Project #37302 - Business/ 3 Assignments

1st Assigment :

Everybody knows what a grand piano looks like, although it's hard to describe its contour as anything other than “piano shaped.” From a bird's-eye view, you might recognize something like a great big holster. The case—the curved lateral surface that runs around the whole instrument—appears to be a single continuous piece of wood, but it isn't really. If you look carefully at the case of a piano built by Steinway & Sons, you'll see that you're actually looking at a remarkable composite of raw material, craftsmanship, and technology. The process by which this component is made—like most of the processes for making a Steinway grand—is a prime example of a technical, or task, subsystem at work in a highly specialized factory.

 

The case starts out as a rim constructed out of separate slats of wood, mostly maple (Eastern rock maple, to be precise). Once raw boards have been cut and planed, they're glued along their lengthwise edges to the width of 12½ inches. These composite pieces are then jointed and glued end-to-end to form slats 22 feet long—the measure of the piano's perimeter. Next, a total of 18 separate slats—14 layers of maple and 4 layers of other types of wood—are glued and stacked together to form a “book,” a (seemingly) continuous “board” 3¼ inches thick. Then comes the process that's a favorite of visitors on the Steinway factory tour—bending this rim into the shape of a piano. Steinway does it pretty much the same way that it has for more than a century: by hand and all at once. Because the special glue is in the process of drying, a crew of six has just 20 minutes to wrestle the book, with block and tackle and wooden levers and mallets, into a rim-bending press—“a giant piano-shaped vise,” as Steinway describes it—which will force the wood to “forget” its natural inclination to be straight and assume the familiar contour of a grand piano.

 

Visitors report the sound of splintering wood, but Steinway artisans assure them that the specially cured wood isn't likely to break or the specially mixed glue to lose its grip. It's a good thing, too, both because the wood is expensive and because the precision Steinway process can't afford much wasted effort. The company needs 12 months, 12,000 parts, 450 craftspeople, and countless hours of skilled labor to produce a grand piano. Today, the New York factory turns out about 10 pianos in a day, or 2,500 a year. (A mass-producer might build 2,000 pianos a week.) The result of this painstaking task system, according to one business journalist with a good ear, is “both impossibly perfect instruments and a scarcity,” and that's why Steinways are so expensive—currently, somewhere between $45,000 and $110,000.

 

But Steinway pianos, the company reminds potential buyers, have always been “built to a standard, not to a price.” “It's a product,” says company executive Leo F. Spellman, “that in some sense speaks to people and will have a legacy long after we're gone. What [Steinway] craftsmen work on today will be here for another 50 or 100 years.” Approximately 90 percent of all concert pianists prefer the sound of a Steinway, and the company's attention to manufacturing detail reflects the fact that when a piano is being played, the entire instrument vibrates—and thus affects its sound. In other words—and not surprisingly—the better the raw materials, design, and construction, the better the sound.

That's one reason why Steinway craftsmen put so much care into the construction of the piano's case: It's a major factor in the way the body of the instrument resonates. The maple wood for the case, for example, arrives at the factory with water content of 80 percent. It's then dried, both in the open air and in kilns, until the water content is reduced to about 10 percent, suitable for both strength and pliability. To ensure that strength and pliability remain stable, the slats must be cut so that they're horizontally grained and arranged, with the “inside” of one slat—the side that grew toward the center of the tree—facing the “outside” of the next one in the book. The case is removed from the press after one day and then stored for 10 weeks in a humidity-controlled rim-bending room. Afterwards, it's ready to be sawed, planed, and sanded to specification, a process called frazing. A black lacquer finish is added, and only then is the case ready to be installed as a component of a grand piano in progress.

 

The Steinway process puts a premium on skilled workers. Steinway has always been an employer of immigrant labor, beginning with the German craftsmen and laborers hired by founder Henry Steinway in the 1860s and 1870s. More recently, Steinway employees have come from much different places—Haitians and Dominicans in the 1980s, exiles from war-torn Yugoslavia in the 1990s—but it still takes time to train them. It takes about a year, for instance, to train a case maker, and “when you lose one of them for a long period of time,” says Gino Romano, a senior supervisor hired in 1964, “it has a serious effect on our output.” Romano recalls one year in mid-June when a case maker was injured in a car accident and was out for several weeks. His department fell behind schedule, and it was September before Romano could find a suitable replacement (an experienced case maker in Florida who happened to be a relative of another Steinway worker).

The company's employees don't necessarily share Spellman's sense of the company's legacy, but many of them are well aware of the brand recognition commanded by the products they craft. “The payback,” says Romano, “is not in [the factory]. The payback is outside, when you get the celebrity treatment for building a Steinway, when you meet somebody for the first time and they ooh and ahh: “You build Steinways? Wow.” You're automatically put on a higher level, and you go, “I didn't realize I was that notable.”

 

Instructions:

 

  1. Incorporate your chapter readings into your answers.
  2. Your answer to each question should be a minimum of 75 words.
  3. Your writing must be college level with proper grammar, punctuation, and capitalization.

Review Questions:

 

  1. Has diversity had a positive impact on Steinway?
  2. How should Steinway management approach its workforce diversity going forward?
  3. If Steinway's workforce became less diverse, do you think it would impact the firm? Why or why not?

2nd Assignment:

 

TO FACEBOOK OR NOT TO FACEBOOK

For the past six months, you’ve been heading a hiring committee in charge of hiring a new division manager. It’s been a grueling process—filtering through thousands of applications, seemingly endless meetings and discussions debating people’s qualifications, so many interviews in different cities that it’s hard to remember whom you met and where, and even more debates about who should be flown to your headquarters for a day of final interviews.

But it’s almost all over now. After so many interviews and meetings and discussions, the committee has settled on a candidate that everyone thinks is ideal for the job—Ivy-league educated, lots of management experience, a great personality, driven to succeed, willing to learn. … He was near the top of your list when you began this process six months ago, and here he is now, in first place at the finish line.

You head into the last hiring committee meeting with lots of relief. Not only are you happy that you found the right person for the job, but you’re really glad that this meeting is just going be a formality. No more debates or arguments about applicants’ work experiences, education, or hobbies. Just walk on in, take a quick vote, and then make a call with the job offer.

But as you walk into the committee meeting, there’s a strange vibe. Some people look quite worried, whereas others are just angry. When you ask what’s going on, one of the committee members responds that in the past few days, she added the final candidate as a friend on Facebook, and what she found on his profile was quite disturbing. There were several photos of him passed out on the sidewalk after drinking too much. Other photos showed him smoking marijuana at a friend’s apartment. Another photo shows him wearing a Nazi costume for what you assume is a Halloween party. And there’s the language—almost all of his posts are filled with obscenities.

After seeing all of this, half the committee wants to go with another candidate. They can’t imagine that this is the kind of person they want leading your company’s most important division. The other half of the committee thinks it’s not a big deal at all. They believe that how he spends his personal time has absolutely no reflection on his ability to manage, and they’re angry that committee members would try to use it against him. So here you are, faced with a split (and angry) committee. They’re looking to you to make break the deadlock—should we hire this guy or move on to someone else? 

Instructions: Be sure to incorporate your chapter readings into your answers. Your answer to each question should be a minimum of 80 words and your writing should be college level with proper grammar, punctuation, and capitalization. This assignment is due Thursday Night.

  1. What decision would you make? Would you hire this person or re-open the search?

  2. In your opinion, are companies justified in using an applicant’s Facebook or Twitter accounts when considering them for a job? 

  3. Do you believe that a company should be concerned with how a potential employee spends his or her personal time?

3rd Assignment:

Anvil Media Uses Linkedln for branding building

Introduction

Compelling Content, startegic connection bulding and search engine optimization (SEO) are just a few tools that Anvil Media president Kent Lewis uses to gain prestige via linkdedin.

History

Founded in 2000 by Kent Lewis, Anvil Media, Inc is a search engine marketing agenecy specializing in SEO, pay per click managment, search engine, marketing public relations, online reputation management, and social media marketing services.

Challenge

Lewis wanted to continuously cultivate both his firm's reputatuon and his personal brand.

Strategy

To Proactively connect with prospective clients ad partners, Lewis requests introductions from existing contacts and uses the "People you may know: feature on his Linkedln homepage. His goal is not to make as many connections as possible, but to make quality connections. The main reason Lewis makes an effort to grow his contact base is to "flatten out the six degrees of separtion" to the people he wants to meet.

A high number of recommmendation was a priority for Lewis, however. "Recommendations show quality and depth," he says. to strengthen his profile, Lewis reached out to associates from every line item of his experience with a request for recommendations. Today, his profile boasts 84 recommendations adn covers every position but the oldest listed.

Lewis also optimizes his profile by incorporating keywords so that his information shows up in both Linkedln an Google search results. For example, he lists every bit of experience hes ever had-every board membership, group affilation, awasrd received, you name it-and includes pertinent keywords in wach description. He also lists key industy terms under his "Interests." "Social sites are highly trusted by Google," Lewis says, "and you cna gain control of your brand through profile optimization."

Linkedln lets users list three links on their profiles., so Lewis uses this space to describe each link with industry keywords instead of hte default titles of "my website" or "my portfolio."

He also leverages applications, such as SlideShare, Word Press, and Events, to showcase his expertise and keep his name prominently featured on connections homepages.

His Twitter profile is synced, too. He uses it to broadcast interesting industry news. Lewis says he gets as much (and sometimes even more) interaction with these posts on Linkedln as he does through Twitter.

Linkedln Polls is aonther apaplication he leverages. His network is notified each time a new poll is launched. Plus Lewis takes the opportunity to share both the intitial feedback and final result he collects from respondents-which exhibits credibility and his understanding of the marketplace.

Perhaps the most advantageous resource Lewis uses for establishing authoruty is Linkedlm Answers. He searches for questions relevant to his line of work, then answers anywere from three to 10 per week. So far, 28 of his responses have been nominated as "best answers" which mean mean he usually appears as one of the top five experts in his contacts networks. "Create messaging so compelling that people are likely to share it, vote it a best answer and contact you directly," Lewis Says. "When someone reads your answers and then takes the time to learn about who answered it, they're already sold by that point."

Lewis's responses on Linkedln Answers, supported by barious elements of his file, have been instrumental in postitioning both himself and Anvil Media as highly leads for the agency. It has helpedhime identify and connect with key clients, such as the firms largest one, a global book retailer. It also helped hime secure a keynote speakcing engagment at SEM4SMB in Austin, Texas, and aided in the delopment of an important partnership with an out of state company, for whom he may become a strategic advisor.

Answer ALL of the following questions:

  1. How did connecting with quality industry contacts bridge the gap between Anvil Media and the people they would like to meet?
  2. Why should one seek recommendations from people on LinkedIn?
  3. Why is it important to optimize a LinkedIn profile with keywords?
  4. How can LinkedIn Answers be used to showcase a person’s expertise to a broader audience?

Requirements: 

  1. Incorporate your readings into your answers.
  2. Your answer to each question should be a minimum of 50 words.
  3. Your writing needs to be college level with proper grammar, punctuation, and capitalization.

Subject Business
Due By (Pacific Time) 08/07/2014 11:00 pm
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