July 2008


Can’t get enough of this song. X) I’ve been playing this over and over since last night.

Download Crawl here.

July 11

Shock Value

To break the monotony, I’ll start this paper with an anecdote of an acquaintance of of my cousin who just graduated from Mapua Institute of Technology with a degree on industrial design.

In his thesis defense, the panel was not impressed by his product – benches in the atrium of their building that are not different from a normal flat bench you’ll normally see in parks on the first look but when you pull up the top you’ll have a 3-seat bench with back support. Honestly, the first time you see the product, you’ll find it lame or even hilarious. But a few months later, when we went back to his college one of the members of the panel who judged his thesis remarked, “akala niyo lang walang kwenta yung thesis ni Egay, ayan o, ginagawang tulugan ng mga estudyante.”

It’s maybe comical to have that old idea used in his thesis, but it worked. His benches were sought by many busy students who didn’t have enough sleep due to their killer subjects. What really made those once lame, hilarious benches useful or sought by many? Though he never intended those benches to become makeshift beds for sleepy students, we can get from this example that for a product to have its own niche in the market what it offers has to be aligned with the needs and wants of the end-users. When there is an existing need, consumers, given enough resources on their part, will do something to satisfy that need. And why include wants? Basically, this is due to the other expectations underlying a certain need. Just like in the case of Egay’s benches, the students are aware of their need to sleep whenever possible and for something to sleep on to besides the cold and dusty floor or the backbone-racking chairs that will really make your limbs numb if you pushed yourself to sleep on it and so they saw the flat feet-long benches as graces sent by God. Aside from this, there’s this underlying preference to have those (makeshift beds) inside the building and much better if they are near their classrooms (I presume no one wants to sleep outside exposed to every passerby Mapuan or not), and so the location of the benches added value to it. To illustrate this in a more business-toned manner, let’s take the example of Taser. Managers of Taser knew there’s this existing need to protect oneself from any possible danger with the society getting more dangerous. And yes, people want a better solution than firing or at least aiming a gun towards someone. And so using stun guns and escape danger leaving the attacker stunned to unconsciousness and alive is a better option. But to expect ordinary civilians to carry bulky or gun-shaped stun guns whenever they go out for a walk is foolish, especially to the ladies. And the awkwardness one can get from carrying a tool that looks like those used by goons or fighting freaks from action movies defeats the purpose of the product itself, rendering it useless and unwanted. From this we can infer that there is this underlying need for some sleek (or stylish) harmless-looking stun guns that everyone will feel comfortable carrying outside. It is brilliant for Taser to come up with their stylish line of stun guns and they were able to their market (from law enforces to include ordinary civilians) as a prize.

So what are in these for us, managers in training? First, we have to be sensitive to the needs existing in the society, because from these needs arise opportunities. Second, the inquiry doesn’t stop in identifying the need; it is equally important to identify what they (consumers) want more, what they expect or how they want their need to be satisfied. And lastly, to develop the product to satisfy such needs and wants and to continually develop the product to adapt to the usually changing needs of consumers.

July 08

The Rapid Global Trade

“It has been said that arguing against globalization is like arguing against the laws of gravity,” Kofi Annan once said. Manage globalization or let it manage you out of business, I’m sure any manager would choose the former. Globalization has forced companies to do things in new ways; otherwise it might be the end for them. And so the world started to become flatter.

As companies expand their activities globally, their supply chains are growing and expanding as well to meet the production needs and maintain competitive advantage. And some simply wanted to take advantage of opportunities to lower cost (of production, for instance) and outsourced or expanded their production base abroad. Knowing these, indeed globalization is at its peak – or maybe not, there’s more perhaps. If you take a look at one product on your desk, say your Asus EEE, Asus’ corporate base is in the US, but most of its computers are assembled in China – where the cheapest labor is – and if you look closer to each component of your EEE, you’ll find that the battery cells are manufactured in Japan and some unlabeled components might actually be manufactured here in the Philippines. With this in mind, one can imagine the need for urgent bulk deliveries of the components/products overseas to meet production needs – the emergence of a worldwide fast-paced logistics. But all these urgencies are not limited to the physical leg of the already complex supply chain (SC); these also affect the financial and data facets of the supply chain. For the global SC to be sustainable, the financial SC has evolved so as not to hinder the physical movement. From the old reliable letter of credit to open account transactions, technology has played a large role in this rapid global trade and in tying the three legs of supply chain together. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say, technology weaved this global trade to what it is now — bigger cargo planes and more high-tech ports for the physical supply chain and advanced intercontinental networking tools to make international data transfer and financial services possible. So what do these mean to supply chain managers or future SC managers, to include us?

First, we have to be aware of developments in the global trade as well as limitations of the current supply chain – capitalize on opportunities that may arise from either the developments or even the limitations of the trade. This is connected to the second notion that managers have to view the supply chain holistically. The global trade as a whole is like a huge platform where one thread’s limitation creates an opportunity for another and so on. The three facets are interdependent instead of independent of each other, to quote the article. Third, having said that technology has been playing a major role in this grand scheme, we have to learn to take advantage of the advancements in this field. We have to be open and accept to new ways of doing things if it’s for the better. Conservatism may not be a good stand in this era where efficiency and effectiveness are tied to technological innovations. And lastly, we have to be adaptive. We have to remember that what is optimal today may not be the most efficient way of doing business tomorrow – just consider the evolution from local manufacturing to overseas production and from letter of credit to open account transactions. Now, I wonder what will the next decade be for supply chain management.

July 04

Going Green Translates to Good Business

Learning from the article that companies in the US are in an investing spree on this so called “green revolution,” I ended up thinking of reasons how these actions add up to the main goal of any corporation, that is to increase owners’ wealth. And this investing spree is not in the US alone. In our country, there’s Downy’s Isang Banlaw, energy efficiency ads from makers of compact fluorescent lamps, SM’s recycling depot and green bags and the advent of green cars (Prius by Toyota and Accord ’08 of Honda). The La Mesa Watershed was reforested with the help of several companies like Shell. And a lot of companies are sponsoring environmental awareness campaigns and projects. It sure is expensive to put up a wind turbine and generate your own electricity, to finance a reforestation, to design and run recycling programs or to renovate stores to refurbish their efficiency in terms of energy usage, yet a lot of companies are willing to invest money in these nonprofit endeavors. Maybe there’s (really) a lot more to sustainability than just selling products or even selling green products. But what is this “more?”

Corporate citizenship has been a popular concept in the business world. It argues that companies can pursue their long-term interests along with contributing to the development of the society and environmental sustainability. The pressure generally comes from expectant stakeholders. Customers expect companies to fulfill their social responsibilities as a survey shows that 9 out of 10 customers expect companies to be supporting and acting on social issues. Another study tells that 86% of the consumers are willing to shift to a brand associated with a cause. They are increasingly making decisions according to the social reputation of the brand or company, to quote Bradley K. Googins of Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship. To establish a more concrete basis, let’s take the example of BT, a British telecommunication giant. Its caused-related activities comprise 25% of its customer satisfaction rating. Moreover, the research also shows that stopping the said activities would reduce customer satisfaction by 10% which translates to a 20%-30% reduction in revenues. Another good example is Whirlpool. Whirlpool has been donating refrigerators to every Habitat home built in US; then sales shot up by 47% and web site hits rose dramatically. Personally, I’d rather buy a product from a company which is involved in charitable acts even if it’s more expensive than the other brands available in the market. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone – I’m getting the product that I want and I get to help the company in its altruistic goals. I’m sure you think the same way as well. As mere humans, especially with the kind of value system we have as Filipinos and the current social and environmental crises we are experiencing, as much as possible, we don’t want to allow someone/or the environment to suffer at our expense and we’d be delighted to contribute anything we can to the betterment of the society and environment, so in turn we see socially and environmentally responsible companies as channels. As for the companies, the challenge is how to incorporate this growing consumer behavior to their operations to their advantage.

From these we can say that corporate citizenship has the power to influence consumer and employee behavior. There’s indeed a lot more to sustainability than just selling products. It’s good to earn a lot of money by selling your products well and by making your products sellable, but it’s also important not to forget that the intangibles (reputation, per se) are keys to long term sustainability in an era that holds rising expectations on business’ role in the society. Corporate citizenship, when exercised tactically, translates to good business.

June 05

Nagato Signatures

some Nagato Yuki signatures I created out of boredom. X)

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Feel free to use these. ^ ^

March 28

Our Latest Outreach Projects

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St. Francis of Assisi taught humankind to view the world as a home with so many things left undone. Take a look at our country; there are indeed a lot of things that needs to be done here, a lot of change that needs to be effected, needless to say with the rotten political world as number one on the list, to achieve the nation, a home, everyone dreams of. It is up to men to make their choice what to do next given that fact – to act and make a difference or simply do nothing and act blind. Those who want to do something (to change what needs to be changed or to challenge the status quo for the greater good) are then faced with the dilemma, questioning their capability of effecting the change they wanted.”What can a nobody do to change one country or the leaders of a country at least?” one youth might be asking himself/herself this very question right now. I am as well.

Changing the whole country sounds foolish to other people. Even the collective effort of millions of Filipinos gathered together failed in changing the rotten political culture twice. But the fight for political change does not end there; it will always continue. What is the part of a mere teenager and student in this grand scheme? Maybe I could join those who are calling for the truth behind the NBN deal. I can certainly join with any inter-faith rally to call for the punishment of the thieves in white barong inside the government. I can join those calling for government officials to moderate their greed and the alleviation of poverty. If my mind serves me right, I was asked with the same question when I was still in second year high school, and the convictions of a young Filipino that I took back then haven’t left the mind of a more mature youth that I am now. My answer is simple. If I want to see the change I want in our leaders, I should do so first in my own self. After all, it is plainly idiotic to tell or force someone to moderate their greed when I myself can’t moderate mine. It is foolish to cry for the alleviation of poverty when I own more than one cellular phone and is wasting money on unnecessary luxuries given that I know many others are starving, living with fifty pesos a day – not even half of my daily allowance. I am stupid if I call for the President to speak the truth when I can’t even admit my own mistakes and speak the truth behind my petty lies. How can I whine of the large-scale corruption and ask for the ouster of the government’s “buwayas” when I can’t even prevent or advise those I know who consent those corrupt government officials and are giving “lagay/padulas” just to avoid the long and tedious process of getting the needed public documents? How can I ask someone to value integrity and national responsibility, when I am half-hearted with regards to these values? If I really wanted to see those in the government to be responsible citizens and leaders, then I have to be a responsible citizen, myself, first.

What comes next after changing my self? There is no assurance that today’s efforts to bring social change will succeed, but there is nothing that I’ll lose if I become vigilant of the current events and be an informed citizen. Moreover, I sincerely believe that anything as grandiose as changing a nation starts in its smallest unit, the individual. Time will come our generation will take on the reins of our country as future leaders. Time will come when I can further my capability to change the lives of many or some people and do those many beautiful things left undone for this country as someone who value integrity and national responsibility. I maybe just one of several million Filipinos but still that is one responsible citizen off the statistics (of irresponsible ones).

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