May 19, 2020

Business Plan Ideas Take Shape in Strange Lands

Plains Midstream
Digital Transformation
Bizclik Editor
4 min
Business Plan Ideas Take Shape in Strange Lands
When the Today show did a story on Socotra Island in Yemen last month, the internet was a buzzin’. Far-flung destinations and out-there locations have always excited people’s minds and stirred imaginations.

Places like Las Vegas and New York just don’t excite anymore. Daily life is too fraught with distractions and interruptions. If you want your Executive team thinking outside the box, you need to fly them outside of Canada and away from their daily duties.

These fresh Executive retreat locations will refresh your team and incite creativity. Each offers a different take on what the corporate retreat is all about. Either way, it’s time for you and your team to get away.

Inish Turk Beg

Sitting in Clew Bay, on the West Coast of Ireland, the island of Inish Turk Beg is as extraordinary as its name. Irish-Egyptian businessman Nadim Sadek and his wife bought the exotic island in 2003 and turned the "small island of the wild boar" into, among other things, a corporate retreat destination.

The 65 acres of private Inish Turk Beg host five island homes and a mainland cottage that will accommodate around 40 guests. The secluded island destination is ideal for shaping strategies and building teams as the beauty of Inish Turk Beg and its surroundings energise and inspire.

A corporate stay on the island offers first-class facilities; state-of-the-art meeting rooms boast professional audio-visual and presentation equipment, including projectors, sound systems and whiteboards. Mobile phone reception and fast Wi-Fi is available in every home and around most buildings across the island.

“Nothing prepared me for Inish Turk Beg, an island off the West Coast of Ireland. It is rugged, with spectacular scenery, vast seascapes, beautiful horizons and awe inspiring sunsets. The accommodation is stylish, comfortable and creates an environment where one can thrash ideas about as a group or break out in small teams,” Frank Reed, former Worldwide CEO of Virgin Active, was quoted on the island website.

Sand Dollar Estate Villa

The Sand Dollar Estate bills itself as the best Caribbean corporate retreat location and retreat destination. Located on the Caribbean island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Sand Dollar Estate is a direct flight from most North American locations, the language is English, the weather is good year round and there's no jetlag involved.

The featured Sand Dollar Estate Villa is a luxurious 8 bedroom St. Thomas villa and guest cottage set on over two and a half acres. The Villa overlooks pristine Magens Bay shoreline, just above the completely private beach and can accommodate up to 22 people.

Sand Dollar Estate Villa designs special menus throughout the corporate retreats. Known as the "Sport Fishing Capital of the World," the Executive team can angle tarpon, snook, bonefish, marlin, tuna and wahoo. Nearby capital city of Charlotte Amalie, offers great restaurants and nightclubs. Charlotte Amalie is also renowned for its world-class duty-free shopping, which the CFO will love to hear.

The tropical exclusive corporate retreat location is equipped with state-of-the art electronic equipment and technology and has a full office with PC/printer/fax/scanner/copier, DSL and WI-FI throughout the villa. The villa is minutes from Cyril King International Airport.

Corporate STAR

While the Executive team may not actually travel to a strange land for this one, Corporate STAR delivers an out-of-this-world experience. Corporate STAR offers the ‘Voyage to Mars’ simulation to “transport your team into an exciting space scenario.”

Each member, up to 32 people, receives pre-flight instructions and experiences two simulator locations: mission control (patterned after NASA's Johnson Space Center) and the operations deck of a futuristic spacecraft. “Voyage to Mars” simulations are held at Challenger Learning Centers located throughout the US.

Can’t leave Canada? Corporate STAR’s e-mission "Operation: Montserrat" is a portable simulation event that drops Executive teams into an emergency response scenario, such as a volcano explosion, and forces them to consider how to assess the immediate crisis, determine the best way to approach it and to execute the most effective solutions.

Jim Traver founded The Corporate STAR Program in 2002 to provide corporations with a unique alternative to corporate education and experiential learning. He has over 30 years of organization development and human resource experience. Vice President John Broer joined the Company in 2004, bringing over 15 years of corporate training and facilitation skills. Broer’s areas of focus include sales, sales management, executive development and interactive adult learning.

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Jul 5, 2021

What’s Causing the Global Supply Crunch?

He Jun, Director of China Macr...
6 min
Empty Shelf
Global shortages are affecting everything from copper to coffee - but why are the shortfalls so acute and so widespread?

As the global economy gradually recovers from the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, worldwide supply crunch is intensifying, spreading not only from one country to another, but also from one industry to another.

A year ago, when the pandemic continued to spread, economies around the world were severely hit and there was panic buying among consumers. Today, it is companies that are trying to go on a stockpiling, buying more raw materials than they need to keep up with rapidly recovering demand. The panic buying is fuelling more shortages of raw materials, including copper, iron ore, steel, corn, coffee, wheat, soybeans, wood, semiconductors, plastics, cardboard, etc. As a result, inventories of seemingly every raw material around the world are running low. “You name it, and we have a shortage on it,” Tom Linebarger, chairman and chief executive of engine and generator manufacturer Cummins Inc., said earlier, and he noted that his clients are “trying to get everything they can because they see high demand”.

Supply shortages have driven prices up significantly, with the impact of rising prices for some key raw materials being significant. The prices of various industrial raw materials such as crude oil, plastics, and chemicals are rising. Some of the impacts of higher raw material prices have already begun to be reflected in consumer goods. Reynolds Consumer Products Inc., the maker of the namesake aluminium foil and Hefty trash bags, is planning another round of price hike, and this will be the third for the increase this year alone. Food prices are also climbing. The price of palm oil, the world's most consumed edible oil, has risen more than 135% over the past year to record levels; soybeans have topped USD 16 a bushel for the first time since 2012; corn futures prices have touched an eight-year high, and wheat futures prices have risen to the highest level since 2013.

Changes in factory orders due to the impact of the pandemic have also tightened supply in some markets and pushed up prices for raw materials. Some knitting enterprises in Dongguan, Guangdong, said that affected by the pandemic, about 40% of the orders have come back to China from countries such as India and Southeast Asian countries, while the factory utilisation rate has increased by about 30% to 40%, and now it has reached 100%. In Jiangyin, Jiangsu, a bedsheet enterprise adjusted its production capacity to accommodate a USD 20 million order from Southeast Asia. Increased demand from the textile industry has led to tight supplies of raw materials. In Wujiang, Jiangsu, where polyester filament yarn is the most in demand, the shortage of raw materials this year has been unexpected, especially in the current off-season, when there is not much stock. In Suzhou, also in Jiangsu, the export of polyester filament yarn increased by nearly 60% from January to April, while the price increased by 40% to 60%. Compared with the same period last year, the price of filament yarn increased by RMB 2000-3000/ton.

Remarkably, this hoarding frenzy is pushing global supply chains to the brink of collapse. Inventory shortages, transportation bottlenecks, and price increases are nearing critical levels, raising concerns that strong global growth could fuel inflation. The supply disruptions in the past are simply incomparable compared to the severe inventory crunch of 2021. Industry insiders predict that both large and small enterprises will be affected by this supply shortage.

Why are current supply shortages so acute? 

Researchers at ANBOUND believe that instead of having one single factor, there are multiple reasons for the emergence of complex systemic problems.

First of all, there is the recovery in demand as the pandemic is brought under control. This year, as vaccination rollout efforts have brought the pandemic significantly under control in the United States and some European countries, the economy has begun to show significant momentum for recovery. This trend prompted a near-simultaneous recovery in most markets around the world. The collective recovery of global markets has led to a near-simultaneous increase in demand, exacerbating the mismatch between supply and demand. In the case of commodity futures, the capital was collectively bullish on commodities under such expectations, significantly driving up the prices of commodities (mostly upstream commodities) and spreading to midstream and downstream commodities. It should be noted in particular that the surge in demand for certain specific commodities under the pandemic has also exacerbated the supply-demand mismatch in some industrial chains. For example, the increase in the need of remote, online working and studying has increased the demand for all kinds of electronic products, leading to a surge in global demand for semiconductor chips, which affects several chip-requiring industries.

Another reason is that the pandemic has disrupted the global supply chain system, causing distortions in supply and demand in certain industries, which are transmitted along the supply chain, causing a wider supply crunch. As ANBOUND previously pointed out, the spread of the pandemic has dealt multiple blows to global supply chains. During the pandemic, China, as the "world's factory", was affected by the pandemic and its production side was disrupted. Then, the demand side of developed countries was suppressed by the impact of the pandemic. This is followed by the fact that the malfunctioning of the global supply chain system has exacerbated global supply distortions. To cite an example, the severe shortage of containers due to disruption of the supply chain has exacerbated the global supply distortions.

In addition, enterprises began to collectively increase their inventories, leading to the increase of inventories in the industrial chain and supply chain, amplifying the demand for all kinds of raw materials, intermediate products, and supporting products. In the past, in order to save costs and improve efficiency, many enterprises advocated zero-inventory production and tried to reduce the inventory in the production link, thereby reducing the capital occupation. However, the smooth operation of zero inventory production depends on the efficient global supply chain system. Once a problem occurs in the global supply chain system, it can lead to chaos in the whole supply chain system. The 2011 earthquake in Tōhoku, Japan has caused the shutdown of some key auto parts plants, which once led to the global auto supply chain being affected. Likewise, the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic since last year has damaged, distorted, and even disrupted global supply chains.

Finally, geopolitical factors have also contributed to the tight supply of global commodities, resulting in the artificial disruption of part of the industrial chain and supply chain. For example, the U.S.-driven crackdown on chip supply to Chinese enterprises and related sanctions have seriously disrupted the global semiconductor industry chain.

How long will the supply crunch last? 

Overall, the global supply crunch is due to a variety of reasons, including increased demand from the post-pandemic economic recovery, distortions in global supply chains caused by the pandemic, collective stockpiling by enterprises around the world, and geopolitical disruptions. However, this does not represent a significant expansion of aggregate global demand, but rather a distortion of the existing system as it is disrupted and broken. Judging from the current situation, this tight supply situation will last for a long time, leading to the price rise of raw materials and components. Therefore, both enterprises and governments need to be prepared for this scenario in the medium- and long-term.

Mr. He Jun is Partner, Director of China Macro-Economic Research Team and Senior Researcher. His research field covers China’s macro-economy, energy industry and public policy.

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