5 Benefits of Facade Lighting

Facade lighting is starting to see a significant increase in popularity with this innovative technology used to light up the outside of buildings to draw attention. A professional installation has the ability to be unobtrusive, discreet, and gives complete precision to light up the building to match the specific needs. Here are five benefits of using facade lighting to promote a building, bridge, or other structure:

Low-cost and eco-friendly

Facade lighting relies on the LED bulbs which run on a lot less energy compared to the halogen, incandescent, or fluorescent alternatives. This means they are cheaper to use and much more friendly to the environment. Plus, this more modern lighting technology has the ability to provide a longer life.

Less maintenance

The long life span of the LED bulbs means the amount of time and effort invested in maintenance is significantly less than the incandescent or fluorescent lighting. The low-cost and minimal maintenance means these types of lights are usually preferred in large-scale applications, such as structural lighting.

Projection range

The LED bulbs have the ability to emit more light and provide a more impressive projection range compared to most other types of bulbs. Because of the greater output per bulb it is possible to use fewer bulbs in the process of illuminated a structure, which also means less initial expense and maintenance.

High quality

LED bulbs give greater clarity and therefore the output is rated as extremely high-quality. Plus, this type of light is resilient and perfect for the outside environments.

Easy to control

The LED bulbs are best suited for facade lighting because of the complete ease in control. By connecting the lights to a series of drivers and controllers, it is a very simple process to turn the lights on and off, as well as making adjustments to the intensity and color. Plus, the most efficient set-up will rely on wireless technology to stop the wires becoming noticeable when the lights are lit up on the front or the side of the building.

Overall, the facade lighting is the perfect solution for any small or large company that wishes to highlight their business name, logo, or other mark in low-light conditions. Plus, this lighting solution is a perfect solution to illuminate and add beauty to a range of structures for a special event. The high-quality LED bulbs are the best option because of the increased flexibility, reliability, and eco-friendly nature that they are able to provide.

Barriers to Group and Team Problem Solving

A number of things can keep teams and small groups from working to their full potential. Barriers or factors are a big roadblock that might keep a discussion between group members from achieving a goal. If people can begin to realize exactly what these barriers are and how to spot them, then you can begin to remove them from your team or group.

A barrier that can cause conflict in a small group is lack of structure. In this setting, group members desire specific direction that can help them come to a needed conclusion in a meeting or discussion. With a structure in place, the group can focus on the issues of a discussion and come to a consensus, both quickly and effectively.

I have had an opportunity to incorporate a structured job description database for a work force. This helped to establish guidelines and a focus on job duties for each position. When distributed to the departments, each member knew what they needed to perform the duties of the job. The job descriptions put structure in the way business was performed within the departments and the company.

Another barrier to problem solving is poor communication. This is a barrier that can wreak havoc for every group member that is involved. Some facets of poor communication are misunderstanding, inattentiveness and dominance that can be made by one or more group members. Ineffective communication will definitely be a negative against any discussion or meeting.

Once again, with the same company, I experienced this barrier in problem solving with a former employer. I had been involved in making a transition of employees to a new company. The corporate management and department management did not communicate well. Not only did they not communicate well, they did not communicate with each other. Messages were expressed and discussed with other employees about situations with other employees. These situations were approached third party and caused even more problems.

Poor communication by no communication would be a problem solving killer. A negative attitude will also be a barrier to problem solving in small groups. If members are not flexible and open minded during a discussion or meeting, then a balanced opinion can not be produced. Some group members may be more focused on the solution before the problem is defined.

I had also experienced negative attitudes in the transition of a new company coming in. The employees that had years invested in the company were most definitely displaying negative attitudes. This made it harder to have productive group meetings as we made changes during the transition period. Arguments were made before hearing all of an idea and this made for longer meetings. This in turn created new barriers and made other employees feel uncomfortable.

When having a team or small group meet for problem solving, it is very important to have a goal or agenda. This in turn will help to avoid most barriers and keep the group focused and organized. Always try clarifying what the group is trying to achieve and give all members time to participate and give their views and feelings. This path, in the end, will help to keep focus, structure, and communication open for all members.

When to Get Replacement Windows In Your Home

Sometimes it’s easy to know when things in your home need an upgrade. If the refrigerator stops working, the tile in your bathroom is cracked, or the paint job in the living room looks faded, you know to add these items to your to-do list. Determining whether or not you need to consider replacement windows in your home can be a bit more complex.

Every 15 years or so, most homes tend to show signs of wear and tear on their glass. It’s around that time that homeowners should consider replacement windows. Here are several factors that will make it easy to determine if now is the right time for you.

Do they work properly?

The first step in determining if replacement windows are in order is to check to see if everything works properly. If they have locks, are you able to easily lock and unlock them? Are they easy to open and close, or do they stick? Can everyone in the family open them? When closed, are they closed tightly?

Not only are these important questions to ask for energy conservation, but also in the event of an emergency, such as a fire or hurricane. These questions could save lives. If locks aren’t working properly, it puts you and your family at a greater risk for break-ins and it is another safety concern.

Are they single pane glass?

Most older homes are equipped with single pane glass, and while they may not show much wear and tear, they are wasting energy and costing you money. The technology used now-a-days is dual pane glass. This is safer and more energy efficient. Dual pane glass can help to reduce noise and pollution in your home as well, and is a great investment for homes in densely populated areas.

Is your carpet or wallpaper starting to fade?

If you notice that areas of your home that get a lot of direct sunlight, especially your carpet, furniture, or wall paper, are starting to fade, it might be time to consider and upgrade. Old glass can allow too much ultraviolet light into your home, and ruin your belongings. The new, energy efficient options come with treatments to protect your belongings from the sun’s harmful rays.

Is there rotting or leaking?

If you notice the pane falling apart, rotting, or leaking air, it’s time to consider an upgrade. This is especially true if you live in a temperamental climate; cold weather outside should not equal cold weather in your home. If you’re in a damp or wet area, rot around your glass can be very common and needs to be quickly addressed to avoid more expensive and complex home repairs.

On top of the questions above, ask yourself if you like the way your home looks. Of all the upgrades and renovations you could do, installing replacement windows is actually one of the easiest, and it can dramatically change the aesthetic of your home. So whether you’re looking out of necessity, normal wear and tear, or beautification, it’s important to ask whether or not now is the right time to upgrade the glass in your home.

A Guide to Buying Ceiling Roses For Your Home

Ceiling roses are ornamentations traditionally made of plaster that are used to decorate the area surrounding a central ceiling light. They were standard fashion items throughout the Victorian and Edwardian eras, particularly among the upper classes where they were often used to complement a chandelier in a room with a high ceiling. Today, ceiling roses are made from a variety of materials including polymer-based products. This makes them much lighter than traditional plaster ceiling roses and therefore easier to install. Making ceiling roses from modern materials also gives a higher level of definition for those ceiling roses that are ornately decorated. Ceiling roses offer a focal point to a room and can be used to complement its contents. However, before you buy one there are a few things that you ought to consider that might influence your choice.

Firstly, you should consider the question – why you want to install a ceiling rose? Is it for entirely aesthetic reasons or is there a practical factor involved? Aesthetically, ceiling roses can add character to a room and help recapture the ‘period feel’ that a building can have. They may be used to accentuate the beauty of a chandelier and to highlight the lines of light it throws out. Alternatively, it may just be used to cover cracks in the ceiling! Ideally, you should install your rose in the centre of the ceiling and this will have some bearing on your choice as in the case of ceiling roses, size really does matter.

Initially, there is the size of the ceiling to take into account. If the rose is too large, it will simply dominate the room and serve to make it feel more ‘closed in’, rather than acting as a centrepiece. On the other hand if it is too small it will be a pointless exercise and the rose will become ‘lost’ in the expanse of ceiling. There is also the height of the ceiling to consider. A high ceiling will cheerfully show off a larger ceiling rose, whereas on a lower ceiling it will tend to dominate the room. The room’s height may also affect the level of decoration you wish your ceiling rose to have. The higher the ceiling, the bigger and bolder the design you can expect to accommodate. The lower the ceiling, the finer the detail you can sport, although in modern houses it is generally better to opt for something plain as installing an ornate rose can often be a case of ‘over-egging the pudding’.

There is also the question of existing decoration. Unless the room is being entirely redecorated, you may have to choose something that is sympathetic to its existing style. If you have intricately-patterned wallpaper you might want to minimise the amount of embellishment on your rose so that the overall design of the room does not become too ‘fussy’. If there are existing cornices and coving then it is far better to select a design that blends in than one that will confuse the focus of the room. Detail is also a concern should you be planning to adorn the area surrounding a chandelier; the more ornate your chandelier is, the less your ceiling rose should be. In these instances ceiling roses are there to offset the lighting, not the other way round.

8mm Laminate Is the Top Flooring Choice

When people consider installing new flooring in their home laminate is a very popular choice.  People love it because it has the beautiful look of hardwood but it is much less expensive, easy to install and easy to clean. 8mm laminate flooring is the most popular thickness because of its inexpensive price tag and stable quality.  It is cheaper than the 12mm thickness due to the cost of the support material.  Even though it is not an engineered floor the 8mm is thick enough to not produce any sound when walked on and stable enough to cover up to 297 mm in width without any hint of buckling.

The most common brand names for 8mm laminate flooring are Pergo, Dupont, Mannington and Armstrong.  They produce a laminate that looks so much like hardwood that many cannot tell the difference.  This even includes the beautiful Brazilian cherry and bamboo. The top layer is created by combining two thin sheets of paper with melamine.  It makes it look like a photograph of wood grain and is then covered by a transparent layer. The bottom layer is made from a composite of wood chips that are about a half inch thick.

The installation process is considered to be so simple a homeowner can successfully do it themselves as a weekend project.  The 8mm laminate flooring planks can be clicked or glued together.  The clicked together 8mm laminate flooring is considered to be the easiest but the glue together is the most structurally strong and the best at resisting moisture.  Pergo Accolade is now offering a new feature with their 8mm precision-milled that clicks and locks together.  It is a premium attached underlayment with a twenty five year warranty.

If you love the look of a hardwood floor but your budget does not allow the steep price tag then your best choice is 8mm laminate flooring. Keep your beautiful floors looking brand new with the proper cleaning techniques.  Use a swifter style duster to pick up dirt and hair and make sure you always vacuum in the direction that the floor is laid.  This makes sure you get all the things that are trapped in the grooves.  Wash the floor with a gentle detergent and 1/2 cup of vinegar to a gallon of warm water.  Wring the mop out well so no extra water can drip on the floor.  With proper care your floor will serve you well for many years.

The Advantages and Disadvantages Of A Solar Pond Pump

A solar pond pump is a fountain pump that gets its power from solar energy by utilizing solar cells connected to the unit. You can select from two options: submersible and external. In the following paragraphs, we will discuss the advantages & disadvantages of using a solar-powered pump for your fountain.

A water element such as a lily pond is more relaxing when the water is running thereby producing a trickling sound. It is always the centerpiece of landscaping. Nevertheless, because garden pools are man-made bodies of water that doesn’t get its supply from nature, it is a must to clean it regularly for maintenance. This stagnation leads to the outgrowth not only of moss and alga but also bacteria, which makes the water green & dirty. The effects of this are contrary to life as it depletes the oxygen suffocating the pond fauna, that is the frogs & the fishes. A pond pump keeps the water from being stagnant; aeration & circulation hinders the growth of these aquatic parasites.

However, the issue we are discussing here is the cost of operation. An electric-powered fountain pump has an expensive upkeep. For this reason, a considerable number of fountain owners are choosing solar-powered pumps.

Solar pumps rely on the abundant sun for their power. The same as standard pond pumps, you also have the option of the submersible type or the external type. The submerged pump operates within the pond under the water. The external pump, on the other hand, runs outside the water, therefore it creates a steady hum unlike the former, where only the sound of trickling is heard.

The external pond pump is indicated for medium-sized to large-sized ponds, meaning a capacity of 1000 gallons or more. While the submersion pump is indicated for small-sized ponds or pools with a capacity of less than 1000 gallons. Usually the small pumps are labeled in gallons per hour or GPH even as the large pumps are marked in horsepower or HP.

Utilizing solar energy is environmentally friendly. Although the initial cost of installing solar panels is expensive, it comes out cheaper in the long run with the money you save on electrical bills. Plus, solar pumps are safer because without electricity chances of electrocution are nil.

The disadvantage of solar power is that it is not suitable in gloomy countries. The sun should always be shining in order to store enough energy to power the fountain. Although there are back-up batteries where energy is stored, if the sun doesn’t shine for a week, the energy is used up.

Are You Allowed To Eat Steak On The Medifast Diet?

I often hear from folks who are wondering what types of meat they can eat on the medifast diet. One popular inquiry concerns steaks. People want to know whether you can eat it, how large the portion sizes would be, and how often you get to have this food. I heard from someone who said “will I ever get to eat steak on medifast? It’s my favorite food and I can not imagine life without eating it regularly.”

The answer to this questions is that you can eat steak. But you’ll need to eat a certain kind. And at a certain time. I’ll explain this more below.

Eating Steak For Your Lean And Green Meal: In addition to five of the diet’s prepackaged meals, you’re allowed one larger, main meal each day that you make or provide yourself. That meal should consist of lean protein and low glycemic vegetables. How many ounces of that protein you get depends on how lean that protein is. For example, if you’re eating a meat which is over 95 percent lean, you can have six ounces of it. If you’re meat or protein is over 85 percent lean, you can have five ounces of it. Needless to say, you will have to choose lean cuts in order to make this work. Obviously, the more marbled and fatty the meat is, the higher the fat content you can expect.

Lean cuts of steak are eye round, sirloin, and shoulder. T bone is also considered relatively lean. Steaks like prime rib, rib eye, and beef tenderloin contain more fat. If you are going to splurge and eat a fattier cut of meat, then you’ll have to eat less of it. I will admit that I sometimes slip to less lean cuts of meat. But, when I do, I will put this in stir fries, soups, or stews so that I can use less. In other words, the meat is not the main attraction but you have enough so that you can taste and enjoy it.

If you’re going to have a traditional meal of a larger cut of steak with your salad or vegetables on the side, you can choose a meat which is labeled extra lean. You can easily see this by looking at the nutritional information on the side of the package. Also, I find that you can often just cut any visible fat off of even lean cuts to save even more fat that way. Since I’ve become used to eating leaner foods, I actually find excess fat or grease a bit too much so I actually prefer consuming leaner cuts of meat now. So to answer the question posed, yes you can have steak on your lean and green meal, but to enjoy more of it, you’ll want to choose lean cuts.

Methods of Spinal Decompression Including Massage Chairs

There are a variety of ways to apply spinal traction. A description is given of how a massage chair performs spinal traction. Traction is a force used to stretch or elongate joint surfaces. Specifically, mechanical traction is defined as the application of a mechanical force to the body with a method that separates the joint surfaces and elongate the surrounding soft tissues. In the case of spinal traction, mechanical traction is used to flex joint surfaces and stretch soft tissues.

The most common form of spinal traction used is a pulling force. Typically, the patient is laid on their back and their hips are held and a force is exerted on the shoulders and head. A spinal decompression machine is typically used to exert a pulling force on the patient spine by stretching the patient when they are supine.

A spinal decompression machine works on a theory of extending the disc in unison from top to bottom. The machine is exerting a force on both ends of the spine which pulls apart the cervical discs and stretches the soft tissues. This is also the more common thought of mechanical traction.

Another method used to affect traction is inversion therapy. Inversion therapy usually utilizes boots that the wearer puts on. Either the patient is laid on flat table which then allows them to be raised with their feet up. Or the user must lock the boots onto a bar and then suspend themselves from there hanging upside down.

Inversion therapy uses gravity to affect the force. The patient’s own weight is used to help stretch out the spine. Since the feet are held in place, the force is applied by both the angle of tilt and the patient’s own weight.

Roller tables are used to effect mechanical traction. A roller table is a long flat table to accommodate the patient lying completely flat. Rollers are contained inside the table and are used to apply mechanical traction.

Roller tables apply mechanical traction by passing the rollers across the spine. This applies an axial traction. As the roller passes each cervical disc, it will deflect the disc which stretches the soft tissues attached to it.

Massaging recliners work on the same theory as roller tables. A roller is passed across the spine. The weight of the patient and the angle of the recline determine the force exerted on the disc. Unlike a roller table, however, massage chairs are able to adjust their angle.

Massaging recliners can apply this type of mechanical traction to the spine. They are using gravity as the pulling force over the top of the roller. The roller causes the cervical disc to deflect when the roller passes. The soft tissues are then stretched which is the definition of mechanical traction.

Massage chairs are also able to provide a number of other treatments in addition to spinal traction. Massaging recliners have a full array of massage treatments and programs. Additionally heating elements are placed throughout the chair soothing warmth can be applied as needed. Massage loungers also have stretching of the lower body. Massaging recliners also come with MP3 players which can provide a relaxing environment for the patient.

Massage chairs are multipurpose treatment centers. They can provide a variety of treatments to accommodate many users. Massage chairs apply massage treatments consistently and can be customized for individuals. Massaging recliners have a variety of massage programs both manual and automatic. These massage chairs can also be directed to specific muscle groups for targeted relief.

Making an Old Shed New – Ideas For Updating Your Shed

Tired of looking out your back window at an ugly, weathered backyard shed? What to do without having to go to the trouble and expense of building a shed? Is your better half nudging you to “do something about that ugly shed?” One can’t deny, even the ugliest of sheds is better than no shed.

First, make sure the shed is solid and worthy of continued maintenance – if it needs rebuilding, you can get shed plans that will guide your reconstruction. However, if it’s sturdy, shows no signs of rot or rust – its worthy of a beauty makeover.

Doors are a great way to freshen and update your garden shed – explore options at your local home center. Bring some humor to your shed with an old-fashioned outhouse door. Or, explore wood doors that allow for a bright colored paint, split doors offer a casual look, and double barn doors will provide for charming convenience.

New hardware provides an easy way to give the shed a more current look. Knobs, hinges, latches, and lights will support an affordable facelift.

Consider replacing the weathered, fly filled windows with paneled windows – if the sizes are standard, it’s an affordable upgrade that will add charm and a clean appearance to your backyard shed.

Windows? Now the fun begins. Affordable shutters painted to match your doors and other trim will turn an eye-soar into an adorable shed that will draw the envy of neighbors. If shutters are too cute for your style, consider a variety of flower boxes.

If these added updates aren’t enough, consider adding some pre-fabbed gingerbread accents to soften your shed’s edges, corners and eves. These are easy to install, simple to paint to match and will add an entire new look to your once staid looking shed.

New shed siding can be added, or even a new roof without redoing the entire construction. There are countless options when considering new siding; feel free to explore several unique shed siding ideas here.

If you truly have time on your hands, you may want to ponder updating your shed with a new front porch; add an awning or railing – all or part of this will offer a soft and welcoming appearance. Some have taken it a step further by adding a stone, brick or gravel path, complimenting the inviting look.

Never underestimate the power of paint. Consider a bright and contrasting color of the door and trim.

Tired of looking at that empty shed side? Try sprucing it up with an artistically arranged display of something curious. For example antique yard tools, hanging baskets, birdhouses, tiles, sundials or other interesting items.

Add a trellis to soften the shed’s presence. We’ve seen simple trellis made from apple tree pruning’s that were woven together and kept in place with wire – 2-3-4 in a row along the sheds side will be something a garden club would fuss over, attractive and easy.

Now, for the obvious suggestion – updating your shed can be as simple as adding some matching flower pots, a bench or a wreath on the door. Sometimes “fresh” can be just a splash of “new” and not an entire makeover.

Regardless, we hope a few of these suggestions have given you some ideas on how to turn an old shed new.

Penis Care for Joggers – Protecting the Package During and After a Run

Jogging and running, whether for exercise or competition, constitute one of the most efficient ways to get in shape, trim off extra weight, and build endurance. There is no question that there are multiple benefits to working in a daily run, but this high-impact exercise does take its toll on the body. Men and women alike can be affected by joint pain, and women, of course, generally require a sports bra for firm support. One of the major issues that many men have with running is the damage caused by constant penis chafing against their shorts, as well as the bouncing, swinging action that can leave a pecker feeling bruised and sore. Fortunately, this problem is avoidable, as long as a man is willing to take the necessary steps for penis care both during and after a run.

Here are some of the ways that a man can protect the goods while he is pounding the pavement:

  • Athletic supporter – The tried-and-true jock strap is an ideal way to hold the twig and berries firmly in place while running. Men should look for high-quality supporters and check for proper fit. A jock strap can be worn with or without underwear; a pair of briefs might provide some extra support, as well as helping to wick moisture away from the body. The athletic supporter should be washed and dried properly after each use; otherwise, the built-up sweat, dirt and body oils will only cause further chafing of the delicate penis skin.
  • Compression shorts – Compression shorts are athletic garments that are worn under the clothing. They provide support for the muscles, wick moisture away from the body, and can help to hold the penis firmly in place. Many men prefer compression shorts to athletic supports due to the comfort factor, as well as the more streamlined appearance. Some shorts come with a sewn-in pocket in the front where a cup can be inserted, although it is not clear that this can hold the goods in place as well as a traditional athletic supporter. Compression shorts should fit properly – if they are too tight, they will restrict circulation, thus creating a potential risk to penis and testicular health.
  • Bike shorts – Cycling shorts are similar to compression garments; the real difference is that they are padded in the seat to ease the strain of sitting in a bicycle saddle for extended periods of time. These can be used as an alternative to compression shorts and offer a good solution for triathletes who both cycle and run.

Soothing the sting and protecting the goods

Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to penis chafing, but once the damage is done, a man needs to know how to soothe a burning member and speed up the healing process. While going without pants altogether while the healing takes place might be the ideal solution, it is not practical, so some alternative answers are needed.

First of all, the penis should be washed carefully to remove any traces of sweat or grime that might continue to chafe the already-stressed skin. A mild cleanser is more appropriate than a harsh soap, and even simply rinsing in warm water should be enough to get the job done.

In addition, applying a penis health formula (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) that is enriched with Shea butter – a high-quality moisturizer and emollient – can soothe tender skin and create a moisture barrier to protect it from ongoing friction. Vitamins such as A, E, C and D also work to speed healing and prevent the formation of toughened, keratinized skin that can dull penis sensation. Finally, wearing a soft, comfortable, slightly-snug pair of briefs will help to reduce any further rubbing.

What’s So Important About the Guitar Bridge?

As one of the most important aspects of a guitar, the bridge is a device that supports the strings on a guitar. It works by transmitting the vibration of the strings which in turn transfers the sound to the air so that you can hear when a guitar is played. Any instrument that is stringed produces their sound through energy to the strings which sets them into vibratory motion. However, the strings by themselves only produce a weak sound because they only send out a low volume as they vibrate. The strings need the ability for the sound to be transmitted to a larger surface area that then sounds the volume into the air which in turn produces louder sounds. A bridge is how this is done.

The positioning of the bridge is of the utmost importance. Typically it is placed perpendicular to the strings and larger surface. The tension of the strings pushes down on the bridge and therefore the larger surface underneath it. The surface is usually coupled to a sound chamber such as an enclosure like the body of the guitar. This works to assist in the sound amplification. The bridge can be made of wood as the top plate of the guitar or in other instruments it can be made of plastic, metal or even calfskin. Any material that vibrates with the strings can be used.

Bridges are usually made of a single piece of material that fits between the strings and the surface but in some cases the bridge can consist of multiple parts. One common bridge that can be found is one that incorporates a separate bearing surface which the strings rest on called a saddle. The saddle is usually made of a material harder than the bridge itself such as ivory, metal or bone. A classical style guitar uses a saddle that sits very loosely in the bridge and is only kept there by the tension in the strings. The saddle then has shallow grooves in it to prevent the treble strings from moving during playing.

Electric guitars in particular have two main groups of bridges. There is the tremolo and the non-tremolo, sometimes called the hardtail. The tremolo bridges have an arm sometimes called the whammy bar, which extends from below the securing point of the string. It works by acting as a lever that the player can pull or push to change up the tension in the strings which results in the changing of the pitch. The non-tremolo bridge supplies a secure point for the strings but don’t give any real control over the pitch or tension of the strings. There are a small group of tremolo bridges that have an extended tail which gives more reverb in the sound because of the string resonance found behind the bridge. Fender makes a guitar with this longtail called the Fender Jaguar.

All bridges have pros and cons, depending on who is playing it and what style they play, but in general the non-tremolo bridge provides the best tuning stability. It also gives solid contact between the body and strings making it one of the best bridges to have.

Dell Online (Case Study)

Background (General Facts from Case Study)

Dell is a computer corporation recognized for manufacturing computer systems through parts assemble. In 1983, Michael Dell saw an opportunity in using IBM compatible computers for a new assembly line that can be sold to local businesses. The idea as explained by Michael Dell, in an interview with Joan Magretta[1], is that in the early days of computers’ manufacturing, companies had to be able to produce every part of the system. As the industry matured, companies started to focus on single parts and to become specialized in creating items that can be assembled with other parts to prepare a computer. As a result, Dell understood that to have a competitive edge in the market, they needed to focus on activities that drive sales instead of putting capital in producing items that other manufactures are already creating.

In the 1990’s, the computer market revolved around desktops, notebooks, and network servers. Dell competed with high-end machines from IBM, HP, and Compaq with a product line that provided value-priced systems for consumers and highly reliable networked systems for business. In the late 90’s, around 40% of households owned a pc in the US. On the contrary, from the business side, around 80% of the companies still had old server and desktop machines. Management had to approve purchasing orders, which resulted in only 2.2% of servers’ sale in comparison to the total purchases for desktop PCs in 1996.

In order for Dell to achieve $7.8 billion from sales in the late 90’s, it had to skip over the traditional channels of using retail or value-added resellers (VARs) to sell directly to the consumers . The “direct-model “or as Michael Dell comments on how his new employees call it “The model” is not that all powerful system. It is simply a way for Dell to cut on the standard supply chain cycle and deliver goods directly from the manufacturer to the customer. They created partnerships with several suppliers such as Sony, Intel, and others to deliver goods effectively at the time of the order to Dell’s plant where the assembly took place. The delivery and shipment were outsourced through a dedicated service that also insured delivering the monitors directly from the supplier at the same time. Mr. Dell talks about how suppliers are benefiting from the fact that Dell buys more items from the suppliers keeping no inventory and only requesting faster delivery upon orders.

In 1996, Dell capitalized on the growing number of customers who are using the Internet and launched its online store at dell.com. The online venture then proved to be the most appropriate sales channel that matched the supply chain direct model implemented by Dell.

In its path to compete in the market, Dell had to provide additional services such as DellPlus that enabled Dell to install commercial software packages, DellWare which provided hardware and software from other vendors, and after sales and on-site support services. These actions, as described by Michael Dell, required establishing more partnerships, which Mr. Dell describes as a process of “trial and error”. The integration with partners was changing as the technology is evolving and many venders go volatile while others remain sold. Furthermore, looking for an IT company to build the online store brought in very few players, which made Dell accept the overhead of developing the portal in-house.

Enterprise Architecture Issues

  • Supply Chain Management: The purchase and number of transactions that Dell took in required a properly configured and concise business process.
  • In-sourcing: To meet the demand of the market some parts of the process required the services of other companies that can be in partner with Dell.
  • Quality Assurance: The computer industry is a very dynamic one, which makes quality products stand out when faced with technology-oriented consumers.
  • Business Automation: As Dell advanced into online markets, its sales staff feared from losing their jobs in favor of automated sales transactions.
  • Dynamic Industry: The technology industry requires closely monitoring consumers’ trend to maintain a low gap between the point of demand and the point of supply.

Analysis

Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Management (SCM) aims at integrating all corporate activities to improve relationships at all levels (internal operations, supplier networks, and distribution channel) to meet the competitive edge and satisfy the customer (Al-Mashari and Zairi 2000)[2]. In order to build an effective and complete business process that supports SCM, information among all business partners need to be shared. Information sharing through the Internet reduce the gap for business-to-business (B2B) commerce by enabling seamless integration with enterprise processes among partner corporations (Archer 2006)[3].

Dell developed its internal business process by creating production cells that start assembly at the point of order. It also established an internal information system to make the details of the products under production electronically available to all parties within the chain. To manage the supply of computer parts, Dell maintained close relationships with their suppliers and logistics providers to make their vendors manage the inventory system while Dell focused on product assembly (Kumar and Craig 2007)[4]. In addition, Dell used enterprise technology to make their database and methodologies available to the supplier to understand how Dell works. On the consumer side, orders made through the phone or online through dell.com produced a tracking code that the consumer can use to track the status of his or her order at any time through the phone or on Dell’s website.

In sourcing

Organizations worldwide are benefiting from the specialized services offered by various companies. In the shipping and transport arena, companies Like UPS (United Parcel Service) and DHL stand out as masters in their industry. UPS and DHL have established offices and transportation vehicles all across the world. They provide business services through in-sourcing which enables them to be part of the internal business process of companies (Marcum 2007)[5]. To a company like Toshiba for example, after-sales support service would require shipping the damaged computer to and from the consumer’s side. For that, UPS would say, “Look, instead of us picking up the machine from your customers, bringing it to our hub, then flying it from our hub to your repair facility and then flying it back to our hub and then from our hub to your customer’s house, let’s cut out all the middle steps. We, UPS, will pick it up, repair it, and send it right to your customer” (Friedman 2006)[6].

Dell understands that it need not compete unless it would get the advantage in the market. Michael Dell says that one should evaluate the competition field and pick the best one. In that context, after-sales services were contracted with firms who are specialized in that field and can be contacted directly through the integrated supply system to fulfill the requests of the consumers. Furthermore, shipping is handled through multiple shippers to deliver systems to consumers or to resellers across the world. In addition, Dell has saved the overhead cost of monitors’ delivery by requesting shippers to deliver from the monitor’s supplier directly to the consumer at the same time.

Quality Assurance

In a competitive arena, companies seek to have an advantage through means that are not necessarily related to price. Constraints against outsourcing due to excessive decentralization within organizations can have a negative impact on the value chain process. Combing various options and being open to diversification would support in increasing the speed-to-market and enhancing the quality of products (Ernst 2000)[7].

Dell has an operational facility in Penang Malaysia, which places Dell at a central position near to where most suppliers actually have their factories. Orders for goods come directly to Penang center through the integrated suppliers’ logistic centers (SLCs) chain[8]. The Penang center sends emails to suppliers requesting the parts that will be assembled based on the customer’s order. The entire model was efficient enough to require no more than 36 hours from order to shipping. In terms of quality of service, Dell has won numerous awards for highest quality. In spite of that, it continues to find means to increase the efficiency of its products. Michael Dell suggested that reducing the human interaction with hard drives during assembly would decrease its failure rate. As a result, the reduction of the number of “touches” dropped the failure rate to 20%.

Business Automation

The general attitude from individuals and employees within organizations is that automation through information systems complicate their internal processes, and might result in cutting down the number of staff (Khatibi, V.Thyagarajan and Seetharaman 2003)[9]. There are several psychological and behavioral problems associated with reluctance to change, which appear to impede the growth of E-commerce. On the other hand, retailers no longer think their web sites are simply an added benefit for their customers since the ROI (Return on Investment) percentages from online websites have far outweighed their bricks-and-mortar counterparts (Casey 2004)[10]. For that reason, the staff involved in the traditional sales process requires training to embrace new technologies and to learn how they can benefit from it.

For Dell online store the response from the consumers was huge, however, at first the sales representatives feared that the online website would reduce the number of sale deals they closed. To overcome this, Dell introduced the cost saving model showing how the online store would support sales representative close more deals and at the same time would produce cost effective results that would have a positive ROI on the business.

Dynamic Industry

Customer relations management (CRM) is a very vital competency that was born from the amount of transactional sales deals through call centers. The process of understanding customers goes through the initial phase of collecting data then analyzing trends and eventually building a knowledge base that will drive the profitable relationship (Liew 2008)[11]. Organizations’ use of CRM models is an attempt to get firsthand knowledge that would improve marketing effectiveness, bring more personalization, and build brands among other objectives based on the nature of the business (Anderson, Jolly and Fairhurst 2007)[12].

Michael Dell model is based on keeping no inventory, in order for Dell to maintain that they focused on segmenting their customers into scalable businesses that can be analyzed for their level of demand. Sales executives at Dell used communication skills to elicit information from customers that would further support the demand forecast initiatives at the company. In addition, Dell sent surveys to customers to further understand the satisfaction level with the services provided by Dell and modify its product line and services accordingly. Furthermore, Michael Dell discussed how regional meetings in various countries invited potential customers to further enrich the relationship and give room for comments and feedback about Dell’s services. On top of all that, Dell strived to provide information for its customers to help them make proper choices for their IT requirements and gain privileged information about new and upcoming technologies. Dell invested in developing a web portal in the form of “Premier Pages” for high-end customers and another for small to medium businesses at Dellmarketplace.com[13]. Both sites aim at providing information to customers and establishing a single point of access for customers’ IT service requirements.

Conclusions

Dell is simply a success story; it shows how one can gain market advantage by simply understanding what brings value to customers. No one, even Michael Dell himself when he started, thought that people would enjoy customizing their PC orders and wait patiently as the order makes its way back to their homes. Some studies talk about how people challenged the initial delivery estimates provided by Dell to see if they were met.

The level of expansion Dell strived to achieve brought in problems as with any growing business. However, by adapting techniques such as In-sourcing and mutual benefit partnerships it reduced its potential staff from 80,000 to only 15,000. Dell also was aware of factors that would hinder its supply chain. For example, they maintained a multiple list of shippers as not to be affected by unexpected delays and organizational issues. In addition, they understood the importance of developing their own enterprise systems in-house to control all the variables and maintain their business processes.

This is one of the best case studies in the IT industry. I believe the level of commitment Dell showed in the model he created is inspiring. On the editorial side, I believe more highlights on the internal infrastructure of Dell’s network would have helped in building an understanding of how the supply chain actually worked. Did they use CRM modules, ERP, SCM, or a combination of all? How did Dell secure its information link with its suppliers, were all of them mature enough when it came to Information systems?

Recommendations

  • Organizations should focus on value adding activities like establishing online portals for their customers.
  • Businesses should conduct frequent surveys to measure the level of service they provide and work on enhancing their products.
  • Organizations should decentralize and enable expansion through global techniques such as out-sourcing and in-sourcing.
  • Building internal enterprise information systems is the most effective methodology for information and knowledge sharing.
  • Establishing multiple touch points with customers, strengthen the relationship and increases satisfaction levels.
  • Meeting global quality standards is the only way to get an advantage in a competitive arena.
  • Internal organization assessment and training is vital to maintain the high spirit of employees and increase their productivity.
  • Management support and funding is a key element in the success of any information system implementation.

References

  1. Joan Magretta , “The Power of Virtual Integration: An Interview with Dell Computer’s Michael Dell.” Harvard Business Review 76, no. 2 (Mar/Apr 1998): 72-84, 13, 2.
  2. Majed Al-Mashari and Mohamed Zairi, “Supply-chain re-engineering using enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems: an analysis of a SAP R/3 implementation case.” International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management 30, no. 3/4 (2000): 296-313
  3. Norman P. Archer, “Supply chains and the enterprise” Journal of Enterprise Information 19, no. 3 (2006): 241-245, 242
  4. Sameer Kumar and Sarah Craig, “Dell, Inc.’s closed loop supply chain for computer assembly plants.” Information Knowledge Systems Management 6, no. 3 (2007): 197-214,18.
  5. Marcum, Jennifer. “In-Source or Outsource?” BioProcess International, June 2007
  6. Thomas L. Friedman, The World Is Flat (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006), 168.
  7. Dieter Ernst, “Inter-Organizational Knowledge Outsourcing: What Permits Small Taiwanese Firms to Compete in the Computer Industry?” Asia Pacific Journal of Management (Springer Netherlands) 17, no. 2 (August 2000): 223-255, 248
  8. Friedman, The World is Flat, 516
  9. Ali Khatibi, V.Thyagarajan, and A. Seetharaman, “E-commerce in Malaysia: Perceived Benefits and Barriers.” Vikalpa: The Journal for Decision Makers 28, no. 3 (Jul-Sep 2003): 77-82, 6.
  10. Bernadette Casey, “Online Monday blacker than in-store Friday.” DSN Retailing Today, December 13, 2004: 13-13,0.
  11. Chor-Beng Anthony Liew, “Strategic integration of knowledge management and customer relationship management.” Journal of Knowledge Management 12, no. 4 (2008): 131-146.
  12. Anderson, Joan L., Laura D. Jolly, and Ann E. Fairhurst. “Customer relationship management in retailing: A content analysis of retail trade journals.” Journal of Retailing & Consumer Services 14, no. 6 (November 2007): 394-399, 6.
  13. Alorie Gilbert, “Dell Online Marketplace Targets Small Businesses.” Electronic Buyers’ News, October 2, 2000: 58, 0.

Door Knocker Installation

Installing a door knocker may seem like a simple project, but it seems that there are a few questions to be answered before getting started.

I just had one of the best laughs I have ever had. While watching one of my favorite TV shows, the main characters walked up to a house to knock on the door. I had to look twice but there it was, a beautiful little urn style door knocker not only mounted way to high on the door, but it was installed upside down. This situation required a very tall visitor to use a door knocker that probably could not generate enough knock to be effective.

Needless to say, knuckles were used instead.

This was a good laugh but it did expose a reality to a guy who sells door knockers for a living.

Door knockers are usually purchased that uses either surface mounting or through the door mounting.

Surface mounting would be the simplest. Screws pass through the body of the door knocker and into the door behind.

Through the door mounting as the name implies, uses bolts that pass through the door and screws into the door knocker to hold it in place.

The through the door method is a bit more complicated because holes must be drilled through the door to match the mounting points on the door knocker. To complicate matters many times the mounting bolts themselves must be cut to the proper length to match the width of the door.

If you are replacing an existing door knocker that uses through the door mounting you must find a new door knocker that uses the exact same bolt pattern, or, as it is properly called, bolt center as the previous one has.

The bolt center measurement is the exact distance from the center of one mounting bolt to the center of another mounting bolt.

If you purchase a replacement door knocker with a different bolt center dimension you will need to drill another hole through the door. The further problem is there will be an unused hole in the door that must be covered or filled.

It is usually preferable to find a replacement door knocker using the same bolt center dimension but this is not always possible. There is no standard and the bolt center is usually determined by the design of the door knocker itself.

And now what seems like the hundred thousand dollar question for door knocker installation. Where do I mount it on the door?

The pattern and design of the door itself may dictate where the knocker is mounted. There always seems to be the lingering question of how high?

Once again there is no standard but logic should dictate that the average person should be able to reach the door knocker for it to be used. Even if you intend the knocker to be purely ornamental and not be used, it just does not look right if it is located way to high or low.

A typical height from the bottom of the door would be around 5 feet, or about eye level of an average person, give or take a bit to match the pattern of the door.

As a final thought, a door knocker really should be mounted on the door itself, not next to it. Once again if the knocker is there for purely ornamental reasons it may make little difference but if you are expecting results from it that is another case. The tap of the knocker will not resonate through the door jam or wall effectively enough to be heard well on the other side.

A door knocker is a wonderful inexpensive addition to your home that can add charm and warmth to your entrance. Once installed it should require little attention or maintenance for many years to come.

Rules of the Hammer Throw

The hammer must pass a rigorous inspection to be certified for competition. It is the only implement in track and field that has moveable parts, and therefore must be strictly regulated. The following is an excerpt of some of the primary rules governing the hammer throw.

1. Implement must be certified for weight, length, diameter, handle and center of gravity.

a. Minimum weight 7.260kg senior men, 6.000kg junior men, 5.000kg youth men, 4kg women (senior, junior and youth)

b. Maximum length 121.5cm men, 119.5cm women

c. Minimum length 117.7cm men, 116cm women

d. Diameter of ball minimum 110mm men, 95mm women

e. Diameter of ball maximum 130mm men, 110mm women

f. Handle must form an isosceles triangle with the long sides equaling 110 mm, must be of rigid construction that will not stretch appreciably while being thrown

g. Wire must be unbroken, straight length of spring-steel wire not less than 3mm in diameter, which cannot stretch appreciably while being thrown

h. Center of gravity of the head of the hammer shall not be more than 6mm from the center of the sphere

2. Thrower must stay in the circle (7 feet in diameter) until implement lands.

3. The thrower must wait until the implement has landed before exiting the back half of circle under control.

4. Implement must land in sector (34.92 degrees).

5. Any throw that lands in the sector and is not a foot foul is a legal throw.

While different governing bodies have more specific rules about handle requirements and the acceptable tolerances of the materials used in hammer construction. These are the basic rules are fairly consistent across all leagues and levels of competition for hammer throwing.

Making a Mosaic Tabletop

So you have some leftover pieces of tile from a previous project. Or maybe you just want to add a punch of pizazz to a bland, wooden coffee table. Creating an eye-catching tabletop mosaic, although time-consuming, requires little artistic skill. As long as you have small, colorful pieces of tile, leftovers or from a mosaic tile kit, you can create a fun mosaic design for nearly any tabletop!

1. Gather small pieces of tile. If you choose to use leftover pieces, no matter their size, you can easily break them down to mosaic-friendly pieces by placing them upon a concrete slab and under a dishcloth. Then take a hammer, and smash the cloth, right in the center of each tile piece. Take care to watch for flying shards in your work area.

2. From these pieces, choose a color scheme and style from pieces the same thickness. Remember, the smoother the tile pieces and the more basic the design, the easier the installation process and more formal the result. Determine if you want to attempt a central icon or color theme. If you opt to tile an image in the middle of the mosaic or repeat a theme, take note that the process requires more time and attention.

3. Either trace and sketch the design directly onto the tabletop, or cut a piece of cardboard the same size as the area you intend to tile. Lay out the mosaic pattern on the table or cardboard, starting in the middle and working your way out. Leave at least.25″ between each piece for grout when spacing your mosaic design.

4. Sand down the tabletop to remove any existing finish, dirt, and debris.

5. Add only as much adhesive as you need to set one tile at a time, as adhesive dries very quickly. Transfer your design directly from the cardboard and caulk each piece one at a time into the wood, working from the inside out. Let the mosaic set for 24 hours.

6. Apply grout to the mosaic, smoothing it in between each tile piece and extending the grout to the edge of the design.

7. Allow the grout to dry and then wipe the entire surface of the mosaic with a dry cloth to remove any excess grout left behind.

8. Spray a tile sealant or use a tile scrubber to keep your grout from staining and your tiles looking worn. Let the surface cure before using it.

With the addition of a colorful mosaic, a mundane coffee table or kitchen island has transformed into a stationary piece of artwork! Now that you’ve completed a table, why not consider adding mosaics to other surfaces in your home, such as the entryway, fireplace mantel, bathroom floor, or on an interior wall? The possibilities are endless and the materials available! There is plenty more to read about creative things you can do with tile at Denver Tile Installation ‘s website, just look for the blog link and enjoy.