Avast, Maties! Beware Modern Pirates
Piracy on the high seas may be a thing of the past, but piracy remains big business for the millions of counterfeiters and smugglers worldwide who deal in knock-offs of all types of goods, from Gucci watches to pharmaceuticals. For manufacturers, counterfeit goods mean $500 billion a year in lost revenue, according to Secure Risks Ltd., a London-based security company working to stem the tide of counterfeit and gray-market goods. According to company officials, organized crime is not the only beneficiary of this illegal process; terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and the IRA, are believed to be using counterfeit goods to fund their activities and launder money. Secure Risks also provides the following information:
Eighty percent of counterfeit goods sold in the U.S. and Europe are Chinese in origin. Chinese brokers are now basing themselves in major cities in the West, where they take and place orders for customers for a whole range of goods.
Major counterfeit-producing countries also include: Mexico, Russia, Turkey, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Portugal, the Balkan states and the Philippines.
Counterfeit products cover the whole range of consumables, including: pharmaceuticals, cigarettes, liquor, household goods, auto parts, software, CDs and DVDs, toys, apparel and luxury goods.
In the U.S., counterfeit goods represent a $250 billion market annually.
Piracy has cost an estimated 40,000 jobs in Europe alone.
Turn Up That Thermostat!
If your office is too cold, chances are you might not be typing as accurately, or as much, as you could be. In a study evaluating the impact of indoor environmental conditions on worker productivity, Cornell University ergonomics professor Dr. Alan Hedge found a 74 percent increase in typing mistakes and a 46 percent reduction in typing output when office temperatures fell from 77 degrees F to 68 degrees F.
During the study, Hedge placed miniature temperature recorders at nine individual workstations at the Insurance Office of America’s corporate headquarters in Orlando, Fla. The instruments sampled air temperature every 15 minutes for an entire working month. This data was then correlated with a month’s worth of ergonomic data to show how typing performance worsened as temperatures fell. At 77 degrees, employees were keying 100 percent of the time with a 10 percent error rate, while at 68 degrees, the keying rate went down to 54 percent of the time with a 25 percent error rate.
Hedge estimates the decreased productivity resulted in a 10 percent increase in labor costs per worker, per hour. He adds, “This study shows that when employees get chilly, at least in this case, they are not working to their full potential. We will continue to study the impact of the environment on worker productivity with the ultimate goal of having much smarter buildings and better environmental control systems in the workplace.”
Decide to Make Better Decisions
The American Management Association (AMA) offers the following tips to help you make sounder decisions:
Before you make a decision, carefully weigh the risks and rewards. Don’t act, or react, without giving thought to the consequences.
Don’t let your emotions influence your decisions. Too often, such decisions will be wrong – and regretted.
Seek balance and moderation in your decisions. Avoid being either indecisive or impulsive. Colleagues expect decisions to be made, but they also respect someone who listens and weighs information before making a decision.
Make decisions for the right reason, weighing a fleeting moment of glory against the long-term consequences. Picture the worst-case scenario.
Compensate for your personal decision-making biases. Are you a “numbers” person or a “big-picture” person? Do you look for the quick-fix or a long-term solution? Improvethe quality of your decisions by better understanding yourself.
Practice the 80/20 rule. Recognize that 80 percent of the information you will need to make a good decision generally can be assembled in a relatively short time. Don’t wait for the remaining 20 percent – in most instances, it isn’t likely to change the situation.