Deforestation, Thailand Floods and Supply Chain

You think deforestation has something to do with “Thailand worst” floods? Because rainforests affect local weather conditions by creating rainfall.

Between 1945 and 1975 forest cover in Thailand declined from 61% to 34% of the country’s land area. Over the next 11 years, Thailand lost close to 28% of all of its remaining forests. This means that the country lost 3.1% of its forest cover each year over that period.

What happened now is Thailand going through the worst floods in half a century. The floods have disrupted the supply chain of some of the big names, i.e. Toyota, Apple, Ford, etc. For example, Toyota, Honda and Nissan – combined – they’re losing 6,000 units of car production daily since early this month.

Thailand is a big regional hub for the world’s car makers and most are suffering disruption, either because their plants are flooded or, more often, because parts makers have had to close and the supply chain has been disrupted.

The output of Japanese car makers has fallen by about 6,000 units a day because of the flooding. Germany’s Daimler AG said late on Thursday it had halted car production because of the threat of flooding. (emphasis added)

via Reuters

Moreover, Bloomberg reports that “Thailand is the world’s largest producer of hard-disk drives, the biggest exporter of rice and rubber and the second- largest supplier of sugar, according to government data.” So if you total domestic productivity, exports and its global impact down the supply chain – the impact from the floods could be huge. Really huge!

I remember when we were still a kid in Jakarta. Our house got flooded few times. When the city gets flooded, it is like snow days for us. It’s fun when it’s not too much and go on for days. Because we can play around in the thick of water! But things can get messy and people got sick after a few days of continuous rain. So enuf of it.

This flood should be a wake up call for everyone.  There is a price to everything (in life and business). That when you disrupt nature’s natural cycle of cooling system this is what could happen.

Sure by now the Japanese conglomerates may already have learned the lessons from this experience. That there’s correlation between deforestation, climate and rain fall. They do learn pretty quick. It’s about risk management and Kaizen!

The chain is disrupted (in pictures)

Pictures worth a thousands words. My friend sent me pictures of Rojana industrial park, where Toyota and other manufacturers have their plants under water siege – that you can see below the fold..

Continue reading “Deforestation, Thailand Floods and Supply Chain”

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How do you Make Brands to be More Social?

This is the behind-the-scene interview with Simon Mainwaring, the author of ‘WE FIRST,’ at the Social Good Summit. At the Summit, Simon talks about ‘Building a Private Sector Pillar for Social Change.’ Got a few more Q&As with Simon, which I’ll put it up soon.

Chart of the Day: External Drivers of Change

According to the findings of “Leaders of Change” survey by EIU (Economist Intelligence Unit), gathered from 288 respondents (senior executives) “the focus of change management have shifted from cost conscious to more emphasis on growing market share and preparing for the future.

According to the findings of “Leaders of Change” survey by EIU (Economist Intelligence Unit), gathered from 288 respondents (senior executives) “the focus of change management have shifted from cost conscious to more emphasis on growing market share and preparing for the future.

Sales and marketing also get more attention.

As the chart shows below, the external drivers of change varies from industry to industry. For example, for consumer goods company, competitiveness is top on the list (56%), follows with customer demand (44%) and desire to increase market share (51%). Continue reading “Chart of the Day: External Drivers of Change”

When is the Best Time To do Your Social Media, Email and Blogging?

Sometime last week Dan Zarella, the social media scientist with Hubspot, gave a webminar on the science of timing. He’s looking at the best practices of when is the best time to do your social, email and blogging by analyzing data from hundreds of thousands and millions of bits of data. (note: all the graph presented in his data are EST standard).

Best practices for Social Media, Email and Blogging

> The best time to gain retweets is in late afternoon and week.

Retweets_by_hour

The contrarian side, based on data of click-through rates of links among the highest users of Twitter, weekends are also considered as one the best time to get retweets. In fact, weekends are better than Mondays or Tuesdays.

Other findings:

– Links to Facebook pages that posted every other day, gain more likes.

– If you tweet to gain more followers & reputation, tweet a lot more. For example, Guy Kawasaki tweets on average 23 a day! And he has some 331k followers. However, if you tweet links to your ‘own’ content, you want to do it randomly. Give space if you want to tweet it again.

> Weekends are best for Facebook sharing

Since about 54% of companies blocked access to Facebook, articles published early in the morning tend to do better than those published later in the day. Take note of this, unlike Twitter – where frequencies don’t matter much – Facebook is more frequency sensitive.

Facebook_shares_by_day

Dig deeper into 5 Questions and Answers of Facebook marketing

> Send emails very early in the morning.. like 6AM.

Send them in the morning. Emails are getting more attention either early in the morning or on weekends. If you’re sending “good” emails, open rates higher on weekends because your email are getting more attention from your readers. And new subscribers are your best friends. This is when you can experiment with timing. The best time to talk with your new subscribers are few days after they signed up. Don’t be afraid of unsubcribes, because they actually can help you to have a clean list.

Emails_read_in_the_morning

This data is very interesting: unsubscribes are actually highest if you only send once a month email. Good email, that is. That means, you can send more emails to your list.

The key here is sending good, relevant information.

> Blog published between 10-11AM tend to get the most views. 

More people read blogs in the morning and during the week. You also want to know your audience and understand them. If you have more men that read your blog, they tend to read blogs in the evening. So you can experiment by posting later in the day. On the contrary, to get comments, weekend is your best bet.

When_do_you_read_blogs

> To get the juice out of links, published your blog post early in the morning…like 7AM.

This is the time when most bloggers are looking for ideas on what to write. Blog posts that are published very early in the morning tend to get the more read and links.

Links_by_hour

Bottom line: experiment with your own social media, email, and blogging and measure it to get the most out of your marketing dollars.

Dig deeper here.

5 Ways to Build Flexible Business Plan

You don’t need a big, thick ‘formal’ business plan as you get started. “What’s important is doing and thinking,” says Tony Chan, managing partner of Cue Ball (a VC). Build a flexible business plan instead, because things can change along the way. There’s also an alternative to a formal business plan something that is short, sweet, and to the point – it’s called the one day business plan worksheet, should you really want to get something going.

The 5 ways to build your flexible business plan, via Harvard Business Review:

1. Start with your heart.

You got to believe in your idea.

2. Think big, start small and scale fast.

Know when to let it go. At the same token, know when to scale fast.

3. Have a basic framework.

This is the most critical element of any business plan. The framework should connect people, skills, idea, market and business model. In short PIMM.

P = people and skills, see where they fit.

I = idea.

M = model or business model. If you have no clue what type of business model to shoot for, check this “The 10 new business model for this decade.”

M = market. Who are you targeting?

4. Know the trade-offs.

If PIMM is critical, people always trump idea. A team with bad idea is better than B/C team with good idea.

5. Keep it iterative.

In other words, be flexible to change.

There’s more below.

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/hcNpgqrHSAA%2Em4v%5D

Build a Flexible Business Plan – Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

Happy Birthday, #Twitter

Happy 5th birthday, Twitter!

What’s happening?

Bloomberg Game Changers did a segment on the three Twitter founders – Jack Dorsey (the earlier inventor), Biz Stone, and Evan Williams this month. It’s pretty fascinating story and has some true-tried lessons for entrepreneurs. Yeah, they’re big company now, but “the flight is not always smooth.” If you need a pick-me-up, check out the video

There are 4 big lessons for wannabe entrepreneurs (that you can learn from them): 

#1. Never never give up.

Great entrepreneurs never give up. Evan Williams never gives up in his dream, even when the company he co-founded with Meg Hourihan ran out of money. The company was struggling. He had: NOTHING. And he was the last employee on Blogger, but he carried on. Until Google came calling.

#2. Believe (and keep your dreams alive).

The three founders didn’t started Twitter not because “they knew where it’s gonna go.” But because they believe that this is a good thing. They’re driven by that belief. Update: Brian Solis (in his Facebook) writes a comment “..we cannot undervalue Jack Dorsey’s original idea.” Yes, indeed, he is the original/ earlier inventor. And how he keeps his dream alive until he met the other two founders, with whom together they founded Twitter.

#3. Be nice. Even if you’re a competitor.

Evan Williams and Biz Stone worked at competing businesses. Blogger vs. Xanga. Who knew that one day, they’d be working together as founders of the company?

#4. Failure is part of success.

If you never fail, you never learn. That’s just come with it. It’s part of the process. So expect detour.

Eventually, when you keep plugging away (and focus on ) in light of failures and challenges, through life’s twist-and-turn “opportunity will find you.” Detour means, that it’s not your time.. yet. You’ll need to practice a little bit more. Because “practice makes perfect.” 

How to Attract Different Shades of Green Customers

Last week I interviewed Jason Holstine, who is the founder and owner of a local one-stop green hardware and design store here in Kensington, suburb of Maryland, called “Amicus Green.” Amicus Green is a triple-bottom line company. 

Because Jason has more than 14 years of helping consumers, businesses, governments, NGOs implement sustainability goals and projects. Jason currently sits on the Maryland Commission on Climate Change and the board of directors for the Metropolitan Washington Council Of Governments Clean Air Partners program. We asked Jason the things that can help people and businesses to go green.

What Does it Take to Go Green?” conversation, touches not only on greening houses and offices, but also building the business itself. By combining his depth of knowledge in green building, figuring out the supply and demand, and offering a mix of products and services that meet customers’ expectations, Amicus Green have created “a space” for the business. They’ve attracted and grown its customer base from the moment they opened their door for business!

One of the things he mentioned is, that it is very important to provide on-going support for companies’ green teams that can help them set meaningful goals and achieved them. He also talk briefly about the challenges for consumers to pick the right green products.

TRANSCRIPT from randomly selected topics. (to listen for full episode, visit Ecotwist here, or scroll all the way down).

Dewita: It seems that you’ve been trekking the sustainability world or green world for sometime now. Share with us a little bit about your background, and how did you get started a green hardware store?

Jason: Well, my background way back is at college I’ve got a business degree but I majored in environmental science as a program that I put together. 15 years later you started to see programs actually off-the-shelves at a lot of leading schools. So I figured I should’ve patented the concept.. I missed that boat. But, 20 years later it was just kind of one of these things that one thing went to another, I started getting into various levels or types of environmental consulting for various audiences and started to working with folks more and more on green building efforts. And people come to me and asked me to help them work on various little project or remodeling project here and there to try to make it green. Whether necessary called green back in the late ’90s, it might have been just make it healthier or more environmentally sustainable or cutting energy use or something. Around that time, the term green haven’t started to pick up. But one of the things that we found is “hey, here’s that great product, this is neat, people said it’s fantastic.. where can I get it? Well, you can’t.” You have to ordered it from Seattle or from very far away and you can’t see any samples, and you can’t color matching, just do the general stuff you’d need to do when making getting a product into a project and putting projects together. So it’s pretty clear to us that there was certainly need for a resource where people could go and shop, research and do what you want to do for any kind of project. And having another one source having a lot expertise on the right products and providing the wrong products and understanding the background of sustainability as such was important. The main thing there is to find out that whether – because we knew there’s a need – was there be a demand then? Through some research found out we thought it would be with our demographic in the area. It took about a year and a half doing a business plan to plan the whole business and such. It took us almost a year to find a reasonably good space to locate the business. Found a place, fired it up and we’re on our six year now.

Dewita: You’ve been in business for 6 years, but you’ve been around in that industry for a long time. From the time you opened the door at Amicus – by the way why did you choose the name, Amicus, it’s hard to pronounce – what do you see changed in consumer behavior, especially from your customers.

>> First he explained the meaning of Amicus and why he chose the name. Then followed with this conversation..

Jason: From our perspective, it’s probably more skewed. I meant from day one, we’ve had customers. Our customers have been those who’s very interested in being green and we have more and more customers trying to do that now. So we’re saying from a little bit of that early adopter’s stage to more of the mainstream or maturing of the audience as any marketing person would tell you as a product matures as it goes along. What is constantly has always been and – still very much – one tug of war is that people have different definition to what they mean by green. For some people is about health and avoiding chemicals to protect themselves or their kids. Other people it’s about Al Gore, climate change, protecting the polar bears or rain forest. Other people about energy independence, getting ourselves out of fossil fuels or of Middle East issues. We take very much a holistic point of view. We very strongly argue that it’s all the above. Getting people to understand that being green is a matter of several different features and it’s very not particularly appropriate analogy but, basically killing a lot of birds with one stone. And being able to achieve a lot of different goals of a healthier place, more energy responsive place, more environmentally appropriate place, and it will make a lot people happier that way. Also in the long term and in some cases in the short term, too. These are absolutely things that pay off that financially they are very beneficial for the occupants. You just have to configure the numbers and the math from where people used to.

Dewita: I read something in your website about LINX, is that a software? What is it?

Jason: SWEET LINX is an umbrella program that we have. It’s got a number of different programs underneath it that basically help different people to learn and to incentivize them to be as green as possible. For example, we have a program called “Sweet Benefits,” that we work with employers, companies, NGOs, whatever. It’s almost like a wellness program. Like a wellness benefits package. We give them some education, tools, help their green teams out. Just count another incentive internally to help their employees be sustainable as possible. It’s very much a lot of companies now will have like green teams to help teach each other about things to green both internally and at home. Just kind of encourage good behaviour. That’s a program we have to help people along with that and to make it more interesting, more lively. You know one of the things that happens a lot is people talk about green, they learn about this great tips as such. But if they can’t figure out the right products, the right tools to use for on-going kind of more detailed advice for their case. If they really can’t get that kind of on-going kind of support. Then, the efforts may be well-meaning but they probably won’t go very far. And so that’s the kind of idea that people can really get things, schemes rolling personally and across an organization to really get set some meaningful goals to actually achieve them. We have another program for schools. With schools, which help let say, schools fundraising or in creating their own operations or doing curriculum or efforts about green, or ecological or climate change issues. And we have a program for real estate agents to help them with their clients with both selling and buying. So things like that. That’s what the SWEET LINX program is.

Dewita: Your company is a triple-bottom line company (the three pillars of sustainable business: people, planet, profit for measuring success from economical, ecological and social values). What are some of the challenges that you have to overcome to become a triple-bottom line company?

Jason: I don’t know that I have necessarily any specific extra challenges. It’s kind of native and embedded in what we do and how we operate it that I don’t know if there’s any specific isolated challenges that I can think of off the top of my head. There will be just the natural stuff that certain things, where some of our costs or overhead, are not as low as they could be. And we just have to kinda implement that in our management. But I don’t at all consider to be extraordinarily high costs. It’s just a matter of cost of doing business, anyway. So if anything the additional elements, just limiting ourselves into products choice. And in terms of going extra miles to make sure that things are done right. To say “no” to products because we didn’t get the right information or enough information. It just make more administrative efforts on our part. A lot of it, is more time than it is cost.

There’s more to the conversation. Including tips for wannabe green business owners.

Check it out

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/btrplayer.swf