Management Today

Articles from November

A Disappointing Discovery
The Land Rover Discovery is 10 years old. Driving an early model, I attracted huge interest: passers-by were curious and friends nagged to try it. You'd be surprised how few cars that can be said of. Land Rover is as much a part of English Heritage...
Alenia Marconi Systems - Operations Division
Alenia Marconi Systems was created in December 1998, a joint venture between Italy's Finmeccanica and Britain's GEC, borne out of forced closures and consolidation of manufacturing businesses of the defence industry's notoriously tough market. Five...
A Positive Turn Off
Business fuel bills are about to rise by 15% as the Government prepares to introduce a climate change levy. Yet a Management Today/Brecsu survey reveals a lack of focus on reducing energy consumption at work. It's time to get serious, suggests Alex...
A Question of Portals
With internet and e-commerce fever raging, everybody wants co be a portal. Is this wise? Will they make money? We pull back the curtain Let's start with basics - what exactly is a portal? In the early days of the internet, Yahoo! and its competitors...
A Search Engine for Internet Stars
This month we try to inject some sanity into the crazy world of e. Looking beyond all the hype, hysteria and speculation, we are delighted to introduce what we believe is the most rigorous and objective analysis of internet start-up companies. Knowing...
Ask Bill Gates
Q. What qualities do you consider necessary to be a good leader (particularly over a sustained period of time)? A. Most people think a great leader is someone who gives rousing speeches that fire up the troops. There's no question that the ability...
Bespak
Medical device manufacturer Bespak, based in King's Lynn, wins this year's special award for its world-class high-volume assembly of precision components. The factory's products are used in medical check valves, such as those found in catheters; and...
Best Factories 1999
IN ASSOCIATION WITH CRANFIELD SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT It's a slippery concept, manufacturing excellence. The goal posts keep moving: practices that constitute world-class excellence one year become conventional wisdom a year or so later, and are simply...
Black & Decker
Black & Decker's 48,000 sq m plant in Spennymoor, County Durham - the company's largest site worldwide, and the Northeast's second-largest employer - came very close to winning this year's overall Best Factory Award. But in the end, the disruption...
Blackhurst's Diary
In which our diarist makes a plea to Bin Laden, marvels at Imelda Marcos' luck and witnesses the advent of the a new breed of entrepreneur - the venture catalyst DOWN AT THE MINISTRY NOT A MOUSE STIRS Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and it is...
Britax Wingard
As the history of these awards has consistently shown, manufacturing excellence and the automotive component industry often go together. Customers rarely come tougher than Rover, Nissan and Toyota: the penalties for failing to deliver Just In Time...
Caradon Trend
As the list of UK electronics manufacturers decamping to low-cost Pacific Rim countries continues to grow, Horsham-based Caradon Trend, says Alan Carter the head of supply, is staying put. The company has convinced its shareholders at mini-conglomerate...
Changing Advisers
DILEMMA: Until now my business has used small, local firms of advisers who are used to acting for SMEs. As the business expands, when is it appropriate to change advisers? ISSUES: Several key factors should influence your choice of advisers. First,...
Charles Dunstone
The young Mr Normal who in 10 years turned his no-frills Carphone Warehouse shop into a [pounds]350 million a year communications chain is also keen to avoid extravagance in his personal life. But it's not easy when the world beats a path to your door...
Crash Course: Knowing What You Know
A recent report from the Management Consultancies Association predicted that the company of the future will be the 'knowledge company' whose core activity will focus on the capture and retention of its most valuable asset: knowledge. For the growing...
Falling Behind, Catching Up
James Hanson admires a fluent analysis of post-war British industry As the first Financial Times editor to change its main emphasis from economics to industry, Sir Geoffrey Owen was highly regarded by businessmen for his insight and knowledge of...
First Class Coach
ONCE MORE WITH FEELING As managing director of a division in a well-known company, I am finding it increasingly difficult to control my temper if someone produces disappointing work, is late for a meeting or forgets to do something. I end up shouting...
Getting a Sure Footing in Foreign Markets
London-based Patrick Cox is already used to doing business overseas. But having grown his business to a multi-million pound concern, his next steps could be tricky. Stuffy people sometimes say that if you want to judge a man, examine his shoes....
Giroflex
Product quality is paramount for Mino Vernaschi, managing director of giroflex. 'The day we start competing on price is the day we start to die as a business,' he says. The business makes the sort of office seating one sees every day, and a typical...
Henkel Consumer Adhesives
Each night, a computer at DIY retailer B&Q totals the point-of-sale bar-code data on the day's sales of such popular products as Solvite, Loctite and Copydex. Calculations complete, an order is transmitted electronically to Henkers factory in Winsford,...
How to Break out of the Box
Carol Fisher moved from the brewing industry to the Civil Service in under three years - via a spell in the media. She tells Jim White how she broke through traditional employment boundaries Carol Fisher's office is at the top of an unprepossessing...
How to Keep Cool in the Hot Seat
Having to chair a meeting can be daunting, but it needn't end in tears. Here is some advice on how to control the troublesome lot in the back row The first time you found yourself running a meeting it probably came as a bit of a shock. First, you...
In My Opinion
Institute of Management companion Sir Peter Davis, group chief executive of Prudential, says that there's no time like today to start saving for tomorrow About half of the 22 million employees in the UK can be confident that the pension schemes...
JeWeLS IN THe WeB
This one's the genuine article. Having analysed more than 300 e-ventures Management Today and Bain & Company present their e25, the definitive index of e-business start-ups in the UK today. Matthew Gwyther reports on the findings and profiles some...
Lessons from Silicon Valley
The people and products shaping your future Despite the jaded state of the internet stock boom, the new millionaires and billionaires just keep on coming. Red Hat, one of the many companies promoting the free Linux operating system, is the latest...
Let's Talk about Specs
You need a friend on hand when you're buying specs, someone who knows your face Personally, I'm relatively specs blind - I don't notice them unless there's a lot going on: exaggeratedly large or small frames; or a great deal of surface decoration,...
Lucas Automotive Electronics
The best way to improve the quality of an operation is to eliminate the need to carry it out in the first place, according to John Tonkiss, operations manager of Lucas Automotive Electronics' College Road site in Birmingham. It's a philosophy that...
Medical Support Systems
For Cardiff-based Medical Support Systems, bed sores are big business. Pressure sores, to use the correct term, are estimated to cost the NHS [pounds]300 million a year. Sufferers and their families are increasingly inclined to sue health trusts for...
New Germany: Ten Years On
Mark Leonard goes on a journey around modern Germany with a capable guide whose travelogue is insightful, if at times a little rambling On 9 November 1989, the crowds partied on the Berlin Wall. By 3rd October 1990, the 'German Democratic Republic'...
Nichols Foods
There's a vending machine in the boardroom of Haydock-based Nichols Foods, and should visitors require a coffee or a Pepsi, operations manager Martin Lee and managing director Gary Unsworth head straight for it. The company mixes and packages foodstuff...
North and South Are Poles Apart
With every economic boom optimists predict that the UK's poorer regions will catch up with the wealthier ones. But it's not going to happen The big picture for Britain's economy for the past couple of years has been that, while manufacturing has...
Promise Behind the Euro Threat
When the familiar currencies are supplanted by the new one, a tide of transparency will sweep Europe and UK firms will be forced to compete in euros I remember with a wry smile my first encounter with public opinion and British attitudes to Europe...
Reckitt & Colman
Whole multi-storey buildings stand empty at Reckitt & Colman's Hull factory. Testament, says Alan Brooke the company's head of manufacturing and an employee of 23 years, to a time when almost 10,000 people worked here. Now the number, including...
Short Route to Saving the World
Business executives who expect to do battle with an Old Labourite peddling bash-the-bosses rhetoric will be relieved - or disappointed - to encounter the real Clare Short (right). The pro-Europe, socially-committed secretary of state at the Department...
Speaking Out
Kevin Lomax CHAIRMAN, MISYS What is the point of AGMs? None whatsoever if all the board is going to sit there like stuffed dummies. That was the verdict of one disgruntled shareholder at this year's MISYS AGM. It had all started off quite...
Survival Rules
RULE 7: INTEGRATE YOUR VALUE CHAIN The New Economy involves many transformations, of course, but there is one fashionable concept around which everything else revolves: 'The integration of value chains'. This refers to the three ways in which the...
Taken for a Ride
Anthony Hilton enjoys this pacy thriller, a scathing portrayal of corruption in the City An American visiting London's financial district in the 1980s famously remarked that the sound of the City was the sound of a thousand backs being scratched....
The House That Jeremy Built
After reading this fascinating book, critics of Jeremy Isaacs may well find themselves reviewing their opinion of him, says Colin Tweedy When Jeremy Isaacs was appointed general director of the Royal Opera House, the composer Alexander Goehr told...
The Performance Pay Rate
Top UK executives still trail their US counterparts in the salary stakes, but they may soon sample some of the joys of rarefied American-style packages that rely heavily on long-term share incentives, particularly after mergers and acquisitions. Get...
When Makeovers Aren't Enough
When a dominant firm's sales dive because its base market is shot, a cosmetic fix alone is not enough. New markets need new models - and new leaders Companies fail when they become complacent and think that they will always be successful, argued...

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