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Maset News

Volume 22  January 20, 2002

Message From Charles Loew
Comments From Our Readers
New On The Maset Web Site
Helpful Hints from fellow Practitioners
New Truths on Quality
Top Ten List
Feature Of This Issue
Second Feature Of This Issue
Coming in the Next Few Issues


Welcome to MASET News. A monthly publication dedicated to the communication between MASET and our many interested friends, customers and potential customers




Let me join the many others that have offered you their New Year's Wish - As we begin another New Year in a time of uncertainty, just like many previous New Years, this might be a good time for all of us to concentrate our thoughts on some of the really important aspects of our lives.

To wish for, hope and pray for peace among all Mankind.

To wish for, hope and pray for health for our family, friends and acquaintances.

To wish for, hope and pray for a better living for the billions who are worse off than we are.

To wish for, hope and work towards attaining our goals in life.

With these thoughts in mind we hope that 2003 meets your hopes, prayers and dreams.

Charles J. Loew

I am very excited and pleased to announce a new partner joining Maset with a tremendous capability to assist Maset Customers in establishing contacts in China. With a complete array of products and services they can make working in China as easy as working with a supplier next door. In addition they can offer assistance in establishing your own manufacturing facilities in China. See the three new Products and Services that are offered as well as my article on their capabilities following this month's Feature Article.

Please read the first reader comment below. I would be happy to include some tips from the software industry. If any of you have some tips you would care to share, please send them to me at After I get a few I will begin to share them with you as a new feature. I need your input.

In our top ten list this month we are only giving you the first four that cover "Corporate Turnarounds". We will be adding the next six in February and March. Read them carefully for the title might just as well have been "Key Learnings in - Creating a Lasting Cultural Change".




  • "I have been reading Maset and quite enjoy the quick tips. Would be interesting if you provide information on current trends in the software industry" from India

  • "I appreciate your newsletters." from Michigan
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  • A new Product and Service has been added by Maset and covers the ability to assist you in Material Sourcing in the Far East with major emphasis in China.

  • A second new Product and Service is the ability for us to provide Supplier Management services to you in China. For those who have a need for establishing a supply base in China we can assist you.

  • Our third addition to the Maset Products and Services is to provide Factory Start-up services in China. Our partners have many years of experience in this area.
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  • Sometimes it is difficult to obtain participation in a meeting. If you want to have people participate or ask questions, ask a question of the group, raise your own hand as in school and you will usually get someone to raise theirs with a question. It is a response most folks are used to from their childhood school days.
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  • Old Truth
    Haste Makes Waste.

  • New Truth
    Thoughtful Speed Improves Quality.
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    Key Learnings in - Corporate Turnaround

    1. Management support to changes needed, an absolute mandate - if not available, walk away.

    2. Never underestimate the power of culture. Cultural change begins with careful formulation of strategic intent and can only be sustained if there are adequate support mechanisms.

    3. Although difficult, a bifocal approach for planning is needed; both strategic - long range--and linkage to tactical - short range.

    4. The myth of the cost cutter - Rarely can you turn a company around by simply reducing headcount/costs. Value becomes the operative word. Grow the business by generating value for the customer; considering that people buy based on perceived value - Concentrate on that rather than head count reductions.

    By Carl Cooper





    by Jeffrey J. Mayer

    Last week I read two obituaries---Stanley Marcus, the legendary retailer of Neiman Marcus died at the age of 96; and Kmart died---declared bankruptcy---at the age of 40.

    Stanley Marcus taught the world:

    • That good taste elevates our existence.
    • That service is a language worth learning well.
    • That thinking BIG brings you closer to your dreams.

    Kmart brought us the Blue-Light Special.

    Stanley Marcus pioneered the high-end market. Neiman's was the first department store to offer personalized gift wrapping for customers and created the first weekly retail fashion show in the country.

    In 1960 Neiman's started a Christmas tradition by offering exotic his and her gifts. Over the years the store allowed the imagination--and the cash register--to run wild. There were his and her...

    • Chinese junks at $11,500 apiece,
    • Beechcraft airplanes, helicopters and submarines,
    • Ermine robes, and scarves made of a supersoft fabric called shahtoosh, which came from the neck hairs of Himalayan goats.

    He turned Neiman's catalog--with silly and sublime gifts--into a marvelous publicity stunt. The catalog became newsworthy.

    Stanley Marcus thought B-I-G. His catalog once had a page entitled "How to spend $1,000,000 at Neiman Marcus" with a shopping list ranging from rare furs to an 18-karat gold needle.

    He created a standard for quality and dignity that still exists for Neiman Marcus shoppers who expect the highest level of service and couture. Mr. Marcus was known to say "I have the simplest taste; I am always satisfied with the best."

    In his 1979 book "Quest For The Best" [How's that for a title?], he wrote about what he called "my experience in the pursuit of the BEST products and services, worldwide, over the past 50 years."

    And how did Kmart distinguish itself? By offering dingy, dreary, stores with burned out light bulbs, fashions that had become dowdy--Martha Stewart notwithstanding--and poor customer service.

    Kmart--the No. 2 discount retailer--got stuck in the middle between Wal-Mart and Target.

    For years it has been losing ground to Wal-Mart--the nation's largest retail chain, with $191 billion in sales and $6 billion in profits--and Target--which has found a way to make discount shopping chic. (In 2000 Kmart made only $240 million on $37 billion in sales.)

    Kmart tried to beat Wal-Mart on price. A losing proposition because it's impossible to compete with the low-cost producer on price.

    Kmart was old school. Wal-Mart was high-tech.

    Thirty years ago Kmart experimented with using computers to track inventory and make orders, but the store managers objected. So they dropped the idea.

    Sam Walton, Wal-Mart's founder, embraced the future: Computers. He saw technology as the way to cut costs and improve productivity and efficiency. He embraced the idea and applied technology everywhere he could.

    At the other end, Kmart couldn't compete with Target, who has found a way to make discount shopping chic, by offering fashionable merchandise. (While Wal-Mart and Target were adding locations and increasing income, Kmart was shutting down its money-losing stores and struggling to make a profit.)

    To make matters worse, Kmart decided to cut back on their advertising--to save money--and their customers forgot about them.

    Neiman's stands for quality and service. It caters to the well-to-do. You know you'll find things at Neiman's that you won't find elsewhere.

    What does Kmart stand for? When you're stuck in the middle--Wal-Mart has laid claim to the penny pinchers and Target has identified with style-conscious suburbanites--there's nowhere to go.

    To compound Kmart's problems, it's nearly impossible to compete with trendy retailers like Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel, when you've become the opposite of stylish. And it's not easy competing on price with warehouse clubs and fast-growing dollar stores, which target the same urban neighborhoods and small towns where many Kmarts are found.

    What Can We Learn From This?

    Here are three things we can learn from Stanley Marcus and Kmart:

    1. FIND YOUR NICHE. Niche players don't have competition. They know who they are and what they do best. Stay within your niche and you own it.

    2. SELL VALUE, QUALITY, AND SERVICE. Competing on price is a money-losing proposition. You can't make any money when the only thing that differentiates you from the competition is price. Sell your knowledge, experience and training and you become much more valuable.

    3. PUT TECHNOLOGY TO WORK FOR YOU. Look for ways you can use computers, software, and the Internet to increase sales, improve productivity and reduce costs. If you don't have an Internet strategy today, you'll be in Kmart's position tomorrow!

    4. Put these strategies to use and you'll grow your business, make more money, and become much more successful.

    Reprint permission granted in part or whole when the following credit appears: "Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey Mayer's Succeeding In Business Newsletter (Copyright, 2001, Jeffrey J. Mayer, Succeeding In Business, Inc.). To subscribe to Jeff's free newsletter, visit"




    New Capabilities in China

    by Charles J. Loew

    Maset has established a partnership with a firm in Asia that now provides some unique Supply Management Capabilities to you.

    In today's environment it is challenging to get the lowest total cost, meet all engineering design deadlines, and rush products to market faster than the competition. Our partner's large and proven China supply base and product sourcing techniques will give you permanent cost, quality, and delivery advantages over your competition.

    Our partners have a pool of qualified staff with status such as American Society of Quality (ASQ) Certified Mechanical Inspector (CMI), Certified Quality Engineer (CQE), Certified Quality Manager (CQM), IRCA Lead Auditors, QS 9000 Lead Auditors, IEMA Environmental Lead Auditor and Six Sigma Master Black Belt and Black Belt.

    Through our partners, you would gain access to reliable suppliers who provide lower cost materials and assemblies. They reduce the risks involved in your outsourcing activities by ensuring on-time deliveries of defect free parts to you.

    This organization uses a hands-on approach and they have been doing this successfully for the last 10 years. If you are looking for direct, hands-on experience in sourcing and managing suppliers from various industries, including storage, microelectronics, electrical, electromechanical, telecommunications, precision machining, logistics, energy, beverages and consumer goods they can help you.

    Some of the other services our partners offer include:

    • A documented supplier management system
    • Process audit
    • First article inspection
    • Vendor qualification
    • Process improvement
    • Management system establishment
    • Location near your suppliers
    • Specializes in providing sourcing and supplier management services within PRC, China
    • Familiarity with the local languages and culture, procurement, manufacturing and customs

    A lot more detail is included in our three new Product and Services descriptions covering:

    Material Sourcing
    Supplier Management
    Factory Start-Up




  • Simulations

  • Leadership Development

  • Customer Services

  • E-Learning

  • Program Management

  • Training for Manufacturing Management

  • Ethics in Business

  • Sourcing assistance in China
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