Free Form Friday: Finding Resources

Today’s

Vocabulary

(1) Resource: A useful thing

The consulting group has many resources for helping companies succeed.

(2) Trade Show: An event where people in a specific industry meet to show their products

The trade show is a great opportunity for us to meet potential buyers.

(3) Supply Chain: The movement of stuff from the start to the consumer

Our supply chain begins in China and ends right here in New York City.

Today’s

Questions

1. How can you use LinkedIn?

a. To find a job

b. To find an employee

c. A and B

2. Why should you join groups on LinkedIn?

a. To network

b. To see discussions about your industry that will help you learn

c. A and B

3. How can you easily find blogs about your industry?

a. Search on Google

b. Go to company sites

c. Look for links from your country sites

7 ________________________

Free Form Friday

________________________

By Jeremy Schaar

The hardest thing about studying Business English is that most Business English lessons have nothing to do with your job. It’s just general English. It might be helpful, but not really. The English you need for your job is different. So, how can you get better? Fortunately, there are many resources online that can help you. Today, you’ll learn about some different ways to study English that will really help you. I’ll share two resources and give an example for a specific industry.

LinkedIn

You probably know about LinkedIn. If you’re not a member, you should join now. You create a profile that’s like a resume. It’s great for searching for new jobs or finding new employees. But, it’s so much more. It’s an excellent place to study English. You can find a group that’s about your industry. After you join the group, you’ll receive emails from the group. You’ll see lots of great discussions.

Reading is the best way to improve your English. This is a great resource for reading about your industry. You’ll find the vocabulary and grammar that you need. And if you have problems, you can ask the people in the group to explain things to you. It’s also a great way to network.

I have some students in the Trade Show industry, so I joined a Trade Show group. Here’s an example of an email I got. (Click on it to make it bigger.)

Trade Show News Group

Blogs

Blogs are a second great resource and finding them is easy. Just do a Google search for [your industry]+blogs. You’ll find a lot of great reading material.

Some more of my students are in the supply chain industry, so I like to read supply chain blogs. Here’s a link for a ton of great supply chain blogs.

Kinaxis Blogs

Learning English can be hard. You’ll need specific language for your industry. LinkedIn and blogs are a great place to start.

And, by the way, if you have trouble understanding the blogs or LinkedIn groups, send me a message. I’ll be happy to help with lessons.

As always, if you have any questions, please post them on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

CHECK YOUR ANSWERS!

Answers To Today’s Questions

C, C, A

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You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

Supply Chain–Productivity 2

Today’s

Vocabulary

(1) Measure: As a verb, it’s to check the amount or level of something. As a noun, it’s a way of checking.

The measure of our success will be if we can break $200,000 in sales in the first quarter.

(2) Partial Productivity Measure: Comparing output with just one of many inputs

The total productivity measure is useless. The markets are too different. Find a partial measure that uses things that are constant between industries.

(3) Multifactor Measure: Comparing output with several inputs added together

Our factory uses multifactor measures comparing output with labor hours and capital expenses.

Today’s

Questions

1. Why might it be a bad idea to compare total productivity of two factories?

a. You won’t judge the factory on it’s own but only compared to competitors

b. Labor might work more in different countries

c. One input, such as a labor, might influence the results too much

2. Why are multifactor productivity measures used?

a. To compare the total effect of more than one thing

b. To compare the multiple effects of one thing

c. To remove labor from the measure

3. What might the output be for retail stores?

a. Sales

b. Labor

c. Output / (sales + labor)

7 ________________________

SUPPLY CHAIN WEDNESDAY

________________________

productivity By Jeremy Schaar

In the last Supply Chain English lesson, you learned the basic definition of productivity. Today, we’ll go a little further. You’ll learn how companies actually use productivity and compare productivity measures in different industries.

A total measure of productivity should use all the inputs and outputs. But this isn’t always the most useful, so partial measures also exist. For instance, let’s say you have one factory in California and another in Mexico. The factory in Mexico appears much more productive, but you think this is due to labor being cheaper. You might check a partial productivity measure of Output / Labor.

A multifactor measure checks output over several things. For example, let’s say you want to check the productivity of each factory, but without labor. You might run Output / (Capital + Materials).

Depending on the industry, you might see a wide variety of productivity measures. Here are some:

Bar: Drinks served per labor hour

Car Factory: Cars per raw materials

Retail Store: Sales per square meter

Hotel: Rooms rented per rooms available

Television: Sales of commercials per program

Web Design: Online sales per time on site

These are just some ideas. How about your industry? How do you measure productivity? What partial measures do you use? What multifactor measures do you use?

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

CHECK YOUR ANSWERS!

Answers To Today’s Questions

C, A, A

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You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

Supply Chain Lesson–Productivity

Today’s

Vocabulary

(1) Productivity: How well you use your resources

Productivity increased greatly after we moved to the new factory.

(2) Input: Something used in creation

The inputs into our bikes include steel frames, labor, and rubber tires.

(3) Output: The things you create

Our factory produces 20,000 units right now, but we want to increase the outputs to 30,000 during the holiday season.

Today’s

Questions

1. Why is it important to measure productivity?

a. To check your profits or losses

b. To check how well you’re using your resources

c. To check how many employees you need

2. What is an example of an input?

a. Sales

b. Labor

c. A hotdog

3. What is an example of an output?

a. Sales

b. Labor

c. A hotdog

7 ________________________

SUPPLY CHAIN WEDNESDAY

________________________

productivity By Jeremy Schaar

Productivity is the most important thing for supply chain managers and business in general. Today on the blog, you’ll learn the basic definition of productivity. You’ll learn some useful vocabulary and think about how to decide if your productivity is good or bad.

Productivity is so important because it measures how well you’re producing things. It gives you a way to answers questions like:

How well am I using my resources?

How well am I using my labor?

Am I getting better or worse?

How do I compare to my competitors?

Simply said, productivity is a measure of outputs over inputs. (Outputs/Inputs)

For example, if you make hot dogs, your outputs are hot dogs. Your inputs are labor (your work) and materials (bread, meat). You need to think of a common measurement for these things. An easy one is dollars. Your work might cost $10 and the bread and meat could cost $20. Then, let’s say you sell the hotdogs for $60. What is your productivity?

$60/($10+$20) = 2

Is “2” good productivity? It’s impossible to know. You need to compare it with something else. You can compare productivity numbers across time or location. Said another way, you can see if your productivity was better or worse during a past time period. If you have more than one location, you can see which location has better productivity. You can also compare yourself with a competitor or industry numbers.

Today was a very simple overview. Next time, we’ll look at how companies actually use productivity and compare productivity measures in different industries.

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

CHECK YOUR ANSWERS!

Answers To Today’s Questions

B, B, C

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You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

What Makes Apple Great?

Watch

On YouTube

YouTubeLink

Today’s

Vocabulary

(1) To impact: To create change, to influence

My first boss had a big impact on me. He taught me how to work well.

(2) Raw Materials: Basic things like oil and wood

To make a house, you need many raw materials: wood, iron, and so on.

(3) COO: Chief Operating Officer

At our company the COO is the second most important person. She focuses on operations while the CEO is more strategy-focused.

Today’s

Questions

1. What makes Apple a great company?

a. Their fast supply chain

b. Their amazing product design

c. Their impact on the world

2. What kinds of products does Apple make?

a. Simple to use and powerful

b. Beautifully designed and inexpensive

c. Fast to the market and doing something new

3. Why is it interesting that Tim Cook became CEO of Apple?

a. He’s not good at design

b. Jonathan Ive was more famous

c. He focused on supply chain management at Apple

7 ________________________

Free Form Friday

________________________

apple By Jeremy Schaar

Today on the blog, I’m going to introduce a great company: Apple. You’ll learn what makes Apple great. In the process, you’ll learn some interesting ideas about product development and supply chain management. Next week, you’ll learn about Apple’s strategy and marketing.

But, first, what makes a company great? Is it amazing profits like Exxon? How about large sales volume like Amazon? A company that stays at the top for 100 years–like GE–is great. But new companies like American Giant and Tumblr are also great.

The answer is simple. Great companies have a significant impact on the world. They change the way other companies do business and people live their lives.

Apple is a perfect example. They’ve influenced the way companies around the world do business. Their products have made life easier, and cooler, for millions. How have they done it?

Product Development

“Our goal is to try to bring a calm and simplicity to what are incredibly complex problems so that you’re not aware really of the solution, you’re not aware of how hard the problem was that was eventually solved.” -Jonathan Ive

Jonathan Ive is the Senior Vice President of Design at Apple. Basically, he’s the main designer of their products. In the quote, he’s saying that at Apple they try to make complex things very simple.

In this process, Apple has made products that do amazing things and are easy to use. Apple devices famously “just work”. These days, many competitors also make great products, but when you compared an Apple device in 2005 with a competitor, the difference was amazing. Apple was much better.

Supply Chain Management

Jonathan Ive and Steve Jobs are famous for making amazing products. But Steve Jobs was replaced by Tim Cook, not Jonathan Ive. Tim Cook’s job before becoming CEO was not in design. He was the COO.

In truth, Apple is a supply chain company with a small design team. Apple’s industrial design team has just 16 people on it. There are also teams for product design, manufacturing, and many others. But Apple has 80,000 employees. Where do they all work?

They’re all part of the supply chain. And in supply chain management, Apple has been just as amazing as more famous companies like Toyota. To assemble a computer or an iPhone, Apple needs to find the fastest way to put together batteries from Taiwan, screens from Korea, gyroscopes from Europe, and so on. Everything is assembled in China and then shipped around the world.

What’s more, Apple coordinates not just with their suppliers, but with supplier’s suppliers to ensure that they’ll have the raw materials necessary for their microchips, screens, and so on.

Apple went another step further and, instead of putting their products in stores, created their own stores with amazing customer service. Around the world, they’ve established partnerships with authorized Apple dealers.

In the end, Apple manages their products from raw materials to sales. More than anything else, they do this to create speed. The faster they are, the more products they can sell, and the quicker they can adapt to a changing world.

Product development and supply chain management are just two of the things that make Apple great. Next week, you’ll learn about their corporate strategy and marketing.

As always, if you have any questions, please post them on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

CHECK YOUR ANSWERS!

Answers To Today’s Questions

C, A, C

——————————————

You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

Supply Chain Wednesday

Watch

On YouTube

YouTubeLink

Today’s

Vocabulary

(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.

Today’s

Questions

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 ________________________

SUPPLY CHAIN WEDNESDAY

________________________

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?

CHECK YOUR ANSWERS!

Answers To Today’s Questions

C, C, A

——————————————

You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

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