27 Years. Since January 1996.
Greetings newsletter readers!
It has been a whirlwind 2014 so for my December newsletter I thought I would recap some of the highlights of the year before I pass along my holiday wishes for everyone.
I finished up a great 13-month assignment where I helped a company improve its custom Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) software and migrate a royalty commissions system, and I just started on a new ERP migration assignment where I will be managing the project and handling the data conversion tasks.
I traveled to Dongguan, China for my first international client, a shoe manufacturer. I advised them on how to improve their inventory management and inventory flow into their factory, reviewed their ERP software and discussed “next steps” for implementation of barcode scanning, pointed out bottleneck processes in their manufacturing operations, advised on vendor compliance requirements, and formed and trained a cross-functional operations improvement team to continue the improvements I suggested.
My book, Detecting and Reducing Supply Chain Fraud, is now in over 170 university libraries in over 20 countries plus an organization dedicated to improving living and working conditions sponsored by the European Union. I do not know the private sales but certainly the traceable sales I able to track prove the topic’s global interest continues to grow after the publication in 2012.
I have been working on the most interesting Microsoft Access database project of my career: a data extraction from a Sage MAS® ERP system to perform a cost rollup, something which the MAS software cannot perform on its own. Using select tables from MAS, my database dynamically builds each item’s bill of material and then steps through the calculations for labor, material, and overhead necessary to produce the cost at each level: manufactured component costs are acquired from the next-lower level for the roll-up while purchased materials are taken from the last cost. Included are audit checks, some subjective based on my client’s unique data, others objective based on the nature of a cost rollup project itself.
I was contacted by the CEO of Proformative (www.proformative.com) and asked to add course content to this unique educational and social medial platform for financial professionals with a membership of 1.2M and growing. My first course, Detecting and Reducing Supply Chain Fraud, is on the site and already has its first several students.
I have been honored by being selected as a primary speaker at the 96th annual conference of the Institute of Management Accounts (www.imanet.org) in 2015. My presentation topic will be on the detection and reduction of supply chain fraud. I’ll pass along more details on this as the event draws nearer.
Between being busy with clients and university teaching there is much to be professionally thankful for in 2014, and all this will be rolling over nicely to 2015. It has been a tough climb out of the economic doldrums, but with year 19 for Katzscan just one month away I hope I have weathered the worst and it is just clearer days ahead.
(And with the weather reference let me add a personal note of “thanks” that South Florida was spared another hurricane for the ninth year in a row!)
Season’s Greetings, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to you & yours.
Best wishes for the New Year.
Based on a sideline story in the October 1, 2014 edition of CIO magazine, the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement, which was all the rage for a while, may be fading to a bit of obscurity. According to a CompTIA survey of 400 IT and business executives, 51% of respondents from large companies are not engaged in BYOD at all.
The article states that while BYOD was supposed to save companies a lot of money over having to purchase devices for employees and maintain data plans, the concept is fraught with problems such as expense reporting and device management for laptops, tablets, and smartphones: a real myriad of devices running different operating systems and versions.
BYOD was supposed to enable employees to be more productive, allowing employees to work off-hours, but CompTIA’s survey revealed that less than half of the companies that offer BYOD believe it boosts productivity in the workforce. BYOD was also supposed to make for a happier employee, but the legalese of BYOD user policies favoring the employer’s right to monitor the device’s use and to the data on the device have alienated many employees from wanting to voluntarily participate in BYOD programs.
In CIO magazine’s November 1, 2014 issue the subject of smartphone kill switches is reviewed. Law enforcement is in favor of this technology as it may reduce crime such as the theft of phones later sold on the secondhand market. A study by William Duckworth, a professor at Creighton University, reveals that 99% of smartphone owners support a kill switch which would disable the phone and could optionally delete all the data. The study informs consumers could save $3.4B per year in unnecessary replacement costs and insurance fees possibly because – while this direct link is too early to tell – the number of crimes would be decreased.
Even with a kill switch feature, BYOD is still heavily dependent upon usage rules and corporate policies, and let’s not forget the potential for viruses and hacking. I don’t think that a kill switch option will tilt the balance in favor of BYOD. A solid security policy and clear-cut expense reporting will require providing the necessary device hardware to the employee for their business use, and this investment will more than likely result in a variety of savings across the enterprise in the end.
Would you like a little spying with your snacking?
Per a sideline article that appeared in the August 5, 2014 edition of the Miami Herald newspaper, the technology to do just that has apparently moved beyond development.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created an algorithm that can reconstruct sound – including intelligible speech – by analyzing the recorded vibrations from a bag of snack chips. The movements are exceptionally small, sometimes only one thousandth of a video pixel, but when averaged together the extracted sound makes sense.
The snack bag can be as far away as across the room. In the article the described experiment was performed with a snack bag at a distance of 15 feet from the person talking.
And there is no need to worry if you cannot be in the same room as the person you are spying on: the experiment described in the article was performed through sound-proof glass.
While the article states that the reconstructed audio was not crystal clear, the words were nonetheless possible to decrypt.
The researchers used a camera capable of 2,000 to 6,000 frames per second, which pales in comparison to high-end cameras capable of over 100,000 frames per second. And the researchers noted that even less-expensive cameras than the ones they used would work.
While my less-than-one-year-old smartphone camera is only capable of approximately 30 frames per second, it may only be a handful of years before cell phone cameras have enough capability to manage this task. I should think that current smart phone processors would have the capacity to run the algorithm software already. Now…if we combine this with facial recognition technology which is more mature and readily available currently, the smartphone and drone have become weapons of intrusion beyond any fears and concerns we might be harboring today.
Where it is illegal to record a conversation without permission, would existing laws extend to video recording a vibrating object? After all, especially through glass – sound-proof or not – no audio is being recorded if only a vibrating object is being videoed.
Could this force snack chip manufacturers to alter their packaging to make them less resistant to vibrations? Will people stop eating snack chips in public due to the fears of eavesdropping? Will we all have to resort to texting each other in public places to avoid having our audible conversations overheard or vibration-sensed? Will the fast-food industry stop selling snack chips in bags due to public backlash?
This issue is still a little farther off on the horizon but it should present some interesting issues as it draws nearer.
Catch Katzscan on Proformative: Earn continuing education credits and learn about auditing for supply chain fraud.
In May of this year I was invited by the CEO of Proformative (www.proformative.com) to be an instructor by adding a course or courses. Proformative combines an online educational platform where members can take courses and earn continuing educational credits and a social engagement area where members can engage in a question-and-answer dialogue. Course and Q&A topic categories include: finance, accounting, treasury, technology, careers, human resources, operations, legal, risk management, and tax. There are also sponsored white papers and resource papers the latter which are uploaded by members such as me.
Proformative member profiles include Chief Financial Officer, Vice President, Accountant, President, Controller, Manager, and Consultant. Its members are global: I was engaged in an interesting inventory counting conversation with someone from one of the Caribbean islands. With 1,250,000 members and growing it is little surprise that its membership is international. And it is free to join.
My course, Auditing for Supply Chain Fraud, which I have presented numerous times in the U.S. and in Mumbai, Hong Kong, and Krakow (Poland) is recorded and now available on the Proformative web site, along with an academic paper I authored titled How Supply Chain Collaboration Benefits The Expanding Role Of The Auditor.
As a benefit to instructors Proformative has provided us with a discount code that we may pass along to our friends and colleagues.
You can find my course by joining Proformative and searching for “supply chain fraud” or by using the link below:
When you purchase the course use the discount code Katz10 for a 10% discount of the Proformative course price. But even better, for a limited time only, you can take your firstProformative course for free(even mine) and save the discount code for another course.
So, if you need some continuing education credits for a certification, have been curious what my supply chain fraud detection and reduction business model is about, and have not yet read my book (currently in over 155 university libraries in over 21 countries), then I suggest you go to www.proformative.com to get your free membership, engage in some intellectual conversation, avail yourself of resourceful content, and enjoy the educational benefits that await.
Was it data points or goal points that won the World Cup…or perhaps some of both?
The World Cup is over. Both hearts and records were broken in the matches that brought out the best footballers from all over the world.
Kudos to host country Brazil for showing the world how to throw a party and removing all doubts about their readiness as global fans descended upon their country. Whatever went unfinished can certainly be completed over the next two years in time for the Olympics.
Congratulations to Germany for their epic win: the first European country to triumph in the Americas and in doing so secured World Cup championship number four.
Throughout the World Cup analysis by sport broadcasters and the like the German team was continually compared to that of a machine (though I am thinking more specifically of a comparison to some of their finely crafted automobiles): the whole team played as a single aligned unit in unison with each other.
As reported by the Miami Herald newspaper just before the weekend third place and championship matches, Germany might be thanking more than just goal points for its sensational play during the World Cup: data points may have played an equally important, or at least statistically significant, role in their road to the championship.
The German soccer federation has studied data on climate and player fitness using a computer program by German software giant SAP AG that can instantly refine seven million data points generated by three players. Forty sports scientists are employed by the German soccer federation compared to just two employed by the Brazil soccer federation.
It means “finding a one percent margin for improvement in everything you do” stated David Brailsford, the general manager of the Sky cycling team, winner of two of the last four Tour de France titles. Brailsford’s “aggression of marginal gains” approach was mimicked by the German soccer federation in their preparation for the World Cup.
Delving deep into the data to drive out even just a percentage point or two may be just the critical difference needed to produce a profit, justify an investment, secure an acquisition, or perhaps even produce a winning championship team.
Whether you know what you are looking for or have data to be mined for hidden treasures, consider Katzscan as the company that sees things differently to provide you the analysis and perspectives to transform your data into meaningful information.
And we can all yell GOOOOOAL together when the win is scored.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is essentially the connection of all things across the Internet. It is the communication of sensors on the food package as it is consumed or close to its expiration date communicating to the sensors in the refrigerator or on the dry shelf to alert the consumer and send data to the consumer’s local grocer who will automatically shop, package, and deliver the groceries to the consumer through the grocer’s own or a third-party delivery service. It is the continual monitoring for condition exceptions of medical devices on patients as they move through their daily lives. It is sensors in supply chains and on manufacturing lines driving more data for analytics of machine performance and quality control. It is the knowledge of where in-transit goods are and at what temperature during their journey.
According to the article titled The Internet of Things Is Here. What’s The Most Vulnerable? in the February 2014 issue of CIO magazine, all this connectivity may come with a cause for concern. The article lists five vulnerability areas where hackers can gain access – and even control – resulting in not just theft of data but in some cases trigger disaster.
 In-vehicle Wi-Fi – hackers can gain access to the smartphone data that connect to the vehicle’s Wi-Fi system; I will add that V2V(vehicle-to-vehicle) technology hacking of driverless vehicles is a scary proposition indeed!
 Mobile medical devices – hackers can gain access to mobile medical devices, possibly taking control and causing death, as well as spoofing the data they are sending back to the medical facilities; even accessing mobile sports fitness products can yield private information about a person’s health that may be compromising or sensitive to the to the person’s employer or family
 Wearable Devices – hackers can infiltrate wearable devices such as Google Glass® to glean the information they are recording and use that information for nefarious purposes as information is collected personally and professionally
 Retail Inventory Monitoring – hackers could intercept the real-time inventory data being sent to a retailer’s systems and falsify the information, forcing a retailer into making purchases and stocking inventory it does not need or, conversely, under-buying and running out of stock when it should have been making buys
 Private-sector drones – according to the article insurgents in Iraq intercepted a U.S. Predator drone because its signals were not secure, and at the invitation of the Department of Homeland Security a Texas A&M University student infiltrated one of the university’s drones with incorrect GPS information and sent it crashing to the ground; as drones become more prevalent they become the sources of an attack
Without necessary security protocols installed, I am just not sure that all this connectivity is completely trustworthy. As a fraud-fighter the door is wide open for illicit behavior to infiltrate and infect enterprise information systems, resulting in incorrect decisions. And as more decisions are automated through the supply chain the ripple effect is likely to be costly. It is risky enough today to attach a personal computer to the Internet without a good firewall and anti-virus software; the thought of livelihoods and lives hanging in the balance of all these unsecured sensors is more than just a little unnerving. I think that along with real-time auditing or check-and-balance programs, supply chain systems can be made more trustworthy, but some of the other vulnerability scenarios make me wonder if the world is secure enough for what lies ahead or if we are rushing naively into even more trouble than we have today.
Get your Retail MBA
Throughout my 18 years I have had a lot of partner offers for supply chain and security products and services. Given that my position is to be a vendor-neutral consultant and not a reseller for my clients I have turned down those offers in all but a handful of cases where an alliance made sense or was a requirement to offer a product or service that I believed my clients would benefit from if the need arose. Nonetheless I never let any partnership overshadow my objective solution recommendations for my clients, something I disclose up-front before I sign and something my clients are aware of when we discuss solution providers.
I had never been more excited to receive a potential partnership communication than the day that Karen Waksman from Retail MBA telephoned me a little over two months ago. Karen told me she had been noticing my vendor compliance web site for some time and was meaning to contact me to inquire about if and how we could work together. As Karen told me about her experience and retail training I realized we were a perfect pair!
The training materials Karen has created at Retail MBA educate entrepreneurs on how to successfully present, market, and sell their products to retailers. The course materials consist of DVDs and printed books, and access to her community of successful student businesses. Follow-up advice from Karen is also available too.
Inasmuch as my vendor compliance consulting starts before products are manufactured and shipped, focusing on ensuring software and operations are in-place, set up, and running smoothly first, Karen targets the aspects of the business before my expertise is needed, e.g. the buyer meeting, product presentation, and the sales pitch.
Karen provides a service that I have often been contacted about but previously had nowhere to direct those product innovators to go. Now with Retail MBA as a partner I can refer those inquiries over to Karen for the initial training and retail product business model structuring.
It is a perfect partnership.
I have updated – and will continue to do so as Karen and I work together – my vendor compliance web site (www.vendorcompliance.info) with the Retail MBA logo and home page link on the front page. On my individual Trading Partners pages you will find the Retail MBA logo on each company where Karen has a specific training web link.
If you know of anybody – possibly even yourself – who has created the next cool consumer product or is an innovating inventor of interesting items but is not sure how to get those goods into retail stores and onto retail shelves and e-shelves, then contact Karen Waksman at Retail MBA.
And when you need vendor compliance help – and hopefully before the chargebacks come – I’ll be here to help you too.
Telephone credit card scams
I had scheduled Monday, February 24thas an office day since I had just returned that Saturday night from my eight-day trip to Dongguan, China for a new client and knew I would need time to catch up personally and professionally before jumping back into the work week, committing to another client I would be back on site on Tuesday.
Off all the convenient technologies I really enjoy and rely on, Caller ID® is most certainly one of them. When I’m out of the office I like to scroll through and see who has called me and not left any messages. On that Monday being in the office I had the opportunity to answer the phone and learn who some of these mystery companies where who had been continually calling me and hanging up when they receive my answering service.
To my surprise I receive four telephone calls touting merchant services. In all cases the calls started off the same: I would pick up the phone and announce “Hello Katzscan” after which there would be a long pause for several seconds until finally someone who sounded very far away would get on the line. The person would either ask for the owner of the company or state matter-of-factly that they were calling about the company’s merchant card service account as if they were an authorized representative of my financial services company.
(If someone asks for the owner of the company I always ask who is calling and what the matter is pertaining to. I like to make sure the owner of Katzscan has time to field these calls because I know he is very busy.)
When the caller reveals the subject of the call is regarding the merchant service account I inform that Katzscan does not have one. Sometimes the caller is genuinely surprised, other times they just sound disappointed that their ruse was discovered so quickly and the call is just as quickly over.
In every single case I don’t really understand – and I’m not necessarily blaming the call operators who may just be call center people doing their job – how these companies expect anyone to fall for these sorry solicitation attempts at getting a company’s credit card processing business. (Of course I know that the callers may be the fraud perpetrators themselves too.) From the connection get-go to the sales-slick opening lines, is this actually working? Are there businesses falling for any of this? In the age of massive credit card frauds am I going to trust an unknown faceless third-party with my company’s credit card processing?
Consider the identity fraud statistics from the last page of the March 2014 issue of CSO magazine which come from Javelin Strategy and Research’s 11th annual study of identity fraud.
· 13.1 million people affected in 2013
· 1 in 5 people in 2011 received data breach notifications and later became fraud victims
· 1 in 3 people in 2013 received data breach notifications and later became fraud victims
Given the massive data losses incurred by retailers with supposedly trusted technologies and protected systems, I think I’ll think twice about off-loading my credit card processing to an anonymous likely off-shore entity who is doing who-knows-what with the data they are collecting.
Much like my feeling about all those reality shows, if the only good coming out of all these calls is the legitimate employment of call center operators then at least somebody in need of a paycheck has gainful employment. Other than that I wouldn’t put an ounce of trust into any of the deceptive sales tactics being used to gain my trust or my customers’ credit card data.
Metrics that matter most
There is a terrific article written by Adam Hartung in the December 15, 2013 issue of CIO magazine titled “Two Metrics That Matter”. The article describes how CIOs need to be prepared to justify expensive information technology projects to CEOs. The article cites a book titled Business Cases that Mean Business by Jim Maholic.
While information technology projects often tout benefits such as greater efficiencies and better analytical reporting, CEOs are more focused on two key executive-level metrics: will the project help sell more stuff ~or~ will the project help cut costs. CEOs want targeted financial benefits of projects. As Maholic states: “Too often business case developers overlook the single biggest competitor of every project – do nothing!”
In the same issue on page 12, it was noted according to Kroll that in 2013 72% of global companies suffered from insider fraud, up from 67% in 2012.
(The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners states that organizations lose 5% to fraud on an annual basis.)
Anti-fraud solutions are often a difficult sell to executives because they don’t sell more stuff or – at least at the obvious – cut costs; rather if the enterprise has not encountered fraud executives seem reluctant to invest in preventing it from occurring. Partnering or bundling anti-fraud solutions with information technology and operations improvement projects enable enterprises to better identify the return on investment, share scare financial resources, forge collaborative business units, propagate operational and anti-fraud messages throughout the enterprise, and drive into a longer list of benefits for all stakeholders (e.g. the enterprise, vendor, or customer).
External entities like vendors and customers should be made aware of at least some of the anti-fraud measures being put into place, because highlighting these efforts tends to bring confidence and credibility to existing and prospective supply chain partners.
Permeating the anti-fraud message should put potential fraudsters on notice (regardless of whether they are internal or external to the enterprise) therefore cutting costs due to fraud. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners cites that the perception of detection is a great deterrence to fraud; of course the perception must be factual and not fictional.
In partnership these initiatives can help sell more stuff and reduce costs by improving quality, enhancing customer service, improving accuracy, enhancing checks-and-balances, and replacing manual oversight with automation. Hartung states that “more, better, faster” are not persuasive arguments for progressing with expensive projects, but I think that combined with real numbers (sales or savings) those points certainly can enhance the discussion as long as the discussion does not rely on those points. Hartung may be correct objectively for most information technology projects but I would challenge that – in the case of fraud detection – objectively, “more, better, faster” is a very persuasive argument!
Driving into hard numbers can be difficult with regards to the current cost of a problem, the continual cost of doing nothing, and the cost of the correction active, but it is a necessary exercise worth the pain of going through.
Absolute numbers might not reveal themselves easily: perhaps the cost of the analysis itself is too expensive to justify the results. But you cannot walk into a meeting with your CEO without some basis for the conversation: some numbers will have to be presented and there is typically always a way to ascertain – with veracity – baseline data.
The financial revelation may alter the proposed solution and might even stop you from making a fool of yourself in front of your CEO. You might also find you’re better off walking a winning path with a collaborative business unit partner than walking the path in disgrace alone.
Bad banking business
My recently former bank – we’ll call them WXYZ so I don’t fall prey to any lawsuits – a dominating global financial institution, decided in the latter part of 2013 to implement a strategy to alienate and disenfranchise its small business customers by closing their accounts and – at least in my case – shutting down credit lines (and credit cards) within approximately 10 days of the date of the notification letters.
Now someone would have to be hard-pressed to tell me how holding my money costs a bank money. Forcing me into electronic statements from mailed paper statements would truly reduce the costs of account maintenance to virtually zero, and I would have gladly accepted that condition. I print paper one way or the other to mail my monthly accounting to my bookkeeping and tax firm. But my bank didn’t offer this as an option to keep my account. I am hardly surprised: my former bank lacked basic e-mail notification capabilities for account and statement alerts too.
What my bank didn’t do was send me the same letter with regards to my personal account which – at the time of closure – had nearly four times the amount of money in it as my small business account. If my former bank thought I had the time and/or was going to take the time to bounce between banks were they wrong. After pulling the rug out from under me with regards to my small business account and forcing me to lose revenue by allocating what should have been client-facing revenue-generating billable hours to the non-value-added task of switching banks, my loyalty to my (former) bank dropped to zero, the number which I was looking forward to taking my balances to in haste in my zeal to switch banks.
The term “Big Data” continues to resonate as a headache companies suffer from in trying to corral disparate data from various systems and sources (e.g. ERP, marketing, social media) and analyze it to generate meaningful information. This is a tough enough problem to tackle objectively: I’ve done enough data mapping projects to know how tricky this can be. One has to understand the data subjectivelyto successfully merge and blend the data together to produce meaningful information.
Either my former bank didn’t care or didn’t look subjectively enough at customers like me when it decided to shut down small business accounts, because it lost a larger personal account too. And from my conversation with other now former customers of WXYZ, it has only gained ill-will and a lot of people who would never do business with it again. On the upside its competitor banks reaped the rewards of plenty of new customers.
(The reason – I later learned from a bank employee as I was closing my accounts – was that WXYZ bank suffered a significant fine due to its involvement in a financial fraud and thus determined that business accounts with less than $3M US were high-risk and therefore not worth the risk. And yet there was never any mention of my personal account which had far less than $3M US in deposits!)
The ability to provide quality customer service should be a primary goal of every enterprise … it certainly ranks at the top for Katzscan. Yet too many enterprises fail at this endeavor, and the failure is often due to the inability to analyze data and extract meaning out of it. Tools for harnessing data across the enterprise exist, but without the subjective perspective the technology does little, if any, good.
At Katzscan, “things seen differently” is problems perceived from different vantage points, bringing fresh perspectives and creative solutions to drive through the clutter and chaos to logical – but often not obvious – conclusions.
The November 27 to December 15, 2013 data breach of 40 million Target customers’ credit and debit card information is not too far behind us. Fortunately consumers are not liable for fraudulent charges as a result of security breaches. Unfortunately some of these data breaches sweep up more than just credit and debit card information: it is possible that combining the booty from different data breaches, e.g. Target’s 40 million and Sony Playstation’s 77 million (where names and addresses were stolen with the possibility of credit card information also being taken), could result in enough personal identifiable information about a person to attempt or succeed in identity theft.
Identity theft is taking new forms as reported by the Associated Press in October 2013 as thieves are posing as truckers to steal loads of cargo. In the good old days, cargo thieves would just steal a truck from a parking lot, nice and easy. Unfortunately the use of technology (e.g. global position systems and advanced locks) have been so successful in thwarting criminals that the crooks had to devise new methods of thievery, so they turned to identity theft.
Thanks to the vast amount of information in the Internet, thieves can learn the identities of the specific freight haulers of specific commodity items, enabling the thieves to target specific goods such as steaks, crabs, cheese, or walnuts for example.
According to the article, the scheme requires the thieves’ reactivating a dormant carrier number from the Department of Transportation for as little as $300. Then – and again thanks to the Internet – the thieves will research the trucking companies and forge their identities as well as the pertinent documentation such as the pickup authorization paperwork, insurance policies, and driver’s licenses.
The fraudsters offer low bids (I believe to secure business quickly) to freight brokers who handle shipping for various companies. Because the illegitimate trucking company is represented by a legitimate broker, the customer has little reason to be suspicious.
Unfortunately the customer’s goods are never delivered to their destination because they are stolen by the imposter trucking company.
Depending on the commodity, the losses can be valued anywhere from nearly $100,000 to almost $500,000 per truckload. (The truck trailer was not included in the cost of the theft: the trucking company would have to provide its own truck and trailer.)
While a shipment of food items may be an isolated incident, a stolen shipment of pharmaceuticals would be a critical issue and could result in a global recall of every pharmaceutical manufactured from a lot/batch identifier matching those in the heist to ensure no tampered or counterfeit product ends up in the market.
The lesson for both individuals and companies alike is that identity theft is serious business and you have to be very certain of who the other person – or business – is that you are entering into a relationship with before trusting them with your valuables.
18 years old!
We tend to associate special milestones to certain ages: turning 10 (transitioning from single- to double-digit age), turning 13 (entering the teenage years), ages 16, 18, and 21 (depending on the drinking and driving laws in whatever state a person is living in), and celebrating any age or anniversary divisible by 5 or 10.
As the New Year rings in to start 2014, Katzscan turns 18, an age of a certain degree of maturity, and one that deserves – I think – a bit of reflection.
So for the first newsletter of the New Year and to catch readers up on what’s new, let me run through a short list of where Katzscan is today from its (and mine) start through our evolution together.
- My book, Detecting and Reducing Supply Chain Fraud, has sold several hundred copies and while I would truly appreciate a fresh count from my publisher on a weekly basis it would most certainly drive them crackers to have to do so to all their authors. I track a subset of my overall sales to universities and organizations; I am very proud that my book is in a growing list of 80+ university libraries in 14+ countries worldwide, and including an organization promoting improved living and working conditions that is funded by the European Commission. For the growing list of where my book is academically go to http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/802047137
- In 2013 I achieved my Microsoft Office Specialist certification, with all scores (Access, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook) in the 900s out of 1000. Having spent two years as a university adjunct instructor teaching Microsoft Office, I’ve added training as part of my consulting services to compliment the database development, analysis, documentation, and presentation teaching and work I do using Office.
- In 2013 I was accepted as a Certified Controls Specialist by the Institute for Internal Controls: http://www.theiic.org
- After years of just explaining what it is that I do, the epiphany finally struck me and I developed my business model graphic that explains in a pictorial manner how I combine software skills, operations improvements, supply chain relationships, fraud assessment, data analysis, and information delivery into a single yet comprehensive model. You can find the business model graphic at http://www.katzscan.com/cm.htm
-My global reach continues to extend with more international book sales to more global universities in a growing list of countries as well as my additional speaking engagements on my book topic. Since 2010 I have traveled to Mumbai and Hong Kong and in 2013 to Krakow (Poland) all to present on the detection and reduction of supply chain fraud.
Since its inception on January 1, 1996 Katzscan has matured in new ways and directions that I never considered when it began … and naturally I’ve been along for the journey and have evolved in unexpected ways because of it. The knowledge I’ve acquired I’ve returned to several friends in helping them create their business models, and to my clients in helping them control their chaos, operate efficiently, be more competitive, and make smarter decisions with better information.
If you know of a company – maybe your own – who suffers from disconnects between areas of operations, software systems, or customer/vendor relationships, please pass them my contact information: it’s time to stop kidding around and bring in a seasoned professional with right mix of skills to correct the situation effectively and efficiently.
Thanks and welcome to 2014 and Katzscan’s 18th.