First Time for Everything: NYC Marathon Cancelled

Due to the horrific damage that Hurricane Sandy has done to New York this past week, ING, the marathon’s leading sponsor since 2003, has been forced by the city of New York to cancel the long-awaited marathon that has held over 40,000 runners and 500 sponsors every year since it began. This will be the first time that the marathon has been canceled in over 70 years and has caused outrage among sponsors and consumers alike.

Although ING was originally planning on continuing to have the marathon even with the unbelievable damage that New York has experienced, public outcry about the unethical issues that ING as well as other sponsors are getting themselves into by ignoring the hurricane’s damage and continuing the marathon has been abundant. Because of this, ING has been forced to cancel the marathon and has put itself in a sticky situation when it comes to the revenue and promotion they and other sponsors will be losing because of it.

As we learned in class, the project triangle consists of time, cost, and performance. The time it took to plan a New York City Marathon is over a full year. The cost to get the over 500 sponsors to sponsor the event is over 1 million dollars, and performance is based on how smoothly the marathon runs. With these three contributing factors as well as many others, I understand why ING was hesitant to cancel the NYC marathon, but understand why the public was outraged as well. The amount of money and planning that went into making the NYC marathon what it is every year means that a lot of people are counting on it, and I believe this is why ING was reluctant to cancel it right away.

Furthermore, in a desperate final effort to save themselves from looking unethical, ING decided to donate $500,000 dollars to aid victims of the hurricane, and donate the generators that were going to be set up around the marathon for the runners, to the millions of people who need help in New York. While this was the right decision, thousands of runners, both from the U.S. and internationally, who have been training for this marathon for over a year, are devestated and feel disrepected that they were told about the cancellation last minute. As customers of the marathon for a number of years, the customer expectation for most of the runners is that they would be running no mater what.

Overall, I believe that this was the right decision to make and while people are still so angry at ING for not canceling it right away, I understand why ING didn’t.

How do you think this will affect ING’s future revenue? Do you think ING made the ethical choice to cancel the marathon? What would you do as president of ING to please both the runners and the people of New york that were affected by the storm?

Are you ready for Disney Star Wars ?!?

Walt Disney was first introduced on October 16, 1923 by brothers Walt and Roy Disney as an animation studio. It later has developed to one of the major Hollywood studios, and owner of eleven theme parks and several televisions. Recently, the Company had agreed to purchase Lucas film from its founder, George Lucas, for $4.05 billion in stock and cash. Yes, we will be seeing more “Star Wars” movie soon. Disney plans to release new “Star Wars” movies every two or three years beginning in 2015 with “Star Wars Episode 7,” Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger said. If you can remember, Disney already purchased Pixar Animation Studios for $7.4 billion in 2006 and Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion in 2009. As such, Disney owns all the Disney characters, all the Pixar characters, all the Marvel characters, and now all the Star Wars characters? Disney is now owns almost every famous characters.

Why is this company so successful? As we know, customers expect certain things when they walk into a business, and every company should know how to identify those expectations in order to meet them to the customer’s satisfaction. Disney obviously uses these strategies as a foundation of the business. As one of their principal: “make the dream come true.” In order to make the dream come true, they should know what people dream about when they think about Disney. First thing came up to my mind when I think about Disney is that it is a place where kids can be kids, and adults can feel like kids again. Disney Themes Park and Resorts, for instance, are designed to bring pleasure by providing the finest in entertainment for people of all ages, everywhere. Each theme park creates different atmosphere. Disney continuously creates goods and services that are valued by customers and society.  Disney did everything they can to make sure that their customers have a positive experience and leave happy. Clearly, Disney is one of the worlds’ leading producers and providers of entertainment, using it portfolio of brands to differentiate its content, services and consumer products.

All in all, the Disney management principles have over time proven themselves true to the success of the organization. I believe that Disney has a huge potential to make a Star Wars movies. They will surely make “Star Wars” live on and flourish for many generations.


What do you think of Disney’s acquisition of Star War? Do you think that the new movie will come out the same as it’s used to be?



Shopping with a Pal

With the holidays just around the corner, PayPal has recently announced that they will be price matching, offering free shipping on returns and financing products for 6 months either online or in store up until the end of December.  Doesn’t this sound pretty good? You don’t have to stress about paying those outrageous shipping charges and can return anything without hassle.  Also, you can get the best deal that is out there easily.

PayPal is going one step further when consumers purchase a product within  30 days and a different store has the same item for cheaper they will give the consumer the difference in the price back. All the consumer has to do is fill out a form  and write which store has the product and the price and PayPal will take care of the rest.  Each PayPal user can get up to $1,000 in matching up until the end of December.

With PayPal’s free shipping policy, they are allowing customers to return any item for free providing them with free shipping labels or they customer can pay for their shipping and they will be reimburse the cost to their PayPal accounts. There are limits though on how much money you must spend to receive free shipping. For the promotion there is an $100 limit. On top of that they are providing free financing for 6 months on any purchases over $99. This is a great deal for people who may not have all the money up front and if they know they can pay it off before the 6 months, they will not be charged any interest. For people who know they cannot afford to pay a product off in 6 months or less should not finance because they will be charged interest which will accumulate over time.

These are holiday specials that PayPal is offering and is not something that will be long term. However, I think that if the company is able to generate enough customers to take advantage of these promotions I think they should keep them as long term, rather than short term. Especially having so many competitors out there such as Amazon, who offers free shipping on $25 dollars or more, PayPal would benefit from offering these services. I also think that they can potentially boost their sales because as a consumer I always look for free shipping and places that will match prices of other competitors.

I think that PayPal is heading in the right direction and if this holiday season turns out to be a success for the company, I predict more offers and deals to come. What do you all think about PayPal offering these holiday specials?


You can read about this article at the site below:,r:0,s:0,i:138


GNC and Vitamin Shoppe: Controversy of Bodybuilding drugs

As we all know, GNC (General Nutrition Center) and Vitamin Shoppe are two of the largest over the counter supplemental manufacturers and carriers; but some of us may not know that they are being targeted by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) since they began carrying something called DMAA (DMAA is found in Geranium oil, which is found in flowers). (Lahart) The bodybuilding world is always looking for new and improved products to create high adrenaline, intensity, and energy. Most people that come to GNC are searching for something to either get them bigger with muscle mass or smaller to look more chiseled and defined. The DMAA ingredient can do both of those, its that type of uniqueness that will separate it from other drugs by spiking up the energy and adrenaline through the roof whilst narrowing your blood vessels and increasing the blood flow to the muscles. And it has helped GNC and Vitamin Shoppes stocks skyrocket.

The issue comes in the fact of natural occurrence. GNC and Vitamin Shoppe are claiming that DMAA  (1,3-Dimethylamylamine- also meaning Geranamine) is a naturally occurring substance that is found in a Geranium oil in a flower base. (Lahart) The FDA is cracking down on GNC and Vitamin Shoppe for carrying the suppliers (such as USPlabs, Muscletech, Cellucor, and etc.) that have no evidence that it is a safe product and that it is actually found in flowers. (Lahart) USPlabs went out of there way to create a website saying that DMAA is safe and naturally made (the website can be found at I know that it might not sound like a big deal, but you need to understand that if a dietary supplemental is not found to be created naturally, the FDA can say that it needs their approval since it is a ‘pre-market product’ and not a dietary ingredient. Once that takes place they can take over that product and recall it from all shelves in the nation since it is a ‘pre-market product.’

The FDA did research in four different labs (3- domestic and 1-international) and found no traces of DMAA in multiple samples of Geranium oil. (Lahart) A lot of the suppliers that GNC and Vitamin Shoppe are carrying have rebelled against the FDA by providing their own research taken from their labs.  But for now, the FDA is just frowning on the product (which I have to say to most of my customers at GNC if there hesitant on getting one of the awesome products that carry DMAA).  Unfortunately, I feel that most products that still carry DMAA at GNC or Vitamin Shoppe (Especially at my GNC store) are in the decline period of of the product life cycle. I don’t believe that it’s in its decline because it can’t offer the organization anything anymore, but the FDA is pressing down so hard on any DMAA products that it’s getting harder to carry them with all the rules and regulations.(Operation’s Management textbook, CH. 5 Figure 2.5) (PPT Ch.5 Slide 11)

Do you think the FDA is doing right by pressing down on an active ingredient just because they suppliers cant claim that it is naturally made? Would you take a product that wasn’t naturally made? Even if it is not naturally made, do you think it should still be on the market and not taken off like ephedrine and steroids were? Do you agree with the fact that it should be kept on the market and that it should be left up to the people to take it or not? Is GNC, Vitamin Shoppe and the FDA being ethical and moral about this issue?

Shop Like It’s 1999!

In a time when pennies count, retailers are looking for any competitive advantage they can find. One way which is starting to make a comeback is the layaway program. By allowing customers the opportunity to put items on hold for a set number of weeks, it gives the consumer who may not be able to afford a purchase right now the opportunity to lock in their price. These programs have several different structures, some charge upfront fees at the beginning of the layaway period, and additionally some of which accrue interest charges.

This philosophy is nothing new in the retail world, but has seen a renaissance over the past few years, with many large retailers such as Sears, Kmart, and Toys ‘R Us pushing the programs. By offering layaway, retailers hope to boost early sales and beat their forecasts for the holiday season. Layaway does, however, have its downsides for companies since many have waived their service fees if consumers do not follow through with their purchase. This leaves merchandisers holding onto the extra inventory. Also with this new push to increase sales, retailers are adding many new items eligible for layaway. This move could prove to be both a positive and a negative. While on one hand it will bring in more shoppers to put things on layaway. If enough consumers do not follow through on their contracts and the stores took precious items off the sales floor, the results could prove costly.

By offering layaway financing through the stores themselves, it gives consumers who do not have, or might not want to use their credit cards. By allowing these consumers who might not have purchased the item otherwise to purchase from your company, it opens your profit potential that much more. Because it entails more planning on behalf of the merchandising crew, and all of the other aspects listed above, the decision on whether the layaway program is beneficial to each individual company is something that is up for debate.

Question: If you had a retail company, do you believe implementing a layaway program would be a good idea? What are some other benefits and consequences in addition to the ones mentioned that might come about due to a layaway program?


iPad’s Little Brother

Apple Inc., one of the world’s largest innovators, has, once again, announced the launch of a new product: a smaller version of their best-selling iPad Tablet. Once again, early adopters and loyal customers flock to see the newest hype that the company has to offer.

After being under the scope of the public for their iPad, Apple Inc. has decided to take on the challenge of creating a product that can compete with Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD, Google’s Nexus 7, and others. Previously, many customers had complained that the iPad itself was very large and heavy compared to its competitors., as well as being very costly. Although Apple has not commented about any specific features about the product itself, many excited and loyal Apple customers have come up with their own list of potential features and rumors of production that Apple may consider when creating the mini iPad since the company is known to put customer satisfaction at the top of their priorities.

First, a “major Apple investor” has publicly claimed that the iPad mini will be unveiled on October 17th, 2012 and that the official launch date of product will be November 2nd, 2012, which gives customers plenty of time to obtain the new creation for the upcoming holiday season.

Second, rumor has it that the iPad mini will have a 7.85 inch liquid crystal display (LCD) with a 2,048-by-1,536 pixel resolution, although the screen will not have the same retina display of the original sized iPad. This may be to simply keep the cost of the product lower and more affordable to the public.

Since the cost in the market is a major driving factor behind this new product, there has been some speculation that the cost and price was also very important to Apple. There were many concerns that the iPad was priced too high for many people, which is why Apple decided to come out with a newer, more cost effective alternative for those people who do not want to spend $399-$499 on the iPad. Instead, it is expected that the iPad mini will retail for about $249, which is slightly higher than the prices of its major competitors.

Along with the rumors of its features and displays, there have been some claims that people have obtained leaked photos of the final product. Some of the physical attributes that can be seen in the final product are:

  • Wi-Fi adaption
  • nano SIM tray for cellular connectivity (thought to be for a pricier model)
  • An 8-pin “Lightning” connector found
  • A microphone jack in the same upperleft corner as current iPads
  • Aluminum backing
  • volume buttons on the right side of the tablet with a switch
  • rear-facing camera
  • two speaker grilles at the bottom

The last major rumor about the iPad mini is the location of production. Although nothing has been confirmed by Apple, production has been thought to be in China and Brazil.


Potential leaked photo of the new iPad mini

More information about can be found at

It’s Not Just Any Other Travel Website

When searching for airplane tickets online, have you ever noticed the same exact flight having a different price on each travel site? Well, flight has come up with a way for travelers to get the absolute lowest airfare. Two men, Todd Sullivan and Lauren McLeod, founded this company in Mountain View, California. Todd Sullivan states that there are two types of airfare researchers, one being an “expert”. Members will need to apply in order to be experts. These applicants need to only show they are capable of finding low and good fares. Another type of researchers are “flight hackers”. These people “enjoy the sport of fare-hunting”.

To become apart of this traveler community, Flight fox requires the flyer to enter he or she’s destination and where they will be traveling from, as well as desired itinerary and preferences (connected flights, direct flight, where you would like to sit in the plane, etc.). If someone needs to travel with a pet or surfboard, there is an option for that. This results in a competition between the researchers (anyone apart of Flightfox) to find flights according to the specifications of the traveler.





Whoever ends up finding the cheapest fare that best complies with the traveler’s preferences will receive ” seventy-five percent of the finder’s fee that the traveler pays Flightfox when setting up the competition”. This allows for members to have an incentive and further motivation to look for these flights. In addition, it’s a new hobby people can start enjoying. Most people utilize a computer at least once a day, especially when there is down time. Now, you can earn a few bucks during that down time.

I believe this is a wonderful idea. There are many airplanes and websites that not everyone knows about and this site gives the opportunity to contribute such information and help others out, while at the same time having a possibility to win some money! One thing I am skeptical about is that prices of tickets can vary every day. One day, it can be the cheapest price you find and the next it can increase by sometimes a hundred dollars each way, so I wonder if the information given by the researcher is one hundred percent true or if the researcher needs to constantly update the information.

What are your opinions about this article? Would you consider using this site when it comes time to planning a trip, why or why not?

For the complete article:

What a store might know about YOU…

Many companies are using technological tools that change the way inventory management is conducted. In our fast paced, global market, companies cannot have idle assets and goods piling up. Inventory carrying costs can significantly impact the bottom line and congest cash flow operations. Accurately forecasting sales and demand is important in order to approximate the appropriate production volume to avoid these costs. How does a business deal with being too optimistic with its forecast and produce too much? It must find the most efficient ways to sell these extra units in the shortest amount of time. What type of technology is there that can solve the dilemma?


The Washington Post had an article covering one of the possible solutions. A law school graduate and entrepreneur, Fuentes, explored ideas on how to improve processes and sales within the retail store he worked for. He collaborated with his supervisor and executives regarding the problems he saw and how he can help them move products faster out of inventory.


Fuentes began experimenting with his new ideas with customers and said that he could possibly discount a particular item in two to three weeks and contact them if they were interested. He then tracked who wanted to be contacted and what item they were interested in buying at the discounted price. Before a product goes on clearance, it can be sold to some who is already interested. This system inspired Fuentes to create Lemur IMS. He describes it as, “An inventory management system for big-box retailers that connects local customers with local, slow-moving inventory.” He found this to be especially helpful to smaller stores that needed an edge to compete with larger stores in the community.


The Lemur IMS is effective because it increases revenue and more importantly, delivers personal attention and offers customers the products they want at a better price. This is fantastic because it decreases the amount of customers that turn to alternative competitors for lower prices or easier accessibility for the specific product they are interested in. If they like a product but do not want to pay that price, the store can offer to contact the person if the product is available at a lower price later.


A relevant trend and (obvious) concept that is providing customers with greater value is customization.  Lemur can be used on a tablet app, which is customized for each specific retailer. It can even go to the extent of tracking, “who is interesting in what product, at what time of the year and at what price.” Fuentes mentions that his tool for managing inventory is unique because, “It looks at all aspects of inventory information, not just velocity, cost, and revenue.” This deeper approach seems to be very effective. What other systems are available? What competitive advantages do they offer companies’ operations and inventory management?


In the past I have worked in retail for five consecutive years. I have worked for many well known companies, such as Victoria’s Secret, Hollister Co., and Wilson’s Leather to name a few. Customer service was our primary role and we were really focused on the customers. But other than that, inventory was just as important. It was the backbone of the company.  Without a sufficient amount of inventory, we would not be able to make our sales.

As an employee at Victoria’s Secret, we had a huge back room where we had our inventory stock. It was shelves and and rows full of the many items we sold. I was in charge of counting all the items we had in stock every two months. I would record the quantity and sizes of each item we had. It was torturous due to how stocked our inventory was. But in return this was great for our customers. If they didn’t find their size on the sales floor, more than likely we had it in the back room. At times we would be at fault for ordering more than what we needed, which made our stock room a bit messy. That caused for our inventoried items to be missplaced at times.


In contrast to having an abundant stock room, as an employee at Wilson’s Leather, I noticed over time we were not efficiently stocked. Our back room was much too small to have a large inventory of leather coats. This caused turmoil between the company and its customers. If the jacket on the sales floor was not in their size, more than likely we did not have it in the back. We would use the alternative of calling other Wilson’s Leather stores in the area and send the customer to another location. This caused us to lose many sales and new customers. It seemed as though we were more of a boutique due to the size of our store and how it could not accomadate a well stocked inventory room.

In conclusion, inventory plays a vital role in a company’s overall performance and customer service satisfaction. Inventory generates sales and allows customers to have confidence in the company, for having the item they want. At Victoria’s Secret we would get audited yearly and it allowed us to see how many total items we should have , compared to what we truly have.


Do you think Inventory truly affects a company’s overall performance?

Changes for the Better

I currently work at one of the top leading financial institutions of the world. It can be compared to a Walgreens, due to how many locations we have.   Recently in class, we discussed what is known as the SWOT analysis. Majority of companies create their own SWOT analysis to determine where they stand amongst competitors.

Three months ago, my financial institution has changed its focus from selling aggressively to the customer to primarily focusing on improving our customer service skills. Our district manager informed us that our bank has undergone some changes due to the fact that we are on the same level as our competitors, rather than surpassing them. As a branch, we disussed our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of our team.

We concluded that our strengths were the products we sold and how each of them varied to fit the customers needs. We also had another strength which was brand recognition. Customers already knew of our company and what products and services it had to offer, without the need of advertising it so much. When it came to discussing our weaknesses, opportunities and threats, the three coincided with one another. We realized in order to stand out from the rest of the other financial institutions, we had to change our attitude. Meaning we had to become more personable with our customers. We needed to become more open and more friendlier than before. Our bank was so focused on making profit that we forgot about how we should treat our customers.  Our branch manager guided us by giving us tips on how to offer the best customer service. As the months passed by, we have received many letters and emails sent to our manager telling him how amazing our staff is. With this, came an increase in referrals. Since our customer service was booming, customers came back more and more, and in return they opened more accounts and referred family and friends.

Overall, I believe that if a company were to create their own SWOT analysis, they can benefit greatly. They can improve tremendously just by tweaking with a few things. All in all, customers  should be the main focus at all times. A pleased customer equals a great sale in the long run. A company should always find ways to outshine its competitors, and the SWOT analysis is a great tool to use and it benefited our company positively!


Do you believe that in order for a company to be successful, management should include all the staff members in discussions on how to improve the company overall, rather than just have the upper management brainstorm?