factor productivity measures:
If productivity is not generally increasing due to quality management measures then quality is actually not working and the whole process may be traced back to root sources through fish-bone diagrams. Usually the root causes for productivity problems are often attributed to poor middle managers not practicing communication functions upstream and downstream form management to line production teams.

Overhead Efficiencies: Sudden jumps in fixed and/or variable costs will affect overhead and minimizing these factors through local utilities discounts and corporate tax incentives as well as rewarding manager and workers equitably will help control these costs. Rationalizing certain management positions may or may not be an option which may or may not affect staff morale. My first impression of MSMW was that they have way too many managers.

Chequebook accounting methods: Monitoring quarterly profit and loss, proforma invoices and balance sheet from a managerial accounting basis will be prudent and the more EDI the better in terms of such monitoring and opening into a new export market.

System complexity: KISS KISS. Streamline, simplify and standardize.

In conclusion as may be seen every aspect of performance measurement has some importance to MSMW.