Port City

Opportunity

Muskegon Seaway

From Mlive:

http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2016/03/michigan_seaway_shipping_promo.html#0

There has always been the expectation that Muskegon was a significant seaway port for the Great Lakes. In the early sixties….numerous deep water ships visited Muskegon….many carrying Brunswick bowling lanes and equipment to global destinations.

Recently a few ships have visited the port with wind generation equipment. Unfortunately, there is no container loading/unloading facility….so that type of shipping can not be accommodated.

The challenge (and opportunity)….as it has been for the last 50 years….how to use the “Seaways finest” deep water harbor to its best advantage.

Note: Seaway = The St. Lawrence Seaway/access to the Great Lakes from the Atlantic ocean

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Less Awful

United Airlines

United Less Awful

From Bloomberg.com: http://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-united-airlines-struggles/

Airlines have a lot going on in terms of business operations….especially when there are the size of United Airlines (and the merger with Continental Airlines).

A primary theme with all business is how employees respond to customers….and with United there seems to be significant employee discontent.

Of course….leadership from the CEO on down reflects a culture within the entire organization.

The goal it would seem to not be less awful but to be much better. Perhaps United could lean a lesson or two from Southwest Airlines.

Unprofessional

Poor Judgement

Unprofessional

A recent post: http://www.jqpublicblog.com/3-star-caught-unprofessional-relationship-will-disciplined/

I‘m often amazed at times by the poor judgement of someone who has attained a leadership position. An Air Force Lt. General was caught in an unprofessional relationship as stated in the post.

In another recent case….a Navy admiral was denied a second star because of discrepancies in travel expenses.

What were they thinking….obviously not using good judgement. It just isn’t in the military that these situations occur. They are prevalent in almost any organization.

Business/organizational leadership requires professional leadership at all levels. If there is any question of what path to follow….using good judgement means saying no!

Soft

Real Business

Soft

I’ve long said that In Search of Excellence can be captured in just six words:”Hard is soft. Soft is hard.” The so-called “hard” stuff—such as the plans and the numbers—are really the soft, squishy, and often fictional stuff. The so-called “soft” stuff—such as the people and culture and relationships—are the true “hard” Bedrock of Excellence. – Tom Peters

The “soft” stuff was what made the difference in our business and the businesses I came in contact with. The numbers, etc. were easily the tangible aspects of the business….and told us where we were (Profit/Loss).

The intangible, of course was the interactions between customers….the people in the business….our suppilers and our financial resources. All of those combined made the (real) business successful.

As stated before in TrueNorth….is this part of business study? If not it should be.

Brand

Mis-Management

Jos a bank

Jos. A. Bank is a well-known mens clothing brand. The company was purchased by Men’s Warehouse (or now Tailored Brands/TB).

It has been announced that TB has written off the value of the Jos. A Bank brand….almost $1.8B or the amount TB spent in acquiring Jos. A. Bank.

http://www.businessinsider.com/jos-a-bank-has-disastrous-merger-2016-3?amp

Brands are vital to the success of a business….mis-managing a well-known brand is a $B mistake.

Business Winner

Responsive

Respond to customer

“Business winners … tend to be especially responsive to customers. That is, they listen, adjust, listen some more, and adjust some more. Losers develop products in a vacuum.” – Tom Peters

If there is one thing we could have done even better in our business….it would  to have been even more responsive to our customers. We we were excellent at selling and customer service. Perhaps it was because the technology was not available….after all everything was done on 3×5 index cards.

The 1 to 1 customer concepts from Don Peppers and Martha Rodgers weren’t introduced until years later….and Search of Excellence didn’t surface until 1982.

None-the-less….we did well….though if the business were to have continued….we would hove needed to operate at a much higher level and far bigger picture of the customer.

Nebraska Furniture Mart

Impressive

Nebraska FM

From Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/inside-nebraska-furniture-mart-2016-3

Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM) was well-known within the home furnishings industry….even though it had only one location in Omaha, NB.

In 2016, NFM has four locations. The original location in Omaha does around $468M is yearly sales. The new facility in Dallas, TX is projected to have sales of $600M per year.

Very impressive.To stay competitive, NFM uses electronic price tags.

If Warren Buffet invested in the business….NFM was and is a very solid business.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nebraska_Furniture_Mart