Monthly Archives: March 2017

5 Most Popular Types of Industrial Equipment

There are many forms of industrial equipment used in the workplace. Industrial equipment is usually large and made of materials such as steel and titanium for optimal strength. These machines are often needed to lift and move materials which may possibly weigh thousands of pounds.

A piece of industrial equipment which is not in working order should never be used for any reason. All equipment is inspected at the beginning of everyday to ensure that they are in the best condition for workers.

By now, there are a million pieces of industrial equipment racing through your head but the question is, which ones are the most popular and most critical to the industrial field? Below you will find five types of industrial equipment which are known to be the masters of all machines in the industrial workplace:

1. Bulldozers – Bulldozers are massive machines which are used mostly in the construction and mining industries. Bulldozers have the ability to lift and move vast amounts of dirt and other debris from one place to another. Bulldozers can operate in many conditions including snow, hail and rain. These pieces of equipment are generally used to dig up the ground and provide room for building houses or other types of buildings.

2. Cranes – Cranes are generally used to transport hard, heavy items from one place to another. The arm of the crane is used to swing the object from one place to another and the arm can be adjusted according to how far the materials need to go. Unlike bulldozers, cranes have the ability to transport objects over uneven levels of ground.

3. Excavators – Excavators are engineering vehicles which consist of backhoes and cabs. They are mainly used in the digging of trenches, foundations and holes. They can also be used to destroy objects which are no longer needed for any reason and in which case need to be compressed and condensed.

4. Fork Lifts – Forklifts are warehouse vehicles which are used to lift, hoist and transport extremely heavy items from one place to another. Forklifts are known to be indispensable pieces of equipment in many industrial workplaces.

5. Compressors – Most of the pieces of equipment listed above are used for construction purposes, although compressors are generally used in more of a factory-type setting. Compressors are used to provide high pressures of air or other forms of gases. These devices can be regulated in order to maintain the desired amount of pressure in the tank.

There are many other forms of industrial equipment. Each piece of equipment is designed to perform a specific task which contributes to the overall success in this field of work. Without these forms of equipment many industrial areas would not exist.

5 Principles For Debt Management

Debt Management – 5 Principles to help you get your debt under control!

Introduction

It has been increasingly difficult to get credit these day, whether you're looking for a car loan, credit card, or even a home loan. So managing your debt, and having a good credit score is very important. No longer are lenders handing out zero down and no interest loans. Credit card offers these days are reserved for those with good to excellent credit.

BusinessWeek says that total household debt in the US was more than 100% of our disposable annual income last year. The average person has more than $ 8000 in credit card debt.

The bottom line is that our personal debt is growing at an alarming rate. You can now charge your fast food meals at many restaurants, paying interest for years on something you consumed in one sitting. Many people have taken steps to address their debt problems, including consolidating debt to lower interest rate cards, or to home equity loans, or at worst case the dreaded "B" word, Bankruptcy.

5 Principles of Debt Management

1. Create an accurate assessment of your debt situation.
Make a list, chart or whatever you're most comfortable with, of all your debts. Be sure and include the amounts, interest rates, and expiration dates (especially on any no-interest for ## days type loans). Be sure and note any old accounts that you've got "laying around", such as that department store credit account that you opened to get the 15% discount.

You can now get a free credit report online. You should make sure that you've got a credit report and FICO score from each of the 3 national credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. The FTC advises monitoring your CREDIT REPORT activity ON ALL 3 BUREAUS. Under a new Federal law, you have the right to receive a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies. AnnualCreditReport.com allows you to request a free credit file disclosure (ie. Credit Report) once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies. This free credit report will not include your credit score, but it does give you a consolidated list of your debts, a record of requests for your credit history, and a summary of your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Once you've gotten your free credit report, you also need to get your Credit Score. You can get your Credit Score, along with daily 3 bureau credit monitoring and other great services from FreeCreditScore.com.

2. Make a budget and stick to it!
Making a budget helps keep from increasing your debt, while you're trying to pay it down. Be specific and detailed in your budgeting. Except for emergencies, you should only be spending what is accounted for in your budget. Some people have found it helpful to keep a 30 day log of their spending. Carry a little notebook, or some index cards with you, and write down everything you spend each day. You'll probably be amazed at how much money you spend on things you want, and do not really need. The small things, such as that $ 3 cup of coffee every day, can slowly eat away at your finances. This will help keep you from getting further in debt. Your budget should define how much money you'll send to each of your creditors monthly and how much you need for bills, and how much is left for discretionary spending. Try limiting your discretionary spending to things you can buy with "pocket cash". This may be hardest thing you've ever done, but you will not get further in debt if you only spend what you have.

3. Pay off the debts one by one.
Maintain minimum payments to the rest of the debts, but pick the debt with the highest interest rate, and send extra payments to pay it off. There is a proven psychological benefit to being able to take a debt off of your list.

4. Consider debt consolidation or debt restructuring and possibly refinancing your home mortgage.
Lower your credit card debt by 70% by consolidating. With interest rates down, it also may be time to refinance your home mortgage loan and cut your monthly payment. You can get free mortgage loan quotes at LowCostLending. When you refinance, make sure closing costs and other fees do not outweigh the savings in your monthly payment. Another option is to get a Home Equity Loan. Home equity loans are good because they allow you to deduct the interest on your income taxes. Remember though, new credit is not a license to incur new or more debts. Once you've transferred a balance by consolidating, or refinancing, do not add more charges to the old account. If you've got a lot of open accounts, you may want to close some of them, but you should not necessarily always cancel the old account. Having a good payment history with a few existing accounts can be better for your credit record than many taken and new accounts.

5. If necessary, get help.
You may choose a credit counseling service, or debt counseling and debt help service to help with each step of your debt solution. Credit counselors can add accountability to your debt solution, and also serve as a source of encouragement. They are used to dealing with people with bad credit or poor credit, and can help you create a custom debt solution. They can suggest money lenders that might be more willing to make a loan to someone with a lower credit rating. Once you start reducing your debts without incurring new ones, you'll start to see your credit score rise.

By following these simple principles, you should be able to get your debt under control, reduce it, and eventfully eliminate it.

Products And – Or Services – Defining "Service-Oriented" Products and the Related Role of Technology

The economy can be analyzed using both market-driven and production-driven approaches to industry classification. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) uses a market-driven approach; The older Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) uses a production-driven approach.

Under a market-driven approach, the economy manufactures goods-producing and service-providing industries. Goods-producing industries include: natural resources and mining, construction, and manufacturing; Service-providing industries include: wholesale and retail trade, transportation (and warehousing), utilities, information, financial activities, professional and business services, education and health services, leisure and hospitality, and public administration.

Under a production-driven approach, the economy compresses product-driven and service-driven industries. Product-driven industries enterprise enterprises that manage inventories available for sale as primary activities (regardless of whether they transform them or not). Under this approach, the retail, wholesale, and food service industries are product-driven. (The kitchens of food service providers are equivalent to factories.) Product-driven enterprises may have extensive cost accounting and operations practices for inventory management.

Industry classifications can be applied to an enterprise as a whole (the primary industry), and to the establishments within it, which may be in different secondary industries. Establishments are facilities that include plants (factories and warehouses) and branches (retail and wholesale outlets).

For example, the hospitality industry is service-driven; Under the production-driven approach, the bar and restaurant establishments within a hotel are product-driven. The entertainment industry is service-driven; Under the production-driven approach, the retail and bar establishments within a theater are product-driven. The health care industry is service-driven; Under the production-driven approach, the retail pharmacy establishment within a hospital is product-driven. Under the market-driven approach, all of these establishments are service-providing.

For example, a manufacturing enterprise is goods-producing under a market-driven approach, and product-driven under a production-driven approach. If it also operates a retail delivery system, the stores are service-providers under a market-driven approach, and are product-driven under a production-driven approach. If all sales revenue is sourced from its own products, the enterprise is in two primary industries. However, if forced to decide, its selection should be based upon core competencies – activities that it performs well. The enterprise can be divided into two separate business units: manufacturing and merchandising. The merchandising unit is an internal customer of the manufacturing unit. However, depending on strategy and policy, the manufacturing unit could sell products to wholesalers and other retailers, and the merchandising unit could buy products from other manufacturers and wholesalers. Under a market-driven approach, the manufacturing unit is goods-producing and the merchandising unit is service-providing, whereas under the production-driven approach, the merchandising unit is product-driven.

The make-up of the economy changes overtime as newer industries emerge and grow and older industries mature and decline. For example, the manufacturing industry is shifting from vertically integrated to strategically outsourced. Strategic outsourcers may manufacture specialized components and assembly finished products. However, by outsourcing the manufacturing of utility components to specialty scale manufacturers, strategic outsourcers can lower their production costs.

Biotechnology and nanotechnology are emerging industries. The information industries are growing as technology becomes more ubiquitous, and as knowledge is packaged in digital products. Knowledge is information that has been learned and retained. In the future, knowledge will be retained extensively in electronic form.

Products and services …

The term "product" is associated with something that is tangible – the resulting inventory from agricultural, mining and drilling, construction, and manufacturing activities. Outputs are either end-products, or components that are assembled into end-products in downstream processes within the enterprise or in its customers.

The term "service" is associated with something that is intangible – capabilities either delivered at the point or time of sale, or shortly thereafter, or as a supporting service. Supporting services can be purchased at the time of sale for downstream use, or later, and consist of such items as warranties beyond those bundled with the product, preventive maintenance, and routine cleaning and repairs.

Functions and features of products are easier to discern than those of services, which are event or activity driven, and may occur in the future.

The term "time of sale" means when a contractual or non-contractual agreement between a buyer and a seller is made, and does not necessarily mean when revenue is recognized and earned. Revenue is recognized and earned according to the accounting principles that fit the service offering, which may be over a period of time.

A commodity is a product or service that is indistinguishable and interchangeable with another of the same type because there is little to no value added. Many commodities are natural, such as produce, minerals, oil, and gas. Services can be commoditized too. The distinguishing factors of a commodity provider include convenience, quality of service, and price.

Product-driven enterprises also offer delivery and supporting services. Delivery services include arranging for transportation, dealer preparation, training, and gift wrapping. Supporting services include cleaning, repairs, and maintenance. To remain competitive over time, enterprises have to add services with their product offerings that exceed customer expectations. However, if customers require such services, then they must become part of the basic offerings. For example, bathroom facilities and color TV are included in modern hotel rooms, even though the primary purpose is providing a place to sleep.

Although services are intuitive, their effects are not. Transportation services move people, cleaning services remove dirt and stains, and repair services restore items to working order. Services require facilities, equipment, and supplies that are bundled in. When products are bundled in, the enterprise pays sales or use tax, if applicable; When products are sold with services, the customer usually pays sales or use tax, if applicable.

Service-driven enterprises can produce tangible deliveries. For example, dry cleaners produce clean and pressed clothes; Professional service firms, such as architects, accountants, attorneys, and consultants produce reports; And engineers produce design drawings that can be transformed into facilities, equipment, or other tangible products.

The recording and movie industries employ technologies that can capture sound and pictures. Starting in laboratories, these industries transform science into art. Here, live entertainment performances (services) can be transformed into recorded products. As a consequence, an event or activity can be reproduced, duplicated, distributed, and repeated to the public-at-large indefinitely. Digital products are impacting traditional manufacturing, distribution, and consumer buying behaviors, and placing intermediaries at risk.

Process control and information technologies have enabled seamless integration between designers and manufacturers. The "design-to-construction" process becomes ubiquitous as computer-aided design and manufacturing technologies (CAD / CAM) enable a designer in one location to transmit specifications to manufacturers in others. The designs are virtual, and result in instructions that control manufacturing equipment in both local and remote locations. As a consequence, manufacturing can be outsourced strategically to any manufacturer that can accept electronic designs anywhere at any time. Because the process is seamless, the precision is higher.

As more enterprises adopt the design-to-construction model, dramatic changes will occur in the structure of industries. For example, in the publishing industry, books can be printed on demand from electronic files upon receipt of orders placed over the internet, eliminating the need for physical inventory available for sale at printers, publishers, and bookstores. The electronic files represent a virtual finished goods inventory from which physical products can be made when necessary. As a consequence, inventory carrying costs are lower.

Both product-driven and service-driven industries render service from centers that receive inbound and place outbound service and telemarketing calls. Call center activities can be outsourced in a similar fashion to manufacturing.

The notice of strategic outsourcing can be applied to almost every function in an enterprise provided intellectual property is protected. However, although management consultants may be used in the development of strategy, the ultimate responsibility for planning, deployment, execution, and performance remains in-house with the governance function.

Products and / or services …
The term "products and / or services" collectively describes all types of products and services.

Service-driven industries are evolving into providers of both "product-oriented" and "service-oriented" services. In order to differentiate product-oriented services from the delivery and supporting services, the term "service-oriented" products provides more clarity. Service-oriented products must be definable, duplicable, and repeatable. They are intuitive outputs of processes that are represented by tangible items, packaged in a definable form. Technology plays a major role in the delivery through hardware, software, and both voice and data communications. "Hard" products are tangible and "soft" products are intangible.

For example, traditional land phone line services were offers with a few differentiating features, primarily in the style of equipment. As the telephone system migrated from electro-mechanical to electronic, the offerings were converted into service-oriented products with features such as call forwarding, caller identification, call waiting, and voice mail. Cell phone offers are service-oriented products with more extensible functions and features than land lines. Cell phone service-oriented products have cameras built-in, and have delivery and support services bundled in such as account information, internet access, and application software for calculators, calendars, contact information, notes, games, music, pictures and movies. Cell phone and computer technologies are converging.

In the financial and business and professional services industries, service-oriented products are packaged with such items as accounts, agreements, brochures, contracts, databases, documents, equipment, facilities, policies, procedures, and statements.

In the leisure and hospitality industries, service-oriented products such as flights, hotel rooms, car rentals, and limousine services are packaged with facilities, equipment, and supplies. The types of facilities and equipment define specific offerings. For example, an Airbus A380 renders a different experience from a Douglas DC3 even though the principal service is the same: providing air transportation. A hotel room with a view of the ocean renders a different experience from one with no windows at all, even though the principal service is the same: providing accommodation. The quality of the accoutrements such as blankets, pillows, towels, newspapers, cable TV, internet access, and fruit baskets can affect the overall experience. A Cadillac renders a different experience from a Chevrolet, even through the principal service is the same: providing a rental car to drive, or a limousine.

Travel-related service-providers bundle air, hotel, car rental, and limousine services into packages to make the buying decisions easier for consumers. Event planners bundle travel-related services with conference and convention services for enterprises.

Consumables, durables, and facilities …

Manufactured products consist consumables and durables.

Consumables are products change or wear out as they are used and combine food, clothing, personal care, health care, household supply, and office supply items. Media such as books, records, audio and video CDs, and DVDs are classed as consumables – the intellectual property is worth far more than the media.

Durable are long lasting equipment items such as appliances, furniture, and vehicles.

Digital products may involve no media if they delivered electronically other than the server of the publisher and the electronic device of the user.

Facilities are the outputs of construction activities and are made of durable materials.

Contractual or non-contractual products and / or services …

Agreements are contractual or non-contractual based relying upon the type of offering, and the nature of the relationship between buyers and sellers.

Consumable products can be sold with the right to return for exchange or refund within a certain period of time. Durable products can be sold with agreements that define warranties and maintenance.

Service-oriented products and services can be sold with agreements that specify exactly what is to be delivered and when, with procedures for reporting problems or complaints.

In negotiations, discussions should embrace the specific functions and features of hard and soft products, and the delivery and supporting services. Experienced negotiators pay attention to both the tangibles and intangibles because the total cost of ownership enterprises both.

Digital-construction and digital-manufacturing …

As technology continues to develop, service-oriented products will become more common because it makes intuitive items definable. New knowledge-based industries will emerge.

The reproduction of software on physical media is classified as goods-producing, and all other development and publishing activities are classified as service-providing under NAICS. However, software and other digital products are durable because they can not deny them, even if they have to be transferred among storage media. Software products are developed by service-providers such as business and professional services firms, publishers, and "in-house" developers. Neverheless, software development activities require the project management disciplines of goods-producing industries, such as construction and manufacturing, to be successful.

The "digital-construction" and "digital-manufacturing" industries are evolving: digital construction software; Digital manufacturing deliveries soft service-oriented, information, and knowledge-based products. However, through CAD / CAM processes, software delivers hard products too. In the future, almost all hard and soft products will result from digital-construction and digital-manufacturing processes.

Defining product and / or services is an enterpriship (entrepreneurship, leadership, and management) competency.

A Career As Restaurant Owner Vs Restaurant Manager

There is a big difference between a career as a restaurant owner and a career as a restaurant manager. Restaurant managers sometimes go on to own their own restaurants, restaurant owners often do a great deal of managerial work and both are heavily invested in the success of the restaurant and involved in its daily operations, but the general similarities end there. The specific roles and responsibilities of a restaurant owner vs. A restaurant manager will be explained in further detail below.

A Career as a Restaurant Owner

Restaurant owners are responsible for oversees the entire operations of a restaurant, even when they hire someone else to manage it. They make an initial investment and either buys the restaurant from someone else or starts his or her own restaurant. Owners must make additional investments down the line when the restaurant needs new equipment and supplies, or when the business has outgrown its location and needs to move or expand, and they will also be responsible for cleaning up the mess if the business fails. The owner has a vested interest in the success of the restaurant, not just because it's his or her job, but because it's his or her investment, brainchild and often a dream come true. The owner takes the most financial risk, but he or she also gets the largest payoff if the restaurant is a success.

They vary in their level of responsibility in the kitchen and on the floor. Some owners hire other people to do everything and trust they will make the right decisions, while others are there every day, interacting with customers and staff and taking on administrative duties. Many of them must work long hours every day of the week as they get their business off the ground, but if it becomes a success, they get the opportunity to sit back and relax a bit.

A Career as a Restaurant Manager

They work closely with restaurant owners to ensure that the business runs smoothly. They also have a vested interest in making sure the restaurant is operating at a profit; In fact, this is their primary concern. The manager has pay increases, bonuses and profit shares to entice him or her to succeed, and the fear of losing his or her job to entice him or her to avoid failure. This career requires skills in budgeting, leadership, communication, analysis and planning, as well as a knowledge and appreciation of the culinary arts and customer service.

Why You Can NOT Make A Living Taking Part In Market Research Focus Groups

Market research is used by product manufacturers and service providers to make decisions, about how to best meet consumer needs and capture greater market share. The results of market research inform strategic decision-making at all levels, from which of two ad strap-lines to run in a magazine to whether or not to develop and launch a new model of car.

When you take part in qualitative market research, such as in a focus group or group discussion, you will have been carefully selected to represent a specific type of behavior or thought process, one that the decision-maker needs to know more about or understand better . You will be selected via a detailed questionnaire and / or interview, and may not know precisely what criteria decided your selection – but you can be sure that many other people were not right for the project, when you were spot-on.

Ethical market research recruitment agencies such as Saros Research Ltd in the UK apply these selection criteria with great rigidity, because this is what their clients are paying for. If someone is not eligible to take part, they simply move to the next person – and if this happens to you, do not worry, because the right project will come along for you at a later time. They will NOT try to bend you to fit the one in front of them at the time!

In the UK the Market Research Society has a code of practice which recommends that people should not take part in qualitative market research too frequently. Six months is considered as the minimum recommended 'gap' between occasions, with other caps on overall numbers. This is because the qualitative research process is a two-way thing: there is no such thing as 'pure' research which does not in some way influence the behavior, attitudes and thought processes of those taking part. Of course, this is a good deal of what makes it fascinating for participants, and the feedback received at Saros is that people love being made think about things that they take for granted in new and different ways … but it does mean that they are Never quite the same 'naïve' consumers again in the future! Anyone who takes part in research a little too often tends to stick out like a sore thumb to researchers, who knows exactly how people react in a range of circumstances.

Another reason for restricting participation is to ensure the maximum number of people can potentially participate in research events. Qualitative research is never intended to be 'representative' of a population, but it does need to represent specific viewpoints and attitudes without other factors of bias (such as being known to a recruiter) distorting that perspective. There are still millions of people in the UK alone who have never had the opportunity to take part in paid market research, and as such their views are not being taken account of by vast swathes of decision-making mechanisms – and they are missing out on Participant payments (typically £ 30-100). This does not serve the industry, or the population, well.

Of course there are some focus group recruiters who are happy to disregard the 6 month rule, and regularly recruit the same people into research over and over again. But if you find yourself in contact with one of these people, it is important to understand that they are violating a very important aspect of the industry code of practice. These codes are there to protect the interests of all parties to research, whether clients, researchers or public participants – and if a recruiter is happily disregarding one aspect of the code then you can not rely on other tenets being complied with. If they collude with you to lie about this aspect, then what else are they lying to you or their clients about?

Agencies such as Saros Research Ltd who are Company Partners of the Market Research Society will not offer you the chance to participate in research repeatedly and earn a 'second income', but they will ensure you have the full protection of the MRS Code of practice, Including your right to be paid, to have your responsibility respected, and your identity / personal information protected from misuse.

A Short Article on Technology

The world has undergone enormous changes over the past decade. We now live in a world where communication is paramount. It seems that everyone and everything is connected in some way.

For school students this has made things much more efficient. Research papers that used to involve hours of laborious effort, can now be researched and documented without ever touching a card catalog or a periodical index. Worlds of information are now available at the click of a mouse.

Questions that people pondered without any answer previously can now simply be typed into any convenient search engine and answered almost immediately. There are countless sites filled with informative short articles all over the Internet. Videos and music can now be seen on demand and news from across the world can be delivered in an instant.

There are some people who worry that the technological revolution and evolution we are experiencing today is moving too fast. There seems to be a loss of privacy in some respects and the specter of a Big Brother society looms larger than it has since 1984. Whether their fears are well founded or not will remain to be seen, but it is unlikely that people will ever willingly give up the almost instant connections to our wired world.

Flying in the face of these fears are individuals who share their worlds through their blogs. What used to be shared with only close friends is now put online for millions of people to see if they should happen upon the blogger’s website. Individuals are learning to take advantage of this by using their well placed blogs to sell products and services. The internet has allowed individuals an opportunity to step on to the same playing field as the big boys of business. With the right information and the ability to get it seen, anyone can now reach the masses and share their thoughts, feelings and even sales pitches.

Businesses as well as individuals have come to rely on the Internet as a source of advertising and actual sales. Entire business models have been constructed and thriving based solely on using Internet websites. It is rare today to find a traditional brick and mortar establishment that does not have some type of online presence. Any business that does not adapt and grow to keep up with the newest technology seriously risks being left behind in the wake of their competitors who choose to ride technology’s leading edge.

Time will tell where this all will lead. We should make the most of the positive possibilities technology promises, but we should also keep a careful watch on where we are going.

What Are High Security Locks?

I have discussed high security keys and locks in the past, but what makes a lock and key high security? A lot of manufacturers consider at least some of the locks they manufacture high security. So how do you know that you are getting what you pay for? Because you will pay far more for one of these locks than a regular lock that you can buy at your local big box store.

Here are some of the things to look for in a high security lock:

  • The locks and keys will be precision made, usually with a CNC machine rather than die casting
  • They are usually made out of brass or steel
  • If brass, they will have hardened steel pins embedded into the lock face for drill protection
  • The keyway and key should be protected with U.S. and foreign patents
  • The key blanks should be restricted to Service Centers and Locksmiths that are under contract to the manufacturer for the purpose of key control

The above list is not all inclusive but meant to provide the major points. There are a few items that I will explain further in an effort to give definition to some of the words used above that may not be familiar to all.

Keyway: In the simplest form, a keyway is a design on a key such as key cuts, spacing and angles and the matching design that is manufactured into the lock cylinder. Some manufacturers use a combination of cuts, spacing and angles along with grooves cut into one or both sides of the key. These side grooves will match the grooves in the lock. When applying for a patent these are the items that are usually patented.

Key Control: This is the ability to control not only the key blanks but also the cut keys. To demonstrate this let’s assume that the manufacturer sends 10 key blanks to one of their Service Centers. That service center cuts 10 key blanks to a secure code for one of their customers. That customer receives the 10 cut keys and records to whom they give them to. Throughout this process the keys can be accounted for all the way to the end user.

All of this comes at a price that will be at least 50% higher than a standard lock used for the same purpose. This goes back to that same question; what are you trying to protect and how much is that worth to you.

New Manufactured Home Foundation Essentials – 2 Must Have Upgrades

When purchasing and installing a new Manufactured Home, there are two upgrades that are recommended. They are installing a Vapor Barrier and Earthquake Bracing. Each is explained here:

Mobile Home Vapor Barrier

A Vapor Barrier for a Mobile or Manufactured home is a sheet of thick, rubbery plastic that goes directly over the dirt under a Mobile or Manufactured home. The foundation piers then rest on top of this barrier.

You really need to make sure a home you buy or have installed has this protection. Mobile and Manufactured homes need dry ventilation underneath. This barrier will prevent any moisture from damaging the home – especially rotting of the floors, but also helping with fungus, mold, and termites.

Making sure that a vapor barrier is installed before you buy a Mobile or Manufactured home is absolutely necessary. And the additional cost is very minimal considering the amount of protection you gain.

If you are buying a mobile or manufactured home that is already on a space, but with no vapor barrier, then you can hire a contractor to install a vapor barrier under the home. They will just have to cut pieces that will go around the pier-and-post foundation and all piping in place. This is not ideal, but way better than no barrier at all.

Mobile Home Earthquake Bracing

Earthquake bracing is recommended in California, and elsewhere earthquakes are common. Mobile Homes and Manufactured Homes are especially susceptible to damage in a earthquake due to their foundation system (most of the time they are installed on a pier-and-post system).

Earthquake bracing is a simple upgrade that can increase the value of your home by at least the cost of installation of the bracing. This cost is running from $2000 to $4500 in California right now. The actual brace is like a shock absorber in a car, but installed at an angle from the steel I-beam on the bottom of the home, and anchored to the ground. This brace will keep the home from shifting off the pier-and-post foundation.

Insurance companies may insist on having earthquake bracing installed if you want to purchase earthquake insurance on your Mobile Home or Manufactured Home.

Earthquake bracing can also help a Mobile Home not come off the foundation in high winds, although it is not designed to do this and should not be relied on for this.

Pictures and further explanation on both of these upgrades, as well as a whole bunch of free information, tips, advice, and recommendations can be found at: http://www.free-mobile-home-info.com

The Business Of Health Care – Managing Your Private Practice: Dr Hlombe Makuluma

In the Garden of Eden, during the fall of man, God asked Adam: “Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” Adam answered by blaming his wife, Eve. And when God asked the woman: “What is this that you have done?” Eve responded by blaming the serpent. Man’s inability to take responsibility for his wrongs, it seems, was embedded in his genetic makeup from the beginning of time.

In my twenty-five years in private practice, there has been plenty of serpents to blame for my personal and business woes. I was never short of excuses for my failures, shielding myself in the process from my inadequacies. I had also witnessed dozens of colleagues abandoning the medical profession, driven to other fields, and hiding behind similar excuses to mine for their failure.

Some had gone on to thrive in their newly found occupations, but for others, disappointment stalked the rest of their professional lives. For the latter, I am certain no other question tormented them more than: What does it take to win? What does it take to get things right in their floundering medical practises?

Winning in business is a seminal objective since success extends beyond the individual. Not only do our health practises prosper but also our families, children and marriages win. Winning at work can lead to being a champion at home. If for anything else then, that is why the message contained in Dr. Makuluma’s compelling and riveting book is vital. Inspired by his own experience, and profoundly stirred by the doom he witnessed in private practice, the author’s sublime ‘project’ reminds us that success, and indeed failure in health care practice, is often not by accident.

Success, he tells us, is a choice. When we run a race, we should do so with the mind of a champion: and that is do so with a plan to win and not surrender to the myriad business setbacks endemic in the medical profession.

In “The Business of Health Care” Dr. Makuluma gives us his blueprint-a strategy which when properly executed would eliminate flaws in private health practice, unravel the mystery behind success, and lead to victory. The genius of his plan is the sheer simplicity of its precepts. The author readily confronts the complexities of running a medical practice with carefully thought out principles, and with also simple but deliberate language.

From the outset, he jolts the reader with invaluable advice: The key to successfully operate a health practice is to be financially literate. This is the “basic formula”, he writes, for operating any business. On the surface this observation is obvious, and yet it remains the cardinal reason for the failure of many health practises.

It has also been stated repeatedly in several different ways throughout the ages. “A fool and his money are soon parted”: goes the old adage. “The men who can manage men manage the men who can manage things, and the men who can manage money, manage all.” _Will and Ariel Durant, The Lesson of History.

In my practice, I never saw my role extending beyond my skills as a surgeon. My energies were continually sapped by improving my surgical skills. My relationship with my practice as a business, was at best lukewarm. I had, more than most, put in the long hours at work, but I had failed to grasp the very simple notion that I was a ‘health practitioner running a business,’as the author so aptly and eloquently puts it.

As with the unprofitable servant in the biblical parable of talents, my thoughts on money were restricted to the fear of losing it, than in making it. When it came to wealth, and its creation, my mind mostly saw limitations rather than possibilities. Hardship was consequently the fingerprint of my practice, and financial ignorance was engraved in its soul. My professional life was a narrative of unfulfilled dreams.

The Business of Health Care is the strategic omnibus that will undoubtedly carry the modern medical practitioners into the future. It is a well-written and well-researched book, and is destined to be the bible for all doctors going into private practice. In it, Dr. Makuluma, takes us by the hand and offers the treasures and tools of running a successful practise in the twenty-first century.

The author’s ‘project’ is a priceless gift to health practitioners. It is an august framework for success, underpinned by the supremacy of design. Dr. Makuluma provides the implements not just to manage a business, but also to manage life.

After reading the book, it is as if one has suddenly woken up from a nightmare. It is difficult to suppress the indignation at the harm which ignorance has wrought upon our venerable profession. But, now doubt has been supplanted with optimism. One now approaches every day at work, and every challenge, with renewed hopes and sense of purpose.

Strategies Management Adopt in Handling Change

Theoretically, there are various strategies that explain how change can be successfully initiated and implemented. However, let us first take a look at some of the common things to consider, before you embark upon an organizational change:

What do I want to change? Typically this might point towards a specific “problem” area.

Is this the fundamental thing that needs to change or is there a deeper “reason” lurking behind the “problem” that needs to be addressed? This question is particularly important because many times, after the change process has been run halfway, it is realized that a problem exists at a more basic level. Focus then shifts between new change areas that are discovered and the energy of change efforts get dissipated.

Why do I want the change?

How will I achieve the change? This will involve weighing the risk and incentives, balancing them out and addressing any gaps between intended process to achieve the change and issues related to these processes.

What about the finances required in implementing the change?

Will business possibly continue as usual during the change phase or will it get affected adversely?

What type of resource (external or internal consultants) should I use, given the size of my organization and knowledge base?

How, if at all, will the change impact the work culture or vice versa?

How critical is the situation and how much time do I have to respond to it?

Does my core change driver team have the contextual and operational knowledge, capability and influence to survive the change process or do I need to empower them in some way?

Once you have precise answers to these elementary questions, you can decide upon the strategy you want to adopt. Theory offers at least four different change strategies. In practice, we typically use a combination of some or all of these to address change situations. These four strategies are: The Empirical-Rational Approach, the Normative-Reeducative Approach, the Power-Coercive Approach and the Environmental-Adaptive Approach.

All four provide you with different insights into the type of change environment that may exist in an organization. The type of change environment broadly varies with the ideology of the informal organization or the cultural consensus that they may share and the type of change being introduced. The relevance of the different change strategies lies in the fact that they explore different assumptions about human motivation and behavior in order to understand or anticipate response to change. Thus, they take into account the psychology of the informal organization, and hence help effectively manage the human side of change.

Their beauty, however, is that they are never mutually exclusive, and different strategies may be used at different stages in the change process. Thus, depending on your change environment, you must decide on the appropriate mix of strategies, to be used to push change.

EMPIRICAL-RATIONAL STRATEGY

A “classic” approach to change management, developed by Robert Chin and Kenneth D. Benne, this strategy is built on the premise that, in general, human beings are rational and can be reasoned with.

Hence, although change innately is resisted, people can be won over by the genuine logic behind the change, and by what is there in it for them.

If people are convinced on these two aspects of change, the process becomes easily navigable. Thus, this strategy uses persuasion to make individuals accede to change, through planned, managed dissemination of information, which makes the incentives of change clear to them. Thus, this strategy demands skillful use of communication in selling the benefits of change. The emphasis is on providing correct information; education and training that inspire people to change of their own volition. Also, it is important to identify potential carriers of change – people who willingly accept the change, and are influential enough to spread the same.

The role of the CEO is important here. Being the leader of the organization, not only is he an influential figure, but also has relatively more credibility than anyone else in the organization. Hence, he can play a major role in securing the buy-in of his people and inspiring them to embrace the change.

However, by virtue of rationale again, people are seen to be generally resistant to change, if it has an imbedded downside that is not balanced or offset by an equal upside. Hence, a foolproof plan for successfully initiating change, or at least managing the human side of it, must work out the following:

A strong basis for initiating the change

Linkage to actual benefits or incentives to be derived from the change

The pros and cons, including an exercise on possible measures to negate the “cons”

This strategy works well only if you can balance the incentives against the risks in a profitable manner i.e. only if you are able to show that the value-add from the change is proportionately much higher than the risk involved.

This strategy becomes difficult to execute, if your risks outweigh your incentives, and especially so, if the general perception is that your company is in a relatively comfortable position, even without the change. A good idea then might be to show people some genuine reasons as to why the perceived comfort is just a passing phase and won’t last long.

In such a situation, some people may buy your logic, some may not. If you find the buyers to be capable of influencing the rest, endeavor to form a class that can serve as interpreters between you and the mass of people, and hence serve as drivers of change.

For the empirical-rational approach to succeed in the later phases of change, you also need to build your case on a strong Current Situation Analysis, proceed with proper training and development programs, initiate appropriate education, and carry out relevant research and development to support the change. Hire the services of field experts and Organizational Design and change specialists if required. Once these backups are in place, people will inevitably become much more confident of shouldering the responsibilities of change. Also, while you may initially identify a representative class to drive the change, eventually you must graduate to a phase where every team player is encouraged to come up with creative solutions aligned towards attaining a “best-of-all” situation.

However, the Empirical Rational Approach disregards the fact that while employees may understand the need for change or the rationale behind change, they may still not like to undergo change, because of the emotional troubles, adjustment issues etc. that come with transition.

NORMATIVE – RE-EDUCATIVE STRATEGY

Another “classic” approach to change management, this strategy takes wings from the fact that humans are social beings. Hence, they always have the inherent urge to conform to social norms and standards.

It does not deny that humans are rational and intelligent creatures, but views their behavior as being guided by socio-cultural norms and their allegiance to these norms. Restructuring their normative orientations and inducing them to commit to new norms introduce change.

Often, a cultural shift in the organization becomes imperative to adapt to market situations and survive competition. For example, your competitor may be producing twice your output because of their technological advancement, whereas you lag behind because you still rely on manual operations. This needs you to shift work culture from a manual to a technology oriented people set, which in turn requires you to appropriately train and prepare people for the change. Normative – Reeducative Strategy is defined as a strategy that believes that norms in an organization can be purposely shifted to attain higher productivity, through collective people efforts.

Given that culture and norms quickly become a part of who you are, an initial resistance to anything non conformist or maverick is quite expected. Ironically, norms and standards too are not constant over time. If they had been, evolution of society would never have been possible. Just like a stream of water that changes its course, when it meets a strong obstruction, culture and norms can also be re-established and redefined.

This approach believes that changing the attitudes, values and culture leads to an automatic change in behavior. The very logic that makes initial resistance to such change inevitable is used to explain how, over a period of time, this kind of a change tends to adhere. Thus, although it may be paradoxical, it is actually practically observable that once a new culture sets in, people instinctively feel the need to conform, simply in order to survive.

An important tool in initiating this change is the presence of a magnetic and dynamic personality, who can considerably influence people and their perspectives. This personality can be a leader, a change agent or most effectively, the CEO of the company. Given his visibility, prominence, credibility and authority in an organization, he possesses all that is required to effect a change.

While a culture change is possible, it is never immediate. For it implies considerable adjustments to the hitherto established thought patterns and mindsets. As a result, it can emerge only as an outcome of a gradual process. Hence, this strategy is applicable only if you have a longer time frame at your disposal for enabling the change.

The Normative – Reeducative Approach is perhaps the most widely used strategy in present times. When using this strategy, it is important to remember that it is better to try and work through the existing culture, collaborating with people, and helping them see a new and better possibility, than to wake up one fine morning and replace it with a new culture. After all, you cannot change culture the way you change clothes, because it connects to a deeper part of you and how you operate. So, this approach calls for an honest endeavor to work in sync with people, identify problems and facilitate solutions. It should be directed towards improving problem-solving capacities, upgrading processes within a system, and fostering new attitudes, skills, and norms for people. While the bright side is that when your efforts engage people so much, chances of resistance are minimized. But on the other side of the coin, this approach is too dependent on employee cooperation. For instance, new software developed for a certain insurance company was found to be left unused even till months after, because the employees did not want to step out of the comfort of the “old way of doing things.” Often, such a change involves unlearning and relearning, and while the change may ultimately trigger simpler solutions to their work problems, the transition phase comes as a real challenge, often leading to resistance.

This strategy could be used in conjunction with a change in the employee performance management systems that reward people who facilitate change and penalize those who oppose it. This may help to beat the resistance and build a more cooperative atmosphere. Further, since work culture falls as much within the domains of the formal organization as the informal organization. Therefore, a change to the work culture can succeed only if an amiable relationship exists between these two counterparts, or at least if leaders of the informal organization buy the proposed change.

Another perspective on this strategy tells us that while most of the time, individuals prefer to stick to established conventions; the story is different when people within the system are not happy with the status quo. This is a situation where people are actually looking out for change. In this scenario, the preliminary step that the management needs to take to trigger a change is to evaluate and clarify organizational norms and culture. This can be done through interactions, discussions and at a personal level, introspection by the employees of the organisation. So, more often, this strategy will intimately involve people in the “process” of change rather than have them face only the “impact” of change.

Hence, the normative-reeducative approach targets attitudes and values. It tends to produce long lasting changes as it usually involves group goals, group norms or common values. The reason is that once a new norm sets in, after being initiated either by the formal or the informal organization, it eventually becomes part of the system – “the way things are” – and therefore stabilizes over time.

POWER – COERCIVE STRATEGY

This “classic” strategy bases itself in the power of “power”. According to Hans Morgenthau:

Power may comprise anything that establishes and maintains the control of man over man. Thus power covers all social relationships, which serve that end, from physical violence to the subtlest psychological ties by which one mind controls another.

Applied to our context, this strategy advocates “power” in the form of threat sanctions, and believes that people are, in general compliant, and will ultimately bow down to those who possess greater power.

At times, when the change is not radical but moderate, the company may also use subtler forms of power or hegemonic power to attain its objective. In fact, the Normative Reeducative Approach or the Empirical Rational Approach ultimately uses hegemonic power very subtly, to navigate through the change process. Hegemony is like an internalized form of social control, which makes us feel we are choosing when really we have no choice. The 20th century French Marxist Louis Althusser called this ‘trick’ as Interpellation.

In both these cases, when a change has been decided upon, people have no choice but to accept it. They may resist for some time, but ultimately must go with the flow. However, instead of using force, these strategies use “reason” and “collaboration” to make the “change situation” seem like a choice that will lead to a better situation than the status quo. So, while the idea that the change will lead to a prospective better situation is true, it is ultimately never open to choice. Hence, indirectly even these strategies use some form of subtler hegemonic power. However, the difference is that while these approaches secure the support of the people through logic or collaboration, hence ensuring that change endures and stabilizes over time, the direct use of imposing power, as advocated by the Power – Coercive Strategy, runs the risk that once the power is removed, people may revert to their original behavior.

But many times, exerting authority, subtly or otherwise, in the form of political and economic sanctions, legislation, policies, “moral” power etc. may seem the only way to bring about a change. This happens when people in the organization collectively fail to perceive a threat that is, in reality, grave and must be resolved within a restricted response time. Use of power may also be necessary when people become obstinate and intractable in the face of a change, which has lots at stake. So, people may become even during times of an exigency. The trick applied here is to have it your way and leave no other option for your people but to accept the change. While political sanctions usually reward non-conformists with imprisonment, economic sanctions curtail financial incentives to those who resist the change. Thus, the use of coercive power is an attempt to make people yield to change by inducing fear or using actual force.

However, the use of power may not always be negative. For instance, one power – coercive strategy uses the behavioral psychology concept of “the carrot and the stick”. In this approach, power can be used to both reward employees who support change through financial incentives and punish those who don’t with political or financial consequences, through sanctions. Thus, power can operate both ways.

The success of this strategy, however, depends on the general temperament of the organization.

Some organizations, as a part of their culture, believe in the authority of seniority, and appreciate the role of the hierarchy in issuing guidelines or directives for organizational development. If your people are attuned to a system of healthy authoritarianism, this may come easy. But in an organization where liberality has long been practiced, Hitlerian tactics will face resistance. Still, with Power-Coercive strategies, people have little option but to accept change, since most of these strategies use stringent policies, where impunity is ruled out. However, to ensure that the foundations of change are built on unanimity rather than repressed fear or dissatisfaction, it is important to evaluate the nature of your organization, the problem at hand and the time frame at hand, before embarking on this strategy, as a last resort.

Robert L. Kahn observed that:

To say that A has the power to change B’s behavior necessarily implies that A exerts some force in opposition to some or all of the previously existing forces [including B’s own needs and values] on B. This is conflict….The exercise of [coercive] power, thus, necessarily creates conflict…

Thus, while the use of authority structures and threat sanctions can accomplish change, they may breed hatred and contempt for the organization or the senior management, which is harmful to organization in the long run.

ENVIRONMENTAL – ADAPTIVE STRATEGY

The Environmental-Adaptive Strategy, suggested by Fred Nickols, is built on the premise that while people innately resist change, they also eventually adapt themselves to it, when they are left with no choice.

Also known as the “die – on – the – vine” strategy, it takes its cue from the common observation that while individuals are quick to oppose change that they find threatening, they also have an innate ability to adapt quickly to a new set of circumstances. Applied to our context of organizational change, this human psychology translates to a strategy of first creating a new environment and then gradually moving people from the old to the new system. Thus, rather than proactively trying to “change” the organization by effecting a “change” in the behavior, processes, culture and norms of people, this strategy recommends that a new set of circumstances be created, and the innate nature of humans to eventually adapt be exploited, in letting the change “sink in”. Therefore, in this strategy, the ball shifts court from the management to the people, as the responsibility of regularizing the change now lies on the people and how they adapt to the change. They practically have no choice to accept or reject the change, unless of course one prefers to quit the organization altogether. Here, the change is made, and the individuals merely adapt themselves.

This strategy is best suited for changes that are radical in nature rather than those that are gradual. Say, you want to introduce the SAP-HR system to increase efficiency and speed of HR related work. This is an incremental change that will happen over time, as your Business HR personnel gradually learn how to operate the new system and shift from the old manual practice to the new systematized process. If you were to use the Environment Adaptive strategy here, creating the environment and leaving them to adapt to it in their own way, the transition phase, very likely would stretch too long. This is because, your managers already operate within a framework that they are comfortable with, and so they may be reluctant to shift to a new system. Here, you might have to use a mix of the empirical-rational and the normative-reeducative strategies instead to change that comfort culture and enable them embrace the change.

Now, consider the example that Nickols gives, of a radical change handled in the Environmental-Adaptive way. Rupert Murdoch wanted to shift to an entirely new operating structure, on terms that were very different from the current one at Fleet Street. So, he set about quietly establishing an entirely new operation in Wapping, some distance away from Fleet Street. As soon as the new system became operational, he informed the printers at Fleet Street that he had some good news and some bad news for all of them. The bad news was that they would have to shut down their operations at Fleet Street. So, everybody was fired. The good news was that a new operation had jobs for all of them, albeit on very different terms.

Now, most people in this situation will embrace the new option – a radical change, tackled using the Environment-Adaptive strategy. Of course, the strategy is a mix of the empirical rational and power coercive strategies, and that is only a reinforcement of the fact that practical situations often need a mix of different strategies to effectively manage change.

Many years ago, my work took me to a slum infested area. I was pained to see the kind of life those people led, the abject poverty everywhere, the bowl that every child held out in his hand, not for food, but in the hope that a kind passerby may drop some alms.

A few weeks ago, I got the opportunity of revisiting the same place to run an education camp, and was pleasantly amazed at the buildings that stood in place of the slums – an obvious outcome of a rigorous rehabilitation program! It was only when I ventured inside that I realized, that barring the safer, better and more decent dwelling place to live in, nothing much had really changed. The litter was still around, the kids still ran about in the mud in tattered clothes and they still held out their hands for alms. The rehabilitation program had done well in shifting them to a new place, but perhaps something more remained to be done to have them live a new, more meaningful life. Their “homes” had changed, their way of life hadn’t.

And to change that culture, they needed to be educated, to be shown that a better way of life existed, and existed within their reach. But even for that education to show its impact, I was now beginning to understand; I needed more kids like Jana, Neil and Don. Among the close to thirty kids I had been asked to supervise, there were only these three who were genuinely interested. The rest were happy with their life, as it was.

The above incident links to an important factor that you must consider before using this strategy. Ensure that you have at least a few capable, influential and probably “non conformist” employees, in your organization, who will embrace the change and drive the others. These are your “seed” employees – people who will foster a new and more effective work culture in the newly established setup. Correspondingly, Nickols uses the term “bad apples” to refer to people from the old culture, which are detrimental to the new culture and must be done away with.

If there is no buy-in on the change, at-least at the “seed” level, the strategy may not work. Rather, it may lead to a situation where you have a new workplace that continues to work in the old manner and follow the old culture. Effectively then, there hasn’t been much change.