1. Social Media Assists Small Businesses

    May 31, 2011 by
    Social media and business

    Everywhere you look people are writing about social media: newspapers, magazines, bloggers, news channels, books. After reading a few of these articles you will notice the same key theme coming through; if your business is not using social media then you are missing out on massive opportunities.

    We now operate in a world where hundreds of millions of people are seamlessly connected through devices and the Internet – sharing billions of pieces of content, information and experiences on a daily basis. In many ways social media has become a very powerful way to share information and experience.

    A good case study on the power of social media for a small business is the story of Wendy Maddocks-Jennings a skincare products producer based in Palmerston North, New Zealand.

    After one year of utilising the power of social media Wendy been able to increase sales 25 per cent and that’s due to regular facebook updates, tweeting and blogging.

    Below is the full article.


    Success: Social media helps to reach the world

    By: Christine Nikiel

    Facebook, Twitter, blogs are cost-effective ways to target a specific market, says business owner.

    Wendy Maddocks-Jennings is aiming to use only New Zealand-grown plants in her range of skincare products.

    Two years ago, former nurse Wendy Maddocks-Jennings would have told you that Twitter and Facebook were just amusing distractions for teenagers.

    Now the small-business owner relies on social media to promote her natural skincare products to the world.

    Sales for her Palmerston North-based company, MJ Health, are up 25 per cent on this time last year, thanks to her regular tweeting, blogging and Facebook updates.

    Maddocks-Jennings exports most of her completely plant-based products to beauty salons and spas in Britain, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. She says adapting to social media has allowed her to find customers who would otherwise have been out of reach.

    Twitter, Facebook and blogging are a more cost-effective way for a small business to really target specific groups of customers than traditional print advertising, she says.

    The main cost in using social media is time, says Maddocks-Jennings, who estimates she spends 10 or so hours a week tweeting, updating her blog, responding to comments and posting videos on YouTube. She hires a contractor for media research and the advanced technical stuff.

    MJ Health makes its plant-based skincare products under the Dr Wendy's brand. Another range, Earth's Gift, is mainly sold on Trade Me but uses some non-plant-based ingredients.

    Maddocks-Jennings first recognised social media as a great way to promote brand awareness for her fledgling business after attending a social media marketing course run by New Zealand Trade & Enterprise and the natural products industry body, New Zealand Natural Products.

    During the course she discovered she was the only one of about 20 who had a Facebook page – and she'd only set that up to keep in touch with a friend's plans for a school reunion.

    The number of Kiwi businesses using social media has been a trickle rather than a flow. In March, the annual MYOB Business Monitor showed only 14 per cent of the 1000-odd Kiwi smaller businesses that were surveyed used Twitter, Facebook, MySpace or YouTube to promote their business. Similarly, just 12 per cent of all business owners wrote online newsletters or blogs to promote their business to existing and prospective customers.

    Maddocks-Jennings says the trick when tweeting, blogging and posting is to keep things conversational, and to engage with and inform people rather than do the hard sell.

    "It's definitely not about bombarding people with information. For example, I contribute to conversations in chat rooms where I'm not necessarily saying, 'try my products', but I might be informing people about the ingredients that I use."

    She shares links to various industry-related blogs, news and events, and comments on industry-related news.

    This doesn't just raise brand awareness, but also shows that the company "has a wider consideration than just the business side of things".

    There is some direct promotion. Maddocks-Jennings has a small budget for Facebook ads, and offers products as giveaways at certain events.

    Despite quickly getting up to speed with the technology, Maddocks-Jennings recognised she needed help with some of the more technical and time-consuming stuff.

    She also needed to effectively research and communicate with her most lucrative markets: Hong Kong and Singapore. She hired a Mandarin and Cantonese-speaking intern to surf the net for product reviews and comments, and to do the more advanced technical things such as write html code.

    Maddocks-Jennings, 45, had always had an interest in natural products, and had mulled the idea of starting her own business for years.

    While nursing she had developed some serious allergies to hand cleaning products and latex. She found a teaching job at a local polytechnic and opened a small aromatherapy clinic.

    When an opportunity for voluntary redundancy came up, she knew it was now or never for her business idea.

    She set up the company in 2006 after studying for a doctorate in health science at Australia's Charles Sturt University. She spent 18 months developing a product range under her Dr Wendy's brand, and door-knocked pharmacies, beauty salons and health food shops around the North Island. She found it tough going: the recession was starting to bite and businesses were reluctant to take on a new product.

    On the advice of a business mentor she narrowed her market focus to women over 30 and targeted only beauty salons, spas and therapists.

    Knowing an export market would provide a bigger pool of customers, she successfully launched the product through distributors in Britain, and turned to Asia via Hong Kong, a common entry point to the Asian market because of its location, market size and because English is spoken.

    She ignored Australia, having been advised there were already a lot of local brands with a loyal following.

    Now Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Britain make up 80 per cent of her market and the rest is sold in New Zealand. Maddocks-Jennings aims to further develop the local market with a new range of salon-only products, and will tackle the Korean market this year.

    All MJ Health's products are manufactured in Palmerston North. To cut costs Maddocks-Jennings hires a local commercial kitchen and a handful of staff only when an order comes in.

    Being small allows her the flexibility to customise her range, which is important to her Asian market, where customers have different skin types.

    The Dr Wendy's brand which sells in Asia is altered slightly to suit not only the local skin type but also to ensure the product's longevity in the humid climate.

    Maddocks-Jennings aims to use all New Zealand plants in her products; right now she's at about 70 per cent.

    She's also 80 per cent toward her goal of being completely organic.

    The natural products industry in New Zealand is thriving: industry body, Natural Products NZ, estimates it is worth about $1 billion annually.


  2. Pakistan’s Quality Movement

    by
    ICQI2011

    The quality fraternity in Pakistan is challenging the status quo and starting initiatives to lead the country to a brighter future. The Pakistan Institute of Quality Control recently held its conference titled “Quality, Performance, and Competitiveness in the current difficult socioeconomic situation”.  

    The 12th International Convention on Quality Improvement and 2nd ANQ Regional Conference, ICQI 2011 was held on May 2-3 2011 in Lahore – Pakistan. The conference was organised by the PIQC Institute of Quality in collaboration with the Quality & Productivity Society of Pakistan and the Asian Network for Quality.

    Over the conference two days around 40 local and foreign speakers presented their papers, research work and many leading companies shared their Best Practices in different fields such as Healthcare, Education and business services. There were also many strategy related papers in which the theory of system, Quality Culture, Human Resource Management, Breakthrough Management, Quality Tools and Leadership for Quality were critically explored and analysed.  

    The Conference Chairman, Dr. Kamran Moosa and CEO of PIQC Institute of Quality, discussed the state of Quality in Pakistan, outlined the need for change, and proposed new initiatives to address the challenges. One big step forward, announced by Khawaja Muhammad Yousaf, CEO of National Productivity Organization (NPO) was the launch of the Prime Minister’s Quality Award. This award is based on the Malcolm Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence which is used in the United States and many other countries. It is envisaged that the award will lead to a greater appreciation and understanding of quality, and greatly assist organisations to improve their productivity and competitiveness.

    You can read more details about the conference here.

    Ahmed Abbas
    BPIR.com


  3. Memories of Quality Past

    May 27, 2011 by

    Memories of Quality Past – Gopal Kanji (1938-2010) and Yoshio Kondo (1924-2011)

    I was recently reminded that Gopal Kanji passed away almost a year ago now (28 May 2010) and this encouraged me to write a short note to say that for many of us in the quality community he is sadly missed….

    I knew Gopal since 1990 when I was undertaking my PhD in Total Quality Management at Liverpool University, UK. At that time there was huge interest in quality in the West but few academic publications on the subject. Gopal founded the first journal on Total Quality Management in 1990 when he worked at Sheffield Hallam University… the journal played a significant part in stimulating research in the topic. He then built on this interest by initiating the World Congress for Total Quality Management which he took around the world.  When I moved to New Zealand I was encouraged to hold the Congress in New Zealand – he was very supportive and we held a very successful event in Wellington with over 350 attendees from over 40 countries.

    I also saw him every year at Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University where we served on the Advisory Board. He was always accompanied by his wife Valerie who helped him with his huge workload – which covered quality and statistics (he was also the Editor of Applied Statistics for many years).  Both were always a delight to meet and I enjoyed the fact that whatever conference I went to around the world I would always find them there – usually at their own exhibition stand showcasing Gopal’s books and encouraging people to submit papers to the TQM Journal!

    Gopal Kanji
    Gopal Kanji speaking at the
    World Congress for TQM, New Zealand, 2006

    Another great Ambassador of Quality, Yoshio Kondo, died on 1 April 2011.

    I was first privileged to meet Yoshio at his home in Kyoto, Japan in 1999. After introducing myself by email he invited me to his house to share a whole afternoon and meal discussing quality issues. I later visited him again in 2001 to gain his insights into Japan’s economic success in the 1970’s and 80’s, and relative decline since 2000.  This resulted in an article “Impressions from a Quality Tour in Japan”. It is an interesting article to look back on – it not only shares the views of some of Japan’s quality leaders but it provides a window into Japan’s unique culture.

    Yoshio Kondo

    Yoshio was a most gracious man with a very good sense of humour. Considering how frail he was in later years he showed amazing tenacity and commitment to support quality events around the world. Yoshio made “quality” so easy to understand and this is no better portrayed than in his book… “Human Motivation – A Key Factor for Management”. This is a short and practical book that is full of illustrations and case studies… it a great introduction to Human Motivation that can help managers to get the most from their staff.

    Full details of Gopal Kanji’s and Yoshio Kondo’s achievements are provided underneath this blog.

    Dr Robin Mann
    Co-founder, BPIR.com Limited.



    Gopal K. Kanji, 1938–2010 – Obituary provided by Warren Gilchrest
    After a long struggle with lung cancer Professor Gopal Kanji died on May 28th, 2010. Gopal was born in 1938 in Patna, India, son of a Professor of Psychology. He obtained a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a Master of Science degree in statistics at Patna University. In 1960 he came as a Research Assistant to the Statistics Department at Sheffield University, later becoming an Assistant Lecturer. His research led to a second Masters degree. He met Valerie in 1964and they married in 1966. They have two children, Heather and Dilip. It was in 1966 that he joined Sheffield Technical College, later to become Sheffield Polytechnic in 1969 and Sheffield Hallam University in 1992. Over this time Gopal moved from Assistant Lecturer to Professor of Statistics; during these years he also studied part time for a doctorate under the Council for National Academic Awards system.

    In 1974 Gopal founded a small departmental journal called BIAS (Bulletin in Applied Statistics) whose articles were mostly written, with prompting, by departmental staff. Over the years Gopal built this up so that it soon became the Journal of Applied Statistics, which is now published by Taylor & Francis. It is now a major international journal and one that has resisted the theoretical tendencies of recent years and has truly focused on the application of statistics and the associated developing methodologies. In starting BIAS Gopal found one of his great skills in life. Most people edit a journal for a few years and then pass the job on with relief. Gopal put in about 60 man-years as an Editor Supreme; not until 2008 did he pass on the editorship of this journal. In 1990 he founded and edited the TQMJournal (later Total Quality Management and Business Excellence),which is also published by Taylor&Francis. This was the first international journal to bring together all the many elements of the quality control scene. It has persistently avoided the ‘I think’ culture that is evident in much quality literature and sought a clear measurement, modelling and evidence-based approach. Gopal also contributed to the editing of several other journals including The Statistician and Applied Statistics. He was a member of the Royal Statistical Society’s Journals Committee as well as of the Society’s Council (1978–1982) and was also Vice-Chair and then Chair of the Committee of the Industrial Applications Section and Secretary of the Sheffield Local Group of the Society, 1970–1976. As aFellow of the Institute of Statisticians, as well as of the Society, Gopal was twice on the Council of the Institute of Statisticians: 1978–1982 and 1986–1988.

    Gopal was a great attendee at international conferences, often with Valerie, not just as organizer, participant or speaker, but often in all of those roles. He would come back from the conferences with promised papers for his journals both by those eminent in their fields and also young researchers and practitioners working on new and developing areas. This sometimes led to special issues of journals on developing and interesting applications; thus the Journal of Applied Statistics had issues on image analysis, in 1993, and statistics in ornithology, in 1995 and 2002. These were also sometimes published later in book form.

    In the early 1980s his interest broadened from applied statistics into the wider areas of quality control, where he wrote not only individually but also co-operated with many others in writing a large number of papers in this area. Some of these formed series of papers, particularly on quality approaches in different countries and in different industries and contexts. This led to his development of a personal and broad approach to the whole structure and methodology of quality improvement. Also in the 1990s Gopal started to organize regular international conferences on quality matters (the World Congress for Total Quality Management), initially at Sheffield Hallam University, but later all round the world; 13 such congresses have been held. Gopal’s ability to develop enthusiastic and effective local teams half a world away is yet another illustration of his gifts.

    Anyone looking at the 90 papers or so that Gopal wrote will notice the large number of joint authors: quite a number from Sheffield Hallam University. Behind this fact is Gopal’s care for and encouragement of the staff he worked with. He supported many staff with their personal development as statisticians by helping them to become involved in new areas and in writing papers. His vast set of contacts across the world enabled him by a single phone call to form a useful link, or to find an external examiner or help for supervision. Gopal was always a friendly face or voice and his requests were rarely turned down. In parallel with his papers Gopal wrote a dozen books covering statistics, total quality management and the links between the two, some being translated into other languages. Of these some, like his papers, were developed and written with colleagues. He also edited several conference proceedings and book versions of journal special issues.

    Gopal retired, as Emeritus Professor, from Sheffield Hallam in 2001, to enable himself to concentrate on consultancy and training. He set up a company, Kanji Quality Culture Ltd UK, as the basis for this work. He based his approach on the system of quality methodologies and measurement techniques that he had been developing and writing about over many years. It was in the issue of measurement that Gopal brought together the concerns of statistics and quality. For example he was a technical expert for the European Commission’s development of a European customer satisfaction index. Also in the international context Gopal was an active member of the American Society for Quality, being Vice-Chair of the European and Middle Eastern Chapter, and he received the American Society for Quality’s Grant Medal for his contributions to total quality management.

    Gopal’s wide range of contacts and the associated editing and conference attendances meant that he had a broad view of developments in both statistics and the quality improvement fields. This he fed back into his journals, papers, books and conferences. Later, after he retired in 2001, he developed his approaches further through his consulting. Gopal’s constant work, leadership and entrepreneurial spirit in developing the fields of applied statistics and total quality management have left a lasting mark on both these fields.



    Dr. Yoshio Kondo, 1924- 2011
    Dr. Yoshio Kondo was a Professor Emeritus at Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan. he was awarded the Deming Prize in 1971 and became an Academician of the International Academy for Quality in 1975. Dr Kondo was awarded the E.L. Grant Award from the ASQC in 1977. He retired from Kyoto University with Professor Emeritus in 1988. He was President of the Japanese Society for Quality Control from 1992-1993 and became an honorary member of the Philippine Society for Quality Control in 1994. He was President of the International Academy for Quality from 1994 to 1996 and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Engineering Academy of Japan from 1995-1998. Dr Kondo was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Academy for Quality in 1997 and was awarded the Harrington-Ishikawa Medal from the APQO in 1998. He was also awarded the E. Jack Lancaster Award from the ASQ in the same year, as well as becoming Professor Emeritus of the European Center for Peace and Development in Belgrade. He was also named ASQ’s 23rd honorary member in 2006. The citation reads, “For his exceptional contribution to the global quality community as a thought-leader in the fields of human motivation and total quality management and his exemplary personal dedication to the promotion of quality throughout the world.” Dr Kondo published more than 500 articles and papers as well as a dozen books, two of which – Human Motivation: A Key Factor for Management and Companywide Quality Control: Its Background and Development – have been translated into English.


  4. The King’s Speech: The first executive coach?

    May 26, 2011 by
    Vivian Vella , a Cranfield MBA visiting professor, explains why the movie The King’s Speech is a great example of executive coaching in action.

    speech

    A script of the interview follows the video.

     
    Steve Macaulay
    The film The King’s Speech has attracted a lot of attention. Now, it did so at Cranfield  too, but for different reasons probably from most people. Lionel Logue, the speech therapist, in our eyes, looks to be the first executive coach and we thought it worthwhile asking somebody that knows about executive coaching to explore this further. Vivian Vella, you have got a lot of experience of executive coaching, can you see parallels?

    Vivian Vella
    Absolutely – a brilliant film. There were two main parallels for me. And I think the first thing that really shows up in that the relationship is key between the coach and the coachee, in terms of the coach creating a safe environment where leaders – and in the film’s case, the King, a very high leader – where it can be quite lonely at the top. And to be able to have a space where a little bit of vulnerability can be shown, so that some things can be addressed in a safe and challenging, a supportive and challenge environment that is provided by a coach.

    Steve Macaulay
    Now I noticed that one of the things the King did was to rebel a bit and that Lionel tackled him on this and there was really quite an emotional moment during the film.

    Vivian Vella
    Absolutely, and that brings me on to the second point really. I think what that relationship and the coaching process shows, is there are two different types of coaching; there is developmental and transformational. The developmental part is the skills and techniques that are absolutely appropriate to learn and to develop strengths and to do things differently, to exercise the metaphorical muscle that isn’t used as much. And of course, in the film it was very literal in terms of using muscles that you didn’t use. So that is absolutely valid. And there is a transformational piece and I think it was in that relationship where there was a bit of rupture and the King got connected to something very different – a very different place in him. I think he got connected to his anger actually and passion and when he came back he was absolutely ready to do the real work because it is not easy necessarily. And that was a transformational piece; it transformed their relationship and the real work could be done at that point to lead to success.

    Steve Macaulay
    Now executive coaching seems to have become, almost from nowhere really, something that has become very popular in the business world – why do you think that is?

    Vivian Vella
    I think it is something about pace, actually. We live in a frenetic world and leaders and managers go from one place to the next and increasing demands are made on them and I think a coaching process supports their learning and gives them an opportunity to have a reflective space, actually. Evidence has shown, in terms of studies – it is up here on our website – around formal learning, it’s about 10% effective and it has its place. Twenty percent of effective learning is done through others and I think programmes encompass both of those elements, experiential programmes. And the 70% piece in terms of effective learning is on the job learning and I think the coaching process really offers that. Because when you set up an initial contract with a coachee you have certain goals and objectives that you want to achieve. Those might have come out of some 360 or psychometric profiling – in The King’s Speech there was a very definite speech that had to be done and delivered correctly. But the on the job piece is that you have these very special conversations that address what is absolutely relevant at the time for the coachee in service of achieving those ultimate goals. So it is not a linear process necessarily, although ultimately you want to see a visible difference in the business, but you address what is key for the coachee at that time. And I think that is what makes the relationship very special, in terms of having this place to be able to do this and have those sorts of conversations .I think Peter Hawkins refers to the coaching conversation and he is Chair of the Bath Consultancy Group and has written about coaching ,mentoring and consulting and he calls it ‘a robust dialogue born of fearless compassion’ which I think really sums it up; and you don’t often get that sort of quality in a conversation in service of helping somebody’s learning.

    Steve Macaulay
    So is that what makes it special – you have got some goals to aim for and you have got this fearlessness about tackling issues that maybe wouldn’t get tackled otherwise?

    Vivian Vella
    Absolutely; in a trusted environment and that is key. So that you have the relationship there and there is a lot of learning actually within the relations and I think we saw that in the film as well. Because what goes on in the coaching relationship will be observed because it can actually be reflecting what goes on outside. So your experience of the coachee will be in part how they are experienced back in the business. And a coach can make those observations, which can be really useful learning for the individual.

    Steve Macaulay
    One of the things that I noticed in the film was that over time the King started to say well I don’t need to see you so often now, to Lionel; is this the sort of thing that you would expect or is a bit of lifelong relationship?
     
    Vivian Vella
    I think that is really appropriate actually and it comes to working with an ethical code. I think that normal practice would be to contract at the beginning, with the coachee, what it is that you are there to address in terms of their learning, how many sessions you would want to initially contract with so that there is a checkpoint that could be re-contracted at any point, but that you have some boundaries around that. And of course, the main focus of supporting the coachee in their learning is that they become independent learners so that they don’t foster a co-dependency in that relationship and that is another reason it is important for the supervisor to check that that is not happening.

    Steve Macaulay
    So there is more to this coaching than meets the eye, but I think what you have done is give us some very useful pointers there. Thank you very much, Vivian.

    Vivian’s contact details are shown here.


  5. The Collapse of Complex Business Models

    May 23, 2011 by
    Collapse

     
    Clay Shirky is a New York University lecturer and writer he is teaching and writing on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies. In one of his blog posts he talks about the collapse of the great empires of the past: the Mayans, the Romans. They collapsed because they got too big, too complex and couldn’t adapt to a new world and now he believes this is happening again. Although he focuses on media companies and broadcasters, I think you’ll find a lot of things that are relevant to other industries.

    You can read it from here:
    http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2010/04/the-collapse-of-complex-business-models

    Ahmed Abbbas
    BPIR.com