Sunday, 21 October 2012

Solar Power and the Residential Sect

Solar power is a safe alternative to electricity, giving off no harmful emissions. You are only paying for the product and the installation because solar power is actually free. By using this type of power, you can reduce your dependence on foreign fuel, which is a huge bonus for everyone. If you choose not to depend solely upon solar power, then solar energy can be a worthwhile back up system for when your electricity is out.

In this article I hope to give you some ideas on how to use solar power starting today, but I also want to give you tactics that will save you more money even though they may take longer for you to implement. To start, I want to point you in the direction of a site that teaches you how to make a small solar powered generator: This site will be helpful in getting you started on your solar power journey.

Solar energy can be used to power every appliance and electronic device in your home, if done properly, and will save a lot of energy and money in the long-term, if not for some of the older generation then for their children and grandchildren. This can be called ‘an investment in their future.’

Residents in every state are finding ways to incorporate solar power into their every day lives. This may seem like a daunting task, but there some very easy ways that you can incorporate the use of solar power into your life today.

You can change your outdoor lighting system to use only solar power. There are many very attractive options out there for you to choose from. From ground level lighting to tall-standing lamps, the options are wonderful and will bring a true sense of character to your landscaping efforts.

There are also indoor lighting options that use solar power. Often used in off-grid areas, solar power lighting can also be used on-grid. Installation is easy, as is maintenance. You can use some outdoor options inside as well, and won’t need huge solar panels to test solar power inside your home.

There is a spray-on type solar power cell that can also be used. You will find information about this cell type at The company is located in Massachusetts.

Residential gardeners have a few options for using solar power as well. They can use small to mid-size greenhouses and cold frames. They can also incorporate the use of solar power year round by growing certain plants on their window sills.

The purchase and use of solar curtains is a very useful way to use solar power. They can be purchased from many online venues, and will help with heating during the winter months while they help with cooling in the summer. You will be able to see out through the curtains, but no one will be able to see in through them.

There is also the option to use solar film on your windows. The film is placed directly on the windows, leaving you with room for your regular curtains. The film is a great way to use solar power in your home.

Using solar energy to power battery chargers, calculators, and cell phone chargers is possible now, and strides are being made in other areas as well. Using these items can save a significant amount of money in purchasing new batteries and energy use.

A solar water heater would be a great option for any household, and many people in more secluded areas are using sun-heated water bags to shower in a private area outside. Many of you may have used this tactic while visiting your camps during the summer months when you were young. If you wish to opt for the solar water heater, you can visit for some useful information.

If you decide to go with solar panels, keep in mind that you may be able to sell your excess solar power to a utility company. This would be worth looking into, and may make installing a solar panel or two (or more) worthwhile.

Talk with your tax preparer. Are there any specific ways in which you can incorporate solar power into your lifestyle that will earn you a tax credit? This would be worth looking into in order to find out if it will make installing some solar power measures more affordable for you. Be sure to look for tax breaks from both your state government and the federal government.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Essay

This essay aims at analysis six case studies using comparative analysis. This paper focuses on the private sector. The paper analyses enterprise resource planning. The paper analyses how the six companies used the enterprise resource as an information technologies and system at its implementation stage. As much as most of the implementation of this enterprise resource planning system has proved to be a total failure, this paper analyses this six case studies to compare and see where the companies have failed and successive.

Majority of the companies have turned to the Enterprise resource Planning system as a method of solving their management issues. Enterprise Resource Planning System can be termed as a business software system that assists an organization in running efficiently its resources. Resources in this case can be the finance, the human resource, the materials, or anything that can be managed in that specific organization. The ERP assists the organization in that it provides a complicated solution to the company’s information processing systems wants. The work of the ERP is so easy (Kansal, 2006).

Firstly, by allowing the management of the data, which at times is usually integrated in the whole organization. This therefore means that it acts as a transaction processing system. Additionally, it also acts as a workflow management system in that it helps in the management of the many flows that occurs within the organization. In order for information and data to be processed and transacted correctly, the ERP provides a successful of an information technologies system. This is by assisting in the flow of information and any condition, which is set. By preventing redundancy of data, entering wrong data, and assisting in the calculation, the ERP assists the company to indulge itself in a competitive world by minimizing the cost incurred.

This paper uses the six case studies to assist the managers to achieve the full purpose of the ERP. It analyses the implementation process of the ERP in six companies. The companies include the Rolls-Royce Company, the Dutch construction firms, Pratt and Whitney Canada, Gujrat Heavy Chemicals limited, Texas Instrument and a soft drink bottler. Some of the organizations listed here tried to implement the system and failed while some of them implemented it and succeeded.

Implementation phase case study of the Rolls Royce
In the implementation phase of the Rolls Royce, this stage proved to be far too large therefore forcing the management to half it into waves. The two waves contained some two things in common. Firstly, it was involved in the implementation of its architecture and its physical. In addition to that, they were both concerned with the modifying the working practices that the organization had. The first wave involved the replacement of the legacy systems in the organization. It should be noted that the SFDM commonly referred to as the shop floor data management was introduced in this phase. The main aim of the first wave was to actually offer new potential for the operations that consisted the gas turbine (Yusuf et al,2004).

The second stage involved the implementation of the human resource, the logistics, the engine assembly, and the spare parts elements. This process occurred one year later. The replacement of the old system with the new system was to occur once the new system responded positively. The Rolls Royce understood that their system was big enough so they gave it quite sometime before the ERP was launched. This proved to be working in their favor. Since the company contains many different steps, the company took its time in understanding the whole process and gave it its whole energy. However, the management should clearly grasp the implementation of the system. For such an expensive system, the management should not take it lightly and assume that it is just an information thing but should understand the whole process of installing the ERP concerns the whole organization. In addition to that, the management should make sure that the whole system is fully understood before replacing it.

Implementation Phase case study of the Dutch Construction firm
In the implementation phase of the Dutch companies, the project unit in specific, the implementation stage was to last over two years. Firstly, they did not seek external aid or consultancy. They largely relied on the internal project control management to do their work for them. The reason as why they did not seek the consultancy of external advisors is because they sad it would be expensive. This would cost them a lot of money that planned for the implementation process.
In addition to that, they also failed that some data, which was sensitive, would leak out to the other organizations. What the organization did not realize is that they were focusing more on intra company ideas. This would later cause them trouble, as they did not create an important part of the supply chain department. This is because the process would require communication between the customers and the suppliers. The main aim of implementing the ERP system was top support the accounting department. The accounting department proved to be in more need of the system than the others then next to follow would be the Purchasing department (Voordijk et al., 2003).

The users of the system, who comprised of a representative and the internal project manager, met up for meetings to finalize the whole process. Another total failure of the implementation stage is that it used limited training and instruction. This clearly leaves chances that there were some individuals who did not understand the whole process well. The structured approach of the system can be termed as a linear process since it consisted of taking one-step to another until the end. As the structure could later prove, it later started to diminish since business schedules, which resulted to time constraints.

Implementation case study of the Pratt & Whitney Canada
At the implementation stage of the Pratt and Whitney Canada, they took considerable measures to make sure that every individual in the company was involved in that stage. The end users consisted of around three thousand users. The employees of the organization were taken through training, a key factor in the implementation stage to make sure that the company functioned effectively. Because of their organized structure, this made the internal project managers to have time to analyze the likely outcome if the system was fully implemented. They made sure that the information circulated through every employee of the organization. As a result of this, the possibility of the system failing was eliminated. The implementation of the system was well structured thus becoming an advantage to the system in that the possibility of the system failing were reduced (Tchokogue et al. 2005).

Implementation case study of the Gujrat Heavy Chemicals limited
In the implementation process of the Gujrat Heavy Chemicals Limited, the project manager was involved in the process together with the heads of the IT and the finance department. The key users of the project who involved in the project together with the external advisors assisted in the training of the other employees. The main objective of the implementation of the whole EPR system was to support the activities that were forgoing in the organization and not to actually replace it.

One advantage that the system faced is that it was well welcomed. What actually assisted further was that the majority of the personnel were computer literate. This implies that they actually understood what was foregoing and what was expected with them. In addition to that, the employees received adequate training so the implementation process took quite a short time. The employees understood quite well the needs of the organization. Therefore, it helped in that people did not seem reluctant when adapting to the new system (Kansal, 2006).

The management team seemed to be very cooperative. Although majority of the time they were not involved in the implementation process because they were busy handling other issues within the company, they had already appointed people who would represent them and assist them in their job. Thee end users who were to test the function for its functionality and effectiveness assisted a lot. They seemed inspired. This is because they understood the needs that the organization had and the reasons as to why it really needed change.

Implementation process for the Texas instrument
In the implementation process for the Texas Instrument, they achieved a lot for sharing information. For starters, they invited the personnel of any organizations who had tried implementing the EQR information system to assist them. This made them achieve a lot since new and fresh ideas were brought in to the company. In addition to that, the management of the Texas Instrument was very coordinating. The project leaders who were appointed to look at the needs of the people and to assist in the implementation process did quite a good job. They did a well job since they were motivated to perform. Moreover, the top officials in the company also motivated the team leaders to perform their tasks (Sarkis & Sundarraj, 2003).
In addition to that, the team leaders who were being educated by the team leaders responded positively. The project leaders had received teachings from the individuals who had been invited from other organizations who had performed the other duties. Additionally, there used to be a constant review after every one week to determine what were the risks facing the implementation of the new information system. This assisted in many ways as they were able to identify the loop holes that existed in the organization.

Implementation stage case study for a soft drink bottler
For the implementation process for the soft drink bottler, they proved that they would go their own ways. This means that they heed the advice that they were given by the other outsiders consultants who they had employed. Firstly, if the organization believes that the consultants that they hired did not perform a good job, then it is likely that the system will face many challenges and obstacles.

The implementation of the soft drink bottlers took quite sometime to finish the project. This means that the staffs who were involved in the implementation process lacked the knowledge on how to operate the system. In addition to that majority of the guys who were operating the system were computer illiterate. Moreover, the IT department had very few personnel who could not manage the whole system alone. This also contribute to the slowly implementation of the whole system (Barker & Frolick, 2003).

Moreover, since there was inadequate training, this means that the end users who definitely came from the organization did not adequate training for them. They ignored a very crucial implementation tool. The implementation tool which is a very important factor failed them a lot. This therefore meant that the whole process would be so slow, time wasting and a lot of money would be flowing due to the extended time acquired.
Comparative analysis

Some few mistakes exist in the implementation process of the ERP system that many companies should learn from. For starters, the soft drink bottler did not apply the suggestions that they were given since they did not have any hopes on the external consultants. The Dutch company did not actually employ any external consultants. This is because they thought that it would be money wastage and that their external consultants would steal all the ideas in the end. For the other companies, especially the Texas Instrument, they invited people who had already successfully implemented the ERP and assisted in so many ways. One of the advantages is that new ideas were being brought to the company.

Apart from that some of the companies like Rolls Royce, they fully understood the risks that came with inadequate employee training. Therefore, together with the Texas Instrument and the Gujrat Heavy Chemicals Limited, they understood that training of the workers was a very crucial task if the system was to survive. They therefore invested in the end users unlike their counterparts the soft drink bottlers. The soft drink bottlers, in a bid to cut down the costs, they had few IT personnel who could not manage their work. They did not end up adequately training the end users who would be operating the system. This would later affect the system and it would definitely take time to understand fully the system.

Additionally, if the management is fully committed to the implementing process, then it will be no doubt that the whole process is likely to succeed. Gujrat Heavy Chemicals Limited had a well organized management. Although the management did not participate fully since they were involved in other tasks of the organization, they had appointed a project manager and team leaders who would assist in the whole process. For the soft drink bottlers, firstly they did not adequate staff to support the implementation process. This means that the management was not fully committed to the implementation task. The Texas instrument and the Pratt & Whitney Canada had a strong management. The management did a very good job as they made sure that the end users understood how the whole system worked. This would assist in the swift implementation of the process. The management of the Rolls Royce also understood the tasks that were before them and dedicated to make the system work.

Enterprise Resource Planning System can be termed as a business software system that assists an organization in running efficiently its resources. Resources in this case can be the finance, the human resource, the materials, or anything that can be managed in that specific organization. This is by assisting in the flow of information and any condition, which is set. By preventing redundancy of data, entering wrong data, and assisting in the calculation, the ERP assists the company to indulge itself in a competitive world by minimizing the cost incurred.
This paper uses the six case studies to assist the managers to achieve the full purpose of the ERP. It analyses the implementation process of the ERP in six companies. The companies include the Rolls-Royce Company, the Dutch construction firms, Pratt and Whitney Canada, Gujrat Heavy Chemicals limited, Texas Instrument and a soft drink bottler. Some of the organizations listed here tried to implement the system and failed while some of them implemented it and succeeded.

Apart from that some of the companies like Rolls Royce, they fully understood the risks that came with inadequate employee training. The soft drink bottlers, in a bid to cut down the costs, they had few IT personnel who could not manage their work. They did not end up adequately training the end users who would be operating the system. Additionally, if the management is fully committed to the implementing process, then it will be no doubt that the whole process is likely to succeed. Gujrat Heavy Chemicals Limited had a well-organized management.

Barker T. & Frolick N. M (2003). ERP Implementation Failure: A case study. Information
System Management. Fall
Kansal V. (2006). Enterprise Resource Planning Implementation: A Case Study Journal of
American Academy of Business, Cambridge; Vol 9, No 1;
Sarkis J.,& Sundarraj R.P. (2003). Managing large-scale global enterprise resource planning
systems:a case study at Texas Instruments International Journal of Information Management 23:431–442
Tchokogue! A. et al.(2005) Key lessons from the implementation of an ERP at Pratt & Whitney
Canada Int. J. Production Economics 95:151–163
Voordijk et al. (2003). Enterprise Resource Planning in a large construction firm:
implementation analysis Construction Management and Economics 21:511-521
Yusuf Y. et al. (2004). Enterprise information systems project implementation: A case study of
ERP in Rolls-Royce Int. J. Production Economics 87: 251–266

Social Moral Development Essay

Social Moral Development
Sport, when seen as a valued human practice, is a form of moral education.As we grow up, sports play a vital role in establishing our social behavior. Through sports we realize the value of groups, partnerships, leaders and most of all rules. For nearly all of us childhood defines the start of developing social roles and its distinctive behaviors and physical play with parents, siblings as well as other children initiates and aids our development process. Whilst playing physically straining games such as tag, wrestling, hop-scotch we not only develop our physical health and stamina but we also build our personality, how we agree to and follow rules as well as working together in teams.Physical game play during early life develops social stamina and playing with others and accepting helps grow emotional proficiency. Children develop observational skills andpositive attitudes from their parents and others around them and endevour to stay away from activities that get negative responses. Therefore children play sports that get them attention from their parents and this causes them to enjoy their sport and try to win and accomplish causing children to develop a moral behaviour that instigates care and honor.Psychologists and social researchers have found that children who spend times with their parents and siblings and had previous sporting experience were popular peer group members (MacDonald, 1988).

The world of sport from youth through to professional levels and for both males and females is an extremely visible and salient institution. While developing social and moral behaviour through sports, one main aspect that has been recorded is “differentiating between right and wrong” and many moral decisions that take place concern the rules. For instance, athletes must decide whether to use illegal, performance enhancing drugs, whether to violate the rules of play or commit an intentional foul and so on. Decisions regarding aggressive tactics, harassing techniques to disrupt the opposition are dilemmas faced by coaches and players.An act of moral sacrifice, such as advantaging ones team in a way one perceives to be unfair, may be done out of obligation to coach or team members (McNamee 2000).Without rules there would be no success or win and there is a need to play correctly and honestly, without taking up anybody else’s space or sporting rights (Shields &Bredameier, 1995).

The atmosphere of competition is frequently represented by violence, aggression, wrongness and wickedness and these aspects are used to determine the ability and capability of the players. Thus, the objective of moral development can either enhance individual morality or it can succeed in destroying it in order to pursue selfish aims and objects, without considering others..Empathy is another moral characteristic of participation in sporting activities and is shown that for women, sporting activities builds up more empathy than in men.If one female competitor suffers injury or loss while playing the game all other women in the group are more prone to empathize with that person (Eagly& Wood, 1991). By playing sport we come across sports participation and as we assemble into teams, a sign of unity is brought forward building friendships, group success, acceptance and companionship (Wright &Cote, 2003; Greendorfer 2002); moral relationships such as compromises, co-operation and fair game play is built up and that further initiates increased social standing and personal characteristics (Sullivan, 1953).

Developing Ethical Morality through Sports
Ethics in sports is usually defined by fairness in play and image, for both male and female sportsmen, and no discrimination in terms of race or culture or personal habits.Modern ethical development through sports has the first main theory of deontology; it acknowledges right actions, to be fair, to ourselves and to others. Lying, deceiving, cheating is detrimental to self image and changes success into personal failure, hence the first rule of sports is to imply right, in any case (Lumpkin & Stoll 1999). Many consider boxing as immoral as it causes physical pain and intentional damage but then again it is a sport that teaches self defense using our physical abilities to bring down the opponent.

In order to judge a sportsman’s character the coach/employers need to see their moral behavior whilst playing sports. They need to see the ethical grooming of the athlete and how well s/he differentiates between both good and bad while playing also realizing right and wrong. Athletes are judged ethically by judging their levels of aggression, given fouls, cheatings and previous drug history, if any and identifying cheating habits is another way to judge an athlete’s ethical morality development. Cheating is a way of deceiving and winning therefore it is wrong and unethical in all worldly aspects. Pilz (1992) brought down the concept of foul play and concentrated on highlighting the connection between the behavior in groups and how traditions and moral behavior is demonstrated by players when playing sports. From his perspective it is believed that players deliberately want to disobey and break rules to come under the category of privileged despite it threatens the welfare of their rivals.Blasiasserts that morality can only be attained “if it is intentional, a response to some sense of obligation, and if the obligation is aresponse to an ideal, even if vaguely understood” (1987: 86). Thus, moral behavior is considered to be the deliberate acts or behavior, which represents the actions of the individuals in terms of personal beliefs and ideals.

Several critics of sports have discovered that the concept of fair play and sportsmanship are threatened by the concept of “winning-at-all-costs” (see, e.g., Bockrath&Franke, 1995; Grough, 1997; Papp &Prisztoka, 1995; Pilz, 1995). This can have a damaging impact on goals and objectives of the players and thus, it has become a standardized method of judging players (Eitzen, 1988, p. 28). Thus, sport participants fear of negative ratings and thus, concentrated on the philosophy of winning at all costs and this “pervades sport at every level and leads to cheating by coaches and athletes” (Eitzen, 1999, p. 52).While studying ethical morality through sports it was seen that during sporting events men were more prone to cheating than women.. Individuals and teams can lose their ethical standings, hurt other opponents on purpose and cheat, fix games and therefore act as frauds while playing sports, therefore raising a very important question –
If sports is such a good experience for physical and psychological growth then why does it bring down a man’s morality?

Losing Morality through Sport
Turiel (1983) suggests the in terms of morality and fairness, the action needs to be judge in terms of morality: Imperative ( the ability of the individual to decide to do nor not),non-contingent (the accuracy of the behavior that violates the rules), unalterable (the wrong behavior cannot be assumed to be right by getting consensus) and universalizable(wrong or right without considering the culture)- (Cited in Shields and Bredemeier, 1995: pp136).

Several critics of sports have discovered that the concept of fair play and sportsmanship are threatened by the concept of “winning-at-all-costs” (see, e.g., Bockrath&Franke, 1995; Grough, 1997; Papp &Prisztoka, 1995; Pilz, 1995). This can have a damaging impact on goals and objectives of the players and thus, it has become a standardized method of judging players (Eitzen, 1988, p. 28). Thus, sport participants fear of negative ratings and thus, concentrated on the philosophy of winning at all costs and this “pervades sport at every level and leads to cheating by coaches and athletes” (Eitzen, 1999, p. 52).

Freqeuently, it is believed that sportsmen use drugs to enhance their performance. . More and more sportsmen have been caught using performance enhancing drugsand it is frequently assumed that individuals using drugs to enhance performance are not identified (Striegel 2010). Using drugs or blood doping is a moral crime and it has become a trend. Based on its extensive use, several scholars assert that it should be used (Savulescu 2004,Wiesing 2011).Steroids and other drugs have caused physical and psychological harm for athletes and therefore the question of “sport losing its morality?” arises.

Sports have now become more of a competitive life and death situation rather than a simple game. Athletes destroy their physical competency by taking these short term performance boosters and this also causes them to cheat, implying a loss of morality.To hide their performance enhancement athletes stoop further when it comes to morals by paying their way out of legal tests and give out large sums of money to organizations that help them keep their secret hidden. Then again, can we blame these athletes for their poor judgments? Competition now harvests more than gold medals since athlete’s lives and their incomes depend on these games. Great sportsmen have left their morality when it comes to sports and become submersed in this type of addiction.Mark McGwire and Roy Jones Jr. have been known to use “Androstenedione” (Pharmacy Techs, 2011), a pill that produces steroids that then turn into testosterones. Fighters like Royce Gracie and James Toney have been known to use “Nandrolone” (Pharmacy Techs, 2011), another drug that acts as a testosterone supplement in the body. As a result of their decisions, these drug users are known to be affected with physical and psychological issues.

Sport is an artificial setting, created by human beings, in which the competitor is required to perform, at least according to current, widely prevalent belief, with a degree of naturalness.Luhmann(2008) stated, that the sports-watching audience is interested in athletic performance and not biochemistry. We associate the spirit of sport with the notion that achievements come through hard work, discipline, training and natural talents. Behaviours such as cheating, aggression, immoral injuries have all become a part of real life sports. By switching on any channel and looking at any game it is possible to pinpoint much immoral and unethical behaviour while playing sports and this has therefore changed the image of the positive dimension that helped human beings define and refine their behaviour. In terms of morality, there is need to consider traits such as justice, honesty, integrity and courage. The individual needs to practice phronesis in sports and these practices would be based on the best standards and traditions.

Aggression in Sports
While playing sports the main negative human reaction is aggression. Rules, physical contact, increased arousal, behaviour and constraint causes aggression and one main reason for aggression during sports can be frustration. Psychologists suggest that during sports two types of aggression takes place; hostile and instrumental aggression. During hostile aggression players try to injure each other; it is also known as reactive aggression as the athlete’s anger erupts instantly and hurts his opponent. Another theory about aggression in sports is Berkowitz theory (1969). He stated that a person feels stimulation due to the anger suffered at a given point. He also stated that aggression is at times learnt and for example, after watching rugby or soccer, spectatorscan become a little violent as the environment plays a significant role in stimulating aggression. In contrast, games such as table tennis or badminton do not experience any aggression as the environment is subtle and quiet. However, while playing rugby or soccer there is an aura of aggression; the boxing ring portrays hostility and anyone who enters the stadium is affected by that environment. People supporting the sport may be aggressive and therefore sportsmen cannot but put aside their moral behaviour and thus go for the hit, hurt and win tactic.

Sport is more of a liability to a man’s morality than an asset. Players do not play with the sincerity and passion of past times as for many, it is a means of making money; losing is not an option and therefore changes the whole idea of the moral and ethical nature of sport.Being moral is not only the ability to reason about moral issues in real life (rather than hypothetical ones) and make moral judgments in relation to them, but to feel about them and act upon them with practical wisdom.

Arnold, P.J. (1984). “Sport, moral education and the development of character.”Journal of the Philosophy of Education no 18, pp. 275-281.

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Martha, E. 2004. Promoting Social and Moral Development Through Sports. Thesis, Michigan State University.

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Tamburrini, C. (2000) “The Hand of God”, Gothenburg: University of Gothenburg Press.

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Eagly, A. H. (1995).The science and politics of comparing women and men. American Psychologist, 50, 145-158.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Essay - Credit Card Skimming

The advent of the credit card or e-money has changed the way we were using money. The tyranny of cash is no more there to torment you. It is a high lightened sense of security in the world of uncertainty. Gone are the days when a purchase would have to be postponed because of a cash crunch. But as we know, everything has got two sides. With credit card comes Skimming. Skimming is the unauthorized copying of information of a credit card stored in the magnetic strip. It is used to create a cloned card for making illegal transactions.Instances of Skimming have been reported in ATM, retail shops etc. The sophisticated devices are used along with a miniature camera to read the PIN at the same time. The devices are installed in ATM which is hard to notice. Another technique used is a keypad overlay that is similar to the legitimate keypad below it and presses them when operated, but records or transmits the key log of the PIN entered. The device or group of devices illicitly installed on an ATM is colloquially known as a "skimmer". Now daysCriminals are using ATM skimmers that relay the information via text message eliminating the risk of being caught. In shops, they just have swap through the skimmer to know your card information.
Precautions to be taken;

• Do not pay using credit card in a shop if your card has to be taken out of sight.
• Check the machine used by the shopkeeper.
• If you are suspicious about the card slot on an ATM, report immediately to the concerned officials.
• Check your bank account and credit card statements when you get them.
• If you notice unusual or unauthorised transactions on your account or credit card statement, report it to the bank.

When a customer complained about such incident, the issuer can collect a list of all the cardholders who have complained about fraudulent transactions, and then uses data mining to discover relationships among them like merchants, websites, type of goods etc. For example, if many of the cardholders use a particular merchant, that merchant can be investigated. Algorithms can be written for finding patterns. Merchants must ensure the physical security of their terminals. They should check their workers regularly to avoid such incidents. The penalties for merchants can be severe if they are compromised, ranging from large fines by the issuer to complete ban on business.
Lastly, Be Alert!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Development of Integrated Marketing Communication Mix Strategy for HP planning to enter a new market segment (SME) in China

1. Executive Summary
This report focuses on the integrated marketing mix communication strategy of HP in the SME sector of China. It aims to focus on HP’s ‘Total Care’ campaign for the SME sector with an opportunity in the software and consulting solutions.
The first section of this report highlights the introduction to Chinese economy and HP’s strong arm in China. This is then followed by section two which includes the literature review and the Chinese market analysis as well as HP’s strengths and its opportunities in the SME sector of China.
The third part of this report focuses on the research analysis and HP’s IMC strategy for the SME sector. It includes the marketing campaign as well as the IMC mix for the SME sector while focusing on the software and consulting solutions. The next section follows the recommendations based from the Marketing Manager’s point of view.
In short, HP can capitalize on its current strengths; focus on consulting solutions and database management to the SME sector through a complete marketing mix.

2. Introduction
The Chinese market is a lucrative market for investment and over the last two decades it has attracted a lot of technological players especially the mobile industry. The economy of China is on the boom which further supports new business ventures while spreading the current ones. A marketer can start with the major cities such as Shanghai to focus it marketing communications mix strategy. HP entered the Chinese market in 1985 (China Hewlett Packard, 2010)
Hewlett Packard (HP), an American Multinational provides personal computers, software’s, technologies, solutions to Small and Medium Sized companies, government, healthcare and education sector (Hewlett-Packard, 2011).
HP’s ‘Total Care’ vision has the objective of focusing on the SME’s (Small Business Enterprises) and relying on its unique value proposition. This study focuses on its specialized integrated marketing mix communication for the SME sector while capitalizing on its operations in China, i.e. sales, marketing, research and development and service units. It can focus on HP commercial PC’s with a server database. It is crucial to understand its strengths as well as the opportunities that Chinese SME can offer.

3. Market and Literature Review
Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) is not a new concept and has been prevalent with the brand strategy for brand equity to achieve competitive advantage (Madhavaram, Badrinarayanan & McDonald; 2005; Schultz, 1998). The speed and span of electronic media has evolved IMC, thus giving it a global perspective (Kitchen and Schultz, 2003). It received instant attraction in the 1990’s (Gurau, 2008). Grien & Gould (2010) also talk about using a global strategy interms of marketing communication mix strategy either horizontally (across countries) or vertically (across promotion disciplines). They also suggest that further research and theory is required in this area. Defining what is IMC or what it is not is not yet clear (Schultz & Kitchen, 1997). Schultz defines IMC as;

“IMC is a process though which companies accelerate returns by aligning communications objectives with corporate goals.” “IMC is a business process that is used to plan, prepare, implement, and evaluate measurable, persuasive and coordinated brand communication programs with present, perspective and targeted customer, consumers, and other internal and external audiences.”

This concept is designed to incorporate various elements of marketing mix while keeping a focus on customer centric base, maximizing impact at minimal cost (Wikipedia, 2011). Technological advancements such as internet, database applications (Gurau, 2008) mobile phones have paved way into new ways of marketing strategies (Clow & Baack, 2008) where marketers need to be geared up and make effective use of marketing channels.
IMC is a subset of the 4 marketing P’s (price, place, promotion, product) as well as includes means through which the company communicates with the current and potential customers (Articlebase, 2011)

Let’s quickly glance through the tools (Articlebase, 2011; Wikipedia, 2011) used to create integrated marketing communication mix strategy. Advertising is used to build up long term image of the product or trigger quick sales, personal selling can be used to build relationship at a later level, maybe after buying the product, sales promotion; in the form of discounts, coupons etc enhances communication and incentive which provides value to the customers, public relations to reach to a larger audience who tend to avoid salespeople and advertisements, and direct marketing such as tele-marketing, internet marketing or mails. However, following this requires defining the strategy, i.e. identifying the target audience, communication whether a new product, removing the problems etc, use the AIDA (arouse, interest, desire and action) strategy when designing the communication.
Having understood the importance of IMC, Schultz & Kitchen (1997) suggest that more evidence is required as to why IMC is better than the traditional campaigns. So this is a key area for further research to measure the effectiveness of IMC.
IMC too is not without barriers. Internal communication might require resistance to change especially when communicating to a larger audience, lack of expertise not just among managers but also the agencies could be a potential barrier (Chou, 2011).

3.1 IMC & Chinese Market
To enter into a new market, it is important to understand its business and economic dynamics. Profound changes have been brought in China since 1978 through opening-up policy (Pan, 2005). It has attracted foreign investments (He & Xie, 2009). Chinese economy has boosted in the past two decades and has been in the spotlight for international business. There is also a huge business potential (Pan, 2005) with a greater number of population to deal with. Public Relations (He & Xie, 2009) have huge potential in the Chinese market.

Having said the above, cross culture translation of the brand name or message communication is true to its global image. (Lee, 2006) China represents an extraordinary market for development both interms of economy, government support as well as the speed in which the transition is made to a full market economy. Increasing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (IBM Consulting Services, 2005) with a real GDP growth of 9.1% in the third quarter of 2011 (Hong Kong Trade Development Council, 2011) is also an indicator to enter into this lucrative market.
With the afore-mentioned features of the Chinese market, it encourages investments within China. Multinationals like IKEA, however need to realize the culture of China, while thinking globally they need to act locally (Pan, 2005). SME’s is one market that can be tapped through integrated marketing communications using data-based marketing strategies (Chou, 2011). Chinese SME’s using customer satisfaction surveys to measure their performance and service levels (Siu & Lui, 2005). SME’s in China do not compete with the big giants; however for marketing purposes, has a lot of scope through use of online marketing communication (Gurau, 2008)

3.2 IT Brands in Chinese Market-A brief Analysis
While we look at some of the opportunity areas it’s wise to look at what generally the competitors do in the Chinese market.

If we talk about big giants in the IT industry HP is one of the biggest players. In the Chinese market they over support through differentiation strategy from their products range (HP Total Care, 2010). Its integrated marketing communication strategies are a combination of computer technology and advertising through different channels such as television direct mail and tele-marketing (HP, 2011). HP enjoys a strong marketing position in China since 2010, and a reputable brand name, however lack significant software products or consulting solutions. It has an opportunity to work on the cloud marketing through multi-global databases, can boost 30% of the server market too. It can also launch photo printing services in this market. Competitive edge is that it has a well-coordinated IMC department (Marketing Teacher-Hewlett Packard, 2010).

Dell’s strategy is continuous flow of information through direct business model in providing direct and continuous feedback from customers, therefore allowing the customer’s to build products what suits them. It has stores, kiosks and online purchase of products while acting on customer behavior. It also focuses on promotions such as; free shipping, upgrades, discounts on products. Other channels include; e-mail marketing (Chaffey, 2008). Dell Inc. is the global market leader in personal computers with a mission to provide high quality personal computers for homes and businesses. They focus on customer wishes (Dell, 2011).
The Chinese computer market made waves by buying IBM's $11 billion PC business (Business week, 2006). So, local competition is fierce too. Other players include Lenovo, inspiron etc.
The challenge would be to focus the IMC towards the specific market such as the SME.

4. Research Methodology
China maintains a high economic, health and social status. It is becoming one of the most prestigious countries for newer markets. HP enjoys a string position in this country as well.

This report relies mostly on secondary data available on the internet, research publications on HP, SME and China. Literature review also helps in developing a conceptual framework for this research. However, interviews from 10 different SME representatives were carried out to understand their requirements. One of the major needs that came up was maintaining their customer loyalty base and consulting in this area, however, the budget constraints do not allow them to purchase expensive software’s.
Time and budget were the major constraints in carrying out this report as more respondents could be interviewed to explore this case further to get in-depth analysis of the IMC strategy.

5. Analysis & Discussion
In order to develop an integrated marketing communication mix strategy for HP in Chinese SME markets it is important to review some of the characteristics of the Chinese market and its SME sector.

China has experienced a rapid growth in very short period of time. It attracts investments from large corporations as well as encourages SME’s. Looking at the GDP growth of the country (9.1% in third quarter of 2011), it has become the regional centre for trade and business. It too has attracted SME cluster to join the industry chain. Technological SME’s have also merged with the technological advancements in China (Xihui & Dongyue, 2005). These technological SME’s play a vital role in the development of the country’s economy. However, SME’s in China were encouraged greatly during the 1997 financial crunch and do not have a lot of budget to invest in expensive technologies. SME’s usually capitalize on customer loyalty through multi channel information and resources (Acxiom, 2011)

HP, a major technology giant, has been in China for over three decades and enjoys the strongest position since April 2010. A Competitive edge that it has over its competitors is that it offers a wide array of products and services with its strong financial arm as compared to Dell which has had its highs and lows but still strong to offer special marketing mix for different countries and specialized services. It has a well coordinated integrated marketing communications department and focuses on various marketing mixes such as advertising, direct marketing, television and print ads, computer intelligence terminals, tele-conferencing facilities and a feedback mechanism from its big clients in the government, health etc sectors.
It, however, has an opportunity in the software and consulting to the SME sector, which is a gap that was identified while offering customized solutions through their broad array of PC products and services.

HP’s ‘Total Care’ strategy focuses on the SME sector, which poses a lot of opportunities for its business.

Being the Marketing Manager of HP Asian Cluster, it is suggested that for Chinese SME’s it can customize its marketing campaign tailored to SME “Software and Consulting Solutions Specialized for SME’s within your reach”. SME’s usually don’t have big budgets to buy expensive software’s like Multinationals to say maintain the customer database etc. if they are able to get these services through ‘Total Care’ especially the technology SME’s.

Let’s now take a look at a viable integrated marketing mix communication strategy. We can capitalize on its current IMC for SME software and consulting solutions, thus expanding its portfolio in this sector. A well coordinated advertising through print ads, industry specific magazines, online marketing, direct marketing, database expertise through cloud marketing along with the event based marketing to educate and attract more SME’s. Also, hold specific conferences on the products and services specifically targeted towards this sector; encourage the audience to open up with their software requirements so that customized approach could be used as well as consulting solutions. Dell offers customized PC’s to its customers which Total Care can capitalize by offering customized software’s and consulting solutions to the SME’s at affordable rates. In this marketing mix, trade coupons can also be incorporated through a well-designed network of print ads, newspaper. HP should continue with the mix of customer feedback followed after the week of service for this sector as Chinese economy encourages this sector development along with strategic alliances with specialized agencies to capitalize on this opportunity. Since the SME’s rely heavily on customer loyalty, it can focus on database management services to them.

6. Conclusion & Recommendations
Being the marketing manager of HP Asia and focusing on the strong market of China, given below are some of the recommendations for HP in China.
• While Total Care focuses on SME sector, it has the opportunity to focus on Customized Software’s and Consulting Solution.

• HP should aim to strategize its integrated marketing communication mix by capitalizing on the SME sector especially through organizing events and trade promotions as well as the current IMC it has which has made it a strong player in the Chinese market.

• To support the customized requirements of the customers it can capitalize on strategic alliances with specialized agencies.
Therefore, there are still some untapped areas which HP has realized in the SME sector and further its expertise in the areas of customized software’s and consulting services. Using the current IMC along with organizing educational seminars could be an added advantage especially in the developed economy like China.

7. Bibliography
Clow, K,E., Baack, D.(2008), Integrated Advertising Promotion and Marketing Communications, Fourth/ Global Edition

Grein, A, F., Gould,S,J. (2010), Globally Integrated Marketing Communications, Journal of Marketing Communications, pp 141-158

Gurau, C., (2008), Integrated Online Marketing Communication: Implementation and Management, Journal of Communication Management, Vol. 12 No. 2, 2008, pp. 169-184, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

He & Xie (2009), Thirty Years’ Development of Public Relations in China Mainland, China Media Research, 5(3)

Kitchen, PJ., Schultz, Don, E. (2003), "Integrated Corporate and Product Brand Communication," Advances in Competitiveness Research, 11 (1)

Lee, R. (2006), Globalization, Language, and Culture. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers.

Madhavaram, S., Badrinarayanan, V., McDonald,R,E. (2005); Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) and Brand Identity as Critical Components ofBrand Equity Strategy: A Conceptual Framework and Research Propositions, Journal of Advertising, Vol. 34, No. 4, Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC),M.E. Sharpe, Inc

Pan, Y (2005), Marketing Across Cultures: A case study of IKEA Shanghai, Lund University, Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Masters Programme in Asian Studies, East and South-East Asian Track

Schultz Don E., Kitchen,P,J (1997), Integrated Marketing Communications in U.S. Advertising Agencies: An Exploratory Study, Journal of Advertising Research

Schultz, Don E. (1998), Branding:The Basis for Marketing Integration,"Marketing News, 32 (24), 8

Siu,W., Lui, Z.,(2005), Marketing in Small and Medium Chinese Enterprises (SMEs); the State of the Art in a Chinese Socialist Economy, Small Business Economics;25:333-346

Xihui, P., Dongyue, X., (2005), School of Public policy and Management Tsinghua University , P.R.China;School of Business Administration Central South University, P.R.China

Hewlett-Packard (2011),, Dec 02, 2011

Wikipedia (20110),

Marketing Teacher-Hewlett Packard (2010),, Dec 01, 2011

Chou, T. (2011), Optimizing Marketing Strategy,to be a ‘Winner’Acxiom launches CRM solution for SME, , Dec 01, 2011

China Hewlett Packard (2010); The Developmental Characteristics of China Technological SMEs and Policy Implication, Available at:, Accessed on Nov 30, 2011

Chaffey D. (2008) , Hong Kong Trade Development Council (2011),, Dec 01, 2011

Dell (2011),, Dec 02, 2011

HP (2011);, Dec 01,2011

IBM (2005); Inside China, The Chinese view of their Automotive Future, IBM Business Consulting Services

Dissertations | Essays

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Walmart - Research and Analysis of Business Problems

Executive summary
The aim of this paper is the discuss the problems the businesses are facing in general and the the problems which Walmart Inc. is encountering in particular. The company, Walmart Inc. the giant retailer of the world and there are many problems associated with the giant. The paper has an overview of the major problems and focuses on the most critical problems being faced by Walmart Inc. the problems discussed are supported by data and a creative set of solutions have been generated effectively with a purpose to address the problems. The solutions have been generated using effective and proven decision-making techniques. Convincing and evidence-based argument have been made for the allocation of the resources of Walmart Inc. to achieve the maximum benefits. This paper will help the decision makers as a basis for determining whether the project has merit and is worthy of further investment and it will serve as an overview by the decision makers to come to some concrete conclusions. The different sections of this paper discuss different aspects of the issue. In the first section the problems related to Walmart Inc. are discussed and the important problems are identified to be discussed in detail. This section also presents an overview of Walmart Inc. including its mission, vision, values and key stakeholders.

In this section the groundwork for determining the problems are done which are worthy of managerial attention and it also provides details of the information uncovered in the research. The problems cannot be solved completely and properly unless they are identified and defined clearly. The current problems encountered by Walmart Inc. are listed in this paper and the most critical problem is selected from the list to be addressed in this paper. The problem statement is made clear in the section ‘sense’ with symptoms, goals and issues with the actual problem. The tools from the management theories discussed in the class, such as root cause analysis, are also used here to gain a thorough understanding and a solid description.
The ‘uncover’ section of the paper has the detailed additional data gathered from this research to uncover more details about the problem, including more extensive causality analysis. It also considers the possibility of causes which can help uncover potential solutions. The paper presents more than one solution of the problem selected for detailed study. More than one solution is required to provide the user with alternative options. The solution is selected on the basis of the data acquired and the tools reviewed during the term from the uncovered section of the paper and it is also argued to make it convincing. The solution is presented with all the benefits, costs associated and feasibility analysis of the solution with an ethical screen. The solutions will have no meaning for the reader unless they are justified by its feasibility and practicality.

The paper also discusses the procedure of the implementation of the solutions. The implementation process is described step by step to enable the readers understand it clearly so that it can be implemented it effectively. The implementation process is defined step by step with sufficient clarity including a timeline and budget for the implementation. The expected timeline and the budget for the the implementation of the possible solutions are based on hypothetical assumptions made for the purpose. A set of measures has been developed to evaluate the effectiveness of the suggested solution in delivering proposed benefits. The process of the implementation of the solution is evaluated in such a manner that they answer most of the when, how often, and how questions associated with the process.

The end of the first decade of the 21st century and the beginning of the second decade have been a tough period for the business world. The business world has seen the economic crisis of 2008 and the economic meltdown of the major economies of the world influenced the businesses drastically across the world including economies of the US and the European countries. Many financial giants, corporate houses and businesses went bankrupted and millions have lost their jobs and this condition influenced the businesses more. It also had the severe consequences for the comparatively stable retail sector. The retail giant Walmart is also influenced drastically by the fast changing situations of the world. The company was already facing many problems and this situation has added fuel to the fire (Smith).
Walmart Inc. is one of the biggest retail giants of the world serving to customers and its members over 200 million times every week. They are served by Walmart Inc. in their preferred way which can be through retail outlets or online or on mobile devices. The company operates in twenty-seven countries under sixty-nine various banners. The sales figure of the giant for the fiscal year 2100-2012 crossed $ 444 billion and the number of employees associated with the company worldwide is about 2.2 million. Walmart Inc. was established in the year 1962 and was incorporated as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in 1969 and it was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1972. Within 10 years of its inception the company opened 276 stores in 11 states and its first super center was opened in 1988 which has become the dominant format of the company now. Its products range from complete grocery to general goods. Walmart Inc. went global in 1991 by opening its first Sam’s Club in Mexico.

The mission of the company to save people’s money and provide them a better lifestyle at an affordable cost. The founder of Walmart Sam Walton had the vision to provide the goods of general utility to masses at very reasonable and competitive rates and help them with living in a better style. The vision and mission has become more relevant today with the growing success of the people which now affects the life of a large number of people across the globe. The legal name of the corporation is Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and the widely known name Walmart is its trademark.

The company which grew rapidly due to its aim of reaching to the masses and spread to 27 countries, is being opposed at many places due to various reasons. There are a number of issues which have been raised against the company and earned a bad name of the company. Besides these reasons the present worldwide slowdown of the economy has made its situation worse. The secret of the success story of Wal-Mart is its strategy of selling products which are demanded most at a comparatively lower price (Copeland and Larry).

The problems can be solved if they are identified and defined properly and completely. Walmart Inc. Is facing a number of current problems for which the company has been criticized by many groups and individuals like community groups, labor organizations, religious groups, non-government organizations, environmental groups and customers of Walmart and some of the current problems are related to the policies and business practices of the company which includes foreign product sourcing, environmental practices, treatment with suppliers, security policies of the company and use of public subsidies. The allegations which the company is facing currently are:

Opposition from local communities- as it affects the local businesses, traffic, environment, public safety substantially
Allegations of predatory pricing and supplier issues- Its ‘Miley Cyrus’ product contained toxic metal cadmium
Employee and labor relations- its workers participated actively in ‘Occupy Wall Street’ stir
Wages- its employees are paid 20% less than average retail workers
Working conditions- the company faced many law suits and paid $50 million to settle a class-action suit in 2000
Child labor violations- the New York Times reported child labor violations by Walmart in January 2004
Use of undocumented workers- federal investigators reported use of undocumented immigrants by Walmart
Health insurance- only 44% of its employees are covered as compared to 96% employees of its rival company Costco, by 2005
Imports and globalization- the pressure of Walmart to keep the prices lower has forced the vendors to shift the manufacturing work to China and other countries where wages are low
Overseas labor concerns- it was accused of using prison labor and sweatshops and not providing proper supervision to its foreign suppliers.

Wal-Mart and the futility of traditional management- an article in the Wall Street Journal discovers that a wide range of products of Walmart is 19% more costly than its rival Amazon and this speaks of the failure of the traditional management of Walmart which could not maintain its USP.

The traditional management system of Walmart failed to maintain the USP of Walmart. The the strategic management team needs to review the traditional management system The company failed to maintain its price level and the business reported declining for five straight quarters in its stores worldwide and its rivals captured its market share. The share price of Walmart is stagnant for the past ten years (Sellers).

Chief Executive of Wal-Mart Mike Duke said that “problems at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. have been more severe than management expected and will take time to fix…. Some of the pricing and merchandising issues at Wal-Mart U.S. ran deeper than we initially expected, and they require a response that will take time to see results.”
The statement made by Mr Duke reflects that he was not able to assess the real problem. The real problem of Walmart is not the issues related to pricing and merchandising. The real problem of the company is its traditional system of management which has become a fatal disease for the company and the company needs to make drastic changes in its management system or in other words the company needs to reinvent itself by bringing substantial changes in its traditional management system. It is time to rethink the whole concept of business and take steps to reinvent it (

There can be many solutions for the problem encountered by Walmart. For my money, the top management of the company can reinvent the company in two best possible ways:
Reinventing the traditional management system.

Out of the two solutions mentioned above the most practical solution is to reinvent the traditional management system and this can be done by strategic planning. Wal-Mart has to analyze its strengths and weaknesses and use the strengths in reinventing and removing weaknesses. The most important strength of Walmart is its tremendous money and assets. In the present business world the bricks are beaten by bytes and Walmart stores are no more the cheapest to encourage people to drive to the store. The real challenge is to earn the lost reputation of being the cheapest stores in the world (Kabel).

The things are changing fast in the world and the business world is not an exception. Reinvention of the traditional management system would be beneficial to the company in many ways. It will bring back the old reputation of the largest and the cheapest store series in the world. It was a valued brand yielding the highest turnover in the retail sector and once the old status of the company is back it can easily overcome all the finances involved in the reinvention process. The reinvention process involves two major expenses – the expenses of the training of the staffs and the expenses on other benefits given to the staffs. Other benefits mainly include hikes in their salary according to the general standard and covering all the staffs under health insurance. As it has been estimated that the payments of the staffs of Walmart is 20% less than the general standard. It means 20% hike in their salary will meet the objective and about 50% of the staffs are already under cover of health insurance and the rest 50% can easily be brought under the cover. This will not affect Walmart considering its enormous money and assets and the returns it will bring to the company (Rodino Associates).

The solution of the problem needs to be implemented carefully and strategically as it is concerning the most sensitive issue of the organization. As the solution is concerned with the strategic change in the management the top management must realize that it needs to be implemented in a systematic manner step by step without causing much chaos. The first step of the implementation of the solution is the training (Barnaro).

Training: training is the first step of the solution because the employees must be trained about the latest and advanced developments in the management practices to be prepared for the reinvention. Unless they realize the importance and need of the new management practices it would be very difficult to get it implemented through them. Training is an essential and continuous part of any business and it would not require any separate budget allocations. It can simply be managed by diverting the budget towards a different kind of training required at the moment. The training should be accomplished within three months. The training will not bring any fruitful results unless employees are motivated enough to adopt to the changes and the employees can only be motivated if good care is taken of them. The second step is to take care of the employees.

Taking care of employees: Walmart is often accused of the social practices in labor relations and dissatisfied worker cannot be expected to contribute positively to the organization and to avoid such accusations the company need to standardize their salary by enhancing it by 20% and to bring its rest 50% employees under the cover of health insurance. Though these two expenses will give a substantial burden on the budget of the company, they cannot be considered as extra expenses for the innovation or reinvent of the company as it is the necessary expense company must accommodate. This is needed to be done at once (Norman 7).

Creating a positive environment: there has been a lot of criticism in the media about the company which has distracted its customer from it and the company needs to take the services of a public relations firm which would interact with the press and give response to the negative reports of the media. The company should also make arrangements for interacting with the customers directly through blogs, postings, mobile or invitations to visit the store. This can be done without a very substantial expense and without much delay.

Focus on Training: the next step of the company is to focus on training which is a continuous and gradual process. The company should focus on changing Wal-Mart from a quintessential company of the 20th century to a modern company of the 21st century and the training will include certain areas to focus upon:
Delighting customers: Earlier Walmart had no tradition of delighting its customers. Now the employees should be trained to delight customers. “You buy what we sell, because it’s cheaper.” Now the products are no more cheaper and the old business model is shattered.

Offering what the customers really want: the old concept of selling at the cheapest price is no longer required and they need to understand the need of the customers.
Eliminating checkout queues: no one likes to wait at the check out counters which normally moves at snails counters at Walmart stores. They need to make changes in the process which includes training to the employees, opening more counters or installing self-checkout counters.

Changes in the delivery system: Now the customers prefer their orders to be delivered at their desired destination and Walmart cannot sustain in the market without meeting this need of the customers. Hence the employees need to be trained in adapting to such changes. “Mr Duke and his team would need to decide who its customers are, figure out what are the hopes and dreams and fears and irritations and fears, find ways to alleviate those fears and irritations and fulfill those hopes and dreams. They have to be willing to scrap the things that made a winning firm in the 20th Century and instead commit to becoming a genuine 21st Century firm. Only then will Wal-Mart will have a future.” Sellers, 2005.

Walmart needs to understand the importance of ‘Multiple bottom line’ which is also known as “triple-bottom line” and it includes consideration of people, planet, and profit or three pillars which are the criteria for analyzing the success of an organization be it economical, ecological and social.

Kabel, Marcus. "Wal-Mart, Critics Slam Each Other on Web." The Washington Post. July 18,. 2006. Retrieved on July 31, 2006.

Sellers, Jeff M.. "Women Against Wal-Mart." Christianity Today. April 22, 2005, Retrieved July 31, 2006.

Sellers, Jeff M. "Deliver Us from Wal-Mart?." Christianity Today. April 22, 2005. Retrieved on July 31, 2006.

Norman, Al. "The Case Against Wal-Mart". Raphel Marketing, p. 7. ISBN 0-9711542-3-6. 2004

Copeland, Larry.. "Wal-Mart's hired advocate takes flak." USA Today. March 13, 2006. Retrieved on July 31, 2006. Visit our website to gain access to hundreds of university dissertations and essays. We now stock books and journals with global delivery.

Rodino Associates. "Final Report on Research for Big Box Retail/Superstore Ordinance [dead link]." Los Angeles City Council. October 28, 2003. Retrieved on July 31, 2006.

Smith, Hedrick. "Who Calls the Shots in the Global Economy?" PBS. Retrieved on July 31, 2006. (official public relations website)

Barnaro, Michael. "A New Weapon for Wal-Mart: A War Room." The New York Times.
November 1, 2005. Retrieved on August 1, 2006.

Barbaro, Michael. "Wal-Mart Enlists Bloggers in P.R. Campaign." The New York Times.March 7, 2006. Retrieved on August 1, 2006.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Competition and Cooperation among States and Regions

In the last two decades, national and regional as well as global policies have been made in order to improve competition in the market. For this purpose, several regional agreements have been introduced, initiated or are in the process of negotiation in order to improve a competition framework. Research suggests that more than 70 percent of the agreements in terms of competition have been developed in developed countries (Lever, 1999, 1035). In the same manner, European Union has also defined its competition law, which it first introduced about forty years ago (Kuwayama, 2005, 114). The new aspect of EU competitive policy is that it promotes regional competition and cooperation in terms of business. This leads to several questions. What is the need of competition law? Should regional and local competition be promoted or limited? What is the impact of competition law on the regional and local markets? Is it possible to enhance competition through national and local economies by introducing such provisions? The aim of this paper is to analyze European Union Competitive Law and its impact on regional and local competition, in the lights of broad and diverse academic resources.

Background and Overview
In recent times, organizations in local and regional domains are calling for increasing the competition in the business arena. Majority of the stakeholders emphasize on the importance of competition as the main condition for the establishment and laying down the foundation of an undistorted and operational market in business domain (Lever, 1999, 1038). The European Union Competition Policies concentrated on creating an infrastructure, which is feasible and does not monopoly. The competitive policies in terms of local and regional market, concentrates on promoting liberalization of the market and allow new entries to penetrate itself in order to increase competition (Yeats, 2008, 115). During the nineties, the member states of European Union concentrated on analyzing and redefining their policies related to competition. This perspective emerged because of the entry of central and eastern European countries in European Union and with increasing number of states; the existing member states feared that it would not be able to apply competition law. In the year 1999, amendments were made in the European Union competitive law and it introduced a completely diverse and innovative framework, which concentrated on replacing monopoly and concentrated on the promotion of oligopoly (Geradin, 2003, 153). Furthermore, it required cooperation among the member states in terms of competition.

EU and National Policies on Competitiveness
The policies of European Union and other national policies emphasize on the significance and importance of regional and local competition as well as international competition. These policies have been identified in order to promote decentralized markets, promote liberalization, remove monopoly and increase competition. The policies of competition by EU and other counties specifically concentrate on the integration of economies at all levels (Geradin, 2004, 178). The aim and objective of competition policy devised by EU aims at meeting the following objectives:

The market sharing must be in equilibrium and for this purpose; it is essential that at regional level, market sharing is achieved.
Partners must compete with one another.
Market nature must be based on oligopoly and must eliminated monopoly.
The marketing agreements must be based on vertical marketing in order to target regional markets.
Markets must be decentralized in order to improve regional competition, which would effectively contribute towards the global economy.
The concentration must be improving the market access.
The law of completion based on region to region must be established and improved in order to enhance competition.

The framework of EU and United States in terms of competition legislature concentrates on the harmonization of competition rules in order to ensure that cooperation is achieved in terms of issues related to competition. Gal (2003, 114) asserted that “EU bilateral agreements provide for harmonization of competition rules of the contracting parties. In contrast, agreements signed by the US and Canada include provisions that provide for cooperation on competition matters”.
National and regional competition policies require harmonization. Harmonization is an important aspect of competition where cities become responsible for changing their competition laws in order to improve city and regional competition. However, it should be noted that the aspect of harmonization in some of regional EU agreements cannot be found. For this purpose, it is essential that EU agreements or other national policies incorporate the cooperation provision in terms of competition policy and framework (Geradin, 2004, 189). The European Union framework asserts that every regional network has competitive and uncompetitive organizations and there are certain factors which influence competitiveness of a particular local area. From this perspective, the concept of regional and local competition is not based solely on the firm’s productivity.

Do Cities Compete with One Another?
The question arises whether cities and regions compete with one another or not? If they compete, should this competition be limited? What are the outcomes of this regional and local competition? In this regard, there are two opposite views. One perspective asserts that cities and regions are in constant competition with one another (Lever, 1999, 1040). The nature of this competition is not the same as that of corporation competition or international competition.

Furthermore, it is believed that this competition is based on “mobile investment, population, tourism, public funds and hallmark events such as the Olympic Games. They compete by, for example, assembling a skilled and educated labour force, efficient modern infrastructure, a responsive system of local governance, a exible land and property market, high environmental standards and a high quality of life”( Lever &Turok, 1999, 791). Lever & Turok (1999, 791) quote Porter and assert that the nature of competition in cities calls for special expertise, support between institutions and customers. Thus, this leads to innovation. Cities compete with one another for cooperation as well and this cooperation is just like the cooperation between private and public sector (Lever, 1999, 1039, D'Arcy & Keogh, 1999, 922).
On the other hand, the second perspective in this regard is that cities do not compete with one another. Cities are considered to be the centre point where organizations and corporations compete with one another. Furthermore, assets that are developed by cities do not provide competitive market for firms. On the whole, cities just provide some basic conditions for the organization to compete but these conditions may not be sufficient (Budd & Edwards,179).

Research suggests that through the eighties and nineties, several researches had been conducted in order to study the nature of competition and cooperation in cities. Marcuse (2006, 251) asserts that cities are in constant competition with one another and thus, policies have been identified for this purpose. The policies of competition are governed by particular business and political groups in order to conduct business and to devise policies related to tax. The general towards regional and city competition is based on the fact that it is believed that they are the main actors of the new economy in the age of globalization. Cox (1995, 219) asserts that cities need to compete with one another in terms of events and contribute towards the economy of the world.

Marcuse (2006, 252) quoted Sassen and asserts that globalization has been successful in identifying the role of cities. The role of the cities is to compete with another and to contribute towards urban economic development. Other researchers assert that cities need to compete and cooperate with another in order to contribute towards the national economy on the whole. Jessoph (1998, 89) asserts that cities and regions in United States and European Union in terms of competition are actors, which compete with one another.

In terms of globalization, it is believed that it is essential that cities compete with another as they represent the global economy. In this regard, it is believed that the cities play the role of entities and not actors. The concept of “‘globalist city’—the city viewed as nothing more than in terms of its relationship to globalization. Certainly cities vary in that regard; there is indeed a difference between ‘global cities’ and ‘non-global cities”’ (Marcuse, 2006, 253).

Should Competition between Cities be Encouraged or Restricted?
Competition needs to be improved as it contributes towards improvement in economy. At different levels, cities are engaged in competition. Literature suggests that the factors leading to cities competition is because of globalization, technological revolution and the changes in the structure of market on basis of competition among different cities. “Jockeying for position between the large financial centres such as London, New York and Tokyo has been recognised for some time. European integration impels cities to be more alert to the opportunities and threats that arise from establishment of the single market” (Gal, 2003,198) The question arises whether such competition should be promoted or not? It should be noted that the financial and economic performance of cities differ from one another on basis of income and the employment that is generated. This represents the ability of the region to compete itself with other cities is dependent on the features of cities such as locality, area, advantages and disadvantages of organizations and other agents of economy.

From the works of Geradin ( 2004, 289), during the last two decades, the competition between cities have increased significantly in order to gain power, promote themselves and to ensure that they get the investments. The increasingly fierce competition has several explanations. Competition has mainly increased because industries have become more fragmented and diverse and this allows organizations to select the most ideal location in order to ensure that their stage of production can initiate there. Geradin (2003, 178) suggest that “territorial competition may be conceived of as involving attempts by agencies representing particular areas to enhance their locational advantage by manipulating some of the attributes which contribute to their area’s value as a location for various activities”.

The concept of competition is important in terms of policy and competition level. According to Kuwayama (2005, 199), competition among urban economies must be promoted. Yeats (2008, 192)asserts that urban economies and competition must be promoted as they seek to create diverse, specialized and well paid jobs, they contribute towards the global economy, production of good is based on the demand, economic growth rate of cities increases employment without putting stress on the market, the competition allows each and every cities to specialize in its activities so that it can meet the future challenges and its significantly helps cities to move towards the urban hierarchy (Budd & Edwards, 1997, 176).

Competitiveness and Urban Economies
Competitiveness is needed in order to improve urban performance in terms of economy. There is need to urban competition for the following reasons:

Research suggests that the total performance of national economy can influence individual city.

Structural changes can have an influence on the urban economy and thus, competition is needed to deal with these changes.

National policies change with respect to time and thus, they make an impact on city. For instance, changes in exchange rate have a significant impact on trading companies. Rise in rate of interests significantly impact on firms. All of these activities have an influence on the economy of urban area and for this purpose; there is need for cities to compete with one another.

To become part of the global economy, competition among cities is required. “Today’s simultaneous global and local focus creates a new framework of ideas and opportunities” (Geradin, 2004, 22). Regional and local need to work and compete with one another in the entire structure that has been created by globalization. The entry of new organization in a city can have a significant impact on the life of its citizens as well as the entire economy. International networks and structures require cities to compete and cooperate with one another in order to meet challenges.

Local competition represents individualism and in recent times, it is the new paradigm of economics and development. Thus, regional competition promotes individualism of each region and enhanced urban growth and development assist it to maintain its individualism in the global structure. Regional and local competition promotes cooperation and merging and this has occurred in European Union. This has significantly assisted in increasing partnerships between public and private organizations and has allowed them to work collaboratively. The trend of local competition concentrates on acceleration, which is influenced by technological revolution.

National and regional as well as global policies have been made in order to improve competition in the market and several regional agreements have been introduced to improve a competition framework. Organizations in local and regional domains are calling for increasing the competition in the business arena. Policies have been identified in order to promote decentralized markets, promote liberalization, remove monopoly and increase competition. The policies of competition by EU and other counties specifically concentrate on the integration of economies at all levels. Harmonization is an important aspect of competition where cities become responsible for changing their competition laws in order to improve city and regional competition.

The role of the cities is to compete with another and to contribute towards urban economic development. Other researchers assert that cities need to compete and cooperate with another in order to contribute towards the national economy on the whole. In terms of globalization, it is believed that it is essential that cities compete with another as they represent the global economy. Competition needs to be improved as it contributes towards improvement in economy. At different levels, cities are engaged in competition. Literature suggests that the factors leading to cities competition is because of globalization, technological revolution and the changes in the structure of market on basis of competition among different cities. The increasingly fierce competition has several explanations. Competition has mainly increased because industries have become more fragmented and diverse and this allows organizations to select the most ideal location in order to ensure that their stage of production can initiate there. Competitiveness is needed in order to improve urban performance in terms of economy.

In recent times, the general trend of competition has given rise to the concept of regional and city competing against one another. National policies have been developed in this regard to promote local and regional competition. Regional economies must be promoted to increase competitiveness and to ensure that they contribute towards global economy. Inter city competition must be encouraged as it represents individualism and meets the needs of technology and creates employment and improving the quality of life.

Lever, W. Introduction to the special issue + paper by, Competitive Cities in Europe p 1029;

D'Arcy and Keogh, The property market and competition in the same issue, Competitive Cities: Introduction to the Review.

Lever, William & Turok, Ivan Urban Studies, Volume 36, Numbers 5-6, 1 May 1999, pp. 791-793(3) whole special issue.

Budd, L. and Edwards, M. 1997 'Confirming conforming conventions: the Four World Cities study', City (7): 171-181.

Cox, K. R. 1995 'Globalisation, competition and the politics of local economic development', Urban studies 32(2): 213-225.

Jessop, B. 1998 'The narrative of enterprise and the enterprise of narrative: place marketing and the entrepreneurial city', in T. Hall and P. Hubbard (eds) The entrepreneurial city: geographies of politics, regime and representation, Chichester: Wiley, 77-99.

Marcuse, P. 2005 ''The city' as perverse metaphor', City 9(2): 247-254.
Gal, M. (2003), Competition Policy for Small Market Economies. Harvard University Press.

Geradin, D. (2004), Competition Law and Regional Economic Integration: an Analysis of the Southern Mediterranean Countries. World Bank Working Paper No. 35.

Geradin, D. and Petit, N. (2003), Competition policy and the Euromed partnership. European Foreign Affairs Review 8, 153–80.

Yeats, A. (2008), What can be Expected from African Regional Trade Arrangements? Some Empirical Evidence. World Bank Policy

Kuwayama, M. (2005), Bilateralism and Regionalism: Re-Establishing the Primacy of Multilateralism. A Latin American and Caribbean Perspective. Draft ECLAC-DITI, February 2005.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Getting Online Finance Education

Getting Online Finance Education - More than Just A Finance Certificate

The world as it is at the moment thrives on knowledge and skill acquisition. The present economic downturn has opened up how ignorant many are when it comes to dealing with their money matters. This ignorance cuts across personal to business acumen in dealing with financial matters. It comes as no shock then that many in the United States have been exposed to be in the bracket of the ignorant ones that have been living off indebtedness. Otherwise the debt that has brought down many large institutions in Europe and the United States won’t have occurred.

This is one reason why finance education has to be re-invented as far as its definition goes from what is obtainable today to a more modern approach that will equip us with modern day skills that will help us meet the challenges of the present days head on and with confidence.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has totally turned the world around in such a way that finance education can’t but notice to see how it can take advantage of it. Online finance education has emerged from the interaction between students and teachers through the internet to make finance education a seamless operation. The daily interaction has changed the way of learning so much that the improvements are indeed amazing. One of those means of interaction is called blogging.

Online finance education has also provided another benefit by serving as an instrument for the practical application of financial theories using well designed and fixed strategies that acts as templates. Things like automated budget planners have been designed that will help do all the calculations needed and the only thing you have to do is enter the figures.

The good thing about this mode of training is the even the traditional form of training can also be experienced using this platform of online finance education. A multiplicity of training programs using the e-platform has emerged, programs that are from HR Management to insurance and everything in-between.

Many online training institutions have sprung up because of high demand. So care must be taken to make sure they are genuine. Most times, you only have what they have to say of themselves going for you. And the dangerous thing is that the web has a way of making what is false to be true so you have to be really careful.

Always check for those that will go beyond the web to prove their authenticity. And they will teach you how to live in the present day world of credit cards and modern financial tools.

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace – A Common Problem

Women, irrespective of their geographical location, position in their job, caste, religion and often age, are often victims of sexual harassment at their workplaces across the globe. An issue of sexual harassment at workplace needs to be handled more carefully as the reputation of both the victim and the accused are at stake, and more importantly the goodwill of the organization for which they serve. However, the primary object is to safeguard the interest of the victim and to find out the truth behind the alleged sexual harassment at workplace by the victim by way of conducting a departmental proceedings and criminal investigation, if required. This issue of sexual harassment or sexual abuse at workplace or office should be looked into from a point of view of a Human Resource professional as well as from the point of view of a legal expert.

With the increase in numbers of working women in India, the responsibility of protecting the dignity of the female employees by their respective employers has increased manifolds. Sexual harassment or abuse of the women employees at their workplaces is basically the result of a perverted mind which needs to be cured with the assistance of psychiatric treatment or exemplary punishment or both. Apart from all these theoretical blabbering, there are certain practical aspects that one should be aware of.

A sexual harassment at workplace is said to have taken place when a women is subject to sexual harassment at her workplace by her employer. The term ‘employer’ in this regard means and includes “any person employed through any of the offices including contract workers, employees will mean all employees of the company.” Thus we can say that a woman can bring charges of sexual harassment at workplace against anyone who is directly or indirectly engaged and/ or appointment by her employer.

Every organization is supposed to form a committee in order to deal with sexual harassment issues at workplace and to investigate into the alleged charges and to provide relief to the victim of sexual harassment at workplace. However, many companies in India, in spite of having a huge numbers of female employees have failed to establish such a committee to safeguard the interest and dignity of their female employees. In this context, a committee means “committee formed by the company/ organization to investigate the cause of sexual harassment of women at workplace” Such committee should consist of 7 members – 3 women employees and 3 employees from the side of management and 1 member should be from an external Non-Governmental organization (NGO). And 1 woman should be compulsorily appointed as the chairwoman of the committee.

Before we discuss more about sexual harassment at workplace, we need to find out what exact the term “sexual harassment at workplace” means. As per the Protection of Human Right Act, “human rights” include the rights to life, dignity, liberty and equality for every Indian. These basic “human rights” have been guaranteed by the Constitution of India. Similarly Indian working women has their right to live with dignity at their workplace and the responsibility of protecting their rights falls on their employer. Recently, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has become more stringent on violations of such rights granted to the working Indian women. For a better understanding, the definition of “sexual harassment at workplace” is defined hereunder:

Acts which can be termed as sexual harassment are as follows:
1. Any direct or indirect unwelcome sexually determined behaviour,
2. Physical contact and advances.
3. Demand or request for sexual favours.
4. Sexually covered remarks including showing pornographic material in any form i.e. digital or hard copy.
5. Any other unwelcome physical or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.

Procedure of Complaint
For a victim of sexual harassment at workplace, it does not matter whether the said victim woman is drawing salary, honorarium from her employer or providing a voluntary service to her employer. Even the type of organizations i.e. Government, public or private organization in which the woman works do not matter while filing a complaint against sexual harassment at workplace. However, there are certain procedures which one needs to follow while lodging the complaint before the compliant committees which are discussed below:

1. Any female employee including those employed under contract basis if harassed by a co-employee is eligible to file written confidential complaint to the Chairwoman of the committee. The complaint should contain proper details of the incident along with name of witness(es), if any. After receiving the said complaint, the Chairwoman will thoroughly investigate the matter, and if satisfied with the prima facie evidence, the Chairwoman will call a meeting of the committee and start a full investigation. A copy of the said complaint should also be forwarded to the Human Resource personnel of the organization.
2. The committee will investigate the matter thoroughly and can summon witness(es) and take their oral/ written submission, if necessary in order to determine the validity of the alleged complaint made by the female employee.
3. The committee should give its report in writing with valid reasons for its conclusion to head/ executive of the organization who upon receiving such report from the committee is liable to take necessary actions against the delinquent employee.
4. The total procedure of the investigation starting from the day of filing such complaint before the committee till the day of submitting the investigation report to the organization should be completed within fifteen (15) working days.
The woman complainant as well as the witnesses should not be victimized or discriminated in any manner whatsoever. However, an activity of a woman employee filing false complaint of sexual harassment at workplace against a co-employee, with an intention to settle personal score or to defame the said person, is a gross misconduct and disciplinary measures/ actions can be taken against the female employee.

Responsibilities of the Employer
Every employer whether in Government, private or public sector is responsible for maintaining the dignity and integrity of the female employees in their organizations. And they should give their best effort to stop any kind of sexual harassment or abuse on any of their female employees and should be responsible to take these under mentioned steps:

1. The employer needs to circulate notifications defining the provisions of sexual harassment at workplace to each and every employee of the organization.
2. The service rules and/ or standing orders of an organization whether Government, private or public sector should contain clauses against any kind of sexual harassment at workplace along with appropriate punishments/ penalties.
3. Proper working conditions in relation to work, leisure, health and hygiene etc. should be provided to the female employees of the organization and at no time a female employee should feel discriminated at her workplace.

In case the sexual harassment at workplace is caused by any third party who is neither directly nor indirectly related to the employer, the employer is bound to take all the necessary steps in order to provide assistance to the affected female employee and to do all other acts which are necessary to stop any derogatory actions on any female employees.

Various Laws Which Can Be Used In Case Of Sexual Harassment at Workplace
Certain sections under the Indian Penal Code can be used in order to establish charges against an accused. Apart from filing complaint before the Complaint Committee, remedies under various sections of IPC or Indian Penal Code can easily be found.

Section 354 of IPC reads as follows:
“Section 354. Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty
Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any woman, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby outrage her modesty, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.“

Section 509 of IPC reads as follows:
“Section 509. Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman
Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any word, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, of that such gesture or object shall be seen, by such woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.“
Now apart from IPC, the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1987 is well equipped to deal with any form of sexual harassment or sexual abuse of women at their workplace.

Section 4 of IRWP Act reads as follows:
“Prohibition of publication or sending by post of books, pamphlets, etc., containing indecent representation of women.- No person shall produce or cause to be produced, sell, let to hire, distribute, circulate or send by post any book, pamphlet, paper, slide, film, writing, drawing, painting, photograph, representation or figure which contains indecent representation of women in any form:
Provided that nothing in this section shall apply to-
(a) any book, pamphlet, paper, slide, film, writing, drawing, painting, photograph, representation or figure-
(i) the publication of which is proved to be justified as being for the public good on the ground that such book, pamphlet paper, slide, film writing, drawing, painting photograph, representation or figure is i the interest of science, literature, art, or learning or other objects of general concern: or
(ii) which is kept or used bona fide for religious purposes;
(b) any representation sculptured, engraved, painted or other wise represented on or in-
(i) any ancient monument within the meaning of the Ancient Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1958(24 of 1958); or
(ii) any temple, or on any car used for the conveyance or idols, or kept or used for any religious purpose;
(c) any film in respect of which the provisions of Part II of the Cinematograph Act, 1952(37 of 1952) will be applicable.“
For more information on the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1987, you can check the whole Act. Thus at the end we can say that sexual harassment at workplace is a delicate subject which needs to be taken care of very diligently.