Supply Chain Wednesday: Visualization



(1) A bit: A little

I’m a bit hungry. Let’s eat a snack.

(2) Nerve: The self-confidence to do something

I don’t have the nerve to ask my boss for a raise. I wish I was more brave.

(3) Metric: A way to measure something

The primary metric is sales numbers, but customer satisfaction surveys are also important.



1. Why is it a good idea to visualize your ideas?

a. They’ll be easier to understand

b. It gives you nerve

c. Both A and B

2. How can the Sherpa application help you?

a. You can perform better at meetings with better data

b. You can find metrics

c. You can visualize various metrics

3. Which sentence might you say to your boss?

a. We can do that, but here’s the impact.

b. If you do that, it will have a bad impact.

c. Show me a chart that lets me see the impact.

7 ________________________



1000 words By Jeremy Schaar

Today on the blog you’ll learn what it means to visualize ideas. You’ll also get some help understanding a cool blog. Finally, you’ll learn some real life expressions that you can use on the job.


To visualize an idea just means to create a picture that presents an idea. I might say that Company A sells oranges and apples to Company B, which uses all the apples for itself and sells half the organges to consumers and half to Company C. Or, I could visualize this idea like this:

visualized fruit


Over at, Lora Cecere talks about the need to visualize ideas.

Her discussion is in the context of “chutzpah”. Chutzpah means nerve. And nerve means the self-confidence to say or do something.

She says that at S&OP meetings, the commercial team will sometimes makes a crazy request. They use visualization software (Llamasoft’s mobile Sherpa application), to show the impacts in pictures. Everyone at the meeting can quickly see an image that shows metrics such as financials, logistics, service, sustainability, and risk.

Sentence You Can Use On The Job

“We can do that, but here is the impact.”

This is a friendly sentence. You’re letting the other person make the decision and just giving them the information. It’s a good sentence to use with your boss or another decision maker.

“This is all a bit complicated. Let’s take a look at a visual representation of this data.”

This is a good sentence for a presentation. After you’ve explained something in words, you can show a picture to make your ideas clear.

“Please find a way to visualize this. We need it to be clearer.”

This sentence is a strong sentence from a boss. You can request that your team make the information cleared by using some image or graph.

Got questions or comments? How about practicing some new vocabulary and posting your thoughts on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter?


Answers To Today’s Questions

A, C, A


You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

Business Strategy Monday–Creating a Value Curve



(1) Dependability: Doing what you said you would do

I prefer this car for its dependability. It might not be the coolest, but I know it will always work.

(2) Comfort: Something that relaxes you, the opposite of stress

This chair is so comfortable! I could sit here all day.

(3) Let’s pretend: We say this before talking about an unreal situation.

Let’s pretend we have an unlimited budget. What will we do?



1. How might a restaurant find a blue ocean?

a. Going to the city center

b. Leaving the city center

c. Doing something different than the competition

2. Which things go on a value curve?

a. Things important to your industry

b. Things customers want or need

c. Things that your competitors aren’t doing, but you can do.

3. Why might an airline not value low ticket prices?

a. They might get revenue in other ways

b. They might create a flight people will pay more for

c. A and B

7 ________________________



airline By Jeremy Schaar

The past two weeks I’ve been writing about blue ocean strategy and value curves. Today, I’ll review what blue ocean strategy and value curves are. Then I’ll write about how you can apply it to your industry.

Blue ocean strategy is when a company tries to move to an area without competition. They do this by changing their value curve. A value curve is a set of things that are important to your industry and how important they are for your company.

For example, a restaurant might have three things on its value curve: price, location, and taste. Which do you think should be important for a restaurant? Which shouldn’t be important? There’s no perfect answer, but imagine a city with many expensive restaurants in the city center. They all serve really great food. It’s a red ocean and everyone is trying to make their food a little bit better to compete. A company could find a blue ocean by charging less money and leaving the city center or sacrificing taste.

What about your industry? How might you find a blue ocean?

The first step is to think about what’s on your value curve. These are things important to your industry. Then you should decide how much you value each thing. Compare this with how much your competitors value each thing. Then redraw your value curve.

Let’s pretend you’re in the airline industry. Airlines have a real red ocean industry, so this is hard. (But no one ever said business was easy.)


The first thing is obviously ticket price. Do you want to try to and offer cheaper tickets or will you try and get customers in another way? For customers, price will often be the most important thing, so you’ll probably want to value price a lot. But maybe price won’t be important to you. You might try and sell fewer tickets at a higher price. Or you might try to convince people your tickets are worth more money. Or you might try and get revenue in other ways.

After that, there’s comfort during the flight. How big are the seats? What other things can you offer to make the flight more comfortable? This will include everything from pillows to the TVs on the backs of seats and good food. If you value this high, maybe you can charge more. If it’s low, you can save on ticket price.

Dependability is another important value for airlines. Are the flights on time? How often do you have delays? Do you lose bags? Increasing speed and reducing errors will mean increasing costs, but it might be worth it. Many people will pay more for a dependable airline.

Customer Service is the final value I’ll mention today. What happens when there are delays? What mileage programs do you offer? Will you value this high and spend money on more customer service employees? Or will you not worry about it?

We might continue to add values, but this should give you an idea of how to create a value curve. Next time, we’ll look at how to change your value curve to beat the competition.

Want to study Business English? Check out the main site for our lessons.

Want to learn more about blue ocean strategy? Click here.

Got questions or comments? How about practicing some new vocabulary and posting your thoughts on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter?


Answers To Today’s Questions

C, A, C


You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

Saturday Listening Lesson–Designing For Five Senses and Speaking Practice



(1) Intonation: The way your voice goes up and down while you speak.

In English, rising intonation can create a question..

(2) Word Stress: How loud and long you say something.

You need to give word stress to the important words.

(3) Timing: The speed you say different things and the pauses in your speech.

Timing is very important when singing or telling a joke.



1. What is this video about?

a. Prosody

b. Word stress, timing, and intonation

c. Using five senses in design

2. Why is it hard to understand these phrases?

a. People say them quickly

b. People don’t use the same intonation

c. They have hard vocabulary

3. Why are non-native speakers hard to understand?

a. They have bad grammar

b. They use different intonation, word stress, and timing

c. They use strange words


Saturday Listening Lesson


By Jeremy Schaar

Today’s Saturday listening lesson is on an easy idea. Jinsop Lee says that most design focuses on sight and touch. But these are only two of the five sense. He suggests that designers should start thinking about sound, taste, and smell. Good idea, right?

He makes a chart to show this and I think you’ll easily understand the video.

It’s also a good idea for anyone who makes or markets a product.

For you improving your listening, let’s focus on a few phrases that are simple, but difficult to understand.

:30 Let me tell you about: This is used before presenting an idea

2:30 To do this: This is used before explain how to do something

4:15 I used to: This is used to talk about some past action

4:50 It’s because of the: This is used to explain why something is true

These phrases are easy to understand when you read them, but hard to understand when you hear them. They’re hard because native speakers say them so quickly. We push the words together. Watch these videos to understand. You’ll hear me say the expressions above and then hear Jinsop say them in the video.

While you listen, notice my intonation pattern is similar, but the timing and word stress are different.

For your practice, you need to do two things.

(1) When you’re listening to someone speak, notice the way they say the words.

(2) Practice speaking like Jinsop. If you can speak like him, then you can understand him.

Non-native speakers are really hard to understand when their intonation, timing, or word stress is different, so work hard to make sure yours sounds like a native speaker.

So, how well did you understand? As always, if you have any questions or want more practice, comment on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter.


Answers To Today’s Questions

C, A, B


You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

Global Marketing Tuesday–PUMA



(1) Audience: The people interested in your ad

Our audience is 20-30 year old females.

(2) Mighty: Strong, Powerful.

He has a mighty kick that lets him kick the ball very far.

(3) Slogan: A few words a company uses to give meaning to their brand.

Nike’s slogan–Just Do It–is the most famous slogan ever.



1. What do we see in the ad?

a. Young people playing games in a bar

b. Athletes doing physical challenges

c. People eating

2. What is this song about?

a. Being fashionable

b. Advice for young people

c. People saying they’re great athletes

3. What does the ad show?

a. The combination of fun and athletic shoes

b. Bored young people

c. How to have fun at night.

7 ________________________



By Jeremy Schaar

Puma definitely knows their audience. Today on the blog, you’ll learn how they use the knowledge of their audience to create a great advertising campaign.

First let’s look at one ad. We see young people having fun at night. They’re bowling, playing darts, foosball, table tennis, and pool. They’re also singing a song. They sing:

Everywhere we go (Everywhere we go)

People want to know (People want to know)

Who we are (Who we are)

So we tell them (So we tell them)

We are athletes (We are athletes)

Mighty, mighty athletes (Mighty, mighty athletes)

Remember to play the ball (Remember to play the ball)

Loser buys a round for all (Loser buys a round for all)

Here’s my number just in case (Here’s my number just in case)

Put the falafel in my face (Put the falafel in my face)

Because we are athletes (We are athletes)

Mighty, mighty athletes (Mighty, mighty athletes)

We are athletes (We are athletes)

Mighty, mighty athletes (Mighty, mighty athletes)

If the bouncer doesn’t like us (We go to another place)

Then at the end we see Puma’s slogan: Here’s to the after-hours athlete

Puma knows their audience well. They’re an athletic shoe, but most people actually wear their shoes while they’re hanging out with their friends. To combine these two ideas–athletic shoes and hanging with friends–Puma focuses on the games we play when we’re out at night.

And they’re right. Everyone loves playing games and having fun with their friends. So let Nike be the shoe that you wear while you run. Puma will be the shoe you wear while you’re having fun with your friends.

Got questions or comments? How about practicing some new vocabulary and posting your thoughts on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter?


Answers To Today’s Questions

A, C, A


You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

Supply Chain Wednesday


On YouTube




(1) Fulfilling: Satisfying

My work as a teacher is very fulfilling. I feel good because I can help people.

(2) Upstream: Earlier in a process.

They sent us too many items upstream so now we have a surplus.

(3) Downstream: Later in a process

Little errors here can become big problems downstream.



1. What’s a DC?

a. Delayed Choice

b. Direct Current

c. Distribution Center

2. Which of these is an example of cross fertilization of ideas?

a. Psychology separating itself from philosophy

b. A physicist studying economics

c. Game theory being used to program computers

3. How do pick workers feel about the new system?

a. It’s better work

b. It’s worse work

c. It’s about the same

7 ________________________



By Jeremy Schaar

Mick Mountz–Let the Inventory Walk and Talk (Part 6)

This is the final lesson on this great Mick Mountz video. In general, he explains an awesome supply chain management idea and you can hear a large amount of useful vocabulary in a real-life situation. Today, I’ll review some final vocabulary from the video. Click here to see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

From the 8:00 mark he says that the distribution center has become a parallel processing engine. This comparison is a cross fertilization of ideas because parallel processing is an idea used in supercomputer architecture (i.e. structure). It’s used in to make more powerful computers. Basically, an idea from one area (computer science) is used in another area (supply chain management).

He finishes his talk by explaining some results. First, the pick workers can leave their spot without affecting the whole warehouse. They’ve become independent because they’re not connected to anyone. And they’re autonomous, which means that they decide what to do, without someone telling them what to do. In the past, a factory or a warehouse might have a conveyer which automatically moved items. However, if one worker had to leave, the whole process would have to stop. He says things aren’t messed up downstream. Downstream means later in a process. Upstream means earlier in a process.

Another cool thing is that dynamic and adaptive algorithms change the position of products. This just means that the computer learns which products are most popular and moves them to the front. You can see this on the thermal map, which is a map organized by how hot areas are. In his map an area is hotter if the items are more popular.

The end result for the pick workers is a more fulfilling work environment because the work isn’t so hard as before. Amazing.

Got questions or comments? How about practicing some new vocabulary and posting your thoughts on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter?


Answers To Today’s Questions

C, C, A


You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

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