Mon, 26 Sep 2011 13:43:05 PDT String Academy of Wisconsin, Music, Lament, Atar Arad, Colorado Music Festival, Jamie Hofman, viola, Shannon Farrell Williams, Mimi Zweig, Jerry Horner, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Frank Bridge Shannon Farrell Williams and Jamie Hofman performed "Lament" by Frank Bridge at a gala on the occasion of the Twentieth Anniversary of the String Academy of Wisconsin in 2010.
The String Academy is closely associated with the distinguished Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, where both Mr. Hofman and Mrs. Williams continued their studies, working with Mimi Zweig, Atar Arad, Jerry Horner and others. Today Mrs. Williams plays with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the Colorado Music Festival. Mr. Hofman is on the faculties of The String Academy, Carroll University and the Eastern Music Festival and has been a member of the Louisville Symphony, the Milwaukee Symphony, and the Louisville String Quartet.
The String Academy of Wisconsin at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
offers a unique educational experience for students ages four to
eighteen to study the violin, viola and cello.
Tue, 15 Nov 2011 12:41:02 PST JP Farrell, shopping, PPS, personalized product solution, Unique Solutions, MyBestFit, Intellifit, James P Farrell, Retail, retailers, apparel
Unique Solutions is rolling out a new business concept called MyBestFit, based on its Intellifit® Plus technology. First introduced in 2002, this body scanner records hundreds of thousands of body measurements and matches them to garments in its database. The consumer receives a personalized printout, showing which garments from participating retailers will fit.
The technology is amazing; the business concept is genius. Originally conceived as a brand-specific solution, the machine has now been moved out of the store and into the public space of the mall. Retailers subscribe to and pay for the service, not only marketing their wares, but also closing sales more quickly. Shoppers confidently and privately select the garments that fit.
Unique Solutions calls this a PPS, a "personalized product solution." They think women will love it because it takes the frustration and embarrassment out of trying on clothes. Men might never have to go to the mall again.
To learn more about our practice, you may contact us here.
Thu, 15 Dec 2011 11:38:19 PST JP Farrell, shopping, PPS, personalized product solution, Unique Solutions, MyBestFit, Intellifit, James P Farrell, Retail, retailers, apparel Click on the links below to see case study summaries of some of our past projects.
Tue, 15 Nov 2011 12:49:45 PST econometrics, Associated consultants, scholar, Consulting, Jan Kmenta, advisors, David Cornwell, John le Carre, spy, Intelligence failure, Tailor of Panama, spy novel, teacher Jan Kmenta, Professor of Econometrics
The work of the best novelists and scholars burrow into the psyche. Peculiarly in my own mind the British intelligence officer and novelist David Cornwell (aka John le Carré), and Czech-born Jan Kmenta, the wry professor of econometrics, are inextricably linked. Both exemplify their generation's dedication to finding truth in ambiguous settings through careful application of craft.
Kmenta would begin his graduate course in econometrics with a set of definitions:
An Economic Historian goes into a dark room looking for a black cat.
An Economic Theorist goes into a dark room looking for a black cat that is not there.
An Econometrician goes into a dark room looking for a black cat that is not there and declares: "I found it!"
The rest of the course (and the three that followed) was devoted to an arduous study of the theory and practice that would keep us from making any such a mistake. With humor Kmenta could shoulder the futility of his quest, but he could not abide those who mistook shortcuts for progress.
John le Carré These ruminations began when by some happy accident I picked up my decade-old copy of John le Carré's The Tailor of Panama. Writing in the mid-1990's, as the West was celebrating the end of the Cold War,
le Carré adapted his method to the times. Turning away from the earnest style of his previous spy novels, le Carré surprised his readers with a comic approach.
His unlikely protagonist, an expatriate tailor with a good heart and a questionable past, is recruited by a novice spy of uncertain virtue. Together they set out to prove the existence of conspiracy fabricated from whole cloth. True to his craft but inept in spycraft, the tailor weaves selective data with imaginative storytelling to flatter the careless and comfort the powerful. The institutions charged with analyzing and verifying his reports fail to question false information that suits their narrow interests. Let loose in a benign environment, the misdirected agents of change wreck havoc.
In the aftermath of the intelligence failures of this twenty-first century, John le Carré seems eerily prescient. By the same token, clients are advised to select their consultants and govern their projects with unusual diligence. It is all too easy to prove the existence of black cats that were never there.
To learn more about our work in consulting, please see our Profile, read a few of our Case Studies, or Contact JP Farrell & Associates, Inc. directly.
Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs become regulated bank holding companies, ending era of Investment Banking
Economists submit letter in opposition to the original Paulson Plan, claiming it is unfair, ambiguous and short-sighted
Regulators seize Washington Mutual Saving and Loan and arrange sale to JP Morgan Chase
First draft of Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (HR 3997)
HR 3997 fails to pass the U.S. House
Senate passes HR 1424, a modified version of the bill
Congress passes HR 1424 and President G.W. Bush signs it into law
Week ending 10/10
Dow Jones loses 18% of value in one week. Iceland seizes its banks. Britain proposes direct investment in banks
G7 finance ministers, then Group of 20 meet at White House to coordinate policy
Paulson and Bernanke meet with leaders of 9 largest banks. Get agreement on direct infusion of cash
AIG bailout restructured to include $60 billion loan from US Federal Reserve, $40 billion in securities purchased by US Treasury, and credit lines of up to $30 billion backed by Credit Default Swaps and $22.5 billion against mortgage-backed securities
A collection of posts about the US Economy is maintained here.
To learn more about our work in consulting, please see our Profile, or read some of our Case Studies.
Tue, 22 Dec 2009 07:29:32 PST JP Farrell, Public option, Explanation of Health Care Bill, Economics, H.R.3200, James P Farrell, health insurance, Health Care Reform, health care bill, Health Care image from http://www.PiperReport.com
With the final markups of the Affordable Health Choices Act now clearing committees in the U.S. House of Representatives, the potential scope of the legislation is becoming clear. And, while the American Medical Association is on board with H.R. 3200, the House version of the bill, the insurance industry is coming out swinging.
Doctors have to appreciate several aspects of the bill. First, the bill would extend insurance coverage to tens of millions of Americans who currently are denied coverage by insurance companies or who simply can not afford it. (See An Explanation of the Health Care Bill.) Second, the bill enhances the role of the primary care physician in determining the effective course of treatment and offers economic incentives for doctors and medical students to take on this role. The bill also addresses flaws in the Medicare reimbursement mechanism and includes measures to promote wellness and disease prevention.
Insurance companies seem most concerned about the introduction of a government-operated insurance plan, which they view as unfair competition. Health care economists argue that a government plan is required in order to:
Ensure access to affordable care
Provide market leadership in setting standards and negotiating prices for medical services, which currently vary widely by market
Develop (and share) processes and information systems for accurately assessing and paying claims
The legislative history of the bill, a work in process, demonstrates considerable cooperation between and within the Congressional chambers. The Senate had split the bill into two components. Sections of the bill relating to reform of insurance and other mechanisms for funding health care were drafted by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (H.E.L.P.). That Committee completed its work on the bill on July 15, 2009 and submitted it to the full Senate for consideration after the August recess. The Senate Finance Committee, which took responsibility for drafting legislation governing the cost of health care, has not completed its work.
In the meantime, the U.S. House divided its work among three committees, all of which have completed markup of H.R. 3200. That version of the bill closely mirrors provisions of the bill passed by the Senate H.E.L.P. Committee, but also covers areas still under debate in the Senate Finance Committee. Having effectively taken the lead in the legislation, the House of Representatives is expected to pass H.R. 3200 following the August recess, perhaps with amendments taken from the floor of the House, and submit it to the Senate. At that point the Senate may choose to accept it as it stands (which is unlikely) or continue work on its own version of the legislation. If the Senate passes a bill that differs from H.R. 3200, the House and Senate leadership would then create a Conference Committee made up of representatives from each chamber to negotiate a bill that would be acceptable to both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Important provisions of H.R.3200 that have not been cleared by a Senate Committee would empower the government plan to aggressively negotiate prices, delivery methods and standards of service with providers. The debate about the government's role in determining what kind of care is most efficient and effective is bound to be most contentious.
Expecting a fight in the Senate, the Administration has already begun to telegraph its fallback position by referring to the bill as "insurance reform." In other words, having gotten similar insurance reform provisions through committees in both the Senate and the House, the Administration is confident that at least those aspects of the bill will become law. And, while they would like to adopt stronger measures to accelerate cost containment, those more controversial measures could be sacrificed in the interests of getting insurance industry restructuring underway.
Businesses large and small should be prepared to reevaluate their health care policies, providers and pension plans in light of this new legislation. Economic effects are likely to be profound.
An article in the Monday, November 17th edition of the Wall Street Journal outlines some of the reasons diesel fuel is likely to remain much more expensive than gasoline.
In addition to the tax difference (diesel has higher taxes on it in the US – a point the WSJ did not mention), there are world-forces pushing the cost of diesel.Key factors include:
Buyers of new European cars are now specifying diesel engines more than 50% of the time.In France and Belgium, 70% of all new cars are diesel because consumers recognize diesel as being more efficient, better environmentally, and in Europe, there are lower taxes on diesel.
Refinery capacity for diesel is going beyond tight.Europe buys a big portion of its diesel from elsewhere.Russia, one of the biggest suppliers of the 700,000 bbl/day of diesel imported to Europe, has old refiners and may have difficulty meeting standards for the ultra-low sulfur (cleaner) diesel.At the same time, European refineries have not invested in diesel cracking equipment – which is more expensive than gasoline production facilities.An interesting bye product of this is that Europe exports a lot of gasoline to the USA.The only new refinery capacity is coming on line in India – which will generate 580,000 bbl/day of diesel.
China is using diesel to make electricity.The recent downturn in electricity demand in that country (4%) may have freed up a lot of diesel – as China has a huge “base” generation capacity in coal fired plants.As China’s economy and infrastructure projects pick up steam, this will put a lot of pressure on fuel-oil supplies.
This can all be summarized by a quote from Pands Cavoulacos – President of the European Petroleum Industry Association – “I don’t see how we can add sufficient capacity over the next decade to handle the increasing demand for diesel in Europe.”...and since it is a world market, expect what hurts Europe and Asian supplies will impact us here in the US.
While Europe will change taxation of fuel cost to favor diesel, this will not overcome the added power and efficiency of diesel and its position as the preferred fuel for cars.And, if current model introductions in the US are any indication, more diesel cars and SUV’s will be using more fuel here in the US.
The bottom line:More demand, fixed production capabilities, and global transfers means that diesel will continue to be a premium cost fuel for the next 10-15 years.
Mon, 29 Sep 2008 16:17:00 +0000 Logistics Management, Supply Chain Management, Freight Rates, Scheduling Software, diesel prices, Transportation Consultants Talking with the logistics director of a Fortune 50 Company, he related their conversion to SAP. He described it as “Ruthless Standardization.” Immediately, images come to my mind of a group of IT geeks on horseback, armed with axes and swords, riding through the ranks of Operations people – indiscriminately slaying them.
While my imagination may be a little far fetched, Operations do appear to be the victims in standardization. In this instance, Operations loses its ability to:
Increase load size using optimization technology
Move orders. For example – a full load of product made in Atlanta must ship to a Seattle customer from the local warehouse rather than direct from the plant
How is it that the complexities of the US market are ignored in the quest for standardization? Why are small countries, like my native land of New Zealand – with 4 million people – and one DC treated the same as the great US market? I have a conspiracy theory. My belief is that the IT folks believe that the millions of dollars spent in the operations area is hidden. At the end of the project, they can point to IT head-count reductions and “hard savings.” Operations expense, after all, is often confused by the various “world” changes. Operations costs increase but it is all blamed on fuel or insurance… not paucity of systems. In the case of the Fortune 50 Company, the cost will be many millions in one division alone.
I am not sure if it is possible to convince the IT folks that “keep it simple” (KIS) is stupid. If this were me, I’d add a line to my budget – “the cost of ruthless standardization” – and track all the cost to that.
We all know that the infrastructure is under pressure.Congested roads, bridges that are in urgent need of repair, and roads that should have been ripped up years ago are everywhere.Yet both presidential candidates are talking about a stimulus package – giving money to consumers who will buy flat panel TV’s made in China.Here is an idea:invest the same amount of money in the roads and bridges we use every day.While we don’t need or envision anything on the scale of the “New Deal”, a focus on bridges, for example, will create good jobs for construction workers, steel manufacturers and equipment manufacturers.The value to industry is huge.The trickle-down impact will be great – and the country gets lasting benefits from stimulus.Can somebody please tell Mr. McCain & Mr. Obama?
The bottom line:Consumers and the economy will benefit from investment in infrastructure
A July 11 article in CFO magazine entitled “What Keeps CFOs Up at Night?” - http://www.cfo.com/article.cfm/11731286/c_3805465 - has senior writer Kate O’Sullivan politely pointing out that with oil at $140 a barrel, the cost of fuel has officially registered on finance executives radar screens.About time!The impact that $4.70/gallon diesel will have on the economy, and each company, is large.Consider the fact that most consumer product companies provide free freight to their customers, when they order a truckload of product.This means that the only way they can recoup the additional cost is to increase the prices of their products.If product costs go up – you and I are the ones that pay at the store.Hello inflation!Hello higher interest rates!Hello a big slow down!
CFO’s should be kept awake at night by fuel costs as their companies’ margins are under fire.Some how they need to support their operations team’s efforts to reign in the fuel monster. What is this somehow?Since IT normally works in the finance side of the house, the CFO needs to influence his IT people into providing genuine support – not, as I heard from a client, “we are getting SAP in 5 years, that will solve all your operational problems.” You could not make this kind of stuff up!Who can wait that long?How many gallons of diesel will need to be wasted before we stem the flow?
Thu, 17 Jul 2008 21:03:00 +0000 fuel cost, Supply Chain Management, Freight Rates, diesel prices, Transportation Consultants When you talk to many car drivers, they complain of “nearly being run off the road” by speeding trucks. Many of us have cut our speed but a wide range of owner operators and small fleets don’t seem to have got the message:
“SLOW DOWN – SAVE FUEL”
Time must be – to them at least – more valuable than money.
During the oil embargo of the 1970’s, speed limits were dropped to 55 mph. The concept of doing this is totally repugnant to us all… but the simple fact remains, we are, as a nation, spending too much on oil. The balance of payments can’t afford this huge spike in imports.
The bottom line:Truckers need to slow down before they are forced to slow down