Competegraphs

The term “financial skills” covers a range of activities that a professional buyer or procurement executive needs to have if they are to deliver value for money and manage commercial risk for their organisation. However, these skills are not always covered by conventional training which means that a buyer could be creating needless exposure both for themselves and their career as well as their organisation.

There are six financial skills that everyone who works in procurement should acquire.

1. Financial analysis – this covers the use of financial ratios that enable you to identify suppliers who are under performing compared to their competitors or who might be financially vulnerable and so create a supply risk for you. Ratios compare one financial value with another in order to give you an insight into the way that supplier is run. For example, liquidity ratios look at the ability of a supplier to meet its short-term financial obligations by dividing the value of current assets (such as cash and inventory) with the value of current liabilities (such as creditors). Other ratios tell you how efficient the supplier is in turning sales into profit, generating sales from the use of assets and its ability to grow.

2. Activity based costing – this is a method that takes all of the costs of an organisation and assigns them to the products or services that the supplier sells. The big difference between this approach and more conventional costing methods is that it first allocates costs to the activities that create those costs and then to products or services in direct proportion to the amount of those activities that they use in their production or service fulfillment. What this means is that you get a clearer picture of the true costs of making a product or delivering a service than you get from conventional means. The importance of this for the buyer is that they get an understanding of what drives costs and so what actions suppliers can take to reduce them which in turn lets them reduce the price to the buyer and still make an acceptable profit.

3. Understanding profit and loss accounts and balance sheets – the profit and loss account shows a buyer a summary of all the transactions a supplier has made in a period of time (such as a year) with the resulting profit they make and the balance sheet is a snapshot of the financial position of the supplier at that point in time. Accounting policies that the supplier adopts can make a big difference to the declared profit; for example, a supplier can choose how much to charge each year to the profit and loss account for an asset it has bought and this can have a major impact on the profit in any one year. Knowing what accounting policies a supplier uses can help a buyer to understand their accounts and so make sure that the financial ratios that are used to get an insight paint an accurate picture.

4. Understanding cashflow – the lifeblood of any organisation is its cashflow as it can only pay its bills on time and remain solvent if there is cash in the bank. It is important to understand that this is not the same as its profit. For example, if you sell something for $100 now and give your customer 14 days credit then you will not physically receive the cash for another two weeks. If you have bought materials that have been used to make that product and your supplier has given you only 7 days credit then you will have to make a payment to them before you receive the cash from your sale. If you do not have the money in the bank then you may be in difficulties. Understanding the concept of cashflow and how to calculate and analyse it is an important tool in predicting the solvency of your suppliers and their vulnerability.

5. Understanding break-even analysis – this technique calculates the level of activity your supplier needs to have if it is to break even. Levels of activity above the break-even point result in a profit for your supplier and levels of activity below it means your supplier is operating at a loss. The importance of knowing this figure is in negotiations. If your supplier is already above its break-even point and has included your current level of purchases in its calculation, then any further business from you will provide a “super profit” (that is, profit over and above its expected amount as their fixed costs have already been covered). You should be able to negotiate a price reduction based on this information.

6. Price and cost modelling – one of the key questions that procurement people ask of themselves is “am I paying the correct price for this item?”. Price and cost modelling helps to answer this question. Price modelling involves comparing the price you pay against some yardstick of reasonableness such as the price paid last time or a benchmarked price. Cost modelling goes further and is a technique in which you build up an understanding of the cost of the materials, component and other costs that go into the items production or delivery (if it is a service) so that you can assess whether or not they are reasonable and whether the subsequent profit is fair.

A lot of people are enchanted by the idea of owning a pet fox. They’re charming, intelligent animals, and there is a lot of appeal in having a “special” animal that not many people have. While foxes can make decent pets for someone with the time and resources to care for them, a lot of people make the mistake of buying a pet fox thinking it is going to be just like a dog.

1. Foxes Are Difficult to Train

Dogs are born with a very strong pack mentality. A dog sees you as its alpha, and is hard-wired to want to obey the leader. They live to please you. A fox, however, lives to please itself. While they are very intelligent, the core motivation of a fox is different than that of a dog. The dog wants to please you and make you happy, the fox wants the treat.

2. Foxes Stink

Foxes have a very strong odor. While a dog can take a few weeks without a bath to work up a powerful stink, foxes smell skunky 24/7. This strong, musky odor can be lessened somewhat by having the fox neutered, but it cannot be eliminated entirely.

3. Foxes Are Shy

Many people picture a fox as an awesome pet that they can show off to their friends and neighbors. Unfortunately, the reality almost always falls far short of this. While foxes often become very attached and affectionate with their families, they remain impossibly shy around visitors and strangers.

4. Foxes Have Special Needs

Foxes have special dietary and exercise requirements outside that of a dog. They are extremely energetic, and require loads of exercise every day. A large, carefully-built outdoor enclosure is a must. Which brings me to my next point…

5. Foxes Are Escape Artists

Foxes are much more proficient at getting out of enclosures than even the most determined dog. They can leap six feet in the air, climb up fences, and even cling upside down to climb along a chain link ceiling for short distances. Any enclosure that is meant to keep foxes must not only be large, but impossible to dig out of and have a full roof.

6. Foxes Are Destructive

Many people buy a fox under the mistaken impression that it can be kept as an indoor pet, and left with free run of the house while they are away at work. Nothing could be farther from the truth, particularly with the larger species like red foxes. They will steal and hide anything small enough for them to carry, and shred just about everything they can get their teeth in to. It is nearly impossible to break even the best-trained fox of these behaviors. A dog can be taught not to chew things, a fox can only be taught not to chew things while you’re watching. While a fox is loose in the house, it requires constant supervision.

In conclusion, foxes can make fascinating pets for people who are prepared to care for them. If you are interested in a pet fox, go into it with your eyes wide open, do your research, and understand that caring for a fox is not like caring for a dog.

When people decide to leave the comforts of their home and venture to other locations there is usually a reason behind it. Whether the cause to travel was a last minute whimsy or had an actual purpose, it makes one think about all of the reasons why people travel. Reflect on the last time you left your location and ventured to another one. Did it have a purpose behind it? Let’s look and see if your motive to travel matched any of the one’s listed below. These are not listed in any particular order.

1. Romance- There are thousands of people who are involved in long distance relationships. At some point though, they need to see each other. For the sake of love, people will travel for hours to spend as much time as they can with the love of their life.

2. Relaxation- All work and no play is not a good thing. People need to get away from the stress of everyday life, and a nice sunny location with a beach might just be what the doctor ordered.

3. Family/ Friends -Many people have family/friends that are located in different parts of the world. They need to visit with them even if it’s for a short period of time.

4. Religion- There are places in the world that hold religious importance for many people. Religious travel is often related to a purpose such as seeing where the last pope was buried, or traveling to the town where Jesus was born.

5. Death- A relative, friend or acquaintance has passed away and travel is required to attend the funeral which is located out of town.

6. Honeymoon- You’re getting married and are going somewhere special to celebrate. This usually occurs right after the wedding, but there are many occasions where people celebrate a honeymoon years later.

7. Education-You’re getting your education somewhere other than where you live or you are going away on an educational school trip.

8. Celebration- Wedding, Anniversary, Birthday, Birth- There’s always something to celebrate and it doesn’t always happen where you live.

9. Medical/Health- Sometimes the treatment you need isn’t available in the city/town where you live. Often the best medical care is costly and requires travel to receive it.

10. Work- Job requirements might mean a fair bit of travel is involved. Even if the travel is within your own country it still has a purpose attached to it.

Overall, traveling can be a wonderful experience or it can be draining, expensive and just plain torture. Nonetheless if you need to go then embrace it for what it is, and try to make the best of it even if it wasn’t planned.

 

The real estate market is a booming industry. The success of the industry is a result of competition and the intervention of modern technology. Most people in the business prefer to use real estate property management software to stay ahead in the race. This software has been designed to cater to commercial and residential property, office buildings and apartments.

Real estate property management software is an effective and easy-to-use tool. This software helps people understand the real estate business. It is a quick response application that can store each detail of every transaction. This helps study non-payments and full-payments of rent, and maintains a detailed report of rent receipts and invoices.

Property owners are able to key inputs as and when required. The secured system is intelligent and allows changes from authorized personnel. Real estate property management software can evaluate an unlimited number of properties and units simultaneously. The software stores detailed data related to rent payments for all individual properties. This systematic approach eliminates any problems due to taxation.

Real estate property management software generates automated reports in cases of wrong payments and non-payments. The software does away with the practice of owners waiting for rent payments. All maintenance expenses or any extra revenue statements are regularly updated. The software also stores tenant information.

Residential property managers must select property management software that is most suited for their work. These applications are available with one-month money-back guarantees.

The residential property management system is considered to be time- and cost-effective for a manager and resident. The application can create a personalized website for an individual company in a relatively short time. This allows prospective and existing customers to visit the web site. This is a convenient method to view pictures of property, pay rent and submit maintenance requests.

Many dealerships regard the automotive service manager as an integral part of their business. They are the people responsible for acting as a go-between customers and service staff. They are also responsible for other duties within this department.

These managers hire for their department and must choose the most qualified person for the job. They are in charge of overseeing the employees to make sure they meet the dealership’s quality standards. They are directly responsible for teaching these to the employees. Evaluations of employees are also part of their job within their department.

They must set a business plan into place and enforce the goals so they are met. This makes them accountable for the budgeting of the department in making sure the labor costs are kept in check, inventory balances, and they suffer no additional costs by retaining employees. This also covers a marketing campaign plan to gain new customers, as well as keep the old – through coupons, merchandising and staffing needs.

They must stay current with the changes in the industry by attending classes, seminars, and reading literature. This also includes understanding and implementing any policy changes within the dealership, and offering suggestions for change to make the department run smoother. They must also be able to schedule classes for other employees and themselves when such are offered through the car manufacturer so everyone gets the most current information.

It is also the automotive service manager’s responsibility to stay on top of warranties and recalls offered by the manufacture. They will be required to send the warranty work in for payment and will be held accountable for write-offs to the department for failure to comply with the information. They also are the link between the factory representative and the dealership, and may be required to attend meetings and conferences to further this relationship.

The main duty of a manager is to handle customer complaints quickly and efficiently and maintain customer service and the department. They must create and act upon a plan to keep the customers coming back and must have a way to compromise to ensure customer satisfaction. Bringing in new customers is also a job duty, and they must make sure that the service will turn them into repeat customers.

The education for this position requires a bachelor’s degree in business administration or a complimentary technical field. You must have at least five years experience working in the industry, and many companies require an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification. Some will allow work experience to compensate for the college education, where the candidate has many years of experience performing the duties.

Do you love chocolate? Do you also love fine foods, baking and cooking? If you are only looking to improve your chocolate skills by making dishes at home, you can start with the many cookbooks on the subject. To be a simple chocolate maker, you can start at home, go to a continuing education class, or attend some classes at a local junior college. But if you are looking to really cash in on your love of chocolate, you may want to become a Chocolatier.

If you are more serious about the art of making chocolate, you can attend a culinary school to learn the trade. Learning how to transform the raw cocoa bean into chocolate is usually the first step of a chocolatier. Chocolate makers take chocolate in its original form, the bean, and then transform it into delicious candies and baked goods. Chocolates will range in sweetness, butter fat content and extra ingredients.

Becoming a Master Chocolatier

You can pursue your chocolate obsession as a chocolate maker, a culinary pastry chef, a confectioner or Master Chocolatier. A chocolate maker might be self-taught, but a culinary chef or Master Chocolatier will require specialized training.

To become a pastry chef, one will need extensive training at one of the many Culinary Institutes around the world. Any university that offers culinary programs or a specialty school will normally have a pastry program. As a pastry chef you will gain knowledge of the entire industry including baking, chocolate making and confections. Some schools offer specialties in chocolate but most are broad based.

Many of the institutions offer programs that run from bachelors degrees in Applied Science to first level certificates of knowledge. Different opportunities will open for those who hold a degree as a Pastry chef. A pastry chef can learn to specialize in chocolate or choose to branch out into other culinary avenues, such as baked goods.

The last phase of learning the skill of chocolate making is to become a Chocolatier. Chocolatiers specialize in chocolate, as well as dishes that have chocolate as one of the main ingredients. Once you achieve this level you will be able to deal with chocolate in all forms!

There are only a handful of schools in the world that focus only on the art of making chocolate. Once you attend such a school you will graduate as a master chocolatier. These schools area scattered all over the world, including Belgium and South Africa. These programs teach every aspect of chocolate making and the chocolate business. In the US, the Arts Institutes of America and American Culinary Institute have pastry chef programs where chocolate making is part of the curriculum.

 

It is a new month and last month’s wardrobe is becoming useless and outdated, no problem, you can try out new trends in the market, that goes well with you taste. Apart from the typical stripes we are used to, you can try out something else, add matching skinny scarfs, and your outfit will be fabulous. With the cold weather, the designer has developed collections of clothes that fits the nature. Apart from helping you express yourself and revealing your unique inner personalities, fashion also makes you comfortable, change your life, shows sort of creativity.

Also, it is through fashion that we communicate to people, the mode of dressing we put on tells more about us, the response in style depends on the message associated with your choice of dressing. The information ca either be acceptable or an outcast to the outside world, particularly on those that has personal identity, the celebrities, politicians, preachers, and the young generations. The fashion also is an expression of social, cultural and religious values. Fashion is like art, just like an architecture that gives his development d the shape and the design that he/ she desires, so does to the fashion. It means that clothes are non-verbal forms of communications. Fashion also do have an impact on our perception of an individual, for example when someone puts on a suit, it is more organized and comfortable, and in turn, the suit changes the gestures of that person and the way he speaks. Or when someone puts on jeans and T-shirts the perception is that such person is feeble and liberal.

Fashion is a show of creativity; we judge someone’s creativity depending on the type of choice of clothes he/she puts on more often. But you must be wondering how fashion improves someone’s creativity, but, for instance, when we are putting on the clothes, we consider several factors, one of them is that, does the dress match with the event we are attending? Or we also would want to wear to look like a particular celebrity or a favorite person we know. Thus we can say that if we can be creative in our clothing, then we can also be creative in all aspects of life including school and music. It is a fact that human beings are very excited when they do something new out of their creativity, and they become successful if you wear a cloth that no one has put on before and people appreciate you start being confident on your creativity.

Another fascinating thing about this fashion is that it is important in religions and culture, for example, the Muslims ladies have a unique way where they cover up their faces. That is taken as fashion because the dress is put on for a purpose. Therefore, we can say that if people puts on clothes from their beliefs, it can strengthen the faith, since the fashion reminds them of their religion. And it also shows the children that it is vital to be unique from others.

 

In the current age we live in, technology has become an important component. Every day there is some new gadget or software that makes lives easier and improves on the technology and software that already exists. Making lives easier is not, however, the only role technology plays in our lives.

Technology is playing an increasing role in education. As technology advances, it is used to benefit students of all ages in the learning process.

Technology used in the classroom helps students adsorb the material. For example, since some people are visual learners, projection screens linked to computers can allow students to see their notes instead of simply listening to a teacher deliver a lecture.

Software can be used to supplement class curriculum. The programs provide study questions, activities, and even tests and quizzes for a class that can help students continue learning outside the classroom.

Technology has also become part of many curriculums, even outside of computer and technology classes. Students use computers to create presentations and use the Internet to research topics for papers and essays.

Students also learn to use the technology available to them in computer and tech classes. This ensures that after graduation they will be able to use the technology in a work setting, which may put them ahead of someone who didn’t have access to a particular technology or software in their own school setting.

As technology advances, students have better access to educational opportunities like these. When something new and “better” is revealed, the “older” technology becomes more affordable, allowing it to be used in educational settings, even when schools are on a tight budget.

Technology has also advanced to help children even before they’ve started school. Educational video games and systems for young children helps them prepare for school and in some cases get a head start on their education.

There are people who may say children are “spoiled” by technology. Instead of being able to add a long column of numbers in their heads, for example, they turn to a calculator. Regardless of these arguments, technology is an important part of today’s society. By incorporating it into the classroom, students will be better equipped to transition from the classroom to the work place.

The KWP2000 protocol has become a de facto standard in automotive diagnostic applications. It is standardized as ISO 14230-3. KWP2000 describes the implementation of various diagnostic services you can accethrough the protocol. You can run KWP2000 on several transport layers such as K-line (serial) or CAN.

Transport Protocol

As KWP2000 uses messages of variable byte lengths, a transport protocol is necessary on layers with only a well defined (short) message length, such as CAN. The transport protocol splits a long KWP2000 message into pieces that can be transferred over the network and reassembles those pieces to recover the original message.

KWP2000 runs on CAN on various transport protocols such as ISO TP (ISO 15765-2), TP 1.6, TP 2. 0 (Volkswagen), and SAE J1939-21. For KWP2000, the Automotive Diagnostic Command Set supports only the ISO TP (standardized in ISO 15765-2) and manufacturer-specific VW TP 2.0 transport protocols.

Diagnostic Services

The diagnostic services available in KWP2000 are grouped in functional units and identified by a one-byte code (ServiceId). The standard does not define all codes; for some codes, the standard refers to other SAE or ISO standards, and some are reserved for manufacturer-specific extensions. The Automotive Diagnostic Command Set supports the following services:

• Diagnostic Management

• Data Transmission

• Stored Data Transmission (Diagnostic Trouble Codes)

• Input/Output Control

• Remote Activation of Routine

Upload/Download and Extended services are not part of the Automotive Diagnostic Command Set.

Diagnostic Service Format

Diagnostic services have a common message format. Each service defines a Request Message, Positive Response Message, and Negative Response Message. The Request Message has the ServiceId as first byte, plus additional service-defined parameters. The Positive Response Message has an echo of the ServiceId with bit 6 set as first byte, plus the service-defined response parameters.

The Negative Response Message is usually a three-byte message: it has the Negative Response ServiceId as first byte, an echo of the original ServiceId as second byte, and a ResponseCode as third byte. The only exception to this format is the negative response to an EscapeCode service; here, the third byte is an echo of the user-defined service code, and the fourth byte is the ResponseCode. The KWP2000 standard partly defines the ResponseCodes, but there is room left for manufacturer-specific extensions. For some of the ResponseCodes, KWP2000 defines an error handling procedure. Because both positive and negative responses have an echo of the requested service, you can always assign the responses to their corresponding request.

Connect/Disconnect

KWP2000 expects a diagnostic session to be started with StartDiagnosticSession and terminated with StopDiagnosticSession. However, StartDiagnosticSession has a DiagnosticMode parameter that determines the diagnostic session type. Depending on this type, the ECU may or may not support other diagnostic services, or operate in a restricted mode where not all ECU functions are available. The DiagnosticMode parameter values are manufacturer specific and not defined in the standard. For a diagnostic session to remain active, it must execute the TesterPresent service periodically if no other service is executed. If the TesterPresent service is missing for a certain period of time, the diagnostic session is terminated, and the ECU returns to normal operation mode.

GetSeed/Unlock

A GetSeed/Unlock mechanism may protect some diagnostic services. However, the applicable services are left to the manufacturer and not defined by the standard.You can execute the GetSeed/Unlock mechanism through the SecurityAccess service. This defines several levels of security, but the manufacturer assigns these levels to certain services.

Read/Write Memory

Use the Read/WriteMemoryByAddress services to upload/download data to certain memory addresses on an ECU. The address is a three-byte quantity in KWP2000 and a five-byte quantity (four-byte address and one-byte extension) in the calibration protocols. The Upload/Download functional unit services are highly manufacturer specific and not well defined in the standard, so they are not a good way to provide a general upload/download mechanism.

Measurements

Use the ReadDataByLocal/CommonIdentifier services to access ECU data in a way similar to a DAQ list. A Local/CommonIdentifier describes a list of ECU quantities that are then transferred from the ECU to the tester. The transfer can be either single value or periodic, with a slow, medium, or fast transfer rate. The transfer rates are manufacturer specific; you can use the SetDataRates service to set them, but this setting is manufacturer specific. The Automotive Diagnostic Command Set supports single-point measurements.

Diagnostic Trouble Codes

A major diagnostic feature is the readout of Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs). KWP2000 defines several services that access DTCs based on their group or status.

Input/Output Control

KWP2000 defines services to modify internal or external ECU signals. One example is redirecting ECU sensor inputs to stimulated signals. The control parameters of these commands are manufacturer specific and not defined in the standard.

Remote Activation of a Routine

These services are similar to the ActionService and DiagService functions of CCP. You can invoke an ECU internal routine identified by a Local/CommonIdentifier or a memory address. Contrary to the CCP case, execution of this routine can be asynchronous; that is, there are separate Start, Stop, and RequestResult services. The control parameters of these commands are manufacturer specific and not defined in the standard.

External References

For more information about the KWP2000 Standard, refer to the ISO 14230-3 standard.

Not unlike other businesses, hotels have been forced to step up their game as people travel less and, when they travel, their budget is smaller in a still lagging economy. While the goal is always full occupancy and high occupancy rates, all hotels have unoccupied rooms that need to be filled. Hoteliers realize that their hotel are each one among many and that consumers have a variety of hotel options to choose from. Hotels realize that part and parcel of maintaining their occupancy rates is offering the right amenities at a competitive rate in order to attract new guests and retain returning ones. In the lodging industry, hotels must be ahead of current trends in order to better their occupancy rates which means being mindful of hotel supplies guests prefer as the mind their budgets.

Hoteliers start with the premise that most hotels offer the same basic hotel supplies and amenities such as complimentary toiletries, durable ice buckets and functional hangers. They offer the basics in an effort to make a guest’s stay comfortable by offering the conveniences of home. While the definition of “basic” hotel supplies will vary depending on the hotel class, most hotels provide drinking glasses, either plastic, an ice bucket of either shatter proof plastic or faux leather and an iron with ironing board. Hotels compete with one another for business. The amenities they offer are part of that competition which is why guests find many hotels in the same general area and price range with the similar amenities and hotel supplies.

Depending upon the sophistication of the hotel itself, guests may define ‘basic’ differently. Absorbent towels, bed linens with higher thread counts, bowed shower rods, and heavy duty wooden luggage racks become basic, expected hotel supplies in mid-grade hotels. Because they’re constantly competing for guests in order to maintain their occupancy rates, hotels are constantly striving to best their competition. This is truer the more sophisticated the hotel as they know consumers have a wide variety of options and the standards such as drinking glasses and coffee service are no longer enough. Instead, hotels must study what the new basic is and add it to their repertoire of hotel supplies and amenities in order to impact their occupancy rates.

5 Star hotels and resorts are on a unique plane in every way from the level of guest services they offer to the list of available conveniences and amenities offered to attract guests and increase occupancy rates. Microfiber bathrobes and slippers, monogrammed glass tumblers, video game systems and fog free shaving mirrors are among the high quality hotel supplies offered to guests at resorts and luxury hotels. They hope, and the numbers tell them, that by offering amenities that are above and beyond the basic hotel supplies provided by their competition they’ll not only attract and retain wealthier guests but increase their occupancy rates as well.

It’s a given that hotels, regardless of their rating and price point, want to please their guests by offering the best possible hotel supplies and amenities. However, when hotels are reviewing the amenities they may offer guests, deciding which specific hotel supplies they’ll offer will depend in part on their budget and what prior hotel guests have indicated they’d like to see or be likely to use. Hotel supplies are an intrinsic part of the hotel experience and their impact cannot, and should not, be under estimated as they can affect occupancy rates. All else being equal, the right hotel supplies can make or break a guest’s experience.