Thursday, October 25, 2012

Better Supply Chain For Consumer Safety

Nintendo Wii Injury
Nintendo Wii Injury (Photo credit: evansonline)
Its as if safety has become one of, if not the most complicated thing to understand and legislate in modern times. I think there are certainly fair and reasonable ways to deal with protecting consumers from an increasingly demonized private sector...but we need to be realistic about it to truly succeed. It's not about what fell off a conveyor system, it's about what ends up in a consumer's living room when we're talking about reducing risk.

In our modern era, where political decisions often resemble bumper sticker marketing slogans rather than sensible nuanced policy, simplistic over-reaction is always a danger. A perfect example…the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which President Bush signed in 2008 after lead was found in many childrens’ toys. The law requires every material in products aimed at children under 12 years old be tested by a 3rd party lab for lead levels. It’s a massive undertaking for large stores and a near impossibility for smaller toy makers and retailers.

Most people - including regulators, manufacturers and the impacted retailers - seemed to think the law would be postponed or modified before taking effect February 10th. After all, there isn’t even enough capacity in the nation’s 3rd party testing labs to handle the new workload. No such luck. In fact, as late as Monday, regulators were frantically putting FAQs up on the internet to help retailers, from posh children’s boutiques to thrift stores, figure out what needs to be tested or pulled from shelves.

But the question we should be asking is; is this the most efficient way to protect consumers from a supply chain risk?

This situation reminds me of advice a colleague once had for the toy industry after WalMart and Toys R Us voluntarily imposed new phthalate restrictions on their suppliers. They urged that testing (which smart retailers already do on their own - a scenario that’s NOT allowed under the CPSIA) was only part of the solution, and that retailers must push for greater visibility into their supply chains and hold their vendors accountable when the rules are broken.

Wouldn’t that be a better way to protect children, manufacturers, retailers and…perhaps even a few politicians, who could claim real world results through comprehensive, collaborative risk reduction strategies? I guess that approach won’t fit on a bumper sticker.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Assessing a Property

Private Equity - World Economic Forum Annual M...
With whatever real estate company you use, your agent should be committed to helping you get your home sold at the best possible price in the least amount of time. They should be known throughout the real estate industry for their experience and expertise which would translate into a smooth move with a seasoned professional. They should be able to provide several key things:

Market Analysis

Your agent should do the homework before suggesting a possible list price for your home. They will perform a comprehensive market analysis based on homes sold in your area and homes currently on the market. Information about homes that failed to sell also will be provided indicating prices that buyers were not willing to pay. Learn more about a  market analysis here.

Property Condition Assessment

The condition of your property will have a lot to do with the selling price and how quickly your home will sell. If there are minor repairs that you could perform easily, or perhaps some cosmetic upgrades that will make your home more appealing, your agent should discuss those enhancements with you, and which makes the most sense from a financial and practical standpoint. Learn more about property condition assessments here.

The goal is to make your house more appealing than the competing houses on the market and this is where the experience of an Equity Group agent begins to pay off. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Loaders, Steel and Construction

Excavator loaders are very important equipment in the construction industry. There are two types of loaders backhoe loaders and wheel loaders. A backhoe is a piece of excavating equipment consisting of an digging equipment called as a stick or dipper on the end of an articulated arm. Modern technology has made backhoes which are powered by hydraulic methods. There are backhoe loaders which are engineering vehicles which consists of steel tractor and a small backhoe in the end. They are smaller an size and very versatile by nature, which is why backhoe loaders are extremely important in urban engineering and small construction projects.

Backhoe loaders are used for a variety of tasks such as building houses, breaking apart asphalt, fixing city roads and highways, small demolitions, light transportation of building materials such as cold drawn steel bar from Capital Steel & Wire, powering building equipment, digging holes/excavating. The backhoe loaders bucket is often replaced with other tools such as breaker for smashing concrete and rock. There are many uses of backhoes and hence they are important equipment in the construction industry. Majority of the contractors who deal in the construction arena own a backhoe loader. There are many companies which manufacture backhoes.

The Excel equipment for sale are a good bargain at any point of time for the contractor. They can buy these equipment and make full use of their versatile nature by using these equipment for various uses. If you are on a low budget spending spree, you can look out for buying global equipment. These used equipment are not only cheaper but usually offer the same function to that of a brand new one. While you are looking out at buying a used backhoe you should check out the following points.

You need to check the three essential parts of the backhoe i.e tractor, loader and the bucket and if they are functioning to its full capacity. Even if you are buying branded Excel equipment, it makes more sense to inspect the equipment as they are also prone to wear and tear. Check out the hydraulic, mechanical and electrical issues, the part of the equipment should not be close to deterioration. Else you might save on the purchase but end up paying more for their spares. It s your money that you are going to spend so it makes more sense to check the equipment that you are going to purchase so that you are sure that you are making a good investment. Before you make any purchases though, be sure you're wearing the right construction equipment. I would recommend Dickies work pants for something that will last you a long time.

You can take advice from an expert if you are not sure about the mechanics of the equipment. You should also be sure about the company policy whether they offer any warranty or is there any service and maintenance contract of the company. If you carefully select the loader before buying, you can make an investment for a lifetime.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Switzerland vs. Mexico

switzerland-futbol-soccer-stamp-1970 (Photo credit: karen horton)
The big Group B Olympic match up takes place tomorrow, August 1, and will determine who advances to have a shot at an olympic medal, and who will be packing bags for home. Here's the current situation for both teams. Mexico has the big advantage, and just needs a draw to get the one point they need to advance to the next round of quarterfinals. They will most likely be playing quite conservatively, and their offense will be powered mostly by one man breakaways.

Switzerland needs a victory to advance, and a big one at that. Of course, it all depends on what the other coutnries do in their group, but if Switzerland can beat Mexico by 2 or 3 goals, then they should be the ones to advance. I've always been a big Switzerland fan, so you know who I will be cheering for, as I've traveled around Switzerland quite a few times. My favorite place to stay while I was visiting there was the Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof in Interlaken Switzerland. They were a great last minute hostel find for me, and as far as a hostel goes, you can't find much of a better deal that that one for as many tourists that come to Switzerland.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Brady Hoke of Michigan

ANN ARBOR, MI - JANUARY 12:  New University of...
Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
With all the great things that have been happening since Brady Hoke came to Michigan, everyone forgets the kind of mess Michigan was in when they first brought him in. Michigan was coming off one of its poorest seasons in years, and they were bringing in a coach with an under .500 career record. The only reassurance Michigan fans were getting was the "he's a good guy" speeches from the hiring staff.
With the great season Michigan had last year, his slogans and terminological has been used across the country by football coaches, and his reputation has skyrocketed in just a matter of months. When Hoke stated "This is Michigan, fergodsakes" after being asked if the Michigan job was an elite job, a whole marketing campaign was born with posters and promotional videos galore. What really got everyone on board with Hoke was the victory over Ohio State, proving what his job is mostly about. 
So what's the future of the great Hoke? Well if he keeps on winning, his statements and offbeat but warming personality will win him a saint's reputation, but if there is ever a turn for the worse, everyone will just think he's lost his mind.

Monday, April 23, 2012


According to a study done by the University of Scanton in Pennsylvania, coffee provides more healthy antioxidants than any other food or beverage in the American diet. They found that adults consume 1300 mg of antioxidants from coffee; the closest contributor was tea at 294 mg. How about that? In addition, people who drank 1-2 cups of coffee daily had half the liver cancer risk of those who never drank it. Furthermore the Harvard School of Public Health found that drinking coffee cut the risk of developing the most common form of diabetes.

This article originally appeared here