“An Introduction to Operations Management” by Wharton School of Business Mar 3 – Apr 25

This course will teach you how to analyze and improve business processes, be it in services or in manufacturing. You will learn how to improve productivity, how to provide more choice to customers, how to reduce response times, and how to improve quality.

Course Syllabus

The course is broken up into six modules:

  1. Introduction
  2. Process analysis
  3. Productivity
  4. Responsiveness
  5. Quality
  6. Product variety

There are two tracks in this course, an academic track and a practitioner track. For the academic track, the final grade is determined based on five homework assignments and a final exam. It is also possible to complete the course via a practitioner track, which requires the completion of a real world application project.

Course Format

The class will consist of lecture videos, which are between 7 and 12 minutes in length. Many of them contain 1-2 integrated quiz questions per video. There will also be standalone homeworks that are not part of video lectures. The course ends with a final exam. For the practitioner track, students need to complete a course project along the way which, in each week, applies the learnings from the modules to a real world problem.

Get Valuable Tips from a Successful Entrepreneur: Mark Zuckerberg (Part II)

Mark Zuckerberg needs very little introduction considering that his most famous product – FACEBOOK – was being used by 1.23 billion users worldwide by the end of 2013. Here Mark shares some of the back stories behind Facebook.

WORTH READING

Facebook: 10 years of social networking, in numbers

Facebook’s 10th birthday: from college dorm to 1.23 billion users

Get Valuable Tips from a Successful Entrepreneur: Daymond John (Part I)

“A young entrepreneur, an industry pioneer, a highly regarded marketing expert, and a man who has surpassed new heights of commercial and financial success are just a few ways people have described Daymond John. Over the last 20 years, Daymond has evolved from one of the most successful fashion icons of his generation to one of the most sought after branding experts, business, and motivational speakers in the country.”

“Daymond’s creative vision and strong knowledge of the marketplace helped him create one of the most iconic fashion brands in recent years. FUBU, standing for “For Us By Us”, represented a lifestyle that was neglected by other clothing companies. Realizing this need in the marketplace, Daymond created the untapped urban apparel space and laid the groundwork for other companies to compete in this newly established market.” READ MORE

Listen to an interview with Daymond John

Review of Jamaica’s Economic Performance October – December 2013

The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) published an economic performance report dated February 19, 2014. This report covered the performances of different sectors of the economy such as agriculture, forestry & fishing, manufacture, construction and tourism.

Here are some of what you will find in the report:

Tourism
Real Value Added for Hotels & Restaurants grew by an estimated 5.6%
Total arrivals up 11.6%
Stopover arrivals up by 7.2%
Cruise passenger arrivals up 17.7%

Construction Industry
Real Value Added for Construction increased by 2.0%, reflecting higher levels of output for all components.
Building Construction estimated to have grown due to:
Increased housing starts up 50.0%
Increased value of Mortgages up 3.3%

Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing
The Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing industry grew by an estimated 10.0% due in part to:
Plantains up 41.8%
Condiments up 31.1%
Vegetables up 19.0%
Fruits up 11.2%
Potatoes up 8.6%

Mining & Quarrying
Real Value Added for Mining & Quarrying grew by 12.0% as a result of:
Total bauxite production increased by 8.2% reflecting:
Alumina production up 15.5%
Average capacity utilization rate at alumina refineries increased to 44.8%, up 6.0%
Increase in crude bauxite production by 2.9%

SOURCE: Planning Institute of Jamaica

An Introduction to Operations Management (Mar 3)

COURSE TAUGHT BY CHRISTIAN TERWIESCH OF THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

This course will teach you how to analyze and improve business processes, be it in services or in manufacturing. You will learn how to improve productivity, how to provide more choice to customers, how to reduce response times, and how to improve quality.

About the Course

PART OF THE WHARTON FOUNDATION SERIES

Remember the last time you went to a restaurant. What did you expect from that restaurant? You wanted to find something on the menu that you liked, you wanted the meal to be prepared according to high quality standards, you wanted to get it quickly and didn’t want to pay too much money for it. Now, remember the last time you went to a doctor’s office or a hospital. What did you want the doctors and nurses to do? You wanted them to provide the right care for you, you wanted the care delivered with great quality, you wanted to get the care quickly, and you (or your insurance) didn’t want to pay too much for it.

Put differently, the management skills that you need to run the operations of a restaurant are the same that you need to run a hospital. And these are the skills you will learn in this course. Specifically, you will learn how to improve productivity, increase responsiveness, provide more choice to the customer, and deliver higher quality standards. In short, you will learn how to analyze business processes and how to improve them. Along the way, you will learn about topics such as Lean Operations, Six Sigma, and the Toyota production system, you will hear about bottlenecks, flows rates, and inventory levels. And, much, much more.

Course Syllabus

The course is broken up into six modules:

  1. Introduction
  2. Process analysis
  3. Productivity
  4. Responsiveness
  5. Quality
  6. Product variety

SOURCE: Coursera.org

Recommended Reading for the Jamaican Entrepreneur

Consider the businessman who has been catching and selling fish for 15 years. Over the years he has gained valuable knowledge and experience that have served him well. He is reluctant to take any classes or learn anything new about his industry. He thinks he has figured out all there is to know having worked in the business for many years. Unfortunately this attitude may prove costly. There may be things impacting the business that he is not aware of.

Is there overfishing in the area? Is the business sustainable for the next 10 or 20 years? Is pollution a concern in the area? Is there a shift in consumers’ taste? Will there be the same demand for fish 10 or 20 years from now? Is there any new regulation or licensing requirements? Will the supply of fish diminish by the increased presence of the predatory lionfish? (Lionfish invade Negril)

This article is not about fishing but we consider the above scenario to make a point. Entrepreneurs should always be looking for new or updated information about their field/industry.

There are many reasons for this. Market conditions change. Competition affect your business. Environmental changes can destroy your business. Consumers demand better quality and sometimes they spark new trends. Forecast for your business may require changes or adjustments. All of these could affect revenue.

How do you keep abreast with changes in your industry? Seminars, meetings, classes, conferences, videos and probably the easiest way READING.

So as an entrepreneur what are you reading? What are the more successful business men and women reading? Here are some recommendations that you can add to your list.

ENTREPRENEUR (entrepreneur.com)
12 Awesome Gift Ideas That Appeared on ‘Shark Tank’
7 Essential Habits of a Healthy Entrepreneur

INC. (inc.com)
How to Build a Company That Lasts Forever
3 Hot Startup Opportunities in Health Care

BRANSON CENTRE OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP (bransoncentre.org)
IdeaTrade helps businesses promote themselves, find new markets and boost their sales

FORBES MAGAZINE (forbes.com)
The Top 7 Online Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2014

BLOOMBERG (bloomberg.com)
Microsoft Targets Global Internet Growth With Cheaper Phones

FINANCIAL TIMES (ft.com)
EU warns west must be ready to rescue Ukraine

THE STREET (thestreet.com)
What Is Common Stock and What Is Preferred Stock?

YAHOO SMALL BUSINESS ADVISOR (smallbusiness.yahoo.com/advisor/)
Social Media’s Impact on Moms’ Shopping Habits

SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (sba.gov)
7 Inspiring Home Business Ideas for Stay-at-Home Moms (or Dads)

 

Useful Technology: FingerReader a Wearable Interface for Reading On-The-Go

The FingerReader is a wearable device that assists in reading printed text. It is a tool both for visually impaired people that require help with accessing printed text, as well as an aid for language translation. Wearers scan a text line with their finger and receive an audio feedback of the words and a haptic feedback of the layout: start and end of line, new line, and other cues. The FingerReader algorithm knows to detect and give feedback when the user veers away from the baseline of the text, and helps them maintain a straight scanning motion within the line.

SOURCE: MIT Media Lab

FingerReader – Wearable Text-Reading Device from Fluid Interfaces on Vimeo.

10 Business Lessons I Had to Learn Before I Could Succeed

As an aspiring entrepreneur you can always learn from successful entrepreneurs. Erica Nicole is the Founder and CEO of YFS Magazine — a Young, Fabulous & Self-Employed brand. She is an accomplished serial entrepreneur, acclaimed small business expert, dynamic speaker, syndicated columnist, philanthropist and Christian thought leader.

In her article “CEO Confessions: 10 Business Lessons I Had to Learn Before I Could Succeed” she covers the following 10 pointers. Read the article in its entirely here.

  1. A handshake is not a promise.

  2. (All of the above) will overpromise and underdeliver.

  3. Never let everyone know all you know.

  4. Read the fine print.

  5. Customers want solutions, not excuses.

  6. Feelings are not a strategic plan.

  7. Business is unfair, but you don’t have to be.

  8. Mental drift is a silent business killer, get focused.

  9. Time is money; don’t let anyone waste yours.

  10. May the odds be ever in your favor.

Are You Using One of the More Powerful Social Medium Instagram?

On Shark Tank a few month ago, an entrepreneur revealed that she initially paid nothing for advertising while racking up decent profits. When asked how she got customers she said “from Facebook” but Mark Cuban was not convinced. When she mentioned that she had an image of her wearing a boot sock on Pinterest, Mr Cuban smiled. He knew how effective images on sites like Pinterest and Instagram can be.

There was a recent exodus of customers from Facebook to other social media. One of the beneficiary of this exodus is Instagram. Fortunate for Facebook, it bought Instagram back in April 2012. Currently Instagram boasts over 150 million users.

Retailers and entrepreneurs who are using Instagram effectively to promote their products have been rewarded for their efforts. As noted in an article by Forbes magazine “91% of retail brands have cozied up to the potential buying power of Instagram users.” That buying power is huge.

Companies like Coach, Burberry and Levis have had success with Instagram. Read more aboiut their stories here.

WORTH READING
Instagram Is Shaping Up To Be The World’s Most Powerful Selling Tool

Facebook buys Instagram for $1bn: full statement by Mark Zuckerberg