News of the Week


"Ports of L.A., Long Beach warn of delays if sequestration occurs"

Now there is an interesting headline in the LA Times. The delays, it seems, would result from potential cuts to “the U.S. Coast Guard, which provides security and inspects cargo vessels at the ports, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which helps seize counterfeit merchandise.” I would have thought the cost of the Coast Guard and Customs would be paid by port fees charged to the folks importing foreign made goods through the ports (After all, the Coast Guard and Customs folks aren’t there to protect the rest of the world from our exports, are they?). Apparently that is not the case.

Perhaps a better headline would be “Ports of LA, Long Beach warn of delays if taxpayer subsidies to foreign manufacturers are reduced”.

Here’s a sentence to ponder

The president and founder of Groupon was fired and he wrote a ‘to all employees’ memo before heading out the door. It included the statement, “My biggest regrets are the moments that I let a lack of data override my intuition on what’s best for our customers.” He knew the right thing to do but couldn’t prove it by the numbers, so he failed to act. He is hardly alone in that boat.

Women make for good customers, but you can't trust 'em with authority

That seems to be the philosophy among the Japanese car makers. According to this article in BloombergBusinessweek, “At Nissan Motor, 6.7 percent of managers are women, the highest showing among Japan’s car makers. Toyota Motor and Honda Motor each have less than 1 percent. In contrast, about 33 percent of managers at U.S. automakers General Motors, Ford Motor, and Chrysler Group are female.” Among the Japanese companies only Nissan seems to be doing much about the matter. Apparently the actual application of Toyota’s widely touted ‘Respect for People’ principle varies quite a bit depending on testosterone levels.

Sort this one out for yourself

Trent Hamm, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, poses the question, “Does buying in bulk lead to over consumption?” While his article is largely about the lack of personal discipline having an excess of something around causes, it seems as though plenty of parallels with manufacturing inventories can be found. Lack of urgency in the quality control effort, and a lax attitude toward supplier delivery performance are a couple of problems that immediately come to mind when companies have excess inventories. I’m sure you can think of many more areas in which the culture is eroded as a result of having too much.

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