Category: qqsxegsk

Integrity in public life

first_imgThe present contretemps over the unfortunate utterances of Minister of Public Health Dr George Norton as he tried to “explain” a million line item on spending for drugs storage to the National Assembly that had been converted to a “Committee of Supply” raises once again, the vexed question of enforcing “integrity in public life”.When they were on the opposition benches, APNU and AFC trenchantly and incessantly criticised the actions of PPP/C Ministers, MP’s and officials in the latter’s performance of their duties. They argued quite cogently that what was needed was a “Code of Conduct” with “teeth” so that there would be clear guidelines for the actors and enforcers to ensure that the country’s business was conducted transparently and ethically.The Code of Conduct was promised in their Manifesto to be promulgated within their first 100 days of assuming office, which occurred in May 2015: “#16 – A Code of Conduct will be established for Parliamentarians, Ministers and others holding high positions in government public office to abide by, including mechanisms for demitting office if in violation of the Code of Conduct.”Mentioned en passant in July, it was not until September of that year that Minister Raphael Trotman, upon being questioned by reporters, said there was a “draft” code but, “We believe it should be opened up for public comment, criticism, critique and to be distilled and refined. Hopefully, coming out of it we get a stronger document.”The “draft” Code of Conduct was finally released the following month and Trotman asserted it was underpinned by 10 principles: accountability, dignity, diligence, duty, honour, integrity, loyalty, objectivity, responsibility, and transparency.”Since that time, citizens would be forgiven if they thought legs were being dragged and heels dug in when one excuse after another were found to put off the enactment of the Code of Conduct, and launching a programme to enforce its principles on its members of the government, Members of Parliament and government officials.In the meantime, with some re-assortment of duties between Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and Minister Trotman, the “Draft Code” was sent to an ad hoc Committee under the Chairmanship of now Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman.The latter finally submitted it to the Prime Minister in May of this year, after assuring the latter that the committee had “approached the task with alacrity and interest”.The Prime Minister however, then announced that he was considering subsuming the “Draft Code” into the “Integrity legislation” that had been on the books since 1997.The PNC, however had then objected to Bishop George being Chairman of the Integrity Commission. Relying on the stipulation in the new Act that the Chairman and members of the Commission must be appointed upon “consultations” with the Opposition Leader, they attempted to deny legitimacy to the body by refusing to engage in such consultations.This intransigence has continued into the present as the successor to Desmond Hoyte, stuck to his line. In 2005, then Opposition Leader Robert Corbin moved to the courts for a declaration that the Integrity Commission, as constituted, was “unconstitutional” but there has not been a ruling handed down.It would appear that if Prime Minister Nagamootoo’s suggestion is going to be acted upon, the PNC had overcome its objections and the new suggestion might not be another foot-dragging exercise. However three months down the road, the populace are still to be informed about the status of this most crucial piece of legislation.After all, it might have been resorted to in the present “Pharmagate” under the clause, “Misuse of Office”:“Officials…who misuse their office…to benefit their business connections are liable to disciplinary action by the Government or even prosecution by the State. Examples of misuse include an official…responsible for the selection of suppliers giving undue favour (to business connections)…with a view to awarding the contract to the latter, or placing it in an advantageous position ahead of other competitive bidders.”last_img read more

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Ronaldo crowned Italian league player of the year

first_imgThe Juventus forward turned up about an hour before the main award was announced, arriving more than two hours after the other guests, and waited outside in the car until the moment came for him to go on stage to pick up the prize for his place in the team of the season.“It’s an honor to hold this award,” Ronaldo said in Italian. “I thank my Juventus teammates.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSAndray Blatche has high praise for teammate Kai SottoSPORTSBig differenceSPORTSAlmazan status stays uncertain ahead of Game 4“I’m very happy to play in Italy, it’s a very difficult league. Thanks to everyone for having voted for me. I want to do as well this year, too.”For the first time at the Italian ceremony there were also awards for female players. Roma and Italy forward Manuela Giugliano won the top prize. NFA assures ample rice supply in ashfall, eruption-affected areas No need to wear face masks in Metro Manila, says scientist Microsoft ends free Windows 7 security updates on Tuesday Thailand reports case of coronavirus from China All the awards are voted for by a mix of footballers, coaches, referees and journalists.Ronaldo signed for Juventus from Real Madrid in July 2018 and helped the Bianconeri to their eighth successive Serie A title.The 34-year-old Ronaldo scored 28 goals in all competitions for Juventus, including 21 in the league.Gian Piero Gasperini won the award for best coach after leading Atalanta to third place and a Champions League berth.Atalanta was the team of the season, ahead of Juventus and Italian Cup winner Lazio.ADVERTISEMENT MILAN  – Cristiano Ronaldo was named the Italian league’s player of the year on Monday following his debut season at Juventus.Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo poses with the trophyes for best Italian Serie A player, during the Gran Gala’ soccer awards ceremony, in Milan, Italy, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)Ronaldo was at the Gran Gala del Calcio in Milan to collect his prize, instead of attending the Ballon d’Or ceremony in Paris where he was third in the voting for best player in the world.ADVERTISEMENT “This award I share with the whole club, all the players, the whole of Bergamo because we did something really amazing, all of us together,” Gasperini said.“We did incredibly last season, it was unthinkable, including the Italian Cup final. It’s because of that that we’re getting all these awards.”Gasperini beat former Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri and Bologna’s Siniša Mihajlović.Brescia’s Sandro Tonali won the award for the best Serie B player after the 19-year-old forward helped to win the second division title last season. GSGSports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next ‘People evacuated on their own’ MOST READcenter_img PH lead in SEA Games grows with 16 more gold medals Leonardo DiCaprio, Taika Waititi, other stars react to Oscar nominations Lava gushes out of Taal Volcano as villagers flee LATEST STORIES Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:28’Star Wars’ cast reveal which co-stars they’d go caroling with and hopes for the New Year01:05Poor visibility, nakaapekto sa maraming lugar sa Batangas03:028,000 pulis sa Region 4-A, tuloy ang trabaho03:57Phivolcs, nahihirapan sa komunikasyon sa Taal01:04Sold-out: Stores run out of face masks after Taal spews ash01:45Iran police shoot at those protesting plane shootdown01:54MMDA deploys rescue team to Batangas following Taal eruption Taal Volcano’s lava fountain weakens, but Phivolcs says it’s not sign of slowing down Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

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Allardyce set to resolve West Ham’s defensive crisis with more signings

first_imgWest Ham boss Sam Allardyce is set to enter the transfer market this week and sign another central defender.Allardyce is already facing a defensive crisis, after just one game, following the dismissal of James Collins during the 1-0 defeat against Tottenham on Saturday.The Wales international will now serve a one-match ban and will miss the London derby against Crystal Palace on Saturday at Selhurst Park.Allardyce was already missing James Tomkins, who picked up a hamstring injury last Friday and does not have another established central defender in the squad.Midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate was asked to drop back into the back four following Collins sending off but he was one of West Ham’s best players and Allardyce will want to keep him at the heart of the midfield alongside Mark Noble.Allardyce was linked with a move for Tottenham’s Michael Dawson during the summer and could now make an offer to sign the experienced defender who seems surplus to requirements under new head coach Mauricio Pochettino at White Hart Lane. West Ham boss Sam Allardyce 1last_img read more

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Measure targets child porn laws

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! California is one of only nine states where possessing child pornography is a misdemeanor. But organizers of a statewide ballot measure that toughens overall penalties for sex offenders believe owning child pornography should be a felony. “You can own a garage full of millions of images of child pornography and you would be charged with a misdemeanor,” said Becky Warren, spokeswoman for state Sen. George Runner, R-Lancaster, a sponsor of the Jessica’s Law, also known as the Sexual Predator Punishment and Control Act of 2006. Jessica’s Law promoters gathered more than 524,000 valid signatures of California voters to qualify the measure for the November ballot, far more than the 373,816 signatures required, the Secretary of State’s Office announced this past Wednesday. That shows the measure has widespread public support, officials of the Campaign for Child Safety, the measure’s main backer, said in a news release. More widely known for its controversial provision that requires registered sex offenders released on parole to be placed on a GPS tracking system for life, Jessica’s law also covers a slew of child sexual abuse situations. It mandates a minimum 15-years-to-life sentence for those convicted of raping a child under 14, prohibits registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of any school or park, and adds an additional five years to the current three-year sentence for those who use drugs to commit date rape, among other things. But the measure also includes the less-publicized provision making child pornography a felony for anyone convicted of a prior sex offense to possess. For first-time child pornography offenders, prosecutors would seek either a misdemeanor or felony charge making it a “wobbler” for first-time offenders. Promoters of the tougher penalties say there is a strong link between pornographic images showing children and actual instances of child sexual abuse. “Child pornography is actually crime-scene photos,” said Carolyn Atwell-Davis, director of legislative affairs for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). “They are a memorialization of the victimization of children.” Reports of child pornography made to the NCMEC increased 491 percent between 2001 and 2004. The number of child pornography Web sites is estimated to be 100,000, Atwell- Davis said. According to police investigators, one-fifth of those arrested for child pornography between 2000 and 2001 possessed graphic sexual images of children under the age of 3. “These are pictures of children being raped,” said Warren. “That is egregious, and no one should possess it for any reason.” Detective Bernie Trapp of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) team said that he has seen cases where sex offenders received multiple convictions for possessing child pornography but spent no time in prison. “If a child pornography case is filed with the state, you’re going to be a little disappointed if they’re convicted, because it’s only a misdemeanor,” he said. “I worked a case where the suspect was convicted of possession and he got probation. A few years later, he was convicted of it again and he got a suspended sentence. He spent no time in prison.” But attorney George Kita, who defended a Pico Rivera man convicted last year of downloading child pornography off the Internet, said Jessica’s Law goes too far on child pornography. “There’s a difference between downloading material, versus an adult making overt acts to meet someone they believe is a child” on the Internet, said Kita. Kita defended 37-year-old Steven Wendell Anthony, who received fines of more than $1,500, probation and community service after being convicted of possessing child pornography last year. Anthony’s wife told detectives that her husband downloaded the pictures onto his computer. “One of the titles he downloaded was Brazil Pedophilia,’” said Sgt. Dan Scott of the Sheriff’s Department Special Victims Bureau. “At first, he denied doing anything intentionally. But after we gave him a polygraph that he failed, he confessed.” But had Anthony been convicted of a felony, his first offense would have ruined his life, Kita said. “A felony charge can make it impossible to get meaningful employment,” said Kita. “It would not help society because it would have people who are otherwise law-abiding citizens not able to get a job.” sandy.mazza@sgvn.com (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3026last_img read more

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Cell-phone trial testimony really hard to swallow

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPhotos: At LA County Jail, Archbishop José H. Gomez celebrates Christmas Mass with inmates 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – Prosecutors say a man shoved a cell phone down his girlfriend’s throat because he was angry and jealous. But defense attorneys insisted as a trial got under way that the woman swallowed the phone intentionally to keep the defendant from seeing whom she had been calling. Marlon Brando Gill, 24, is charged with first-degree assault in the December incident involving 25-year-old Melinda Abell. Abell has given inconsistent accounts of what happened before she was taken to a hospital, where an emergency room doctor removed the phone. She testified Tuesday on the first day of Gill’s trial that she couldn’t remember how the phone got in her throat, saying she had too much to drink that night.last_img read more

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Web-Enable Microsoft Project with New Version of Clarizen’s PM Software

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… sarah perez Tags:#web#Web Office Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img Last month we featured online project management software from LiquidPlanner, but if that wasn’t for you then you may be interested in an alternative SaaS from a company called Clarizen. The Clarizen project management software came out of stealth mode last year and has now just launched a new version with additional features. The latest version, Clarizen v 2.0, will be demoed at tomorrow’s “Under the Radar Conference,” an event held on Microsoft’s campus whose current theme is “The Business of Web Apps: Where the Web Goes to Work.”It seems a little odd for a direct competitor to Microsoft Project software to be featured at a Microsoft-sponsored conference, but the Clarizen product has a lot to offer current users of Project as well as those who would prefer an online tool. In a way, Clarizen web-enables Microsoft Project by allowing for the import of Project files into the online software. Microsoft Office users will also benefit from the program’s new “Export to Excel” feature.Exporting to ExcelThe latest version, Clarizen v2.0, is a major upgrade with many more features and enhancements, including the following:Budget Planning: A brand-new budget planning feature is included with this release, allowing you to keep track of Actual vs. Planned budgets as part of the overall work plan.Export to Excel: This feature allows you to generate custom reports and export that data to Excel worksheets. The feature is available on the Current Project, Projects, Tasks, and Resource Usage Views.“What’s New”: In version 2.0, new, unread items display in bold text and a “new” icon indicator highlights them in the dashboard’s “What’s New” panelImproved UI: the new version received a facelift and now has a much more user-friendly design than before.Duration: You can now enter different time scales for the duration of a project – anything from hours, to days, weeks, or months.Usability Enhancements: Enhancements have been made across the entire application, bringing changes like right-click menus, interactive tooltips, optimized screen lengths, extended session time outs and more.Modular Projects: You can now move sub-projects from one parent to another or convert a parent project to a sub-project of another project altogether.New Views: A new “View” drop-down lets you quickly switch between Budget and Basic views within a project with even more to come soon. Clarizen ScreenshotIn addition to these new features, Clarizen’s project management software also offers tools like online collaboration with team members, wiki-like notes and discussion boards, alerting features, and an on-demand, scalable SaaS platform. There’s also Clarizen’s ProjectMail feature, which lets team members email in updates on their progress as well as receive status reports, tasks and updates from the system itself.The only drawback for some may be the price. There is no “freemium” model going on here. Instead, the Clarizen software will be available for $50 per user per month, with prepay discounts available. That’s double what LiquidPlanner will be charging when they leave beta, and although Clarizen may arguably be the more robust option, the price seems a bit too high for small teams. However experienced PM’s who have been waiting for a feature rich web alternative to Microsoft Office will likely find that Clarizen has most of the features they need. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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ReCAPTCHA Introduces Enhanced Audio CAPTCHAs to Transcribe Old Radio Shows

first_imgAs we have reported before, the reCAPTCHA service, which is based at Carnegie Mellon University, is not only an easy way to keep spammers away from your web sites, but is also an interesting experiment in harnessing human intelligence to transcribe old texts. To enable those with visual impairments to access those sites that utilize this system, the reCAPTCHA team has now also launched an enhanced audio version of the service, which will be used to transcribe old radio shows that speech recognition technology is not yet able to transcribe.SecurityAs the team points out in a recent blog post, traditional audio CAPTCHAs based on distorted digits or letters are relatively vulnerable to automated attacks and can be broken by using machine learning algorithms. Indeed, Wintercore Labs, an IT security firm, showed how easy it would be to break Google’s audio CAPTCHA solution earlier this year.Transcribing Old Radio Shows By using old audio clips, however, ReCAPTCHA is circumventing these security problems (you can here an example of these clips here by clicking on the speaker button).One problem with this type of CAPTCHA, however, is that a lot of these clips are quite hard to solve – especially because a lot of them are from radio plays and feature different voices within a single clip, as well as the occasional audio effect. Most of the clips are about ten words long.The reCAPTCHA team acknowledges this problem by allowing a certain amount of misspellings and other mistakes, but even with some practice, we still didn’t get far beyond solving every third CAPTCHA correctly (but then, a lot of visually impaired users might be more sensitive to picking up these audio clues). If you did better, let us know in the comments. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…center_img frederic lardinois Tags:#NYT#Product Reviews#web A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…last_img read more

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Delivering the Corporate Mission

first_imgEDITORS NOTE: Roger Osborne is general manager of store operations at Hollywood Entertainment. He is in charge of the entire Hollywood Video field operations organization reporting directly to the founder and CEO Mark Wattles. Osborne came to Hollywood five years ago after serving as president of Work n Gear, a division of the J. Baker company. He had previously been senior vice president of J. Bakers license division. Prior to that, Osborne was senior vice president of The Bata Shoe Organization, which at that point was the largest shoe company in the world. He began his retailing career with Payless ShoeSource. While loss prevention reports elsewhere in the organization, Osborne has been a significant partner and advocate of LP. Below, he shares his views of the successful relationship between operations, loss prevention, and the other organizations inside Hollywood Entertainment.EDITOR: In your twenty-five-plus years in retail operations, youve held several senior management positions. Over that time, how have your views of loss prevention changed?OSBORNE: Going way back, no matter what level I was at the time, Ive always had a great deal of respect for LP and their expertise. Ive always felt that loss prevention can enhance the fields ability to maximize the top and bottom lines. When I figured out that connection early in my career, I always worked diligently to make sure we had a very synergistic working relationship between the store’s organization and loss prevention.- Sponsor – EDITOR: How has the role of loss prevention changed within organizations youve been involved with?OSBORNE: Depending upon the evolution of the organization, loss preventions contribution varies. In the early stages…and Ill use Hollywood as a recent example…LP spent a disproportionate amount of time on the apprehension side, the reactive part. As we built the organization from the top down, we evolved to where we now have stability in the leadership ranks, and we are spending more time on the front side of the equation prevention which is exactly what they should be doing.One of the interesting things at Holly wood is that we have a field loss prevention team, a field stores organization, and a field human resources division that work very closely together. All three of these divisions recognize that their collective thoughts and ideas allow us to make the best business decisions. In my mind, it really starts with everyone in these groups having a common purpose, a clear understanding of our companys mission, and using that as the foundation for determining direction.EDITOR: From your personal working relationship with loss prevention, what are your expectations of LP as you interface with all levels of their organization?OSBORNE: First and foremost, I expect everyone from the LP team to keep the mission top-of-mind and live it every day. There are lots of companies that have mission statements that make nice inscriptions in corporate offices or that read well in pamphlets, but do they truly live their mission statements?Our mission statement is very simple. It starts with one statement: Hollywood is dedicated to exceptional guest experiences delivered with genuine warmth and friendliness.I wont go into the whole thing here, but I do want to point out a couple of key things. In our mission, we refer to our employees as partners and we refer to the consumers as guests. There is a very clear understanding at Hollywood Entertainment that if we are to achieve our mission, we have to provide exceptional experiences for our partners to have even the slightest chance of making an impression in terms of the guest experience.Remember, the mission statement says exceptional. Thats not average. Thats not above average. Thats not better than the rest. Exceptional is a very, very lofty achievement.If you visit different retail stores and restaurants throughout America, there are a lot of average experiences out there. There are very few wow experiences. What were trying to do is something that is very, very special.EDITOR: Why have you placed so much emphasis on customer service?OSBORNE: The reason why this is so important at Hollywood is that our product assortment is very similar to our competitors. There are not a lot of things we can do to differentiate ourselves when it comes to movie and game titles. Thats why this mission statement is so basic, yet so fundamentally correct. Its got to be the real deal. It cant be lip service. Thats one of the reasons that I introduced the term guest a couple years ago, with the intent of trying to shift the paradigm of common thinking to a genuine and friendly brand of customer service.You hear customer service everywhere, but whether or not it means anything is the $64,000 question.With the term partners, that was something we established when we re-energized our mission statement about a year ago. Its a two-way street our commitment as an organization is to improve the workplace. Were committed to recruiting, promoting, and retaining talent. We recognize and reward their contribution. We provide them with the necessary feedback to be successful. Its also with the understanding that the corporate organizationor as we call it, the store support centerthis groups primary role is to provide exceptional support to our internal customer, our partners. Its critical to set the tone for our store partners who have direct contact with our guests.To get back to the question, this philosophy certainly applies to our LP team. Their sense of purpose is to protect the assets and profitability of the company so we can deliver a better experience for our guests. And they have to achieve this through strong relationships with our partners within the organization. Im very proud of the way they go about their jobs to make this happen for Hollywood.EDITOR: So, your expectation of loss prevention is to create an exceptional experience for the internal customer, along with everybody else in the organization.OSBORNE: Yes, and they understand, like anybody in merchandising, anybody in accounting, or any department, that their role is to support the internal customer first.EDITOR: How do you help ensure this happens?OSBORNE: One thing we do, we make sure our support teams, including loss prevention and field human resources, are totally involved in store operations meetings. They participate in meetings that are outside their expected realm of responsibility, so theyre totally up to speed with whats going on. By being part of the culture, theyre not an island unto themselves, and theyre more qualified to help carry out the mission statement. They attend zone and regional field management meetings. They conduct training sessions on their own with our field partners. They also attend our talent review meetings.EDITOR: What are talent review meetings?OSBORNE: Twice a year, I travel the country visiting our six zones. We gather with our zone vice presidents and regional managers while they review the performance of every district manager in that particular zone. This could be thirty district managers on average. In that room, I have the vice president of field HR, director of field HR, the zone HR manager, and the director of LP for that area of the country. I have the total team there. I treat them like my cabinet. They have a point of view that I value. It is my philosophy that these different points of view allow me to make the best decisions about the people and the business. So its educational for them, and for me as well. We ultimately walk out of the room with loss prevention, human resources, and the senior management of the stores organization understanding exactly where every district manager and regional manager stands in his or her career. Plus, we have an understanding of the next steps necessary to ensure they achieve their maximum potential.EDITOR: I think its important to point out that this would be somewhat easier establishing a relationship like this if loss prevention was in your direct reporting line, but I understand at Hollywood, loss prevention reports up through a different area.OSBORNE: Youre absolutely correct, and the same thing with human resources. But, the beauty here is we dont even think about those lines, nor does anybody in the field, which is great. Its all about a team having a common vision with very synergistic relationships.EDITOR: What other expectations do you have of loss prevention?OSBORNE: As I mentioned, first and foremost, to live the mission every day to be active and involved with the same goals as everyone in the organization. That means sharing in our guest service goals and striving for the internal partnerships to make that culture possible. Our standards have to be exceptional in everything we do. We have to be committed to it at all levels. With this understanding in place, our LP team can apply their talents and energy where it can do the most good on the preventive side of loss prevention.The other thing I expect is that they take a leadership role in building a culture of trust and integrity. Loss prevention is the team that sets the example. I value having these high-caliber people who always provide a very honest and candid point of view. I work to create a safe environment and have relationships with these partners who provide me with insight and guidance. Their input allows me to be more successful in terms of steering the organization and its people. Thats something I cherish a great deal.EDITOR: Let me take it to the store director level. What do you believe the store director expects and how do they work with their regional manager of loss prevention?OSBORNE: We provide loss prevention training for all new managers, with a goal of making sure they know who their regional is, what his or her role is, and begin establishing their mutually beneficial relationship. We also have an in-house training video that describes loss prevention and its role, which absolutely runs parallel with everything we talk about in the mission statement. So, hopefully they see this individual as a proactive partner.EDITOR: Is it one-on-one training with the regional manager and the store manager?OSBORNE: Some one-on-one and also some group training.EDITOR: What role in training does the regional loss prevention manager play with district managers?OSBORNE: LP training is critical for our district managers, especially those that are hired from the outside. They spend a minimum eight weeks in training before we ever give them the keys to the car, so to speak. During this orientation, they will spend anywhere from three to four days with a loss prevention manager going through in-depth training in all areas of loss prevention. Were also designing an advanced follow-up program to take place somewhere after theyve been on board for three to six months. Because theyre going through so much during that initial eight-week training period, they likely wont grasp everything, so were very encouraged by the prospects of this follow-up course.EDITOR: Youve been at Hollywood for over five years. This company has a wonderful success story, marked by tremendous growth in a relatively short time period. Tell us how Hollywood started and where you are today.OSBORNE: The story of Hollywood Video is truly unique and one of the many things that makes working for this company so special. Our chairman and CEO, Mark Wattles, founded the company in 1988 with a single video superstore in Portland, Oregon. He learned by working behind the counter in that store that the secret to success, and ultimately growth, was through hiring friendly people and delivering an in-store experience that was better than the competition.He grew the company into a regional leader that went public in 1993. At that time we had a total of sixteen stores. To get where we are today, the mid-to-late nineties were a period of explosive growth, reaching a peak of 350 new stores a yearalmost a store a dayby the end of the decade. Today, we have over 1,850 Hollywood Video stores and 600 Game Crazy stores.EDITOR: The Game Crazy stores are a relatively new venture, correct?OSBORNE: Yes. In fact, whats amazing about our growth right now is well end up opening 106 full-line Hollywood Video stores and 325 Game Crazy stores this year.EDITOR: And Game Crazy has a separate management team.OSBORNE: Yes. Its one of the fastest growing concepts out there today, and were doing it with their own management team.EDITOR: And loss prevention has a different field team for the Game Crazy organization?OSBORNE: Yes. It still reports up to Randy Meadows, vice president of loss prevention], with a little bit of a different structure. We want to make sure that as we grow this concept, we have an LP team in place who has the expertise, focus, and accountability to support the game hardware and software business.EDITOR: Talk briefly about the concept.OSBORNE: Its a store-within-a-store-concept built into the footprint of an existing Hollywood Video store. In most stores, you can enter it either from the outside or by going through the game rental section of the Hollywood Video store. Its a concept where game enthusiasts can buy new or used games. They can trade used games for store credit. Plus, they can buy their system platforms and accessories from Game Crazy. Its an industry thats growingaround $10 billion last yearforecasted to grow upwards to $20 billion over the next few years.EDITOR: Because its a store-within-a-store concept and managed by different field and LP organizations, has it created any unique challenges for loss prevention?OSBORNE: No. From a loss prevention standpoint, it actually helps, in my opinion. With our Game Crazy partners at work with a clear view into the Hollywood Video store, we actually have more people watching product and serving our guests. Those are things that tend to deter theft.EDITOR: In the July/August issue of LossPrevention, we featured an article on the LP team at Hollywood titled Leveraging People, Technology, and Relationships. What are some of the initiatives that have had a positive impact on the stores’ organization?OSBORNE: The innovative nature of our LP team has led to meaningful improvements in both loss prevention and the stores productivity. LP programs like our Palm-based audit and advanced exception-reporting strategies have allowed us to focus on strategic areas of our business and leverage our partners to address critical issues.EDITOR: What about the predictive analysis program developed by the stores and LP departments?OSBORNE: Loss preventions ranking reports have allowed us to focus on key operational opportunities within our business that directly affect our shortage numbers. With these, we develop better disciplines, and ultimately offer better service to our guests.EDITOR: What other roles have the loss prevention team taken on to support the stores’ organization?OSBORNE: Our loss prevention team trains thousands of store partners every year. They are always available to mentor and support our field team. This support from our LP team has helped build more meaningful business relationships and a stronger field organization.EDITOR: From the senior management standpoint…meaning you, your counterpart general manager, the CFO, as well as the CEO of the company…how would they view the role of loss prevention, and what support mechanisms does senior management give to the LP function?OSBORNE: Im sure we all view loss prevention as an organization that supports the entire company in our efforts to minimize the loss of cash and assets, while helping us maximize our top-line potential. We have seen a steady improvement in almost all areas of loss prevention, with the primary one being inventory shrinkage. Weve seen a steady improvement over the years there.Weve always had a loss prevention committee that consists of the CFO, chief merchant, logistics, operations, human resources, cash management, and audit. We used to meet every week. Now that has changed to bi-monthly meetings. We spend our time focusing on two areas. One is a review of the current and year-to-date performance diagnostics. Second is a rich discussion on recommended actions centered on improving performance.EDITOR: Notwithstanding that you recently changed from weekly to bi-monthly meetings, other companies may meet monthly at best, some quarterly. What was your thinking in establishing such a frequent meeting to address these types of initiatives?OSBORNE: We are a unique business from the standpoint that we are open 365 days a year and operate until midnight. We have a fairly young audience in terms of our employee or partner base. We have inventory units that number in the tens of millions. We have a desirable product. These factors necessitate a constant focus on LP issues.The other reason is that it makes a difference. We have made sizeable improvements in loss prevention. It was mainly our desire to make sure we were progressing and to prevent any unexpected areas from popping up. Its been pretty terrific. When you look at most of the diagnostics, they are heading in the right direction.EDITOR: Its a significant commitment.OSBORNE: Also, each month, we provide our field organization…LP, HR, and operations…with a set of LP team performance diagnostics that takes every area of loss prevention and breaks it down to zone, regional, and district levels to show performance. Its a report card. I use that to to guide my direction to my field vice presidents as well as the organization.EDITOR: As an experienced executive running the stores’ operations not only with Hollywood, but other retailers, what advice can you give to younger loss prevention professionals aspiring to make the greatest contribution to their company?OSBORNE: That’s real easy. The first thing they have to do, whether they are part of a company today, or whether they’re interviewing with a company, is to make sure that their beliefs and philosophies are in alignment with the mission statement and the expectations of the organization. If they are not, you know something isn’t going to work. You’re going to have a rough road.The second thing is to recognize that it’s all about building strong relationships. If you do, you’ll benefti from teh experience of others and find yourself making better and better decisions about people, your area of responsibility, and the business in total.EDITOR: Thank you for your time. It’s very apparent that you are passionate about the success of Hollywood Entertainment and delivering the company’s mission.OSBORNE: I’ve been commuting 6,000 miles a week from Boston to Portland for three years. If I didn’t believe in our mission statement with the passion I do, if I didn’t feel that there was something really special we were trying to accomplish here, I wouldn’t do it. There’s a non-financial paycheck here that’s much bigger than my financial one. It’s taken some maturing over the years, but now when I look back over the course of my week, month, quarter, or year, I am able to see a legacy that says I’m making a positive difference in the lives of people I touch, and ultimately, their families. That means more to me than any paycheck.EDITOR: Well, that certainly is the reputation you’ve developed and you should be very proud of that. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

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Internet of Things: Driving the Convergence of IT and OT

first_imgIncreasingly the two areas of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) are converging.  IT refers to the physical devices like computers, storage and networking for managing data.  OT refers to the monitoring of events, processes and devices in manufacturing and industrial environments.  Technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), or more specifically Industrial IoT (IIoT) are bringing these worlds together.Keith Nosbusch, Rockwell’s chairman and CEO, said that “central to achieving the Connected Enterprise is the convergence of IT and OT.  Historically, these have been two different worlds with different priorities, and base technologies. True convergence between these two worlds has been a challenge.”Brian Carpizo, manufacturing and supply chain team lead at Uptake, told Forbes magazine that “we are analyzing converged IT/OT data sets to identify previously hidden correlative factors in the entire product lifecycle. We are tearing down the silos between design engineering, manufacturing engineering, manufacturing operations, and after-market support. We treat it as one process to be tuned and optimized. Instead of just look-behind tools, we predict how changes in inputs and processes can affect output.”Chris Eriksen, general manager for IT at CitiPower and Powercor, described the effect of convergence in the power industry, saying that  “IT/OT [operational technology] convergence and the internet of things are creating more opportunities to leverage advanced analytics. As an example, this convergence can provide greater insight into network performance for advanced monitoring purposes which enables improved electricity supply quality and resilience for our customers.”last_img read more

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Open Wireless Sensors: A Better Way for Factories to Embrace IIoT Cord-Cutting

first_imgI’m listening to music on my headphones. This is an easy process because of Bluetooth* standards. This easy format lets me connect any of my headphone sets into a phone, PC, or smartwatch anywhere I go. That’s the beauty of open technologies.As we discuss in our paper “Reduce IoT Cost and Enable Scaling Through Open Wireless Sensor Networks,” manufacturing environments do not enjoy these benefits with their sensor networks. A century or so of submersion in proprietary sensor technologies has left today’s enterprises with solutions incapable of easy integration with the organization’s modern IT systems. In some cases, this integration can be done, but only within the confines and considerable expense of the solution provider’s own ecosystem.As a sizable manufacturing company, Intel is no stranger to these issues. We need better sensor approaches as much as anyone else, and we believed that conducting a successful proof of concept (PoC) within our own walls could help other interested parties see how to follow suit and help grow demand for low-cost scalable plug-and-play sensor networks. Overall, we were committed to finding scalable solutions so that the next wave of developers could enjoy affordable, compatible approaches to breaking open today’s sensor bottlenecks.Our paper describes how we were successful in this pursuit. We deployed over 100 Bluetooth Low Energy sensors; achieved long distances of 30 feet and had over 99% reliability in a harsh and challenging production environment; and used readily available, off-the-shelf components throughout the solution.In the event that anyone thinks that our results are exclusive to Intel or our fab environment, I wanted to offer a few broader use case examples to serve as inspiration.Monitoring Exhaust LateralsThis was the application in our PoC because it was a simple way to start, and most tools have exhaust. Exhaust requires monitoring in order to ensure that machines are healthy and outputting within specification. Wireless sensors enable pressure to be monitored at practically any point in the exhaust system for fractional costs. Of course, the same is also true of wired sensors—especially if those sensors were placed at the time of original fixture construction or if we spend large amounts of money to install cable to all the places we want to monitor.If the exhaust configuration changes, or if the company wishes to change or add sensors over time, then the cost to run new infrastructure to additional wired monitoring points is about 20x more expensive than installing wireless alternatives. Wired approaches also tend to require more gateways because of the 1:1 nature of their connection to gateways that will bridge them to the internet. Those gateways will be part of the proprietary solution and are likely to be more expensive to install and support/maintain. Not least of all, the cost of wiring and the labor required to install that wiring need to be considered.With wireless, a sensor may be based on a platform such as the Arduino Primo Core. Wireless sensor costs could easily be half that of a proprietary wired equivalent. Obviously, there are no wires to worry about. In our PoC, we connected to Intel IoT Gateways. We chose to standardize the wireless upstream data being sent to a Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) broker. Unlike the data publication used in proprietary solutions, MQTT is open and allows nodes to connect as subscribers, publishers, or both. You can think of it as blog content, such as this article. Intel posts the article into a general content engine, and users who subscribe to the blog can filter by metadata tags to see only the articles that interest them. With MQTT, our wireless sensor data can be published to any subscriber in the system that wishes to receive a live data stream from, in our case, exhaust laterals. This is a key feature in allowing IT analytics systems to use of manufacturing floor data—which was previously unavailable—for higher productivity, safety, and tool longevity.Chemical MonitoringLiquids are necessary in almost any manufacturing operation, and companies need to monitor the temperature and levels of these liquids. Often, chemicals move around on factory floors, such as when they’re taken from storage, placed near a machine, and then moved back into storage, potentially in a different location than where they started. This mobility obviously makes fixed, wired sensors problematic if not impossible, depending on the liquids and environment. Nevertheless, monitoring remains essential. Many chemicals are expensive. Some must be exceptionally pure. If they fall outside of their allowable thresholds (think of someone accidentally leaving a batch on a dock), replacing them might cost tens of thousands of dollars. They might even damage their host machines.Building wireless temperature and level sensors is not the toughest of engineering feats. Imagine the millions of dollars such a simple tool will save manufacturers everywhere in the near future.That really is the point. Companies have been using proprietary legacy manufacturing sensor technologies for so long, and the habit of using them is so ingrained throughout industries, that it can be hard to see that there are lower cost methods of connecting sensors. Our PoC shows that the door to an enterprise scalable, plug-and-play wireless sensor network can be unlocked, opening the way for connecting new sensors and publishing data to be as simple and transparent as, say, connecting a Bluetooth headset to an audio device.Read the IT@Intel Solution Brief, “Reduce IoT Cost and Enable Scaling Through Open Wireless Sensor Networks,” to find out more about our wireless sensor tests and the benefits that such approaches can bring to your manufacturing environment.last_img read more

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