Bathroom Remodeling – Simple and Fun Remodeling Tips For Everyone

What do you think is the most important room in the house? How about the room you start and end each day in-the bathroom. After all, you do some of the day’s most important activities in there!

The fact is that a drab, dull bathroom can make you feel like you’re dragging your morning along. It’s not the place you want to see right before you hit the sack. It’s the place we run to when we want to hide; it should be the perfect place to spend time!

Bathroom remodeling doesn’t have to be a major undertaking. A few simple touches can turn your boring room into a potty paradise. You’ll want to lock yourself in and never come out. Here are some great remodeling ideas.

Let In The Light!

The simplest, easiest thing you can do to brighten this essential room is to let in more light. Throw open those windows, and paint everything in relaxing, light colors. If that window doesn’t provide enough light, bring in some more mirrors. The bathroom is the one room where you can never have too many. Mirrors reflect the light and make it even brighter. This is a simple idea that anyone can do.

Bring On The Knick Knacks

Some knick knacks can make a dull room feel homey and lived-in. A great place to start is the wicker basket. Candles, clocks and pictures are great knick knacks for the restroom. Bring in whatever you like. For something useful, put a wicker basket where you can keep your shampoo and other important items. But, don’t over knick knack to the point where it feels cluttered. Start small, and add as you see fit.

Storage-Get Organized

A great way to improve any bathroom is to add cabinets. Cabinets provide a place to put your toiletries. Shelving is okay, but wouldn’t you feel better with all that personal stuff put away? Cabinets make you feel organized and tidy, and they can give your room the illusion of more space.

Spend A Little And Accessorize!

Bathroom remodeling accessories are not expensive at all. Spend a little and make your refuge more comfy. Warming towel racks keep your towels just as warm as you want them when you step out of the shower.

A soap and shampoo dispenser adds a stylish touch to your shower. And, while we’re at it, why not go for a whirlpool spa? If it sounds too fancy for you, keep in mind that they have come down so far in price that anybody can afford them. Treat yourself nice!

Remodeling your bathroom doesn’t have to be complicated. A few simple touches here and there can really brighten the room where you do your business. But, don’t get carried away! After all, a too-immaculate bathroom can cause other problems.

Nobody wants to be taking 2-hour showers and running up the water bill, or getting stuck in front of the mirror primping and preening. Your remodeled bathroom may be an earthly paradise, but remember, you still have to go to work!

A Career As a Travel Nurse

Travel nurses are healthcare professionals such as registered nurses or therapists who travel to various locations to work for certain portions of the year. They usually work up to four travel jobs per year. A travel nurse can work in any region in the United States and many International regions. Most nurses secure a career through a reputable travel staffing agency.

A career as a travel nurse can be personally and financially rewarding. Most people who have this experienced in life say it is an exciting profession and a great way to earn a living. This professional will enjoy living in new and exciting locations, reside in wonderful accommodations, and work in excellent hospitals. Other benefits include:

Travel Assistance: Most reputable agencies will arrange such travel details as directions and maps. They should also have a 24-hour emergency hotline.

Great Pay: While on assignment, these nurses are offered comprehensive packages consisting of excellent pay with many benefits and bonuses. Annual earnings for an RN travel nursing jobs can be as high as $110,000.

Your Facility Choice: Most agencies have available jobs in all 50 states and at the highest ranking hospitals.

Free Private Housing: Housing accommodations are selected by agencies for their excellent services and amenities that may include spas, swimming pools, and fitness centers.

Flexible Work Schedule: Many nurses choose this career because the stress of a traditional hospital can be the result of long hours and increased physical demands. They have more flexible work schedules. It is often much easier to plan for special engagements and vacations

Free Health and Dental Insurance: Travel nursing agencies offer many free comprehensive health plans to meet all their client’s needs. Dependents can also be covered at a nominal cost. They can also receive supplemental insurance that provides income if they are unable to work as a result of a non-work-related illness. As well, professional liability insurance should be offered at no extra cost.

Work Protection Plan: A work protection program should be offered by a reputable agency because it ensures that if a shift is cancelled, you will still be paid.

Travel Expenses Reimbursement: Most agencies will provide travel allowance to nurses. Travel allowance may be given before you depart or as a reimbursement after you arrive.

Tax Advantage Plans: Tax laws allow full-time travel nurses to receive non-taxable credit for meals.

Licensure Reimbursement: Agencies will reimburse nurses for their State Nursing Licensure fees for every travel assignment. They will also help them acquire a State Nursing License.

Auto Club Membership: Agencies offer a discount or free membership to an auto club. They will have access to roadside assistance, hotel discounts, rental cars, free trip routing with detailed directions and maps, emergency check cashing, and no fee travelers checks.

401(k) Plan: Enrollment in a retirement 401(k) plan where a portion of their earnings will go into a retirement savings plan.

Free Course Upgrades: Many agencies will provide free education courses so nurses can keep up with new technology and education.

Referral Bonuses:Agencies will give bonuses to travel nurses who recruit other health professionals into their program.

While the pay and bonuses of a career in travel nursing are very rewarding, these positions are highly sought after. It is important that you keep up with modern education and experience. There are hundreds of agencies that specialize in placing travel nurses. Registering with several agencies will increase your assignment choices. With the right planning and knowledge, you will discover great joy with a career.

Emergency Preparedness Should Not Be a Disaster

Uncategorized disasters (or acts of nature) are considered to be the consequence of a Uncategorized hazard which affects human activities. They are termed a disaster if they cause financial, environmental or human loss due to lack of planning or lack of appropriate emergency management.

Acts of nature come in many varied forms. Land movement disasters include avalanches, earthquakes, lahars, landslides, mudflows and volcanic eruptions. Blizzards, droughts, hailstorms, heat waves and cyclonic storms (including hurricanes, tropical cyclones and typhoons) are all considered to be water disasters. Other disaster situations include fire, health and disease (including epidemics and famine), and space (impact events and solar flares).

Uncategorized disasters are often related. Drought can lead to famine and disease, tsunamis are caused by earthquakes under the ocean, and volcanic eruptions can result in lahars and fires ravaging the land. All of these Uncategorized disasters can cause environmental emergencies. They can strike quickly and without warning. It can force you to evacuate your neighborhood or confine you to your home. What would you do if basic services–water, gas, electricity or telephones–were cut off? Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone right away.

Emergency management or disaster management involves preparing for a disaster before it happens. You cannot put an emergency on hold. Effective emergency preparation relies on a well thought out plan of action that will help you and your family know what to do in case of an emergency situation. Every household, school and business needs an Emergency Plan.

As part of your emergency plan you should consider the following guidelines:

-Safe exits from your home, school, place of business and neighborhood -Meeting places to reunite with family members, roommates, colleagues, etc.
-A designated person to pick up your children if you are unable to do so
-A place for your pet(s) to stay
-Contact person(s) close by and out-of-town
-Pertinent health information for you, your family and pet(s)
-Location of fire extinguishers, water and gas shut-off valves, electrical box and floor drain -Possible risks in your area

What you have on hand when a disaster happens could make the difference between surviving or not surviving the emergency. Plan to store enough supplies for everyone in your household for at least 72 hours (3 days). It is important to have an emergency survival kit that contains all the products families (schools or businesses) would need to comfortably stand firm against an emergency situation. Emergency kits should be kept in the home (near the front door if possible), car and workplace for unexpected emergencies such as power outages, break downs, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, blizzards, earthquakes and other potential disasters.

Some items to consider for your survival kit should include:

-easy-carry backpack or duffel bag
-emergency food and water for 72 hours (3 days)
-first aid kit, medications (if required)
-flashlight(s) and batteries, emergency whistle
-heavy-duty leather work gloves, disposable vinyl gloves
-FM radio and batteries or crank radio (no batteries required)
-tooth paste and toothbrush (one per person)
-disposable razors (double-blade), antibacterial deodorant soap,
-paper tissues and toilet paper rolls, terry towel(s)
-multi-purpose scissors, note pad(s) with pencil(s) and pencil sharpener
-rain poncho(s), tube-tent, emergency blanket(s) to retain body heat
-camping stove
-can also be used as heat-source
-waterproof matches
-pocket warmers, comfortable shoes, extra clothing
-some extra cash

By having a minimum of the suggested 72 hour (3 day) supply of food, water, first aid, shelter and other survival gear in your disaster preparedness kit, you will be able to take care of yourself and your family in an emergency situation. Be Prepared – Before Disaster Strikes!

Fun and Easy Small Bathroom Remodeling

Small bathroom remodeling can be fun and easy with a few simple tips. There are several things which you can do to a small bathroom to improve its look and style. This article will look at a few things that you might consider on your next project.

A quick visit to your local plumbing retailer will show you some great examples of what people can do with a small bathroom to spice them up. If you live within 50 miles of the large plumbing retailer it would be well worth your time to visit them just to see their displays.

Probably one of the most important improvements each you can make in a small bathroom remodeling project would be to change out the sink, and faucets.

One unique idea for a small bathroom is to get a custom designs sink and have an artists paint it into the design that you would like to add to your décor. Most large cities will have artist that specialize in painting sinks, walls, and other ornaments.

Once you have the sink that you like – the faucets are even more important. This is an area where you should not try to save money. A beautifully designed and well working faucet will always improve the value and comfort of your small bathroom remodeling project.

Once you’ve added a nice think and faucets. You might want to add some new lighting and possibly a mirror to enhance the look and feel of your bathroom. Next add a couple of nice pictures and the job is done.

Uses of Car Detailing

Owning a car has now become a norm for middle class families in India. With the country showing good economic growth, the average middle class consumer has enough money to splurge on a car. With a wide range of models to choose from, the Indian consumer is pampered for choice. From going out on picnics to having a fun drive, a car has become a part and parcel of an Indian family’s growth, happiness and transportation needs.

Buying an automobile is always a daunting task. First one has to decide if one needs a new care or a used car based on one’s budget and needs. But whatever be the case, a car once bought needs good care and maintenance for peak performance and all round reliability. Given that a car is a utility, due care must be taken to ensure that there are no breakdowns at any time so as not to be caught unawares. Besides periodic maintenance of the engine, chassis, turbocharger and other technical aspects, the aesthetic aspect of things must also be considered. A car is a work of art and over time, it is subject to a lot of wear and tear. The initial lustre may be lost, scratches and dents may occur. Further, when the owner decides to sell a car, he must ensure that he can attract potential buyers and convince them that their potential investment is good value for money. A first impression is always the best impression at any point in the lifetime of a car and here is where car detailing comes in.

Auto detailing is a technical process where an automobile is thoroughly cleaned, waxed and polished both on the inside and the outside to produce show quality level of detail. Besides improving appearance, it helps to raise the resale value of a car. It is subdivided into three aspects- exterior detailing, interior detailing and engine detailing.

Interior detailing involves cleaning the passenger compartment, trunk, dash board areas, panels, windows and carpet. Vacuuming is the first step and this may be followed by steam cleaning, use of liquid cleaners and brushing to remove stains. Exterior detailing involves cleaning and bringing to shine all the parts of the visible exterior like wheels, paint, chrome trim, windows, wheels and other components. Cleaning, polishing and protection are the three steps in exterior detailing. Cleaning deals with the removal of all foreign matter from the exterior surface. Polishing involves the use of machines to remove scratches and other imperfections from the surface. This is done by removing a micrometre of paint from the surface by special pads. Waxing or protection involves the application of wax on the surface to prevent foreign matter from adhering to the surface. The third aspect of detailing is where steam, high pressure water, degreasers and all purpose cleaners are used to clean under the hood of a car. A lot of car dealers in India offer restoration services in addition to car detailing. The best way to shortlist a company will be based on reputation, service quality and cost effectiveness.

The Differences Between Acute and Post Acute Withdrawal

In simple terms, the primary difference between acute and post acute withdrawal is the severity and potential consequences of related symptoms. As the key words indicate, acute withdrawal is generally more severe than post-acute withdrawal. However, both conditions are in actuality different stages of the disease of addiction: first comes active addiction, followed by cessation and acute withdrawal and finally transitioning to post acute withdrawal. Although part of the same disease, these conditions should be made distinct to addicts and those in recovery and the people who support them.

Primary Difference: Risk of Serious Medical Complications

The most important difference between acute and post acute withdrawal is the potential consequences of symptoms that may arise. During acute withdrawal syndrome or AWS, symptoms can be severe; in fact, symptoms of detox and withdrawal from some drugs can cause life-threatening complications. These include alcohol, (Louis A. Trevisan, M.D., Nashaat Boutros, M.D., Ismene L. Petrakis, M.D., and John H. Krystal, M.D. Complications of Alcohol Withdrawal National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) benzodiazepines (Lann MA, Molina DK, A Fatal Case of Benzodiazepine Withdrawal National Center for Biotechnology Information) and barbiturates. For some people withdrawing from these substances can cause seizures, respiratory depression, heart attack, coma, delirium tremens and rarely, death.

While post acute withdrawal symptoms do not generally pose risk of death or even serious medical symptoms, the condition does cause severe disruptions in the lives of many people in recovery. In some cases symptoms may require medication in order to successfully manage, while in others a healthy diet and plenty of exercise allow for a strong recovery plan. In fact, some people in recovery report little to no PAWS symptoms at all.

Acuity of Urge to Abuse Substances

One of the most troubling symptoms of both AWS and PAWS is a strong, compelling desire to use drugs or drink again. These types of powerful feelings are strongest during the early stages of clinical withdrawal and slowly taper off over a period of about 5 days to 2 weeks. After this time drug or alcohol cravings may still arise and they may even be consistently present, however, they are rarely as compelling during PAWS as during AWS.

However, like AWS, the desire to abuse drugs is often at its peak during the early stages of PAWS and slowly lessens over time. This is one of the reasons that most people attend treatment in the following manner:

Stage 1: Immediate drug abuse cessation and resulting clinical withdrawal, with potential for serious medical complications. Treatment consists in most cases of a professional detox program lasting for 5 to 10 days.

Stage 2: Upon completion of detox (drugs are no longer in the person’s system) patients attend longer-term treatment, during which time post acute withdrawal symptoms set in. These symptoms theoretically are at their worst levels during this time. Most rehab programs post-detox are around 30-90 days in duration, by which time the severity of PAWS symptoms should have subsided enough to safely permit the person to reintegrate with their communities. (Wexner Medical Center, Ohio State University Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome)

Stages of the Same Disease

In reality there is little true difference between acute withdrawal and post withdrawal: they are both part of the disease of addiction. In the early days of recovery, symptoms are at their most severe points. As recovery progresses, symptoms lessen, gradually shifting away from physical symptoms, and instead transitioning into longer-term mental and emotional symptoms. While these symptoms may not prompt the need for serious medical care, they do cause many addicts to relapse and thereby start the entire cycle all over again.

Ultimately, addiction is the disease and AWS and PAWS are merely stages. Unfortunately, few addicts recognize or appreciate the difference, and therefore many are unprepared, do not have the proper expectations, do not work a daily recovery program and subsequently doom themselves to relapse. If this sounds like you or someone you love, the time to act is now. Each progressive relapse episode is generally more severe and damaging than the last as a result of what is known as the Kindling Effect, so there’s not a moment to waste.

The Life Cycle of Acquisition-Based Companies

A few years ago, I was discussing this phenomenon with the CEO of one of our clients. His company had grown almost entirely through acquisition, and for several years the company had experienced revenue growth rates exceeding 20%. However, the company had plateaued with respect to earnings, and looking at their overall performance it became clear to him (and to the Wall Street analysts that watched his company) that a great deal of money had been left on the table. Working with that CEO, I developed a model called the ACL Life Cycle. Understanding and using the ACL Life Cycle has proven enormously beneficial to clients depending on an M&A strategy for continued growth.

The ACL Life Cycle

The ACL Life Cycle describes the maturation process of companies who grow substantially through acquisitions and mergers. Using the ACL model, we can clearly identify the company’s current position. Knowing that position, and then looking forward at the company’s financial objectives through the lens of their business strategies, the specific actions that are needed become clear. Those actions can then be formed into an executable plan with associated performance measures, and managed through completion to bring the overall enterprise to heightened levels of financial performance. It is important for acquisition-oriented executives to understand the major phases and characteristics of the ACL Life Cycle.

Businesses who have survived one or more acquisitions and/or mergers are usually left with some degree of disintegration among their processes and systems. A company’s success in reaching the financial objectives of the merger or acquisition is directly correlated with the degree to which that disintegration has been replaced by a set of business processes and information systems that are common enough to generate enterprise-wide leverage. Implicit in that commonality is enterprise-level direction and guidance, manifested in company-wide business strategies and performance measures that align all of the combined business units. These businesses move, in this post-acquisition or post-merger environment, from an acquisition-based operating model to one characterized by shared services and a general commonization, to a stage where the enterprise “whole” really is able to become something greater than the sum of its business unit “parts”. It is more than the typical cost-reduction synergy anticipated in most of these transactions; it is a new platform for innovation, and an even higher level of innovation-based leverage.

Companies who experience substantive growth as a result of business acquisitions typically follow the ACL life cycle. ACL in this context stands for: Acquisition, Commonization, and Leverage. Many companies never leave the first stage of this maturity scale, and still more remain at the second stage. The most successful companies are usually those who recognize the importance of moving through all three stages, and consistently implement a structured process for doing so.
All companies experience pressures that push them toward decentralized operations, including idiosyncrasies of specific market niches served, the uniquenesses of isolated business processes, unusual needs of specific customer populations, and Uncategorized organizational entropy. At the same time, most of the companies that are successful in achieving the financial performance objectives established for the newly merged enterprise manage to overcome those challenges, electing to pursue the advantages of leverage, including:

  • broad synergistic brand recognition, enabling cross-selling, bundling of products and services, and improving revenue
  • interchangeability of business process resources, enabling the company to reduce its asset base
  • commonality and scalability in equipment / skills / facilities, facilitating innovation and growth into additional markets
  • higher utilization of business assets, reducing unit cost
  • lower levels of redundancy, resulting in reduced operating costs

These companies also typically find that maintaining compliance with financial reporting standards such as Sarbanes-Oxley requirements are enhanced as a result of strengthened internal controls.
Some companies make a deliberate decision to remain “holding companies”, which simply buy and sell diverse businesses that have only marginal relationships with one another. These conglomerates prefer to manage the portfolio through buying and selling components, and allowing the leadership teams at the individual companies to manage ongoing operations from strategy through execution. A few of them have been quite successful, and this article is sometimes not as directly applicable to those at a corporate level. It works very well, however, for their major divisions. Companies that benefit most from understanding the three stages of the ACL Life Cycle are those companies who have decided to focus on a single core industry – Aerospace & Defense, Automotive, Chemicals and Polymers, Textiles, Electronics, Telecommunications, Consumer Products, Medical Equipment producers, Healthcare providers, and Financial Services providers are all good candidates. 

The Acquisition Stage of the ACL Life Cycle

Companies in the Acquisition Stageof their life cycles are usually focused on revenue growth, and capturing market share. They are characterized by high levels of autonomy in management, in the reporting of site-level data to the corporate parent, and in the design of their business processes and systems. Companies who remain in this stage for long periods of time following acquisitions usually act as holding companies, with the corporation allowing individual divisions or sites to operate almost as independent companies with their own P&L, strategic plans, and market-facing branding. Often, companies in the Acquisition stage lack a common vision of the future of the overall business, and tend to operate at cross-purposes among the operating units. They sometimes even compete against one another for the same customers. They share little operating information, making it nearly impossible to coordinate and deploy “best practices”, effectively distribute work load, utilize general market intelligence, and grasp other elements that could provide corporate-wide leverage of the businesses’ assets and resources. A few industry-specific examples here should help to illustrate the situation:

Manufacturing companies in the acquisition stage are usually characterized by redundancies in raw materials, equipment, staffing, and other business resources. Because manufacturing companies are relatively material-intense, a great deal of cost can be tied up in raw materials, work-in-process, and finished goods. Since acquisition stage companies have so little visibility between business units, there is little opportunity for them to reallocate these assets in order to use them effectively. As a result, the most costly resources remain the most underutilized. In addition, acquisition-stage companies have not centralized the management of even commodity-level business processes, such as finance, human resources, and information technology. This lack of centralization leaves additional inefficiencies in place around accounting staff, employee benefits provider subscriptions, business software applications, data centers, and computing equipment. 

Telecommunications companies in the acquisition stage also have unrealized opportunities for greater leverage from their business assets, but these more often take the form of redundancies in network equipment, network coverage, retail outlets, partner agreements related to the sale of their products, and interconnection agreements with other carriers. In addition, acquisition stage telecom companies often have a substantial amount of unrealized leverage in the lack of integration among the data bases and information of their various divisions that could enable shared service operations for commodity-type processes such as billing and cross-selling of products and services. Like manufacturing companies, telecom companies in the acquisition stage also typically have unexploited opportunities around the consolidation of data centers and related equipment and staffing.

Healthcare providers in the acquisition stage usually find opportunities in different areas of their businesses, because of the differing cost structure of their operations. The bulk of their costs and their opportunities while in the acquisition stage of maturity in the ACL Life Cycle are related to employee salaries & benefits, and to medical supplies and drugs. It is less common for these businesses to be able to effectively share inventories and equipment, since the nature of their business is rooted in community health care that requires local service provision. The opportunities that do exist, which are typically not exploited well in acquisition stage health care companies, are related to centralizing commodity type business processes such as finance, human resources, and information systems, and leveraging required service and supply procurement across the enterprise. 

Financial Services providers, such as banks, brokerages, credit unions, financial planning companies and tax & audit services exhibit yet another cost profile, with the largest elements typically including personnel and occupancy costs. In these businesses, like health care provision, being where the customers are is critical. The companies’ ability to understand the changing demographics and match up their branches as well as their skills to the targeted customer base is often a differentiator between the companies that succeed and those that fail. Financial services providers who are still in the acquisition stage of maturity in the ACL Life Cycle often do not have the commonality in fundamental business processes and systems to readily reconfigure their operations to meet the changing needs of their marketplace. Their acquisitions or mergers have enabled them to grow horizontally, typically into adjacent markets. However, lacking an adequate foundation of commonality in processes and systems, there is substantial money left on the proverbial table as a result of ineffective resource deployment, and delays in the reporting of operational performance data that would enable the company to be more responsive. These companies also fail, in their acquisition stage, to take advantage of their larger purchasing power to gain leverage around purchased services spanning items as diverse as employee health care and branch-level office supplies.   

The Commonization Stage of the ACL Life Cycle

Companies in the Commonization Stage of their life cycles have usually awakened to the value of focusing on Return on Net Assets (RONA) and Return on Invested Capital (ROIC). In order to begin to capture improvements in these areas, companies in the Commonization Stage often turn to shared service models of operations for selected business processes and systems. Strategies and performance measures begin to crystallize around common themes that span multiple operating units or divisions. Among the areas of focus for a shared service model in this stage are Finance (A/R, A/P, General Ledger, and Financial Reporting), Human Resources (Payroll, Benefits, and Employment Records), and Information Technology (Computer Hardware, Network Administration, and selected Software Applications Management). Some companies in the Commonization Stage also move Procurement and other aspects of Materials Management to a shared service model, enabling the corporation to more effectively leverage its broadest possible purchasing power.

Manufacturing companies in the commonization stage of maturity typically have shared services in place for commodity types of business processes such as finance, human resources, and information systems management. As they advance through the commonization phase, some of them also begin to pull together a common platform for procurement, encompassing at least their most costly and common raw materials. A few in this stage reach a point where their data center
operations are completely centralized, and may even be outsourced to a third party like CSC. Toward the end of the commonization phase, centralization of work deployment and capacity utilization as well as process quality emerge as companies begin to deploy common processes and systems in customer requirements management, enterprise requirements planning, manufacturing execution systems, and distribution management systems. 

Telecommunications companies in the commonization stage of maturity also typically have shared services in place for commodity types of business processes such as finance, human resources, and information systems management. As they advance in maturity through this stage, telecoms also become aware of the available leverage in centralizing the management of some of their most valuable assets. However, unlike the manufacturer’s raw material focus, for telecommunications operations those elements are things like spectrum licenses, network equipment, connection agreements, partner agreements, distribution centers, and retail outlets. Centralizing the management of those assets to identify overlaps and redundancies enables telecoms to emerge from the commonization stage with much more effectively leveraged business assets, providing broader market coverage with a lower total asset base and generating much higher earnings on that consolidated foundation.

Healthcare companies in the commonization phase of maturity find substantial benefit in the commonization and centralization of their commodity type processes and systems.  This is primarily because of the impact on cash flow and earnings when the employee base is reduced through shared services, and employee benefits and supplies are both leveraged in terms of the broader purchasing power of the company following a business acquisition of significant size. However, there is also an especially rich opportunity available to healthcare companies in the commonization stage that stems form the leverage available related to insurance coverage – not for the employees directly, but covering the potential liability of the company itself. This category of cost is typically about the third largest slice of the pie, and significant reductions there can translate quickly to a meaningful earnings impact. 

 Financial services providers in the commonization stage of the ACL Life Cycle, like healthcare providers, often find substantial benefit in the commonization and centralization of their commodity type processes and systems. With roughly half of their cost of operations wrapped up in employee salaries and benefits, there is an opportunity for meaningful impact on cash flow and earnings when the employee base is reduced through shared services, and employee benefits and supplies are both leveraged in terms of the broader purchasing power of the company following a business acquisition or merger. The next significant area for financial service providers in the commonization stage is the capability for rapid reconfiguration of the business based on enterprise-wide visibility of operational data and market intelligence.

The Leverage Stage of the ACL Life Cycle

Companies in the Leverage Stage of their life cycles are usually embarked on a fierce drive toward adding real value. They are relentless in their efforts to fully utilize the assets of the entire corporation, driving out redundancy and its associated costs. They are then able to pivot on the fulcrum of those more agile processes and systems to implement innovations that foster organic growth resulting in greater market share, greater revenue, and improved earnings for their shareholders. Leverage Stage companies also establish a structured and repetitive process of assimilating new businesses, gathering and incorporating market intelligence into company-wide strategies, and innovating on the basis of these new combinations to capture additional market segments. These companies are characterized by coordination and centralization of major business functions such as the planning and allocation of R&D, production work, inventories, raw material purchases, personnel, and factories & equipment. They centrally manage a broad spectrum of common business processes and systems, including customer requirements management, product data management, enterprise requirements planning, manufacturing execution systems, and logistics management. They are constantly changing, evaluating and configuring business assets to meet future market needs, acquiring and developing new businesses, and shedding assets that no longer fit their evolving model.

Manufacturing companies in the leverage stage of maturity typically have shared services in place for most of the critical business processes of their company, having reached beyond the commodity level processes and into those which deliver the most value to their customers. Examples include sales & marketing, order entry & customer service, capacity planning and management, production scheduling and shop floor control, and distribution requirements planning. As they move through the leverage stage of the ACL Life Cycle, some of these companies leverage the commonality of their processes and systems to produce innovative new products and services, identify additional market opportunities, and develop industry-changing relationships that reach through their supply chains. 

Telecommunications companies in the leverage stage of maturity also have shared services in place for most of the critical business processes of their company, including the seamless provisioning (often called “flow-through provisioning” by industry insiders) of all telephonic services to customers stemming from a single telephone conversation responding to an individual inquiry about a service. This type of capability is only enabled when all of the information from what have historically been disparate data bases is available in an intelligent form through excellent systems integration, based on exceptional levels of commonality and strength in enterprise-wide business processes.

Healthcare companies in the leverage stage of maturity have typically discovered and implemented leverage-based improvements in their major cost structure elements as a result of enterprise-wide information visibility flowing from systems integration and centralized management of critical business processes. Health care companies generally also have uniquely challenging business conditions related to three other areas where leverage level operations can be a powerful tool. 

The first of these areas is employee safety. Most health care organizations are spending a substantial amount of money in this regard, with training and documentation of company polices and safety-related practices requiring an increasing amount of company attention. The integration of systems and commonization of processes in a leverage stage health care company offers opportunities to more quickly incorporate internal best practices, externally imposed business requirements, and feedback about lessons learned across the entire health care organization regardless of geographic dispersion. Commonization and centralized management here can result in substantially lower cost, and more importantly, substantially higher and more uniform levels of employee safety. 

The second area is bad debt. The integration of customer data, and effectively interfacing a common set of enterprise-wide processes and systems with outside service providers such health maintenance organizations and insurance carriers, substantially reduces the amount of bad debt in leverage level health care companies. 

The third area, and perhaps the area of richest opportunity, is the area of patient medical information. This area is tricky because of legislation related to patient privacy and guidelines recently established for the maintenance and communication of patient medic
al information. However, one of the fundamental challenges faced by health care providers is the absence of available medical history, particularly when a patient is admitted to an emergency room or urgent care facility. Particularly when a patient is unable to respond to questions directly due to an incapacitation illness or injury, time can literally mean life or death. Making all necessary information available to the physicians and other health care professionals involved as quickly as possible is extremely important. When critical business processes and information systems for the management of this information are brought to an effective level of commonality, the rapid dissemination of the needed information can be greatly improved, while patients’ expectations around the privacy of their information are still met. 

Financial services companies in the leverage stage of maturity, like health care companies in some ways, must balance the needs of differing local customer geographies against the advantages of centralized management in critical business processes and systems. There is real value in allowing some latitude to local branch officers and customer-facing staff such as loan officers to accommodate the unique circumstances involved in specific cases. However, these companies often find that a significant advantage of the leverage provided by enterprise-wide commonization of processes and systems is the ability to see the nuances of differing markets at a corporate level, and recognize broader trends among those different markets more quickly and clearly than they could before. This improved visibility, in turn, enables management to reconfigure their service offerings, redeploy resources such as sales dollars, and organize sales campaigns for those specific markets more quickly than they could previously.  

The best of these companies, regardless of what industry they occupy, utilize their common platform of processes, systems, and information to understand the needs of their customers in unique ways, and fluidly translate those needs into the features of their products and services. A few, at the very top of the game, come to understand the customers’ needs even before the customer recognizes them, and when necessary they reconfigure their entire business to meet those needs, gaining unassailable competitive advantage. The enterprise-wide leverage they achieved as a result of carefully and skillfully handling the post-merger or post-acquisition integration of processes, systems, and data provided the platform from which innovation launched them to new levels of performance. Examples could as easily be provided for companies in pharmaceuticals, retail operations, or the food & beverage industry. The lessons learned and the techniques vary a little, but the principles are the same.

Starting a Mobile Auto Detailing Business – A Quick Discussion

If you are going to start a mobile auto detailing company, you need to find someone who is both fair and honest to buy the right equipment from, and perhaps someone who has been setting up detailing rigs for a couple of decades – basically someone who knows their stuff. You may not find someone setting up these units in California, in fact I can remember before I retired we got tired of all the over-regulation there. We had moved our training to Las Vegas and our truck bed and trailer manufacturing to AZ. Okay so, once you find a good vendor then you must decide what type of equipment to buy.

Will you get a skid unit for the back of a pick-up, try a van set up, or consider a trailer you can unhook at the end of the day? If you do get a trailer, should you get a single or dual axle trailer? Well, often dual axle trailers are better, even though sometimes they wear out tires quicker, but they are more stable and safe especially fully loaded in the rain. In the city trailers can curtail stopping distance, making an accident more likely. Remember if you are in a bigger city there is a lot of traffic and frequent need for quick stopping, and some of the dual trailers have trailer brakes or you can add them later.

Should you buy a new or used rig? Well, that’s a decent question. Yes, sometimes you can find deals on used rigs where people bail-out of the business for a corporate job, you’d be surprised that companies will try to hire away your best workers and even offer you jobs too, obviously if you can run a business, you’d make a great employee because you know how to get things done.

Now then, before you go and start your new business, especially if you are leaving a good paying job with benefits, you need to ask yourself if you can go without any income for a while, if not you; I might think twice if I were you. It’s going to be challenging at first, perhaps no real income for a while. Beware. Running a company is hard work, and nothing is guaranteed. Okay so, those are some important considerations prior to starting your own mobile auto detailing business. I hope you enjoyed today’s conversation, but more importantly, I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

Do Addicts Really Recover?

In my line of work as addiction professional, I’m often asked “Do people with addiction get better?” The question may sound simple but it’s not really that simple. There are so many facets to addiction. The chemicals are but one aspect. There also are the addict’s personality attributes, attitudes, lifestyle, and values – all contributing and feeding the addiction syndrome. For most people, the obsession by the addict to consume chemicals is the most salient aspect of addiction. This becomes their focus of attention when asking the question, “Do addicts really recover?” Meaning can they give up drugs and become “normal” people again?

After a closer look at addiction, one begins to realize that the chemical abuse is intimately tied to the person’s mental health, lifestyle, and personal values. For example, it is hard to ignore an addict’s criminal activities related to supporting his drug habit or an alcoholic’s scheming and manipulating behavior to hide his alcoholism when the addicted or alcoholic is trying to pursue “recovery.” Can people “recover” from addiction and still carry on with these criminal or anti-social inclinations? What are the chances of a recovering person remaining abstinent while continuing to sell drugs or maintaining his connection with friends who are involved in criminal activities? Can a recovering alcoholic remain sober while bar-tending?

My point is that there is a “quality of life” a recovering addict or alcoholic must maintain to achieve a certain level of healthy living. For some this may mean pursuing counseling or following medication regime to control psychiatric symptoms. For others, a complete lifestyle change may be necessary to re-align personal priorities and internalize pro-social values. With addiction, old associations — people, places, and things – can easily trigger a relapse to old “bad habits.” There is a common belief among recovering persons that “picking-up” drugs or any substances is the last step in the relapse process. Long before the actual substance use, the person has already relapsed in his thinking – reflected in noticeable changes in attitude, values, and over-all behavior.

To go back to the original question: “Do addicts really recover?” The answer is a relative yes. For some who consider their addiction as a disorder of the whole person and take a holistic view of recovery, they aspire more than giving up the chemicals to include a reinvention of themselves, psychologically, socially, and spiritually. Others are content with minimizing the harmful effects of illicit drug use but still resort to alcohol use. Still others give up drugs but continue to have dysfunctional patterns of coping or residual manifestations of personality disorders.

Do Addicts Really Recover?
Dr. Fernando B. Perfas

India Imports and Exports – Part II

India-America Trade relations

For the starters, United States is India’s largest trading partner.

India’s major exports to US – include Information Technology Services, textiles, machinery, ITeS, gems and diamonds, chemicals, iron and steel products, coffee, tea, and other edible food products.

India’s major imports from US – aircraft, fertilizers, computer hardware, scrap metal and medical equipments.

Additionally, America is also India’s largest investment partner. Americans have made significant investments in India’s power generation, telecommunications, ports, roads, petroleum exploration/processing, and mining industries.

India and US have signed a new Trade Policy Forum. The sub-divisions include: Agricultural Trade Group and Tariff and Non-Tariff Barriers group.

Agricultural Trade Group- The group specially focuses on three objectives: approving on terms that will facilitate India to export mangoes to the United States, thereby sanctioning Agricultural and Process Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) to vouch Indian products to the standards of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and implementing procedures for approving edible wax on fruit.

Tariff and Non-Tariff Barriers group – Insecticides manufactured by United States could be sold across the length and breadth of the country. Also, India has also agreed to cut regulations on buy/sell of carbonated drinks. Many medicinal drugs and lowering regulations on products those are not agricultural produce.

Both countries expressed interest in promoting small business initiatives in both countries by enabling trade between them..

The percentage of traded items from India to US

1. Diamonds & precious stones (25%)

2. Textiles (29.01%)

3. Iron & Steel (5.81%)

4. Organic chemicals (4.3%)

5. Machinery (4.6%)

6. Electrical Machinery (4.28%)

The percentage of traded items from US to India

1. Engineering goods & machinery (including electrical) (31.2%)

2. Precious stones & metals (8.01%)

3. Organic chemicals (4.98%)

4. Optical instruments & equipment (7.33%)

5. Aviation & aircraft ( 16.8%)

Export of Indian Agro Exports to US

The export of Indian Agro products to US forms a significant component of Indian exports to US. The Indian government apparently plays an important role in the expansion and diversification of the agricultural products and food processing industrial sector of the country. It is reportedly one of the largest in terms of production, consumption, export and growth.

The main items of Indian Agro Exports to US are:

o Rice and rice products

o Fresh vegetables

o Fresh fruits like mangoes, mango pulp, and grapes