Assessment: Reflective Essay

Introduction

The human resource department is confronted with various responsibilities concerning the management of human resources in an efficient and effective manner. The responsibilities concerning the salary and wages, employee layoff are some pertinent issues that need to be taken care in this regard. My profession as the Salary and Wages administrator of The Sydney Royale hotel encompassed such decision making on periodic basis. The present essay examines the various challenges and the issues related to the human resources that are involved in this decision making with the help of a simulated exercise conducted at the Sydney Royale Hotel. The discussion would involve the subjects of role and responsibilities of the different people in the team of human resource department. It would then delve on the practices adopted for managing the wages and salaries of the employees and their impact on the hotel’s performance. As the hotel management used the quarterly period to review and revise these decisions hence the statements that I would be making will represent the interpretation of quarterly reviews of data. The essay would arrive at the conclusion by highlighting the excerpts of the first year’s assessment and the explanation behind the special decisions taken by the management with respect to the concerns of ethics and sustainability.

Simulation Exercise

The results of the simulation exercise included in the appendix section summarize the quarterly data for the decisions pertaining to the management of wages and salaries in the organization. The first four tables summarize the quarterly results presenting the comparative assessment of the company along with its competitors on various parameters to judge the effectiveness of its HR function. As evident from the tables it can be seen that during the commencement of its operations on commercial basis, the Sydney Royale Hotel started at the seventh ranking with respect to the parameters like absenteeism, accident rate, percentage of female employees, number of grievance cases, percentage of minority groups, employee morale, productivity, quality index,             turnover and unit labor cost. The company depicted significant improvement in its performance with respect to the human resource issues and made a drastic leap to the first rank by the end of first quarter and continued the journey in the next quarter as well. However the company could not continue its journey further and the results of the next quarter were disappointing as the company fell to the third rank from its first position for the consecutive two previous quarters. Hence it is important to review its first year’s performance and identify the issues along with the plausible solutions to decide the future HR strategies.

HRM: A Strategic Function

As the strategy is interpreted as a planned action for attaining a favorable competitive position, HRM strategy can be interpreted as an agenda for managing the employees efficiently (Tyson, 1995). According to Lengnick-Hall et al., (2009) strategic HRM comprises the strategic HR actions which attempt to control the performance of the organization. The HR practices that are prevalent in the organization play an extremely critical role as a strategic tool in the hands of the HR manager for manipulating its workforce-efficiency (Stewart, 2009). The positive impact of application of appropriate intervention methods for tackling with different organizational challenges pertaining to HRM are evident from the results of the four quarters, as shown in the following table.

Table 1: Summary of four quarterly results for Sydney Royale Hotel

Company Weighted Score Rank Unit Labor Cost Quality Index Turnover Morale Accident Rate Grievances Productivity Absenteeism Minority % Female %
Quarter 1 75 7 60.76 51 9.8 49 461 42 198 437 8.3 13.4
Quarter 2 93 1 60.87 55 7.9 61 396 27 201 364 10.4 15.9
Quarter 3 96 1 59.46 60 6.0 66 325 22 208 337 12.5 18.2
Quarter 4 89 3 57.19 64 7.1 60 258 16 216 333 14.9 21.0

As a part of the HR team of the hotel, I was entrusted to take care of the salary and wages of the employees and looking after the grievances. The distribution of the other human resources responsibilities included Joint Director HR (Training) responsible for training and development of the employees, boosting employee morale, time management issues; Manager HR responsible for issues pertaining to absenteeism, turnover, discipline among staff, safety concerns regarding the operations and the head of the department, Director HR responsible for budget issues, workforce compositions, staffing issues and overall human resource department’s supervision. The team worked with a common goal of optimizing workforce efficiency through regular meetings to plan, follow up and take feedback of the activities.

Absenteeism

The absenteeism is the observed high count of a worker abstaining from his/her assigned workplace responsibilities or the workplace for long periods of time. In addition to this, it is observed that these periods of long absences are not justified with any excusable reasons. We observed that absenteeism is a practice that needs to be curbed for keeping the employees motivated towards their job hence our team collective made efforts to curtail the absenteeism rate down over the year through necessary disciplinary action and enhancing motivation of employees. The policies of HR team of the hotel depict that the HR department has done a significant job in this regard. The study by Robbins & Judge (2012) suggests that absenteeism is often an outcome of poor employee satisfaction from his/her job hence it implies that the hotel is doing well in improving the employees’ satisfaction level and checking  their lack of will or motivation to conduct their responsibilities.

Accident Rate

The most of the accidents in the workplaces occur during operational activities and mostly include hazards due to chemicals, fire explosions and confined spaces hence the contemporary organizations need to adhere to occupational health and safety standards. The hotel has ample arrangements to prevent hazards due to chemicals and fire by ensuring that it has fire extinguishers at every floor, keeps regular checks on its electricity and water heating appliances and has properly ventilated rooms and other facilities. The problems pertaining to confined spaces are taken care of by having a separate storage space, a room for maintaining the underground utility repairs and other replacements, some areas for excavation and keeping other infrastructure for management. Through the implementation of such practices, the hotel has effectively handled the accident rate which has reduced significantly over the year and has reduced costs for hotel to cover employee insurances.

Workplace Diversity

The Director HR of the hotel has taken significant measures to ensure that there is no discrimination among its employees on the basis of gender or their ethnic and cultural backgrounds and the data for the four quarters has indicating this as the increasing percentage of women and the people from the minority groups. The workplace diversity also yields various other positive changes for the organization and that includes improvement in the recruitment, skill   optimization and talent management process, a significant reduction in the employee absenteeism, retention of best talent from the industry (Shen et. al., 2009).

Organizational Productivity

There is a direct impact of the HR practices on the productivity of the employees and also that of the organization (Kehoe & Wright, 2013). The data for the hotel suggests that as the outcome of its positive measures for the employees of the organization and high concern for the ethics and sustainability as depicted by their concern for the internal customers of the hotel that constitutes its workforce.

Quality Index

The quality index of the hotel has been exhibiting an increasing trend over the four quarters. It means that in spite of increasing the quality of services delivered to its customers the hotel has lost its first rank. This has been an indicator of the fact that the competition in the hospitality industry is increasing and hence it is not just important for any hotel or other business entities that quality is increased. But rather the demand of the time is to create differentiation among the competitors. The services sector provides limited opportunities of yielding differentiation to its customers in general but in the hotel industry the firm can differentiate itself in terms of its exclusive cuisines, exclusive ambiance, exclusive theme and various other features apart from pricing.

Unit Labor Costs

The efficiency of operations of the company is reflected clearly in the decreasing trend of the unit labor costs. The decrease in the unit labor costs suggest that the hotel is incorporating ample quality control measures for checking the quality of services. This may be an outcome of the proper training to the employees, the increase in the popularity of the hotel among the customers due to positive word of mouth.

Grievances

The past studies have indicated that the incidence rate of grievances in the hospitality industry including the hotels is extremely high and that has been found to have significant negative association with the employee outcomes that include their job performance (Knox & Walsh, 2005). The poor employee outcomes are manifested across the high turnover rates which has a significant association with the productivity and performance of the company in an adverse manner (Choo, 2007). The turnover rates in the hotel have shown a declining pattern over the last year indicating that the hotel has been able to handle the grievances in a positive manner and ensure that its internal as well as external customers both are satisfied. The results are also in conformity with the improvement in the level of employee morale over the four quarters. I have personally made special efforts in this regard by ensuring that any grievance is properly communicated to the appropriate authority and resolved as per the hotel policies. The training of the employees will also help in reducing grievances.

Staffing

One of the prominent stages in the Human Resource Life Cycle comprises the recruitment and selection of right men for appropriate job matching his/her skills and knowledge (Phillips, 2009). The quality of the organization is directly mirrored across the quality of its internal employees or its workforce, the human resource. Hence it is imperative for the firms to exercise great caution in the selection and recruitment process; choosing the right candidates for the organization is crucial for the organizational success. The importance of the recruitment phase in establishing a great relationship between employee and employer can be realized from the fact that the first introductory impression creates a long lasting impact for both the parties.

In general, the process of recruitment involves various important steps including [1] evaluation of the staffing needs that require locating the job-vacancy and the requisites expected from the person who will be entrusted with that job [2] development of the description of the required position or job [3] development of the plan for recruitment [4] selecting the search committee[5] posting the advertisements of the positions in the appropriate media [6] implementing the plan designed for recruitment[7] reviewing the applicant’s list  [8] short-listing of the candidates from this list [9] conducting the job-interviews[9] selecting and  hiring the right candidates and [10] close the recruitment after finalization (Caruth et al., 2009).

In addition to these, the HR managers can entwine the innovative techniques like HR auditing that has an innate mechanism to systematically verify the job design and evaluate the jobs along with the recruitment procedures to recruit and select the employees for the organization. It also takes care of the needs of training and development among the employees in the organization, besides determining the appropriate methods of appraising the job performance evaluation of these employees. The audit system also includes provisions for assessing the remuneration procedures, counseling and care needs of the employees along with several other activities that employees undertake so as to enable the organizations make an organized assessment of their human resource practices (Kehoe & Wright, 2013). The focus of the hotel has been on sustainable best practices that include selective hiring, ensuring security to employees and t continuous training (Enz & Siguaw, 2000).

The trends with respect to the staffing decisions suggest that the hotel’s projected resignation rate in the first two quarters exceeded the prospective new hires made by the company while in the last two quarters the trend is reversed. This can be attributed to the fact that initially as a start-up hotel the hotel was trying to fulfilling its staffing needs by hiring more people as indicated by high rate of new hires but at the same time being a new business the likelihood of the employee staying with the organization was also low. This could be because of lack of trust in the new organization. In the subsequent months as the employees gained more experience in the organization, gained trust and developed bonding with the business their likelihood of leaving the organization reduced. It is also suggested that the organization is gradually moving from a transitory phase to a phase of more organizational stability. This can be directly correlated with the positive perception of the HR policies of the organization among the employees.

Wages

The summary of the decisions which I had taken throughout the year have been summarized in the following table:

Table 2: Wages Decisions

Wages – Quarter 1

 

Job Level 5 4 3 2 1
Initial  Wages $18,000 $14,000 $12,000 $10,000 $8,000
Quarterly Increase 1 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Quarterly Increase 2 $180 $140 $120 $100 $80
Quarterly Increase 3 $181 $141 $121 $101 $121
Quarterly Increase 4 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Current Wages $18,361 $14,281 $12,241 $10,201 $8,201

 

 

The conventional approach of management stressed more on profits rather than the value provided by the resources. This approach represents a myopic view indicating termination of the non-productive workers. The lopsided approach assumes that worth of any asset is in terms of its ability to generate profits only. In such cases it is needed that the approach is re-oriented to understand that employee retention is equally an important concern, as the departing employee carries organization’s trade secrets too along with their rich experience and a prospective loyalty bound relationship with the firm. All of these are critical factors to determine the long-term success of the organization rather than the short-term perspective that focuses on maximization of the profits alone. The organization not only needs to derive more economic value but cater to the interests of its other stakeholders too.

The trends in the wage distribution of the employees across the different job levels seem satisfactory as the wages are seemingly in confirmation with the nature of job and the expertise required in handling this job efficiently. However, the examination of the wages across the quarters suggests that the workers are given increment in the second and third quarters but no such increment is indicated at the end of the year. This decision may be explained by the fact that the company made heavy recruitments during the last quarter as per the routine recruitment cycle. Hence in order to cope up with the increased expenditures on recruitment the hotel could not enhance the wages for this quarter. The HR can communicate this to the employees to avoid any ambiguity and misunderstanding and assure them that they will get the appropriate compensation in proportion to their job performance in the coming quarters. In the second quarter I decided that initially the increment should be based on a fraction of the salary the employees in particular job level and based on the consensus it was kept at 10% of their salaries for all job levels. In the next quarter we decided to continue with the same percentage for the top four levels but to make it look bigger than the previous figure we tried psychological increment amount at $181, $141, $121 and $101 respectively. Further we felt that it will be boosting for the employees at the executive level to receive good hike in salaries for improving their involvement and productivity in job and hence they are given the increment equal to the middle level employees which is $121.

Special Decisions

The examination of the special decisions undertaken by the employees suggests that the hotel has been using new innovative methods to enhance the effectiveness of its HR practices. The use of ergonomic studies for designing the jobs indicates that the work space is fully optimized and designed as per the job requisites. This initiative has a direct positive impact on the productivity of employees. The other decision to lease employees from an outsourcing agency may be explained by the hotel’s initial concern to hold back a part of the working capital by outsourcing some employees who are more experienced and skilled. The decision helped in improving the image of the hotel with quality of services delivered to customers through these experienced employees besides saving on the current expenditure on wages of permanent staff. The decision concerning the performance appraisal using appraisal by supervisor as well as self appraisal based on standardized measurement on Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales (BARS) ensures that the appraisal is conducted in an objective manner; this ensures high employee satisfaction and promotion of the right and performing candidates.

Conclusion

To sum up, it can be said that we as a team have performed well over the first year with respect to our HRM practices, but the hotel management needs to be vigilant of the competition to maintain lead over the other hotels in the area. It would be better if the hotel makes efforts to create differentiation among its competitors by providing customers a unique service experience. In addition to this, the company needs to strengthen its bond with its employees by giving them a supportive work environment that takes complete care of their professional as well as personal needs.

References

Caruth, D., Caruth, G., and Pane, S. (2009). Staffing the Contemporary Organization: A Guide to Planning, Recruiting, and Selecting for Human Resource Professionals (3rd Ed.). Westport, CT: Praeger.

Choo, H. G. (2007). Leadership and the workforce in Singapore: evaluations by the Singapore Human Resources Institute. Notes, 800, 21.

Enz, C., &Siguaw, J. 2000, ‘Best Practices in Human Resources’ Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, vol. 41, no. 1, pp. 48-61.

Kehoe, R. R., & Wright, P. M. (2013). The impact of high-performance human resource practices on employees’ attitudes and behaviors. Journal of Management, 39(2), 366-391.

Knox, A., & Walsh, J. (2005). Organisational flexibility and HRM in the hotel industry: evidence from Australia. Human Resource Management Journal, 15(1), 57-75.

Lengnick-Hall, M. L., Lengnick-Hall, C. A., Andrade, L. S., & Drake, B. (2009). Strategic human resource management: The evolution of the field. Human Resource Management Review, 19(2), 64-85.

Phillips, J. G. (2009). Strategic Staffing. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Shen, J., D’Netto, B., & Tang, J. (2010). Effects of human resource diversity management on organizational citizen behaviour in the Chinese context. The International Journal of Human Resource Management21(12), 2156-2172.

Stewart, G. a. (2009). Human Resource Management – Linking Strategy to Practice.

Tyson, S. (1995). Human resource strategy: Towards a general theory of human resource management. London: Pitman Publishing.

 

Father and Sons

 

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux’s nineteenth century marble sculpture of Ugolino and His Sons is an extremely powerful work on display at the Metropolitan Museum. Ugolino is depicted along with his four sons in an apparently torturous scene. The father, Ugolino is sitting in the middle of his four sons and is chained down to his seat while the surrounding kids cling to him for support. In his attempt to capture the suffering of this family, Carpeaux uses form to establish the importance of the father, Ugolino, and then proceeds to capitalize on subtle details including facial expressions, chains and the style of his children to show that Ugolino is not up to the task of supporting his family.

Carpeaux uses the overall shape of this sculpture to draw attention to Ugolino. The most striking feature of this sculpture while first observing it from its privileged point of view, which is straight on, is that it is clearly in the shape of a pyramid. The father is the center of this pyramid and his body provides the main structural support within the marble for the surrounding children. Carpeaux creates Ugolino as the center axis and the most structurally strongest point within the sculpture on purpose. It coincides with the fact the he is trying to depict Ugolino as the supporting figure for his four surrounding sons. Ugolino also draws the most attention because his head is the point of the pyramid. The structure of this sculpture draws even more attention to the father because he is the largest figure that is being represented. He is not simply the largest because he is a man surrounded by children because the children seem to be realistic sizes while he is larger than a normal man. His feet and hands are especially large, perhaps to emphasize the strength that a father has. Carpeaux wants to show that the most important figure within this sculpture is Ugolino by making him bigger and having him be the central supporting figure in his pyramid like structure.

The way that the artist depicts Ugolino in relation to his sons also stresses the importance of the role that the father plays. His four sons are surrounding him and are being physically supported by the father in some way. Without the sturdiness of the father in the center, the children would collapse all around him. They also all have very childish and dependent poses in relation to their father. The youngest son is curled up at the bottom with his head resting along his father’s feet. This son appears particularly weak as his body is very contorted and his eyes are closed. One son is resting his head in his father’s lap while another is leaning up against him with his arm in Ugolino’s lap. The largest and oldest son is the most striking. He is on his knees and grasping his father’s leg. He does not look like he could stand up or even kneel without the support of his father. He appears to be clinging on for dear life as the viewer can see his fingers digging into his father’s leg. The gazes of the children also show that they are looking to their father for leadership. They are all below him and three of the four are looking at him in some way. The two sons on the left appear to be gazing upwards at him while a third has his head bowed in Ugolino’s lap. The only son who is not looking at his father has his eyes closed and is crumpled at his feet. This child may simply be too weak, sick or even dead at this point to look at his father for help. Another way that Carpeaux illustrates the father’s responsibility in this sculpture is by emphasizing the age difference between the father and his sons. His sons are shown with youthful, flowing hair and fair, innocent looking faces, while Ugolino appears old and worn. This age difference naturally implies that the older man is responsible for the younger ones. These differences between Ugolino and his sons show that he is indeed the figure that is in charge in this scene.

Another way in which Carpeaux draws our attention to Ugolino is the way he sculpts his arms and hands. His own arms are leading back to his face which really forces the viewer to focus their attention on his face. Also, the way that his fingers are curled up and digging into his face make this area of the sculpture seem very important. This increased importance on this part of the sculpture further draws our attention to Ugolino and further emphasizes his importance to the overall scene.

The shape and form of this sculpture, combined with the contrast between Ugolino and his sons show that Ugolino is the man responsible in this scene. There is an overall desperate feel to this scene which we can see because of Carpeaux’s attention to detail. The sons are all contorted and the father’s facial expression is clearly one with much anxiety behind it. Therefore, the artist is implying that Ugolino is responsible for getting this family out of whatever situation they are in. He shows a few subtle details which express the fact that Ugolino will not succeed in this task. The first and most powerful of these details are the chains wrapped around Ugolino’s legs. These clearly show he is being restricted by some outside force that is out of his control. These chains make him seem powerless which show that he is not capable of successfully overcoming whatever challenges are plaguing him and his four sons.

The way that Carpeaux sculpts the form of Ugolino’s children also shows that there is little hope for this family. They are all sculpted in the nude, which is a good way to illustrate their lack of power or worthiness. This is reminiscent of the relief sculpting scene in the gothic cathedrals where the outer entrances depict scenes from the last judgment and those who are being denied are nude and hunched. This is very similar to how the sons are depicted in this work. Also, the nudity allows the viewer to see the bodies and form of these children much better and they are shown as rather weak and thin compared to the ideal muscular man. This muscularity can still be scene in Ugolino but not nearly as much in his sons. The nudity also emphasizes how contorted and twisted the children are which alludes to their overall discomfort and desperation. Overall, the nudity facilitates the bleak representation of the four sons which helps show the hopelessness of this scene.

Lastly, the gaze put on by Ugolino makes the viewer feel hopeless about the scenes outcome. He is clutching his face and biting his nails in a classic look of anxiousness and fear. He is looking out towards the privileged view of the sculpture which means he is looking out towards where the viewer will inevitably be standing. The look in his eyes is one of desperation and the viewer gets the desire to help him because he looks so hopeless. However, his expression tells us that we would be unable to help him.

It is sad to see the desperate look in the eyes of Ugolino’s sons looking towards their father for help but it is even sadder to see the look in the eyes of Ugolino who knows full well that he is unable to help his sons. Carpeaux shows this by having Ugolino have a desperate look of his own and also by chaining him down to his seat. Ugolino is also the only hope for the people in this scene because he is the biggest, most pronounced, and central figure within this configuration. Even though Ugolino is the most powerful figure in this scene, Carpeaux shows that he is not capable of overcoming the situation that he and his four sons have been put in.

 

 

Dissecting the GDP Equation

 

 

 

 

by Student’s name

 

 

 

 

Questions on Dissecting the GDP Equation

Part I

Assume that Country A has a population of 500,000 and only produces 1 good: cars. Country A produces 100,000 cars per year. The people in Country A purchase 90,000 cars, but there are not enough cars to fulfill all the demand. They decide to import 50,000 more. The government buys 25,000 cars for its police force, and 10,000 cars are bought by companies to transport employees to other locations to work. They also export 65,000 cars to nearby countries for sale. Discuss the following:

  • What is Country A’s GDP?

GDP= Private consumption + gross investment + government spending + (exports − imports)

GDP = 90,000 + 10,000 + 25,000 + (65,000 – 50,000)

GDP= 140,000 cars

  • What is the composition of GDP by percentage?

Private consumption=  (90,000/140,000)*100                      =64.29%

Gross investment=       10,000/140,000 *100                       =7.14%

government spending= 25,000/140,000 *100                      =17.86%

A country’s export

(Exports − imports)= (65,000-50,000)/140,000 *100      =10.71%

  • What is the GDP per capita?

GDP per capita = GDP/POPULATION

GDP per capita=140,000 / 500,000 =

GDP Per capita=.28 cars per person

  • How does this relate to Keynesian economics?

The Keynesian economics argues that in economics, most things produced are produced for sale, and sold. As a result, measuring the total expenditure of money used to buy things is a way of measuring production. This is known as the expenditure method of calculating GDP. The GDP is therefore composed of Consumption (C), Investment (I), Government Spending (G) and Net Exports (X – M). The equation can be written as
Y = C + I + G + (X − M)

Part II

Go to the Bureau of Economic Analysis at http://bea.gov/, and look up the latest new release for real GDP. Address the following questions after reading the latest release:

  • Where is the United States in the business cycle?

It is in an Expansion phase since the unemployment rate is decreasing and there is an increase in real GDP

  • What is the real GDP today?

$17,328.2 billion

  • What is the largest component of GDP?

Consumption.

  • What is the smallest component of GDP?

Net Exports

  • What is the fastest growing component of GDP, and why?

Exports. This is because of the increase in the foreign trade

  • What components of GDP were involved in the change from last month to this month?

Increases in nonresidential fixed investment and in exports

  • What is the price index today?

Consumer Price Index= $237.4 billions

Producer Price Index= $201.6 billions

  • What caused the change?

The rise in inflationary effect served as a major cause of change in the price index.

 

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The USPS company has a highly integrated system of divisions that essentially work together to ensure that the company stays on an edge over its competitors. Among the vital divisions of the company include the financial division that essentially seeks to ensure that the company retains the capacity to remain successful in its venture in business. Financial capacity of the company is dependent on the capacity of the company’s financial sector to fully manage the financial abilities of the company.

In addition, the marketing sector also has a huge role to play especially in regard to ensuring that the company obtains and maintains its clients. In this regard, the division has, on top of other efforts, sought to market the services of the company and thus helping it to be at a competitive advantage as compared to other companies. Lastly, the customer service division is solely responsible for the service of the customers of the company to ensure that they are fully satisfied. To achieve this, the company’s customer service division is responsible for the handling of any disputes that may arise and threaten the good company-client business (Gesenhues, 2014).

With the vision of the company centered on faster delivery of goods, the company has made significant efforts in order to achieve that. This echoes the mission of the company which states that systematically stipulates that the company provides personal as well as corporate postal services. The proposed business plan of the company has several assumptions. Firstly, it is assumed that the proposed changes would not affect the preferences of the public in regard to the usage of postal services of the company. It is also assumed that the introduction of the rather new inventions in the business that have not been tried and tested in any other models such as the drone deliver services would go as planned and that their use would be eventually adopted and authorized by the industry’s regulators. Lastly, it will be assumed that the company’s competitors would not pose a grave danger to the survival of the USPS Company (Gesenhues, 2014).

The success of the company’s venture to rebrand itself will be pegged upon its ability to implement successfully the highlighted proposed changes. In addition to these, the company would be in dire need of advancing and revolutionizing its management in the bid to achieve the visionary strategic milestone of being a leader in the mail service industry.

PART 1

Market share

According to recent historical managerial ideas, there are few individuals having more significant impacts than those that say business enterprises ought to be kept running in a way that ‘maximizes shareholder values’. For USPS, it can be argued that whatever Americans see as not being wrong with the economy is deep rooted in this ideologies. Such factors include slowed growth and development as well as disparity, inadequate R&D, and training of workers and public goods. Funny though, it is supposed to imperative in a bid to boost the organization’s market share price since it has no establishment in history or in law. Moreover, there is no any exact proof that it makes the economy or the general public better off. Having started in the 1970s as a helpful remedial to self-satisfied administrative mediocrity, it has become rather corrupt as peddled by money managers and corporate administrators. (United States Postal Service, 2006)

Revenues and costs

The Postal Services has significant endeavors for reducing operations costs and enhance efficiency to guarantee costs are better adjusted to mail volumes. Operation costs have declined subsequently since FY 2011, thereby resulting in the first operation incomes since FY 2008. Having been less than anticipated decreases in First-Class Mail volume, combined with execution of the Market Dominant CPI rate it contributed essentially to FY 2014 net operations income. There is a consideration for commissions to do non-cash adjustments for staff remuneration and the payment to RHBF as non-operation costs. Continued losses have disintegrated the liquidity for Postal Service fundamentally. The United States Postal Services attained about $15 billion statutory limit for borrowing in FY 2012. The netbook estimation for its assets remains fundamentally lower than its liabilities, without being able to make the statutorily obliged installments to the RHBF for 4 years. Capital expenditures on resources are limited to those uses considered vital for the operations to continue.

Competitive position 

Extraordinary treatment from federal, local, state governments has accorded U.S. Postal Service some unjustifiable advantages over the private-sector competition, for example, the FedEx and United Parcel Service as indicated by the recent economic analysis. According to Robert Shapiro, who is a former officer at the Commerce Department and economic adviser, said in a report that USPS gets about $2 billion benefits annually from tax exemptions, besides being a monopoly for mail delivery and access to government financing. (United States Postal Service, 2000)

Customer retention

There is an adage for business which is less expensive and simpler to hold existing clients than to get new ones. There could be estimated that it is five times as costly as much to obtain new clients than to hold ones. This is an explanation why organizations work very hard to keep clients happy. The U.S. Postal Service comprehends the significance of client retention. It has increased its endeavors in such manner, including transforming its sales, upgrading its utilization of analytics to check where it poses risks to lose clients, and operating client retention call centers. Moreover, client retention is very challenging during an era of contracting mail volume. Though there is a decrease of customer defection from 2012 to 2013, the extent of this prominent issue is no easy task for the Postal Service’s primary concern.

Consumer satisfaction

The Postal Regulatory Commission produced a report that says that 78% of the USPS’s clients both from households and medium-sized organizations said they were either exceptionally or ‘mostly’ satisfied with the services provided by the agency. The objective of USPS had been 82.5% satisfaction rate. This agency regularly conducts its own particular surveys to gauge client approval including bigger organizations. In this case, those big organizations were excluded in the Postal Service’s scorecard. According to the report by the regulator, the Postal Service reported that it would shutter another 82 mail handling centers. Indeed, the agency already consolidated 140 centers in recent years saying that the agency presently had a bigger number of facilities than it needed because of the decrease in first-class mail volumes. In addition, shuttering more mail centers would result in saving millions of dollars annually. (United States Postal Service, 2006)

 

Customer value

USPS designed a vision to facilitate the value of mail by utilizing information and understanding from the mail to convey increased client value as well as drive operational proficiency. To accomplish this vision, USPS acknowledged it would need to make powerful and versatile business procedures and works on, presenting Intelligent Mail® ability and changing conventional mailer services. In this effect, Full-Service activity was conceived. The Full-Service project is a combination of information encoded in the new suite of Intelligent Mail® code identification with electronic mailing information from clients as well as data obtained from the mailing of USPS operations. Mailer submitted information regarding the make-up of the mail was then incorporated with operational information from the USPS system to make end-to-end understanding for both mailers and USPS. (United States Postal Service, 2000)

Process execution

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) delivers performance models and results, which are key to the attainment of its main goals of giving all inclusive postal administration and has been a long-standing concern towards mailers and Congress. Guidelines are key to setting practical desires for delivery execution and sort out exercises accordingly. Convenient and reliable reports of results are fundamental for administration, oversight, and accountability reasons.

Productivity

Postal expenses are intensely packed in wages, benefits for employees and retirees, and also transportation. There was a removal of more than $6 billion from postal services in expenses in 2009, as a result of a decrease of 115 million work hours. Aggregate Factor Productivity (TFP) declined 0.9 percent, in the second successive year this measure has declined. TFP does compare postal yields, for example, mail volume and delivery system development, with the resources utilized. Mailing volume is weighted by various components, including shape, weight, and level of client preparation. The resource incorporates capital, work labor, and materials. The strategy is like the Multi-Factor Productivity record utilized by the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics to gauge the productivity for the general economy as well as major industrial departments.

Metrics 

Performance metrics chosen must offer clear proof of the achievement of each of the following factors even in ranges where a metrics is difficult to evaluate. First is quality, whereby it checks the conformance to the necessities of contract and principles of good workmanship. Second is a timely performance where it is essential to observe adherence to contract timetables. Thirdly, they must establish a good client-Supplier relationship. This is to ensure commitment towards consumer loyalty as well as trustworthiness and morals. Finally, cost control for forecasting and containing expenses on changes and cost reimbursement contracts. (United States Postal Service, 2000)

Innovation 

The Postal Service embraces innovation and empowers the utilization of technology that makes mailing more effective for clients. This includes having online services that permit business mailers to connect with clients within their localities, city or ZIP Code. After its launch in 2011, the Postal Service has done around 1.2 million transactions resulting in more than $1.2 billion in income. Moreover, the second Ounce Free is another way the Postal Service is adding values to the First-Class Mail. Business mailers can utilize the free second ounce to encase promotion materials, coupons and advertising messages for clients. Furthermore, Intelligent Mail builds the value for mailing for the Postal Service as well as its consumers. The Intelligent Mail barcode recognizes individual bits of mail and compartments of mail and channels them through the handling framework that is to delivery. (United States Postal Service, 2006)

PART 2

With the US postal service aiming at achieving a milestone of goals, the company is in dire need of adopting some advanced systems of business that would help the company come to the actualization of the visions and missions of the company. The major step that the company needs to take is the incorporation of technology in most if its business. In this regard, the company would absolve to advance and supplement most of its operations with the technological advances available in the 21st century. Some of the most viable fields where technology can play a vital role is the advertising and marketing sector. With the advances on the global usage and dominance of the internet, it would be advisably prudent for the company to incorporate advertisements in avenues such as the local media, cabled television stations as well as the mailing systems. In addition, the company would also consider revolutionizing its marketing efforts by including tactics such as use of testimonials from previous customers as well as the use of attractive and lucrative guarantees. These efforts would culminate to the popularity and the public trust of the company among the public; individuals as well as corporates (USPS Advertising sector, 2015).

In order to achieve the strategic plan as well as ensure that the progress is well monitored. One of the most viable methods of monitoring the progress of the implementation of the strategic plan would include the periodic monitoring and reporting of the progress of the company. In this model, each of the leaders of the sections of the company would be required to file returns with the rest of the company. These periodical reports would be a viable avenue for the accountability as well as monitoring and evaluation of the financial progress of the company (USPS Advertising sector, 2015).

The second means of ensuring the good progress of the company would include the setting up of an oversight committee whose major aim would be the monitoring of the progress of the company in regard to the achievement of the objectives. Such an independent oversight unit would be the best in terms of the achievement of the strategic plans of the company. The third effort and bid to ensure accountability of the strategies of the company would include measures such as me development and adhering to a strategic timeline of objective. This would essentially outline each of the proposed goals and its proposed date of achievement. Such a timeline would help the company to achieve the goals within the stipulated timeline.

United States Postal Services is faced by a number of ethical, regulatory and legal issues. About ethics and social responsibilities, the Postal Service is committed to upholding its stand as a liable service organization and it also understands that there is a need to embrace a socially responsible behavior because it is fit for business. This is a principle that has enabled postal service to enhance corporate culture and trust in the key business relationships. There are a number of conflicts that faces it ranging from financial conflicts to organizational conflicts. Ethics requires the postal service management, purchase teams and contracting officers to fully address and consider any ethical concern that is raised on the side of any employee who has been involved in the contracting processes As well as in any other organizational conflict of interest which has arose from the side of the suppliers (United States Postal Services, 2004, p. 201)

Besides this, there are also a number of restrictions that have been imposed by federal regulation and law on the executive branch employees who need postal service employees under some specified circumstances to pursue ethics counseling just before they participate in a certain contracting activity. Generally, the circumstances that lead to this is if a postal service employee falls into one of these category. First, if an employee has either imputed or direct financial interest in the matter. Secondly, if an employee’s ability to remain impartial about the issue during his/her participation is questionable on the basis of relevant facts and thirdly, an employee may be needed to seek counseling prior to a contract if participation in such an issue can make an employee to give rise to suggestions and an appearance that this employee used their public office for the private gains of others.

The postal service also has a responsibility of ensuring their sustainability. The United States Postal service strives to ensure that there is a continually improving environmental responsibility and performance which are very vital in the long-term competitiveness and healthy progress of their business world. This organization has ensures that they have improved their sustainability and environmental practices in their operations and also continually encourages suppliers to also improve their sustainability and environmental practices during the carrying out of their contracts by ensuring that they provide environmentally-preferable products  which are both cost effective and reliable. Once in a while when it is appropriate, the United States Postal service works in collaboration with suppliers so that they may identify opportunities that improve sustainability and environmental aspects (United States Postal Services, 2015).

 

 

 

References

Gesenhues, A. (2014). Get To Know: United States Postal Service CMO Nagisa Manabe. Retrieved June 22, 2015, from http://marketingland.com/get-know-usps-cmo-nagisa-manabe-85741

United States Postal Service. (2000). Mailing standards of the United States Postal Service. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Postal Service.

United States Postal Service. (2006). Annual report of the United States Postal Service. Washington, DC: U.S. Postal Service.

United States Postal Services. (2004). legal and regulatory issues faced by United States Postal Service organization. New York, NY.

United States Postal Services. (2015). Ethics and Social Responsibility. Retrieved June 22, 2015, from https://about.usps.com/manuals/spp/html/overview_007.htm

United States. (2004). An Act to Redesignate the Facility of the United States Postal Service Located at 747 Broadway in Albany, New York, as the “United States Postal Service Henry Johnson Annex.”. Washington, D.C.: U.S. G.P.O.

USPS Advertising sector. (2015). Business | USPS. Retrieved June 22, 2015, from https://www.usps.com/business/welcome.htm

USPS Advertising sector. (2015). Business | USPS. Retrieved June 22, 2015, from https://www.usps.com/business/welcome.htm

 

READING AUTOBIOGRAPHY

 

 

 

 

READING AUTOBIOGRAPHY

My reading autobiography has to be divided into sections as it is evolutionary. Beginning from the elementary setting reading at that time was more in a traditional setting than anything else. I was not so called ‘interested’ in reading, I had to be pushed into by my teachers and urged by my friends and parents. I have to mention my brother’s name here as he always encouraged me to read out of the school curriculum, for him reading anything like newspapers, any other kinds of materials or stories were all important. I used to do all the assigned reading but was also enthusiastic about reading the different pre determined topics as well. I need to acknowledge here that schooling at this period was very effective as I can describe my ability to read then as something ‘good’. Teachers from the elementary school did recognize that my level of reading was somewhat better than my classmates. So it can be concluded that I was a notch higher from the other students as regards my reading abilities were concerned. I studied in a good background school.

Reading in junior high school was different from the elementary setting.  The first three years from the junior high school and the last three years of high school were memorable ones. Although I had the ability to read and was better than my peers but I had a terrible power of concentration. I just could not finish a book attentively all by myself I would read a few lines and get up and do something like that.   I began skipping all the reading assignments given by my teachers. Although I did not like to read the school assignments given by my teachers but I would love to read the storybooks that my friends would give me all the Enid Blyton ones, the Famous Five, Mills and Boons, the R.K. Laxman ones all of them. I found them to be particularly interesting and enjoyable.

At this grade I think there were two people very important ones who played an instrumental role in my life. They were my English language teacher and my friend. This teacher would ask me to read on any given topic and speak it out in the morning assembly. If the topic of reading was of a religious nature then he would ask me to read it in front of the Friday prayer congregation. With this I admit I learnt all the skinning and scanning strategies meaning I would search for all the important parts in a book and summarise it for the concerned audience.

Next is reading at the university level which was so different from reading at elementary setting or reading at the junior high school. My major was Arabic and hence I got to read a lot about Arabic poetry and literature. Here I began to read, “A Sparrow from the East”, “ The Days”, “ I Forgot I am a woman”.  At this grade my reading habits changed completely, I had to read extra for my majors and hence began to read extensively. Reading was not that difficult a skill as compared with writing. I think I have always struggled with writing more.

Reading had evolved for me it was not just limited to reading for academic purposes but for pleasure and entertainment. Though it was not possible without my share of the glitches like I had difficulty in comprehending some of the reading passages, there was no speed in my reading I would read really slow. There was a genuine lack of motivation in reading the assigned books I would never find them interesting hence just could not concentrate and finish them. As a child reading was never important to me I would read only the assigned books but this reading ability began to evolve with time and because of my friends, family and teachers reading had become a pleasurable activity for me.

Lab Report

Experiment 30,31,32,33: Identification and Separation of Group A,B,C,D Cations
Introduction:
– Describe the types of reactions used (5 different kinds of reactions i.e hydrolysis, precipitation, etc.)
– Use 4-5 tests with results as examples for the above description
– Talk about the concept of qualitative analysis and seperation in relation to the experiments

The purpose of this lab is to qualitative analysis scheme to separate and identify Group A, B, C, D cations. The group A cations consists of: Pb2+, Hg22+, Ag+. These cations form insoluble chlorides where lead chloride is soluble in hot water, silver chloride is soluble in ammonia and mercurous chloride is reacts with ammonia. The group B cations consist of Sub B1: Bi3+, Fe3+, ZrO+, Mn2+ and Sub B2: Al3+, Cr3+. These cations are simultaneously precipitated as hydroxides or ozides that’re insoluble in ammonia solution and can only be separated by the addition of hydrogen perodice which dissolves B2 oxides and hydroxides. The group C cations consist of: Ba2+, Ca2+, Sr2+ and Co2+. These cations are precipitated by adding ammonium oxalate and nitric acid to destroy oxelate later on during the process to prevent interfering at later stage. HCl is added to the residue of oxides of group C cations to yield solution containing group C cations. The group D cations consist of: Mg2+, Ni2+, Cu2+ Zn2+ and Cd2+. These cations have hydroxides, oxides, and oxelates that are soluble.
The following are the types of reactions that are expected to be used in the experiments below and examples of these are also given and these are hydrolysis, precipitation, combustion, acid-base and decomposition. In hydrolysis water is used to break the strong union between molecules resulting in a weaker solution with a reduced pH. Precipitation is the reactions between chemicals which results in the formation of a solid or powder that can be clearly seen which is referred to as a precipitate. For example in the addition of nitric acid there is the formation of a grey precipitate. Combustion is when a compound is combined with oxygen through heating to form water and carbon dioxide. For example the addition of HCL and water and (NH4)2SO4 then after precipitate heated through the flame test. Acid-base is the reaction that takes place between an acid and a base and they end up neutralizing each other. Decomposition is the reactions through which one complex compound is separated into other simpler compounds.
In qualitative analysis is used to test for the occurrence of a certain substance in a solution, mixture or compound. One is able to tell whether is there or not there through known tests that are used to check for its presence. This process cannot assist one in telling the amount present in relation to the entire solution or given mixture. In these experiments we are able to separate certain known chemicals or compounds from the mixture through certain known tests which then tell as us about their presence.
Procedure:
For group A cations, HCl is added to the unknown solution, centrifuges and decanted. The precipitate is added water, boiled, centrifuged, decanted. The precipitate now is then tested with KI for the presence of lead ion. The precipitate is washed with water, added ammonia solution and if gray black precipitate present then mercury ion is present. Nitric acid is then added to the supernatant until it turns acidic and if silver ion is present white precipitate will be observed.
For group B cations, HCl and ammonia solution is first added. NaOH and hydrogen peroxide solution is added, centrifuged and decanted after HCl is added and heated. The supernatant is added with hydrogen peroxide solution and Alizarin Red as well to test the presence of zirconyl ion. The supernatant is added solid NaBiO3 to test the presence of manganese ion. KSCN is added to the supernatant to test the presence of Fe3+. The supernatant is added NaOH and SnCl2 to test the presence of bismuth ion. To test the presence of aluminium ion, ammonia solution, HCl and aluminion is added. To test the presence of chromium ion, hydrogen peroxide and HCl is added.
For group C cations, HCl and KNO2 is first added to the unknown solution to test the presence of cobalt ion. Then ammonia solution, (NH4)2CO3 is added, centrifuged, decanted. The precipitate is washed with water and centrifuged then decanted. Acetic acid is added until precipitate dissolves and deionized water is added to dilute K2CrO4 is added and the solution is added with HCl for flame test to test the presence of barium ion. The rest of the supernatant is added NH3 until basic, added (NH4)2CO3, centrifuged then decanted. Precipitate is washed with deionized water, centrifuged, decanted. Precipitate is added HCl and water and (NH4)2SO4, centrifuged and decanted. Supernatant is then put to flame test to test the presence of strotium ion. To test the presence of calcium ion, ammonia solution is added, centrifuged, decanted. The supernatant is put to flame test to test.
For group D cations, HCl, DMGH and ammonia solution is added until solution turns basic to test the presence of nickle ion. The solution is added ammonia solution and solid Na2S2O3, heated then cooled. HCl is added, centrifuged and decanted. Ammonia solution is added until acidic and K4Fe(CN)6 solution is added to test the presence of copper ion. NH3, solid Na2S2O3, HCl and K4Fe(CN)6 is added to test the presence of cadmium ion. To solution B, NH3 is added until basic and Na2HPO4 solution is added, centrifuged then decanted Precipitate is added deionized water and NaOH, centrifuged to test the presence of magnesium ion. To the rest of the supernatant, acetic acid is added and then K4Fe(CN)6 to test the presence of zinc ion.
Data:
Table for Group A Cations
Reactions Observations Results
Add HCl
Pb2+ : Add KI Yellow precipitate Lead ion present
Hg22+ : Add NH3 Grey precipitate, colorless solution Mercury ion absent
Ag+ : Add HNO3 White precipitate Silver ion present

Tablr for Group B Cations
Reactions Observations Results
Add HCl, NH3 Grey-blue solution, white precipitate
Add NaOH, H2O2, HCl, heat Colorless solution
ZrO2+: Add H2O2, Alizarin Red Yellow solution Zirconyl ion absent
Mn2+: Add NaBiO3 Yellow-green solution Manganese ion absent
Fe3+: Add KSCN Red-bronze solution Ferrous ion absent
Bi3+ : Add NaOH, SnCl2 Black precipitate, grey solution Bismuth ion present
Al3+ : Add NH3, HCl, Almuminiun Red precipitate Aluminium ion present
Cr3+ : Add H2O2, HCl Dark-blue-purple fast fading Chromium ion present

Table for Group C Cations
Reactions Observations Results
Add HCl
Co2+ : Add KNO2 Yellow solution Cobalt ion present
Ba2+ : Add NH3, (NH4)2CO3, Yellow solution, green-yellow flame Barium ion present
CH3COOH, K2CrO4, Flame Test
Sr2+ : Add NH3, (NH4)2CO3, HCl No precipitate, clear solution Strotium ion absent
, (NH4)2SO4
Ca2+: Add NH3, (NH4)2C2O4 White precipitate, brick-red flame Calcium ion present

Tablr for Group D Cations
Reactions Observations Results
Add HCl
Ni2+ : Add DMGH, NH3 Grey-black precipitate Nickle ion absent
Cu2+ : Add NH3, K4Fe(CN)6 Maroon precipitate Copper ion present
Cd2+ : Add NH3, Na2S2O3, HCl Purple precipitate, clear solution Cadmium ion absent
, K4Fe(CN)6
Mg2+ : Add NH3, Na2HPO4 White precipitate, clear solution Magnesium ion present
, NaOH
Zn2+ : Add CH3COOH, K4Fe(CN)6 White precipitate, clear solution Zinc ion present

Table for Unknown Cations
Cations Present Unknown #
Group A – Pb2+ , Ag+ 25
Group B – Bi3+ , Al2+ , Cr3+ 2
Group C – Co2+ , Ba2+ , Ca2+ 15
Group D – Cu2+ , Mg2+ , Zn2+ 17

Discussion:
– Cite possible errors in the experiment
– Identify the unknowns and mention why they are what you think they are

In the group A cation unknown test, Pb2+ and Ag2+ are found to be present in unknown #25. This is found out because a white precipitate is formed at the test for Pb2+ and Ag+. Some errors may have occurred in this experiment such as not properly centrifuging the solutions thus leaving some precipitates in the solution and not being able to compare the colors with the positive control.
In the group B cation unknown test, Bi3+, Al2+, and Cr3+ are found to be present in unknown #2. This is found out because when NaOH and SnCl2 is added to the supernatant, a black precipitate forms which confirms the presence of Bi3+; when NH3, HCl and aluminion is added, a red precipitate forms which confirms the presence of Al3+; when H2O2 and HCl is added, a dark blue-purple by rapid fading occurs which confirms the presence of Cr3+. Some error may have occurred in these experiments such as not making sure that the solution has turned basic and acidic when ammonia solution is added before testing for the cations. Another source of error may be from cross-contamination of solutions that are added to the unknown solution which changes the colors of the supernatants and precipitates.
In the group C cation unknown test, Co2+, Ba2+ and Ca2_ are found present in unknown #15. This is found out because when KNO2 is added, a yellow solution with yellow precipitate is formed which confirms the presence of Co2+; when NH3, (NH4)2CO3, CH3COOH, and K2CrO4 is added and put to flame test, a yellow solution and green-yellow flame is produced which confirms the presence of Ba2+; when NH3, (NH4)2C2O4 is added, a white precipitate is formed and put to flame test to produce brick-red flame which confirms the presence of Ca2+. Some errors may have occurred in this experiment such as the assuming the colors are what one thinks it is when performing the flame test. Another source of error is not completely discarding washes which contaminated precipitates and thus giving a false change of colors.
In group D cation unknown test, Cu2+, Mg2+ and Zn2+ are found to be present in unkniwn #17. This is found out because when NH3 and K4Fe(CN)6 is added, a maroon precipitate forms which confirms the presence pf Cu2+; when NH3, Na2HPO4 and NaOH is added, a white precipitate clear solution forms which confirms the presence of Mg2+; when CH3COOH and K4Fe(CN)6 is added, a white precipitate clear solution forms which confirms the presence of Zn2+. Some errors may have occurred in this experiment such as not making sure that the solution has turned acidic or basic when NH3 is added and not cooling and heating the solution long enough to heat to dryness.
There are other additional errors that could have gone undetected. There is a possibility of the presence of contaminants that could have led to some undesired observations. When one is making observations there could be other colors that are not quite dominant showing the presence of other compounds but as it is one is likely to only see the colors that are very dominant. There are cases where the solutions is required to be quite clear this would be different to different people hence we might end up having different concentrations because of the color aspect if the experiment were to be done by different people.
Conclusion:
– Describe about the purpose of the lab and mention if it has been met/successfulÂÂ
– ID the unknowns
– Major possible errors in the experiment, and how to improve them next time

The purpose of this experiment which is to identify and separate Group A, B, C, D cations have been achieved and the cations in the unknowns have all been identified. The major error that may have occurred in all the experiments is cross-contamination of solutions which will influence and change the colors of the cations being observed and will provide false data. A way to improve this experiment is to repeat the whole procedure at least twice and to consistently compare observations with the positive known control. The experiment can be done by different people and the average results can then be taken meaning that we will have increased the degree of accuracy.