Using a Big-Business App to Grow a Small Business

Using a Big-Business App to Grow a Small Business

September 6, 2018

A small business owner of a chauffeur company in the San Francisco Bay Area has successfully grown despite the competition from Lyft and Uber.

A major reason for his success involved the installation of a reservation system that is typically employed by much larger companies.  This reduced his back office overhead and increased his productivity significantly.

This post is based on the LCT article, Operator Made Bold Moves With His Small Fleet, by Martin Romjue, August 9, 2018. Image source: © Juice Images / age fotostock.

Discussion Questions:

1. Describe how better scheduling software impacts staffing, service quality and productivity.

Guidance: After students list the improvements to staffing, service quality and productivity, the instructor can easily lead a discussion on how all of these aspects are inter-related.

2. Why does the owner want to own one of every type of fleet vehicle?

Guidance: Students should recognize that having the capacity to fulfill all customer needs is the rationale for owning one of every type of vehicle.  It also allows flexibility in scheduling to meet the capacity needs for various assignments.

3. How important is staffing to the success of this business?

Guidance: Students Continue reading

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Fed Up With the DMV? You’re Not Alone!

Fed Up With the DMV? You’re Not Alone!

Frustration with the DMV’s long wait times is nothing new. Yet, this Sacramento Bee article reveals extreme wait times at the DMV leading to the public’s exasperation and anger.


Video spotlightCalifornia DMV customers angry over rising wait times


Over the past year, wait times have increased by 60 percent and can reach 7 hours. An increase in demand combined with longer service times and insufficient capacity have created a situation that is unbearable enough to trigger lawmakers’ intervention.

 

This post is based on The Sacramento Bee article, Drivers Are Fed Up With the DMV. So Are California Lawmakers., by B. Anderson, July 30, 2018, and The Sacramento Bee video, California DMV customers angry over rising wait times, by B. Anderson, July 27, 2018. Image source: Ingram Publishing.

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the factors responsible for the unacceptable increase in wait times? Relate them to the characteristics of waiting lines.

Guidance: The factors include issue of new drivers’ licenses to comply with REAL ID Act (increased arrival rates); delays in hiring more workers (insufficient capacity, not enough servers); servers’ difficulty adapting to new system (longer service times); customers’ procrastination to renew registration (increased Continue reading

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Apple’s Clean Energy Supply Chain

Apple’s Clean Energy Supply Chain

August 3, 2018

Apple has already announced that its entire global operation, from corporate buildings to retail stores, are now powered totally by renewable energy sources. This year, Apple is looking to bring the supply chain to the same renewable energy standard, by investing in clean energy projects in China.


Video spotlight: Apple announced an even larger investment ($850M) in solar in February 2015


This post is based on the Apple Insider article, Apple launches $300M fund to power Chinese supply chain with clean energy, by Mikey Campbell, July 12, 2018, and the YouTube video from Bloomberg, Apple taps First Solar for renewable energy in $850M deal, February 13, 2015. Image sources: Shutterstock / Ververidis Vasilis and Shutterstock / Lightspring.

Discussion Questions:

1. Beyond the ability to work with Apple, what are suppliers’ incentives to use renewable energy?

Guidance:  Students should be able to list the advantages in keeping costs down by using renewable sources such as wind and solar power.  This is a straightforward discussion.  The next question should be:  What are the requirements (technology and staff) to maintain a renewable energy source?  Would outsourcing to a wind or solar farm be worthwhile? Continue reading

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