Stability, Predictability, Consistency, and Standardization in the Flow of Commerce

The best of all possible worlds is for the government to stay out-of-the-way of commerce, industry and business, and very rarely institute regulations. There are some times when government and businesses, industry associations should collaborate for the sake of standardization, but again, very rarely. The tendency to allow industry collusion, create monopolies, duopolies or quasi-cartels is just too easy. Further, once you create one regulation it’s hard to prevent the add-on affect, the temptation is just too great to add exceptions, additions, clarifications as lawyers, unions, and consumer groups work to lobby legislators to intervene with the regulatory apparatus.

A few years back this was a big conversation at our Think Tank, and one think tanker Andrew stated: “I would have to agree that businesses do need some form of standardization, but we must also understand several concepts! A business must have the capability to micromanage for maximum efficiency. I believe states should be granted the power to standardize businesses, not the federal government.”

Okay but, where I see the definite need for standardization are with things like Internet Protocols, railway track width, freeways for intrastate travel, airport runway markings, frequencies used in communication, food safety, etc. In a big state like TX you could get away with doing almost everything counter to the overall prevailing way of doing things, it’s practically large enough to be its own country, and some Texans would prefer it to be still. Pretty independent minded, even with the population’s mindset of succession from the union. It even has its own electrical grid.

Still, with regards to the flow of energy, transportation, distribution, communication, currency, etc. we need standardization. And to the point of having each state decide, what about every county, every city, or every HOA, down to every person, where do you stop the breakdown of centralized standardization.

The argument for state level standardization could be argued against by someone who is a County Supervisor telling the State to go to hell, we want to do it our way, especially a county like the County of Los Angeles, with 16 million people in it, also larger than most countries. How about a city telling the county where to go, again as an example, let’s take the City of Los Angeles VS County of Los Angeles, see the point.

And realize I am not making an argument for a global government here, but we also need some standardization there too, for aviation, which we do have, maritime, trade rules, and having the Central Banks work together so no one Central Bank doesn’t destroy the entire global economy. See that point. We need SOME standardization, but we MUST retain regional variation. We do this at the Global Level, but we don’t do it enough at our Federal Level with regards to the states in the US and that’s why we have issues now. Think on this.

Sensible Manufacturing and the Ultrasonic Flow Meter

The Manufacturer MX Awards

Each year The Manufacturer MX Awards aim to recognise great achievements in the industry. Entries are invited for a number of different categories, with the ultimate title of ‘Manufacturer of the Year’ presented to a company that is strong across the board.

The winner of this year’s ‘Manufacturer of the Year’ title was announced in November and Dura Automotive took home the award. The company also returned to the office with awards for ‘People and Skills’, ‘World Class Manufacturing’ and ‘Sustainable Manufacturing’, so it was well worth attending the event!

Investment in Employees, Quality and Sustainability

Dura Automotive are an international company that design and manufacture control systems for the automotive industry. They may be a large operation, but the awards they won clearly illustrate what it takes to grow a successful business; investment in employees, quality and sustainability.

If you take a look on their website, you will see that their objectives are to ‘inspire drivers, customers, our people, the competition and stakeholders through innovation and performance’.

They understand that in order to deliver full customer satisfaction, they need to deliver high quality products. To do that, they need to stay ahead of the competition with innovative ideas, products and processes, staff training and development opportunities and a positive, customer focused vision. In addition, they understand the importance of integrating sustainability into every aspect of their business.

Sustainable Manufacturing

Sustainable manufacturing focuses on minimising the negative outcomes of production. The overriding aim is to lower the environmental impact of manufacturing and distribution, yet the real benefits to business come from the fact that in working towards sustainability is a process of continuous improvement.

Many manufacturers have been incentivised to take action. On the receiving end of Government initiatives or in a bid to reduce energy, water and waste management costs, more companies have been willing to consider sustainable options. Whilst they may have started off thinking of this as a tick box exercise, the real benefits of taking action soon become apparent. Huge savings have helped many companies to remain competitive in the global market, have paid for other investments or have boosted profits.

Flow Monitoring

When it comes to water and energy use, flow monitoring has proved valuable in running processes at optimised levels, improving quality control, minimising waste and reducing downtime due to problems in the process. This has supported significant cost savings in storage, processing, waste management and utility bills.

By investing in low cost ultrasonic flow meters, which retrofit to the exterior of pipework, flow monitoring can be straight forward to implement. Calibrated to the specific flow range of the liquid or gas that passes through the pipe, the ultrasonic flow meter provides data that quickly identifies when abnormal flow rates are detected. This acts as an early warning system, so the issue can be quickly identified and rectified.

The ultrasonic flow meter also supports the optimisation of the process, which can be highly effective in quality control. This has been widely used to reduce waste batches and waste management costs in food, pharmaceutical and automotive industries, to name but a few.

All of these potential cost savings from an affordable ultrasonic flow meter certainly justify investment in monitoring technology. Other low cost devices including tap aerators and rainwater harvesting systems have also helped UK businesses to gain a lot more than environmental credentials.

Recycled Materials

Another area in which Dura Automotive have invested is in research and developments around the use of recycled materials in their products. When manufacturers consider reusing materials rather than raw supplies, it can present a number of challenges. Being open minded to these challenges can lead to innovative thinking, fresh ideas and approaches which could open up new avenues for the product or company.

The use of recycled materials does depend on sufficient quantities being provided by a reliable source. Having said this, if a large scale operation such as Dura can find viable alternatives to raw materials, then a bit of research could lead to suitable supplies for smaller businesses.

There is often a cost in processing the material to ensure it is of a suitable standard for reuse. Companies may need to explore partnerships with other companies and other collaborative approaches to ensure that cost effective and convenient options are found.

Sustainable Advantages

Like Dura Automotive, the majority of the other manufacturing award winners also placed considerable emphasis on sustainability. If you want to see your company going from strength to strength, a greener approach could deliver many tangible advantages.

Useful Tips for Choosing an Airport Taxi Service

Getting to the airport isn’t the easiest thing and can be more difficult for those travelling with a lot of luggage and family members. One option to forget about the logistics of reaching the airport on time is to make use of an airport taxi service. This can remove a lot of the stress and worry, but is still important to schedule the pickup to match the specific needs.

Here are a few tips to make sure the airport taxi service provides a prompt and timely package:

Plan ahead

A simple step that can make things go smoothly is to book the taxi well in advance. Make sure there is enough time to easily reach the airport without feeling rushed. Try to calculate the travel distance and add an extra hour or more in the event of heavy traffic. Also, if travelling during busy travel times, such as bank holidays, it may be worth adding a little more time.

Pay attention to reputation

Investigate two or three different companies and aim to identify one that is highly rated for providing a reliable deal in the local area. Use online reviews to get an idea of the quality and reputable of a potential company. Find one that has the courteous drivers and appreciated for providing timely pickups and drops-offs.

Most companies are quite similar, so it helps to ring around and get a price for the ride to the airport. Many quote a flat fee to travel from home to the airport, as well as any other pickups on the way. Also, make sure the preferred company has the necessary licensing and credentials to offer this particular type of service.

Amount of space

One of the important things to check is the amount of space for passengers and luggage that the vehicle can accept. The vehicles can vary significantly in size with a standard vehicle able to accept a couple with minimal luggage to the larger vehicle that can easily take six or seven passengers in comfort.

For those travelling with a lot of bags, it may be necessary to ask for a larger vehicle.

Call before pickup

Even if the airport taxi service has been booked and reserved in advance, it still may be worth giving the company a call a few hours before it should arrive at the pickup address to make sure it will be arriving on time.

Useful Travel Tips About Seasons And Weather in Langkawi

Langkawi has the same type of climate as Thailand. It is known as a tropical monsoon climate. It can sometimes also be labeled as a “tropical wet climate” although that’s not always the case year round. It’s paradise climate makes Langkawi a great place to visit, but it’s wise to learn about the different types of weather before booking that perfect vacation.

For those that are accustomed to the usual four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter, Thailand may seem like a different planet! Its summers and winters may seem backward although It is usually warm all year round with temperatures ranging from an average of 27 degrees Celsius (81°F) during the coldest month of July to about 29 (81°F) during the hottest month of February.

With that said, rather than traditional seasons, Langkawi experiences only a wet season and a dry season. In terms of traveling, these are known as the low season and the high season respectively. This is because many tourists only prefer to visit during the dry season as to avoid the rain and possible monsoons.

Dry Season (high season):

November through March is the busiest time. During this time, Langkawi experiences the most traffic.

Following the heavy rains of the wet season, the plant life thrives creating beautiful sights.

Due to the high influx of visitors, many of the prices are raised to compete with demand.

Wet Season (low season):

July to October is when the Langkawi tourism business slows

The rain varies in levels of intensity. Sometimes intense flooding is possible.

On many occasions, the rain doesn’t last long but is very strong

During this time, boat travel is not always available

For those looking to hire a Koh Lipe ferry to Langkawi, it may still be possible to do during the wet season as long as the travel plans are made to be flexible. However, traveling by ferry from Langkawi to Phuket or even hiring a Langkawi to Krabi ferry is not recommended during the wet season.

During the dry season, it’s extremely common to find a ferry between these popular travel destinations. In fact, it is the preferred way to travel as many places in and around Thailand are too small to have their own airport.

In either season, wet or dry, it is usually possible to hire a ferry to KohLipe to Langkawi and vice versa without any problem. They offer very competitive pricing and have experience in transporting tourists and locals alike from island to island. There are also speed boats available as well for those looking for a faster ride.

It is important to choose the time of year carefully to get the best experience in Langkawi. Of course it all depends on of the preferences of each and every traveler, but usually, a vacationer wouldn’t want to spend their getaway avoiding a flood! On the other hand, some may be adventurous and find exactly what they’re looking for no matter the weather!

5 Ways of How to Destroy a Business Partnership: Don’t Start That New Business Until You Read This

Let any one of these 5 situations into your business and you’ll ravage your entrepreneurial career:

1st – Stop needing each other:

There’s a considerable chance that the partnership power and responsibility structure will start to shift and will look very different starting anywhere from 3-12 months after inception.

In the beginning of any new venture, a dynamic and compelling new venture phenomenon, made up of fear, anxiety, stress and excitement, emerges and makes for an impressive personal barrier disintegrator. No facades and no charades are the hallmark of a new venture. The partners forget about their own needs and are on their best behavior. Everyone is madly in “love.”

“Needing each other” is a compelling power source in successful business partnerships. In most partnerships that “need” is the bond that keeps it all together. As time passes, especially after the 12th month of being in business, everything and everyone starts to shift, evolve and a displacement arises that will be unsettling and transformative for the business and all the players.

See #4 for more information on “not needing each other”

Solution: Accept the fact that the above information is valid. Discuss it openly with your business partners. Be vigilant and sensitive to your business partners and what they say and do and how they say it and do it. You don’t have to be “a touchy feely kinda person.” Think selfishly. Think protection for your future. Think protection for your business’ future. Communicating, openly and civilly, is the only preventive measure that will increase the chance for a favorable outcome.

2nd- Allow your significant other to point out all the expensive gifts your partner’s significant other is receiving and they’re not:

Significant others, and other family members, can be the source of great pain and distress when it comes to the relationship you have with your business partner.

Greed, jealousy, being overcritical, being generally resentful, tactless and being superficial are some of the flies swimming around in the business partnership ointment. Money and power sometimes brings out the worst in “significant others” and family.

Solution: There’s two parts to the solution:

a-It’s the smart business person who pays extreme attention to the health and tone of his business partnership. It should be the number one concern, above and beyond anyone else in your life. I know I’ll get a lot of Boos and Hisses but, if you take care of your business and the business partnership, it will always take care of you and the people you love and who love you. Everyone will be happy and satisfied.

b- Going to, or inviting in, a counsellor or therapist to meet privately once a month, individually and aggregately, with the business partners will always be money well spent. I’ve seen the wreckage that family members have created in some very successful businesses.

You will have partnership strife and discord. Bet on it. Prepare for it now and have the preventive and supportive resources at the ready and/or in play from the beginning. It will be a shame if one day you’re standing outside your padlocked office wondering what happened.

3rd – Have sexual relations with a family member of your business partner:

I “feel” the smirks already. Talk about destruction. This is an insidious act of extreme betrayal. It not only will leave your business ripped apart, it will destroy precious family and personal relationships. People will be crushed and devastated for a lifetime.

The reputations of all the partners will be tainted. You’ll be amazed and appalled at the same time to find out how many suppliers, banks and customers will turn their back on you. They know that with a soiled and stained situation like this, destruction and failure may be close by. No one wants to be part of this, especially if it hurts them financially. Something many people take for granted is that It takes years to build a reputation that’s respected and trusted. It takes 24 hours or less to blow it up.

Are you are going to make your bed and Lie in it, or not?

Solution: If you’re over 18, take a wild guess. Under 18? Talk to someone over 18.

4th – Do some self-talk about how you deserve more money than your business partner:

“I’m working so much harder than her.” “He was supposed to be the sales end of our business but…” “Our biggest customer can’t stand her.” “He can’t handle the pressure.” “I never realized how much she talks.” Do I need to go on? You may recognize one of these.

In the beginning of a new venture there’s “reality” and there’s “wishful and well-intentioned thinking.” The responsibilities and strengths that you bring to the new venture are not necessarily the responsibilities and strengths that will be in play when things get started and are rolling along.

Being aware of each partner’s powerful strengths and their ‘vulnerabilities’ will allow weekly partner meetings to be productive and allow for everyone to be open, honest and transparent. Staying flexible and being willing to adapt, not only leads to a sustainable business but what’s more exciting is, it leads to personal growth for all the partners.

Solution: There’s 3 parts to the solution.

a-Mandate, enforce and re-enforce up close and personal, respectful and empathetic communication meetings on, at least, a weekly basis. These meetings are confined to the partners only and are done behind locked and closed doors. Bring in food. Do not go to a public place to talk.

b- There are always 3 realities: Yours, theirs and the business’ reality. Work with the reality of the business only and adjust your life to the needs of the business. I repeat, make your business the priority above and beyond all others and the “others” will have a phenomenal life.

c- Accept as fact, that you may have to change your place and responsibilities in the business as time passes. Welcome it with open arms. If you have a problem with this I say, respectfully, get a therapist as soon as possible. Your reluctance is connected to, and about, ego, self-image and self-confidence. It pays to have someone help you disentangle your emotions and consequently save your entrepreneurial career.

5th -Start the new venture on a 50/50 ownership platform:

If you’re forced to initiate an equal stock partnership, then having or learning patience, empathy, and anger management becomes even more crucial and essential than ever before. A 50/50 is fine until the “cracks” start to appear. If you don’t follow the advice in step #4, it could be the beginning of the end for everyone.

Some interesting points:

a-In a partnership breakup your net worth is never, I repeat, never what you think it is. It’s always much less.

b-Banks, customers, suppliers and even employees will scatter when they get a whiff of bad news on the horizon. Your net worth could entirely dissipate in the time it takes you to say “Wait, I changed my mind.”

c-Make the partnership agreement as simple as possible (two pages is good) or you’ll find that the lawyers will make more than you.

d-You could make a 51/49 % stock ownership with a 50/50 % profit split. It’s worth it to give up more on the profit split in order to get 51% ownership of the company. In any event, no matter what you decide it’s always wise to have salaries, expenses and benefits remain equal.

Solution: See the solution in step #4

“Now go with your eyes wide open”… Good Luck out there.

A Personal Note:

I’ll be accused of being negative and shortsighted. My response: That’s Crap. This is reality. This is life. It’s raw, pure, up close and certainly personal.

You don’t like the article? I understand. The truth and reality have a way of making people feel uncomfortable.

Just do me one favor. Print it and put it in a drawer, in a sealed envelope. Open it 12 months to the day that you started your business. If I was right you unfortunately learned a valuable lesson and if your verdict is that I was wrong, please take a closer look and search for cracks in the partnership relationship. You may be in the “subtle stage.”

Partnerships are great when they’re solid and built on mutual respect. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world. This article is about possibilities that you must be aware of and in tune with. Consider this article a practice “fire drill.” Adapt now, because when the flames start to roar, it’s too late.

This article is about coating your business relationship with empathy. It’s about knowing that you’re not only responsible for your welfare and performance, but you’re also responsible for your business partners state of being. I’m not advocating that you become super-parent. I’m advocating for you, and this article is all about your protection and your financial and mental well-being.

Once again. Good luck out there and never, ever give up on your dreams.