26 Years. Since January 1996.
Twas the holidays of the season
Filled with festivities and good cheer
And for my loyal newsletter readers
This means a poetic message from me is near
I set about my annual task
Without pencil, pen, or quill
Living in sunny South Florida
There’s not too much winter chill
On adjectives, on adverbs
I snicker perverse
Let the rhyming begin
For better or for worse
I shall recap the year
With all that I’ve done
I will go through the items
Checking off each one
There’s been teaching and consulting
And new clients added to the list
New credentials too
Certified Controls and Microsoft Office Specialist
I traveled great distances
To help educate and learn
In a faraway country
Where I would like to return
My September trip
Was really quite grand
Beyond my expectations
To Krakow, Poland
>>> Conference link <<<
Hundreds of book sales
In the United States and overseas
Over eighty university libraries
In over one dozen countries
This was quite unexpected
And something fairly new
If you did not read it
A recent book review
>>> Book review link <<<
If you have not been by lately
Then before today turns to tonight
I hope you will stop by
My refreshed web site
>>> katzscan.com <<<
To my clients and friends
And supporters and fans
To colleagues and connections
Close by and in faraway lands
Season’s greetings and best wishes
Good tidings and good cheer
Happy holidays to you & yours
And have a Happy New Year
Krakow conference wrap-up
The week of September 23-27 I was in Krakow, Poland as a speaker at the 12th annual International Congress on Internal Controls, Internal Audit, Fraud, and Anti-Corruption Issues sponsored by the Polish Institute for Internal Controls. The event was held at Krakow Academy University.
Of the dozen international presenters I was the only one from the USA. This gave me some notoriety – both good and bad: The United States was well-recognized for having caused the global financial crisis of several years ago as well as being a global leader in fraud. Conversely the USA is recognized as having the world’s best anti-fraud investigators, both public and private sector.
My presentation was on my book topic, detecting and reducing supply chain fraud, and was targeted towards an audience of auditors and those responsible for internal controls.
It was a privilege to be selected to speak at this event and be among such experienced colleagues. Make no mistake that the other speakers, from the United Kingdom, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, United Arab Emirates, Lithuania, Canada, and Holland are every bit as credentialed, experienced, and dedicated to their profession as any American counterpart could be. And the same should be said about the attendees who came from all across Poland from various public sector agencies and private sector industries: all dedicated professionals in the fight against fraud and corruption.
The speakers presented in either English or Polish, and just like the United Nations we all had (wireless) headphones and an experienced translator provided real-time English-Polish or Polish-English translation. Knowing this I slowed down my tempo and altered some of my jokes slightly to ensure they would translate more effectively. It was a little strange hearing the English/Anglo audience members laugh and then a few seconds later hearing the Polish attendees laugh at the same joke. I had several Polish-speaking attendees tell me – in their best English – that they appreciated my slower rhythm which allowed the translator to more effectively convey my speech.
The city itself is clean, architecturally beautiful with a river running through it, the cuisine delicious, and the people very friendly. I had two full days of sightseeing before the conference and enjoyed every moment, from exploring a 400-year-old salt mine to wandering about a castle built around the year 1300, onwards to the expansive Market Square district (which is reminiscent of Trafalgar Square in London sans the theaters), and touring the museum at the Krakow University (at 650 years old in 2014, the second oldest university in Europe) where Nicolas Copernicus was once a student.
For more on the conference and some history on Krakow University:
Lowest paid employees tend to be the most undervalued.
I know that newspapers, magazines, and related web sites spend time to lay out their content, but I still smile when I see contradictory articles side-by-side as I did on August 29, 2013 in the Miami Herald newspaper when the two stories, Workers to protest low wages and Study: Many CEOs are overpaid ran one on top of the other.
Listening to a dinner-meeting presentation some ten years ago, the speaker asked the audience to name who touches a consumer’s items last. The audience members – including myself – piped in with job titles like “waiter/waitress”, “cashier”, “warehouse worker”. While these were all correct in job role, these were not the answer the speaker was looking for, though they all have the common attribute representing the answer: the lowest paid employee.
Other lowest-paid employees include theme park personnel who dress up in unbearably hot costumes and entertain the masses, hotel maids, customer service representative, and retail floor help.
These lowest-paid employees are expected to perform their jobs to 100% perfection sometimes fully in the face of the customer. It is unlikely that any executive strategy could ultimately succeed in several industries (e.g. retail, entertainment, hospitality, or fulfillment) without the full engagement of the lowest-paid employee. Yet the disparity between executive compensation and that of the lowest-paid employee remains staggering. When CEOs fail they get golden parachutes consisting of tens or hundreds of millions of dollars of compensation and then they are off to their next company, sometimes to implement the same failed strategies. When lowest-paid employees fail, they get the boot and sometimes struggle to get unemployment compensation.
Remember when receptionists were re-branded as the Directors of First Impressions? This was an accurate reflection of the first interaction people had when they walked into a corporate office. And often our interaction with the lowest-paid employee is our first and lasting impression of our interaction with a company.
Good governance – something preached by many corporations – is summed up as doing the right thing. While good corporate social responsibility (e.g. donating money to good causes) is all well and fine, good governance cannot just be about looking from the inside-out, it has to be about the introspective look within.
As the discussions about fast-food workers protesting for higher wages and raising the federal minimum wage continues to make the news, combined with the issue of cutting workers hours below the required minimum to qualify some workers as full-time to prevent from having to provide benefits, I wonder when the subject of doing the right thing enters the picture. When financial strategy supersedes human sympathy good governance has likely failed, especially if your bank account balance is measured in the millions or billions.
In the overpaid CEO article, a study by the Institute for Policy Studies found that 40% of the highest paid CEOs in the U.S. over the past 20 years were either eventually fired, paid fraud-related fines, or accepted government bailout money. The study calls for “corporate compensation common sense”, a term that I think should apply to not just CEO pay at the top but also employee pay at the bottom. Good governance dictates it. It’s the right thing to do.
The Miami Herald newspaper has been chock-full of stories lately with regards to various frauds:
· Two mayors from Miami-Dade county cities and two lobbyists were caught by the FBI for allegedly taking kickbacks in a fake federal grant scheme.
· Federal officials have placed a ban on new home health agencies in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties from enrolling in Medicare and Medicaid. Given Miami-Dade county’s national ranking as the Medicare fraud “hot spot”, the six-month suspension is an attempt to put fraudsters out of business, even before they start.
· Phishing attacks – those real-looking e-mails encouraging you to click a link and provide sensitive information (e.g. a user identifier and password) or download a data file to track a package (that data file is actually a virus) from companies who you have heard of but have probably not done business with lately (if at all, so why would you click those links or download those files?) – are on the rise, and the attacks are getting more intense. Some viruses lock your computers and hold your files hostage, requiring ransom payment for the unlock code, as if a one-time payment is all it will take. Despite common sense to the contrary, an amazing number of Americans fall prey to these pranksters every day.
· From the Florida House Speaker to the former Florida Education Commissioner, thank goodness for the investigative journalists at our tried-and-true newspapers for uncovering more questionable backgrounds about our elected officials and their ties to big-money campaign contributors and private-sector beneficiaries of public tax dollars when the best interest may have been elsewhere. Let me remind everyone of three important considerations when deciding whether you are in a proper position to affect an outcome: (a) just because something is legal to do does not automatically mean it is ethical to do; (b) full disclosure means just that: fully disclose any and all information; (c) relative distance means that if there is any whiff of a lack of impartiality in your ability to make a decision, step away from the decision-making process.
As I gear up for my next international speaking engagement I shall again have the opportunity to inform my distinguished global audience that I have not been invited from the United States of America to tell them what they are doing wrong in their respective countries regarding fraud; rather, I am there to tell them what the number one fraudster country is doing wrong and what lessons they can learn from the troubles we cause ourselves. Gaps in processes and software systems, political roadblocks, perpetuation of political cronyism in the face of ethical violations – billions of taxpayer dollars wasted on not just the frauds but in fighting the frauds.
Story upon story from my local newspaper, something I have always started my day with, even as a child when I was first learning how to read. They may be products of a near bygone era, but I fully agree with Miami Herald Opinion columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. in his August 11, 2013 column with regards to Jeff Bezos’ purchase of The Washington Post. As Mr. Pitts so aptly writes, when a news story is first uncovered – when the facts are first discovered – it is more often than not by the investigative journalists at a newspaper, not be local news, cable news, or a blogger. (National news won’t cover the local and state issues that a newspaper will for the most part.) And it is very unnerving to me that it is these same investigative institutions that are at the greatest risk of crumbling in the digital and short-attention-span age. As the last first and bastions of truth the investigative journalist is the last person sometimes to hold those in power to a higher power.
So, if you have not done so in a while, go out and buy a newspaper and really read it.
You’ll probably be surprised – and saddened – by what’s going on in the world around you. But hopefully you’ll want to read more the next day and the next day and the day after that.
The mission of the 27-year-old Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals (www.scip.org) organization is that it “advocates for the skilled use of intelligence to enhance business decision-making and organizational performance”. Competitive intelligence can be found in all sorts of places, from classified advertisements to Securities and Exchange Commission filings to company brochures and web sites to physical observation of a facility’s activities (e.g. the number of employees entering and leaving by incremental time of day), to the number and type of inbound and outbound delivery vehicles. You get the idea.
If the above description of competitive intelligence sounds like data mining or data gathering and you read my newsletter of just last month regarding my perspective on the not-really-news-leak of the National Security Agency’s data listening program, you are correct. Intelligence about what the competitor is doing – whether the competitor is a country or a corporation – has strategic (and monetary) value. Seemingly disconnected data points are brought together to form a more complete picture, not unlike what happens with identity theft.
Where the concept of competitive intelligence gets kicked up a notch comes from a company called Skybox Imaging (www.skyboximaging.com) as profiled in the July 2013 edition of WIRED magazine. According to the article’s statistics: Only approximately 100 of the 1,000+ satellites that orbit the Earth send back visual data, and only 12 of those send back high-resolution (defined as 1 pixel = 1 square meter or less of ground) pictures. Of those 12, only 9 sell images commercially, an estimated $2.3B per year market, 80% which is controlled by the US government which has priority over all others for satellite time.
Skybox’s business model is to ring the Earth with inexpensive satellites equipped with high-resolution cameras and offer to sell its camera time into what is expected to grow into a $4B per year market by 2018. Okay, sounds like a good business model so far, but wait, there’s more.
Because it’s not just the pretty pictures that Skybox intends to profit from, but the unsold images it collects and analyzes for data, such as the number of vehicles (and perhaps by type) in a retailer’s parking lot by incremental time of day, the number of vehicles (by type, differentiating tankers from passenger vehicles) on a particular roadway, the number of ships (by type) on a body of water, the brightness of a city or town at night, pollution output, land-crop utilization … I think you get the picture (pun intended).
This data – which could easily be considered competitive intelligence depending upon to whom it is sold and how & why it is used – will provide an information perspective never before available, and could give companies (and countries) a leg-up on their competition or perhaps level a heretofore uneven playing field.
From data mining sales transactions to data listening of telecommunications to opening up the heavens to allow us to watch our planet-based activities like never before, our abilities to monitor every aspect of our lives are fast approaching an apparent conversion point, with the moral, ethical, and legal implications to be decided.
Who really knows the most about you?
So the news broke out that the US government, specifically the National Security Agency (NSA), whose budget itself is classified as top-secret, is gleaning data from telecommunication carriers and Internet search providers, and folks are in an uproar.
If anyone caught the cover story of WIRED magazine’s April 2012 issue, the NSA is building a massive data center in Utah that has the ability to store and analyze all telephone calls, e-mails, and Internet searches every one of us is doing, right down to analyzing the content. The proverbial cat was already out of the bag in a big way over one year ago. And per WIRED magazine’s more recent July 2013 issue profiling General Keith Alexander, there’s more big growth at the NSA to come.
Let’s put the current news story in its proper perspective: in the interest of national security, the NSA is using pattern recognition to identify potential threats to our well-being. And this pattern recognition extends to not just the “from” and “to” points of the communication but also – apparently – it delves into some content analysis sometimes.
When it comes to the use of data and content pattern recognition, look no further then how social media giants such as Facebook® and LinkedIn® determine who and what to present to us based on who and what we’ve liked and connected to or followed.
(I invite you to read Edward Wasserman’s insightful editorial on Google Glass in the June 10, 2013 edition of the Miami Herald newspaper for a deep-dive on how invasive this technology might just be going.)
Our retail purchase information is sold by merchants to mass data analyzers who figure that if we have the disposable income to buy quality meats through the mail, we probably have enough money to purchase high-priced watches, artwork, or apparel, and who then place a value on our identities and characteristics and sell our contact information for marketing use.
Truly the most “insidious” entity who knows a whole lot about me is my local grocery store. From my purchase history they know my shopping pattern (what day of the week and time of the day I am usually there), and could ascertain my family size, gender, health habits, dietary restrictions, lifestyle, and other attributes about me from analyzing my purchases. I use a credit card so my identity is known to my grocery store chain – I could only escape this truly if I paid with cash but I like getting credit card points and I don’t like carrying all that cash around aside from the hassle of doing so, not that my bank might not leap to some conclusions based on a pattern analysis of my cash withdrawals either. Use of a loyalty card attaches my purchases to my personally identifiable information even easier.
In a truly egregious case of a retailer “listening” to the data it was collecting, a mass merchant, upon analyzing the items purchased from its customers’ sales receipts, began sending targeted health and product bulletins (a.k.a. marketing material) to select consumers. These mailings were how the father of a teenager discovered his daughter was pregnant: the retailer’s data mining ascertained the consumer was a female and likely pregnant based on the items being purchased. Was this an invasion of the teenager’s privacy? What if she was not pregnant, e.g. purchasing the items for a friend in secret or a family member as part of the routine shopping? Should there not be laws against this kind of snooping and this kind of invasion into the lives of consumers?
Where is the outrage here?
I probably have more to worry about from the merchants where I shop than my government because there are more legal restrictions placed on what the government can and cannot do versus what the private sector can and cannot do with the data they collect.
Concern over the NSA’s data mining involves where the data is being stored, and my guess is right here in the US probably in that massive data center in Utah. However, who knows where retailers and marketing analytics companies are storing and sending our consumer data across the globe? Again, there are more legal and oversight protections in place at the federal government level than there are in the private sector.
Where is the outrage when millions of email addresses and passwords get hacked in the private sector? The result is that this seemingly disparate data is pieced together by smart criminals who utilize it for phishing scams and identity theft frauds, scoring significant amounts of money and consuming lots of law enforcement resources because there are ties to organized crime. And who pays for these law enforcement resources? Taxpayers like you and me.
Solid fraud detection and reduction relies upon data analysis and pattern recognition. If the Internal Revenue Service and Medicare both utilized better data analysis, fewer false tax returns where identity theft occurred would have been accepted and money disbursed, and fewer false medical claims/bills would have been paid. These frauds – especially Medicare frauds – account for billions of dollars per year in wasted taxpayer money.
So before we go overboard, let’s think for a moment: there is nothing I personally put in an e-mail or say in a phone call that the NSA is going to find remotely of interest with regards to national security, let alone daily life. And putting this in perspective the chances of me being singled out by the government are likely much less than my being targeted by merchants for e-mail and postal mail advertising. We live in a very different – and dangerous – world today that utilizes telecommunications like never before. The private sector is listening in just as much as the government and yet we are somehow all okay with this despite the invasiveness, lack of security, and inaccuracies that abound.
As I have nothing to worry about, and as an advocate of fraud detection and reduction, I say better safe than sorry, and I actually trust the government on this one.
Protype of software solutions can save projects.
I read a fascinating article in my local newspaper about the activities of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops during World War II. A classified secret for decades after the war, the Ghost Army as it was nicknamed will be receiving more recognition after an eight-year effort to document their tactics and effectiveness comes to fruition with the film’s release on PBS due in May 2013, likely just prior to the release of this newsletter.
Without giving away too much, the Ghost Army used inflatable replicas of tanks and artillery along with sound effects and fake radio broadcasts to fool the Germans into believing that US troops had established themselves in certain areas. Whenever the inflatables – or we could call them “drones” – were bombed, the Ghost Army would (simply) patch them up and move them along for the next mission.
In the April 1, 2013 issue of CIO magazine, the “From The CEO” editorial highlights how the use of drones are changing the battlefield: drones are more effective and cheaper to build and fly. We may expect to see logistics companies like FedEx and UPS using drone aircraft to move cargo according to MIT associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics Missy Cummings.
All of this got me thinking about how I use drone software in my professional life as a university instructor and consultant:
I teach my university students to create prototype web sites using PowerPoint, complete with functioning hyperlinks that navigate across the slides and to external links. As part of their business development projects, the students get first-hand experience in designing the look-and-feel for their business web sites.
Aside from using Microsoft Access to develop custom applications for my clients, I also use Access to quickly prototype (large-scale) database designs and as a report writing engine when connected to other databases. As a database designer, I can identify all tables and data field attributes, table keys, and create table relationship diagrams. As a reporting engine the user-friendly features make creating a nice reporting system a relative breeze even if it takes a programmer’s flair to craft some creative queries to parse the data with just the right touch. Sometimes the Access database lives on as the report writing engine and other times it is just a great way to start when the reporting requirements are unknown or the data analysis is in its earliest stages.
Too often the simple solutions are overlooked in lieu of the more complex: A great example is a favorite success story of mine which was documented by the software company whose product I used to solve a six-figure problem which you can read at http://www.katzscan.com/KatzscanBackTrack.pdf.
Simplifying design and data analysis steps can shave time, costs, and frustrations from software projects. Who would have thought that the US Army could fool a sophisticated enemy by using scantily camouflaged inflatable drones? In the battle against project excesses, sending in the software drones is a tactic that should be strongly considered as part of the overall strategy.
Changing roles of the CIO
There have been two telling cover stories over the past several months on the issues of CIO magazine (www.cio.com) with regards to the changing roles of the CIO:
· There is a prediction that the budget of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) will outpace that of the CIO in the next several years, primarily due to the drive into social media technology and the related data analytics. The marketing folks just can’t wait for the traditional technology folks to keep up and schedule to help.
· CEOs are looking to hire people in a new role of the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) to drive transformational change towards the digital experience for the enterprise’s customers.
In both of these stories, the big question is where does this leave the CIO in terms of the role – and hierarchy – within the organization? This is an especially sensitive topic as CIOs have traditionally struggled to gain equitable standing with other C-level executives, often reporting to the CFO and not the CEO.
(The cover story of the March 18, 2013 issue of Information Week magazine is: Goodbye IT, Hello Digital Business, with the subtitle Delighting customers is Job 1. Everything else is secondary. The article’s opening paragraph begins: “It’s not about information technology anymore. It’s about digital business.”)
As I pondered this question I wondered if the CIO was becoming relegated to infrastructure, e.g. the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, network, telephone system, e-mail, etc. I often felt that this was in-fact a too large a role for one person and that, especially in very large organizations, there should be Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) on the same level as CIOs: the CTO handles the hardware and voice infrastructure and the CIO handles the software, data, and information (analytics and reporting). I think that many CTOs report to CIOs. With mobile devices becoming not just invasive but a critical part of an organization’s strategies for both employee and customer enablement, and the sophistication and strategy of phone systems, perhaps the CTO needs his/her own seat at the executive table too.
My answer to the above question was realized by another cover story by CIO and Information Week of late: the struggle with Big Data. The issue with Big Data is the fragmentation and lack of consistency across the enterprise of data between software applications and initiatives, e.g. ERP, CRM, social media, marketing, etc. I think that the CIO is in the best position to coordinate – not control – the efforts by the other C-level specialty executives to bring consistency to the myriad of data across the enterprise.
By reducing the struggles with Big Data the organization is in a much better strategic position to more quickly and more tactically harness the data from across various initiatives, analyze it for patterns, convert it into meaningful information, and then take action upon it.
One of the reasons – in my opinion – that the dot-coms busted was that business models were wrapped in slick technology and were devoid of infrastructure: no or little processes, procedures, operations, and software to run the business. This is not the case these days, as mature organizations have ERP systems and defined supply chain processes that govern transactions and operations at the core of the business. Just as barcode scanning and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) are extensions of ERP functionality, so too are social media and digital media extensions of the basic sales and marketing strategies that seek to generate the almighty sales order from a customer.
The ERP system is still the system of record, the data repository, where the financial statements are generated, and a very good place to perform across-the-board (“multichannel”) analysis.
As social media and digital technology have zoomed to exponential growth recently, organizations are still in the early stages of embracing how to best utilize and capitalize on it. As with the legal and medial professions, the technology field is becoming more specialized as more distinct technologies are being created. There still needs to be someone coordinating the effort and the Chief Information Officer is – in my opinion – not just the right person, but the best person for the job. In an ever-changing world the changing role of the CIO could be one of the most rewarding and interesting yet.
All Internet browsers are not created equal.
A core tenent of my consulting is that there must be change for things to improve. Data sometimes must be set up differently for the analysis to be more intelligent. Processes sometimes need to change (or be created) for operations to work more effectively. Change need not be bad, and much of the time change is good, though it can be a little discomforting to go through the process.
I recently had the opportunity to change the way I always performed a task and I was quite pleased with the results.
I occasionally perform an internet search on the term “supply chain fraud” and on my book title just to see what else is out there, who else is doing anything along the topic lines, and how my book is doing. The searches have been beneficial as I have caught outright plagiarism of my copyrighted materials. In all cases I have pursued the offenders, and I am happy to report with satisfactory results.
Google® is my default internet search site. I do not normally use the advanced search features (click the gear icon on the search results page and select the Advanced Search option) as I can quality my search criteria fairly well at the outset. And overall I am satisfied with the results.
However one time – just on a whim – I decided to compare the Google results to the same internet search on Bing®. Not only were the Bing results significantly different but Bing turned up a nice surprise find that Google never did.
Bing turned up the web site www.worldcat.org. WorldCat is – by their own words – the “world’s largest network of library content and services” and is provided by the Online Computer Library Center (www.oclc.org) a worldwide organization of nearly 26,000 libraries, archives, and museums in 170 countries.
Entering my book title into a WorldCat site search I was happily surprised to find my book is presently available in 58 university libraries across the world. Imagine that!
Professionally, change is a necessity to stay competitive and progressive. The need for better results requires changes in how we do things. Sometimes the smallest of changes yields the biggest of results, and it all starts with overcoming the little fear of doing something differently than the way we’ve done it before.
Technology mindfulness to madness.
There is a great article in the December 17, 2012 edition of Information Week magazine by their resident Secret CIO, John McGreavy, about the personal and professional trials and tribulations of being always connected and therefore always distracted.
Mr. McGreavy attributes the need for 24/7 connectivity to e-mail to his management role in the information technology profession. However from my own personal experience of having walked around Hong Kong where everyone is heads-down on their smartphones and not heads-up and aware of who they are about to walk in to, and as a university instructor who has a “professor’s perspective” as he watches his students text and tap through his lectures in a computer lab (with open Internet access), I can tell you that the distractions Mr. McGreavy discusses in his article go far beyond the imbalance technology has forced upon IT professionals’ personal lives. There is a real addiction to instantaneous information – regardless of the quality – and an unrealistic response-time demand that has somehow been imposed.
I can recall when I first started consulting back in 1996 – before cell phones – when we had pagers. I noticed that my consultant friends would get “beaten up” by their clients who paged them constantly and repeatedly every few minutes when they didn’t call them back right away. From the outset I set my parameters with my clients and told them that I would call back as soon as possible but not to page me repeatedly. (I might be in a sales meeting, with another client, or driving and unable to respond at that time.) This translated to cell phone voice messages and e-mails as the technology progressed.
My university students know they have an addiction to unimportant instant information and they know this will be a problem once they reach the workforce, but for the most part none of them are trying to wean themselves from the problem as of yet. Some of my students actually think that their future employers will let them burn up bandwidth and time on social media as long as they get their work done…as if they will likely have time during the day to complete all of their workload!
The bottom line from my viewpoint – and this is echoed by Mr. McGreavy – is that there has to be a balance, a line drawn, a determination of what is important and when. Yes, there are critical demands of business that must be attended to at certain times, but other things simply can – or must – wait. From the classroom to the conference room I have witnessed students and professionals alike distracted from the task at hand, sidetracked by the less important, and slowing the progress of the group by forcing questions and statements to be repeated. Instead of multi-tasking and doing several things with mediocrity, focus on what is in front of you and make that the priority: you will accomplish more in less time at a higher level of quality than you could have otherwise.
New Year and a new Katzscan web site. More compartmentalized, concise, and colorful than ever before.
I took the six core aspects of my consulting (and teaching) and highlighted them in the middle of the home page and along the upper middle of all other web pages, keeping them well in view. The six core aspects are: Software Solutions, Vendor Compliance, Supply Chain Fraud, Microsoft Office Data Analysis, and Improved Operations.
My book, Detecting and Reducing Supply Chain Fraud, is now prominently displayed on the home page. The book jacket graphic and the link below point to my book’s page on my publisher’s web site. From here you can read the book’s Preface and Introduction.
The links on the left side of each page are where you can learn more about Katzscan, e.g. my profile, contact information with social media links, clients by industry, trading partner relationships I have fostered, speaking engagements and publications, and some valuable resources.
My marketing tag line with regards to disconnected dots is at the bottom of the page. I really like that web site and I’ve been complimented on how it showcases the breadth of what I do.
The traditional barcode – one of the original specialties I started with – remains on my web site and business card. Only about half the recipients of my business card realize the barcode is my telephone number, though everyone thinks it is quite clever. ;-)
Underneath the Katzscan logo is a new tag line: Things seen differently. It is more than just a play on my company name: it is truly a characteristic at the heart of how I help my clients. By perceiving problems from a different perspective I have delivered creative, cost-saving solutions time and time again to the benefit and delight of my clients.
Links to sign-up for my newsletter and the newsletter archive are on the top in the middle.
I hope you’ll take a little tour of the new Katzscan web site and learn – or re-learn – what I do. If you know of a company – maybe your own – who could use my help, please send them to my web site and encourage them to contact me.
Thanks, and Happy New Year.
As we start to settle into the New Year I thought I would have a little fun with this month’s newsletter while focusing on supply chain. Courtesy of the November 2012 edition of Inbound Logistics magazine: some commonly used terms and their origination in a long-time transportation trade: maritime shipping. Ahoy mateys – enjoy!
Leeway: The weather side of a ship is the side from which the wind is blowing. The lee side is the side of the ship sheltered from the wind. A lee shore is a shore that is downwind of a ship. If a ship does not have enough “leeway”, it is in danger of being driven onto the shore.
Scuttlebutt: A butt was a barrel, and scuttle meant to chop a hole in something. The scuttlebutt was a water barrel with a hole cut into it so that sailors could reach in and drop out drinking water. The scuttlebutt was where ship gossip was exchanged.
Slush Fund: Ship’s cooks would obtain a slurry of fat called “slush” by boiling or scraping empty salted meat storage barrels. The cooks often sold this slush ashore for their own benefit or for the crew. The money so derived became known as a slush fund.
Know The Ropes: There were miles of cordage on a square rigged ship. The only way of keeping track and knowing the function of these lines was to know where they were located. It took an experienced seaman to know the ropes.
Rummage Sale: From the French “arrimage,” meaning ship’s cargo. Damaged cargo was sold at a rummage sale.
Above Board: Anything on or above the open deck that is open and in plain view.
Pipe Down: The Pipe Down was the last signal from the bosun’s pipe each day, which meant “lights out” and “silence”.
Skyscraper: A small triangular sail set above the skysail in order to maximize effect in a light wind.
Buoyed Up: Using a buoy to raise the bight of an anchor cable to prevent it from chafing on a rough bottom.
And finally, the last term is something that I am sure we are all familiar with, especially after a hectic holiday season…
Pooped: The poop is the stern* section of a ship, and to be pooped is to be swamped by a high, following sea.
(*The stern of something is the back or rear. The stern of a vessel is the opposite of the stem (front) of a vessel.)
(Term definitions copyright Inbound Logistics.)
Until next month.