STINFO

Information

The Systems Project Office (SPO) was the primary organizational structure for managing the major programs within the Ballistic Systems Division (BSD) / Air Force Systems Command (AFSC).

My involvement was with two SPO’s…..the first (MMRBM) and the second….the Advanced Ballistic Reentry Systems (ABRES). Within the SPO were various subdivisions and offices….ours being the Scientific and Technical Information Office (STINFO)**

Our main purpose was to make sure all of the contractors and defense agencies had the same information pertaining to ABRES. It wasn’t one of the more glamorous offices….and our boss was not suited to this role….and Roy my cubbie mate was frigidity at times….nonetheless we got the job done….so that every organization was on the same page with respect to the R & D taking place.

The same concept is just as important with respect to the global virus. All organizations need access to as much information possible to develop a strategy to contain and stop the epidemic.

**https://www.wpafb.af.mil/Portals/60/documents/afrl/ri/STINFO%20-Brochure-191023.pdf?ver=2019-11-05-125736-073

Duration-Part 2

Creative + Long Term

The restaurant and hospitality industry has been greatly impacted by the current virus situation. Many have been creative in maintaining the core aspects of business….that is providing meals as takeout, pickup or delivered.

Professional services have also had to adapt to a different environment.  Providers are now offering virtual tele-visits vial the use of a PC, Ipad or smart phone. It certainly makes sense to use these “new” methods of business.

When the current situation moderates…. businesses/organizations that have been willing to be creative and innovative should be able to move quickly forward.

 

Duration – Part 1

Disruption

At the unset of WW ll, people were called to duty either in the military or on the home-front for the duration. Duration meaning to the end of hostilities and release from active duty or returning to a prewar economy.

In some sense the same is happening during the current viral situation.

For many businesses (especially retail), it means disruption….closing the doors or if not completely closed….a different way of doing business. Restaurants in particular are in disruption….however within 10 days….many have been very creative in adapting: take-out….delivery….curb service….and movie night with pizza**.

The United States is a resilient country….businesses are resilient….while the duration is unknown….the creativity and innovation needed will create new ways of during business.

** V Pizza/Cary: 

“We decided to go old school, and build a retro-style Drive-In Movie Theater!!”

“What that means is, every single night, as long as we need to, we will be playing a movie in our parking lot. HD Picture & Surround Sound. At 7:45PM, the movie will start. You can order V Pizza directly from your car, and we will hand-deliver the goods! Or, you don’t have to. Come out with your own snacks, and just hang out, from the safety of your car.”

Reputation

Ethics+Trust

From mlive: https://www.mlive.com/public-interest/2020/03/michigan-attorney-general-accuses-menards-of-coronavirus-price-gouging-calls-price-hikes-on-bleach-face-masks-unconscionable.html

Menards is a home improvement business located in the Midwest with annual sales of ~$10B….similar to The Home Depot or Lowe’s. One would trust that any business would not take advantage of the current virus situation. Perhaps Menards did not….however it would seem that as a business owner…..reputation is most important.

The key point: Don’t make decisions that tarnish a company’s reputation….it is not good business or personal ethics.

A note: Both The Home Depot and Lowe’s had prominent customer alerts on their website with respect to the current situation….Menards had none (3.18.20).

Product Warranty

Good Business

Often customer complaints center on product service. Companies will gladly sell a product….however the true test of a good bushiness is how they service a product if the need arises.  A product’s warranty is of little use if it is not honored.

Fortunately we could service all of our merchandise (Joe could fix anything)….while a medium product/price business….we searched to find the best products in that price range.

The one product that often required repair was recliners. Our primary brand was Berkline which had a lifetime warranty on the mechanism.  Since the reclining mechanism was made of metal/mechanical components….and if the recliner was considerably used….as they were….the mechanism simply wore out.

We always kept mechanisms on hand….when a customer called for service….the recliner was picked up….taken apart….repaired and returned to the customer. Some extra effort….yet worthwhile. Just good business as customers knew we stood behind the product and honored the warranty.

Succession

Decision

A friend works in a prominent family business in Muskegon…..over 50 years at the same location.

Three brothers are owners of the business….with one taking a more active role. The next generation has not shown an active interest in continuing as a family – owned business .

Thus the decision. At some time in the near future….a plan needs to be formulated on what directions the company must take.

Recommendation: Engage an independent trusted individual ….who is familiar with the business and community….to help develop a plan and strategy.

Of note: There are two similar business….one 20 miles north and one 30 miles south…that might be be a good buyer/partner for the long term.

Social Media

Business Influence

A recent Social Media post – 

“Do Not Shop at _______!”

“Just a fair word of warning – they have horrible customer service. I just received a new couch that I paid $3000 and I don’t think its comfortable. They said they would be happy to take it back for a $1500 restocking fee!! Corporate and local stores (all owned by same person) basically said tough and that’s that. Totally don’t care that they delivered me a product that I don’t like and don’t find comfortable. Buy elsewhere!!”

There have been 44 replies to this post (which is a well known national brand)…..some positive not at all critical…..and some negative and supporting the post.

Key points to the social media post:

  • “I don’t think its comfortable”
  • “$1500 restocking fee”
  • “they delivered a product that I don’t like”

The customer certainly visited the store and examined the sofa….sat on it….and apparently initiated the transaction. The business delivered the product…..it was not defective….only “not comfortable”. More details are necessary to make a sound judgement on this post….and that’s the issue. Social media can be a significant influence yet the information is incomplete….and how should the business respond?

On another social media site….this business has good reviews….though how accurate is also questionable.

How would we reacted?…..gladly return the sofa….and trust the customer would find another that was “more comfortable”.