Saturday, November 10, 2012

Workplace Violence Prevention and Awareness

The Threat of Violence is On the Rise...
A safe and productive workplace is in everyone's interest, but
the number of violent acts, including threats of violence, has
increased over 400% over the last decade. Workplace Violence
Prevention and Education initiatives are paramount before an
incident happens, saving businesses considerable time, resources
in addition, legal fees, but most importantly, the implementation of mandatory changes to the workplace to protect employees from any future threat of a violent act. It is important to note that when experts refer to violent acts, they are referring to acts of violence by employees and criminal predators that commit armed robberies or assault employees while on the job.
Reality Hitting Home...
OSHA & NIOSH Statistics show that the risk of being attacked
while working is seven times greater in the U.S. than in Europe. Did you know that the number of managers killed has doubled over the past 10 years. Moreover, that only 40-50% of workforce victims report crime to the police. The threat of Workplace Violence has proven to be a challenge, it can occur internally (co-workers, self-inflicted) and externally (customer/employee, domestic violence, robbery/assault/rape) and can be physical or non-physical. Recent trends suggest that places of work are now the victims of domestic and international terrorist demands.
The Hidden Cost of Workplace Violence...
Organizational effectiveness, productivity, the culture and image are adversely impacted by a violent act at work including:
Lost work time (average of 3.5 days per incident for those
directly impacted); Increased security and facilities repair
costs; High probability of litigation; increased workers
compensation claims & costs; Increased medical claims; Personnel
turnover; increased incidents of stress between labor
organizations and management, significantly reduced performance & productivity & Negative internal and external publicity & press are but a few symptoms of the hostile workplace.
Personnel turnover is deeply rooted in an employee's unwillingness to be perceived as a troublemaker and resigns or asks for a reassignment rather than complaining. Such personnel turnovers are a company's worst nightmare, as they will undoubtedly volunteer to testify against the employer in the aftermath.
No one knows the exact dollar figure associated to workplace violence related exposure. Such costs are absorbed in increased medical and injury compensation claims under other unrelated ailments related to a workplace violence exposure. In this category might be the victims of harassment, verbal abuse and other forms of non-physical assaultive behavior but victims of psychological assault.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Economic Studying Digging for Reality

Working in a market such as Dayton, OH requires business savvy and complete understanding of demographics. For instants the difference between Ohio on the whole and the Greater Dayton Area MSA, which includes such county areas as: Butler, Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery, Preble and Warren. The demographics of Montgomery and Miami are excellent for an expanding company to put in a service type outlet.
The population backdrop is somewhat similar to the entire state of OH. Ethnically speaking it is mostly white with Asian populations and Black Americans at about 10% to 11%. In Montgomery County it is 19% Black American and only 10% in Clark County, but the middle class Black Americans are moving in and fixing the diversity issues. There are quite a few people who commute to work in Marysville at the Honda Plant and Proving Grounds. Also a huge distribution center there with many large carriers located and Rail Service by CSX and also huge numbers of Auto Haulers. About 13,000 at Honda work there. One of the reasons that the Japanese wanted to have competing rail service with their plant in San Antonio as part of the negotiations. So they could squeeze the price point out of the rail companies similar to Rockefeller’s exploits. One thing that is unbelievably nice about the area is the many colleges and Universities in the area, 29 in all the biggest being University of Dayton with 10,000 enrolled, Wright University with 14,000 and Sinclair Community College with 22,000. This makes for a very good young and energetic group of people. The clientele is equally as inviting with 202,000 inhabitants between the ages of 25-34 not including the part-time college students. 35-44 representing nearly 250K pop and 45-54 at 215K.
The population South of Town is expanding and we see Scarsborogh to Centerville with great markets and everything in between is golden. The USAF also has Wright Patterson AFB with excellent inflow to the economy even though much of that is deployed presently, still it impacts the city in an extremely positive way. About 25,000 people work there and that is after the lay offs and discharges previously. They expect with BRAC that they will be on the receiving end of additional attachments and squadrons serving in Dayton as well as R and D since the colleges offer that level of researching. Also with the huge museum of flight and being the history of the inventing flight makes it good also for tourism and positive PR for the Military. Other large employers included Delphi but they have had significant labor lay offs and GM is a biggy there. In health Care about 9000 workers. Airborne Express and Emery Air freight also claim fame to the area. 7500 people work there and you may recall the merger with DHL? The good weather of the region provides Airborne a much better chance at this hub facility than in other parts of Michigan, IN, IL, NY, KY. The Seattle based company has brought many jobs to the region. Emery has laid off people but at one time employed over 3000 in the area. Emery has really worked hard to work with the Manufacturing industry and helped OH The just in time world of manufacturing has to take into account rush situations for total capacity scheduling, leading that charge was it’s bay area parent company and they manufacturing sector did rely on Emery for that;

Also of significant value is it’s ability to deploy new wave technologies at it’s hub and custom clearing houses. Much of this technology was in response to FedEx’s market advances and UPS shear size making it difficult to compete. The University of Dayton employs 4500 folks all fairly high wage earners like their blue collar UAW counter parts at the GM SUV and Delphi centers. Here is some recent news as of today’s watch: Dayton Recent News contains some Blues; For instance we all know the state of the Union when it relates to the steel industries.
At one time employing 4200 people. But Dayton is not primarily a steel town, it is a manufacturing town and the birth place of aviation. Today the market sectors which are up in the greater Dayton area include: Construction in residential, Retail is up, Real estate, Healthcare and services is big. Commercial construction is being primarily boosted with school projects recently. Square foot costs on the robust side of town south side is anywhere from $2.30 to $12.00 per square foot. Retail space is $2.30 to 3.00; Office is $7-12.00; Industrial runs the the entire spectrum. Office Parks include; Franklin, Heritage and South Tech Center all good for professional service businesses and small businesses. Industrial Parks are also plentiful with Emery Logistics Park 265 acres in all. Lebanon Commerce Center for 200 acres, Moraine Industrial Center and Park center Industrial. Although Manufacturing has declined drastically over the last decade the Industrial Parks have life. Downtown Office buildings include Kettering, Mead, First national, Reibold, 5/3 Bank and the Key Bank Buildings. Over 3 million square feet with a convention center right in the middle. There is significant space underutilized and unoccupied. Close by Cincinnati has done what academics think is unthinkable;

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

8 Tips For Spotting Early Warning Signs

One of the greatest threats facing both employees and the companies they work for, is workplace violence. It has become the leading cause of death for women and the second leading for men, following closely behind motor vehicle accidents. In fact, the best estimates now being reported show that 1-in-4 employees will be the victim of workplace violence this year alone.
While the media is quick to highlight the most deadly attacks that occur, the fact is that most employees will be lucky enough to only suffer from simple assaults. However, this is not to downplay the almost 400,000 aggravated assaults, 51,000 rapes and sexual assaults, 84,000 robberies, and nearly 1,000 homicides reported each year. I simply want to acknowledge that the average employee will not have to worry about death so much as being intimidated, struck, or threatened to comply with the assailant either through force or the threat of violence.
Spotting Early Earning Signs
As with all self-defense situations, correct action requires proper understanding so that we can know where to direct our awareness. Knowing what to look for will allow us to notice when something may be brewing and thereby allow us to take preemptive measures to prevent the danger from ever manifesting at all. After all, the ultimate goal of any reality-based protection program should be to set things up so that danger never touches you at all.
Workplace violence situations can be seen to have three aspects or characteristics that work together to produce the damage that inevitably results. Assaults always stem from a causal-based conditioning and never "come out of nowhere." These three parts or aspects are:
1. The assailant or perpetrator of the assault,
2. The preexisting or conditioning factors that cause the assailant to see violence as a justifiable means for attaining their goals, and...
3. An environment that allows for or permits the violent act to be committed without intervention, deterrence, or resistance.
Assaults never happen in a vacuum. They, like everything else, are the products of cause and effect. And, once set into motion - once these three factors are present - the force or conditions will play themselves out sooner or later.
In her book, "Risky Business: Managing Employee Violence in the Workplace", Dr. Lynne McClure describes eight categories of high-risk behaviors that may indicate the need for management intervention. She says these high-risk behaviors are everyday behaviors that occur in certain patterns. While the following clues are just that, possible warning signs, they will give management and employees enough of a basic understanding to cue in on the possibility of danger brewing on the horizon. The warning signs that may signal an impending workplace violence issue include:
  • Actor behaviors: The employee acts out his or her anger with such actions as yelling, shouting, slamming doors, and so on.
  • Fragmentor behaviors: The employee takes no responsibility for his actions and sees no connection between what he does and the consequences or results of his actions. As an example, he blames others for his mistakes.
  • Me-First behaviors: The employee does what she wants, regardless of the negative effects on others. As an example, the employee takes a break during a last minute rush to get product to a customer, while all other employees are working hard.
  • Mixed-Messenger behaviors: The employee talks positively but behaves negatively. As an example, the employee acts in a passive-aggressive manner saying he is a team player, but refuses to share information.
  • Wooden-Stick behaviors: The employee is rigid, inflexible, and controlling. She won't try new technology, wants to be in charge, or purposefully withholds information.
  • Escape-Artist behaviors: The employee deals with stress by lying and/or taking part in addictive behaviors such as drugs or gambling.
  • Shocker behaviors: The employee suddenly acts in ways that are out of character and/or inherently extreme. For instance, a usually reliable individual fails to show up or call in sick for work. A person exhibits a new attendance pattern.
  • Stranger behaviors: The employee is remote, has poor social skills, becomes fixated on an idea and/or an individual.
It can no longer be seen as a luxury or add-on to include procedures and training for dealing with workplace violence in your company's health and safety system. The costs, financially as-well-as to productivity, employee stress, and more, are far too great. Understanding and awareness are always the first step in to developing an effective plan. But, a solid, intelligently throughout and administered plan includes procedures, strategies, and techniques for, not only prevention and intervention, but deterrence and defensive action as well. The safer employees feel at all levels of an organization, the more relaxed the atmosphere and the greater the productivity.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Monopolies, Reality, OPEC and the FTC

It is interesting the OPEC Nations and the cartel, which affects the quality of our daily lives, personal success, the number of people who can enter our middle class, and all of our businesses and industries including your job. In our country we have rules about monopolies that we enforce on every large super heavy weight business in every industry. A recommended read would be the book on Rockefeller. If you have already read that book then you understand the remaining points and why we bring up the importance of flow and we are discussing it and comparing it to OPEC. Rockefeller was beholden to the market place and the supply and demand issues of the day. If his price got too far out of line, then others would jump into the game. OPEC constantly screws with our supply, much worse than the anti-trust issues of yester year.
If it is okay today for OPEC to play these games then certainly Rockefeller did nothing wrong, as a matter of fact, I have never heard of such an important concept such as Anti-Trust, which has so little reality based thinking and has undergone so few changes in the past 200 years. With all the ridiculous patch work within is regulations it throws out the entire idea of capitalism and competition. The laws are vague, utterly preposterous and reward the weak. The notion that bigness is automatically evil, dangerous to the welfare of free men or bad for the society as a whole makes no sense in a free market economy. The attack on Gate's Microsoft, by the FTC, after the people choose them and bought their products and continually wait until the next windows upgrade is beyond me. People vote with their dollar, they chose a company that fulfills their desires, purchase products and services from that company and this is bad? It appears that the FTC only attacks the visionaries and market winners. Well it must be something like that. Competitors who lose in the market place (Sand Box) go crying to momma or the liberal teacher of academia and liberal media?

Then at the same time when companies want to merge to share costs and use the efficiencies to get maximum use of the economies of scale they are forced into a box of questionable divestitures, all of which end up making the merger less of a good deal as it would have been and all these costs are past onto the consumer who would have had the greatest benefits in the long run. Yes that is right the very consumer that the FTC is sworn to protect. I give this example due to all the Tiger Marts, which closed after the Chevron Texaco merger. All the jobs lost and the hardship of customers to find a place to fuel up causing longer lines and therefore more demand and therefore higher prices, check the statistics if you disagree. Great so now you have high fuel prices, long lines and you are to thank the FTC for protecting you? From what, they caused it.
The theory that Monopolies, which started small and grew big due to the consumer choosing them over the competition is a testament of a strong free market system with tough competition forcing the best athlete forward for the gold metal and is merely survival of the fittest. It is about the most natural thing mankind has created. If growing big is evil then and anti-trust laws are to be enforced upon bigness then the entire government, by the people and for the people should be immediately shut down, because it was voted for by us, we chose it over other forms of government and it is friggin huge, talk about out of control with regulations. This alone would make it ready for anti-trust lawsuits, with it's finger on the flow of everything and in the colon fudge cake of everyone, every company and obviously up there own. You are looking for a retraction, doubtful if you would get one from someone who studies the flow and the cogs in the wheels of commerce, no apologies here, I am absolutely serious because a complete overhaul is needed. It is a complete joke, only it is NOT funny, because we are talking about the future of the greatest nation in the world and the rest of the planet's future depends on our example to follow in the next time one following this present period. Let's look at this from a distance.
When our Oil Companies here in the US wish to merge to create the economies of scale to compete, they go through 18 months of regulatory review and every congressman wants to go up to the podium to tell us what they think (actually why we should keep voting for them). Then these same oil companies are told they must divest themselves of certain pipelines, retail outlets, subsidiaries, trading rooms, etc. The consumer gets a better price when these larger companies can compete with the Cartels and can deliver for less. We force them to go offshore and own interests in the cartels to stay competitive.
Our stock market, your mother's 401K and father's pension do better when subsequent market sectors are more efficient and profitable. Especially those involving large industry and when the flow of fuel has profitable years and decades, steady growth in the market helps the strength of our nation. It is interesting that we allow foreign competitors more latitude than our own companies and then we create a hostile environment in the regulatory bureaucracy and cause our companies to move jobs, factories, refineries, etc to those same foreign lands. One might have to ask exactly whose team are we on? Let's face it, the growth of a business from small to large is a testament of commitment and hard work by the team running that company and their value to the consumer and my friends that is merely survival of the fittest and best prepared to take advantage of opportunities to serve the desires of the customers. Just like the republic or Democracy government voted into power by the people is a sign of the strength, trust and will of the people.
John D Rockefeller was a great man and delivered fuel to the people and enabled us to move the ball forward as we modernized our civilization.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Typical Questions and Answers

Technical support offered by MBS depends on the region. For North America (NA), support is available to both partners and customers who availed of the support plan. In Asia Pacific (AP), Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) though, support is only available to partners.
Unfortunately, not every customer in North America can avail of support from their vendor. Some who opted not to renew their annual enhancement plans are orphaned from their vendors and do not receive free upgrades. If they need immediate support, they can contact the MBS Support Team directly but they are charged a higher premium. In this case, it is best to get support from partners such as Alba Spectrum Technologies or the like instead of directly from MBS.
Below are some questions and answers that the MBS Support Team (Asia and EMEA) receive:
Q1. Will Microsoft Great Plains run on operating systems other than Microsoft Windows?
A1. Microsoft Great Plains was first developed to support both Microsoft and Mac operating systems. However, later versions of Great Plains do not support Mac specially when Microsoft acquired the company (Great Plains Software).
Q2. What database platforms are supported by Microsoft Great Plains?
A2. Version 8 and above of Microsoft Great Plains supports only SQL Server and MSDE. Versions lower than 8 support SQL Server, MSDE (version 7.5), Ctree (for Great Plains Standard), and Pervasive SQL (formerly Btrieve).
Q3. We are currently using a different ERP system but we're interested in migrating to Great Plains (GP). Is this possible?
A3. This is very much possible depending on the ERP system being used. Migrations have been done from Peoplesoft to GP as well as JD Edwards to GP. If interested, we will conduct studies for possible migration between your ERP system to GP.
Q4. Is integration possible between Microsoft CRM and Microsoft Great Plains?
A4. This is definitely possible but it will either rely heavily on MS Biztalk Server (if you follow the MS CRM to GP Integration document) or on Dexterity customizations.
Q5. Can Microsoft Great Plains be accessed via the internet using an internet browser?
A5. There are some eProducts for Great Plains which will allow the company to create an online store. However, this only pertains to the Sales Order Processing side of Great Plains. To access Great Plains remotely, you would need to have Citrix  installed. If you want to access Great Plains on the browser itself, you need to configure the web server component of Citrix into the web server that you're going to use GP from.
Q6. What if I am having some problems with Great Plains or if I want to satisfy my curiosity on certain aspects of the ERP system without bothering my vendor?
A6. All Microsoft Great Plains customers have access to CustomerSource. This is an area in the MBS website specifically catered to MBS Customers. Here, you can search the extensive KnowledgeBase relating to any MBS products as well as download service packs and patches for your GP install.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Consolidated Freight

There was a lot news on the Bankruptcy of Consolidated Freight, which rocked the transportation industry, but what most failed to realize is that CF was founded in 1929 and this nation lost a great company.

One of their largest customers was The Boeing Company. With Consolidated Freights help we were able to move logistics around the country so we could out produce and deliver our industrial might to the Germans in WWII. Despite the immense volume of logistics CF provided for America they had an incredible safety record un paralleled in the industry and could even hold a candle to the Wal-Mart logistics teams. One of the best safety records in the nation;

Anyone in the Transportation Industry or who reads Commercial Carrier Journal or Transport topics understands that they too were leading edge on many issues, like B2B, Same day, expedited services and routing plans including trains, planes, ships and trucking and god only knows what else in the future had they still been in business? Leading the industry in high technology for logistics as well.
In business since 1929, 15,500 laid off effective immediately after their bankruptcy, a Delaware Corp. with HQ in Vancouver WA, which as of this year is the highest unemployment in the country. Think about it a company formed in 1929 after the depression made it through the war only to be caught up in this latest cycle of terror, high fuel prices and sluggish recession, this was a bad day for all of America. It is the heart of this country. But such a large company like CF has its tentacles in all sorts of other vendor operations, for instance they were the Third largest buyer of Freightliner Trucks in the World. JB Hunt recently passed them with a 1 billion dollar purchase in 1999.

The two companies have a long history. Consolidated Freightways Manufacturing Division eventually became Freightliner. This folks is the backbone of America. Freightliner eventually sold out to Daimler Chrysler. This is very serious as the region got hammered by steel, to make trucks, lumber and timber industries buying trucks, then the trucking lay offs in manufacturing sector, along with buy back leases all killing the prospects of getting out of dodge under German short term gain lookers pledged against America heart and sole and fiber. The massive consolidation of trucking manufacturers, dealers and the like were hurt. Also Pac Car Leasing was hurt with holdings connected to CF, more used trucks for sale again just a used truck prices were starting to rebound. Pac Car bought into Rush Peterbuilt who was also consolidating sales offices and now a new glut of 18,000 used trucks on the market. This is not all, which plagued the CF Companies. High Fuel Costs in summer of 2001 hurt Consolidated Freight and in August 1, 2001 they had to raise prices, meanwhile competitors such as Fed Ex Ground waited until way after 9-11. UPS followed and so did JB HUNT, Swift, Covenant and Schneider. Many independents went out of business. In 2000 CF Consolidated Freightways with $2.2 billion in annual revenues, consolidated was going strong. The Company’s 18,000 skilled professionals specialize in freight transportation. Raised prices again in May 2002.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Truth About Grants

I don't know about you, but hardly a day goes by I don't receive spam emails about grants. Spam that absolutely promises me I can buy a book and get a $30,000 grant, just for being alive on the planet. Spam that assures me there are grants available to pay my credit card bills, start any kind of business, or buy a shiny new car.
To some degree, those spam emails are why I established a website devoted to grants. Because I have been a grants consultant for thirty years, I know the truth about grants, and I want to share that truth with you.
The truth about grants is a good news/bad news proposition. Let's get the bad news out of the way first:
Nobody is going to award you a grant of $20,000 or $30,000 to spend at Saks, or pay your bills. Nobody is going to give you cash to start a network marketing business. Nobody is going to buy you a new Mercedes to drive around the neighborhood.
But really, in your heart of hearts, you already knew that - right?
Now for the good news about grants...and there is some very, very good news indeed:
Every year in the United States alone, $360 billion is available in grant funding for individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations. This is the real thing, money that is genuinely available from solid, dependable funding organizations.
There are grants for college, grants to pay for medical care and drugs, and grants to support research and study projects. There are some government grants available to certain established businesses, and a very limited number of grants to start new businesses.
There are grants for women and for minorities, grants to buy homes, grants to acquire and repair rental properties, and grants to develop new products that will help the environment. There are grants to fund a virtually unlimited number of community projects. If you have a project that offers some social value, there is probably a funder who has a grant for which you can apply.
Government agencies, foundations, and corporations all make grants. Almost universally, grants do not need to be repaid, and grants are tax-free.
Are you beginning to see the scope of this?
To help people understand just how much potential there is in grants, I often describe grants funding as a "parallel economy". There is the standard economy, where goods and services are bought and sold, and taxes paid. Then there is the parallel economy of grants, where gifts are requested and received.
Not just a few gifts. Three hundred sixty billion dollars in gifts.
So is there a trick involved in getting grants? No. But, as is true in any situation in life, there is a framework within which the successful grantseeker must operate. If you want to profit from grants, you must put forth the time and effort to learn how this parallel economy operates, and how to play by its rules.
First, grants are all about purpose. Every grant is offered and awarded in order to accomplish a specific purpose. Every funding agency has a mission it wants to carry out, and grants are given to further that mission. So if you want to start a children's orchestra in your town, you must find the funder who considers musical programs for children part of its mission. If you have invented a better trash compactor, then you are looking for a funder with an environmental mission.
Second, there are a host of resources for finding and identifying grants. You must learn about the types of grants, who is making them, and how to locate them. You must learn how to tailor your project to potential funders.
Third, there is a specific format for requesting grants, called a grant proposal. Although there are many different types of grants, the basic grant proposal format can be adapted to all of them. You must learn how to write a good proposal, and assemble all the information a funder will want to see.
This all sounds a bit more complicated than just buying a book, right? So the question becomes, is it worth the effort?
Well, I've raised millions of dollars in grant funds for my clients, and for myself. I bought an apartment complex free and clear, without a penny of my own money, with a grant. I absolutely believe it's worth the time and effort involved. Where else but in the parallel economy of grants, can you ask for what you need, and receive it as a gift?