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Next Generation Supply Chain Management

Blogged By: 
John Lloyd, MANTEC
Created on April 2, 2014
 

This article was originally posted on the PNC Business Insights e-news section. Guest blog post by John Lloyd, MANTEC

Every company, large or small, is dependent upon the companies that make up its supply chain. The term “supply chain” encompasses all of the entities on which a business depends to meet its customer expectations. These range from first-, second- and third-tier material sources to service providers to logistics and transportation specialists. Today’s forward-thinking companies have come to understand that their own performance hinges on the success of their supply chain relationships.

Historically, companies viewed their suppliers simply as the instruments to get them the parts they needed on time at the right price. Too often the customer/supplier relationship was very autocratic: Demands were made and it was expected that those demands would be met. In making sourcing decisions, companies traditionally did not look beyond a supplier’s capability, price and delivery. But those who stop there are missing a valuable opportunity to view suppliers strategically as a resource to add customer value and create a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Suppliers can be a source of critical information to improve product design, quality, performance and cost.

National Director Alejandra Y. Castillo Discusses the Importance of Minority Entrepreneurship

Blogged By: 
Leona Lam, MBDA Intern
Created on June 26, 2014
 

National Director Castillo and Ron BrownsteinOn June 24, Alejandra Y. Castillo, National Director for the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), gave a keynote address at “The Next America: Making America Work,” an event hosted by the National Journal in Washington DC. The event was designed to discuss how the public and private sectors can promote minority financial empowerment, workforce development and entrepreneurship.

Speaking to the more than 200 attendees, Castillo reminded them that MBDA was celebrating its 45th year anniversary, but that the Agency’s goal was to think about the role it will play in helping minority-owned businesses during the next 45 years.

“Minority-owned businesses see opportunity where others do not,” she said.  “As we move forward, MBDA will continue helping our clients with both domestic and global business opportunities; we will continue helping them become procurement-ready and we will focus on helping them develop a succession plan for their future.”

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), a minority business owner and member of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, also gave keynote remarks at the event. Additionally, there were two expert panels that explored minority workforce development and financial empowerment, and how to create opportunities for minority small businesses. Al Jazeera America Host Ray Suarez, Atlantic Media Editorial Director Ronald BrownsteinNational Journal Correspondent Janell Ross, and National Journal Correspondent and Director of the Next Economy Project Amy Sullivan moderated the discussions.

Franchise Anyone?

Blogged By: 
SBA
Created on June 23, 2014
 

This post originally appeared on the SBA.

Dale Van Eckhout, Senior Area Manager, Bismarck Area Office - North Dakota District Office

FranchiseMany people associate fast food businesses with franchising. In fact, there are over 120 different types of franchise businesses and hundreds of thousands of franchises available in the United States, including automotive, cleaning & maintenance, health & fitness, and pet-related franchises - just to name a few.

Franchising is the practice of selling the right to use a firm's successful business model. This involves two major players which are the franchisor who sells the business model, and the franchisee owning a direct stake in the business. The franchisor's success depends on the success of the franchisees.

There are many benefits in buying a franchise including the following:

  • Saving time - the franchise company already has the business model in place so you can focus on running a successful business.

  • Company image and branding - the image and brand of the company is already established. Consumers are always more comfortable purchasing items from a familiar name or company they trust.

  • Training - the franchisor usually provides extensive training and support to the franchise owner.

4 Ways Understanding Data Can Inform Your Export Strategy

Blogged By: 
Kenneth R. Mouradian
Created on June 23, 2014
 

This post originally appeared on the Tradeology, the ITA Blog

Kenneth R. Mouradian is the Director of the International Trade Administration’s Orlando U.S. Export Assistance Center.

Relying on export data can make your international business ventures more profitable.

Numbers can be misleading, especially when they’re used as a proxy for quality thought in decision making.

Now, let’s be clear, here. When I say that numbers can be misleading, I’m assuming that you’re looking at an X and a Y axis with data points and no text except that which is necessary to label the graph. Alternatively, you’re looking at 10 numbers: five years and five corresponding dollar amounts or volumes. That’s where a lot of U.S. exporters begin their market research; and, if that’s where their research ends, that’s a problem.

Potential exporters need to look behind the data points on the graph by asking some important questions:

  • What happened before the trend?

  • What happened after the trend?

  • What caused the trend?

  • Can you compete (i.e., price, quality, terms of sale, features, post-sales support)?

Here’s a hypothetical: Imagine for a moment that you sell building products and the data indicate a 5-year growth trend in Timbuktoo for exactly what you sell. Assume, too, that the data are two years out of date and that you don’t follow soccer. Little did you know that Timbuktoo hosted the World Cup two years ago and that, if you had more recent data, you’d see a drop in demand for building products once the stadium, exercise buildings, dormitories, and tourism infrastructure had been completed.

Taking Advantage of Business Opportunities in Colombia

Blogged By: 
George Mui, Access to Market Team Lead
Created on June 18, 2014
 

This post is part of the global blog series the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) started during World Trade Month.

George Mui is the Access to Markets team lead in MBDA’s Office of Business Development.

Bogota, Colombia CityviewThe U.S. Department of Commerce, through its Look South campaign, helps U.S. exporters to expand their markets and identify new opportunities in Latin America. U.S. goods exports to Peru, Panama, Mexico, and Colombia have increased every year since 2009. As we celebrate the second year anniversary of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement more American companies are exporting goods and services to Colombia, the vast majority of which are duty-free. The U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement is just one of the 11 free trade agreements between the United States and Latin American countries.

That’s why MBDA San Antonio Business Center director Orestes Hubbard and MBDA Global Business Center project manager David Leister visited Colombia along with an MBDA Global Business Center client, Carlos Silva, CEO of USATEQ, a Colombian native.

MBDA San Antonio director Orestes Hubbard shared his experience with George Mui, MBDA’s Access to Markets team lead in the Office of Business Development.

Mui: Why did you choose to travel to Colombia?

Hubbard: Colombia has a very advantageous geography and is roughly twice the size of the state of Texas – where I live. Colombia is also the only country in South America with access to both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and has long had good diplomatic and trade relations with the United States.

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Number of jobs created as a result of services provided by MBDA business centers during the last 5 fiscal years.
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