India Imports and Exports – Part II

India-America Trade relations

For the starters, United States is India’s largest trading partner.

India’s major exports to US – include Information Technology Services, textiles, machinery, ITeS, gems and diamonds, chemicals, iron and steel products, coffee, tea, and other edible food products.

India’s major imports from US – aircraft, fertilizers, computer hardware, scrap metal and medical equipments.

Additionally, America is also India’s largest investment partner. Americans have made significant investments in India’s power generation, telecommunications, ports, roads, petroleum exploration/processing, and mining industries.

India and US have signed a new Trade Policy Forum. The sub-divisions include: Agricultural Trade Group and Tariff and Non-Tariff Barriers group.

Agricultural Trade Group- The group specially focuses on three objectives: approving on terms that will facilitate India to export mangoes to the United States, thereby sanctioning Agricultural and Process Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) to vouch Indian products to the standards of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and implementing procedures for approving edible wax on fruit.

Tariff and Non-Tariff Barriers group – Insecticides manufactured by United States could be sold across the length and breadth of the country. Also, India has also agreed to cut regulations on buy/sell of carbonated drinks. Many medicinal drugs and lowering regulations on products those are not agricultural produce.

Both countries expressed interest in promoting small business initiatives in both countries by enabling trade between them..

The percentage of traded items from India to US

1. Diamonds & precious stones (25%)

2. Textiles (29.01%)

3. Iron & Steel (5.81%)

4. Organic chemicals (4.3%)

5. Machinery (4.6%)

6. Electrical Machinery (4.28%)

The percentage of traded items from US to India

1. Engineering goods & machinery (including electrical) (31.2%)

2. Precious stones & metals (8.01%)

3. Organic chemicals (4.98%)

4. Optical instruments & equipment (7.33%)

5. Aviation & aircraft ( 16.8%)

Export of Indian Agro Exports to US

The export of Indian Agro products to US forms a significant component of Indian exports to US. The Indian government apparently plays an important role in the expansion and diversification of the agricultural products and food processing industrial sector of the country. It is reportedly one of the largest in terms of production, consumption, export and growth.

The main items of Indian Agro Exports to US are:

o Rice and rice products

o Fresh vegetables

o Fresh fruits like mangoes, mango pulp, and grapes

Wildlife Control – How to Choose the Right Company for Your Needs

Whether your home is brand new or decades old, you want it to be your place of rest. That means you don’t want to have to worry about whether or not you have intruders such as bats, raccoons, snakes or more running rampant in your home. If you do, then it’s time to reach out to a skilled wildlife control company. Yet, there are many characteristics to look for when trying to figure out which company you would like to chooses. Explore them below.

When you need to get rid of a bunch of animals, insects or pests on your property, you want to know that when you call a wildlife control company for help, they have the experience you need. That’s because there are many pests that need to be removed in a certain way that is different from another pest. And if the company tries to use the same method for all pests, then there’s a risk that the pests could come back repeatedly. A skilled professional is the way to go.

In addition, it’s also important that the company handle the task with speed. Having critters run around your home longer than what’s absolutely necessary, is no fun. So when you reach out to a pro, you need them to come in, remove the pests and be on their way. All this is to be expected from an experienced company that is used to dealing with such tasks.

Once you don’t see the critters any longer you may think that wildlife control company’s work is done. However, a good company will offer to maintain your home to make sure other critters do not get in. Because even though critters may be removed, it’s important to make sure the animals don’t find their way back in again. So when searching for the right company, be sure to ask about whether or not they will maintain things around your home for you.

Furthermore, what many people may not think about is whether or not the company is insured. This is something to think about since a worker could get hurt on your property. You don’t want to be held responsible, so it’s important to make sure the wildlife control company is fully insured before you decide to hire them.

Whether your pest is big or small, you want them off your property. To ensure you get the best possible company to handle the job, be sure to do your research and only work with a reputable company.

Cruises Are a Great Option for Your Honeymoon

Cruises are actually a wonderful place to take a honeymoon. There are several reasons that they are great for this event in your life.

One of the great things about cruises is that they are almost all-inclusive. You can order room service anytime, you can order and eat as much as you desire at meal times. However, alcoholic beverages may or may not be included. You have access to pools, spas, and other amenities. The ship will take you to the shore, and you then have the freedom to explore and take excursions. If you do not want to spend any extra, you do not have to do so. Excursions cost, but you could choose to just enjoy the boat’s amenities that are included.

People may figure that cruises will cost a large amount. It is true that they can be costly, but for what you get they are well worth it. If you watch for specials, you may be able to get a good price. One thing to remember with cost is that your airline flight is not likely included. That is really the only transportation cost you will have unless you need to pay for a shuttle from the airports.

As you think about cost, try not to get overwhelmed. Just break it down. If you decide you want to go on a cruise, start having 20 dollars put in your savings account every week. By doing this, you should be able to pay for your honeymoon within four or five year’s time. The amount you save may actually exceed what you need. If you do not have five years before you are getting married, break it down in a different way. If you need to put it on credit, then you will know that you should be able to pay it off in less than seven years if you include the interest. To lucky ones, your honeymoon might be given as a wedding gift, and in these cases, you will not have to pay for anything except the extras.

There is a downside to many things, and that is the case with cruises as well. If you are prone to getting seasick or motion sick, then you might have a problem going on a cruise. If you believe you might have a problem, see your doctor. He or she should be able to provide you with something to help or a suggestion for something over-the-counter. You may or may not struggle if you get medication. There is a doctor on the ships, so if you end up having a major problem, they should be able to help.

Do not let a fear of cost or seasickness keep you from considering cruises as an option for your honeymoon. Sit down with the one you love, if you know them yet, and talk about it. If you have not yet met someone, maybe now is the time to start saving for the future.

Budget Your Total Bathroom Remodel

Like any responsible homeowner or renter, you plan to budget for your upcoming bathroom remodeling project. But finding the dough to accessorize like a celebrity may prove more than challenging. Whether you’re looking to install high-tech toilets, new faucets and showerheads or simply to afford new rugs, follow these penny-pinching tips; you’ll be on your way to a new total bathroom makeover without cutting back on your family’s food or selling your assets.

Plan in Advance

No matter what size remodeling project you plan to undertake, you can never plan too far in advance. The larger the project, the more long term you should think. But before you either sell you’re car or begin purchasing new bathroom accessories or fixtures, write down your plan. Create a mock blueprint of your ideal bathroom, complete with what fixtures you need or want to replace, as well as the aspects you can repurpose and refurbish for free. Now, conduct simple market research online and estimate the average price for the new features you wish to include in your makeover project. For standard durable pieces, look for trusted brands such as Kohler, Price Pfister and American Standard.

A good rule to follow should be based upon how long you intend to stay in your home. If you’re simply looking at a quick fix and sell home, then opt for simple improvements. If your family will be staying for decades, you may want to consider comfort and ease first, and then think of what will increase the value of the home over time.

Additional costs are accrued when you pay for the labor. So no matter how big or small you plan to remodel, also factor in how much – or how little – the cost of labor will be.

Evaluate the Spending

With your estimated expenses in hand, examine your current weekly and monthly spending habits. Are there any areas where you can afford to trim down? A few dollars here and there spent on gourmet coffee, fast food restaurants and even those extra cents tacked onto gasoline prices paid with debit or credit cards can really add up quickly. Budget-friendly ideas include carpooling, consolidating all errands into one day to eliminate expensive fuel costs as well as opting for stay-at-home dinners which tend to be cheaper and healthier.

Stick to the Plan

If you’ve decided to trade in your Chinese take-out Tuesdays and quick trips to the post office for a home cooked meal and a walk to the local stores, then stick to it. And it will be tough to stick to this plan, but be prepared. It’s easy to find excuses (it’s too cold outside to walk); writing down specific tasks on your calendar will help keep you focused on your goal: remodeling your new bathroom. Also, seeing tasks written in permanent ink will help guilt-trip you into behaving, especially if you’ve slipped once or twice.

Small Budget Makeovers

With the rocky economy and unstable job market, many families simply cannot afford a total bathroom makeover as they’ve dreamed. However, a few small and inexpensive changes can transform your bathroom. Often, just a simple accent wall in a dark, rich paint can change the feel of a bathroom instantly-while only a fraction of the cost of totally repainting your entire bathroom. Check out local yard sales and online listings for freebies and discount giveaways; a wicker basket or antique bedside table can double as an artistic and decorative toilet paper holder.

Total Redesign

Transforming your entire bathroom will require a hefty budget, especially if you’re reinstalling valves, bath tubs and cabinetry (which will most likely require the assistance of a professional). Splurge on the luxury model toilets with heated seats, heated tile floors to keep your toes toasty or the automated sink faucets that eliminate wasted water. Over time, you’ll see more money in your pocket, since these luxury upgrades will most likely replace your frequent trips to day spas.

How To Get Traffic As An Internet Marketer

Becoming a successful internet market is no joke. To really make more money than the guy that work his heart out from 9am-5pm takes knowing how to do the right thing. Some people say you need to work hard to make it in internet marketing. But, I would say that you not only work hard but work smart.

Every info-preneur or internet marketer undoubtedly needs to get traffic to make it in the internet business. The internet business is very competitive and if you do not know how to gain traffic to win the heart of people surfing the net, you may eventually become a failure. I have seen and heard many information marketer with right passion and excitement, become frustrated and fail in this business. You could avoid being frustrated and having the believe that internet marketing does not work or it is a big scam. You only need to become smarter to make 4 or 5 digit cash with an effective traffic strategy.

There are 3 skills that you will need to cultivate if only you want to make big money selling information over the internet.

*Perfect the bait
*Target the right people
*Delivering the right solution quickly

When you think of getting or gaining traffic for your internet marketing business, you must keep three things in mind:

1. Who is my target audience

2. What do they want?

3. How can i motivate this target audience to act now?

Let look at these closely;

Who is my target audience:If you want to market products/services or information you must first find a group of people who are hungry for such information. I call this ‘finding hungry fish’. I prefer a school of fish in ‘feeding frenzy’. If you drop your bait, that is traffic into such a school of hungry fish, they will attack your bait.
The most important part of marketing is not the traffic you could drive to the product. It is targeting your traffic to the right audience.

2. Where do you find your right audience:You have 2 choices;you can either devise traffic from someone else medium or create your own traffic strategy and get your own customers. In other words, you could pay for it as in using pay per click(PPC) or buying classified ads slot/space. But, for starters it could be expensive.

A free and no-cost method of getting traffic is to build a list. You can write a 8-15 pages report or create an e- book and give it out for free in giveaway events or forums sites. People who opt-in for your report, leave their name and email address. With this, they become willing subscribers you manage for your marketing activities.

3. How do I motivate the target audience to buy Now:As a student of marketing, i have discovered some principle that work. There are 6 of them:

a. Consensus:Give people what they want. The ‘hottest’ thing that is in demand by a large number of people. It will induce a potential buyer to say yes easily to your product.

b. Reciprocity:You should give them bonus for buying your products. Give them a free ‘gift’. It creates a subtle obligation to them to buy your product.

c. Scarcity:Attach a time limited and quantity limit to the amount you have to sell. This create urgency in the potential buyers.

d. Authority:Talk like an expert. If you are a newbie, you can have a joint venture with experts. you should note that people like to deal with experts.
e. Commitment:Whatever you promise you will do, stick to your words. Give yourself to doing what you say.

f. Liking:Make them like you and your products. appeal to their sense of liking to you and your product.

Traffic is the hub of your marketing campaign in internet marketing. Do every thing you can to get traffic. Always remember, without it you are less likely to succeed online. I wish you success and see you at the top.

Internet Marketing – New Trends in an Evolving Industry

Over the years internet marketing has been evolving from the
Efforts of the first marketers. Trends in the past have seen
marketers placed ads on talk forums, classified sites, in emails
and where ever they could find potential customers.

Some of these actions led to the introduction of changes from
Within the internet marketing community and from without.
An example of a change from within the community is the banning
Of ads on all forums and relegating them to only the signature file.

An example of a change from outside the community it the Can Spam
Law, which was introduced by the USA government to prevent the sending
Of unsolicited emails. This has done much to reduce the problems of
Spam; further to this from within the community we have seen programs
Which filter emails based on the words used in the headlines and in
The body of the emails.

What all these methods have done is fueled the evolution of internet
Marketing. Now marketers are using double opt-in techniques to
Comply with the Can Spam Law, they are using Tele-seminars to
Reach their target market. They are using SEO, search engine optimization,
To reach clients who are using the search engines to look for products
And services.

As we can see the evolution of internet marketing has been fueled from
Numerous sides, the government, the internet community, the internet
Service providers and the customers themselves.

Well my fellow entrepreneur the internet marketing industry is undergoing
another major evolutionary shift fueled this time by the customers.
October, 2006 was the apex of this change which has been building for awhile.

Over the months subscribers to the various mailing lists have been receiving
Emails on a daily basis promoting one new product launch or another. In
some cases some of us have received 2 or 3 emails promoting the same new
product launch. This activity reached it breaking point in October when there
were several product launches in the same day and we received up to a dozen
duplicate emails for the launch of new products.

The end result is that, there were a large number of un-subscribed requests to
The various mailing lists owners, many gurus saw their profits dropped
Dramatically from previous launches.

Currently we are sitting on the verge of a new era in marketing, an era in which
The consumers are helping to create what they consume. This new direction
Presents many opportunities for consumers and marketers. Download this
Free report at the URL below to learn more about how you can profit from
this new trend in internet marketing. http://5kpermonth.blogspot.com

A Removal Company After Your Own Heart

It’s that time again-moving time! Headaches abound, screaming and frustration ensues. You aren’t sure if you’re going or coming, and if you are, chance is that you won’t be for long. You can be organized, clever, and have enough containers to stock Tupperware warehouses, but in most cases, that’s the exact opposite of your situation. In most cases, you’re surprised you finally make it once you get there.

Which is why hiring a removal company can come in handy. For example, say that you’re less than gifted at packing…maybe your Christmas gifts look pre-opened or maybe your containers just refuse to close and you’ve surrounded them with rolls of tape, praying they didn’t bust open during the trip. In most cases, a removal company will pack for you. Now, keep in mind that it will cost you. But it can also be rather beneficial and can help you to keep everything much more organized.

Don’t forget the actual moving services. This can help you so much! Especially if you have arthritis or a bad back or are getting up on age or are alone: you shouldn’t be moving things in these cases-it just isn’t safe and you have no business getting hurt.

But where do you choose a removal company? Surely there’s a way of picking one?

First of all, ask your friends. If they have any recommendations, keep them in mind. Compile a small list. Then, Google them.

Google may sound a bit tacky, but it’s actually a quick, easy way to search for reviews. Make sure that you are searching the right company (there are times when you go to check on a company and then discover that it’s a different company of the same kind) and check the reviews. You should be looking for:

1. Safety. If they aren’t safe, then you need to discard them. True, one employee might have made a mistake. It does happen. But, if an offense occurs over and over and over again, you need to completely toss that company out the window, so to speak.

2. Reputation. If you see more than ten bad reviews in a row, you need to seriously reconsider that project. It’s one of those cases where it goes to show-and especially if they have a recurring problem.

3. No thieves. If there are repeated cases where someone mentions workers pocketing items or searching through boxes (without instruction or if they aren’t packing), then you need to be wary or throw them away. You don’t have time to deal with removal companies that will steal your money and your valuables. This sort of falls under reputation, but, at the same time, you have to make sure that you put forth a bit of extra effort to watch out for things like this.

4. Scams. If you see ridiculously low prices or you notice many reviews that mention the company being a scam, avoid them. It doesn’t matter if they look like they have the best removal company reviews ever-they could be written by the scammers!

Car Rental Deals – Why People Like Car Rental Deals

I know that you can relate when I say that I love to get a good deal on something. It shouldn’t take a lot of explaining why car rental deals are some of the most important things that you can partake in when shopping for a rental car. Some people will go to great lengths to find the best car rental deals that they can while others will be more willing to pay the advertised normal price. But did you know that you can just type in the name of the company you are looking for followed by the word coupon and you can find a better price. That is just one of the ways that you can get easy and cheap car rental deals.

There are many other techniques that one can use to get good car rental deals, one little known fact is just ask the company what deals they are offering at the time. A lot of agencies will have a special if you are willing to rent the car for a week, or if you are only going to have it for the weekend. Prices can vary and change depending upon the holiday season or during peak times in the summer, one can really never know how much it is going to cost to rent a car but you can also try to get the best car rental deals.

Don’t get discouraged when one company offers you a high price for a car, there are always more options than you could believe when you look for that perfect rental car for you. You also have to make a choice between two different options, let’s say for example you are on a very tight budget and you just want get the cheapest car possible than you may want to rent an economy style car and try to get the best possible deal on it, but on the other hand you also have the option of getting car rental deals in another way. You could go to an agency and request for a luxury vehicle at the price of a budget or hybrid style vehicle. You would be surprised at how many companies or agencies would be willing to make this switch simply if you ask. They may be having a special and would never have told you about it if you didn’t ask, who would have guessed?

Regardless of what deals or techniques you go after everyone and their moms love good deals so don’t let yourself charge full price for anything that you can get at a discount! I know you would rather have a luxury car instead of a budget car and drive in style, or maybe you just want to get a budget style car even cheaper than they say it is. The most important thing to learn is don’t be afraid to ask, there are many options out there when dealing with rental car deals!

How Nicotine Test Helps Employers to Establish Smoke-Free Workplace

Nicotine abuse is an issue affecting the profitability of businesses and the environment at workplaces. Employers are insisting on measures that will help them make the workplaces free from smoking of tobacco so as to make their businesses more productive.

Employers in US imposing ban on smokers:

Increasing numbers of employers in US are rejecting the applications of candidates who smoke. They are abiding by the laws framed by the government for the purpose and are not hiring who they find to be smokers. To know whether the prospective hired is smoker, they conduct tests. Those who are found positive for smoking are not offered employment.

Nicotine test helps them to detect smokers – instantly:

Employers apply different techniques to tackle the issue of smoking. These include testing for tobacco (nicotine) by different methods. These tests are helpful to identify if the applicant really smokes tobacco or not. Generally, a nicotine test can be conducted using urine, saliva or hair follicle samples. Employers use any or a combination of these techniques.

Benefits of establishing smoke-free environment:

A smoke-free environment improves productivity of the employees and reduces health insurance costs. Employers find smoke-free workplace beneficial on the following grounds.

Increased productive hours:

A no-smoking environment results in higher number of productive hours than in a smoking permitted one. Employees not used to smoking concentrate better on work and hence there is greater number of productive hours. They are healthy and take few sick leaves.

Whereas, smoking employees take unauthorized breaks to smoke, which is waste of productive time.

Healthy atmosphere:

As healthy employees are more focused on productivity, there is cordial relation between employees as well as employers. Such workplaces boost the employees’ morale and work potential and encourage talented workforce to work for more number of hours. Employers too reciprocate and get prompted to take positive action on any issue.

Shows professional approach of the business:

A smoke-free workplace, places the employer’s image in a positive view among the employees, peers, government, and social groups. The welfare measures taken serve as an example for professional approach taken by the employer. This will enhance mutual trust between the employer and employees.

Reduces healthcare costs:

Following a no-smoking policy at workplace would result in less healthcare costs. This is because, the employees are healthy and need lower health maintenance expenses – be it insurance premium or medical emergencies. These factors are known to cause increased medical expenses to employers in case of employees habituated to smoking. Studies show that, post non-smoking policy there is remarkable decline in the tobacco caused heart attacks, making current smokers to quit (Source: Forbes, 12 June, 2012).

Taking up nicotine tests to enforce a smoking-free environment at workplace is beneficial. The measures, of course, entail costs to the employers.

The Life Cycle of Acquisition-Based Companies

A few years ago, I was discussing this phenomenon with the CEO of one of our clients. His company had grown almost entirely through acquisition, and for several years the company had experienced revenue growth rates exceeding 20%. However, the company had plateaued with respect to earnings, and looking at their overall performance it became clear to him (and to the Wall Street analysts that watched his company) that a great deal of money had been left on the table. Working with that CEO, I developed a model called the ACL Life Cycle. Understanding and using the ACL Life Cycle has proven enormously beneficial to clients depending on an M&A strategy for continued growth.

The ACL Life Cycle

The ACL Life Cycle describes the maturation process of companies who grow substantially through acquisitions and mergers. Using the ACL model, we can clearly identify the company’s current position. Knowing that position, and then looking forward at the company’s financial objectives through the lens of their business strategies, the specific actions that are needed become clear. Those actions can then be formed into an executable plan with associated performance measures, and managed through completion to bring the overall enterprise to heightened levels of financial performance. It is important for acquisition-oriented executives to understand the major phases and characteristics of the ACL Life Cycle.

Businesses who have survived one or more acquisitions and/or mergers are usually left with some degree of disintegration among their processes and systems. A company’s success in reaching the financial objectives of the merger or acquisition is directly correlated with the degree to which that disintegration has been replaced by a set of business processes and information systems that are common enough to generate enterprise-wide leverage. Implicit in that commonality is enterprise-level direction and guidance, manifested in company-wide business strategies and performance measures that align all of the combined business units. These businesses move, in this post-acquisition or post-merger environment, from an acquisition-based operating model to one characterized by shared services and a general commonization, to a stage where the enterprise “whole” really is able to become something greater than the sum of its business unit “parts”. It is more than the typical cost-reduction synergy anticipated in most of these transactions; it is a new platform for innovation, and an even higher level of innovation-based leverage.

Companies who experience substantive growth as a result of business acquisitions typically follow the ACL life cycle. ACL in this context stands for: Acquisition, Commonization, and Leverage. Many companies never leave the first stage of this maturity scale, and still more remain at the second stage. The most successful companies are usually those who recognize the importance of moving through all three stages, and consistently implement a structured process for doing so.
All companies experience pressures that push them toward decentralized operations, including idiosyncrasies of specific market niches served, the uniquenesses of isolated business processes, unusual needs of specific customer populations, and Uncategorized organizational entropy. At the same time, most of the companies that are successful in achieving the financial performance objectives established for the newly merged enterprise manage to overcome those challenges, electing to pursue the advantages of leverage, including:

  • broad synergistic brand recognition, enabling cross-selling, bundling of products and services, and improving revenue
  • interchangeability of business process resources, enabling the company to reduce its asset base
  • commonality and scalability in equipment / skills / facilities, facilitating innovation and growth into additional markets
  • higher utilization of business assets, reducing unit cost
  • lower levels of redundancy, resulting in reduced operating costs

These companies also typically find that maintaining compliance with financial reporting standards such as Sarbanes-Oxley requirements are enhanced as a result of strengthened internal controls.
Some companies make a deliberate decision to remain “holding companies”, which simply buy and sell diverse businesses that have only marginal relationships with one another. These conglomerates prefer to manage the portfolio through buying and selling components, and allowing the leadership teams at the individual companies to manage ongoing operations from strategy through execution. A few of them have been quite successful, and this article is sometimes not as directly applicable to those at a corporate level. It works very well, however, for their major divisions. Companies that benefit most from understanding the three stages of the ACL Life Cycle are those companies who have decided to focus on a single core industry – Aerospace & Defense, Automotive, Chemicals and Polymers, Textiles, Electronics, Telecommunications, Consumer Products, Medical Equipment producers, Healthcare providers, and Financial Services providers are all good candidates. 

The Acquisition Stage of the ACL Life Cycle

Companies in the Acquisition Stageof their life cycles are usually focused on revenue growth, and capturing market share. They are characterized by high levels of autonomy in management, in the reporting of site-level data to the corporate parent, and in the design of their business processes and systems. Companies who remain in this stage for long periods of time following acquisitions usually act as holding companies, with the corporation allowing individual divisions or sites to operate almost as independent companies with their own P&L, strategic plans, and market-facing branding. Often, companies in the Acquisition stage lack a common vision of the future of the overall business, and tend to operate at cross-purposes among the operating units. They sometimes even compete against one another for the same customers. They share little operating information, making it nearly impossible to coordinate and deploy “best practices”, effectively distribute work load, utilize general market intelligence, and grasp other elements that could provide corporate-wide leverage of the businesses’ assets and resources. A few industry-specific examples here should help to illustrate the situation:

Manufacturing companies in the acquisition stage are usually characterized by redundancies in raw materials, equipment, staffing, and other business resources. Because manufacturing companies are relatively material-intense, a great deal of cost can be tied up in raw materials, work-in-process, and finished goods. Since acquisition stage companies have so little visibility between business units, there is little opportunity for them to reallocate these assets in order to use them effectively. As a result, the most costly resources remain the most underutilized. In addition, acquisition-stage companies have not centralized the management of even commodity-level business processes, such as finance, human resources, and information technology. This lack of centralization leaves additional inefficiencies in place around accounting staff, employee benefits provider subscriptions, business software applications, data centers, and computing equipment. 

Telecommunications companies in the acquisition stage also have unrealized opportunities for greater leverage from their business assets, but these more often take the form of redundancies in network equipment, network coverage, retail outlets, partner agreements related to the sale of their products, and interconnection agreements with other carriers. In addition, acquisition stage telecom companies often have a substantial amount of unrealized leverage in the lack of integration among the data bases and information of their various divisions that could enable shared service operations for commodity-type processes such as billing and cross-selling of products and services. Like manufacturing companies, telecom companies in the acquisition stage also typically have unexploited opportunities around the consolidation of data centers and related equipment and staffing.

Healthcare providers in the acquisition stage usually find opportunities in different areas of their businesses, because of the differing cost structure of their operations. The bulk of their costs and their opportunities while in the acquisition stage of maturity in the ACL Life Cycle are related to employee salaries & benefits, and to medical supplies and drugs. It is less common for these businesses to be able to effectively share inventories and equipment, since the nature of their business is rooted in community health care that requires local service provision. The opportunities that do exist, which are typically not exploited well in acquisition stage health care companies, are related to centralizing commodity type business processes such as finance, human resources, and information systems, and leveraging required service and supply procurement across the enterprise. 

Financial Services providers, such as banks, brokerages, credit unions, financial planning companies and tax & audit services exhibit yet another cost profile, with the largest elements typically including personnel and occupancy costs. In these businesses, like health care provision, being where the customers are is critical. The companies’ ability to understand the changing demographics and match up their branches as well as their skills to the targeted customer base is often a differentiator between the companies that succeed and those that fail. Financial services providers who are still in the acquisition stage of maturity in the ACL Life Cycle often do not have the commonality in fundamental business processes and systems to readily reconfigure their operations to meet the changing needs of their marketplace. Their acquisitions or mergers have enabled them to grow horizontally, typically into adjacent markets. However, lacking an adequate foundation of commonality in processes and systems, there is substantial money left on the proverbial table as a result of ineffective resource deployment, and delays in the reporting of operational performance data that would enable the company to be more responsive. These companies also fail, in their acquisition stage, to take advantage of their larger purchasing power to gain leverage around purchased services spanning items as diverse as employee health care and branch-level office supplies.   

The Commonization Stage of the ACL Life Cycle

Companies in the Commonization Stage of their life cycles have usually awakened to the value of focusing on Return on Net Assets (RONA) and Return on Invested Capital (ROIC). In order to begin to capture improvements in these areas, companies in the Commonization Stage often turn to shared service models of operations for selected business processes and systems. Strategies and performance measures begin to crystallize around common themes that span multiple operating units or divisions. Among the areas of focus for a shared service model in this stage are Finance (A/R, A/P, General Ledger, and Financial Reporting), Human Resources (Payroll, Benefits, and Employment Records), and Information Technology (Computer Hardware, Network Administration, and selected Software Applications Management). Some companies in the Commonization Stage also move Procurement and other aspects of Materials Management to a shared service model, enabling the corporation to more effectively leverage its broadest possible purchasing power.

Manufacturing companies in the commonization stage of maturity typically have shared services in place for commodity types of business processes such as finance, human resources, and information systems management. As they advance through the commonization phase, some of them also begin to pull together a common platform for procurement, encompassing at least their most costly and common raw materials. A few in this stage reach a point where their data center
operations are completely centralized, and may even be outsourced to a third party like CSC. Toward the end of the commonization phase, centralization of work deployment and capacity utilization as well as process quality emerge as companies begin to deploy common processes and systems in customer requirements management, enterprise requirements planning, manufacturing execution systems, and distribution management systems. 

Telecommunications companies in the commonization stage of maturity also typically have shared services in place for commodity types of business processes such as finance, human resources, and information systems management. As they advance in maturity through this stage, telecoms also become aware of the available leverage in centralizing the management of some of their most valuable assets. However, unlike the manufacturer’s raw material focus, for telecommunications operations those elements are things like spectrum licenses, network equipment, connection agreements, partner agreements, distribution centers, and retail outlets. Centralizing the management of those assets to identify overlaps and redundancies enables telecoms to emerge from the commonization stage with much more effectively leveraged business assets, providing broader market coverage with a lower total asset base and generating much higher earnings on that consolidated foundation.

Healthcare companies in the commonization phase of maturity find substantial benefit in the commonization and centralization of their commodity type processes and systems.  This is primarily because of the impact on cash flow and earnings when the employee base is reduced through shared services, and employee benefits and supplies are both leveraged in terms of the broader purchasing power of the company following a business acquisition of significant size. However, there is also an especially rich opportunity available to healthcare companies in the commonization stage that stems form the leverage available related to insurance coverage – not for the employees directly, but covering the potential liability of the company itself. This category of cost is typically about the third largest slice of the pie, and significant reductions there can translate quickly to a meaningful earnings impact. 

 Financial services providers in the commonization stage of the ACL Life Cycle, like healthcare providers, often find substantial benefit in the commonization and centralization of their commodity type processes and systems. With roughly half of their cost of operations wrapped up in employee salaries and benefits, there is an opportunity for meaningful impact on cash flow and earnings when the employee base is reduced through shared services, and employee benefits and supplies are both leveraged in terms of the broader purchasing power of the company following a business acquisition or merger. The next significant area for financial service providers in the commonization stage is the capability for rapid reconfiguration of the business based on enterprise-wide visibility of operational data and market intelligence.

The Leverage Stage of the ACL Life Cycle

Companies in the Leverage Stage of their life cycles are usually embarked on a fierce drive toward adding real value. They are relentless in their efforts to fully utilize the assets of the entire corporation, driving out redundancy and its associated costs. They are then able to pivot on the fulcrum of those more agile processes and systems to implement innovations that foster organic growth resulting in greater market share, greater revenue, and improved earnings for their shareholders. Leverage Stage companies also establish a structured and repetitive process of assimilating new businesses, gathering and incorporating market intelligence into company-wide strategies, and innovating on the basis of these new combinations to capture additional market segments. These companies are characterized by coordination and centralization of major business functions such as the planning and allocation of R&D, production work, inventories, raw material purchases, personnel, and factories & equipment. They centrally manage a broad spectrum of common business processes and systems, including customer requirements management, product data management, enterprise requirements planning, manufacturing execution systems, and logistics management. They are constantly changing, evaluating and configuring business assets to meet future market needs, acquiring and developing new businesses, and shedding assets that no longer fit their evolving model.

Manufacturing companies in the leverage stage of maturity typically have shared services in place for most of the critical business processes of their company, having reached beyond the commodity level processes and into those which deliver the most value to their customers. Examples include sales & marketing, order entry & customer service, capacity planning and management, production scheduling and shop floor control, and distribution requirements planning. As they move through the leverage stage of the ACL Life Cycle, some of these companies leverage the commonality of their processes and systems to produce innovative new products and services, identify additional market opportunities, and develop industry-changing relationships that reach through their supply chains. 

Telecommunications companies in the leverage stage of maturity also have shared services in place for most of the critical business processes of their company, including the seamless provisioning (often called “flow-through provisioning” by industry insiders) of all telephonic services to customers stemming from a single telephone conversation responding to an individual inquiry about a service. This type of capability is only enabled when all of the information from what have historically been disparate data bases is available in an intelligent form through excellent systems integration, based on exceptional levels of commonality and strength in enterprise-wide business processes.

Healthcare companies in the leverage stage of maturity have typically discovered and implemented leverage-based improvements in their major cost structure elements as a result of enterprise-wide information visibility flowing from systems integration and centralized management of critical business processes. Health care companies generally also have uniquely challenging business conditions related to three other areas where leverage level operations can be a powerful tool. 

The first of these areas is employee safety. Most health care organizations are spending a substantial amount of money in this regard, with training and documentation of company polices and safety-related practices requiring an increasing amount of company attention. The integration of systems and commonization of processes in a leverage stage health care company offers opportunities to more quickly incorporate internal best practices, externally imposed business requirements, and feedback about lessons learned across the entire health care organization regardless of geographic dispersion. Commonization and centralized management here can result in substantially lower cost, and more importantly, substantially higher and more uniform levels of employee safety. 

The second area is bad debt. The integration of customer data, and effectively interfacing a common set of enterprise-wide processes and systems with outside service providers such health maintenance organizations and insurance carriers, substantially reduces the amount of bad debt in leverage level health care companies. 

The third area, and perhaps the area of richest opportunity, is the area of patient medical information. This area is tricky because of legislation related to patient privacy and guidelines recently established for the maintenance and communication of patient medic
al information. However, one of the fundamental challenges faced by health care providers is the absence of available medical history, particularly when a patient is admitted to an emergency room or urgent care facility. Particularly when a patient is unable to respond to questions directly due to an incapacitation illness or injury, time can literally mean life or death. Making all necessary information available to the physicians and other health care professionals involved as quickly as possible is extremely important. When critical business processes and information systems for the management of this information are brought to an effective level of commonality, the rapid dissemination of the needed information can be greatly improved, while patients’ expectations around the privacy of their information are still met. 

Financial services companies in the leverage stage of maturity, like health care companies in some ways, must balance the needs of differing local customer geographies against the advantages of centralized management in critical business processes and systems. There is real value in allowing some latitude to local branch officers and customer-facing staff such as loan officers to accommodate the unique circumstances involved in specific cases. However, these companies often find that a significant advantage of the leverage provided by enterprise-wide commonization of processes and systems is the ability to see the nuances of differing markets at a corporate level, and recognize broader trends among those different markets more quickly and clearly than they could before. This improved visibility, in turn, enables management to reconfigure their service offerings, redeploy resources such as sales dollars, and organize sales campaigns for those specific markets more quickly than they could previously.  

The best of these companies, regardless of what industry they occupy, utilize their common platform of processes, systems, and information to understand the needs of their customers in unique ways, and fluidly translate those needs into the features of their products and services. A few, at the very top of the game, come to understand the customers’ needs even before the customer recognizes them, and when necessary they reconfigure their entire business to meet those needs, gaining unassailable competitive advantage. The enterprise-wide leverage they achieved as a result of carefully and skillfully handling the post-merger or post-acquisition integration of processes, systems, and data provided the platform from which innovation launched them to new levels of performance. Examples could as easily be provided for companies in pharmaceuticals, retail operations, or the food & beverage industry. The lessons learned and the techniques vary a little, but the principles are the same.