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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Strategy and Environment

This post would discuss about how strategy of a company is affected by environment using example of Lehman Brothers. Lehman Brothers was a global financial service firm. Before bankruptcy in 2008, it was the largest investment firm in the USA (Aikman, 2010). Negligence of external factors is the reason behind the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers.

External factors

Decline in the price of real state developed mortgage crisis in the USA. It is one of the reasons that are affected Lehman brothers, which was not predicted by the bank in advance. Due to mortgage crisis, interest rates were increased by Lehman Brothers on housing loans. This situation created difficulties for borrowers to repay the loan to the bank. Lehman Brother had not maintained healthy relationship with other banks due to the over- confidence of its CEO. Slowdown of USA economy and market share, terrorist attack, decrease in labor market, low government support, Higher Credit rates and borrowing costs etc. are the key external factors that were not properly anticipated and planned by Lehman Brothers (Richelson & Richelson, 2011).

Impact of external factors on Lehman Brothers

High credit rates and borrowing cost led to huge loss of the bank, because borrowers were enabled to repay the loan to the bank (Davies, 2010). Lack of healthy relations with other banks resulted into poor support to Lehman brothers that affected the business practices of the bank during the economic downturn. Apart from this, terrorist attack in the USA also negatively influenced the operations and market share of the bank.Assignment Help Due to economic slowdown of USA economy, five major independent brokers of Wall Street disappeared that further negatively affected the trading system of the bank. So, it also increased the loss of the bank. Low government support during the critical situation was another factor that affected financial policies of the bank.

Deal with external environment


To deal with the environment, bank could have developed effective risk and crisis management strategies and strong financial policies for attracting the shareholders. To deal with external environment, Lehman Brothers could have reduced interest rates on housing loan. In that condition, borrowers could have easily repaid the loan to the bank. Bank could have developed harmony in relations with others banks to reduce the adverse impact of the environment. Bank could have dealt with crisis by giving some relaxation to the borrower in repayment of the loan (Posner, 2010). Additionally, bank could have developed some contingency plans and forecasting strategies to estimate the crisis and take preventive actions to deal with external environment.


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References
Aikman, J. S. (2010). When Prime Brokers Fail: The Unheeded Risk to Hedge Funds, Banks, and the Financial Industry. USA: John Wiley and Sons.
Davies, H. (2010).The financial crisis: who is to blame?.Britain: Polity
Posner, R. A. (2010). The crisis of capitalist democracy. USA: Harvard University Press
Richelson, H. & Richelson, S. (2011). Bonds: The Unbeaten Path to Secure Investment Growth. Canada: Bloomberg Press.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Business Excellence Model

Business Excellence Model evaluates the performance of firms and explores actions for the improvement (Kanji, 2002). Organization can use BEM to increase the performance in following ways:

Performance Measurement Tool

Organization can use the Business excellence model as a performance assessment tool such as benchmarking or audit framework. Through using the business excellence model, company can evaluate the gap existed between actual and standard performance. After identifying the gap, can take necessary actions for performance improvement (Groves, Herbert, Correll & Correll, 2008).

Utilization of Resources

Company can use the business excellence model in the allocation and utilization of the resources (Kanji, 2002). Through Business excellence model, company can allocate the resources in right time, at right place in right manner that can increase the performance of the organization.

Policy & Strategy

By using business excellence model, organization can develop effective policies and strategy for the identified areas of performance improvement (Groves, Herbert, Correll & Correll, 2008). Business excellence model is based on TQM principle and provides necessary information regarding supply chain, quality standards, deviations, etc. Through business excellence model, company can achieve holistic development of its product or service quality that will enhance organizational performance.

Supply chain management

For increasing the performance, company can use the Business excellence model in the supply chain management. Business excellence covers all TQM factors that affect the business excellence of the organization. By using BEM, organization can improve inventory management, distribution system, logistics operations and supply chain network that are directly linked to performance (Kanji, 2002).

References
Groves, D., Herbert, K., Correll, J. C. & Correll, J. G. (2008). Achieving Class a Business Excellence: An Executive's Perspective. USA: John Wiley and Sons.
Kanji, G. (2002). Measuring business excellence. USA: Routledge.




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Monday, September 19, 2011

Sources for Obtaining Industry Norms to Compare Financial Ratios

 There are various sources for obtaining industry norms to compare financial ratios that include websites such as bizstrat.com, Business census.gov, Economic Census: Concentration Ratios, Google Finance and Yahoo Finance Stock Screener. The information is also available in various financial books such as Building Financial Model, Business Ratios and Formulas, Decoding Financial Statement, The Lender’s Tool Kit, Smart Financial Management (Helfert, 2001).Assignment Help The investor has to be aware of some limitations, when using industrial comparison such as inflation should not be badly distorted, uses of different accounting practices like, FIFO/LIFO, Leasing/ Buying equipment and also mixture of good and bad ratio makes difficult to identify the status of the company (Madura, 2003).


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References

Helfert, E. A. (2001). Financial analysis: tools and techniques: a guide for managers. USA: McGraw-Hill Professional.

Madura, J. (2003). What every investor needs to know about accounting fraud. USA: McGraw-Hill Professional.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Developing Internet Strategy

E-commerce is an important concept of every emerging business at it helps the organizations to buy and sell the products over electronic system with the help of internet. It increases the sales of the organization and helpful in connecting the customers with the organization (Pinto 2003). This report explains about the uses of internet and e-commerce site for the small firm like small retail store owned by an individual person. This post helps the readers to understand the impact of web site on the sales of the firm and how the web site attracts more customers to be the part of the firm.

Internet business model is majorly classified into four ways; first model allows the organization to send free news letter to the customers. This model is beneficial for the organization, when it post some informative information to the customers rather than posing ads (Pride, Hughes and Kapoor 2005). The second type of web site can support large number of free online services to the customers such as providing free software, movies, books, etc. These types of the web sites are used for the organization, who earns money through online advertisement. As when the site starts receiving lots of traffic, the firm can post advertisements on the web site and earn money online (Pinterits 2009).

Third classification of model is applicable, where the organization has new products to sell. This model is profitable for the organization as customer can easily buy the product through online system (Pride, Hughes and Kapoor 2005). The fourth type of model can be affiliated program, where seller can create variety of catalogue for its customers, so that they can choose the products or services of their own choice (Pinterits 2009). In this business model the retail firm has to choose the affiliated program model, as it supports variety of catalogue that will be helpful for the retailers to show its different products online. This model also helps the retailers to sell its products over the internet that will increase the sales of the firm (Gay, Charlesworth and Esen 2007). Also, the website is helpful for the customers as they purchase the products online. After launching of this web site, retailer has to provide home delivery facility to the customers, who purchase the products online, so that they have not to visit the store to purchase the goods (Zappalà and Gray 2006).

Also, they can purchase the goods at any time i.e. in the office hours too and can also purchase at the night but the delivery of the goods should be made only at the store time. This web site will perform multi-functions for the firm as it can market its product online because customers will do online shopping (Zappalà and Gray 2006). It will also result in to increase in the sales of the organization and provides customer care facility as customers can ask query online for example the availability or the quality of the new product. They can also post suggestions to improve the facility or can post complains if not satisfied with the product delivered or the delivery service (Neuman 2007).

Internet is very useful tool for the organization as the retailer can understand about the various offers delivered by the other storekeepers. It can also be helpful to know about the other products available in the market and to find the cheapest source, so buy those products. This is beneficial for the retailer as he can provide the products to the customers in the most efficient prices (Windham and Orton 2000).

To access these services, customer has to register with the firm with the current address on which the goods have to be delivered. Also, the customer has to provide contact details, so that firm’s staff can easily contact him in case of any confusion regarding the product selected or any other. After got registered with the firm, the customer can order the product at any time irrespective of the store’s time (Waters 2003). The firm can provide two modes of payment system i.e. the customer can either clear his payment as soon as he order the product through card or can pay the bill on delivery of ordered products.

The firm can include links of his sister concern, so that customers become aware of the other products such as furniture, books and stationary, if any. The link of this web site can also be mentioned on the web sites of the sister concerns, so that customer can aware of this products too. There must be an easy registration procedure through online support, so that customer can even register himself without visiting to store (Addison 2006).

Technological specification required to implement this web site includes both hardware and software. In the list of hardware firm requires Intel processor (1GHz or faster), at least 512 MB RAM, telephone line, internet router. Software includes, internet connection, website, internet explorer, Firefox 3.x, JavaScript and cookies enabled, requires Sun Java 5, ActiveX enabled for internet explorer (Laube and Zammuto 2003).

Conclusion

From the above discussion, it can be concluded that website helps in increasing the sales and profit of the small firms as it attracts more customers. It smoothen the internal communication of the firm as online support helps the organization to easily monitor the sales and profits of the firm. This report also shows the other various uses of the internet for a small retail firm that helps in increasing the customer loyalty and visit to the firm. It also describes how customer can access the web site and how the retailer can provide services to attract more customers. At last, this report detailed the various hardware and software required to implement this facility in the organization.


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References
Addison, D. R. (2006) Web site cookbook. USA: O'Reilly Media, Inc.

Gay, R., Charlesworth, A. and Esen, R. (2007) Online marketing: a customer-led approach. USA: Oxford University Press.

Laube, D. R. and Zammuto, R. F. (2003) Business-driven information technology: answers to 100 critical questions for every manager. USA: Stanford University Press.

Neuman, J. (2007) The Complete Internet Marketer. USA: Lulu.com.

Pinterits, A. (2009) Coordinating internet sales with other channels: a performance measurement model. deutscher: Gabler Verlag.

Pinto, D. (2003) E-commerce and source-based income taxation. USA: IBFD.

Pride, W. M., Hughes, R. J. and Kapoor, J. R. (2005) Business. USA: Cengage Learning

Waters, J. (2003) The real business of web design. USA: Skyhorse Publishing Inc.

Windham, L. and Orton, K. (2000) The soul of the new consumer: the attitudes, behaviors, and preferences of E-customers. USA: Skyhorse Publishing Inc.

Zappalà, S. and Gray, C. (2006) Impact of e-commerce on consumers and small firms. UK: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Business, its Environment and Objectives

Business refers to the regular production or purchase and sale of goods undertaken with an objective to earn profit and acquiring wealth through the satisfaction of human wants. Every business requires some form of investment and a sufficient number of customers to whom its output can be sold at profit.

Business and its Environment

Environment refers to all external forces that have a direct bearing on the functioning of a business. Objectives can be decided after understanding the environment in which the business runs. Both the business and its environment are responsible to each other. There are various segments of the environment that may be classified as:

Social: It includes the consumers, employees and the social institutions to which business provides benefits.

Economic: There is close relationship between the business and its economic environment. Business obtains all its inputs from economic environment. It also includes the other business units which an enterprise has to deal with.

Political: It includes the various political institutions, government and its legislature. These institutions take the income of the enterprise in the form of the taxes.

Technological: It includes the technical know-how. Technology changes fast and to keep pace with it, businessmen should be alert to adopt changed technology in their business.

Objectives of Business
Profit Earning: Without earning profit no business can survive in the competitive market. Profit making is the primary objective for which the business came into existence. Profit must be earned to ensure the survival of business, its growth, and expansion overtime.

Innovations:
Innovations means changes, that brings improvement in products, process of production and distribution of goods. Through innovations business can reduce its cost of by adopting better methods. It can also increase its sales by attracting more customers with improved products.

Optimum use of resources:
As business needs lots of resources like man, material, money, machinery etc. to run its business. Due to the limited availability of these resources business must use it in an optimum way.

Productivity:
A business firm can succeed only if it can produce maximum output with limited available resources.

Development of human resource:
Business should develop proper training and development for improving the skills of manpower. Better skills of employees will lead to prosperity of the business.

Supply of quality goods:
The objectives of the business should be to produce better quality goods and supply them at the right time and the right place. Business should charge fair prices according to the quality of the goods.

Creation of Customers:
Business cannot survive unless there are customers to buy the products and services. To earn the profit, a businessman has to produce goods and services at reasonable prices. For attracting more customers businessmen has adopt to adopt various marketing strategies.

Creation of employment: Business should also focus towards the creation of employment opportunities. This can be achieved by establishing new business units, expanding market, widening distribution channels etc.

Need of Social Responsibility of Business

There are some of the factors that arises the need of business to be responsible towards the society. Some of the following factors are:

Public Image: The activities of the business towards the welfare of society will earn goodwill and reputation. If business engages itself in various welfare programs for the society then people will prefer to buy the products.

Government Regulation: To avoid the government regulations businessmen has to be responsible towards the society. If a businessman violates the government regulations then it may ultimately force the firm to close down its business.

Survival and Growth:
For the survival and the growth of the business, support of society is very much essential. Business utilizes various resources of the society. So it will be the responsibility of the business to serve the society.

Employees’ satisfaction:
Besides getting good salary and working in the healthy environment, employees need some other facilities like training, transportation, education etc. All these facilities directly affect the production and prosperity of the organization.

Consumer awareness:
Now a day’s consumer is very much aware about their rights. It is obligatory for the business to protect the interest of the society by giving quality goods at most competitive prices.

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Trendless Data Forecasting

Trendless data can be evaluated with the help of single exponential smoothing technique. This technique can be implemented on time series data to make the forecast or to smooth the data for presentation. It exponentially decreases the weight over the time and can be implemented for analyzing the financial market or economic data (Guire 2011).

Centered moving average can be computed by averaging the past and future data for a given time point but at the time of forecasting the future is typically unknown therefore this method cannot be used for forecasting. On the other hand, trailing moving average can be set on most recently available data set hence it is best suitable for the forecasting of the information (Shmueli and Bruce 2010).

Exponential smoothing is used for analyzing the data based on the time series to forecast the future trend of information. The exponential smoothing can be solved using formula, in which the value of α ranges from 0 to 1, depending upon its damping rate (Hyndman2008).

In the exponential smoothing, the value of α is chosen depending on the degradation in the value of the given data. For little smoothing the value of the constant α will be less, i.e. can be range from .01 to .15, on the other hand, for moderate smoothing the value of α can range from .40 to .50. As small value of α give little weight to the most recent time period while provides greater weight to the past unit time period. This is because the value of weight is decreased by (1- α), thus small value of α effect less (Guire 2011).

For Example:

If α=.05, then Ft+1=.05yt+.95ft (heavy smoothing, low adaption)
If α=.20, then Ft+1=.20yt+.80ft (moderate smoothing, moderate adaption)
If α=.50, then Ft+1=.50yt+.50ft (little smoothing, quick adaption) (Doane 2006).

REFERENCES
Doane, (2006) Applied Statistics In Business And Economics. USA: McGraw-Hill Professionals.
Guire, G. M. (2011) Handbook of Humanitarian Health Care Logistics. Austria: George Mc Guire.
Halder, C. (2010) Power System Analysis: Operation And Control. South Africa: Pearson Education.
Hyndman, R. J. (2008) Forecasting with exponential smoothing: the state space approach. Germany: Springer.
Kurtz, D. L. (2010) Contemporary Marketing 2011. UK: Cengage Learning.
Shmueli, G. and Bruce, P. C. (2010) Data Mining for Business Intelligence: Concepts, Techniques, and Applications in Microsoft Office Excel with XLMiner. USA: John Wiley and Sons.


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Friday, September 2, 2011

Forecasting

Forecasting is a technique for finding the future needs, by examining the historical data and trend. It is an unbiased estimation for future demand of various variables such as sales, production etc., on the basis of past data and experience. Simply, extending the past data into future using time line is not forecasting, judgment is very much essential for forecasting (Kurtz 2010). Forecasting technique is imperative to improve the communication in the organization as forecasting requires information from the different departments. Cross functional approach of forecasting is used, where independent forecasting group conduct the forecasting by integrating different departments (Mentzer and Moon2005). This communication reduces the duplicity in the forecasting efforts and used all relevant information.

Sometimes, forecasting becomes meaningful and the actual output is not the same as expected. There are two basic reasons behind this viz. under estimation and over estimation. In under estimation, it is not possible to achieve the forecasted results due to insufficient resources and dissatisfied customers, while in over estimation the forecasting fails due to the under utilization of resources or spending the resources too early (Kurtz 2010).

To make the forecasting effective, organizations have to effectively allocate the resources and take proper measures that too in regular time interval to equalize the actual results with the forecasted outcomes. The forecasting must be done by analyzing the data properly and after finding the result, it must be evaluated back to find the feasibility of the results. Also, the forecasting must be made effective by proper checking the actual work based the forecasted results (Halder 2010).

Forecasting with the help of Auto Regressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) and autoregressive (AR) models typically produce better results than those of simple models as it consider the problem more precisely and produce results that can be closer to the actual results. These models sub-divide the give data trend into various types such as constant trend, linear trend or quadratic trend that helps the researcher to accurately forecast the outcomes (Maindonald and Braun 2010).

For reading - Forecasting Steps


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