This is a little surprising in one respect because business intelligence is by no means a new thing; BI solutions have been around in one form or another for decades. But the tools and processes for delivering information to workers throughout a business -- the focus of BI solutions -- have matured significantly in recent years.
It's all in the delivery
Although there are many aspects to a complete BI solution, the only one that most people see is the end result - the information that is delivered. The best BI solutions deliver information in a variety of formats using multiple delivery methods, all geared to the needs of individual information workers.
How information is presented and how it is obtained can create huge differences in the usability of the information.
The most common formats for presenting information are:
* Dashboards and scorecards
* Traditional fixed format reports
* Compound reports containing data grids and graphs
* Excel workbooks
* Ad hoc reporting and analysis tools
For obtaining information, there are two common delivery methods: pull and push. With the pull delivery method, reports and scorecards are delivered to a particular location, such as a personal or corporate Web portal, a report library or a common network folder. It is then the responsibility of the information worker to access the information.
With the push delivery method, reports, dashboards and workbooks are delivered directly to the information workers. Newer solutions usually do this through e-mail, but with older applications the delivery method is typically paper copies of reports.
The advantage to push delivery is that the information worker doesn't have to act to obtain the information; delivery is automatic.
The pull and push methods can each be effective, but a new method of delivery changes how information workers acquire and use information. This method embeds information directly in the applications that information workers use on a daily basis, which for most information workers is Microsoft Office.
Solutions are being developed to embed direct access to corporate information within Office documents.
Embedding information into documents is similar to the use of spell checking and grammar checking. For example, if a company sells a product named "flux capacitor," any time those words appear together in an Office document, they would be recognized and highlighted. Users could retrieve information that they are authorized to see about flux capacitors, with results returned within a panel in the Office interface.
Existing pull and push technologies are usually external to the common work processes, requiring a context shift between gathering information and making use of it. With embedded information delivery, information is made available within the context of existing work processes, streamlining the ability to use it.
The pull, push and embedded information delivery methods each have appropriate audiences among information workers. We've labeled the integration of these three delivery methods "Pervasive BI."
With Pervasive BI, information workers can access information with the method that works best for them but can jump to other delivery points as necessary. So when someone opens an Office document containing "flux capacitor," he or she can choose to jump to a library of predefined reports that are related to flux capacitors as easily as he or she can retrieve specifically desired information directly into the document.
This degree of flexibility in information access and the embedding of information directly into ordinary documents are new BI features that have the potential to significantly change how information is accessed and used throughout the organization.
The bottom line is that BI solutions offer a number of ways to deliver information. Consider all the delivery methods when choosing a solution to accommodate the needs of your information workers.
BRYAN MCCLAIN (email@example.com) is the business intelligence practice manager at Innovative Consulting Inc., an IT services company focused on delivering business intelligence solutions. Reach him at (610) 725-2101.
Education: Georgia Institute of Technology, bachelor's degree, aerospace engineering; The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, MBA
First job: Lockheed Martin Corp., working in aerospace technology
Recognitions: The 2002 Raymond Rafferty Entrepreneurial Excellence Award from the Greater Philadelphia Venture Group; Joseph P. Wharton Award; Legend CEO by the Technology Council of Philadelphia in 1995.
Involvement: Chairman of the board of the SEI Center of Advanced Studies in Management at Wharton; member, executive committee, World Affairs Council of Philadelphia; chairman, American Business Conference
Whom do you admire most in business and why?
I admire Bill Gates' competitive nature and his strategic bets. He makes some very large bets, and it's an incredible run. And I get a sense that he has a very high integrity.
What is the most important business lesson you have learned?
It all comes down to relationships -- relationships you have with clients, with Wall Street and with your employees. I think if you mind your relationships well and you follow the ABCs of business, everything will work out.
What has been your toughest business challenge?
I have always thought long and hard about the importance of recurring revenue. The first business didn't have enough recurring revenue, and we ended up getting out of it. We ran through a niche and we sold everything -- we couldn't keep the business alive.
That was the simulation. You learn the lesson quickly. Then, I just stuck to this model, because once you are on to something, don't outthink yourself.
What thoughts can you offer on leadership?
If you believe in something, do it rather than believing in it for someone else to do.
Art holds a special place at Duane Morris. The firm's marketing materials compare the law to art, saying it is "seen differently by different people, constantly changing, and in many instances open to interpretation." But the real explanation is that the artwork, which is quite literally everywhere, is simply a reflection of Bonovitz and the firm itself.
"It's kind of edgy," Bonovitz says. "What you really want to do is create a physical environment and intellectual environment where there is a lot of energy."
Duane Morris is a 100-year-old organization with more than 550 attorneys and 20 offices nationwide. It prides itself on, of all things, innovation and entrepreneurship, in an industry in which case law, precedent, high-profile clients and billable hours are the typical driving factors.
"We promote our entrepreneurialism, and it carries through our lawyers," says Bonovitz. "Lawyers join our firm because we do this."
But Duane Morris isn't innovative because it looks at the law in a different way than its competitors. Rather, Bonovitz and his staff look at the entire practice of lawyering through the eyes of their clients. They apply lessons learned to the launch of new businesses in industries that are in need of creative thinkers.
"We're probably the leading firm in the country in fostering ancillary businesses," Bonovitz says. "The strategy is to leverage our infrastructure and resources to generate another source of revenue from our knowledge base. That sort of entrepreneurialism filters down into the lawyer force."
Among the businesses Duane Morris has launched through a wholly-owned subsidiary are a malpractice insurance company, American Health Care Provider Services, and a money management firm, Westcott Financial Advisory Services. Both arose from needs that were not being served by others.
Smart Business hit the law books with Bonovitz to discuss how Duane Morris fosters entrepreneurship and innovation throughout its ranks.
As CEO, how do you nurture innovation?
We talk about what our philosophy is and how important it is to understand what being an owner is; what making money and losing money is, because that's what our clients do. We tell our lawyers to put themselves in the clients' position and act like them. We have a contingent fee program, and they (the lawyers) know we're risk-takers.
We look at things in terms of time value of money, and risk-adjust our proposals. We also have a very aggressive sales and marketing force. That reflects our innovation.
Our partners meet three times a year face-to-face, and we have programs that feed on this. They meet in practice groups and interdisciplinary practice groups, so they're meeting to discuss marketing and business generation. That's all entrepreneurial; they're not talking about the latest case.
When recruiting, we stress the innovative environment. We're very long-term-thinking and invest 10 percent of our income in our growth. That's money that would otherwise be income (to the attorneys). We expense about $7.5 million a year in our growth, and we invest about $2.5 million to $3 million in firm capital.
We're investors and we're builders, and when we're recruiting, that will resonate with a certain group of lawyers, so we get people who want to build an institution.
Does this innovative philosophy contribute to a collegial culture?
Yes. The other aspect of it is that when we bring lateral partner candidates in, we intensely spend time with them, so that not only do you see the objective tests - like the fact that we cross-sell into our clients with no territorial thinking -- but we also talk about our 'no jerks' rule. We want to get people in who are nice. We're not interested in jerks, no matter how much business they may bring in.
How do your firm's attorneys learn from their attorney/client relationships and translate that knowledge into new business opportunities and revenue streams?
Our businesses are run by professionals who are not lawyers and are stand-alone businesses. They're really walled off from the firm. One group practices law, the other engages in various business aspects.
Our health care lawyers recognized a need in Pennsylvania on the part of physicians who needed medical malpractice insurance. Companies were going out of business, so doctors were being left without insurance alternatives. And those that were left were outrageously priced and increasing.
So our health care group defined the need. Our insurance group devised the structure to satisfy that need, which was the formation of an insurance exchange -- an insurance company regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance, like any other insurance company, but the capital is provided by the physician insureds, who contribute 50 percent of their first year's premium to capital.
That provides the capital base to fund the insurance company. The insurance company is a virtual insurance company with no employees. Duane Morris, through two tiers of subsidiaries, owns the company that provides the services to the insurance company -- the claims administration, underwriting of risk, placing reinsurance, financial operations, staffing in terms of records. The service business is paid a percentage of the gross premium of the insurance company.
This is our second full year, and the insurance company will probably write about $20 million of insurance premiums and the management fee is a little over $4 million. We've replicated this in Florida and just filed in New Jersey. We have a very qualified, very senior staff who have equity in these businesses. Virtually all the profit will be gleaned with a very small investment on the part of the firm.
We also have a joint venture with a health care consultant that we're just forming that will enable the new company created to enter into very large and substantial contracts with hospital and health care systems throughout the country that will help them with innovative ideas to save money. The other partner is a 20-person health care consultant. We have 32 or 33 health care lawyers, who have the network and relationships.
How do the nonlegal service businesses operate in conjunction with Duane Morris?
Duane Morris is a law partnership, a Delaware LLP. It owns an LLC called Westcott Holdings LLC, 100 percent. Westcott Holdings LLC owns the various businesses that are stand-alone businesses that we've helped create. One is called American Health Care Provider Services, which is an LLC, which is our parent service provider, which owns New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida health care service providers. The executives in each of those service organizations own a percentage of them.
Westcott also owns Westcott Financial Advisory Services, about 55 or 60 percent. The executives own about 40 percent. It's a money management firm with between $800 million and $1 billion under management.
If you took our family of businesses, about 90 to 95 percent of the clients are nonlaw firm clients, so we don't really sell into our (law firm) client base.
What unique challenges do you face because of this philosophy?
A decade ago, we had about 200 lawyers and were a regional law firm that, on average, probably grew 2 percent to 5 percent a year. We had revenue of $60 million to $70 million. This year, we'll have about 575 lawyers, and our revenue will be in excess of $260 million. We're a national firm in 11 or 12 major markets.
The challenge 10 years ago was to do what you're doing and continue to do it well. If we did that, we'd be profitable. Today, the challenge is to manage our growth so that we can be a full-service provider of legal services throughout the country, getting quality lawyers in these various offices.
We've probably grown faster than any other law firm in the country that's grown other than by merger. We haven't had any mergers. It's all been by adding twos, threes and fives. One of the challenges is to manage current expectation of the partners, as well as build for the future.
The firm boasts more than 20 offices. How do you effectively communicate with your staff, and how do you present a clear, unified vision of the organization's goals and objectives?
With the Internet and e-mail, you really can almost do things seamlessly as far as providing a client with services from any office. We break into practice groups, so virtually every one of these offices has a member or more in a practice group. That practice group meets anywhere from weekly to monthly.
Our partners meet monthly. The partners meet three times a year at weekend retreats that are working meetings. It's been very successful.
Many law firms specialize in only a small handful of practice areas, but Duane Morris is very diverse. How does that position you in the marketplace.
Our strategy is to be a full-service firm and service the complex and specialized needs of a broad client base. The diversity gives you a certain cushion in a business that's very cyclical. Generally, in a law practice, if you have a conventional law practice, your corporate and real estate practices are very cyclical because when the economy is weak, those two practices are generally weak.
And in a weak economy, your litigation and bankruptcy practices thrive. There are some practices that are more neutral, in terms of being affected by the economy. One of the advantages of diversity is that you're buffeted against the cyclicality that exists in the economy.
We also adjust our expectation levels for the practice groups based on the cycles almost on a quarterly basis. Right now, bankruptcy is slowing down and the corporate practice is picking up.
What criteria do you use when determining where to open new offices?
We say, 'What are the major markets, and what are the markets that will help the international practice? What is the greatest opportunity for synergy among markets?' We measure the flow of business between offices, and overall, more than 20 percent of our revenue is interoffice.
Out of $260 million, more than $50 million of revenue is obtained because we have a particular office. We don't care if an office is an importer or exporter, we just want to see the interrelationship and synergies of that office as it relates to other offices.
How do you measure their success?
We expect our offices to be cash flow positive once they get past their start-ups. That means you take our cash revenue, minus our projected cash partner compensation and all expenses, including overhead, and we expect the revenue to exceed compensation plus overhead.
We disregard the first four months and expect them to be cash flow positive after that. How to reach: Duane Morris, (215) 979-1000 or www.duanemorris.com
Education: College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Va.; MBA, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania; honorary doctor of business administration degree, The University of South Carolina
First job: Kudner Agency, advertising, New York City
Recognitions: President's Medal, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences; CEO of the Week, CNN; Lifetime Achievement Award, Federation of American Health Systems; Industry Award of the Federation of American Health Systems; Americanism Award, A.D.L.; Entrepreneur of the Year in 1991 and CEO of the Year in 1992, Hospital Management; Outstanding 100 CEOs, 1995 and 1996, Financial World magazine
Civic contributions: President, Opera Company of Philadelphia; chairman, UNCF College Fund Campaign in Pennsylvania; director, CDI Inc., Genesis Health Venture and the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co.; served in the U.S. Army, attained captain rank as a member of the 77th Infantry Division
What's the greatest business lesson you've learned?
Run your business for the long-term, which means being involved with people of integrity and character. And do things the right way. ... Take no numbers for granted, check everything -- all numbers, ratios, etc. -- and challenge conclusions.
What is the greatest challenge you've faced, and how did you overcome it?
Maintaining profitability in a difficult business environment. If you provide great service on an honest basis and take care of your patients, they will send you more business.
If you have a lot of business, you can maintain a profitable profile, and then everything else rolls in line. UHS' facilities were founded on quality service, affordability and community relationships. But it all goes back to how well you do your job.
Whom in business do you most admire?
Fred Smith, founder, president and CEO of FedEx; and Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corp. Both men started their companies with nothing but a business plan and built extremely successful industry-leading companies.
Before you say it, let me do it for you: “The last thing I need is something else to read.”
I know how you feel. Running a growing organization is enough to keep anyone busy. The demand on our time from employees, suppliers and clients seems to increase every day. The sluggish economy only adds to the pressures of managing a successful business.
That’s why we have designed a unique publication. After 15 years in the publishing business, we know to listen to our readers. The publication you hold in your hands the ninth in our growing chain is the result of all our listening. In one-on-one conversations, CEO focus groups and written surveys, here is what readers like you told us they want in a local management journal.
1. Big minds, big ideas. Smart Business Philadelphia will tap into the top local business minds. Take this issue as an example. Our cover story tells how CEO Robert Toll keeps Toll Brothers already a $2.8 billion business growing an average of 20 percent a year.
Our Q&A feature, called One on One, showcases Tasty Baking Co. CEO Charles Pizzi, who talks with us about about the challenges of marketing his company’s Tastykakes in a market that’s focused on low carb and low fat products.
In the coming months, you’ll hear from more of the best business minds in Philadelphia on issues ranging from leadership and motivation to brand-building and innovation.
2. Go to the source. To get the latest thoughts on best practices in key business areas, we have partnered with key local service providers in areas including accounting and consulting, technology and executive education. They have front-line experience in dealing with the issues facing middle-market companies throughout the Philadelphia area. We work with these companies to develop commentaries on issues facing C-level management of middle-market companies. As I always say, wisdom comes from an abundance of councilors.
3. Keep it short. Most articles in Smart Business Philadelphia fill just a page. Only our major features are longer because they delve into the management styles and strategies of top executives. And don’t look for us to drop on your desk some day like a phone book. We plan to keep our page count low so you don’t have to fight to find the articles you are looking for.
You will find those three principles carried throughout the premiere issue of Smart Business Philadelphia and every subsequent issue just as our readers have come to expect the same from our other award-winning publications for the last 15 years.
Of course, that doesn’t mean we don’t know how to have fun, too. We realize that not every minute of your day is spent planning or executing strategy. So from time to time we will include other offerings, such as reports on the latest luxury autos, high-tech gear, books and travel.
Also, we will summarize recent executive changes on our Movers & Shakers page so you can keep up on what’s happening with your peers. So why are you getting Smart Business Philadelphia? One of two reasons: Because of your success in building a business to middle-market status or your senior management role at a larger company that values the middle market. In either case, I hope you enjoy reading our premiere issue. And I invite you to share your feedback with me by e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling me at (800) 988-4726.
For a U.S. company looking to expand overseas, major tax issues need to be addressed prior to actual expansion. These issues relate to structuring, repatriation of profits, transfers of intangible property and transfer pricing.
Structuring the foreign operation
There are different legal forms for conducting business abroad. Most have advantages and disadvantages that should be dealt with in each particular situation.
The legal form adopted will depend on many circumstances involving U.S. and foreign country issues, such as the type of business the company is planning to conduct as well as the income expected. In broad terms, the options for setting up a foreign operation, along with the advantage and disadvantage of each, are summarized on the chart at right.
Repatriation of profits
This issue has to be thoroughly studied for each particular case. Often, advice for this is provided by a consultant who addresses the U.S. side of the situation but pays little attention to the disadvantages or opportunities that a certain strategy can bring in the host country.
It is always necessary to be aware of all the tax treaties that the United States has entered into in order to avoid double taxation. However, there might be opportunities to minimize or defer the taxes paid by the U.S. parent company.
Though there are a number of strategies with a high degree of complexity, as long as the subsidiary does not distribute the earnings (with certain exceptions), the income will not be taxable in the United States.
Intellectual property and intangible assets
To avoid paying U.S. taxes until profits are repatriated and to create enough protection for the company's intangible assets, the following structure is widely used.
- When a U.S. parent company files a patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, it is advisable that the filing take place under the Patent Corporate Treaty, in which all the listed countries, including the United States, are designated.
- Then the U.S. parent company sets up an offshore holding company located in a low-tax jurisdiction.
- This offshore unit buys a stake in the parent's existing patent before it starts to generate any value. This patent is developed jointly by the parent company and the offshore company under a cost-sharing arrangement.
- The offshore company licenses the patent to another foreign subsidiary, which collects royalties from all foreign subsidiaries that sell the parent company's products to foreign customers.
- Finally, a portion of these royalties is paid to the U.S. parent and is subject to U.S. tax. The balance is left in the low-tax offshore company and is not subject to current U.S. taxation.
Transfer pricing issues
In general, whenever there is a transfer of goods or services between related foreign parties, the taxing jurisdictions involved want to ensure that the price set is an "arms-length" price. To substantiate the price as arms-length, companies are required to prepare transfer pricing studies that follow the local regulations.
In this regard, it is important to note that a U.S. transfer pricing study, while valid for U.S. tax purposes, is not binding in the foreign jurisdiction. Therefore, it is important to coordinate these studies.
Multinational businesses are increasingly affected by tax, legislative and regulatory developments throughout the world. Understanding the impact of these developments on business operations and transactions between countries is vital for a company's survival.
LONNIE E. DAVIS, CPA, is director of tax advisory services, CBIZ Accounting, Tax & Advisory Services, Philadelphia/Plymouth Meeting. CBIZ, a publicly traded company and the 10th largest accounting firm nationally (Accounting Today), provides a wide range of assurance, tax and consulting services to small and mid-sized companies. Reach him at (610) 862-2200 or email@example.com.
Today, less is more, says Charles Pizzi, president and CEO of Tasty Baking Co., which has satisfied chocoholics and sugar babies since 1914 with its Tastykake products. Consumers want kid-sized containers of cookies and cupcakes packaged in pairs rather than a box bulging with a baker's dozen. Super-size is out of style.
But while trends point to trimmer tastes, consumers still crave their just desserts, Pizzi says, adding that Tastykake's icon peanut butter Kandy Kake is still a top seller; the bakery turns out 2 million each day.
"People still want to have a sweet, indulgent moment," Pizzi says.
The business was founded with two main ingredients in mind: taste and portability. The snacks quickly won spots in children's lunchboxes and in pantries in New England. Today, the yum factor Tasty Baking Co.'s founders intended stands: the company wants it treats to be just as good as mom's.
The company's $255 million in annual sales is proof that diet fads don't mean the end of a sweet tooth. Formerly the president of the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Pizzi joined the company with a recipe to fortify the business's branding and distribution. An advocate of business interests and regional cooperation, he introduced a new management team and an assertive plan to promote what he dubs a culture of change. New products, fun packaging and a supply chain that spokes into new cities such as Cleveland are priming the company for growth, Pizzi says.
Now, shoppers can find Tastykakes in many places -- in their ice cream as a special flavor or at the Philadelphia Zoo, where Tasty Baking sponsors the Tastykake Children's Zoo. New products and lighter, low-cal Snak Bars and Sensables sugar-free snacks appeal to the nutrition-minded market, and fun packaging is the icing on the cake.
Smart Business got a taste of what's cooking in today's Tasty Baking kitchen as Pizzi shares the ingredients for building a company culture that will cater to today's evolving tastes.
Who buys Tastykake today? Are you selling to the same sweet tooth?
The people who buy Tastykake are moms who buy it for their kids -- boys and girls of all ages, whether 6 years old or 60. It's for anyone who wants a sweet, indulgent moment in time.
We have really not altered from our founders' real vision, and that is to produce a cake that is good enough that mom stops baking and to make it portable. That was the vision 90 years ago, and we think that vision is still very relevant today.
We want to retain that vision and back it with 21st century management and technology. If you want to be relevant and nimble in a competitive environment, you have to have a culture of change. For any consumer brand product in the packaging industry, it is all about innovation.
This year, we did new packaging across our entire product line -- the packaging hadn't been changed since 1989. We wanted to make it fun and exciting and relevant to the marketplace.
It's all about packaging and product innovation. That's why we came out with new products like Tasty Cookies, new Snak Bar flavors, two new flavors of Kandy Kakes and added 20 percent more filling in pies and 50 percent more filling in cupcakes.
Not only are we nurturing our brand, we are leveraging it. Our highest-selling product is the peanut butter Kandy Kake. We got together with Turkey Hill ice cream, and now they have peanut butter Kandy Kake ice cream. This is only the beginning.
What tastes good to consumers these days? Are people looking for a diet-friendly way to indulge?
Overall, tastes haven't changed, but people's state of mind is changing, and that is where new products have to be introduced to really engage those new thought processes. Low carb may be seen as more of a blip on the screen, but the long-term view is really based on things like total calories or sugar-free foods. So, our new product line is sugar-free. Our new Sensables line (introduced in August) is half the carbs and sugar-free.
Also, we practice portion control in our packaging. With our portion control, we haven't seen any drop-off in sales due to diet trends. In our family pack, there are two Krimpets or two cupcakes per package, so it's not a huge portion. People still want to have a sweet, indulgent moment, and they will balance that off with exercise.
How do you make sure new snacks will appeal to the marketplace?
We are a research-based company -- you can't fly by the seat of your pants. You have to develop new products through market research. Also, you need good partners like our sales distributors, who are out in the market every day to understand people's tastes.
We find that first and foremost, consumers want quality -- great quality, good value, convenience and fun. So, we have portable fruit pies, and we are coming out with a variety of new pies with chocolate and vanilla graham cracker crusts.
We are doing new Snak Bars that are very relevant. They are 150 calories and come in chocolate chip and chocolate-chocolate chip. We tried a Boston cream and raspberry Kandy Kake, and we did the cookies in toffee and chocolate chip, which are small and really fun. Our Sensables line includes orange and chocolate chip finger cakes. They are 100 and 110 calories. We will also have Sensables donuts.
What are the key ingredients for a company that responds to new tastes?
The bakery industry is very competitive, and when you are in a competitive environment, you need the best and the brightest and the most passionate people who will drive your business to be nimble and responsive to the marketplace.
We recruited some really great people with great academic pedigrees from great brands such as Lay's, Campbell's Soup, Pepperidge Farm, Entemann's, Dupont and IBM. We brought in 84 different people over the course of the last 20 months. They have great brand expertise and great integrity, so we are in the midst of leveraging our two major assets: our brand and our distributions system.
We looked at our finance and fiscal controls. We wanted to make sure our controls and financial rigor were there. Then, we created a supply chain, which we had never had before. Also, we are providing operational efficiencies as a platform for growth. It is all about nurturing the brand, and we hadn't done any real marketing since 1989 -- the packaging hadn't been changed.
Then, we brought technology and discipline to our distribution system, working as a partner with our independent sales distributors and making sure that they understood our role as partners. Finally, we moved to a culture of pay for performance, where every employee understands that they benefit through positive performance.
The underlying key to all of these areas is communication -- that is something you constantly try to achieve. For instance, I've met with every one of our employees. Today, we have 28 sales centers, and I made a promise to visit every one and all the sales distribution (centers) associated with them. I've been doing that every week or every other week.
There are five pillars that drive our shareholder value. The first pillar is brand equity. The second is product innovation, the third is building our core roots, which is our distribution center, and the fourth is entering new markets and new channels. The fifth is driving operational efficiencies.
What we are doing is a systematic approach to revitalizing a great company, and we are doing it with a new management team and an engaged and independent board.
Does your company culture reflect today's trimmer tastes?
The first thing I did when I came here was put a fitness center in our business. When we did this, it was on CNN and ESPN. Who ever thought of having a fitness center in a bakery?
But that is what we are doing -- relevant thinking based on research.
How to reach: Tasty Baking Co., (215) 221-8500 or www.tastykake.com
This months column is all about email. The revolution is not that everyone is receiving email, but more people are discovering the value in e-mail for marketing, informing colleagues, friends and family about the goings-on in your life. The following web sites will provide information about how to more effectively use e-mail, and at the same time, eliminate unwanted e-mail.
http://www.anonymizer.com: This web site will allow you to send anonymous e-mail and keep your information private. It could cost you as much as $50 to get the service, but if you dont want your information out on the grid, check it out. The site also is a newspost for some pretty interesting articles.
http://reg.excite.com/mps: How about free e-mail for life? Go to this Excite site and sign up. You will have to create a new account, but make certain you look at the options at the end of the form. You have the option of de-selecting your personal information for release to others. Also you can have Harris Polls ask your opinion if you want, so take a look here.
http://spam.abuse.net/: Tired of spam? Want to know how to get rid of it? This site will enlist your aid to eliminate time consuming and unwanted e-mails. It will also link you to other sites that will help fight spam.
www.zdnet.com/products/internetuser/e-mail.html: Here is a site about setting up e-mail lists, cleaning up your e-mail and protecting your privacy. ZDNet offers some of the most useful information about the Internet and this certainly is one of the best sites. If you click through a few of the topics you will get tips on a variety of ideas on how to make effective use of the e-mail list.
http://www.celebritye-mail.com/: So you think Elvis is really dead? Or is he just not answering his e-mail? Want to find out how to get in touch with Jason Priestly or some other celeb? Here is one of several sites that will help you get there.
http://andrew2.andrew.cmu.edu/cyrus/e-mail/: Here is a good resource for e-mail questions. Put up by Carnegie Mellon University, this site lists nearly every known version of e-mail and products to support them. Want to know about BlitzMail or The Bat? This is the place to find the answers.
http://www.e-mailchange.com/e-mailchange: Want to find someone, but they have moved on and you dont have their new e-mail address? This site is a registration and search engine that will help you find that old flame or the guy who skipped. This site was selected as one of the Top 100 by PC Magazine.
http://www.imc.org/: The Internet Mail Consortium is the only international organization focused on cooperatively managing and promoting the rapidly-expanding world of electronic mail on the Internet. The IMC is an industry organization, not an end-user group. Its members are primarily Internet mail software vendors in many parts of the market.
http://www.oac.uci.edu/indiv/ehood/MIME/MIME.html: Want to know what MIME e-mail is all about? Go to this web site and you will learn about how e-mail really operates in the background. Good information for those who will be using e-mail as part of their daily operations.
http://www.stolaf.edu/network/iecc/: IECC (Intercultural E-Mail Classroom Connections) is a free service to help teachers link with partners in other countries and cultures for e-mail classroom pen-pal and project exchanges. Since its creation in 1992, IECC has distributed over 28,000 requests for e-mail partnerships. At last count, more than 7200 teachers in 79 countries were participating in one or more of the IECC lists: how many are participating today?
This column is provided by the Internet Business Alliance (www.ibaonline.org or firstname.lastname@example.org). Tune-in to IBAs talk-radio program, Internet Business Perspective on WWDB 96.5 FM, Sunday evenings, 8-9PM. Denise Zimmerman of the IBA can be reached at email@example.com and Bill Haney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Earlier this year, I shared a strategic plan we put in place for our company called the Go Forward Plan. It was divided into four parts: product plan, market plan, financial plan and people plan.
The theme for our people plan is, Dont worry, be happy, and our goal is to create a fun environment for all employees. In a time when the economy is booming and unemployment is at its lowest point in 29 years, your people are your most valuable asset. We decided it was time to differentiate ourselves from other employers in a number of ways.
The first step was not to reinvent the wheel, but to find a company that was doing this successfully. After doing some research, the company that came up over and over again was Walt Disney World. It is regarded in its industry as a leader in motivation through its employee programs.
Walt Disney World has 180 recognition and incentive programs, according to Bob Nelson, author of 1001 Ways to Energize Your Employees. You may ask yourself if that is overkill. Disney doesnt think so. It is looking for more. One employee was asked, Have you helped to bring anyone else to work here? His reply was 12 people.
Not only is this person doing his day job as a food server, he is acting as a recruiter. When asked what incentives the company uses to motivate him, they ranged from a shining star name tag to public praise in meetings. Others included being named in the company newsletter, dinner for two at a nice restaurant, a reserved parking space and the spirit of F.R.E.D. award a miniature Mickey Mouse statue which stands for Friendly, Resourceful, Enthusiastic and Dependable. Surprisingly, money wasnt even mentioned. After reviewing several other success stories, it was time to implement our own plan.
The next thing we did was meet with the majority of our people by department and find out their personal, professional and financial goals. We decided that in order to know what motivates our people, we needed to ask them. We gave people a platform to be heard. After filtering the feedback, we had enough information to move forward with our people plan.
Our plan was divided into three separate parts:
n Establish a results-oriented culture.
The idea was to develop quarterly plans for each department. In doing so, everyone has clear expectations as to what role they play in the company with a built-in accountability mechanism. Next, we decided to implement an incentive and reward program based on key performance measures tied into their specific goals. Incentives could include cash bonuses, trips, awards, gift certificates and time off. We found this twofold approach meets our goals for our overall go forward plan as well as our people plan.
- Develop the full potential of each employee.
Our goal here is to provide and implement ongoing training for all employees on a yearly basis. This could consist of internal and external training programs.
- Improve employee understanding of business fundamentals.
We will share key performance measures on a regular basis with the entire company. Our people need to be educated in all areas of the business to make the greatest impact. Fundamentals include revenues, staffing levels, number of advertisers, advertising market share, advertiser satisfaction, product quality, reader satisfaction, reader request levels, community involvement and employee satisfaction.
We immediately noticed a change in attitude of our employees when implementing our plan and look forward to the rewards for the company to follow. Everyone needs an incentive. Most companies dont really focus on their employees until its too late. Remember, employees will never treat a customer better than they are being treated themselves.