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  • CMI Criminology Trip - Criminal Courts of Justice

    Dec 19, 2013
    Julia Leo, lecturer for the Criminology segment of CMI's Criminology and Forensic Diploma course, organised a trip out for her students on Wednesday the 27th of November. Taking her two classes with her students got some real life observation into a murder trial case that Julia's currently working on.

    As the five week trial was coming to a close it was perfect timing for a fantastic educational experience whereby students got to experience the various barristers making their closing speeches to the jury. Student's also got to experience other criminal trials and sentencing hearings occurring in the building on the day.

    Julia herself stated that the event is "often referred to as a highlight of the course" and that it "essentially brings [her] class lectures to life for the pupils watching the courtroom drama".
  • Alchemy UK - Ports and Shipping Jobs Double in Europe!

    Dec 19, 2013

    Alchemy UK, a specialist and leading provider of  Shipping and Logistics recruitment, are now seeing double the amount of Ports and Shipping jobs in the UK and Europe in comparison to rest of the world.


    A lot of this growth could be as a result of German exports pushing up demand in the Euro area and having a positive knock on effect in the UK and Ireland.

    They specialise in recruitment and offer vacancies within the supply chain sector that include:
    Supply Chain Coordinator, Transport Manager, Operations Manager, Warehouse Manager.

    For more information contact Alchemy UK.

  • Consider Disability when Outsourcing, Purchasers Urged

    Nov 13, 2013

    Extract by Gurjit Degun taken from Supply Management.

    Procurement professionals have been urged to take action to ensure they do not discriminate against those with a disability when outsourcing services for their business.

     

    That was the outcome of a roundtable discussion – Managing your risk: is your business disability competent? – among 20CIPS Fellows held in London last night.

     

    Guest speaker Susan Scott-Parker, founder and chief executive of the Business Disability Forum (BDF), questioned what procurement professionals could do when outsourcing services.

     

    She said: “One of the things I would like to understand is whether or not, and how and if, we should be actively talking to procurement guys because of the impact of how quickly one of your employees gets the adjustment they need in order to keep their job because you’ve outsourced facilities management, IT or health.

     

    “This is the complexity that stops companies from doing what they want to do when they want to treat people properly.”

     

    Scott-Parker used examples of online recruitment sites which after eight pages of text note a link if users are unable to read the text. She also pointed out that when one large bank had a re-fit, it installed 800 computers with a right-hand mouse, not taking into consideration of people who are left-handed.

     

    In another example, she said a company was able to reduce the cost of its chairs from £650 to £400 by having one centralised desk instead of having 5,000 managers ordering chairs as and when, responding to individual employee needs.

     

    Attendees agreed many people want to do the right thing but are unsure how to go about it, and that change has to come from board level. Others said following a set of standards, and including them in tenders could be an option.

     

    Barry Hooper, interim global chief procurement officer at PageGroup said there is no one golden bullet and that some businesses could be excluded as suppliers if there are too many restrictions.

     

    Scott-Parker noted the BDF’s Technology Taskforce, which encourages best practice among organisations and suppliers by developing accessible products and services, and systems and processes, which BDF partners could access for guidance.

  • PR Needs to Master The Art of the Public Apology

    Nov 11, 2013

    Extract by Matthew Schwartz taken from PR News.

    Americans are a forgiving lot. But you already knew that. Nevertheless, making a public apology is an art form, and something that communicators need to be well-versed for those times when there is a screw up and the only solution is to say you’re sorry.

    We got two stark reminders of the pubic apology this week.

    President Obama apologized Thursday to Americans who are losing their health insurance despite his repeated promises that they wouldn’t.

    “I am sorry that they, you know, are finding themselves in this situation, based on assurances they got from me,” Obama said in an interview with NBC News. “We’ve got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them and that we’re going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this.”

    Hmmm, maybe the “you know” reference was by design, in order to make Obama seem humble and contrite. The president is betting that making a public apology could mitigate the damage wrought by the rollout of the health care law.

    And on Friday morning CBS News correspondent Lara Logan apologized about a “60 Minutes” segment regarding last year's attack on the U.S. Embassy in Libya.

    Logan said on “CBS News This Morning” that it was a “mistake” to put on a security officer whose credibility has since been undermined by his diverging accounts of what happened that night, according to The New York Times. She added: “We will apologize to our viewers, and we will correct the record on our broadcast on Sunday night.”

    Similar to the president’s apology, it’s rare for the august “60 Minutes” to make a public apology. So if two of the most powerful institutions in the country deem it necessary to apologize, what chance have you got?

    In light of the apology tours this week, here are some tips on the public apology, compliments of Sandra Fathi, president of PR and social media agency Affect.

    > Take immediate action. Take control of the conversation before it’s too late. One of the worst things that corporate leaders can do when faced with bad news is to assume they can get through the crisis by doing and saying nothing or waiting until the issue “blows over.”

    Respond where it happened. Did the crisis break on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube? Companies and corporate leaders should consider the forum where the crisis initially broke or where it has received the most attention and leverage the same platform for apologies and responses. The fact that an issue came to light in a certain place indicates that’s where the company’s public is active.

    Commit to an investigation. It’s not enough to say sorry. Corporate leaders should show that they want to understand how a situation happened and why it happened in order to make sure that it doesn't happen again. In addition to committing to investigating a situation, corporate leaders should clearly indicate that they plan to share their findings with the public once it has been gathered and analyzed.

  • Stress at Work Contributes more to Poor Performance than Personal, Financial Worries

    Nov 11, 2013
    The following extract has been taken from HR.BLR.COM.
     
    Stress at work contributes to poor job performance more than stress at home or financial worries, according to a study by the Integrated Benefits Institute, workforce health and productivity research and measurement organization.

    Employees’ job performance—as assessed through self-reported ratings on how often the employee was not careful, had difficulty concentrating, got less done than others and at times got no work done—steadily declines as stress at work increases. Among employees who never experience stress at work, 68 percent perform at or above the average performance of the overall sample.

    At the other end of the spectrum, just 41 percent of employees who experience permanent or continual workplace stress perform at that performance level.

    “Employers are between a rock and a hard place in dealing with workplace stress. On the one hand, the challenging economy translates into employees working longer hours and experiencing more stress at work. On the other hand, employers want a high-performing workforce,” said IBI President Thomas Parry, PhD.

    To determine what actions could help employers manage stress at work and improve employee performance, IBI examined the link between employee health and stress, and its outcomes. Employee stress includes the stresses workers experience at work, at home, and from financial concerns.

    The study found that healthier employees are less likely to experience work-related stress, with those in excellent health least likely to be stressed out. For example, 27 percent of employees in excellent health never experience work stress compared with 9 percent who report experiencing permanent or continual stress. At the other extreme, within the fair or poor health group, 15 percent of employees experience permanent or continual stress compared with just 6 percent who never experience work stress.

    IBI’s analysis is based on a data containing health risk appraisal (HRA) information from 6,437 employees and job performance items from the HPQ-Select employee health and productivity self-report survey, which was co-developed by the Integrated Benefits Institute and Dr. Ronald Kessler of the Harvard Medical School.

    “The findings highlight employers’ opportunity to manage employees’ harmful stress since they have more influence over the work environment than on a worker’s home life or financial situation,” added Dr. Kimberly Jinnett, IBI’s research director.

    The study may be accessed at: http://ibiweb.org/uploads/knowledge-bank/content/Oct2011QuickStudy-StressedOut.pdf.

  • Irish Ferries Announces Increase in Capacity on its Dublin to Holyhead Route

    Nov 11, 2013

    Irish Ferries is to increase its capacity and frequency on the Dublin to Holyhead route through the introduction of a third ship in December 2013.  Currently, the ferry company operates eight sailings per day on the key Irish Sea route using its flagship Ulysses and the High Speed Craft Jonathan Swift.

     
    Irish Ferries has chartered the Epsilon ( 2011 built ) to supplement its existing Ireland to Britain services. The ship will provide two additional departures per day in each direction which will result in an increase in the company’s schedule to a maximum of twelve sailings between Dublin and Holyhead each day. The recently built vessel will provide significant vehicle capacity along with modern facilities on board including cabins, bar/cafeteria and self-service restaurant.

    Targeting the growing Freight and Tourism markets, the Epsilon will further improve Irish Ferries’ range of offers to its customers on the Irish Sea. In addition to the improved frequency on its Dublin to Holyhead route, the chartered vessel will also provide opportunities for improved annual dry-dock cover within the company’s fleet along with scope for increased capacity on other Irish Ferries’ Irish Sea and Ireland to France services.

     

    Commenting on the announcement, Irish Ferries’ Marketing Director, Tony Kelly, said,

     

    ” Irish Ferries decision to invest in additional capacity at this time is a major vote of confidence by the Republic of Ireland’s leading ferry operator in the recovery of the country’s economy.   We believe that Ireland has turned the corner and we are prepared to invest in the provision of improved services for our valued Freight and Tourism customers who have shown fantastic loyalty throughout the last five difficult years. ”


    Extract taken from The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.
  • Excessive Youth Exposure to TV Alcohol Advertisements

    Nov 11, 2013

    Extract taken from Medical News Today.

    In twenty-five of the largest television markets in the U.S., almost 1 in 4 alcohol advertisements on a sample of national TV programs most popular with youth exceeded the alcohol industry's voluntary standards, according to researchers from the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    The report, published in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, found that the percentage of alcohol advertisements that exceeded the industry standard for youth exposure on these programs was highest in Houston (31.5%), followed by Los Angeles (30%), Dallas (29.7%), Atlanta (27.6%) and Chicago (27.5%). If this advertising were eliminated and not replaced, the researchers estimate that total youth exposure to alcohol advertising on these programs could drop by as much as one-third.

    "Underage drinking harms teens, their families and their communities," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D. M.P.H. "Exposing teens to alcohol advertising undermines what parents and other concerned adults are doing to raise healthy kids."

    Alcohol is the most commonly used drug among young people, accounting for an estimated 4,700 deaths among underage youth in the U.S. each year. At least 14 long-term studies have shown that exposure to alcohol marketing increases the chances that underage youth will begin drinking - and drink more if they do - further increasing the risk of health problems such as car crashes, violence, sexually transmitted diseases, and unintended pregnancy.

    According to a voluntary standard adopted in 2003, alcohol companies agreed not to place any ads (0%) on television programs where greater than 30 percent of the audience was likely to be younger than 21. The new report marks the first time researchers have used local ratings data to assess youth exposure, and the findings reflect differences in the number of underage viewers and the television viewing practices of youths in these cities.

    "This study indicates that the alcohol industry's self-regulation of alcohol advertising could be improved," said study author and CAMY Director David Jernigan, PhD. "The potential public health pay-off in terms of reduced risk of underage drinking and harms related to it could be quite substantial."

    The researchers assessed alcohol ad placements in 2010 for the ten programs with the largest numbers of youth viewers within each of four program categories (network sports, network non-sports, cable sports, and cable non-sports). Neilsen data were then used to assess exposure to alcohol ads placed on nationally telecast programs among the Nielsen sample of households in the 25 media markers, which are among the largest in the U.S. and account for roughly half of the total U.S. population aged 12-20 years living in homes with televisions.

    "Alcohol industry codes have so far not specified whether companies should use local or national ratings data when purchasing alcohol advertising," said Jernigan. "This study suggests that by using readily-available information on the make-up of local TV audiences, advertisers could help reduce youth exposure to alcohol advertising."

  • Don't Blame the People, Blame the Process

    Nov 11, 2013

    Article by Duncan Haughey, PMP taken from Project Smart. 

    Having good reliable processes is the cornerstone of a successful business. Processes are there to make sure there is consistency and robustness for repeatable activities. However, not all processes are good processes and in the worst cases may actually hold your business back. This was clear on one particular project I worked on recently…

    The project struggled because the process for implementing the IT infrastructure had not been adequately communicated and the key decision makers had not been identified. The IT department provided very little help in the early phases of the project. It soon became clear something was wrong, especially as the team members, who wanted the project to succeed, were being heavily constrained by the process. A clear case of a poorly thought out and unwieldy process delaying an important business project. So what lessons can we learn from this?

    The Unwieldy Process

     

    Don't blame your people because you have large unwieldy processes. Ask whether your processes are fit for purpose. If you are making your people clear many hurdles and they struggle, then you're trapped in a 'process obstacle course'

    Answer: Review and simplify your processes. Ensure there are clear roles and responsibilities and you have accounted for all scenarios not just the main one. Test run your processes on paper with the people who will use them and improve them from their feedback.

    As we know, good processes are a route to success. Conversely, poorly conceived processes are a route to failure. Poor processes are often hidden if 'heroes' in your organisation deliver projects in spite of them. Don't assume that project success equals good processes, there's always room for improvement.

    Answer: Talk to your people to understand where the pain points and road blocks are, and update the processes to remove them.

    The Process Impasse

     

    If a process can result in an impasse you must consider whether it's fit for purpose. On a recent project the stage and gate process said that if the project crossed more than one year, the total budget for all years needed approval by the senior stakeholder. The senior stakeholder in this case was happy to sign off the current years expenditure, but not the following years. The project was already passed all other gates with approvals received, Finance department sign-off given, in fact other than this one approval it was a model project administratively speaking. The project manager was pushing for project approval and to moved forward to the build phase, but the Project Management Office was pushing back, insisting on approval of the total 'cross-year' budget. Neither side would move. The result was the project moved to the build phase without approval, an undesirable situation, but inevitable with the business pushing the project team to deliver on time.

    Answer: With any process, make sure it isn't possible to reach a point where you are unable to move forward. In this case, it should have been possible to agree a scope for year one with a budget and a separate scope and budget for year two, so each year could be approved separately.

    Keep it Simple

     

    You may have heard the acronym 'KISS' when it comes to working practices and processes. It stands for, 'Keep It Simple Stupid' and while I would not advocate using this with your colleagues and customers, you can keep it in mind when creating new processes or improving existing ones.

    The best processes are those that are kept simple. They are easy to understand and have clear steps and outcomes.

    Answer: Look at each step in a process and ask whether it's necessary. Can it be removed? Does it move you towards your goal? The fewer steps in a process the better, so think 'KISS'.

    Summary

     

    If you become too process driven you risk losing sight of the business goal. Make sure you keep your processes simple, verify them with people who will use them and avoid processes that can result in an impasse. Good processes will drive your business towards its goals, but poor processes can and will hold your business back.

    If things aren't working for you, don't blame your people, blame the processes and take steps to improve them.

  • Groupon reports Q3 revenue of US$595.1m, intent to acquire Ticket Monster

    Nov 11, 2013

    Extract taken from Silicon Republic.


    Daily deals site Groupon pulled in US$595.1m in revenue during the third quarter, and revealed it has struck an agreement to acquire e-commerce company Ticket Monster for US$260m.

    The revenue figure reflects a 5pc increase compared to US$568.6m in the third quarter of 2012.

    North America revenue growth of 24pc has been offset by a 21pc decline in EMEA and a 4pc decline in the rest of the world.

    The company’s gross profit dropped from US$386.8m in the year-ago third quarter to US$359.6m.

    Gross billings, which reflect the total dollar value of customer purchases of goods and services, excluding any applicable taxes and net of estimated refunds, increased 10pc globally to US$1.34bn, compared with US$1.22bn in the same period last year.

    North America growth of 20pc and EMEA growth of 12pc has been offset by a 13pc decline in the rest of the world.

    Groupon ended the third quarter with US$1.1bn in cash and cash equivalents.

    Eric Lefkofsky, CEO of Groupon, said mobile adoption continued to increase in the third quarter, reflected in the company’s record 9m app downloads.

    “We’re pleased with our progress, but we still have work to do as we transform the business from our daily deal email roots to a full e-commerce marketplace.”

    This is where the acquisition of Ticket Monster comes in.

    “Ticket Monster has been successful in building a mobile commerce business in one of the largest markets in the world (Korea). It will serve as the cornerstone of our Asian business, bringing scale and e-commerce expertise to that region,” Lefkofsky said.

    Ticket Monster, which serves millions of customers with various product, local and travel offers, has more than US$800m of annualised billings.

    The acquisition is expected to close in the first half of 2014.

  • Carbon Reduction Roadmap for the Cement and Concrete Sector in Ireland

    Nov 11, 2013

    Extract taken from Environmental & Energy Management.

    Earlier this month Ecocem launched a consultation document outlining a Carbon Reduction Roadmap for the Cement and Concrete Sector at the Convention Centre Dublin.

    This roadmap is a response to the Government’s request for input into formulating a national roadmap in 2014 which will bring Ireland into line with the EU target to reduce CO2 emissions by 85% and transition to a low-carbon economy by 2050.

    The cement and concrete sector is the largest manufacturing source of CO2 emissions in Ireland.Emissions are far too high and will remain so with current technologies and existing national policies. The sector is currently failing to meet the EU2050 carbon roadmap targets. Innovation, new technologies and effective public policy are essential to change this and to help decarbonise this sector.

    The transition to a low-carbon cement and concrete industry will be a major source of new jobs in Ireland. Ecocem estimates 600 to 1,200 new jobs can result from the manufacture of low-carbon concrete for export markets within three to five years.

    Everyone stands to gain from the transition to a low-carbon cement and concrete sector in Ireland.

    The Carbon Reduction Roadmap for the Cement and Concrete Sector is a draft document and needs submissions, feedback, corrections and suggestions from industry to help shape it. The final document will represent the industry and be presented to Government early next year.