Why setting performance targets can backfire


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SEVERAL years ago, employees at General Motors (GM) began sporting badges with the number 29 on them. That figure was not a prescient estimate of the billions of dollars that the giant car company would ultimately pocket from the American taxpayer in the form of government handouts. Instead, it represented the percentage share of the American car market that GM’s bosses aspired to. Fixated on this target, the firm went on to make decision after disastrous decision that helped drag it to the brink of bankruptcy.
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You owe us an explanation, Joe and Steve


Posted by Ian:
In February, two levels of government doled out millions of dollars in Build Canada infrastructure funding and St. Thomas was shut out.
There was no shortage of cash to lavish on the rest of Elgin. In fact, Aylmer, Bayham, Dutton/Dunwich, Malahide, Southwold and the county itself hit paydirt on projects ranging from road and sewer maintenance to facility upgrades.
The exclusion of St. Thomas from the funding beneficiaries had council, city staff, Police Chief Bill Lynch and the rest of the St. Thomas Police Service scratching their heads.
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A key to success … supply-chain management


The fact that a number of companies (such as Wal-Mart, Zara, Dell and Toyota) have managed to record extraordinary success while doing quite ordinary things (such as running supermarkets, selling clothes or making computers or cars) has made managers more fully aware that what their organisations produce can matter a lot less than the way that they produce it. This holds true even in an age when the product life cycle is getting shorter and shorter, and more emphasis is being placed on technological product innovation as a means to add value.
Central to the way that companies produce things is the way that they manage their supply chains—the collection and distribution of all the inputs to the production process. Some companies take this to extremes. For example, Olam, a Singapore-based commodities trader, says that in practice it is “in the business of supply-chain management”. It undertakes all the processes involved in getting soft commodities such as cocoa and coffee from the grower’s farm to the factories of Olam customers such as Sara Lee. Its competitive advantage lies in the superiority of its processes, not its commodities.
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Founding Meeting of the St. Thomas-Elgin Chapter of The Architectural Conservancy of Ontario


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The St. Thomas-Elgin Chapter of the ACO will hold its founding meeting on Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. at the Canada Southern Station (former New York Central Station) located at 750 Talbot St., St. Thomas. The meeting will take place in Anderson Hall, the former station dining room. The station is located behind the Giant Tiger store. All individuals interested in architectural preservation in St. Thomas and Elgin County are welcome to attend. Guest speaker at the meeting will be Cathy Nasmith, president of the ACO and Toronto architect.
The ACO was founded in 1933 “to preserve buildings and structures of architectural merit and places of natural beauty and interest”. Since the 1930s, through advocacy and direct action, the ACO has saved hundreds of buildings across Ontario and raised awareness of preserving community heritage. The ACO operates through a network of branches, linked by an office in Toronto. There are 23 branches across the province and a membership of over 1,200. Last year the ACO and its branches organized or participated in 400 events with a total attendance of over 53,000 people. In addition, board members and volunteers served as representatives on local workshops and planning meetings, researched local heritage issues, and acted as advocates before various levels of government.
Each ACO branch has its own board and its own accounts to manage local affairs. Branches operate with relative independence, focusing on local issues, programming and recruitment. Typically, branches advocate for preservation of local architectural heritage and an increased knowledge of the value of such preservation, its contribution to increased tourism, pride and self-esteem.
For more information on the founding meeting, please contact Laurence Grant at 519-633-2535 /laurencegrant@narhf.org

Ethanol producer backs lobby against increasing ethanol blends


The newest ethanol producer in the U.S. is also one of the largest, but Valero Energy Corp. is not a member of the organizations that typically represent ethanol producer interests. Instead, Valero continues to retain membership in the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association, a lobbying group that testified before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety earlier this week that ethanol should not be blended into gasoline at levels higher than 10 percent for use in non-flexible fuel motor vehicles and non-road gasoline-powered engines. The NPRA suggested that levels above 10 percent have not been sufficiently tested for their safety.
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Provincial funding assists Elgin municipalities with water systems


A provincial government program will assist with the operation of Bayham’s water system.

Across the province, the Ontario Small Waterworks Assistance Program Part Two will assist small communities to deliver safe and clean drinking water. Elgin County municipalities will receive $182,339 from the program, and Bayham $40,020. Funding will be provided over four years.
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