Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
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In this video, Harvey Koeppel, Executive Director of the Center for CIO Leadership, shares his vast knowledge of information systems at the conference, “From Information Systems to Innovation Systems: Establishing the Next Generation Information Systems Department,” hosted by Pepperdine University, the Graziadio School of Business and Management, and the Graziadio Center for Applied Research, Wednesday, October 12, 2011.
Drawing from his experiences as a CIO with Citigroup’s Global Consumer Group and as a consultant for CitiFinancial, Citibank, and other Citi affiliates, in his presentation, “The 21st Century CIO,” Koeppel discusses how the role of the CIO is evolving.
In this video excerpt, Koeppel discusses key business drivers such as global economic and competitive changes, the role of government, the demand for innovative business models, and collaborative business partnerships.
Be sure to check out the full-length video, “From Information Systems to Innovation Systems with Harvey Koeppel” as well as other video presentations from Robert Fort (Guitar Center), Eric Iverson (Sony Pictures), Joel Manfredo (County of Orange) and a Panel of Experts.
Friday, February 10th, 2012
President Obama has announced that the U.S. will withdraw nearly all troops from Iraq by the end of this year, with thousands of additional troops from both Iraq and Afghanistan returning the first couple of months into the new year. Are you prepared to comply with the law and reinstate employees who may have been on military leave for months…if not years…?
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) applies to all civilian employers, protecting employees absent from work because of duty in any of the “uniformed services,” which includes not only full-time and reserve components of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, but also Coast Guard and National Guard. USERRA also covers many types of uniformed services duty, including, but not limited to, active duty, active-duty training, initial active-duty training, inactive-duty training, and numerous other periods of absent. Further, it applies regardless of whether the duty is voluntary or involuntary.
One of the primary protections USERRA provides is entitlement to reemployment. To be eligible for reemployment, the employee must have left employment that was not for a brief, recurrent period and was reasonably expected to continue work. The job left need not be permanent or regular.
EMPLOYEE MUST HAVE GIVEN NOTICE
The employee must have provided proper notice before leaving to be eligible for reemployment. Notice can be oral or written and can be delivered by family members, military officers, or other individuals besides the service member. More importantly, the law specifies that the employee need not give notice if military necessity prevents it or if doing so is not possible. Employees returning from military service must have been honorably discharged.
LENGTH OF ABSENCE
USERRA provides that employees returning from military service receive the same reemployment and seniority protections regardless of the type of military service so long as the cumulative length of absence does not exceed five years, not counting military service performed during previous employment.
REPORTING BACK TO WORK
USERRA requires employees to report to work or seek reemployment by certain deadlines, depending on the length of service. Employees serving 30 days or fewer must report to work at the beginning of their next regular work shift, following release from service. Employees serving 31 to 180 days must submit their application for reemployment no later than 14 days after completion of service. Employees serving more than 180 days must submit their application for reemployment no later than 90 days following completion of service.
REEMPLOYMENT MUST BE POSSIBLE
USERRA does not require that you reemploy individuals returning from military service if changed circumstances have made reemployment impossible or unreasonable, or if reemployment would cause an undue hardship. This depends on the size and type of your business operation, workforce composition, financial resources, or other similar factors. In this economy, many employers have had to reduce their workforce.
SPECIAL PROTECTION AGAINST DISCHARGE
USERRA’s protections do not end once the employee is reinstated. Perhaps one of the most significant obligations the Act imposes is that employees returning from service of more than 30 days cannot be discharged without cause for a certain period of time following reemployment. Employees returning from service lasting more than 180 days cannot be discharged without cause for one year following the date of reemployment. Employees returning from uniformed service lasting 30 to 180 days cannot be discharged without cause for six months following the date of reemployment. The common “at-will” employment relationship is modified for this particular period of time, and the burden of proving cause for a discharge will be on employers. Having appropriate policies, training employees on them, and carefully documenting any violations or performance problems will be helpful in meeting the lawful standards.
This would be a prudent time for employers to review their military leave policies and procedures, review your processes for returning veterans, and make appropriate plans for how you will deal with the many contingencies that can occur when it comes to reinstating veterans’ employees who have been out of the workforce for any extended period of time.
FROM HARM’S WAY TO CIVILIAN EMPLOYMENT
USERRA Implications for Veterans and Employers
March 14 in Los Angeles and March 15 in Irvine, Pepperdine University and PIHRA (Professionals in Human Resources Assoc.) will be sponsoring a seminar to address issues regarding employers and returning veterans. For more information go to:
Wednesday, January 25th, 2012
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In this video, John K. Paglia, PhD, Associate Professor of Finance at the Graziadio School of Business and Management, shares the first public release of his research findings from the Pepperdine Private Capital Markets Project at the 1st Annual Southern California Capital Expo, hosted by The Association for Corporate Growth, Orange County Chapter on November 10, 2011. Based on the surveys from the “Capital Markets Report” and “California Small Business Supplement Report,” Dr. Paglia offers new insights into the latest trends in capital markets.
In this excerpt, Dr. Paglia answers the question, “What is the Status of Privately-Held Businesses as of Fall 2011,” citing his latest research, which includes new data on the current state of financing for privately-held businesses.
Be sure to check out the full-length video, “The Latest Trends in Capital Markets with John K. Paglia,” as well as “The Latest Trends in Capital Markets with a Panel of Financial Experts.”
Wednesday, January 11th, 2012
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In this podcast of the Graziadio Business Review, Audra Quinn, managing editor of the GBR speaks with Kenneth A. Fox, MBA, managing partner of The Soundings Group, a business strategy marketing consulting firm. Fox discusses the research that he has done for the article, Learn to Expect the Unexpected in Global Retail Expansion which can be found in Volume 14 Issue 4 of the Graziadio Business Review, at GBR.pepperdine.edu. The article offers some lessons on global retail expansion using real-world examples of how different companies have succeeded and failed.
Below are the questions that Fox answers:
- What have been some of the biggest mistakes you’ve seen companies make in global expansion?
- Of the key takeaways in the article, the first and arguably most important is “Do your homework before entering a new global market.” What exactly is involved in doing this “homework”?
- One company that you discuss in the article is Tesco, the U.K. grocery chain which launched “Fresh and Easy” here in the States. Now it seems they tried to do their homework, but still ran into problems. What were some of the biggest issues there?
- Can you give listeners an example of some companies who have done this really well?
- As the world becomes more interconnected and the market becomes more globalized, how important do you think it will be for companies to start building global expansion into their strategies in the future?
You can also read another blog post written by Kenneth A. Fox: Zara: A Global Success Story
Thursday, January 5th, 2012
In this video interview of the Graziadio Business Review, Zbigniew Krysiak, PhD, associate professor at the Warsaw School of Economics in Poland, shares some lessons on Survival Enterprise Risk Management by Economic Capital as a way to improve a company’s chances to survive and thrive. His research is part of an article he wrote for the Graziadio Business Review, which can be found here.
Dr. Krysiak answers the following questions:
- What is “economic capital”?
- Why try to manage risk, why not just avoid risk altogether?
- You discuss several methods for managing risk, but argue that Survival Enterprise Risk Management by Economic Capital is the most effective. Can you summarize for viewers what this approach is all about?
- What are the key points that a business practitioner should be aware when applying this theory of risk management?
Be sure to check out the full-length article, Achieving Enterprise Stability Based on Economic Capital, at GBR.pepperdine.edu. Thanks for tuning in to this video of the Graziadio Business Review.
Wednesday, December 21st, 2011
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Luc Berlin is a Digital Globalization Strategist and a Social Netrepreneur. He recently won the Graziadio Student Paper competition for his paper, “The Internet and Globalization: Ten Tips to Building an Effective Digital Strategy for Global Success.” In this audio podcast of the Graziadio Business Review, Berlin discusses the research he did on digital strategy as it relates to global business for this paper, as well as his experience as a consultant for innovative technology and e-commerce organizations and as the founder and CEO of MIIGLE (www.miigle.com), a global collaboration platform that allows people to share, discover, and fund ideas while socially networking.
In this podcast, Berlin answers the following questions:
- Could you tell us a little about your findings on the symbiotic relationship between global exports and the proliferation of the Internet?
- So, how do you see this transforming business in the future?
- You advocate for companies building an effective digital strategy. How do you do that in this rapidly evolving technological landscape?
- Can you give listeners an example of a company that has embraced the technological evolution with an effective digital strategy?
- In the paper, you offer a list of 10 tips for organizations to achieve digital globalization and become an online success story… can you share one of those tips with our listeners?
Read the full article, “The Internet and Globalization: Ten Tips to Building an Effective Digital Strategy for Global Success” in Volume 14, Issue 4 of the Graziadio Business Review!
Friday, December 16th, 2011
In this Week’s Issue: December 16, 2011
• The Italian two-year yield is down to 5.29% – the 10-year yield is at 6.59%.
• The Spanish two-year yield is down to 3.46% – the 10-year yield is down to 5.31%.
• The Euro fell below 1.3000 vs US$ but recovered to close at 1.3045 on Friday
• U.S. initial jobless claims fall to 366,000, the smallest number since May ’08
• Euro area annual inflation was 3.0% in November unchanged compared with October
• U.S. CPI increased 3.4% over the last 12 months before seasonal adjustment
• U.S. current account deficit decreased to $110.3 billion or 2.9% of GDP Q3 of 2011
• U.S. industrial production decreased 0.2% in November versus +0.7% in October
• OPEC ministers likely to keep oil production steady at 30M barrels a day
• IFO cut forecast for Germany, projecting GDP of +3% in 2011 and only +0.4% in 2012
• U.S. retail sales were $399.3 bn, up 0.2% from October and up 6.7% from one year ago
2011 has been a bumpy year for stock investors. In the U.S. the punters will be happy if they can break even for the year. Yet, if you feel U.S. markets have been volatile, think again. Most emerging markets have had an even tougher year. Investors in China probably won’t be too happy with the Shanghai Stock Index currently down over 20 percent for the year. But that pales in comparison to the parabolic rise and fall of Chinese stocks since 2006. The rise and fall was so dramatic that you can actually fit the shape of an Eiffel tower into the chart (see below).
Given these wild price swings, we should feel relatively safer investing in U.S. stocks. The direct comparison of Chinese equities with the S&P 500 makes the impact of the credit crisis on our turf look like a lame duck event. So then, are we better off investing in U.S. markets? Since 2006 Chinese equities are still up about 80 percent while U.S. stocks barely broke even. You may have lost your sanity along the way but if you had the courage to hold on, 80 percent over a five-year period isn’t all that shabby.
Precious Metals, a quasi religion?
Precious Metals have had a difficult few months. Gold is off 16 percent from its high, silver almost 40 percent down from the record high established in May of this year. But things aren’t just difficult for gold and silver, Mark Dow predicts more head wind ahead for 2012. Please consider: Another Grim Year for 2012–Even For Commodities.
Good luck and good investing!
Clemens Kownatzki, MBA is an adjunct professor of financial risk management at the Graziadio School of Business and Management, as well as the founder and CEO of FX Investment Strategies, a Registered Investment Advisor. In addition to running his investment advisory firm, he is a contributing author at SeekingAlpha.com and BusinessInsider.com. He also authored the book, Money Music 101, available on Amazon and Kindle, in addition to publishing the popular investment blog www.fxinvestmentstrategies.com along with a weekly newsletter.Disclaimer
Neither the information nor any opinion contained in this communication constitutes a solicitation or offer by us to buy or to sell any securities, futures, options or other financial instruments or to provide any investment advice or service. Each decision by you to do any investment transactions and each decision whether a particular investment is appropriate or proper for you is an independent decision to be taken by you. In no event should the content of this communication be construed as an express or an implied promise, guarantee or implication by or from us that you will profit or that losses can or will be limited in any manner whatsoever. Past results are no indication of future performance. Please note that there is no requirement and no commitment to make any payments to FX Investment Strategies LLC in order to access our published information be it via email or via website publication. All information is publicly available without any required monetary consideration. Any payments or donations made by you are deemed to be voluntary and cannot be considered as payments for investment advice given to you.
Thursday, December 15th, 2011
Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published by Kenneth A. Fox in Global Galaxy, which covers international business
Zara, the flagship retail unit of Spanish parent, Inditex SA, represents a remarkable retail success story. The company now has over 1,500 stores in 81 countries. Zara offers mostly unique women’s stylish clothing and accessories at reasonable prices. The chain was started in Spain in 1975 and has never used advertising to promote its stores or goods. Instead it spends on prime locations for its stores.
The most amazing thing about Zara is their vertical integration and ability to design and launch a new fashion item quickly. They use their store staffs to identify fashion trends and styles that sell well. In turn, Zara designs, produces, and ships new fashions to its stores in limited quantities. They typically dispatch new styles to their stores twice a week.
Zara’s success concentrates on three winning aspects:
- Short lead times=more fashionable clothes
- Lower quantities=scarce supply
- More styles=more choice, and more chances of hitting it right
Zara launches approximately 12,000 new designs a year. Counter to industry trends, the company does not outsource production to low cost countries but instead uses labor from Spain and other European countries for at least 80 percent of its production. There is an excitement when you walk into a Zara retail stores. Their fashions are unique. One sees styles not seen in other department or specialty clothing stores.
Zara can move from identifying a trend to having clothes in stores within 30 days. This represents offering fashions when they are “hot,” yielding higher sales and margins. Zara has a large design team in Northwest Spain that works exclusively in identifying the latest styles and trends and converting these ideas into new fashion items. Zara limits the availability of each style, which often makes it more desirable. A fashion seen one week may not appear in the store the next week. Reorders are rare and in-store stocks look fresh every three to four days.
Zara owns its own manufacturing facilities, mostly in Spain. It has the latest equipment for fabric dyeing and processing, cutting and garment finishing. This allows Zara to have processing capacity available “on demand.” It does outsource the labor-intensive process of garment stitching to a network of subcontracted workshops in Spain and Portugal.
An invaluable resource is the store managers and staff members who send orders and provide intelligence on styles that sell to Zara headquarters in Spain. They utilize handheld computers to send information on what they hear and see from customers. Zara uses state-of-the art distribution systems. Approximately 2,000 kilometers of underground tracks move merchandise from Zara’s manufacturing plants to 400+ chutes that ensure each order reaches its proper destination. Optical scanning devices sort and distribute more than 60,000 items of clothing an hour.
Zara seems to deliver fashions when they are hot, often at much lower prices than comparable designer brands. They also sell men’s clothing and accessories.
I did not know that Zara offered a “Home Store” until I recently shopped one in Turin, Italy. This line extension now has 284 stores globally, but currently none are in the U.S. The Home Store felt different than other comparable “home stores,” extending Zara’s unique atmospherics.
The Zara clothing stores are in most major markets; even in Chengdu, China, where I taught during the first quarter of 2011. This interesting retailer also benefits from its parent company (Inditex SA), which manufacturers other clothing lines, under brand names such as: Massimo Dutti, Berska, Oysho, Pull & Bear, Stradivarius, Tempe, and Uterque.
1. The Secrets of Zara Success, The Telegraph (UK), June 22, 2011
2. Case Study: retail @ the speed of fashion, by Devangshu Dutta, 2002
3. Inditex, Wikipedia