Dangerous Driving Habits in this year

Many of today’s drivers have dangerous driving habits. You do not have to travel far to see people driving with risky driving techniques. Dangerous driving habits can be observed on highways, on residential streets, and in parking lots. Dangerous driving habits are not only fraught with danger to the driver performing them, but to the public as well.

Everyone eventually crosses paths with a reckless driver! Many of us survive these encounters, but some do not. Dangerous drivers kill people and destroy property everyday. As a result, Insurance companies cite dangerous drivers as one of the main reasons for the skyrocketing cost of automobile insurance.

There are drivers from all age groups that have dangerous driving habits. Younger drivers can be dangerous drivers simply because they lack experience driving in various environments, such as driving at night, or driving on interstate highways. Older drivers are sometimes dangerous because their senses and reflexes are not as sharp as they once were.

Technology has also added to dangerous driving habits. Cell phones are now more popular than ever, many drivers have cell phones. While driving in town or on the highway, it is rare not to see someone driving while talking on his or her cell phone. Another dangerous driving habit is applying makeup while driving. Applying make-up while driving is thought to be a leading cause of accidents, and is completely irresponsible. One of the most common dangerous driving habits is eating while driving. Many drivers leave the drive through lane of their favorite restaurant and immediately pull onto a road while trying to eat and drink the food they just purchased. All of those bad habits can distract a driver from paying attention to other drivers on the road and being aware of road conditions.

There are many kinds of driving habits that are considered risky. Speeding is a very common driving habit that can lead to a disaster. Drivers that speed are engaging in reckless and impulsive behavior. It is especially dangerous to speed in residential neighborhoods where children and pets may be playing. Speeding drivers can also be dangerous in neighborhoods where homeowners in their vehicles are entering and exiting their driveways.

Another category of dangerous driving habits is failing to use turn signals. Proper use of turn signals can help prevent most accidents. Failing to use turn signals properly can increase the rate of accidents with other vehicles and pedestrians. Turn signals are simple devices that can give advance notice to other drivers about your driving intentions. It is unfortunate that failing to use such a simple device can cause so many tragedies in terms of lives and property damage. Road rage is a one of the consequences of failing to use turn signals. Many drivers become enraged when they barely escape an accident due to another driver failing to use a turn signal to notify them before changing lanes or making a turn.

Many dangerous driving habits are a result of over confidence. Drivers with years of experience sometimes become dangerous drivers because they are over confident with driving their particular vehicle, or a particular route between home and work. They are not prepared when something out of the ordinary occurs.

There is an old saying, “Good habits are as hard to break as bad habits.” If you have dangerous driving habits you can change them by applying good driving skills for a few weeks, after a few weeks many of these good driving techniques will become your new habits. You should practice watching for speed limit signs, and adjust your speed if necessary. If you practice using turns signals every time you make a turn or change lanes it will quickly become a habit. Developing good, safe driving habits may one day save your life or the life of someone close to you.

(c) 2006, Marcus Barber

The End of Kockums Crane in this year

Not all the things that can be found in this world are permanent. And many people know that ‘change’ is the only permanent thing to exist in our ever-changing world.

Though many people want some things to remain the same, they can’t do anything about it.

Traveling to other countries can be fun; you will be able to see lots of new things. Some travel for the sole reason of getting a glimpse of the greatest things in this world, and bask in the wonders of some of the most visited places. If you have been to Sweden before 2002, or is a local resident there, perhaps you’ve seen the Kockums Crane. It is the largest gantry crane in the whole world and is owned by the Germans. ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems had a subsidiary company named HDW who owned the crane.

Cranes sold or rented mostly in the market are not as large or tall as the Kockums crane; but their use in the construction and manufacturing industry could not be ignored. Cranes are very important machineries used to lift heavy loads of different materials.

A gantry crane is a type of crane that is similar to the overhead crane. The bridge that carries the trolley is usually supported by two or more legs that run on runways or fixed rails. Gantry cranes are also widely available in the market, and the Kockums crane is just one of them. Only now, it longer exists.

Kockums crane can be found in Kockums AB in Malmo before 2002. Since it is the largest in the world, it can lift about 1,500 tons. It is 138 meters high; and popularly known as Kockumskranen. Built in 1973-1974 over a shipyard, this gantry crane was never really used to lift anything because of the shipyard crisis in Sweden during the late seventies and eighties.

In 1997, it was used for the very last time in lifting the Oresund Bridge’s fundamental high pillars. Alas, the crane was able only to lift a certain load. But though it was its last time to lift a load, at least it was able to perform the function for what it was intended to do in the first place.

Since the crane was not used, in the 1990s the Kockums crane was sold to Burmeister & Wain, a Danish company which soon became bankrupt. Later on, it was again sold to Hyundai Heavy Industries (a Korean company). It was shipped thereafter to Ulsan, South Korea. Hyundai painted the crane orange before it was shipped to their fabrication yard.

Before Kockums crane was dismantled, the crane was actually a landmark in Sweden.

For many decades, the Kockums crane dominated the skyline of Malmo, Sweden. Many people can actually see it because it was impressively high, wide, and heavy. After it was sold to South Korea, some say that it was then sold to South Vietnam, then to South Georgia. The crane was taken apart by a Brit firm. Kockums crane has a sad ending, but that’s just the sad truth in this world of ours. Everything must end.

Since Kockums crane has been in Sweden for many decades, the local residents have only the memory of the crane to live by. Many pictures of the crane are still in circulation, and Malmo can still say that before them stood the largest gantry crane in the world.

Ten Towing Terms (Acronyms) You Need to Know in this year

There are many things to take into consideration when hitching your trailer to your tow vehicle. The following are some common towing terms you need to know when selecting a tow vehicle or purchasing a travel trailer.

GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating)

Maximum allowable weight that a single axle can carry. Do not exceed the gross axle weight rating listed on the trailer’s and tow vehicle’s certification label. It is measured at the tires and includes the weight of the axle, tires, wheels and brakes. Many problems can occur if this weight is exceeded; the tires may not be able to carry the weight possibly resulting in a blow out situation, the vehicle’s steering may become less responsive and the brakes may not be effective. GAWR is listed on a data plate typically located outside near the front of the unit or in some cases it could be inside a cabinet door inside the trailer.

GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight)

How much a vehicle actually weighs. Do not confuse with GVWR. GVW should never surpass GVWR. The trailer weight is not considered to be part of GVW weight, but the tongue weight is part of the GVW.

GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating)

A weight limit set by a manufacturer for a specific vehicle, it is the total weight the vehicle has been designed to carry. GVWR is listed on a data plate typically pasted to inside of driver’s doorframe, it is equal to or greater than the sum of the UVW plus the NCC. There are a few things that can go wrong if you exceed the GVWR; suspension can become ineffective or maybe even break because the added strain on tires, the breaks may not be able to stop the car effectively because of the excessive weight being pulled by tow vehicle.

GTWR (Gross Trailer Weight Rating)

The maximum trailer weight. This weight is located on a metal tag on the trailer frame and is based on the allowable weight of trailer and cargo.

SCWR (Sleeping Capacity Weight Rating)

Weight measurement provided by the manufacturer, determined by multiplying 154 lbs by the number of sleeping capacities in a unit (3 beds X 154 lbs = 462 lbs).

CCC (Cargo Carrying Capacity)

Weight that can be safely added without exceeding a vehicle’s or trailer’s GVWR. It is a weight limit and should not exceed manufacturer’s specifications. Here is how you can calculate CCC: GVWR – UVW – SCWR – Propane Fuel (4.2 lbs/gallon) – Fresh Water Weight (8.3 lbs/gallon) = CCC. If you are not sure of the ccc on a vehicle, ask the dealer or seller for a certified weight slip.

NCC (Net Carrying Capacity)

NCC is being replaced by CCC (see above) in new RV’s. NCC is equal to or less than GVWR minus UVW.

GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating)

Gross combination weight rating. Total weight of the tow vehicle, the trailer, all fluids, contents of trailer and vehicle and passengers.

UVW (Unloaded Vehicle Weight)

Weight does not include passengers, cargo, fresh water, LP gas, or dealer installed accessories. Usually found on the inside of a cabinet.

TWL/TLR/VLR (Tongue Weight Load/Tongue Load Rating/Vertical Load Rating)

Amount of trailer’s weight that presses down on the trailer hitch. Too much tongue weight can cause not enough weight on the front wheels of tow vehicle, too little weight can cause the trailer to sway. A weight distribution hitch will solve this problem by transferring weight to the front of the axle of tow vehicle. Look closely at the manufacturer’s trailer towing ball steel strength specifications before buying one or attaching your trailer rig to it.

Marathon Gas Card – So Many Choices in this year

Marathon gas card, credit cards and gift cards just make shopping and fueling you care easier. If you have a gas card, you can use it right at the pumps so you avoid standing in line at the cash register. Although there are many different credit cards and gas cards, you can choose the one that will fill all your needs. There are benefits to having the gas card to use at any Marathon gas station including rebates and detailed reports every month of your gas usage. There is the Marathon Regular Card, Marathon Premier Card, SuperFleet Card, Marathon Commercial Card and Marathon Fleet Card.

Fleet, Commercial and SuperFleet Cards

The Fleet card is designed for business and commercial customers that need to have better saving, security and control over the use of the cards. This card allows businesses to save money on fueling costs and control who uses the cards for fueling. The Commercial card is simpler and gives the basic information about each transaction and other information. The SuperFleet card is designed to help fleet operators see where their money is going for fuel. This card is good at Pilot and Rich stations, Marathon, SuperAmerica and Speedway stations.

Premier and Regular Gas Cards

The Premier card offers rebates and interest free terms of payment. Many other features make this card easy to use. The Marathon gas card is available at over forty-four locations throughout the United States. You can get up to two percent rebates off your monthly purchases. The card is also good for five percent cash back on cruises, hotels and airlines and fifty percent off movie tickets. There is also a locksmith service and fifteen hundred dollars emergency cash if you are stranded.

The Regular gas card is a great way to purchase fuel at the pump or in the store. This card has no annual fee and is available in over forty-four stations in the country. You can get extra cards at no extra cost.

Buying Power

With most of the Marathon gas cards, you can use them in the stores, car washes and at the pumps. However, some of the cards do have provisions and are only good for gas purchases. The cards that offer open buying are easy to use at the convenient stores. The gas cards are not good for purchases from the co-brand fast food restaurants that are on the premises.

Whether you have a Marathon gas card or a credit card, you will be able to fuel your car at the pump for more convenience. If you need a few groceries, some of the cards allow buying other things on the cards. There are provisions that govern the purchases you can make. The personal use cards are great for those monthly purchases and fleet cards are great for keeping track if purchases made by your employees. Some of the gas cards allow you to choose the card design that you would like. There is no extra charge for this feature.

California Wildfires Lingering Effects On Your Car’s Air Filter in this year

If you’ve ever smoked a cigarette you know how nasty the filter gets. Even after just a few puffs, the recently white tip will turn a disgusting orange-brown. The Southern California Wildfires have burned up hundreds, make that thousands, of acres filling the air with ash, smoke and dust.

During the fires, you could actually see the particles floating through the air. As the fires died down, you could still see their presence on your car. I would walk out of my house in the morning to find a thin layer of debris coving my car every morning. It was disgusting; and not only because my car was dirty, but because we were breathing that air.

The news advised the residents of San Diego, who weren’t evacuated, to close their windows, shut off their air conditioning and stay indoors. Basically, people should avoid the poor air quality as much as possible.

After a week or so, the presence of tiny ash particles started to disappear and people slowly started to spend more time outdoors. But the air quality was still really bad. Even though the dirty air wasn’t visible, we are still breathing. Not only is this bad for your lungs, but this air can really take a toll on your car’s air filter. People can deal with having bad health, but when car starts problems start to cost money, they aren’t happy. Thankfully, a few car companies have been very understanding and have provided customers with free services during these tough times.

For example, Goodwrench is currently running a promotion for the month of November where they will replace all air filters for GM cars. Their website states,

“Due to the recent wildfires, ash and other particles in the air could impact your vehicle’s engine air filter. To help, starting November 1, 2007 – November 30, 2007 GM Goodwrench will offer to residents of the eight affected southern California counties an engine air filter replacement free of charge on your GM car or truck.*

The offer is available at participating dealers only and to residents of the following counties: Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Riverside and Imperial.”

Volkswagen has also been very helpful. “We at Volkswagen are sending our thoughts and prayers to those affected by the recent devastating southern California wildfires,” said Steve Mears. “For customers who were severely impacted with damage to or loss of their residence and/or business, Volkswagen will defer their lease payments and extend their loan payments for up to 90 days. Customers will not accrue any additional charge or loan interest for the designated period.”

In addition, they offer free air filters for any Volkswagen car in the San Diego area, all models 1998 and newer.

I know what you’re probably thinking – free air filter – Big Whoop. But hey, it’s better than nothing. What does a dirty air filter mean for you? Decreased gas mileage, worse performance and can lead to early engine failure. So sure, you may not get a free car, but a new air filter can greatly benefit your car. Act quickly because the offer is only until the end of November!

HHO Hydrogen Conversion Kits Vs Natural Gas Conversion Kits in this year

With all the talk about converting cars to a more fuel efficient vehicle. There are a few simple choices one is the HHO hydrogen conversion kits and the other is the Natural gas conversion kits. Determining which of these kits one would like to place on there favorite car. You would have to weed through a few pros and cons to each of these fuel types.

HHO Hydrogen Conversion Kits Pros

  • Easy to build
  • Cheap to build
  • Small and compact
  • Only emits water for emissions
  • Can be built and placed in car in less then two hours
  • Uses water to make hydrogen
  • You more then likely have every thing need already in your house to build

HHO Hydrogen Conversion kits Cons

  • Not recommended in places with extreme cold
  • To many available kits to choose from may buy one that does not work and is difficult to build

Natural Gas Conversion Kits Pros

  • Good for all seasons
  • Great for the environment

Natural Gas Conversion Kits Cons

  • Can Take several hours to build
  • Big and bulky
  • Expensive to build
  • May need help to build
  • Need to purchase lpg gas or other natural gas to us

Even with these few things about both the hho hydrogen conversion kits and the natural gas conversion kits. You can see a few things where on would be better then the other. Depending on your location and funds available. You may want one over another. With one of the cons for the hydrogen conversion kit as being bad in locations with very cold temps. This also holds true to places with very high temps but there are ways around both issues.

A major con for the natural gas conversion kit is you have to purchase the lpg gas in order to run your car. Even though natural gas is much cheaper then regular gas it can be hard to find a place which sells gas near your location. Maybe one day all of our cars will be running on natural gas which would make our current gas stations convert to natural gas. Until that day we need to make a few choices on what we want to do in the mean time. We all know we want to be more energy efficient with our cars but we all do not have the money to go out a purchase a new car there for we find alternatives to these problems.

Even if you do not have the money now you may want to take some time to consider which of these kits you prefer over the other. Both come with huge benefits we might not b able to pass up soon enough. One of these benefits is recently Obama and other government officials have passed a law in which for the people residing in the us who purchased a conversion kit or have upgraded there car through the cash for clunkers program. Will also be getting a tax credit this up coming tax season. Besides having a fuel efficient car you will pay less for gas. Which to all of us is a huge plus. Depending on which kit you choose you can also expect to see you mechanic less. Hydrogen burns hotter then regular gas. Since it burns hotter it tends to clean out the internal parts to your car. These are just a few things for you to keep in mind when going to an energy efficient car. You have a tough set of choices ahead of you. Although this choice is far better then purchasing a brand new car.

The Top 5 Ways To Add Extra Ponies To Your Nissan 300ZX Twin-Turbo in this year

The Nissan 300ZX Twin-Turbo has one of the most powerful engines created for the best Nissans.The VG30DETT has huge amounts of potential. This engine is putting out 300hp and almost 290 foot Lbs. of torque stock! The twin turbocharged and inter-cooled engine lacks very little. Read on to find the 5 most cost effective modifications to give you the most horsepower for your hard earned dollar!

#5

Throttle body modification:

The throttle body modification isn’t going to be the biggest gain in hp in the world, but the best part is, it’s FREE! In case you missed that, yes, its completely free! All you need for this modification is a metal file or a 10mm wrench (depending on what year 300zx). All you have to do is simply remove a nut or a bump of molded aluminum that is sitting right by your throttle cable. This bump or nut is preventing your throttle from being able to open completely. By allowing it to open completely you’ve increased your air flow which increases your horse power.

#4

Upgraded air filter:

An upgraded air filter is the most basic of all modifications. Adding a higher flow filter is going to allow your Nissan cars [http://www.jdm-4u.com/nissan_cars.htm] engine to consume a much larger amount of oxygen then the stock air box. Imagine attempting to run a mile while using a straw to breath. It’s not a lot different for your car if you modify the car and not the air filter.

#3

Upgraged exhaust system:

An upgraded exhaust system is the same concept as upgrading your air filter. All the air that is being consumed by the engine needs to be evacuated. The problem that many people run into is they go about doing this the completely wrong way. BIGGER IS NOT BETTER! Having an exhaust that is to large for your car is actually going to hurt your 300zx’s performance. You should have no more than a 3 inch system unless you plan on running somewhere around 1000hp! This problem is somewhat obvious, but one that very few people think of; the bigger exhaust drops exhaust temperatures considerably. Having a lower temperature means the air traveling through the exhaust system is going to be much heavier and thus harder to move, which hurts your engines performance. Installing the correct exhaust size is going to give you the correct temperature of exhaust and will evacuate the air effectively. Contrary to what many think, a car doesn’t actually lose horse power because it has a large exhaust because of a loss of back pressure. It looses horsepower with a large exhaust because of turbulence and the cold dense air.

#2

Upgraded computer chip:

An upgraded computer chip is one of the easiest modifications. Upgrading the chip will enrich the fuel curve. This gives your car a bit more fuel to support the added power. Some also say it will help cool the pistons. In addition to the added fuel, the JWT chip maximizes the engine’s ignition timing and also tunes the cam timing. Most of the chips out there will have a couple additional features like raising the rev-limiter 200 rpm, and eliminating the top speed governor. Having an aftermarket ECU is nice because of the ease of calibration for future modifications like higher boost levels.

#1

Boost controller or boost jets:

Boost controllers and boost jets are the recommended way to increasing your boost pressure. Adding a boost controller essentially tricks your waste gates, waste gates vent boost allowing the car to just run at 8 psi. The boost controller or boost jets trick the waste gates into thinking that there is less boost than there really is meaning you will have a quicker spool up time and a large increase in total boost pressure. Boost pressure equals power. Running higher boost pressure is only capable after an ECU upgrade. Investing in a turbo timer is also a good idea when running higher than stock boost, as a turbo timer will help cool your turbos when its time to shut down.

There are many other upgrades to the 300zx but this will get you down the road with the least pain to your pocket!

The Nissan & IBM Outsourcing Agreement in this year

Introduction

In the year, prior to the turn of the millennium, Nissan was a company in a serious financial crisis. Debt had approached $22 billion by 1999. The company had been too complacent, and had taken its prior success, for granted [2].

Did Nissan’s decision to outsource their IT Infrastructure to IBM in 1999 make good sense? Nissan was a very troubled auto-manufacturer in the late 1990’s. Senior executives from the company were known for their conservative outlook on business, and their ‘old boy’s network,’ mentality. Profits were dropping dramatically, eventually forcing the company into the $22 Billion debt that it then faced. There were no signs indicating a change in the market that would encourage profit growth. The vehicle sales needed invigoration.

Mergers were the flavor of the day in the automotive industry during the late 1990’s. Nissan executives approached Daimler Chrysler and Ford to discuss a possible merger, but there was no interest from either of the companies [2]. There was only one alternative left, which was to reinvent themselves and reduce unnecessary overheads. This was the defining point that led to the business process outsourcing decision.

This paper seeks to answer the question “Does the cost of implementing an in-house solution outweigh the benefits or does Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) make more sense?” We reviewed the example of the automotive manufacturer, Nissan, when they decided to outsource their entire Information Technology department to IBM in late 1999, to answer our question.

Nissan – A brief history and the events leading up to the BPO decision

I. The Boom years

Nissan was established in Japan in 1933 as a heavy industry manufacturer. After the Second World War they turned their attention to automotive vehicles. In the 1950’s, they finally had an impact on the global market with the introduction of the Datsun branded sedans and small pickup trucks. The company eventually opened full-time operations in the USA in September 1960 [6].

The company experienced dramatic growth with the introduction of the ‘Z’ series sports sedans in the early 1970’s, with the 240Z becoming the fastest selling sports car of all time. This success led Nissan to the top of the U.S. vehicle importers market by 1975. Vehicle sales in the USA topped over 250,000 units per annum by 1970 [6]. The company was young, its leaders dynamic and the future looked very bright. They were competing for the U.S. market with the likes of Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors, showing improved quality and production efficiencies over their competitors.

The company was growing at a phenomenal rate, opening new manufacturing plants around the world on a regular basis such as Australia (1976), Spain (1980) and the United Kingdom (1984) [6]. There was no respite to the pace of growth and new business generation coming from the company.

In 1983, the company began the worldwide marketing of vehicles under the Nissan name which was felt to have a stronger quality image and started the six year transition from Datsun to Nissan on vehicles, dealerships, facilities and marketing materials. Sales continued to grow, eventually reaching 830,767 in 1985 [6]. The decade closed out with resounding success for Nissan with their domination of the North American market.

In 1993, the mid-line Stanza sedan was replaced with an all-new Altima and non-competitive Japanese-designed minivan was replaced with a new U.S. created Quest, which was the first minivan with car-like handling. Sales came roaring back in 1994 to near-peak levels of 774,405 [6].

In 1996, sales began to slip once again, fueled by a change in American vehicle tastes. Trucks and SUVs gained market share at the expense of sedans and sports cars [2]. Nissan’s position as a manufacturing driven company, which helped them in the ’80’s and early ’90’s, then had new problems with the dollar/yen balance which began to hurt their competitiveness against market driven companies.

Unlike their competitors, Toyota and Honda, which were focused on key volume segments, Nissan did not dominate any individual segment and competed in identical segments against Toyota and Honda.

Unfortunately for Nissan in the 1990s, the Japanese “bubble economy” burst, a downturn in Europe coincided, so there was more pressure in the U.S. to perform. Unfortunately U.S. customers didn’t have a genuine brand reason to shop Nissan except for the ‘best price’ deal.

Former Nissan president, Mr. Nakamura, announced a “Back-to-Basics” plan. The key elements of the plan were to reduce inventories, eliminate unrealistic sales targets, and increase dealer profitability. Unfortunately for Nakamura and Nissan, the plan did not work [2].

II. Trouble looms for the auto-manufacturer in 1990’s

In the early 1990’s, trouble began to brew in the organization. The once revered executives at Nissan were now viewed as arrogant members of the old-boys club and were ignorant to the changing needs of their customers and the overall automotive market, in general.

As the company progressed deeper into debt, it met with more challenges. Nissan’s business partners and suppliers were charging a premium for their goods and services. Nissan was obliged to meet its financial commitments and by so doing placed itself further into debt. Finally, the company was in debt to the tune of $22 billion. Even the company’s financers were tightening the noose around them. Nissan felt the situation was hopeless.

III. Steps taken to address issues

Nissan executives were looking for a way out, a way to rescue the company from entering into bankruptcy. The first approach was to find a partner. Both the newly established DaimlerChrysler and the Ford Motor company were approached, but both organizations rejected the idea of a merger [2]. Finally, Renault, the French automotive company recovering from a similar predicament, decided to enter into negotiations with the flailing Japanese company. A senior executive at Renault, Carlos Ghosn, was a huge supporter of the merger idea.

After much negotiation, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry agreed to allow Renault to purchase a substantial stake in Nissan. The Nissan-Renault alliance was born and Ghosn was appointed Chief Operating Officer.

Nissans Executive decisions and major events

I. Creating a global alliance vision:

The following is excerpted from the Nissan/Renault alliance vision:

“The Renault-Nissan Alliance is a unique group of two global companies linked by cross-shareholding. They are united for performance though a coherent strategy, common goals, and principles, results-driven synergies, shared best practices. They respect and reinforce their respective identities and brands.”[2]

The Alliance set itself three objectives, with the goal of being amongst the best three automotive groups in the following areas:

1. Quality.

Achieve customer recognition as being a quality and value added product.

2. Technology.

Lead in key technology development and implementation with a focus on excellence in specific areas of the automotive business.

3. Operating Profit.

Consistently generate a high operating profit margin and vigorously pursue growth.

II. Appointing a new leader

Ghosn, given his enthusiasm for the merger, his demonstrated tenacity, and his experience of the automotive industry, was a natural choice for a senior position at Nissan. His initial appointment as Chief Operating Officer (COO) was just a temporary assignment. In 2000, he was named President and in 2001, he was appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

As CEO, Ghosn was very aware that the ‘buck’ stopped with him. He was the final decision maker. Some important and very serious decisions were made to save the ailing company. Ghosn had to use all of his valuable experience gained from rescuing other organizations, such as Michelin and Renault, to save Nissan.

III. Decision making to save a troubled auto-manufacturer

With Ghosn’s arrival in Japan in the spring of 1999, he immediately set about researching Nissan’s root problems. The newly appointed COO had a management philosophy that stated “you must always start with a clean sheet of paper because the worst thing you can have is prefabricated solutions… you have to start with a zero base of thinking, cleaning everything out of your mind.”[2]

For the first few months, Ghosn flew around Japan, meeting and greeting employees at all levels, absorbing information and formulating a plan. He used this information to plot a picture of Nissan from a global perspective, identifying issues, and problems that had created the dispersed, unprofitable organization.

One of the many issues Ghosn identified was the lack of communication around the organization. Seniors managers around the world were aware of some of the issues that caused the downturn of fortune in the company. They even had solutions to them, but had lacked the necessary authority to implement or communicate the solutions back to Corporate Headquarters.

Finally, the major issues were whittled down to five key issues: [2]

• Lack of clear profit orientation. Nissan was not focused on driving profit, but were rather focused on market share and ended up having to buy their market share at the expense of the declining profits.

• Insufficiently focused on customers and too much focus on competitors. The company was too concerned about the competition introducing a new line which would have dug into the Nissan market share. For example when Volkswagen introduced their new Jetta sedan Nissan saw a significant decline in their Maxima sales.

• Lacked cross-functional, cross-border, and intra-hierarchical lines of work in the company. Nissan seemed to operate as separate islands scattered throughout the globe. There was no centralized purchasing function or in fact any of the other major business activities. The organization was not making maximum use of its global presence or buying power.

• Lack of sense of urgency. The executives in Nissan were complacent in their activities. Things had gone so well for the company in the preceding 60 years that they felt that there was no reason to embrace change.

• No shared vision or common long-term plan. Senior management within Nissan did not have a joint plan for the different brands within the company. Each division did their own thing with little or no thought for the greater good of the company. An example was the Z series that had achieved phenomenal success throughout the 1970’s and ’80’s but was suddenly dropped from production when sales dropped. The obvious thing to have been done was to test the market with a modernized design. Instead Nissan chose to ignore the market and drop the brand.

To address the issues, Ghosn announced the Nissan Revival Plan on October 18, 1999. This seven-point plan was aimed at reducing costs and debt as well as creating and launching new automotive brands to raise sales and market awareness. The goals announced in the plan were far-reaching and encompassed: [2]

• The reduction of operating costs, net debt, global head count, and vehicle assembly plants and manufacturing platforms (the latter in Japan).

• The generation of new product investment through the launch of twenty-two new models.

The cost-cutting plan called for centralization of purchasing, procurement, human resources and information technology. By centralizing these essential functions, the plan aimed to assist the company in achieving its aggressive cost reductions.

Expenditure, particularly in the information technology function, was perceived as being out of control. Ghosn’s message to senior level executives was clear, “cut costs in every possible area.” If that meant outsourcing non-core activities because somebody else could do it cheaper, then that had to be fully investigated and determined. The management was ruthless in their execution of the plan [2].

Nissan looks at Business Process Outsourcing as a means

I. Will outsourcing non-core activities save money?

There are well-documented records of company’s saving money and others of outsourcing horror stories. Success really depended on the situation and the provider.

Most experts agreed, though, that you needed to use BPO in strategic decisions, for example refocused efforts on core competencies and not merely for cost cutting activities [1]. Stephen Withers of ZDNet said in his on-line article that you should only “use BPO for strategic purposes, not to take advantage of a (possibly transient) cost saving.” Withers then asked the reader, “Does outsourcing the IT Infrastructure make sense?” To answer that question corporate Chief Information Officer’s (CIO’s) would need to have completed extensive research and have done a thorough analysis of their business processes.

This is exactly what Nissan’s CIO did, or rather what Ghosn told him to do. The company had invested over 80 billion yen (over $US760million) in 1998 on IT services, but their processes were still not providing the management with the infrastructure that would assist in building their competitive edge [5]. The final decision was made to approach various outsourcing service providers for the much needed help.

II. Does outsourcing the IT infrastructure make sense?

If Information Technology (IT) truly was a commodity, like gasoline or electricity, then companies only competed on price, with very small profit margins. In that event, the decision to turn over IT to an outsourcer was as simple as it was a century ago to turn to motor vehicles instead of using the horse and cart. However, while personal computers and the networks they run on may be standardized, the services provided by IT outsourcers vary in many ways. Services such as data analysis, application development, and IT decision-making allowed companies more competitiveness in the market therefore, those elements of IT are far from being viewed as commodities [8].

With regards the decision to outsource, many factors were considered in Nissan’s case. Ann Moynihan in her article in the Albany Business review states “Outsourcing can help you: [3]

• Reduce and control operating costs.

• Free staff to focus on core business.

• Gain access to specialized skills and technologies.

• Introduce positive change.

• Gain control over a difficult-to-manage function resulting from uneven workloads, insufficient or unskilled resources.”

With Nissan, in 1999, this was exactly what they were looking for. Refocused staff efforts, introduction of positive change and control gained in all critical areas led to the outsourcing decision.

The choice of IBM as Nissan’s outsourcing partner was a strategic one. In the late 1990’s there were not many outsourcing companies that had the breadth or the global reach that IBM had. Competitors such as EDS and CSC were not considered because they were only outsourcers and could not offer the hardware and software technology that Nissan required to update their infrastructure [5]. If either one of those competitors were selected over IBM as a partner Nissan would still have faced the same infrastructure issues. IBM was the only logical partner.

Did the relationship work between Nissan & IBM?

I. A further look at the relationship between IBM and Nissan

In a joint IBM and Nissan press release published in Tokyo on June 19, 2000, the two companies announced that they were “Extending their global partnership for information system (IS) operations which Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and IBM agreed in October 1999, Nissan and IBM today jointly announced that Nissan will outsource its IS operations in Japan, to IBM Japan.

The service includes Nissan’s regular maintenance and operational activities as well as part of its application development, but excludes the planning and design of new systems. The two companies will start operations from October 1. [7]

In North America, Nissan has outsourced these same operations to IBM Corp. since October 1999. This latest agreement in Japan is expected to further accelerate the standardization, integration and centralization of Nissan’s IS on a global level.”

Ghosn further noted, “The Nissan Revival Plan cannot be accomplished without effective information systems. Following upon the recent agreement with Japan Telecom, this latest partnership with IBM puts in place the global infrastructure which is key to support Nissan’s long term profitable growth.” [4]

II. Hypothetical view of the Return-on-Investment model used

Before they could calculate their Return on Investment (ROI), Nissan first had to look at the Total Cost of Ownership model proposed by IBM. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is a type of calculation designed to help consumers and enterprise managers assess both direct and indirect costs and benefits related to the purchase of any IT component. The intention was to arrive at a final figure that will reflect the effective cost of purchase, overall [8].

The TCO model used, had to calculate the costs that were required, beyond the fees of outsourcing. The organization had to evaluate specific criteria’s that could have added expense to the outsourcing project. They also had to calculate the ongoing expenses throughout the lifetime of the contract [8].

Then, after calculating the payback period, Nissan were in a position to calculate their ROI. Once the numbers were crunched, a thorough financial and risk analysis was conducted. The ROI measured the profit or cost savings realized. It was calculated by estimating, for a 3-year period, the investment was made and the resulting profit created through that investment.

The results were conclusive. Nissan and IBM entered into their agreement and operations scheduled to commence on October 1, 1999.

Conclusion

I. Did Nissan’s BPO reach its stated objective?

Nissan’s stated objective for the outsourcing of the IT infrastructure was to control expenditure, improve efficiencies, and update the infrastructure. By outsourcing to IBM, Nissan achieved all of its goals.

In controlling expenditure, outsourcing gave companies the opportunity to have a predictable monthly budget for expenditure. That amount may or may not have been lower than current expenditures but the component that was crucial to a large organization such as Nissan was that the amount is predictable. There was no variable component to the pricing. The only time the pricing may have fluctuated was when additional services, which were out of scope of the contract, were required.

In Nissan’s case, that was never a requirement. The company was in the first stage of a major, global, restructuring project and there were no new initiatives taking place.

The second objective in the BPO was to improve efficiencies. IBM is the world’s largest information technology company with revenues close to $100 billion [9]. When companies outsource their operations to IBM they are gaining best-of-breed technologies, excellent consultants and some of the best systems architects money can buy.

The way that any global outsourcer makes its money is by achieving economies of scale. The only way to achieve these economies of scale is to ensure that they deploy the best hardware, software, and infrastructure possible and make that equipment work to maximum efficiencies. By taking full advantage of this best-of-breed technology, Nissan met its second and third stated objectives.

II. What if the IT Infrastructure had been retained in-house?

If Nissan had decided to retain its IT infrastructure in-house and attempted to implement an updated and modernized system, it would have lead to a significant increase in their expenditure. Ghosn’s prime objective, when he took over the company in 1999, was to reduce expenditure by 700 billion Yen [2]. He was not interested in spending any additional money to modernize existing equipment.

To support the intended improvement in competitiveness, Nissan had to ensure that their infrastructure supported the additional workload. There was no way they could do the intended improvement in efficiencies without external support. Nissan did not have the expertise and the additional work force to handle the required upgrades and the reengineering of business processes.

III. Final assessment and summation of the relationship

Robert Greenberg, Nissan’s CIO of North America was on record as saying in 2006 that, “We were happy with the services from IBM but the world had changed.” This comment sums up the relationship as it stands now, almost 8 years later [5]. When Nissan announced its Revival Plan, in 1999, the company had very clear objectives; cut costs, and return to profitability.

Nissan was looking for help in 1999 and IBM fulfilled this role for their IT Infrastructure. Greenberg also stated in his Q&A that “One of the things that also took place with the original outsourcing to IBM was we probably outsourced too much.” [5]

Greenberg was not working for Nissan when the original outsourcing decision was made in 1999; he only joined the company in 2005. He is on record though as saying that he thought that they should have either retained some of the infrastructure in-house or perhaps have multi-sourced, thereby ensuring that they had the best possible solution and price.

In 2006, when the contract came up for renewal, the CIO decided to put everything out to bid and compare what the other vendors were offering with what IBM had provided for so many years. The decision to look at new vendors was actually excellent timing for the company as Nissan had decided to relocate their North American corporate headquarters from Los Angeles, CA to Nashville, TN and any transition could be timed to coincide with the move.

Ultimately, what Greenberg opted to do was to accept IBM’s proposal to “manage desktop systems, network services, help desks, dealer systems, and other key infrastructure elements for Nissan North America.” He then outsourced the application and maintenance to an Indian firm, Satyam and brought the remainder of the services back in-house [5].

When asked about the decision to bring IT back in-house, Greenberg said, “By bringing it in-house you increase the alignment. It’s a matter of building the knowledge internally [that] can be used to help drive the business activity, which is much harder when a business analyst function is sitting within a third party.” [5]

IV. Does the cost of implementing an in-house solution outweigh the benefits or does BPO make more sense?

As Stephen Withers stated in his article, BPO decisions should not be made for cost-cutting exercises but rather for strategic directions [1]. In other words, companies should not view BPO as a cost saving tool. Outsourcing the IT operation makes sense when an organization is looking to improve efficiencies and business processes or when they cannot attract, or retain, the human capital who have the expertise and ability to modernize or improve the infrastructure.

Nissan’s CIO Robert Greenberg thought that he would actually save money by bringing some of the work back in-house because he was “not paying margin on the individual [headcount].” [5]

Some of the individual lessons that Nissan’s Greenberg has learnt from the outsourcing agreement with IBM has been that certain services developed by the IT organization can indeed be outsourced or developed externally. However, he felt strongly about retaining in-house IT skills in such value generation areas as business analysts who have a strong understanding of the business, sometimes even better than the business customer does. Insourcing these skills could result in ideas and dialog with the business, with the end result being a service delivery or product development than can then be outsourced.

In summary, the answer to the question, ‘Does the cost of implementing an in-house solution outweigh the benefits or does Business Process Outsourcing make more sense?’ is that it depends. It depends on the available skills; it depends on the overall objectives (cost saving vs. process improvement) and it depends on the organization. For the most part the majority of major corporations world wide that have been through an outsourcing contract or are in an outsourcing contract will agree that there are substantial benefits to implementing an outsourcing contract and there substantial benefits in retaining those skills in-house. What each organization needs to do is ascertain which of those benefits outweigh the other and base their decision on that analysis.

Works Cited

[1] Withers, Stephen. “BPO: Save money or fix your processes?” ZDNet.com

[http://www.zdnet.com.au/insight/business/soa/BPO-Save-money-or-fix-your-processes-/0],139023749,139156391-10,00.htm 17 August 2004. Downloaded October 22, 2007

[2] Magee, David. Turn Around: How Carlos Ghosn rescued Nissan. New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc, 2003.

[3] Moynihan, Ann. “Outsourcing enables owner to focus on core business.” http://www.bizjournals.com/albany/stories/2002/10/14/focus10.html October 11, 2002. Downloaded October 22, 2007

[4] IBM Press room press releases. IBM.com “Extending Their Global Partnership, Nissan, and IBM Announce IS Outsourcing for Japan” http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/1670.wss June 19, 2000. Downloaded October 19, 2007

[5] Thibodeau, Patrick. “Q&A: Nissan CIO reshapes automaker’s IT”

[http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=110024&intsrc=industry_list] March 29, 2006. Downloaded October 23, 2007

[7] McDougall, Paul. “IBM, Nissan Outsourcing Deal Spans The Globe” http://www.informationweek.com/outsourcing/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=181502685 March 10, 2006 10:00 AM. Downloaded November 02, 2007

[8] Ikin, Paul. IBM Representative on Nissan Global team. 1998 to 2001.

Child Safety is Not Ignored in a 2006 Honda Accord in this year

When purchasing a new car, do you consider safety above all the other decorative features? If you have children, your answer should definitely be yes. Most parents use their cars every single day, often with their children riding along. For this reason it is so important to always be aware of your child’s safety while riding in the car. Automobile crashes are the leading cause of unintentional death among children under the age of 14, which is why it is surprising to hear that up to 14% of children are still riding unrestrained in cars.

Your children are the most important investments you have. What measures are you taking to guarantee your children safety while riding in a car? One step you can take is to be sure the car you drive offers only the highest level of protection. The 2006 Honda Accord is a reliable vehicle that not only meets all government regulations, but exceeds expectations on all safety features. Every feature emphasizes protection for children, including the LATCH and Child-Seat Anchors and the Front Side Airbags with Passenger-Side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS).

LATCH and Child-Seat Tether Anchors

By law, children must be restrained at all times while riding in a car. Child car seats are extremely effective at reducing the risk of death. In fact, they reduce the risk of death by 71% for infants and 54% for toddlers. LATCH, standing for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, is a new car seat attachment system that was developed to make child car seats easier to use and safer. With LATCH, you no longer have to use seat belts to secure child car seats in your vehicle because of the lower anchors and attachments that are built into the car. This will make car seat installation easier and more secure. Most vehicles built in or after 2002 will have LATCH.

The 2006 Honda Accord is built with the outer rear seats featuring the LATCH system for child seats. It consists of 2 lower anchors and a single top tethor to make sure the car seat is properly mounted. It is estimated that about 85% of car seats are installed incorrectly. The LATCH system makes installation easy and completely secure. For car seats that are not compatible with LATCH, they can be safely mounted in the rear seat of any 2006 Honda Accord using the lockable seat belt retractor.

Front Side Airbags with Passenger-Side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS)

The 2006 Honda Accord truly goes above and beyond any ordinary regulations with the safety features of front side airbags and OPDS. In the event of an impact to the side of the car, sensors will cause side airbag to immediately inflate. The airbag provide a cushion between the occupant’s shoulder and door, ultimately protecting the driver’s or front passenger’s upper body from any significant impact. The OPDS uses a total of seven sensors in the front passenger’s seatback to detect the height and seating position of the passenger. If a child or small-statured adult is leaning forward into the path of the side airbag, the sensors will deactivate it. The driver will immediately be notified by a warning light.

Similarly, the warning light will turn off as soon as the passenger sits back in the upright position. This feature is convenient for parents with older children riding in the passenger seat. No longer are airbags a worry because of the advanced sensors that monitor your children for you. This feature is also built into the and Honda Odyssey.

The 2006 Honda Accord continues its tradition of being among the best cars on the market. Make safety your first priority with the 2006 Honda Accord. It will give you all the safety measures and precautions to keep your family safe.

7 Step Sales Process of High Income Auto and RV Sales Professionals in this year

High income car and RV salespeople follow a 7 step sales process.

They follow the sales process on each and every contact. No exceptions.

There is no deviation. No skipping steps. It just doesn’t happen.

Automobile Sales an Art AND a Skill

Rembrandt was considered one of the greatest painters in European history. Do you know who Pieter Lastman or Jacob van Swanenburgh were? Rembrandt apprenticed under each of them.

What does that have to do with car and RV sales people? Nothing. And everything.

Everything, that is, if you want to be a top income earner.

To be a Rembrandt you need coaching. You need sales training. You need practice to develop your style, your talent, your selling techniques.

The art is the finesse.

For prospective buyers, it is bringing to reality what works for them without manipulation, without shady tactics or tricks.

Professional selling technique is the ability to listen intently, ask relevant value adding questions, and package it all in a vehicle that meets the prospect’s needs and budget.

7 Step Automobile and RV Sales Process – Work It!

Walk into McDonald’s anywhere in the world and you will find the same friendly smiles, although the faces may be different. You will see a similar menu, although reading it may be difficult. You will find the same production process.

The recipe, like a sales process, works.

It works for McDonald’s. It works for Wendy’s. It works for Tim Hortons. It works for the Colonel along with a whole regiment of other franchises. And the 7 Step Sales Process of top automobile and RV sales income earners will work for you.

Exceptions Yes Life Happens

Will there be exceptions? You bet.

Even in the most well oiled system, glitches surface from time-to-time. There is occasional franchisee – franchisor incompatibility. There are occasional let downs in traffic expectations compared to market analysis. There are occasional language challenges.

Reality is, in all things, there will be occasional surprises.

So what. Move on.

Like the franchise system, the following 7 Step Automobile and RV Sales Process works.

And, yes, there will be exceptions. There will be the cash buyer who insists on a large discount. There will be the prospect whom you just cannot settle on a vehicle. There will be… There will be… There will be…

There will be exceptions, the occasional incompatibility for whatever reason. Move on. The sales model works consistently, with an occasional exception.

7 Step Sales Model

The 7 Step Sales Model of high income automobile salespeople and RV sales people is:

1. Introduction

2. Qualification

3. Selection / Presentation

4. Demonstration

5. Negotiation

6. Application

7. Preparation / Delivery

That’s it.

To close more deals, follow these steps each and every opportunity. No exceptions.

By the way, career automobile salespeople and RV sales professionals have an 8th step – Progression, moving the new Customer to a walking, talking referral machine.

Wanna be car sales guys and gals just cannot seem to grasp this.

Write me for more detail about Progression. It is where the big dollars are!

Remember: Nothing happens until someone sells something.

Sales Champions – People Like You – Make It Happen!