Moo Pig Wisdom is a brilliant combination of Antiquity and Prequel Modern Flea Market. We respectfully ask you to mind your children while here.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Need a Good Benchmark? Here's a great One!

Entire article here copied for study purposes: Keyword Search hope you don’t mind..
Manufacturing in Action, Source : The Manufacturer US
Published : 08 Feb 2006 19:27 Keith Regan

Vapor Bus International, a maker of passenger door systems for transit buses and other transportation-related products, has changed dramatically in recent years as lean initiatives have pushed down production time and helped eliminate end-of-the-month rushes to meet deadlines. Keith Regan finds out how they did it.
As recently as a few years ago, the 300,000-square-foot production facility at Vapor Bus International in Niles, IL, looked like many other shops of its type: the plant floor was dominated by “mountains” of work in progress, with high labor costs and a focus on traditional batch-production methods. Often, there would be last-minute rushes to meet monthly deadlines, with welding, CNC, and lathe operators pulling all-nighters to finish partially assembled product.
“I was talking to a guy the other day who was reminiscing about how one day he stayed from 6 a.m. one day to 6 a.m. the next day to finish up an order,” says Director of Manufacturing Operations Ross Buchele. Around the same time, the company’s production facility had six active stock rooms, and some 12 different schedulers in charge of starting order production, according to R.J. Currer, the firm’s QPS (Quality and Performance Systems) manager. “You needed a crystal ball to give an update on the delivery process,” he says.
In 1996, Vapor Bus, which marked its 100th anniversary in 2003, was purchased by Wilmerding, PA-based Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corp. (Wabtec), which operates some 40 manufacturing facilities around the world. With support from Wabtec, and Jeff Langer, corporate QPS director, things began to change. Vapor Bus began to explore lean and soon realized it had the power to dramatically alter the way it did business.
With extensive 5S, and lean manufacturing training providing what Currer calls “the essential building blocks for lean,” the company set out down the track of continuous improvement and before long had a serious head of steam. An MRP system was eliminated in favor of kanbans, and more recently extensive tie-ins with key suppliers have dramatically cut inventory in favor of just-in-time deliveries. Manufacturing cells were set up that helped reduce the amount of backed-up batch work cluttering the plant floor. In fact, the company relocated to a 100,000-square-foot facility in Buffalo Grove, IL, and went from having six stock rooms full of various parts and supplies to having no active stock rooms at all, and reduced schedulers from 12 to 1 scheduler/material handler.
Today, the cells are part of a production facility that is divided along product lines, with door panels and hardware produced in one area, pneumatic and electrical door actuators are made in another part of the facility and a third is set aside for relays and contactors produced for the railroad industry. In addition to streamlining part fabrication and assembly to take out the batch processes that led to build-ups of half-finished work, setup times have improved dramatically in many areas. The time it takes to get one brake press ready to handle an order has dropped from a high of some 80 minutes and a 2002 rate of 40 minutes to as few as two minutes and in some cases even less.
Throughput in this same area decreased from four to five days to two hours. Other gains have been equally impressive. Inventory dollars were reduced from more than $3 million to $2 million and on-time delivery climbing to 97 percent for assemblies going to original equipment manufacturers and 93 percent for aftermarket parts. “That’s still nowhere near where we want to be, but it’s a huge step from where we traditionally had been,” says Buchele. For a long time, production wasn’t even tracked closely enough to keep accurate records of on-time performance.
Today, production shipments are tracked daily, with the 97 percent rate comparing to rates in the 80 percent or even 70 percent range at one point. “It’s been a struggle at times, but we’ve seen the value and continued to push ahead,” says Currier. “It didn’t happen overnight. There’s continuous retraining, focusing, trying to just control processes and eliminate abnormalities in the process you’re trying to implement.” Vapor Bus trotted out a number of lean training techniques, from Lego-building exercises to frequent kaizen and value stream mapping events. In fact, during 2005, the firm averaged more than four kaizen events per month, conducting some 54 during the course of the year.
To ease communication, there is a heavy emphasis on visual controls, with color-coded charts posted at every manufacturing cell with information on parts per person per hour being used and other measures. “The idea is that within 20 to 30 seconds after someone walks up to that cell, they’ll have a sense of how it’s performing.” Cathy Campise, a senior buyer for the company, says Vapor Bus has been able to extend what it’s learned from lean beyond the walls of its facility. The company selected key items from its supply menu and focused on getting buy in from suppliers on ways to better provide parts when needed.
Today, the company has identified some 400 items that fit into a supply model that calls for suppliers to keep enough stock on hand so that they can release product for shipment within a day, fast enough to have material on site within three days from just about anywhere. “It’s been a win-win for us and the suppliers,” she says. Going forward, Vapor Bus is working on tying specific improvement goals to longer-term strategic initiatives over three to five year time frames.
The company will look at various key performance indicators (KPIs), such as internal PPM rates to see what kind of trends can be spotted and translated into quality improvements. By the end of January, Vapor Bus already had kaizens and other events scheduled through the summer, but Buchele says they’ve been careful to preserve room for unexpected opportunities to arise.
“Things always change in a manufacturing environment,” he says. “If demand spikes in an area or something else comes up, we need to be flexible enough to go back in and look at that area.” 31 Jan 2006 19:27 / KR

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Ergonomic is a nine letter word for "Good Posture"

Title: Ergonomics Theory at Work
By Pat Darnell 03/19/07
I discovered typical ergonomic assessment worksheets at Healthy Computing com. I uncovered a proactive approach to diversity compliance in a special article: Blanck, Peter David, (1996) Communicating the Americans with Disabilities Act, Transcending Compliance: 1996 Follow-Up Report on Sears, Roebuck and Co. Then I cross-referenced all the ailments mentioned in the second source web sites to my John Hopkins Family Health Book, 1999, and Cornell University Ergo college web site.
I and colleagues have been asked to organize ergonomic checklists for our Administrative Assistants’ work places. Appropriation for all special cases will have to begin with the basic checklist we prepare today. It is my appeal that THC considers from the beginning a total or holistic approach to putting together the work-spaces. Thoughtful physical consideration includes discovering how the body moves naturally, and how the workplace environment negatively limits or exasperates those motions.

Human bodies are unfettered motion machines, not just as far as pre-school children are concerned. In adulthood, motion is not forgotten. The body at different times is meant to fight or flee, walk or crouch, lounge and lean and lay horizontally to sleep. Our bodies were never meant to sit and stare.

The neck is fashioned to aid in looking side to side almost in 360 degrees while holding up the heaviest organ in our body, our brain. Our head has all the senses except tactile centralized there. The wrist has an exotic design with 7 small bones that let the hand move in any direction. Ankles are eloquent groupings of special shapes of bones that balance our mass in motion.

The areas of neck, wrist and ankle have come into play as the main areas that have been attacked by sedentary lifestyles of modern office workers, such as people who administrate, compute and communicate or dispatch, just to name a few. Modern refers to last century; and the new kid on the block, the Ergonomics Society celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1999 (The Ergonomics Society; 1996-2006).

Cost of Ergonomic Adjustments are Perceived Expensive
While a holistic approach is not mandatory in offices’ spaces to find the happy balance between worker and space, it would be nice if minimum specification included some ergonomics checklists. The Total Ergonomic Workplace is or isn’t very costly, yet perceived as cost intensive because it has not been included in construction specifications that have evolved over the last ten thousand years.
In order to start a discussion on cost variables I sought a starter point, such as a benchmark. I found a good second source in: “Communicating the Americans with Disabilities Act Transcending Compliance: 1996 Follow-up Report on Sears, Roebuck and Co. by Peter David Blanck” (Blanck, D; 1996).
"Sears has found that effective workplace accommodations for qualified employees or job applicants with disabilities result in bottom line economic benefits that far exceed the costs," says Harry Geller, formerly Sears Regional Diversity Manager and presently an Executive Recruitment Manager"(1996).

After all it turns out this classic study of Sears concentrates on human capital in a “transcending proactive way.” Tony Rucci, Sears Executive VP of Administration at the time “...with oversight responsibility for human resources issues...” reportedly said that: "in almost all cases, the low costs of accommodations for employees with disabilities have derived positive and substantial economic benefits to the company-in terms of service to customers, work productivity, effectiveness and efficiency” (1996).

I think ergonomics implemented in administrative assistants’ workplaces are destined for the same cost savings results as those reported in the benchmark case above.

Office Ergonomics are after-market Micro Considerations
State-of-the-art construction of modern commercial space where considerable large populations are employed is basically the same nationwide, only with differing facades and storefronts. Woe but it doesn’t often include reforms with ergonometric assessments; construction is mostly speculative and cost intensive, therefore literal.

Ubiquitous ‘minimum specification’ is a dreaded phrase for any progressive attempt to take the stationary out of workstation. Specifications for ergonomics are not a traditional part of space planner’s book for new or speculative construction. Perhaps planning for diversity of ergonomics is considered a micro-managed performance afterwards.

Possibly ergonomics is considered to be an accessorized specification for Interior Design. Post construction Retro-fit and trial and error is micro-managed by tenants’ and end-users’ of the core built environment. When it comes to making a basic speculative design into an upgraded environment design, tenants’, government entity, and local city groups determine any more build out.
Checklist for Administrative Assistant Work Space Ergonomics
A checklist is a worksheet for assessment of ergonomic tools of No/Yes Answers. The following outline is paraphrased from Healthy Computing com (Healthy Computing; 2004)

Affirmative answers by the administrative assistant to following questions about “work habits and postures” define need for ergonomic tools (2004).
  • Employee frequently performs tasks that require “extended periods of repetitive motions:”
Stuffing/ sorting envelopes
Opening mail
Punch press
Binding, and other
  • Employee is required to perform tasks “using manual excessive force:”
Lifting heavy objects
Pushing/ Pulling heavy objects
  • Employee is exposed to “physical stressors:”
Flashing light or Darkness
Extreme hot/ cold
Wearing environment suits
  • Maintains position with little or no motion for longer than 30 minutes?
  • Must perform Recurrent reaching, extending, or supporting awkward posture in duties?

Shoulder scrunching while on phone
Squatting to find file in lower
cramped file/ Storage
Awkward bending of wrists while working the QWERTY
Reaching for supplies stored in high shelves, etc.

  • Aisle Space is adequate for circulation by wheel chair, or carts
  • Positions of shoulders, elbows while keyboarding are relaxed and parallel to floor (2004)

Negative answers to the following questions indicate need for ergonomic tools in “Workstation Analysis” (2004):

  • Desk area is organized with all work tools safely within reach?
  • Adjusting chair is resulting in correct height, support of lower back, and proper angle?
  • Feet are resting on floor or footrest comfortably?
  • Chair arms and appurtenances do not interfere with typing or mouse use?
  • Keyboard and mouse are placed in front of employee, close to the lap?

  • The top of the monitor is at eye level when chair is adjusted to comfort position?
  • Monitor is free of glare?
  • Document holder is aligned with monitor?

  • Worktops are all evenly lit, with no glare?
  • The employee understands the importance of all these analysis questions? (Healthy Computing; 2004, outline paraphrased).

Remedy in Micro-Manage Administrative Assistant’s Work Space

Five typical remedies recur in work space assessment. They are: keyboard, seating, posture, lighting, and range of unhampered motion of employee.

For example in this discussion look at some considerations of the vital tool of the administrative assistant: the keyboard with number pad, and mouse.

Keyboard: Our QWERTY keyboard is traditionally our primary communicating device for today’s office space employees. Therefore, proper assessment of employees’ posture and motion is needed centered on this most important tool. Keyboards ideally fit just above the lap, with the ‘B’ key directly centered on computer operator’s navel.
Typical problems: centering, tilting, height, posture and repeated motions. Additionally, will the future offer persons without use of arms, hands or all one’s fingers possibility to be a typist, to fulfill the position of Administrative Assistant?


This discussion is a compendium of the travail of administrative assistants at their work places. The entire handbook on assessment and compliance is a large knowledge base crossing many disciplines. It is not a complicated field to delve into, but it is a part of post construction vocation specifically in micro-managed space-planning of offices.
Employees should use safety equipment provided. Also workers should contribute to assessment of dangers they will have found in their work place environment. In 1999 it was reported that “on average in the United States 17 people die each day due to work-related causes. Also ergonomics is a science based commitment “to the study of human work.” Repetitive Strain Injuries, RSI, “causes inflammation and pain, and can be permanently disabling if it is not dealt with properly” (Klag, M J; 1999).
Other key searches for different types of work will be found easily in the sources I found to be helpful. The key to the entire process is in the idea that repetitive motion can lead to wear and tear on the most delicate parts of our human bodies: neck, wrist, and ankles, joints. Muscles can surround the delicate skeletal areas, but the linkage of bones in the wrist and miraculous ankle and neck are still vulnerable. All repetitive body expressions that entail injurious result over a long work period are part of the scope of whole ergonomic discussions.


Blanck, Peter David, (1996) Communicating the Americans with Disabilities Act, Transcending Compliance: 1996 Follow-Up Report on Sears, Roebuck and Co, (Iowa City, Iowa, 1996)

Cornell Human Factors and Ergonomics Research Group, CHFERG, (ND), Ecotecture, edited by Hedge, Alan; Site content last revised: March 18, 2007, Department of Design and Environmental Analysis, Cornell University retrieved March 19-23, 2007: ergo human Cornell edu Ecotecture external

Ergonomics Society, the; (1996-2006) email ergsoc ergonomics org uk,The Ergonomics Society, Elms Court, Elms Grove, Loughborough LE11 1RG, UK, retrieved March 19-23, 2007 at ergonomics org uk

Healthy Computing; (2004) Office Ergonomics Training and Assessment Manual, retrieved March 19-23, 2007 healthycomputing net fuseaction home main

Klag, Michael J, Editor; (1999) Johns Hopkins Family Health Book, p 70-75, Harper Collins Publishers, NY, NY

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

ECTACO iTRAVL English <-> Italian TL-2I

Category:Talking dictionary and audio PhraseBook
Language pair: English <-> Italian, Italian <-> English
Vocabulary: over 450,000 words
PhraseBook: over 14,000 phrases
Size: 98x30x181mm, 3.9x1.2x7.1 in
Weight: 11 oz
Battery Type: Li-Polymer rechargeable battery (3.7V, 1800mAh), included

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
This product is the latest of our famous iTRAVL translators. This new generation portable device is the ultimate talking dictionary available today. Complete with the most sophisticated voice capabilities available anywhere, this device features a unique combination of state-of-the-art speech recognition allowing your machine to understand an individual user"s voice, professionally recorded real human voice output, and advanced TTS voice synthesis. Featuring over 14,000 phrases it can voice in Italian and English, this unmatched phrasebook is a must-have for international travelers, helping them to navigate foreign language terrain and communicate efficiently. It gives one a comprehensive two-way dictionary and easy-to-use sentence builder pronunciation for every word from shopping and eating to camping and football: everything the traveler needs; it includes useful everyday conversation topics giving one an immediate insight into foreign language culture. Complete with fun and efficient FlashCards for optimized language learning: you can pick any of four entertaining games, go at your pace, and build up your vocabulary.

Enclosed into a water-resistant and dustproof case this rugged, durable, and compact handheld translator with a fine quality loudspeaker is a swift little machine made for effective communication.


  • The ultimate source of ready-made phrases, expressions, and lists of single words, the phrasebook includes the following topics: Basics, Traveling, Hotel, Local Transport, Sightseeing, Bank, Communications means, In the restaurant, Shopping, Repairs/Laundry, Sport/Leisure, Health/Drugstore, Beauty Care.
  • "You may hear it" is the function, allowing you to see what you may hear in reply to the voiced phrase. For instance, having picked the topic "In a restaurant" you chose the phrase "I would like some white wine please". When you choose "You may hear it" option, the system will display the potential answers you may hear from the waiter in response to your request.
  • "Useful words" function displays the key words in a given topic, which are the most important for the traveler to memorize.
  • Advanced human-recorded speech output in Italian and English
  • Superb English and Italian speech recognition technologies allow the device to transform your speech into digital information. Once your speech has been transformed, it can then be translated and/or spoken aloud.
  • Single words or whole phrases search function
  • Flashcards for effective language learning: this classical setup uses the card system to help you effectively memorize foreign words and quickly expand your vocabulary

Expanded vocabulary

  • Advanced speech synthesis in Italain and English
  • Instant reverse translation for added convenience
  • Look-up function lets you navigate easily through volumes of information
  • Advanced word recognition and MorphoFinder™
  • "Add New Word" function will allow you to create new entries and add them to existing dictionaries
  • The virtual keyboard provides access to the dictionary
  • Slang Lock feature
  • Easy expandable by adding MMC/SD cards with more languages and ultimate linguistic content from ECTACO, Inc.

Additional Features

  • MP3 player
  • MultiMedia Card slot (Card included) for simplified content replacement and updates, you can add up to 20 languages on MMC and over the Internet
  • World Time
  • Daily Alarm
  • Calculator
  • Currency and Metric conversion
  • Touch screen (320x240 pixels)
  • Screen backlight
  • Auto Off function will shut off translator when it’s idle
  • AC adapter, MMC Card English-Italian iTRAVL - 128MMC TL-EI and rechargeable battery are included in the package. Rechargeable battery charges by adapter.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Advice for the Worker seeking Nirvana... from an old Palikir

By Pat Darnell 03/12/07
Workforce Effectiveness / Employee Selection

“Selection and placement relate to the nature aspects of ability.
Training relates to the nurture of ability" (George, J M; 2006, p 60).
Employees have the training opportunities at The Home Company to improve their skills, and abilities if they are placed in job-appropriate training. Increased automation and organizational restructuring of office operations continues to make administrative assistants more productive in coming years (US DOL; March/2007, para).

The Home Company is not underestimating the competitive edge it has when all its employees are performing at their highest level of verbal, numerical, spatial, and perceptual abilities. Training gives the edge in both abilities personified and nurtured personalities. Training though is more often considered a high cost item. The Home Company has obvious need to use new and advanced technologies to lower operating costs. Training will be the only way to bring employees’ skills up to an acceptable minimum level of performance to relieve stress, increase job satisfaction, and elevate leader effectiveness.

At THC we select individuals who have abilities needed to fit the tasks we identified. We place employees in jobs that capitalize on their abilities. We initiate training that enhances employees’ ability levels. It is my task to present two selections of primary responsibilities of the Executive Assistant, and the training steps to perfecting each. One is a technical skill of “maintaining the calendar and schedule utilizing Lotus Notes.” Two is a behavioral skill refresher: “directing callers to the proper department to address their issue and not bothering the president with trivial calls” (CTUOnline; March/2007).

This approach often means that Executive and Administrative assistants assume added responsibilities and are seen as valuable members of a team. The strategy is one of job-appropriate training and is for all THC employees’ varying skill sets and behavior points as needed.

Step 1
Need for Technical Knowledge and Skill in manipulation of IT and communication software
Executive and Administrative Assistant is a position that is in support always of the executive, in context of handling mundane tasks. For instance scheduling and maintaining the calendar of future events, from a varied source of notations made in Lotus Notes, and other sources is high priority tasking. “Extensive research suggests that job-appropriate training is effective in increasing employees’ skills and abilities and ultimately, their performance (Arthur, W et al; 2003)” (George, J M; 2006, p 60).

Step 2 Objectives of Technical Training
Knowledge of communications for scheduling, and conducting a calendar of future events has a two fold purpose.

A) Old soft wares are still being used in many cases for setting up meetings, classes and appointments, as in Lotus Notes. Assistants need a refresher course on the older soft wares.

B) All Contacts must be quantified in logs and tagged with proper electronic protocol audit trail, especially in the President’s day timer.

Step 3 Training Evaluation Materials in Technical Training
At the end of the training the trainee will be expected to show an increase in Lotus Notes calendar, scheduling, administrating and training classes’ dexterity. Also, the evaluation includes the trainee’s skill coordinating of all other types of internet protocol electronic scheduling and costs of administration.

An evaluation in basic technical improvement is made at the end of each day. Trainees also evaluate each other, and the training for the day. What is recorded is reviewed the next morning.

Step 4 the Technical Training Skeleton
Training will predominantly take place to bring all new assistants to the current user level of Lotus Notes:

Find mail messages that were deleted without your consent or knowledge
Opportunities arising for meetings that the Scheduler did not insert into your Calendar
Remember how to change your password
Remember how to open and send a mail message, such as changing your password
Restarting computer if Lotus Notes crashes
Time and money costing for Lotus Notes training classes
Maintaining staff clarity in training personnel for fixing Lotus Notes problems
Backup system in IT to enable total restore Lotus Notes
Supporting staff at help desk providing answers that can't be found in the help file
Dealing with spam, viruses, security and privacy
(Lotus Notes Hater, © 2003-2007, para)

As Executive Administrative assistant the costs must be tracked for scheduling and operating the e-system:

Software acquisition costs
Software maintenance costs
Migration and upgrade costs
Downtime costs

The later part of this training will evaluate the newer communications tools being introduced at

THC, and future plans.
Voice over internet protocol
Radio frequency
Biometric protocol
Schedule conflict remedy

Step 5 Training
Training will be following orientation of new Administrative Assistants, held for four consecutive days, for 7 hours each day. Trainees will be presented to several speakers from IT, and Administrative Assistant positions.

Because the training is based in actual use and maintenance of the existing scheduling and calendar software, our session together is hands on.

Introduce skill objective through computer PC for each
Some written; some computer Exercises per handbook
Group hands on Activities per PC
Discussions per chalk board brain-wave storm, norm, reform...
Role plays per search and schedule games per PC
At end of each day we will open the discussion up:
We will trace a line of communication from beginning to end per LAN
We will discuss some Case studies per IT secondary research
Finally we will discuss benchmarks of success in scheduling.

Step 6 Start the Session

“Okay, everyone... assume the Lotus position.”

“At Technical Training I want everyone to at least stretch your legs, if you can’t put one leg over the other foot...”

“.. Then I encourage all in proper breathing, and I intend to foster physical stability, so you may become totally confident in your ability to dominate our Lotus Notes, and all peripheral electronic communication devices at THC.”

...Our technical course today is designed to be pragmatic so that the learning can be applied as soon as you move into your new positions. Skills are evaluated during the course, and you will have opportunity to identify training needs at your organization level, and, group and individual level. Also, in line with THC corporate strategy, the course content and duration is dependent upon specific needs of the Administrative Assistant, and the one you will be assisting.

Evaluations take into account current and future needs, and both human and cultural factors. It is focused at a practical level. Mastery of Technical Training is achieved when you Identify factors affecting the understanding process:

Understands different scheduling styles and their implication and Is able to write communications objectives and evaluate workplace outcomes
Can prepare and deliver a short piece of administrative documentation for scheduling in Lotus Notes
Build team participation into your administrative events (Development Company, The; 2004)

Step 1
Need for Behavioral Soft Skills Training: Etiquette Management Workshop
Many administrative assistant duties are of a personal, interactive nature and, therefore, not easily automated. Responsibilities such as planning conferences, working with clients, and instructing staff require tact and communication skills.

Because technology cannot substitute for these personal skills, administrative assistants will continue to play a key role at THC, and provide training support from current employees, in a mentor capacity (DOL; 2006-7, para).

Step 2 Objectives of Soft Skills Training
Opportunities should be best for administrative assistants with extensive knowledge of software applications, particularly experienced secretaries and exemplary administrative assistants wishing to further perfect behavioral techniques.
Extending Computers, e-mail, scanners, and voice message systems will allow administrative assistants to accomplish more in the same amount of time.
Increasing office automation and organizational restructuring will continue to make administrative assistants more productive in coming years.
Professionals and managers increasingly will be doing their own word processing and data entry while they handle much of their own correspondence rather than submit the work to assistants and other support staff.
In some cases, such traditional secretarial/ assistant duties as keyboarding, filing, photocopying, and bookkeeping are being assigned to workers in other units or departments (Cascio, W; 2005)

Step 3 Training evaluations on Materials Behavioral Development Training Courseware
The training sessions are simulated in computer display, and then in video taped situational junctures. Each task is evaluated first by team mates, then by the trainer. The video tapes are then shown again at the end of the five week training. Executive and Administrative assistant trainees will be awarded juncture points to be pooled for an eventual score that relates to team mates’ scores. The team building experience is very important in the evaluation summary, as the participants are in varying levels of skills and performance.

Step 4 the Etiquette Training Skeleton
Five Skills Over-Review for the Executive and Administrative Assistant
o Writing
o Communications
o Etiquette for Diversity
o Public Speaking
o Time Management

Business Writing
o Writing Reports and Proposals
o Advanced Writing Skills of Document Management
o telephone based internal/ external customer tune-up
o telephone etiquette
o difficult telephony customers protocol
o Assertive problem solving.
People Skills Strategies
o Conflict Resolution
o Dealing with Difficult People
o Customer Service Training
o Critical Elements of Customer Service
Business Etiquette
o Gaining that Extra Edge
o Cultural Diversity
o Critical
Public Speaking: Presentation Survival School
o Building Self Esteem and Assertiveness Skills
o Public Speaking: Speaking Under Pressure
o Conquering Fear of Speaking in Public
o A Minute-Taker’s Workshop
Time Management - Get Organized for Peak Performance (Velsoft Courseware Inc: 2006)

Additional Soft Skill training for Executive Assistant
o Some offices, paralegals and special assistants are assuming some tasks formerly done by secretaries, for example:
§ Project Risk Management Assistant
§ Accounting Management Assistant
§ Compliance/ HRM Assistant
o Cultural diversity Compliance and Etiquette
o Overcoming Embarrassment/ Shyness
o Testing your Business Etiquette Knowledge base
o Handshake or Bow?
o Business Card Etiquette
o The Skill of Making Small Talk
o Test: Remember Names?
o First Impression
o Dressing the Part
o The do We Venture Code
o Business Dining
o E-Mail / Telephone Etiquette (Velsoft Courseware Inc: (2006)

Step 5 Training Materials
Training will be following orientation of new Executive and Administrative Assistants, held for five consecutive weeks, for 20 hours each week. Trainees will be presented to several speakers from HRM, and outside consultants.
Introduce soft-skill objective through computer PC for each session
Handbook and knowledge base
Group Encounters
Hands on Activities per PC simulators
Discussions per chalk board brain-wave storm, norm reform...
Role plays per search and schedule games
We will go through mock up from beginning to end per applications
We sill discuss some Case studies per IT secondary research
Finally we will discuss benchmarks of success in scheduling

Step 6 Start the Session
“Edward Deming, the father of quality management, has said: ‘They can work long hours, face declining business, even the loss of a job, but they can’t deal with the difficult people in their lives.’ This etiquette management workshop will help you identify some of the ways you may be contributing to these problems and give you some strategies you can adopt at work and in your personal life as well” (Soft skills Software; 2006 para).
· Identify factors affecting the learning process
· Understand different learning styles and their implication
· Write own training objectives and write journal of workplace outcomes
In hopes of discovering the maturing organism within, this training is based on each one’s perceived needs. The problem with that has been: in this training along the way almost everyone discovers a highly skilled, highly motivated, identifiable growth articulation, and just plain old, good thoughts about one’s well being.
Cascio, W F, & Aguinis, H; (2005) In Pearson Prentice Hall (Ed.), Apply Psychology in Human Resource Management (6th ed., pp. 379-407). Upper Saddle River, NJ

DOL, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, Secretaries and Administrative Assistants, on the Internet at www BLS gov/oco/ocos151 htm; visited March 12, 2007

George, Jennifer M and Jones, G R; (2005) Understanding and Managing Organizational Behavior, 4th Ed, Pearson Custom Publishing, Boston, MA

Lotus Notes Hater, (© 2003-2007) All Rights Reserved, Last Updated: March 3, 2005, lotusnotessucks 4t com lnEx36 retrieved March 12, 2007

The Development Company; (2004) The 8 Step Easy Guide to Designing Training Sessions. Retrieved March 5, 2007, from The Development Company Web Site: www the devco com in-company-train-tips

Velsoft Courseware Inc: (2006) Soft Skills Training Materials, All rights reserved, Retrieved March 12, 2007, softskillscourseware

fin ...Okeee brainchildren? Stick all that in your pipe and smoke it. Lookin' at the full range of training available, and how much is offered by institutions, gov-ments, and smart guys... whooooo weeeee, Jethro, sure enough got me goin' PD


Friday March 02, 2007
Keeping Up With the Blogging Joneses

The Wall Street Journal has a free feature today on live blogging, entitled "The Minutes of Our Lives."

It explains that people are "increasingly documenting the most mundane and private aspects of their lives and posting them the instant they happen."

So, I thought I'd give it a shot:

1:35 PM: I just had a salad for lunch.

1:40 PM: I had to use the facilities.

1:45 PM: I'm sitting here in my home office, reading this free Wall Street Journal article about liveblogging, wondering if I should live blog.

1:49 PM: I've started live blogging, but realizing that if I continue to live blog, I'm not going to be able to get any real work done and could shortly find myself blogging about not having anything work-related to blog about because I'll no longer be gainfully employed.

1:50: I'm about to stop live blogging and just think about blogging instead.

I think we all just need to get a life.

What's next, moblogging with your Crackberry on the 17th green?

"Yeah, this is Turbo on the 17th green at putt looks like it's got about a 9 degree incline to the left...definitely headed with the grain down towards the water...Oh, look, there's the nice cart person...yes, could I have a hot dog and a coke, please?...Okay, this one's for all the skins..."

Yeah, right.

It's too much information, people. Pretty soon we'll all be so busy documenting and blogging what we're doing, that we simply won't be doing anything anymore.

And speaking of information overabundance, check out Read/Write Web on an overview of the "Attention Economy" (Shouldn't that read "Attention Deficit Economy?")

Their verdict? First, do I have your full attention?

The rapid growth of information causes scarcity of attention, so therefore the key ingredient is relevancy.

If what you're offering to the consumer in the way of information is relevant, they'll stick around.

I would generally agree.

But I have to tell the Read/Write Web folks, I have a whole RSS reader full of relevant information that I haven't had time to read in days.

So, I think I'll go blog about how much time I don't have to read all the personalized and relevant information that's now all constipated in my Feed Demon.

And yes, I'll also mention what I'm having for dinner.

Monday, March 12, 2007



~Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy:
Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht
oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt thing is taht the frist and
lsat ltteres are at the rghit pcleas. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can
sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by
ilstef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

~Thought Patterns for a Successful Career

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Diversity Compliance: A Cow in every Melting Pot...

One of our readers writes:

"Ok, I have had my laugh for the day… but seriously…

Knowledge does not come to us in details, but in flashes of light from heaven.
-Henry David Thoreau-





1. COWS - Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that ourgovernment can track a cow born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where she sleeps in the state of Washington? And, they can track her calves to their stalls. But they are unable to locate 11 million illegal aliens wandering around our country. Maybe we should give them all a cow.

2. THE CONSTITUTION -They keep talking about drafting a Constitution forIraq. Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it's worked for over 200 years, and we're not using it anymore anyway.

3. THE TEN COMMANDMENTS -The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse........ You cannot post "Thou Shalt NotSteal," "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery" and "Thou Shall Not Lie" in abuilding full of lawyers, judges and politicians -- it creates a hostilework environment. JS

I Read these Periodicals: eWeek, Baseline, & CIO Insight

Dear Colleagues and fellow Innovation Mechanics:
I stand with you in not wanting to give in to secular competition, or be scandalized at the expense of losing my professional standing. In here with my peers, I often run across articles that fully support my prideful stance.
I have strong inclination that Customer Experience is the fastest growing business consideration in the new microcosm of Blogging, and cyber-raceous-space communicating. Following is just one of many found articles on innovation. I submit: "knock-off" has become the mother of innovation.
It may not be just the product your and my customers are looking for. "Our business ambience has much to do with our patent businesses," says Innovations. The future looks bright if we reverse decree "self-serve" to: trusting each other as patron and server, in our B2B enterprises. I think it is a good idea.
Do we not always keep an eye out for key-words and bench-mark decisions in the positive sense, to nurture free-world entrepreneurs in missions of business applications? I personally know that there is no simple shortcut, only a strong sense of "which and why" best practices apply in daily tasks to win customer loyalty, when there is so much ill will in the communities.
In sharing this entire article with you, as it appears in Innovations, supplement to Baseline, eWeek, and CIO Insight, our innovator spirits will gain confidence to stand up and be counted. PD
Innovation Through Customer Experience
In today’s ultra-competitive business environment, creating a unique customer experience could well be what makes or breaks your company.We live in a border less, 24 x 7 world in which competitive advantage is fleeting and seemingly unsustainable. Ideas are a commodity, and innovations are routinely knocked off by competitors in a matter of a few weeks or months.
In his new book, The Coming China Wars, University of California Business School professor Peter Navarro tells of one city in China that has become so adept at counterfeiting parts that the practice now makes up the majority of its economy. This is a two-pronged problem for U.S.companies because not only are they unable to sustain an advantage against a copycat competitor, but their brand is beholden to the quality of parts they did not’t even produce.

In a world of simple knock offs, we need another route to sustainable advantage. That route is customer experience.

When you think of the companies that have broken out of the pack to redefine their markets in recent years – companies like Starbucks, Nike, Google, Wal-Mart, Southwest Airlines, and Apple – they have succeeded by creating an experience that customers find compelling enough to seek out for themselves. That experience is a barrier to entry for competitors. It’s distinctive, and nearly impossible to copy.

Customer experience does not’t necessarily mean customer service, although that’s a big part of it. Customer experience is about an interaction that has special meaning for the customer. BMW owners can tell you that there’s something about the feel of driving their car that no other vehicle can replicate. A Harley motorcycle enthusiast would never own another brand. Nike has used its advertising to create an identity that its customers instinctively want to adopt. People will wait in line to buy overpriced coffee at Starbucks because there’s something soothing and invigorating about the atmosphere.

One of my favorite examples of a company that provides outstanding customer experience in a commodity business is Wawa, a Pennsylvania-based convenience store operator. Its commitment to friendly and positive customer service has earned it a fanatical following. There are Wawa fan clubs on, Live and Face, where visitors exchange their best customer service stories. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never distinguished one convenience store from another. This 540-store grocery chain has managed to create a cult of customer enthusiasts that any business would envy.

Customer experience comes in many forms, and they don’t necessarily involve technology. In fact, successful companies often do nothing more than find out what really matters to their customers, and then focus on doing that very, very well. A great example of this is Southwest airlines. The airline industry is obsessed with complexity; its fare structure alone is incomprehensible to its customers, and the logic of the hub-and-spoke system is often baffling. Southwest went back to basics and focused on doing a few things well that customers said really mattered to them: take off on time, arrive on time, get them their baggage quickly, and don’t charge a lot of money. Believe it or not, those simple things are differentiators in the airline business.

Think about what you can do to create a unique customer experience. Ask customers what they want, and then give them that plus more. Find ways to delight them and they will be yours for a very long time.
Use of this site is governed by our Copyright © 1996-2007 Ziff Davis Publishing Holdings Inc. All Rights Reserved. Innovations are trademarks of Ziff Davis Publishing Holdings, Inc. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Ziff Davis Media Inc. is prohibited.

Innovation: What is it when Caught in the Microcosm?

href=""> Todd Watson is in his 14th year with IBM.
He began his career working on two software magazines, for which he wrote on a variety of business technology topics before joining IBM's Internet division in 1995. He later led the development of the IBM e-business Web site, and most recently has been responsible for helping drive the strategy and optimization of the IBM Software Group Web presence.
His longstanding personal mission at IBM has been to use the Web to drive business effectiveness and efficiencies, and to better serve IBM customers leveraging the unique capabilities of the Internet.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Each a Guardian for One Another

By Patrick Darnell 3/5/2007
Developing Successful Customer Service Plan

Rendering the Grit in Integrity
‘I am guessing’ many of the workers at Studio Productions each have a favorite customer service story. I surmise that some parts of situations in each story were not resolved to a satisfactory conclusion. Also, workers in attempt to make the situation cost effective, found that he or she ran out of time, and had to move on to pressing job tickets (Verghis; 2007, para).

Moreover, ‘I will bet many feel a good deal of frustration’ about their jobs these days. That’s a common problem among service and support executives: You are the supposed voice of the customer. Traditionally you oversee a key area of operations, and you ‘hit regularly home runs’ on your Sales/ Service group’s performance metrics. But when big decisions are made, no one listens to you. No one seems to give a hoot. If that’s a problem you’d like to take action to solve, some group evaluations can help.

I realize this letter can only take you partway on a journey toward greater respect and influence for evaluating the customer in us all. Therefore the following is in response to the commonality aspects of ‘learning to serve each other, will evolve into better serving our customers’ (Verghis; 2007, para).

Discussion: Making it Policy
How to make others in the company able to relate to duty of customer service is to encourage others to believe in the commitment of company-wide service obligations. Commitments to each other, as well as to customers: this is the question.

Frontline personnel and managers earn the right to demand respect for their customer service support operations. CS Support organizations in ‘high technology firms and academia provide excellent benchmarks of improved customer service, efficient cyber Servicescapes, and respectable cost savings.’ For others, as has been illuminated for me, it does not take me long to find that integrity and gumption go hand in hand. To succeed, we will have made people we work with, outside our Sales/Service team, listen and take our efforts seriously (Verghis; 2007, para).

The frontline is the decision-makers for what works and what doesn't work in becoming a persuasive advocate for our customers and for our staff. For instance a recent movie/docudrama, The Guardian, features the work of the US Coast Guard. In the end notes special features, one of the real life rescue swimmers who worked in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans said something very pertinent to our situation.

As shown in this DVD special feature, the Coast Guard rescuers receive training that is from top to bottom modal. Modal is a term meaning progressive actions taken respectively while deciding what it takes to successfully save a destitute person. Training in context of knowledge, belief, and obligation, more simply, the rescue mission is made of step-by-step progressive actions to limit probability of failure. Many rescuers claim after the training the tasks of rescuing start to materialize naturally. However, failure to rescue a victim comes when one or more of the elements of rescue dynamics breaks down or is deleted.

Discussion: Knowledge, Belief, Obligation
The rescuer said that she was rushed in to Louisiana, and ‘did not know her team mates in the helicopters over New Orleans.’ She did not even have time to ‘review procedures with the pilots, flight mechanic, or ground support personnel.’ Thrown into the aftermath of multi-survivor scenario, she went through each air-to-ground rescue with unfamiliar team-mates. By using the procedure so ingrained in training of all rescue personnel in context of low probability failure, she said each element of each rescue could be carried out with confidence.’ Could this knowledge benefit SPInc in developing their new century CS paradigm? (The Guardian; 2006, para)

The US Coast Guard is a service organization with its contingency strongly believing in their obligation to serve, protect and save. The customer is I and you, in the event of helplessness to save ourselves. “Rescue swimmers often encounter survivors who are confused and scared. Their flailing arms and legs can be dangerous. [Rescues Swimmers] develop ‘Techniques’ to defend against inadvertent attacks while helping subdue victims in need of rescue” (The Guardian; 2006, para).

Though, much less dramatic, employees and customers of Studio Productions often need rescuing. Without superior customer service procedure as policy with the guard-rails learned in tough training, you the employee and your customer likely would suffer untold horrors. Why? The hope of being rescued when you are destitute is supplanted with terror that maybe the rescuer is incapable. When you see the first-hand failure of the rescue procedure, there is tension, anxiety and fear.

Internally displaced antagonized employees circulating around Studio Productions are no different from the needy dependents saved by the Coast Guard.

If we are to improve Service in the company, our jobs as managers no longer allow us the refuge of doing the front counter tasks. Rather we managers now support our frontline workers by supplying all the experience, information and knowledge they need for successful, decisive, efficient customer co-relational service. The first item on our agenda should be to hold a caucus on substantiating Customer Service Modeling: “The Customer Service Model... Customers... Strategy... Systems... People” for the new millennia (Swartzlander, Anne; 2004 para)

Studio Productions does not need simply an extra motivational event. We will have made a scalable plan to have in-house workshops that are interactive, often intense, experiential events. Group discussions will be guided in clear focus of practical, hands-on problems that frontline personnel, managers and Studio Production’s executives face every day. The stage will have been set to encourage internal support for our obligation to serve our customers fittingly:

  • Tactics and insights that will make for a more effective frontline leadership
  • Emphasis in ways to earn more respect from each other
  • Examples of ‘When’ do we all need to be more aggressive and pound the table?
  • Real influence comes from real accomplishments
  • By the end of the day, a notebook filled with ways to make every aspect of Studio Productions noticeably better (Ingram, T N and Assoc; 2006, para)

Customer Service at Studio Productions is not a failure today; it just doesn’t work anymore in our modern multi-task business environment. In context of addressing internal customer service policy changes, I have heard some comments already making rounds in the corridors of Studio Production’s:

“Excellent. It validates some things I was thinking about. Some things I am already doing. But more importantly it inspired me about some new directions, and even some cost saving ideas.”

“How do we make it easy for us [employees] to understand concepts that may take us beyond comfort zones?”

“I want pithy presentations, loads of interactive pushy exercises, questions, and shared ideas. I feel it is needed to re-think and re-tool our present approaches and methods.”

“Very real world examples, is necessary to start communication, style and content well-targeted for this group.”

“I have written down many notes and many Personal Action Plans to share with others.”

“Reminds me of the longest running TV show in England BBC’s ‘Are you being served?’” (Verghis; 2007, para)

I am confident real-world stories and world of work real-life cases will continue to capture the mind’s eye of the entire work-force. Trusting in the frontline workers' ideas and imagination is added value, because minds are at maximum exertion at Studio Productions. I sincerely hope we all join in and have extended discussions with each other adding to our customer service knowledge base. Each worker has pertinent momentous feedback about our toughest career issues, and work-a-day customers who we toil with. Let’s take advantage of our good fortune.

CTU (2006) Colorado Technical University Online, MKT430-0701B-03 Course Materials, retrieved February 28, 2007 from Mainframe Content Frame
Guardian, the; (2007) Walt Disney Internet Group, WDIG, A- School, intense five week training program for Coast Guard rescue swimmers, retrieved 3/07; video movies go the guardian
Hussey, Gardner, (February 28, 2007, 3:27:33 PM) Personal Selling and Customer Focus, of Studio Productions... Customers Perceptions, retrieved 3/5/07, Week 1 Live Chat Session 1 Personal Selling and Customer Focus ppt
Ingram, T N and Assoc (2006) Professional selling: a trust-based approach, 3rd Ed, Australia: Thomson South-Western
Swartzlander, Anne; (2004) Serving Internal and External Customers, 1st Ed, 2004, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
Verghis, Phil (2007) the Verghis Group, All rights reserved, Retrieved 3/4/2007; verghisgroup workshop clid, www philverghis, the Ultimate customer Support Executive, Unleash the power of their customer Aug/2005

Thursday, March 01, 2007

What exactly is a Furvert ?

Furry fandom is a subculture distinguished by its enjoyment of anthropomorphic animal characters. Examples of anthropomorphism in the furry fandom include the attribution of human intelligence and facial expressions, speech, bipedalism or walking on two legs, and the wearing of clothes. Members of this subculture are sometimes known as furry fans, furries, or simply furs.

Art and entertainment celebrated by furry fandom may be any fictional work that employs the concept of animal characters with human characteristics, rather than any particular type of fiction. For this reason, any work, in any medium, may be considered part of the furry genre simply by inclusion of a fantastic animal character, although such characters are most often seen in comics, cartoons, animated films, allegorical novels, and video games. The science fiction and fantasy genres make frequent use of anthropomorphism, and as a result, are especially popular in furry fandom.

Since the 1980s, the term furries has come to refer to anthropomorphic animal characters in general. More common terms for such characters are funny animal, in use since the 1910s in the children's literature, comics and cartooning industries, as well as talking animal and cartoon animal

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