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The Performance of this “Citizen of the World”: Carlos Ghosn (ex-chairman of Nissan-Renault)

Note: For Ghosn biography https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2020/02/09/biography-of-this-citizen-of-the-word-carlos-ghosn-ex-chairman-of-nissan-renault/

This section will focus on the professional aspects of Carlos when he was selected to head the operations of reviving Nissan from certain death in 1999.

Carlos brought with him a total of 30 French specialists in Renault in a period of 3 months to support his job.

The understanding was that they are not there to change the culture of the Japanese employees but with the objective of turning Nissan around to profitability.

For 3 months Carlos set up 9  “transversal or cross-operational teams“, each headed by two members of the executive committee which was reduced to ten, with the task of understanding each other departmental problems.

He visited all the factories and suppliers to get a feel of the major problems and to get to the bottom of the illnesses of Nissan.

During these months he encouraged and was open to interviews by the Medias in order to promote the concept of transparency that will be adopted in reviving Nissan and also to encourage communications inside the institution and disseminate the steps to be taken and the expected changes that will follow.

In October 18, 1999 Carlos divulged his plan of rebirth NRP to an assembly of journalists.

It was a surprise announcement and No one outside the members of the executive committee new about the announcement; even the Japanese government got wind an hour prior to the announcement.

Nissan had 6.6% of the world market in 1991 and dropped to 4.9% in 1999 or a reduction in production of 600,000 cars; it had been losing money for 7 consecutive years and was heavily indebted of $19.4 billion.

Carlos promised that:

  1. Nissan will introduce 22 new models within three years
  2. the objective is to reduce the cost of procurement to 20% within three years since it represents 60% of the total cost,
  3. the number of suppliers of pieces and materials to almost half from 1145 to 600 suppliers and
  4. the suppliers of equipment and services from 6900 to 3400 by 2002.

Nissan had the capacity of producing 2.4 million cars but actually produced 1.3 million. Thus 4 factories would be closed by 2001 and another one by 2002 so that the rate of utilization of the remaining factories would be up to 82% taking into account a growth of 5.5% by 2002.

Nissan will end up with 4 factories utilizing only 12 plate-forms. Nissan will have to reduce by 20% the number in its network of distribution subsidiaries and close 10% in its points of sales.

Most important, Nissan will sell its shares in almost 1400 societies that do not strategically contribute to car manufacturing business.

The number of employees would be reduced 14% to 127,000 by the year 2002, with the exception of the department of research and development which will gain 500 additional jobs and the engineering department another two thousands.

Three targets were set to be accomplished by 2002, otherwise, Carlos and all his executive committee will leave even if one of these targets is not attained:

  1. return to profitability,
  2. a rate of operational margin exceeding 4.5%, and
  3. the reduction of the total debt to 50%.
  4. These targets were reached and in 2002 the syndicate at Nissan obtained all their demands which were reasonable while the number one Toyota froze salaries. Many in Nissan are now exercising their rights for stock options and the minimal number of stocks was reduced to 100 instead of one thousand.
  5. The team of Carlos Ghosn elaborated a 3-years plan called Nissan 180, where 1 represent an additional one million cars produced, 8 for an operational margin of eight percent growth, and 0 for zero debt by the end of the triennial.  As Carlos explained: “If an enterprise does not develop middle and long term plans then the financial analysts will have nothing to rely on but the near term results”.By the year 2003, 80% of Nissan’s cars would emit only 25% on the regulatory limit on pollutants.  An agreement with its archenemy Toyota was signed in September 2002; Toyota would provide Nissan 100,000 hybrid engines vehicles to be marketed in the USA by the year 2006. A hybrid engine works in the classical manner on highways and electrically within city routes.

    In November 2000, six months after the announcement of the NRP plan, Carlos decided to invest $ one billion in the USA for the construction of a new plant in Canton in the State of Mississippi; this new plant will target the segment of large pick-ups and SUV in the Middle West market where the American companies have it locked.

    This investment secures a stronger implantation in the most profitable market in the world because it has the best mix and a homogeneous market for advertisement and distribution and selling 16 million vehicles a year.  It will also save on the tax barriers and monetary exchanges.  Nissan already have a successful plant in Smirna for the exclusive Altima mark for the USA market.

    Another development is the investment in China, a new emergent market with the biggest potential given the saturation of the matured developed nations.  Nissan concluded a deal to invest more than $ one billion to acquire 50% of Dongfeng, a Chinese state owned enterprise that manufactures buses and heavy trucks.

  6. By the year 2010, this joint venture is projecting to produce 450,000 Nissan cars and 450,000 heavy vehicles.  The Chinese government gave priority to Nissan because of the bold steps it has taken to get back to profitability and of its experience with multicultural and global management practices.

    Although the initial intention was to revive Nissan into profitability some cultural changes within Japanese business behavior had to occur. For example, Nissan had an organization of assigning counselors to each field teams with no definite operational functions and not responsible to results; these counselors were originally dispatched to foreign countries to disseminate the Japanese practices but were of no use anymore; these counselors ended up diluting the responsibilities of the field directors; they  had to go.

    Another Japanese practice was to promote employees according to seniority as well as increase in salaries without any regard to productivity or innovation.

  7. Carlos instituted the notion of result instead of effort in judging what is fair.  The consequences for that notion of result did away with the practice of working overtime and spending unduly longer time at the offices, even showing to work on holidays. The doing away with the seniority criterion for automatic promotion meant that new recruits could be hired at higher and competitive salaries.

    The cost of incentives represented the variable portion in the total cost which was 40% at Nissan. Employees will thus be judged according to their contributions and incentives given to those who satisfy quantitative criteria.

  8. Another practice of hiring for life had to go.  During the recession in the 90’s, many Japanese companies concocted many gimmicks to in reality fire employees while providing the image of still belonging to the firm; for examples, many were assigned to concessionaires and suppliers who paid their salaries. 14% of employees will lose their jobs and many of these fictitious employees repatriated to Nissan.

    In the automotive business the question for the future is: can it afford a competitive offer and the capacity to maintain it? The end game reduces to maintaining innovation in a complex market, where emotions of clients for a stylistic car play a critical part and at a competitive price.

  9. Right now, after all the mergers in the last decades, there are 6 big manufacturers that hold 66% of the world market and the first ten about 90%.

    The biggest is General Motors with 7.5 million vehicles, then Ford, then Toyota, then the fourth Renault-Nissan with 5 million and fifth Daimler-Chrysler with 4.35 million, then Volkswagen.

  10. The team detached from Renault to Nissan played the role of catalyst because the real resource of Japan as the second economy in the world is its professional and skilled people.
  11. Japan has no natural resources, a relatively tiny island, ravaged by earthquakes and typhoons and facing strong adversaries. Japan has the third of the world monetary reserves although it has now a public debt up to 150% of its PIB.
  12. It is apparent that the Japanese companies have not assimilated the Nissan experience because they are still suffering from indecision and indebtedness; the “Cost Killer” Carlos believes that the problem is a lack of know-how and experience to treating their own managerial problems that did not change for over 40 years.

Vatican report is Not hot on the performance of Lebanon Maronite Church

For my undergrad studies, I went to a Catholic University. I always wondered, when I struggled to pay my tuition fees on time, why the fees were so expensive (annually $7000-$8000), why some priests including the Finance Director drove expensive cars, latest model Mercedes, had the latest mobile…

Didn’t Jesus say leave everything behind and follow me?

To pay my tuition fees, i started teaching at a school few hours in between my courses, collect electricity bills between 4pm and 8pm, and at one point worked also at a coffee shop from 8pm to 2am.

(I was a PhD graduate at a USA university and I did far more minimum wage jobs within the university, 3 of such jobs and graduate assistant stipend for a quarter time in order to just cover my tuition fees)

While collecting electricity bills i was shocked to learn that many people in the Christian area were struggling to pay bills as little as 45,000 L.L. ($30) and some of them got their electricity disconnected.

When they opened the door for me, I used to see their kids studying on candles…

it wasn’t easy to knock on their doors and remind them that they need to pay to get the electricity back. I even used to pay the bill for few of them when it was small and tell them to pay me later when they can.

The sad part was that not too far from those poor families, there was a large monastery, their electricity bill used to be around $2,000. On key occasions they used to order catering from expensive restaurants. The priest that paid the bill used to arrive sometimes late, so i got to see his expensive car/phone…

I remember once telling him about how some of those families are struggling, and his answer was simply: a lot of people are suffering, we pray for them. 

My answer was: if you sell you car, stop ordering catering and help them, they will definitely appreciate that more than your prayer.

And that was the last time he paid the bill to me and started sending another priest to deal with me.

Obviously, like everything in life, there are some priests i absolutely respect and others i believe they became priests potentially for personal benefit.

Still though i think the real responsibility falls on the leadership in Catholic Church. 

I haven’t seen the report, i have no comment on it, but i am really keen to read it if it is really out there.

While I have immigrated to Sydney and the majority of my class mates have left Lebanon, i wonder if our Maronite Church in Lebanon and our corrupt politicians are finally satisfied that they now have Lebanon entirely left to them.

تقرير الفاتيكان الاسود حول بكركي

الإثنين 23 تشرين الأول 2017

وكالات

سربت اوساط ما وصفته بالتقرير الاسود الصادر عن الفاتيكان بشأن وضع الكنيسة المارونية في لبنان وعجزها عن تحقيق اي خرق سياسي … ‎المعلومات أشارت الى ان ما خفي من التقرير الاسود يتجاوز بكثير ما نشر منه

‎ولكن ما خفي في التقرير اصعب مما تم تسريبه، حسب ما أشارت اوساط واكبت سير التحضير للتقرير الذي يدل عليه عنوانه بالاسود، والذي أعده الكاردينال مامبرتي الذي زار لبنان وأقام في مقر السفارة البابوية من دون إعلان او إعلام، والتقى خلال إقامته رجال دين الموارنة من مختلف المراكز والمراتب، رهبانا وكهنة واساقفة وروؤساء أديار ومدارس ومستشفيات.

‎وتشير الاوساط الى ان خلاصة الكاردينال مامبرتو كانت كارثية، حيث توجه بالنقد الشديد لرجال الدين الموارنة خصوصا الاساقفة وروؤساء الاديار قائلا “كنيستكم من حجر وبلا رحمة”.

‎وتضيف ان انتقادات عدة وجهت لرجال الدين الموارنة، من ضمنها عدم إيلائهم الاهتمام اللازم لشؤون الرعايا خصوصا في الاطراف، وحصر اهتمامهم بالابنية والمؤسسات التي تبغي الربح السريع والكثير.

‎ومما قاله الكاردينال مامبرتي: “أهملتم موارنة الجبل ولم تقوموا بمدّهم بسبل العيش الكريم. فعلى سبيل المثال “مدرسة الراهبات في حمانا” ستقفل بسبب التهجير الذي طال الاهالي، في اكثر من ست قرى مارونية في جوارها، ولم تبادروا الى إقامة اي مؤسسة تسهل عودة هؤلاء، فلماذا لم تبنوا مستشفى مثلا، او فروعا جامعية او سواها، فهؤلاء كانوا يقيمون في قراهم قبل التهجير وبزاولون اعمالهم في بيروت، واليوم هم لا يريدون العودة الى قراهم بسبب عدم توفر سبل العيش الكريم فماذا فعلتم؟

‎تأتون الينا بالشكاوى بشان بيع اراضي المسيحيين في الاطراف فماذا فعلتم لتأمين عيشهم الكريم في قراهم؟.

‎انتم تلتهون بملذات الحياة الدنيا، وتعتبرون ان لبنانكم هو الممتد بين كفرشيما والمدفون وباقي المناطق لا تعنيكم”.

‎وتضيف الاوساط ان الفاتيكان عاتب على البطريرك الراعي بسبب ما سمي “قصر وليد غياض البطريركي“، وان البطريرك كان بامكانه تجنب كل الضجة التي أثيرت بشأن هذا القصر مزعوم، لو تم التعاطي معه منذ البداية اسوة بما هو معمول به في ألآف العقارات المؤجرة والتي تتبع للاوقاف المارونية، بدل التلهي بتبادل الاراضي بطريقة مثيرة للجدل.

‎وتشير الاوساط الى ان الفاتيكان يعتبر ان الكنيسة المارونية تتخبط في شؤون الملذات الدنيا، خصوصا ان الاساقفة يتميزون عن رعاياهم بسياراتهم الفارهة وطريقة عيشهم الباذخة وهذا ما يتناقض مع تعاليم السيد المسيح، ولا بد للكنيسة المارونية من العودة الى جذورها لتستعيد دورها كخادمة للرعية المارونية المسيحية واللبنانية لا ان يكون كل هؤلاء خدما لرجال الدين

Notes and tidbits posted on FB and Twitter. Part 135

Note: I take notes of books I read and comment on events and edit sentences that fit my style. I pay attention to researched documentaries and serious links I receive. The page is long and growing like crazy, and the sections I post contains a month-old events that are worth refreshing your memory.

Oui. Aussi douloureux qu’il soit possible d’admettre, dans de nombreux cas, nous, les parents, sommes la réponse à beaucoup de problèmes chez nos enfants!

There is a hierarchy for this abstract notion of “performance”. The next level of abstraction that needs to be answered: “What kind of performance?“. The third level should answer: “How these various performances criteria correlate?  Can we sort them out between basic performances and redundant performance criteria?”.

It seems that every discipline has created for itself a set of performance criteria and they are coined in stone, so that an insertion of another element into that set, is like a paradigm shift in its field of science.

You get the journey and you get the stress. At the end, you’re a different person. But both elements are part of the deal. Learn to accept them as a package.

Trump must demand that Israel conduct a referendum with this question: “Do you agree for Jerusalem to become the Official and Formal Capital of Israel? ” I bet Israel government Won’t Dare run this referendum.

Israel government wants to still believe the Palestinians are stupid: They allowed for the first time Palestinian youths to enter the Grand Mosque. They assume that the Palestinians will believe that no more constraints on movements will be imposed once Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel.

The day Trump declared his statement on Jerusalem, unilaterally, Israel declared it will be build 14,000 more units in Jerusalem for the settlers.

In a single day, Israel forces killed 3 and injured dozens of Palestinian youths with live bullets. Over 350 were hospitalized with concentrated and poisonous gas canisters in 10 Palestinian cities and villages.

A great event: Lebanon Parliament met for deputies to express their opinions on the Jerusalem crisis: this is a message for all States to convene their parliaments and let the representatives of their people to share their positions.

Unilaterally and in a single declaration, Trump smashed 4 decades of a strategy to creating an imaginary enemy between the Sunnis-Shias divide.  The people, in a flash, re-adjusted their direction toward their Existential enemy: Zionism/USA establishment

The Palestinians in Lebanon refugee camps are starting to side with Hezbollah strategy: Zionism/USA establishment are the Existential enemies

 

What to report to club members on their performance and How to report

In a previous article on Measuring Petanque (boules) performance I stated that the subjective selection is alienating many players and discarding great potentials, especially when travelling to other villages for competition.

Asking someone to take statistics of each player performance in each game in order to tabulate performance shouldn’t be such a great burden.

I suggested the following criteria for taking statistics:

  1. For punting, coming closer to the cochonet, a distance of less 20 cm is allocated 3 points, less than 50 cm two pts, less than one meter a single point
  2. For hitting the ball (tireurs), a carreaux (displacing the other team ball and taking its place) allocate 3 pts, just displacing the ball 2 pts, hitting but not making a significant difference a single point. If the player displace his winning team’s ball then we deduct 3 points (-3).

It is best to calculate the median instead of the average value. The median has significance to the player. If a club has 40 members, half the players have a score above the median and the other half lower. You can classify players according to quartiles: The 10 best scorers and the 10 lowest scorers and the ones in between.

Each week or month, a player would be reported his score and his place among the players, without mentioning names of the other performers.

Obviously, many players will boast of their scores, and this an opportunity to observe the techniques and adaptability of the better performer according to the terrain.

Averages (means) have no meaning: it is a mathematical formula that can be manipulated in other statistical equations for various results.

You may report scores over 6 months of the aggregate monthly scores, or when a competition is near for selection purposes of teams.

You may complicate the statistics by reporting on which field (terrain) it was taken. The terrain is the main factor in performance measures

It is important to discriminate between performance and consistency in potential skills.

Performance is measuring the scores and selecting the highest scorers for any competition.

Potential is just adding the binary numbers of 1 (Hit) and Zero, like hit or No hit, satisfactory punting or totally lousy, satisfactory hitting or Not.

For example, if you are consistent in hitting regardless of type of hits, or satisfactory punting like within one meter, then this consistency can be promising with additional training.

The types of field (terrain) is the main variable to study and accommodate your technique. Learn to be flexible and change your technique relative to the terrain.

Observe the other players: the trajectory (full plombing, semi or quarter plombing) and where their balls hit the field (distance) before the cochonet. 

If you are not flexible and do Not exercise on different throwing methods, in holding the ball, the trajectory of the ball (high trajectory or rolling on the ground…), and flexing of the wrist… you will be at a disadvantage.

 

Lately, many players would like to impress on you that a certain throwing method is the rule (regulation), but I didn’t find any rule, pictures, graphs or anything of the sort of how you hold the ball and throw. (Usually, those who mention “rules” at leisure are lousy performers)

Note: I realized that balls made in China are practically discarded as Not fitting regulation? Why? I basically think it is a French political and economic colonial constraint for players. Chinese-made balls are fine to me. As long as they fit my palm for better grip.

Article 41

“What do Human Factors measure?”: An example of warning alarm systems

This article is an ongoing project.  The dependent variables or performance measurements adopted by Human Factors/Ergonomics are varied and should be judiciously selected to correspond to the tasks, systems, methods, and purposes they are researching.

The professionals in the field of human factors, depending on their primary discipline and interest, consider appropriate performance measurements for the types of controlled experiments, evaluation, or testing methods.  The studies  either answer practical problems that cannot be resolved by the traditional methods that analyze systems’ feasibility and performance or are oriented toward basic research.

The dependent variables should be necessarily directly related, or highly correlated with the essential human factors performance criteria, of mainly reducing errors in the operations, safe usage of products/systems, and health concerns of workers and end users.

Many of these measurements and their corresponding techniques and procedures were initially developed by psychologists, who were attuned to the practical facets of their discipline, and how their research can be applied to engineering design of interfaces between target users and systems that are increasing in complexity and becoming essential in running the functioning of our daily lives.

For example, I asked my class to participate in resolving a problem.  We were to evaluate two warning alarms used in factories and to decide which product to select.  I asked them what could be the potential, valid, and effective dependent variables for this evaluation.

Obviously, the first answer was to measure how loud the alarm is:  this variable would not do because alarms are designed to be loud in order to alert workers and employees, but the data on how many of them heard the alarm goes off will certainly not provide a decisive choice among the mostly loud systems. Loud is not a performance criteria in alarm systems but an engineering objective.

The next step was to make the students think about the real purpose of having a warning alarm.  Obviously, warning alarms are produced to warn against the existence of fumes, the starting of fire, a serious danger, or a drill.  Suppose you were conducting a drill, then what might you be interested to observe and record?

At this junction, ideas started to fuse from every corner;: the noise of the alarm should be jarring and very uncomfortable to the ears, visual stimuli should be designed in the product such as in police cars; automatic connections to fire brigades should be contemplated when installing warning alarms; more than one exit door should be opened; emergency exit doors should not be blocked by inventory materials.

Now, where the warning alarm should be installed?  Should it be next to the emergency door because this is the normal direction where heads turn to, or in the opposite direction because the reaction of people is to move in a direction away from the warning noise?

I meant to explain the fundamentals of evaluation methodology and ended up with practical answers, which is fine and encouraging, but we had to get back to methodology and what could be the most appropriate safety measure.

Most probably, how many workers actually vacated the premises on hearing the alarm could be a good starting decision variable.

Better, how many vacated within a standard duration in accordance with safety regulations might be an improved measuring stick.

At this stage there was confusion in discriminating among, controlled experimentation, evaluation, and testing methods, as well as the differences among dependent, independent and control variables.

Obviously, what we were discussing was testing the effectiveness of warning devices, since evaluation is targeted for the packaged deal that includes after sales services, maintenance, repair, instructions manuals, extra commendable features, and so forth.

In addition to rating each specification, evaluation methods might consider comparing end-users behaviors such as like/dislike, acceptance, or rejection depending on psychological preference judgments.

For example, we were supposed to be discussing how to test among warning products, but it was not straightforward to the students.  Students were talking of other factors such as the frequency range of the alarm, whether it is in the lower or upper frequency scale, the timber of the alarm, the loudness range and levels to manipulate, the characteristics of the background noise, the layout of the facility, the type of noises emanating from the machinery and equipments, the outdoor noise level, the characteristics of the workers and their hearing deficiencies, and how the workers were initiated with drills, safety warnings and instructions.

What could be the performance measures for warning products in controlled experimentation?

In this case, the investigator needs first, to select objective, accurate, and reliable measurements such as the increase in heart beats above individual baselines, or the duration needed before the heart beat return to its resting level, or the reaction time for any changes in the dilation of the pupil of the eyes, or other physiological characteristics, which are not highly correlated among themselves, if more than one dependent variables are used, and should be used.

Secondly, the purpose in controlled experimentation is to select the characteristic of sound or noise that best affect the outcome of the study in order to design a performing warning alarm with the purpose of eventually reaching design guidelines for products/systems; and third, that the conditions and location of the experiment have to allow the repeatability of the experiment.

More than one session is necessary to sort out the difficulties and distortions in the untrained experimental minds. However, we agreed that in testing the warning alarms we need to control important factors that might affect the results such that we need to test all the selected warning alarms in each one of the facilities, in every location that they might be installed, during the day and night shifts, in the morning, after lunch, and at the end of a shift if necessary and funding is available.


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