Archive for the ‘Supply Chain’ Category

The rude e-mails

There’s no doubt about it, we couldn’t survive without email. But while it’s an efficient tool it can also become a minefield of miscommunication. When you take away the added cues of facial expressions, body language and tone of voice, your words can sometimes end up being interpreted differently to what you had intended. And it’s when this happens you risk the possibility of offending people or damaging relationships.

So how can you harness your email to ensure you’re delivering your message effectively? With the help of career coach Nicole Grainger-Marsh, you can sidestep some common pitfalls and become a master communicator.

  1. Skipping the pleasantries

Do you always start an email with a nice greeting and end with a pleasant sign-off? You may think people won’t notice if you don’t say ‘hello’ or end with ‘kind regards’ but leaving out the niceties can be taken as abrupt and rude. “You wouldn’t walk up to someone in a meeting room and speak to them like that so why would you send it in an email?” says Grainger-Marsh.

Taking the time to address someone and thank them is about building rapport and establishing a good professional relationship says Grainger-Marsh. “You don’t have to be flowery or over the top but it’s about demonstrating courtesy and respect.”

  1. Marking emails as urgent

If there’s a genuinely pressing matter hitting send on an email with ‘urgent’ in the subject line might not always be the best way to elicit help from people. This could be viewed as making a flat out demand rather than a request and is one way to get co-workers offside.

Instead of emailing, consider whether a face-to-face catch up would be more appropriate. “If something is really urgent and you’re trying to get someone to drop everything and prioritise what you want, you need to be able to influence them and persuade…[this] is difficult over email because people find it easy to say no to an email. It’s much harder to say no to someone’s face or over the phone,” says Grainger-Marsh.

  1. Saying ‘thanks in advance’

You may think you’re being polite but sending your thanks ahead of time can actually come across as the opposite. “[It can be viewed by the person as] well hang on, I haven’t said I’m going to do it yet and you’ve just assumed that I’m going to comply and deliver,” says Grainger-Marsh. If you want someone to help you out be sure to ask first and give them the chance to agree to do so.

  1. Copying in the world

Keeping people in the loop is one thing but constantly cc-ing everyone in the office is another. Grainger-Marsh says, “people can see it as [you saying] ‘well if I have a lot of witnesses it reduces my ownership of the issue’.”

As a general rule only copy people in if there’s an action point for them, someone on their team or they’re the owner of a project and need to be kept abreast of a situation. “I’ve worked with CEOs who say if you copy me in and it’s information only, I’m going to press delete,” says Grainger-Marsh. “People’s inboxes get clogged so much as it is…make sure there is some value in the information you’re copying them into.”

  1. Information overload

Writing huge slabs of text is a no-no. “It gives you a negative reputation in terms of your ability to communicate with people effectively,” says Grainger-Marsh. Before dropping everything into an email ask yourself what am I trying to say and what does this person really need to know?

  1. Poor grammar

Is a rogue apostrophe here or a misspelt word there really doing much harm? Absolutely. “It shows a lack of interest and a lack of professionalism,” says Grainger-Marsh. Hitting send on an email with grammatical errors indicates to someone that you don’t value them or your communication with them highly. To avoid this, get into the habit of proofreading your emails to ensure they’re polished.

How to write good emails

When it comes to writing emails Grainger-Marsh says it’s crucial to always put yourself in the recipient’s shoes. Read over a message from their perspective and ask yourself what would they take from what you’ve written? Look over everything from the tone, to your choice of words, to how you’ve signed off and tailor it to suit the person you’re speaking to. A message to a colleague you’re friends with would look very different from one for your boss. Keep these points in mind and you’ll be able to confidently hit send every single time.

Source: seek.com.au


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“Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.” ― Rita Mae Brown

Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines professional (adj.) as, “relating to a job that requires special education, training, or skill; done or given by a person who works in a particular profession;  characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession; exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace.”

Business Optimisation:

Business culture and organisational philosophy are the ultimate keys to organisational productivity and success. It will either enable or disable everything else you do. If the culture of an organisation was wrong, the impact of even the best business growth techniques would be severely crippled. Several organisations only pay lip service to these factors and as a result, they constantly struggle to make real progress. Developing the best organisational culture is the key to the success of any organisation and culture of the organisation and service orientation is critical too.


Business Optimisation and Professional Judgement

In business, judgement plays a very critical role.  Judgement is, “an opinion or decision that is based on careful thought; the act or process of forming an opinion or making a decision after careful thought; the act of judging something or someone; the ability to make good decisions about what should be done.” (source: Webster’s Dictionary).

In all business processes and decisions, professionals are repeatedly using their judgment based on a careful thought process based evidence, experience, knowledge and skills in order to form opinions and make effective and ethical decisions about what should be done to deliver a product or service to the customers in order to differentiate from the competition and add value to the produce or service.

From the above definition, we can identify four building blocks for professional judgement.  The first one is knowledge, the second one professional obligation (ethical behaviour) and the third one is stakeholders input (internal and external) and finally and undisputedly the expertise of the business handled.

In summary …… Exercising professional judgment means being accountable for good or adverse business outcomes. Be prepared to provide an evidence-based rationale to support professional decision-making in your workplace. Professional judgment means being diligent in maintaining appropriate professional boundaries: be adept at avoiding conflicts of interest and boundary crossings. Always make decisions that put the customer first.

“Can you look without the voice in your head commenting, drawing conclusions, comparing, or trying to figure something out?”Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s

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“An employee who feels appreciated will always deliver more than what is expected” Dr Vijay Sangam

What is employee engagement?

Employee Engagement is a measurable degree of an employee’s positive or negative emotional attachment to their job, colleagues and organization which profoundly influences their willingness to learn and perform at work – Scarlett Surveys.

Employee Engagement is the extent to which employee commitment, both emotional and intellectual, exists relative to accomplishing the work, mission, and vision of the organization. Engagement can be seen as a heightened level of ownership where each employee wants to do whatever they can for the benefit of their internal and external customers, and for the success of the organization as a whole.

10 C‘s of Employee Engagement:

Engagement strategy includes four critical elements and they are Recognition, Motivation, Relationship building and finally Valued input. The last step is very critical, the input should be productive and positive. Negative inputs should be moderated into something positive and add value.

Recognise the performance:

1. Employees who are fully engaged in their work are often enthusiastic about the      jobs they perform
2. Employees realize how much their work impacts the organization overall, and they are excited about seeing the fruits
of their labour
3. A key strategy involves here is to add another element to employees’ job functions is through recognition
4. The way to create enthusiasm about even the most mundane tasks is through challenging employees to improve new processes for performing their      job functions and rewarding employees whose suggestions for improvement save the company money and resources

Motivate the employee

 Workplace motivation comes from nonmonetary recognition, such as promotion, advancement or assigning more complex duties to employees who demonstrate expertise.
 Employees who receive recognition for their expertise are often motivated to perform at even higher levels.
 Employer strategy for improving engagement includes creating opportunities for leadership roles for deserving employees whose performance exceeds the company expectations.


Build Relationships

o Workplace relationships are too often complicated by lack of confidence and trust in leadership
o Rebuilding employee trust and confidence in the company’s leadership team is an infallible strategy for improving employee engagement
o Encouraging the leadership team to establish a connection with all of the company’s employees can have measurable effects on employee engagement
o Building an employer-employee relationship on trust and confidence involves creating an interest in the daily
challenges employees face.

Valuable Input

 Employee engagement is directly tied to employees’ sense of value and the ability to give feedback about working
conditions and their workplace relationships, particularly those involving employee-supervisor interaction
 Therefore, an effective strategy includes developing an employee opinion survey or enabling another method for
employees to voice their opinions and concerns
 The most important component of an employee opinion survey is an action plan, which can be another factor in the
employee engagement strategy

Research Reveals:

1. The most striking finding is the gaps in operating incomes between companies with highly engaged employees and
companies whose employees have low-engagement scores
2. High-engagement companies improved while low-engagement companies declined in operating income during the study period
3. Furthermore, those not engaged generated less revenue than their engaged counterparts
4. Engaged employees also outperformed the not engaged and actively disengaged employees in other divisions

“You can’t lead without influence, and you can’t have influence if you’re not a leader.”

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“If you care about what people think about you, you will end up being their slave. Reject and pull your own rope.” – Auliq Ice

Source: https://mcgrawhillprofessionalbusinessblog.com

What is Decision Making?
1. Decision making involves the selection of a course of action from among two or more possible alternatives in order to
arrive at a solution for a given problem.
2. The English word ‘Decision’ originated from the Latin word ‘decisio’ which means “to cut from.”
3. ‘To decide’ means “to come to a conclusion“ for a given problem.

Steps in Decision Making:

Everyday Decision-Making Techniques:

1. Pros & Cons – Listing advantages & disadvantages of each option. Also known as a rational decision.
2. Prioritization – Choosing the alternative with the highest probability-weighted utility for each alternative.
3. Satisficing – Examining alternatives only until an acceptable one is found.
4. Elimination by Aspects – Uses Mathematical Psychology. Compares all available alternatives by aspects. Any
alternative without an aspect is eliminated.
5. Preference Trees – Compares alternatives by presenting the aspects in a decided & sequential order. Aspects are
ordered from general to specific.
6. Flipism – Flipping a coin, cutting a deck of playing cards, and other random or coincidence methods.
7. Opportunity Cost – Calculates the opportunity cost of each option to make a decision.
8. Divination – Prayer, tarot cards, astrology, augurs, revelation, or other forms of divination.

In Summary:

 Decision making involves the selection of a course of action from among two or more possible alternatives in order to
arrive at a solution for a given problem.
 Decision making generates more alternatives to the group and diversity of information than an individual.
 The quality of the decision will be higher because of the combined wisdom of group members.
 Group members evaluate each other’s thinking, so major errors are likely to be avoided.
 Group decision making is helpful in gaining acceptance and commitment. Participation increases acceptance and
 People who participate in making a decision will often be more committed to the implementation.

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Source: https://businessesgrow.com/2018/01/30/increase-creativity/

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
― Albert Einstein

What is Creativity?


Creative people work hard to improve ideas and solutions by refining their work, making alterations to their creations. The creative person thinks that there is always room for improvement. Contrary to the mythology surrounding creativity, very few works of creative excellence are produced with a single stroke of brilliance or in a frenzy of rapid activity.


Creativity is also interlinked with attitude.
1. The mindset to accept new things and changes.
2. The willingness to play with new ideas, the habit of enjoying the good.
3. A creative person always views things from different angles and identifies other possible ways of doing things.


‘Creativity’ in simple words means, the ability to imagine or do something new. It is the ability to generate ideas by combining, changing and reapplying existing ideas. Some creative ideas are brilliant and amazing while some creative ideas are simple and good. Everyone has good creative ability. Children are very creative and the creativity of the adults are suppressed due to education but can be still reawakened.

Three Types of Creativity:
1. Expertise, in other words, is Knowledge, technical skills, procedural and intellectual
2. An inner passion to solve the problem at hand leads to solutions which are creative
3. How flexible and imaginative one is to approach problems is defined as Creative Thinking.

Four Stages of Creativity:

1.Copying: Our first skills will start by copying those around us. Copying itself allows us to reverse engineer the creative process. Though we know the solution we are copying, the approach with which we arrive at a solution is definitely described our personal style.
2.Mixing: Once we have copied from the sources, we begin to put the key elements together. Mixing is done in a raw state and elements that are copied are easily identified.
3.Amalgamation: The difference between mixing and amalgamation is the easy recognition of the underlying parts. Mixed copied styles are easy to sort out, but amalgamated styles are subtle. It is likely that only experts could tease out the components beneath and this is not a true creation and original work is faded.
4.Creation: The concrete argument and true creation develop when an artist develops something new and novel. It is not just mixing and rearranging things but developing a new form that has not seen before. Previous 3 stages trigger an individual to be creative on his own in this stage.

Ten tips to Creative thinking:

1. Challenge current approaches to your work. Think new unimaginable possibilities
2. Challenge existing beliefs and assumptions. Ask yourself, your friends and your direct reports whether your current views about how things are done in your company are correct.
3. Be educated. Take a course on a subject like creative thinking, creative writing or update your current skills
4. Use Mind-Maps. On a paper sketch out your ideas and the way in which they can be connected. You can have more connections just by listing on a piece of paper.
5. Be positive. See problems as challenges and opportunities. Open your mind to new ideas, even if they look as difficult task at the beginning
6. Look for creative ideas: Identify the creative people in your field. Call on them to get involved in brainstorming sessions and evaluate all ideas for a creative solution
7. Change your routine. Make small changes in your daily routines and physical environment to help you see that things can be done in different ways.
8. Listen for change resistance. Look out how people have done in the past and what people have not done . . . Improve and be creative at this point and try to do new things which are not done before
9. Book time to be creative. Block some time for ideas to wander over. Have an informal meeting with your colleagues and you can able to solve even old problems
10.Role model. By being yourself a creative model in an organization, it inspires others and creativity is spread across the team and gives the energy to develop creative thinking

a. Creative Thinking lets you explore new avenues of thought.
b. Creative Thinking draws on the diversity of a team.
c. It investigates a wider range of solutions to the problem.
d. Creative Thinking makes everybody in your team contribute ideas.
e. It can lead to ground-breaking achievements or rewards.
f. Creative Thinking makes the team focused with good results.
f. Creative Thinking sees problems as opportunities.

“Creativity is knowing how to hide your sources”
― C.E.M. Joad

Source: https://vb1a.wordpress.com/2015/08/03/creativity-corporation/

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The path towards successful importing from China is surrounded with broken dreams, misplaced trust and suppliers with questionable integrity. Henry Ford rightly pointed out that coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is a success. This same maxim applies aptly to sourcing products from China.
To be successful in sourcing from China, it is essential to have a strategy, collaboration and well-documented expectations. Success is not a destination but rather a journey. The journey of converting pain into gain is a long drawn-out process heavily dependent on trust, commitment and the integrity of both parties.

China is still a default supplier to the world

STATISTICS: On examining the numbers it is evident that China plays a dominant role in supplying a wide variety of merchandise globally. The total global merchandise in 2014 was US$18.494 trillion; China alone exported worldwide an estimated US$2.282 trillion in 2015 and this was down by 2.6% compared to 2014.[1] If we summarise these numbers based on estimated conversions, 13% of the world trade was exporting from China. This proves that China is still a default supplier to the world with Australia importing $52.0b[2] from China in 2014 – this contributed 21% to our total imports and $57.105b in 2014–2015.[3]

No Strategic Management of China Supply = FAILURE & PAIN

TRAPS: Some of the fundamental mistakes committed by importers include lack of strategy, research and benchmarking, and failing to set and achieve targeted product quality. When cost is the main driver of strategy, quality takes the back seat. Rick Frasch identified eight common mistakes that US companies make during the sourcing process from China;[4] these include:
1. Lack of a well-defined strategy
2. No well-defined standards for suppliers
3. Inadequate due diligence performed on suppliers
4. Lack of protection for payment and quality issues
5. No written contracts
6. Written contracts not reviewed by attorneys
7. Ignorance of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)
8. Not having a Mandarin speaker on the team.

Manage Sourcing as a Core Competency = GAIN

PROCESS: Strategy is critical to sourcing with the first point to ponder is the make or buy decision; once that is addressed the second point to reckon is whether to source from a low-cost country (LCC) or a low-cost product (LCP). The third important point to be considered is the cost impact on all facets of the supply chain that delivers effective operating profit after the capital charge (OPACC).
Once the sourcing strategy is finalised, the second strategy that needs organisational attention is the core competency strategy. Core competency is described as “a harmonised combination of multiple resources and skills that distinguish a firm in the marketplace.[5]” Some organisations may not consider sourcing as a core competency and instead focus on managing KPIs instead of transactions.
The outsourced activities include the decision whether to source from LCC or LCP, managing cultural barriers – including working at the micro level, maintaining quality standards, and meeting the organisational goals with regard to cost, velocity and quality. China is considered as an LCC and Australia imports anything and everything.

China Sourcing Best Practice is Critical = GAIN
BEST PRACTICE: Best practice differs from insourcing and outsourcing from China. There are also differences related to complete goods sourcing and component sourcing. As outsourcing is out of context, the best practice discussed is insourcing practice.

Critical elements to be considered in sourcing from China include, but are not limited to:
• Product life cycle
• Timing of new product introduction
• Product cost to the market
• Inventory carrying costs
• Cultural issues
• Supplier’s integrity reflected in the quality
• Commitment to delivery time.

Sourcing from China does not mean there is no responsibility attached to the sourcing organisation. The onus is on the sourcing organisation in the form of due diligence in identifying the right supplier, negotiating a watertight contract with well-defined payment and delivery terms, owning the product quality before it is shipped and, last but not least, the collaboration with the supplier. It is also critical to develop a well-conceived exit strategy.


A 2010 survey conducted using case studies and the survey found that the total cost of sourcing from China is usually under-estimated in practice.[6] Sourcing from China will be a success story if importers follow a well-structured process and use a well-developed strategy with clarity about the outcome of the decision/strategy. This process will eliminate surprises and business risks. To summarise, if the quality, supplier relationships and cultural issues are well addressed, then sourcing can be a success story rather than a painful process often ending with bitter experience and negative financial impact.

[1] WTO – International Trade Statistics 2014
[2] Australian Bureau of Statistics
[3] Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – https://dfat.gov.au/trade/resources/Documents/chin.pdf
[4] 8 Common Mistakes U.S. Companies Make When Sourcing Goods and Suppliers In China – Forbes
[5] Concept in management theory introduced by C. K. Prahalad and Gary Hamel
[6] The total cost of sourcing from China by K.W. Platts and N. Song University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

Source: https://cheezburger.com

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