Monthly Archives: April 2020

Nypro Case Study

Financials & Profits

Nypro’s financial statements display a growth in Net profit (before-taxes) of about 7.5-8% between 1992- 1995, whereas before-tax profits averaged only 4% in the industry. Nypro ranked 10th in size among the 40,000 firms in the plastic injection molding industry (Block, 1996).

If we now flip to 2006-2008, we see that Nypro’s net margin has dropped to around 3.5% of sales. Nypro was a pioneer in creating differentiating processes, technologies and culture in their organization. However, Nypro’s advancements did not constitute a truly unique and inimitable capability. Process improvements have been difficult to sustain competitive advantages against competitors beyond the short-term. Competitors are able to readily incorporate new production or process techniques shown to improve profit performance through cost, quality and customer satisfaction advantages. Over the last decade, it seems that Nypro has not been able to maintain it’s superior performance in the industry, which denotes the company’s inability to develop an inimitable competitive advantage.

The plastics molding industry possesses almost insignificant entry barriers, low differentiation, and several smaller producers serving a niche, and offering low value-add to the industry. With technological and process emulation, how then does a company excel and differentiate, especially considering the low entry barriers and the inability to significantly differentiate? The answer is to innovate; to become an industry leader, and to remain on the industry’s cutting edge. Nypro has taken this challenge to heart, empowering its employees to facilitate success and to continue stewardship and development of proprietary technology through efforts such as its revolutionary Nova-plast machine.

Market Power

Nypro is part of the Plastic Containers Industry, which is a fragmented competitive industry. In 1995, Nypro was the leader in the plastic injection molding industry among companies that did not focus on automobile industry. Nypro’s customer base is divided into three main categories – consumer/industrial (about 32.2 % of sales), health care (about 46.7% of sales) and electronics (about 21.1% of sales). Nypro needs to identify the profit margin associated with each of these market segments along with the technological advances in these consumer industries. This will help the company analyze which customers will benefit the most from their improved capability and be able to take advantage of the cost savings to counter market competition.

Strategically, in terms of organization structure, Nypro set up medium sized production plants geographically close to its major customers. This created some economies in terms of transportation costs and gave the customer a much more local interface with the company.

Nypro followed the model of an Operating Board in its plants which allowed for maximum participation and engagement. The Board consisted of operational managers from other plants which kept information flowing freely through the organization. Nypro encouraged competition and intrapreneurship among its own plants. This encouraged creativity and idea generation to increase competitiveness in the marketplace.

However, the decentralized innovation strategy precludes the derivation of profit enhancing efficiencies. Although management has sought a localized and client-centric plant strategy, the absence of standardized production approaches codified by Nypro’s industry groups limits scale economies, slows the economies of learning, and more importantly elevates overall cost of products sold and material costs given wide disparities in utilization and cost structures across the company’s various plant assets. As shown by the following table, management has yet to compress the range of material utilization and material costs, which lowers profits and the company’s market power.

Further, the incohesive production approaches has also revealed inconsistent product quality. The following table illustrates the wide disparities between production plants.

The sharing of high visibility innovation has seemingly foreshadowed the accomplishments of plant assets to satiate customers through delivery of high-quality products and the limited costs of product returns. Although post-installation customer satisfaction measurement was not apart of the company’s performance template, it does have real implications to the Nypro cost structure and customer perceptions concerning product quality both of which hold quantifiable impact on market power (i.e., lower client satisfaction and reduced future sales).

In 2008, Nypro is focusing on achieving balance in their three key market areas. Their strategy is to position themselves as a ‘Go To Strategic Partner’ among clients. They have increasing partnerships with esteemed companies like Estee Lauder and P&G’s – Flawless brand of Secret deodorant.

Growth / Innovation

Differentiation and innovation strategies require a strong integration with the environment, the customers, and the technology suppliers. In terms of the Miles & Snow Typology, Nypro played the role of a prospector, i.e. being innovation oriented exploiting new product and growth strategies.

The plastic injection molding industry was a fragmented industry characterized by perfect competition. There were no barriers to entry and many new potential entrants into the market. This meant that buyers had negotiating power over firms that provided similar products. Lankton realized that in order to sustain Nypro among its competitors, he had to introduce technological innovations that would provide the customers cost and quality advantage. He also consolidated Nypro’s business to focus on large companies that could provide bigger orders and were introducing product innovations themselves. This meant that Nypro would grow with their customers and be ahead of the technology innovation curve in the market.

Nypro operated in a team structure where a Development team developed product specs and was responsible through the production phase. Every project & product was then followed by the Continuous Improvement team that represented all the different aspects of the firm and concentrated on innovating the product and process for the customer. These teams worked closely with the customer to maintain quality standards or change processes or product specs based on any feedback from end consumers or competitors’ challenges. This ability to share internal processes with clients brought a close partnership and resulted in product and process efficiencies for both teams.

The NovaPlast could further expand the company’s penetration of customer accounts, providing additional value-added services to clients: low-volume, specialized moldings. NovaPlast permits Nypro to maintain the client relationship and the accompanying revenues without outsourcing low-volume jobs to potential competitors. The customized molding permits the company to set higher pricing and margins given the specialty moldings set to customer specifications. Lower volume levels could be offset with higher pricing to recoup research and development costs

The other innovations that Nypro implemented included clean plant design, visual factory design as their standard plant layout.

Resources

In determining its strategy, Nypro had more of a resource-based view of the firm where they evaluated how to make innovation a core competence in the organization. Lankton was perceptive to find the value creation zone in the plastic injection molding industry by combining his customer’s needs and competitor’s lack of differentiation.

Lankton also invested significantly in changing the culture and retaining talent resources at Nypro. Valuable employees received stock options and as shareholders received the opportunity to select the Board of Directors for Nypro. Performance measures were always comparisons between plants and teams i.e. more collective than individualistic. These performance measurements included evaluating customer’s end product success, customer’s strategic market goals, any improvement in cost and profit margins, cycle time and gaining additional contracts.

The company’s labor capital and decentralized innovation process serves as Nypro’s crucial resource and knowledge capital. In addition, the organizational culture is one of creative tension through internal competition with Lankton’s competitive culture the cohesive dynamic spurring innovation and propagating silos. The company’s culture feeds the knowledge system through the dispersion of process enhancements transmitted by organizational systems.

Despite the dispersion of innovation, the absence of standardized production approaches has prevented the realization of efficiency standards across company plants. This is evidenced by range of machine utilization and customer return incidence levels.

Although plant processes are customized to industry and customer standards, shareholder capital is not efficiently managed and deployed given the competitive tension preventing greater cross-unit collaboration.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Nypro implemented a number of differentiating activities in the industry like improved processes, using Continuous Improvement Teams, focusing on cycle time and precision and setting performance standards based on end customer success and team efforts. In addition, Stegmann provides that matrix and process organizational structures produce positive EVAs for corporate managers. These efforts and cultural changes did help Nypro create some long-term strategic alliances with their clients.

However, Nypro operates in a competitive market, they have to be flexible and continuously improve operations in order to stay ahead of competitors and retain or gain market share. Stegmann, further, offers, that organization strategies generating positive EVAs are task sharing and empowered employees, horizontal communication, teams, decentralized structures and decision-making, and cultural innovation.

Although the Nypro organization reflects a number of these positive EVA attributes, It is our concern that the competitive culture stymies horizontal communication. As noted earlier, plant efficiency is disparate across Nypro’s global system of plant assets. Given process innovation is limited in duration, the company would be better served to also facilitate the sharing of “less visible” production efficiencies to further derive profits, market power, and shareholder earnings. We would like to see management reduce and tighten the range of material costs as a percentage of sales, and increase machine utilization to employ idle capacity. We are not suggesting full capacity run-rates in lieu of the impact on equipment and labor, and the potential need for excess capacity for product ramp-ups by clients. However, production assets operating below 65 to 70 percent denotes more idle capacity than we would like to see.

In terms of the decision making process for implementing NovaPlast machines, Nypro operates in a constantly changing competitive environment. This means that Nypro has to be prepared to respond to changing industry and customer demands. In this scenario, it would be best for Nypro to implement NovaPlast machines in one of the plants and measure success levels and pros and cons before pushing these machines to all plants across the world.

In terms of the decision making process for implementing NovaPlast machines, Nypro operates in a constantly changing competitive environment. This means that Nypro has to be prepared to respond to changing industry and customer demands. Our Novaplast rollout plan would suggest the designation of top plants segmented by the three top industries: healthcare, consumer/industrials, and communication/electronics. This would permit a centralized innovation process predicated on industry specialization. From this basis, general industry specifications could be further specialized to incorporate the nuances featured within individual client blueprints. Although this decentralized approach may elevate costs and mitigate profits, the divisional learning could yield innovative processes and enhancements to offset development and improvement costs with higher sales.

Reference:

Block, M. (1996). An Inside Look at Nypro. American Journal of Engineering 15(2). Retrieved 05/01/2011 from the business source complete database.

Forces and Trends in Business

The corporate environment is characterized by a number of variables: competition, dynamism, turbulence, complexity and change. All organizations must develop ability to continuously and consciously transform themselves and their contexts. Such contexts include restructuring for optimum effectiveness, reengineering key processes and streamlining functions that are able to provide a source of competitive advantage. The aim is to adapt, regenerate and most important, survive. (McLean, 2006).

For a company to thrive today, strategists must find ways to increase the organization’s ability to read and react to industry and market changes. They must know their goal to boost the company’s strategic flexibility by recognizing disruptions earlier and responding faster.

Strategic flexibility or adaptability can be defined as the organization’s capacity to identify major changes in its external environments, quickly commit resources to new courses of action in response to such changes, and to recognize and act promptly when it is time to halt or reverse existing resource commitments. Being adaptable means leaders must not get stuck in a too-rigid way of looking at the world. The organization must view change as an inevitable and essential part of an organization’s growth, in order to achieve this adaptability.

When there is uncertainty or unpredictability in the environment, managers tend to focus almost all their energy on successfully executing the current strategy. What they also should be doing is preparing for an unknown future. Flexibility stems from the ability to learn; managers tend to overlook the negative and emphasize the positive. They need to understand not only what led to the positive outcomes but also what led to the negative ones. This will optimize their learning experience. According to Ford (2004) four points to foster and maintain adaptability include challenging complacency, giving all employees a voice, encouraging participative work and driving fear out of your group.

The companies chosen for this task vary by industry: a famous automobile manufacturer (Ford) a bank going through a merger (Compass) and a start-up software company (DawningStreams). Ford and Compass have been in business for a long time; it is likely they have changed their strategic plan based on changing forces and trends. DawningStreams is new (established in 2005 and incorporated in 2007). Even though they have not had their first sale and have no staff, the owners have devised several iterations of their strategy.

There is a diversity of stakeholders all that are interested in the activity of business organizations. Emphasis must be placed on their adaptability in strategic analysis and their adaptability in strategic management of business organizations. The organization must have a strategic management model.

Each company might scan the same areas, but for different reasons. Considering technological advances, Ford would prepare itself to lead the market by having various electronic equipment in their vehicles, as well as robotic equipment with which to build them and the supply chain technology to keep all in check. Compass Bank is going through a merge and expanding globally; therefore they will need to keep abreast of communication technology. DawningStreams is a software company; they will need to monitor those companies who would be their competition to ensure their product offers better functionality. All three companies would make sure potential customers would be able to get good information from internet websites and advertisement, which encompasses yet another area of technology the organizations may need/want to scan. In this instance, many members of the organization must be enrolled: upper management and finance, who will determine budgetary factors; the IT department, who will be responsible for the implementation and maintenance of some of the technology; the staff who must be trained to use the technology; a sales force who will sell the technology.

To the outside observer, it may seem unnecessary for any but Ford to scan the (actual) environment when it comes to issues such as emission control, fuel efficiency and hybrid cars. That is true however; Compass Bank and DawningStreams can plan a strategy to be friendlier to the environment (and their pocketbooks) by practicing paper reduction (through the aforementioned technology). Lastly, DawningStreams’ product may be useful as a file sharing service to environmental groups.

With regard to the legal environment, all three must be acutely aware of laws, which affect their respective industry among others. To Ford, legal applies, among other areas, to environmental protection laws and department of transportation safety laws. To Compass Bank, they would abide by the rules of the Federal Reserve (www.federalreserve.gov) and the Federal Insurance and Deposit Corporation (www.fdic.gov). DawningStreams must follow laws as they pertain to the transfer of files, which have intellectual property and also the export of products, which have algorithms. All three companies are global and will need to monitor those laws in other countries, which could effect the strategic planning.

At one company after another–from Sears to IBM to Hewlett-Packard to Searle, strategy is again a major focus in the quest for higher revenues and profits. With help from a new generation of business strategists, companies are pursuing novel ways to hatch new products, expand existing businesses, and create the markets of tomorrow. Some companies are even recreating full-fledged strategic-planning groups. United Parcel Service expects to spin out a new strategy group from its marketing department, where strategic plans are now hatched. Explains Chairman Kent C. Nelson: “Because we’re making bigger bets on investments in technology, we can’t afford to spend a whole lot of money in one direction and then find out five years later it was the wrong direction.”

In such a world we need a planning model that allows us to anticipate the future and to use this anticipation in conjunction with an analysis of our organization–its culture, mission, strengths and weaknesses–to define strategic issues, to chart our direction by developing strategic vision and plans, to define how we will implement these plans and to specify how we will evaluate how well we are implementing these plans. The fact that the world is changing as we move forward in the future demands that the process be an iterative one.

Ford Motor Company – Socio-cultural

Ford Motor Company embraces the socio-cultural changes taking place to allow the company to move in the right direction with respect to attitudes in the society. Two areas that stand out in terms of socio-cultural attitudes would be that of fuel economy and smaller cars. The growing concern by the public for better fuel economy has influenced the company’s introduction of the Ford Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid. The organization is committed to the hybrid to improve fuel economy as a global strategy to meet customer demands. The increased demand in society for such environmentalism has assisted in the decision for Ford Motor Company to look forward to adding the hybrid feature to the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan and continue in such a strategic planning direction.

The customers that use these vehicles get a substantial break on their insurance in many states and a tax credit as well while enjoying the increased mileage of a vehicle that runs on gasoline and capabilities for 100 percent electric power. The environmental scanning by Ford Motor Company has allowed the company to be knowledgeable of the fact that the people in the United States are buying more small cars today than any other type of vehicle segment. The lifestyles changes have been monitored and there is good data that shows that such a trend will continue in this direction and the expected growth in this segment will continue. The company has redesigned the inside and outside of the Ford Focus to set the car apart from the competitors in the small car segment while increasing upgrades and features to experience positive outcomes. The direction that the company is taking is based on a competitive advantage and being a leader in the industry. The vehicle line has both a sedan and a coupe to attract targeted markets including younger buyers at an entry level to build upon brand loyalty and customer retention. Ford Motor Company will continue to use the socio-cultural factors to drive the business and enjoy future success.

Ford Motor Company – Legal –

Ford Motor Company with regard to the Environmental Protection Agency adheres to the legal aspect of environmental scanning. Ford Motor Company accepted an award in March 2007 from the Environmental Protection Agency called the Energy Star 2007 Partner of the Year Award in Energy Management. The company is the first automaker to have ever been awarded the award two years in a row. The award has come to be presented due to the commitment made by the company to increase energy efficiency and to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from all of the facilities in the company.

The organization is committed to the responsible use of resources and energy efficiency. The leadership realizes that the environmental protection laws are of great importance and use the environmental scanning to move in the right direction to obtain future success in the company. In 2006 alone the company has improved the energy efficiency in the United States operations by five percent and saving approximately $25 million with enough energy saved to equal 220,000 homes. The effective energy management protects the environment and reduces the greenhouse emissions. Some of the actions taken by the company include replacing lighting fixtures that use 40 percent less energy and using different low-energy, long-lasting compact fluorescent lamps in the properties to include the plants, corporate offices, distribution centers, and research and development campuses. Due to the environmental scanning that takes place at Ford Motor Company the company will use the information that is collected and continue in this direction. New projects for the company include Fumes-to-Fuel that is a system that converts paint fumes into electricity that is being performed with Detroit Edison along with attempting to consolidate the application of primer, base and clearcoat paint applications into a single application to eliminate the need for separate applications and ovens. In addition to the paint booth emissions Ford Motor Company will continue to rely on alternative energy sources such as landfill gas and wind and solar technologies to power their manufacturing facilities.

Ford Motor Company – Technology –

Another environmental scanning tool that Ford Motor Company monitors and uses would be the technological portion. The company has invested $1 billion in the latest technology for flexible manufacturing. The technology that is involved is in many forms to include wireless technology that is installed on the delivery trucks with supplies to the plant as a monitoring status and improved efficiency to reduce inventory. The flexibility of products in the same plant allows the organization to use the same machinery and process for all areas from body assembly, paint facility, and final assembly. The improved efficiency at the manufacturing facility allows for several vehicle platforms to be built on the same line to produce multiple models and quickly change the vehicle mix, the volume, and options based on customer demand.

The technological changes that are being embraced by Ford Motor Company through environmental scanning enables the company to experience huge cost savings through new product launches and 50 percent reductions in cycle changeovers along with waste reduction. Robots are among the technological changes that are being experienced within the organization to include the 400 from the project that are used to weld and assemble the metal body of the vehicle for stamping and assembly. Artificial intelligence in the form of advanced visions systems and laser tracking systems are used to ensure quality through accuracy and dimension abilities. A multi-million dollar training facility is used to ensure that the workforce has the knowledge, skills, and ability to reap the benefits from the new technology that is being used by the company. The training that is administered includes the new servo-electric weld gun system that identifies the perfect center for welding that has replaced the older and loud air-powered system that used a less sophisticated spring system. The environmental scanning of technology that is performed by Ford Motor Company has allowed the company to have positive outcomes in efficiency while remaining a competitive company in the industry through cost savings and continuous improvement.

Compass Bank- Political –

On February 16, 2007, Compass Bancshares, Inc., the parent company of Compass Bank, announced the signing of a definitive agreement under which Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. (NYSE: BBV Madrid: BBVA) (“BBVA”) will acquire Compass for a combination of cash and stock. Compass will become a wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of BBVA and will continue to operate under the Compass name. The transaction is expected to close during the second half of 2007, pending customary closing conditions, including necessary bank regulatory approvals in the U.S. and Spain and the approval of the stockholders of both Compass and BBVA.

BBVA, which operates in 35 countries, is based in Spain and has substantial banking interests in the Americas. The transaction will facilitate BBVA’s continued growth in Texas and will create the largest regional bank across the Sunbelt. Upon completion of the transaction, Compass will rank among the top 25 banks in the United States with approximately $47 billion in total assets, $32 billion in total loans and $33 billion in total deposits. In addition, the combined company will rank fourth in deposit market share in Texas with $19.6 billion in total deposits and 326 full-service banking offices.

Compass is a $34 billion Southwestern financial holding company that operates 415 full-service banking centers in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico and Texas. Compass provides a broad array of products and services through three primary lines of business – Corporate Banking, Retail Banking and Wealth Management. Compass is among the top 30 U.S. bank holding companies by asset size and ranks among the top earners of its size based on return on equity.

Under the terms of the definitive agreement, which has been approved by the board of directors of Compass and the relevant bodies of BBVA, Compass will become a wholly owned subsidiary of BBVA. After closing, BBVA intends to merge its U.S. based banking affiliates – including the former operations of Texas Regional Bancshares, State National Bancshares and Laredo National Bancshares – with Compass.

The aggregate consideration is composed of a fixed number of approximately 196 million shares of BBVA common stock and approximately $4.6 billion in cash. The merger is subject to customary closing conditions, including necessary bank regulatory approvals in the U.S. and Spain and the approval of the stockholders of both Compass and BBVA. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2007.

The merger between both companies will be determined by the political factors ranging from implications of laws and regulations to the state of world politics including the consideration of wars which may be going on in different parts of the world. New laws, regulations, tax programs and public policy create forces and trends, which may provide challenges and barriers or opportunities for any company or organization.

Compass Bank – Technology –

Ford is in the process of implementing a laser marking system on its production line to ensure the highest standard on each transmission assembled. The system will be checking for quality on different points on the assembly line. Ford is teaming up with a company called MECCO to implement this process and a trial run of the new system will last for 3 months. MECCO is a leader in its industry when it comes to laser technology. The decision to implement this new laser marking system came because it is more cost- effective and safer than previous ways of marking checkpoints for quality.

Although this process at Ford has not officially been implemented yet, Compass Bank can learn a few different things. It may be a good idea for Compass Bank to do a short trial of online cell phone banking to see how popular it becomes and if it worth all the time and effort, being spent to get it launched. Compass Bank should also consider investing into a company who is the best at what they do, is in the same time zone, and can meet their demands in a timely manner, not simply because they may be cheaper. Finally, Compass Bank can learn that they need to consider what will be most cost-effective and in the best interest of the company over time. Organizing a time line and a list of costs and potential risks would also be beneficial to Compass Bank so they know what to expect and when with the implementation of online cell phone banking.

When completing the global scan one looks for emerging new technologies which may impact any business in any industry. At one time the emergence of the Internet was a technology that was becoming an emerging trend across all industries. Today very new technologies are used to develop information systems at a fraction of the cost and time of processes that were used five years ago. Wireless is a telecommunications technology that may have moved from a trend to a force in revolutionizing the way information is stored, accessed and used across all industries around the world. Some, if leveraged by a company within an industry before competitors use it, may even provide a competitive advantage.

Compass Bank – Competition –

Although mergers may be costly and rather difficult, the value it creates in the end is the desired outcome companies seek. The eagerness to merge is based on several beliefs, those beliefs are, that the performance gains are greater, expenses are reduced, market power is increased, and shareholder’s wealth is also greater than before. The value of a merger is enhanced when the overall benefit is more valuable than the aggregate of two separate pre-merger companies.

In the end, both John and Bernard should consider this before finalizing a decision. When Zion’s purchased Stockmans, there overall value increased by 43 branches. These branches will help performance and brings much more power to the financial market. In the Journal of Money article, Pilloff states “Companies are more willing to acquire others to avoid being acquired themselves.” Keeping this in mind, companies must figure out a cross border strategy.

As part of the broad environmental scan, it is important to identify the internal capabilities of the organization. There are various models for defining capabilities. Most focus on the broad set of intangible assets such as brand, human capital, organizational capital and even relationship capital. Others include the more concrete assets such as available capital, the organization structure, current technologies and information technology infrastructure. In addition to doing a broad environmental trend, Compass Bank needs to do a more detailed capability assessment using any of the models available.

DawningStreams – Competitors –

Business activities are becoming more and more complex to manage, because of distance, time zones, number of parties involved in projects, number of tasks to achieve, multiple prioritizations, lack of general synchronization, insufficient secure and confidential communication channels and growing complexity of IT infrastructures. The use of task list managers has become very common. It is becoming more difficult to keep teams synchronized, to follow and to implement new business processes and to exchange sensitive information confidentially. The DawningStreams software application is aiming at increasing the practicality of daily executive activities. The types of business, which will most probably be interested in our product, are construction (size of network), consulting (need for synchronization), pharmaceutical research (secure exchange of information) and the software industry (complexity of manufacturing).

Many companies have already developed software applications that enable secured communications and file sharing. However, most, if not all, are relying on Microsoft technologies, which prevent them from expanding to Mac or Unix users. DawningStreams is developed in Java, which can be used on any platform, including Mac and Unix. Microsoft has acquired the Groove Company and has released a new version of the product, which can perform many of the functionalities of DawningStreams, but not generic activities (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/groove/default.aspx). This is our closest competitor by far. More recently, we found, merely by accident, a company called Shinkuro (www.shinkuro.com), which offers the file sharing aspects of DawningStreams but lacks other capacities.

Although DawningStreams will face competition from many existing players, the fact that it will combine a super-set of functionalities in one application, for a very reasonable price, will give it some leading edge over other competitors. If the US patent is granted, the position of DawningStreams will become a niche. Even if the patent were not granted, it would take a profound architectural redesign of Groove (or other competitors) to include generic activities and match the offer of DawningStreams. As a strategy we will monitor the activities of those companies’ websites and understand what they offer in terms of similar functionality and try to ensure we match or best those functionalities to the best of our ability and resources

DawningStreams – Political –

Maintaining the secrecy of information is the fundamental function of encryption items. Persons abroad may use such items to harm US law enforcement efforts, as well as US foreign policy and national security interests. The US Government has a critical interest in ensuring that persons opposed to the United States are not able to conceal hostile or criminal activities, and that the legitimate needs for protecting important and sensitive information of the public and private sectors are met. Since 2000, US encryption export policy has been directed by three fundamental practices: technical review of encryption products prior to sale, streamlined post-export reporting, and license reviews of proposed transactions involving strong encryption to certain foreign government end-users and countries of concern. US encryption policy also seeks to ensure that American companies are not disadvantaged by the European Union’s “license-free zone.” (Bureau of Industry and Security, 2007).

DawningStreams will contain cryptographic functions. Any reliable and efficient cryptographic system requires a central authority to avoid identity theft. Cryptography is a key functionality of DawningStreams. All specialists insist on designing systems using well-studied algorithms and fully tested protocols; novelty is considered a source of risk. The cryptographic layer of DawningStreams will rely on a dual public-private key system. The private key encryption system will implement Rijndael, the Advanced Encryption Standard (http://csrc.nist.gov/CryptoToolkit/aes/rijndael/), the public key system will implement RSA (www.rsa.com) and the hashing function will implement the 256 bits version of the Secure Hash Algorithm (http://secure-hash-algorithm-md5-sha-1.co.uk/ ).

Encryption products can be used to conceal the communications of terrorists, drug smugglers, and others intent on harming U.S. interests. Cryptographic products and software also have military and intelligence applications that, in the hands of hostile nations, could pose a threat to U.S. national security. The national security, foreign policy, and law enforcement interests of the United States are protected by encryption export controls. These controls are consistent with Executive Order (E.O.) 13026, which was issued on November 15, 1996, and the Presidential Memorandum of the same date. (Bureau of Industry and Security, 2007).

DawningStreams also plans to be an international company, as offices now exist in the Netherlands and the US. As part of the strategy, we will ensure we remain compliant by registering our product with any necessary agency and allowing those agencies access to the processes if they feel there is a threat. We will be responsible to monitor (as best as we can) our client base and to put the proper verbiage in our contracts that illegal activities will not be tolerated. We will continue to monitor the BIS site mentioned in previous paragraphs and also sites in the European Union such as the Crypto Law website of legal expert Bert-Jaap Koops (http://rechten.uvt.nl/koops/)

DawningStreams – Technology/Intellectual Property –

The management of organizational strategy requires a comprehensive assessment of the macro environment of the business. Intellectual Property (IP) refers to the original ideas and innovations evolved by an organization in order to haul up its systems and processes. Creation of ideas requires large investments. This necessitates the protection of IP. Benchmarking is the continuous process of measuring products, processes, and systems of an organization against those that are rated best in the industry. It helps in uncovering weaknesses and flaws in the organizational systems, processes, and products. (Watson, 2003)

The study of the global research conducted by McAfee Inc. and MessageLabs Ltd. on security threat in small businesses in the U.S. reveals that 80 percent of small-and-medium-sized businesses (SMB) believe that an information technology (IT) security failure would be damaging in attaining their business priorities. Yet, only few are courageously making steps to fight against infringements due to resource limitations from other business related priorities. The research implies that company size plays an essential part in the way senior management views security. Among the challenges that SMBs face include keeping up-to-date with security solutions and keeping costs low. Small-to-medium businesses’ behavior towards security is very tactical and meets only immediate requirements. (unknown, 2007)

DawningStreams’ relevance to these forces is two-fold. We are a software company—there is an opportunity for us to lose the intellectual property by those who would download and attempt to modify the code. We have competitors who offer functionality similar to ours, however we offer an additional functionality the others do not. It is this ‘specialty functionality’ for which we applied for a patent the United States Patent and Trademark Office. If the patent is granted, there is less likelihood of software piracy or the loss of our IP. Environmental scans should show us if there are other companies trying to do this.

The functionality, which most resembles our competitors’, is the ability to share files. That brings in a different concern with intellectual property- the possibility someone else’s IP could be sent from one of our users to another, as this could seriously damage our reputation, as what happened with Napster. (www.napster.com).

Conclusion

At one company after another–from Sears to IBM to Hewlett-Packard to Searle, strategy is again a major focus in the quest for higher revenues and profits. With help from a new generation of business strategists, companies are pursuing novel ways to hatch new products, expand existing businesses, and create the markets of tomorrow. Some companies are even recreating full-fledged strategic-planning groups. United Parcel Service expects to spin out a new strategy group from its marketing department, where strategic plans are now hatched. Explains Chairman Kent C. Nelson: “Because we’re making bigger bets on investments in technology, we can’t afford to spend a whole lot of money in one direction and then find out five years later it was the wrong direction.”

In such a world we need a planning model that allows us to anticipate the future and to use this anticipation in conjunction with an analysis of our organization–its culture, mission, strengths and weaknesses–to define strategic issues, to chart our direction by developing strategic vision and plans, to define how we will implement these plans and to specify how we will evaluate how well we are implementing these plans. The fact that the world is changing as we move forward in the future demands that the process be an iterative one.

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Pearce, J. & Robinson, R, (2004). Strategic Management: Formulation, Implementation, and Control. [University of Phoenix Custom Edition e-text]. The McGraw-Hill Companies. Retrieved March 2007, from the University of Phoenix, Resource, MBA 580-Strategies for Competitive Advantage Course Web Site: https://ecampus.phoenix.edu/secure/resource/resource.asp

Author Unknown, Strategic Planning, After a decade of gritty downsizing, Big Thinkers are back in corporate vogue. (2006) Retrieved from the Internet at http://www.businessweek.com/1996/35/b34901.htm

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Watson, G. (2003) Business Environmental Scans for Intellectual Property Strategy (PowerPoint Presentation). Retrieved March 28, 2007 from the Oklahoma State University website at http://www.okstate.edu/ceat/msetm/courses/etm5111/CourseMaterials/ETM5111Session3Part2.ppt#260,1,Business Environmental Scans for Intellectual Property Strategy

Mergers & Acquisitions Can Result from Strategic Alliances

Alliances frequently result in mergers and/or acquisitions. Partnering relationships, such as joint ventures or strategic alliances, can sometimes lead to a merger or acquisition situation. After companies work together for a period of time and get to know one another’s strengths, weaknesses, and synergistic possibilities, new relationship opportunities become apparent. One could argue that a joint venture or strategic alliance is simply the getting to know each other part of a courtship between companies and that the real marriage does not occur until the relationship has been consummated by a merger or acquisition.

To make the point, Dan McQueen, president, at Fluid Components International (FCI) built a Partnering relationship with Vortab, a small technology company. Vortab produced static mixers, a technology suitable for flow conditioning that complemented FCI’s product offering. While Vortab also had three other distribution partners in addition to FCI, FCI’s volume with Vortab continued to grow to the point that Vortab’s technology became an important part of FCI’s total sales volume. After about three years into the relationship, FCI acquired Vortab.

Because of the close relationship between Vortab and FCI, when the Vortab was put up for sale McQueen knew its true value. Resulting from his knowledge, FCI was able to purchase Vortab at a much more realistic price than Vortab’s asking price. The Vortab technology integrated well with FCI’s core competency technology and today FCI also distributes Vortab through some of its non-direct competitors.

The following list demonstrates some of the specific values created or developed from the various organizational blending methods:

· Operational resource sharing

· Functional skill transfer

· Management skill transfer

· Leverage (economies of scale)

· Capability increases

Mergers

Mergers occur when two or more organizations come together to blend or link their strengths. Also in the deal is a blending of their weaknesses. The hopeful result is a new more powerful organization that can better produce goods and services, access markets, and deliver the highest quality customer service. Mergers offer promise for synergistic possibilities. This is achieved by the blending of cultures and retaining the core strengths of each. In this scenario, a new and different organization generally emerges. The goal is a sharing of power, but usually the strongest rise to the top leadership.

Exxon – Mobil

The Federal Trade Commission gave Exxon and Mobil the green light On November 30, 1999 for their $80 billion merger. The next day the transaction was completed. The merged organization officially became Exxon Mobil Corp. The merger actually brings “the companies back to their roots when they were part of John Rockefeller’s Standard Oil empire. That company was the largest oil firm in the world before it was busted up by the government in 1911.”

At the 1998 announcement of their intention to merge, Mobil chairman, Lucio Noto made a comment about the need to merge. He said, “Today’s announcement combination does not mean rhat we could not survive on our own. This is not a combination based on desperation, it’s one based on opportunity. But we need to face some facts. The world has changed. The easy things are behind us. The easy oil, the easy cost savings, they’re done. Both organizations have pursued internal efficiencies to the extent that they could.”

While part of the deal was the selling of a Northern California refinery and almost 2,500 gas station locations, the divestiture represents only a fraction of their combined $138 billion in assets. Lee Raymond, Exxon chairman, now chairman and chief executive of the merged company said, “The merger will allow Exxon Mobil to compete more effectively with recently combined multinational oil companies and the large state-owned oil companies that are rapidly expanding outside their home areas.”

Exxon Mobil is now like a small oil-rich nation. They have almost 21 billion barrels of oil and gas reserves on hand, enough to satisfy the world’s entire energy needs for more than a year. Yet, there is still the opportunity to cut costs. The companies expect their merger’s economies of scale to cut about $2.8 billion in costs in the near term. They also plan to cut about 9,000 jobs out of the 123,000 worldwide.

AOL – Time Warner

On January 10, 2000, Steve Case, chairman and chief executive of America Online (AOL), sent an e-letter to his 20 million members. He said, “Less than two weeks ago, people all over the world came together in a global celebration of the new century, and the new millennium. As I said in my first Community Update of the 21st Century, all of us at AOL are extremely excited by the challenges and prospects of this new era, a time we think of as the Internet Century.

I believe we have only just begun to see clearly how the interactive medium will transform our economy, our society, and our lives. And we are determined to lead the way at AOL, as we have for 15 years–by bringing more people into the world of interactive services, and making the online experience an even more valuable part of our members’ lives.

That is why I am so pleased to tell you about an exciting major development at AOL. Today, America Online and Time Warner agreed to join forces, creating the world’s first media and communications company for the Internet Century. The new company, to be created by the end of this year, will be called AOL Time Warner, and we believe that it will quite literally change the landscape of media and communications in the new millennium.”

The next day newspaper headlines read, “America Online, Time Warner Propose $163-Billion Merger.” The Los Angeles Times said, “In an audacious deal bringing together traditional entertainment and the new world of the Internet, America Online and Time Warner Inc. on Monday announced they will merge in the largest business transaction in history.”

The story later revealed the value comparisons of the companies. While AOL earns less than Time Warner, the stock market thinks AOL’s shares are worth more. “America Online is valued by the stock market at nearly twice Time Warner–$173 billion, compared with $101 billion as of Friday’s [1/7/00] market close–even though it has one-third Time Warner’s annual revenues.” The article also stated “AOL earned $762 million on $4.8 billion in sales in the year ended Sept. 30 [1999].”

AOL chairman, Case wants to move fast. The Times article stated, “Case said the two chairman began discussing a combination this fall [1999], he has tried to impress upon Levin [Gerald Levin, chairman at Time Warner] the need to operate the new company at Internet speeds.” (We all know the rest of the story…nothing is forever.)

The prophets of gloom are always ready to point out the down side to deals. In UPSIDE magazine, Loren Fox reported some of the challenges to the marriage. They are:

· “The holy grail of strategic synergy has been elusive in the media world.”

· “In the offline world, it’s notable that Time and Warner Brothers have continued to run fairly independently despite a decade as Time Warner.”

· “‘From any standpoint, this has not been a success to date,’ says Yahoo President and COO Jeff Mallett.”

· “When you buy the company, you get things you don’t need.”

· “Warner might make these deals easier, but it might also bring new risks–even for AOL, a veteran of 25 acquisitions over the last six years. Employees might flee to pure dot-com companies, ego clashes could stymie plans or financial gains may never cover the large premium paid for Time Warner.”

· “You don’t need to own everything to do what AOL and Time Warner are doing.”

Warner-Lambert

Merger mania can make strange bedfellows, let alone promises unfulfilled. Alliances can lead to mergers. Warner-Lambert is an example of all the above. This is corporate soap opera at its best.

· June 16, 1999, Warner-Lambert Company announced that it has signed a letter of intent with Pfizer Inc. to continue and expand its highly successful co-promotion of the cholesterol-lowering agent Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium). The companies, which began co-promoting Lipitor in 1997, will continue their collaboration for a total of ten years. Further, with a goal of expanding their product collaborations, the companies plan to explore potential Lipitor line extensions and product combinations and other areas of mutual interest.

· November 4, 1999, newspapers across America report on “one of the biggest mergers of any kind, ever.” The Wall Street Journal said, “Now, American Home is set to merge with Warner-Lambert Co. in a stock deal that is valued at about $72 billion. It stands as the biggest deal in drug-industry history and one of on the biggest mergers of any kind, ever.” Also reported, “Warner-Lambert held talks with Pfizer Inc. at the same time it was negotiating with American Home.”

· November 4, 1999, The New York Times runs a story titled, “Can a Strong-Willed Chief Share Power in a Merger?” The article lead with, “The planned merger between American Home Products and Warner-Lambert once again raises the question of whether John R. Stafford, American Home’s famously strong-willed chairman and chief executive, is capable of sharing and, perhaps more important, letting go of power.”

· January 13, 2000, Warner-Lambert Company indicated that, as a result of changing events, it is exploring strategic alternatives, including meeting with Pfizer, following Pfizer’s recent approach. In that regard, Warner-Lambert said that its Board of Directors has authorized management to enter into discussions with Pfizer to explore a potential business combination. The Company stated that, in light of changing circumstances, its Board had concluded that there is a reasonable likelihood that Pfizer’s previously announced conditional proposal could lead to a transaction, reasonably capable of being completed, that is better financially for Warner-Lambert shareholders than the proposed merger with American Home Products.

Lodewijk J.R. de Vink, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Warner-Lambert, stated, “It has always been the Board’s objective to secure the best possible transaction for Warner-Lambert shareholders and we will now pursue discussions with Pfizer to determine if a combination with them to achieve that goal is possible.” The Company emphasized that there can be no assurance that any agreement on a transaction with Pfizer, or that any other transaction, will eventuate.

· January 24, 2000, in response to inquiries, Warner-Lambert Company said that it would continue to explore strategic alternatives, including discussions with Pfizer. The Company’s unwavering goal is to provide the greatest value to Warner-Lambert shareholders. Warner-Lambert officials emphasized that there can be no assurance that any transaction will be completed and offered no further comment.

Was American Home Products the bride left at the altar? The Wall Street Journal didn’t think so, in fact they called American Home the Runaway Bride in their November article. Additionally they listed several companies that American Home has them selves left at the altar.

· Early November 1997, American Home Products and SmithKline Beecham begin merger talks.

· January 30, 1999, Talks break off.

· June 1, 1998, American Home and Monsanto announce agreement to merge.

· October 13, 1998, American Home and Monsanto cancel plans to merge.

· November 3, 1999, American Home and Warner-Lambert Co. in talks to merge.

Acquisitions

An acquisition is basically the function of one company consuming and digesting another. The result is that the acquiring company shores up core weaknesses or adds a new capability without giving up control, as might occur in a merger. Added capabilities, rather than synergy is usually the reasoning behind acquisitions. In this situation, the acquiring company’s culture prevails. Frequently one company will acquire another for their intellectual property, their employees or to increase market share. There are numerous strategies and reasons why one company acquires another, as you will soon discover.

Guardian Protection Services has been acquiring alarm companies within its northeast region of operation to supplement its internal growth. Russ Cersosimo, president says, “This is just another way for us to satisfy our appetite for growth. Our desire is to expand our opportunities in the other offices. That is another reason why it is attractive for us to look to acquire companies, to get their commercial base and commercial sales force that is in place in those offices. We wanted to make sure that we can digest the new accounts without putting strain on our paper flow and the systems we have in place.”

Who does R&D acquisitions well? Electronics Business recently answered, “Cisco Systems Inc., San Jose, the networking equipment company, which boasts many success stories among its 40 acquisitions of the past six years.” None of their acquisitions were in mature markets, rather all were leading edge, allowing Cisco to broaden its product offering. Cisco hedges its acquisition bets through volume. Ammar Hanafi, director of the business development group at Cisco says it counts on two out of three acquisitions succeeding and the remaining third doing just okay. Acquiring people, intellectual properties and specialized skills is important to companies like Cisco. They think that even if the acquired technology does not pan out, they have the engineers. Generally, any fast growing company like Cisco cannot hire people fast enough and the acquired personnel are a boon to the company’s progress. Retention of acquired employees is at the heart of their acquisition strategy. “If we’re going to lose the people who are important to the success of the target company, we’re probably not going to have an interest,” says Cisco controller Dennis Powell.

“Cisco doesn’t do big acquisitions, the cultural issues are too huge,” Hanafi says. Cisco buys early stage companies with little or no revenues. While they often have paid extremely high prices for the acquisition, they seem to do better than most with their selection. Between 1993 and 1996, Cisco bought cutting edge LAN switching technologies for a total of $666 million in stock. More than half was spent on Grand Junction Networks Inc., which developed fast Ethernet switchers. At the time of purchase, it is estimated that Grand Junction’s annual revenues were $30 million. “Today, the four LAN switching acquisitions account for $5 billion of Cisco’s $12 billion in annual revenues.” “We acquire companies because we believe they will be successful. If we didn’t believe in their success, we would not acquire them,” says Powell.

Little known West Coast Texas Pacific Group (TPG) has been acquiring at a feverish pace. Their semiconductor and telecom buying spree includes, GT Com in 1995, AT&T Paradyne (from Lucent Technologies Inc.) in 1996, Zilog Inc. in 1997, Landis & Gyr Communications SA in 1998, ON Semiconductor (from Motorola Inc.), Zhone Technologies Inc., MVX.COM and Advanced TelCom Group Inc. in 1999.

TPG banks heavily on intellectual capital. Many believe that by being part of TPG, their single biggest advantage is access to broad pool of talented and well-connected people. CEOs can take advantage of TPG’s contacts in other industries around the world. “TPG has this ability to build a virtual advisory board…that they don’t even have to pay for,” says Armando Geday, president and CEO of GlobeSpan Inc.

Lucent Technologies, Inc. has also been rampaging through the same market as Cisco. Lucent’s 1999 (January to August) acquisitions as listed in CFO magazine include:

· Kenan Systems for $1 billion

· Ascend Communications for $24 billion

· Sybarus for $37 million

· Enable Semiconductor for $50 million

· Mosaix for $145 million

· Zetax Tecnologia, $ N/A

· Batik Equipamentos, $ N/A

· Nexabit Networks for $900 million

· CCOM, Edisin, $ N/A

· SpecTran for $99 million

· International Network Services for $3.7 billion.

An advantage that Lucent has over its competitors is access to its 25,000-employee Bell Labs idea factory. As such, they are more likely to purchase technology rather than R&D. Still, Lucent continually reviews the comparative advantages of technology and R&D in relationship to its own projects in reviewing acquisition possibilities. Lucent executive vice president and CFO Donald Peterson says, “In every space in which we have acquired, we have had simultaneous research projects inside. It makes us knowledgeable, and lets us have a build-versus-buy option.”

Lucent wants their units as a hole to do well and if acquisition helps that cause, they acquire. Peterson also says, “We view acquisition as a tool among many that our business units can use to advance their business plans. We evaluate acquisitions one by one, in the context of the business strategy of the unit.”

Tyco International Ltd. is a diversified global manufacturer and supplier of industrial products and systems with leadership positions in each of its four business segments: Disposable and Specialty Products, Fire and Security Services, Flow Control, and Electrical and Electronic Components. Through its corporate strategies of high-value production, decentralized operations, growth through synergistic and strategic acquisitions, and expansion through product/market globalization, Tyco has evolved. From Tyco’s beginnings in 1960 as a privately held research laboratory, it has transformed into today’s multinational industrial corporation that is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The Company operates in more than 80 countries around the world and had fiscal 1999 revenues in excess of $22 billion.

In the mid-1980s, Tyco returned its focus to sharply accelerating growth. During this period, it reorganized its subsidiaries into the current business segments listed above. The Company’s name was changed from Tyco Laboratories, Inc. to Tyco International Ltd. in 1993, to reflect Tyco’s global operations more accurately. Furthermore, it became, and remains, Tyco’s policy to focus on adding high-quality, cost-competitive, low-tech industrial/commercial products to its product lines that can be marketed globally.

In addition, the Company adopted synergistic and strategic acquisition guidelines that established three base-line standards for potential acquisitions, including:

1. A company to be acquired must be in a business related to one of Tyco’s four business segments.

2. A company to be acquired must be able to expand the product line and/or improve product distribution in at least one of Tyco’s business segments.

3. A company to be acquired that will introduce a new product or product line must be using a manufacturing and/or processing technology already familiar to one of Tyco’s business segments.

Tyco also developed a highly disciplined approach to acquisitions based on three key criteria that the Company continues to use today to gauge potential acquisitions:

1. Post-acquisition results will have an immediate positive impact on earnings;

2. Opportunities to enhance operating profits must be substantial;

3. All acquisitions must be non-dilutive to shareholders.

FASB Accounting Rule Change

The rules of the game are changing. Some of the accounting benefits of acquisition will soon disappear. Spending some extra time with your accounting and legal departments could prove beneficial in the long-term.

George Donnelly, in his article in CFO magazine writes, “The current state of accounting rules is clearly a factor in the frenetic acquisition activity at Cisco Systems and Lucent Technologies Inc. Like many high-tech companies, the two giants can acquire with little drag on their finances, because pooling-of-interest accounting enables them to avoid onerous goodwill charges that otherwise would ravage earnings.

But because of the death sentence the Financial Accounting Standards Board has levied on pooling, companies must use straight-purchase accounting after January 1, 2001. Then buyers will have to amortize goodwill for no more than 20 years.”

Consolidations and Rollups

Bill Wade in Industrial Distribution said: “The basic premise couldn’t be any simpler. Take a highly fragmented industry–like distribution–facing technological change, customer upheaval or chronic financing difficulties. Add in a few well-healed foreign firms or, worse, a couple of previously unknown competitors from outside the business. Since the industry leaders are probably family-run businesses with limited succession strategies, the next step to protect profit and continue growth is clear: consolidate.”

A consolidation or rollup, as it’s frequently called, generally occurs when an organization or individual with deep pockets sets out to buy several small companies in a fragmented industry and rein them in under a new or collective pennant. In 1997 the National Association of Wholesale-Distributors reported that 42 of the 54 industries they studied had been significantly affected by consolidation. Frequently a professional management and buying strength create economies of scale that allows the consolidator to pluck the low hanging fruit in the industry. They will invest significantly in systems to eliminate the duplication of effort and inefficiencies that exist within the industry being consolidated.

While some call it smoke and mirrors, many consolidators are yielding outstanding results. In 1997, at 39 years old, financial whiz Jonathan Ledecky pulled off a bold deal. As reported in CFO magazine, He went to the public equity markets and raised half a billion dollars for his company, Consolidation Capital Corp., in a brazen initial public offering. Without revenues, assets, operating history or identity (name or industry), he raised the capital in a blind pool on the strength of his reputation alone.

U.S. Office Products (USOP) is the result of 220 acquisitions. Sharp Pencil was one of six privately owned office-supply companies that Ledecky put together. But he didn’t stop, after two years, and 220 acquisitions later, USOP was a member of the Fortune 500, with $3.8 in revenues. “It was crazy,” says Donald Platt, senior vice president and CFO at USOP. Platt did rely highly on outside resources, including a team of lawyers and accountants to get the job done (the 220 acquisitions). “We restricted then to well-managed, profitable companies. At worst, we would still be making money,” says Platt.

H. Wayne Huizenga is the owner of the Florida Marlins baseball team. He is also the king of consolidators. He pioneered his technique by rolling-up trash-truck businesses to create Waste Management Inc., the nation’s largest waste company. He went on to create the largest video chain, Blockbuster Video. With AutoNation, Huizenga, now struggling, is attacking the retail automobile industry. In mid-December 1999 AutoNation had 409 retail franchises but announced the closing of 23 of their used-car superstores.

Michael Riley learned about consolidations while serving as personal attorney for Huizenga. In July 1999, Riley’s company, Atlas Recreational Holdings Inc., paid $14 million to purchase controlling interest in the only publicly traded RV dealership chain in the United States, Holiday RV Superstores Inc., in Orlando, Florida. Riley’s avowed intention is to grow the company from $74 in annual sales in 1998 to $1 billion by 2003 by acquiring other dealerships.

Riley says, “Consolidations really will help. We can bring advantages to sales and service. We can make a difference in warranty. There is a real value added when you put these companies together.”

Same Industry, Different Strategies

In mid-1997, roll-ups, United Rentals and NationsRent were formed. They are in a race, but are using different strategies to achieve their results. After two years of ravenously gobbling up companies, United had 482 locations while NationsRent had accumulated only 138 stores. NationsRent has been developing a nationwide identity with stores that look-alike and have the same signage and layout. United Rentals presence is virtually unknown since the stores retain their previous appearance.

Motivations for Consolidators

There are several good reasons why consolidators attack a particular industry. The following list provides some of the rational that assist them in their decision making process. As you look to profit from the trend, keep these elements in mind as you make your selection on whom to acquire.

· Confidence by the players that they can capture significant and highly profitable additional market share by implementing the cutting edge management, procurement, distribution and service practices that will give them a competitive edge over smaller players.

· Gain national customers through increased capabilities in delivering the highest levels of standardized service and national geographical coverage.

· Larger customers of independent distribution channels are seeking broader geographic coverage and networks of locations that allow for greater service capabilities, and the smaller customers want a high level of customer service and response.

· Customers’ desire for more product sophistication.

· Insurance and financing synergies.

Fragmented Industries Are Ripe for Consolidations and Rollups

Some industries that are ready for consolidations or rollup examples include heavy-duty truck repair, office products, recreational vehicle dealerships, rental stores (equipment, tools and party) and distribution. Consolidation does not just happen. It is triggered by shifts in supplier and customer expectations. Consolidation in a supplier base or customer pool often alters the economic rational for the structure of an industry. Functional shifts are accompanied by serious margin shifts among channel participants.

Take notice of the speed in which an industry can experience consolidation. If you are a consolidator, pick the low hanging fruit before another beats you to it. If you are fighting consolidation, take notice of the state of your industry and make adjustments (like strategic alliances) to your business plan if your industry is highly fragmented.

· TruckPro, the $150 million sales creation of Haywood and Stephens Investments, was sold in May 1998 to AutoZone, the $3 billion distribution king of do-it-yourself auto parts.

· In June 1998, nine heavy-duty distribution companies with volumes of $6 to $37 million, simultaneously merged and raised $46 million from the public for their brand new $200 million company, TransCom USA.

· Brentwood Associates, a venture capital company, during Spring and Summer1998, created HAD Parts System, Inc. a $145 million operation, by acquiring three companies in the Southeast.

· In July 1998, Aurora Capital’s QDSP acquired majority interest in nine heavy-duty companies from FleetPride, a $200 million parts and service operation.

Stated in Truck Parts & Service, “Here the independent suffers a staggering disadvantage to roll-ups. Consolidators have access to large amounts of capital. The independent businessperson, however, must primarily finance his growth by earnings retains from current operations. New high efficiency service bays, significant and growing training expenses, data processing and communications technology all clamor for increased working capital. The large players’ acquisition cost advantage eventually will win him all the mega-fleet business and the vast majority of business from mid-sized fleets.

Supplementing his parts acquisition cost advantage, the consolidator will be able to lower many overhead costs through centralized management and volume discounts…Combined savings in parts acquisition cost and overhead reduction should easily exceed 4% of sales.”

Some of the indicators that an industry (any industry) is poised for consolidation are listed below. If you notice your industry has similar issues, it is just a matter of time. Plan now for what is coming. Where do you want to be when the train arrives?

· A high degree of fragmentation with numerous smaller companies and few, if any, dominating players.

· A large industry that is stable and growing.

· Multiple benefits for economies of scale.

· Synergies that can be achieved by consolidating companies.

· Infrequent use of advanced management information systems.

· Limited access to public capital markets and somewhat inefficient capital structures among companies.

· Lack of opportunities, historically, for owners to liquidate their businesses if they wish to leave the industry.

Reasons for Business Owners Selling to Consolidators

The reasons for a business owner to sell his or her business are as varied as there are people. Usually it is not one reason but several combined reasons that influence a seller’s decision. The following list provides you with the general areas that might drive a selling decision:

· First generation owner, without heirs, nearing retirement.

· Lack of capital to make necessary technological and capital improvements to compete, within an industry, and with new competitors.

· Flat growth rate in industry.

· Better profitability as part of a larger organization.

· Centralized buying.

Things You Don’t Know About China Shoe Industry

The Unfavorable Factors Now Facing Shoe Industry in China

More Cost for Labors

The Uprising in RMB

Raw Material Price Keeping Rising

Foreign Anti-dumping Charges

America Sub-prime Mortgage

The “Red Sea” Competition Within Shoe Manufacturers Themselves

Shoe Export Slows Down

Guangdong, a province in south China, exported 490 million pairs of shoes in January and February 2008, valued at USD 1.59 billion, decreasing 27.5% and 0.6% from one year before, citing customs statistics.

From September 2007, Guangdong’s export of shoes began to fall, 18.5% year on year in November of the year and 20.3% and 35.7% in January and February 2008. Besides, in the first two months, the number of shoes exporters in the delta decreased 1,855 year on year to 1,512, due to a rising renminbi, the US’ subprime mortgage crisis and a rise in China’s labor cost.

China has 40,000 shoe manufacturing plants with annual output of 6.5 billion pairs, accounting for 20 percent of the world’s total. However, 85 percent of them are middle and low-end products. Experts suggest that China’s shoe industry development should base itself on fashion culture and advanced management concepts, transforming the industrial strategy from simple manufacturing to brand promotion.Half of the country’s shoe output originates in south China’s Guangdong province, but most shoe factories there are small in scale and use simple manufacturing processes without much added value.

Four Manufacturer Bases of Footwear Industry in China

Guangdong Province

Many factories Close-downs is the must paid price for the industry transformation

Jingjiang City in Fujian Provice

Who will laugh at last? The “red sea” competition condition for the sports shoe in Olympic 2008 is getting more and more fierce.

Jiangsu Province

Brand cultivating and promotion is the core

Making technological innovations and taking the lead with technologies

In recent years, the footwear industry in Jinjiang has been paying attention to making more investment in technology improvement and encouraging innovations in terms of new technologies, new materials and new craftworks. Nevertheless, the footwear industry in Jinjiang just takes the lead in terms of manufacturing equipments but the level of technological innovation remains low, the research and development is still rather weak, there still lack high-end talents and relevant software and hardware, there is no sufficient production capacity of top-grade products, and it still lags far behind the international advanced level as far as studies on new products in terms of comforts and functions are concerned.

2008 Dongguan China Shoes – China Shoetec

This UFI approved event is widely supported by footwear industry. China Chamber of Commerce for I/E of Light Industrial Products and Art-Crafts(CCCLA), Hong Kong Footwear Association, Taiwan Footwear Manufacturers Association, Dongguan Leather & Footwear Association have confirmed to organize exhibiting pavilions in Spring 2008, and will bring in brand new exhibitors, allowing footwear manufacturers and traders enjoy the rewards that China Shoes âEUR¢ China Shoetec will bring. At the same time, overseas buyers express great interests to visit the exhibition and show gratitude to the organizers for providing suppliers with good quality sources. It is expected that the show will attract around 25,000 domestic and overseas buyers.

E-business Web Choice – Finding Authentic Shoe Suppliers in China

If you happen to be a buyer, looking for appropriate China Supplier partners. Would you like to get comprehensive information, such as company business registration condition, actual production, trade, R & D abilities and quality management system, of potential partners quickly? Do you hope that this information is from an impartial authoritative organization like SGS? If you are looking for such suppliers and need such important business information, please choose Made-in-China.com. It has already become a leading B2B portal especially in assisting global buyers and Chinese manufacturers to make contact and conduct international trade.

The influence of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games to science and technology content of sports shoes product. Nowadays the current of product with the same quality is more and more serious, who can keep ahead of technology and make out larruping and suitable product for customers, who will be favorite. Besides, sport shoes manufactures need improve professional capability, at the same time enclose with athletic sports requirement, via reduce cost to supply bargain gym shoes product for person.

Compared with burgeoning markets such as Vietnam and India, experts said China still has advantages in terms of cheap power and water supply, excellent infrastructure and an integrated industry.

What Have We Done To Our Industrial Base In The USA – Why Did We Do It?

During the 2016 election there was lots of talk about jobs, mostly lost jobs to crumbled industries. Sectors of our economy which were once strong and vibrant, but we traded them away to other nations is bad trade deals. Donald Trump is correct most of the major trade deals we’ve made haven’t been good for our economy in the long-term, sure they may have won us brownie points on the international stage and helped us out ‘client nation’ other former super powers and slowed down an emerging super power – but to what avail if we don’t have decent jobs for our own citizens?

You should see the destruction we’ve done in the mining sector for no real reason, today we have incredible mining technologies to prevent environmental damage, but good luck trying to get that going again. How can we compete with manufacturing when the entire supply chain from resources to the finished automobiles has been trashed? We are so much better than this.

We’ve allowed our industrial capabilities to be crushed, and we have politicians pandering to the vocal minority and incited media rather than by reason and reality. It should not cost $50 million dollars in EIR work and lawyers to get a refinery approved or a new strategy to add clean-coal technology to an existing coal-fired energy generation plant that has existed burning coal for power for 50-years. I thought we wanted clean and cheap energy?

No, apparently we want to hijack the fossil fuel industry to divert the wealth of the industry to new unproven alternative energy folks who are friends or relatives of Pelosi, Reid, or donated big bucks to the Obama Administration’s elections. And it isn’t just the Democrats joining the crony-capitalist feeding frenzy, because when the money flows in politics, people line up and throw their politics out, they just want to get rich, problem is we the taxpayers get screwed, and now we pay again in higher energy costs for the subsidies, and inefficiencies.

Our companies are less competitive with higher costs in energy for manufacturing, industry, mining, and thus it is even harder to compete on top of the four items I previously mentioned. Of course, I digress again. The point is bad policies, cronyism and attacks on our corporations from unions, class-action lawyers, over regulation, and foreign influences have us running at 1500 RPM when we redline at 5,000 RPM. Think on this, because it is fixable.

Urethane Products For Many Industries

Before I write further, I will emphasize that Polyurethane is identical to urethane. This means, the name can be exchanged. In the industrial field, urethane provides many benefits such as for industrial wheels or as industrial equipment coatings. The industrial wheel uses urethane because of its hard and elastic nature so it is suitable for heavy performance in extreme conditions such as high temperatures, impact with heavy and sharp elements, splashes of chemicals, etc. Urethane is also able to maintain the performance of industrial wheels with very heavy loads in very rough terrain.

In addition to industrial wheels, polyurethane also plays a role in the robotics industry, especially in robot wheels. The urethane robot wheel is designed by robotics engineers with very strict requirements. Well, have you ever seen a robot sent to record conditions in extreme locations that cannot be reached by humans such as space missions, inspection of sewage pipes, oil storage, and the nuclear industry? If so, have you ever asked, how can video images are received clearly despite extreme conditions? One factor that causes video images to be well received is sophisticated and high-quality urethane wheels. The urethane wheel is specifically designed to provide extreme vibration dampening so that the video images provided by the robot are sharp and clear.

Polyurethane also provides the same function when applied as a coating of industrial equipment. Industrial equipment coated with polyurethane will last longer; this is what makes industry players prefer polyurethane-coated products. Basically, Urethane manufacturing is a mixture of plastic and rubber; the solution creates a surface that is more resistant to friction, wear, heat, and resistant to some chemicals. The use of urethane has become increasingly widespread, apart from being a coating this material is also often used as elastomers, adhesives, hard foam, etc. Polyurethane can be formed into rigid or flexible and it is a versatile and safe material so it is widely used in environmentally friendly industrial products. In essence, Polyurethane provides many functions, so it is suitable for use in the heavy duty industry.

Polyurethane is also a material that has high resistance to oil and it is an electrical and thermal insulation, it means, polyurethane can reduce the rate of heat and electricity energy transfer. Therefore, polyurethane can be used for various types of products such as building insulation, fridge insulation, mattresses, sportswear, etc. Several other types of finished products in various industries such as vacuum suction for the beverage industry, paper suction for the paper industry, roll feeders for the printing industry, electric forklift tires for the Forklift industry, etc.

Well, if you are a businessman who needs finished polyurethane products, then you can order them according to industry requirements easily. There are many companies that serve custom urethane manufacturing, they use modern technology. Each urethane product is made with precision, using only high-quality ingredients and being very careful to ensure that the final results are precisely according to detailed specifications.

Rubber Seals Designs

The basic reason for using rubber seals is to prevent leakage of liquid between two joined surfaces. This is basically a mechanical seal used in static and dynamic sealing applications. Rubber seals, made of natural rubber or synthetic rubber, are used in various industries such as automotive, aerospace, construction etc. This seal is widely adopted in various applications due to features such as resistance to aging, fire retardation capabilities etc.

Rubber Seals Designs

There are different varieties of such seals available in the market on the basis of their designs, materials, usage and applications. There are three popular designs of these seals and each design has its distinct cross section. Let us discuss these designs below:

O-Rings

As the name suggests, these are round shaped, in the shape of O or a doughnut. It has the ability to do a sealing action by deforming to take the shape of the cavity and can easily fit into it. It can be a static or a dynamic seal. In static sealing, there is no or little motion between the mating surfaces. In dynamic cases, a relative motion is seen between the mating surface. O ring has simple mounting requirements.

X-rings

This design is in the shape of the letter-X and hence referred as X-rings. At times, it is also known as Q-rings. Considered to be a better alternative to O-rings. Used mainly in rotary seal applications. X rings provide double-closing action. They have a four-lobed configuration which prevent the seal from being twisted. With two areas to be sealed, they require less deformation to offer an effective sealing.

Square Rings

These are seals with square cross sections. Made of natural or synthetic rubber, these are used mainly in high pressure gasketing functions. Square rings are used in place of similar sized O-rings or other molded seals. They are ideal for static applications but not for dynamic applications. Some basic advantages of square rings are controlled surface smoothness, better elasticity, correctly formed edges, and accurate hardness.

U-cup Seals

Another popular design of rubber seals is the U-cup seal. They are mainly used to join stems or rams. With small glandular spaces, they become more perfect. With a U-shaped cross section, sealing itself is possible for inner and outer diameters. There are three varieties of such seals.