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Welcome to our website!!

Welcome to my website!! We will cover a lot of information about Transportation and some of the different ways to get around in the world today.

Many people prefer to use vehicles to move around their state or cross country. At least for me, I prefer to move around using my RV. I just love the feeling of moving around with my RV and with my family. There is no doubt that moving in an RV it feels like moving around with your own home.

Transportation-limo-airplanes-buses

But besides the cars and the RVs, I just love to watch the trains. Thanks to this amazing creation, America is what it is today. Thanks to trains the US started moving more and more products around the US faster and that helped with the economy.

Continue reading “Welcome to our website!!”

Southwest Airlines Operations – A Strategic Perspective

Background:

Southwest Airlines is the largest airline measured by number of passengers carried each year within the United States. It is also known as a ‘discount airline’ compared with its large rivals in the industry. Rollin King and Herb Kelleher founded Southwest Airlines on June 18, 1971. Its first flights were from Love Field in Dallas to Houston and San Antonio, short hops with no-frills service and a simple fare structure. The airline began with one simple strategy: “If you get your passengers to their destinations when they want to get there, on time, at the lowest possible fares, and make darn sure they have a good time doing it, people will fly your airline.” This approach has been the key to Southwest’s success. Currently, Southwest serves about 60 cities (in 31 states) with 71 million total passengers carried (in 2004) and with a total operating revenue of $6.5 billion. Southwest is traded publicly under the symbol “LUV” on NYSE.

Facts:

* The first major airline to fly a single type of aircraft (Boeing 737s)

* The first major airline to offer ticketless travel system wide including a frequent flier program based on number of trips and not number of miles flown.

* The first airline to offer a profit-sharing program to its Employees (instituted in 1973).

* The first major airline to develop a Web site and offer online booking. In 2001, about 40 percent ($2.1 billion) of its passenger revenue was generated through online bookings at [http://www.southwest.com]. Southwest’s cost per booking via the Internet is about $1, compared to a cost per booking through travel agents of $6 to $8.

Key competitive advantages:

* Low Operational costs / High Operational Efficiency

* Award winning customer service

* Human Resource practices / Work culture

Operations Analysis – Competitive Dimensions:

Southwest clearly has a distinct advantage compared to other airlines in the industry by executing an effective and efficient operations strategy that forms an important pillar of its overall corporate strategy. Given below are some competitive dimensions that will be studied in this paper.

1. Operational Costs and Efficiency

2. Customer Service

3. Employee/Labor Relations

4. Technology

1. Operational Costs and Efficiency

After all, the airline industry overall is in shambles. But, how does Southwest Airlines stay profitable? Southwest Airlines has the lowest costs and strongest balance sheet in its industry, according to its chairman Kelleher. The two biggest operating costs for any airline are – labor costs (approx 40%) followed by fuel costs (approx 18%). Some other ways that Southwest is able to keep their operational costs low is – flying point-to-point routes, choosing secondary (smaller) airports, carrying consistent aircraft, maintaining high aircraft utilization, encouraging e-ticketing etc.

Labor Costs

The labor costs for Southwest typically accounts for about 37% of its operating costs. Perhaps the most critical element of the successful low-fare airline business model is achieving significantly higher labor productivity. According to a recent HBS Case Study, southwest airlines is the “most heavily unionized” US airline (about 81% of its employees belong to an union) and its salary rates are considered to be at or above average compared to the US airline industry. The low-fare carrier labor advantage is in much more flexible work rules that allow cross-utilization of virtually all employees (except where disallowed by licensing and safety standards). Such cross-utilization and a long-standing culture of cooperation among labor groups translate into lower unit labor costs. At Southwest in 4th quarter 2000, total labor expense per available seat mile (ASM) was more than 25% below that of United and American, and 58% less than US Airways.

Carriers like Southwest have a tremendous cost advantage over network airlines simply because their workforce generates more output per employee. In a study in 2001, the productivity of Southwest employees was over 45% higher than at American and United, despite the substantially longer flight lengths and larger average aircraft size of these network carriers. Therefore by its relentless pursuit for lowest labor costs, Southwest is able to positively impact its bottom line revenues.

Fuel Costs

Fuel costs is the second-largest expense for airlines after labor and accounts for about 18 percent of the carrier’s operating costs. Airlines that want to prevent huge swings in operating expenses and bottom line profitability choose to hedge fuel prices. If airlines can control the cost of fuel, they can more accurately estimate budgets and forecast earnings. With growing competition and air travel becoming a commodity business, being competitive on price was key to any airline’s survival and success. It became hard to pass higher fuel costs on to passengers by raising ticket prices due to the highly competitive nature of the industry.

Southwest has been able to successfully implement its fuel hedging strategy to save on fuel expenses in a big way and has the largest hedging position among other carriers. In the second quarter of 2005, Southwest’s unit costs fell by 3.5% despite a 25% increase in jet fuel costs. During Fiscal year 2003, Southwest had much lower fuel expense (0.012 per ASM) compared to the other airlines with the exception of JetBlue as illustrated in exhibit 1 below. In 2005, 85 per cent of the airline’s fuel needs has been hedged at $26 per barrel. World oil prices in August 2005 reached $68 per barrel. In the second quarter of 2005 alone, Southwest achieved fuel savings of $196 million. The state of the industry also suggests that airlines that are hedged have a competitive advantage over the non-hedging airlines. Southwest announced in 2003 that it would add performance-enhancing Blended Winglets to its current and future fleet of Boeing 737-700’s. The visually distinctive Winglets will improve performance by extending the airplane’s range, saving fuel, lowering engine maintenance costs, and reducing takeoff noise.

Point-to-Point Service

Southwest operates its flight point-to-point service to maximize its operational efficiency and stay cost-effective. Most of its flights are short hauls averaging about 590 miles. It uses the strategy to keep its flights in the air more often and therefore achieve better capacity utilization.

Secondary Airports

Southwest flies to secondary/smaller airports in an effort to reduce travel delays and therefore provide excellent service to its customers. It has led the industry in on-time performance. Southwest has also been able to trim down its airport operations costs relatively better than its rival airlines.

Consistent aircraft

At the heart of Southwest’s success is its single aircraft strategy: Its fleet consists exclusively of Boeing 737 jets. Having common fleet significantly simplifies scheduling, operations and flight maintenance. The training costs for pilots, ground crew and mechanics are lower, because there’s only a single aircraft to learn. Purchasing, provisioning, and other operations are also vastly simplified, thereby lowering costs. Consistent aircraft also enables Southwest to utilize its pilot crew more efficiently.

E-Ticketing

The idea of ticketless travel was a major advantage to Southwest because it could lower its distribution costs. Southwest became electronic or ticketless back in the mid-1990s, and today they are about 90-95% ticketless. Customers who use credit cards are eligible for online transactions, and today Southwest.com bookings account for about 65% of total revenue. The CEO Gary Kelly thinks that this idea would grow further and that he wouldn’t be surprised if e-ticketing accounted for 75% of Southwest’s revenues by end of 2005. In the past, when there was a 10% travel agency commission paid, it used to cost about $8 a booking. But currently, Southwest is paying between 50 cents and $1 per booking for electronic transactions that translate to huge cost savings.

2. Employee and Labor Relations

Southwest has been highly regarded for its innovative management style. It maintains a relentless focus on high-performance relationships and its people-management practices have been the key to its unparalleled success in the airline industry.

Mission Statement

To Our Employees

“We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth. Creativity and innovation are encouraged for improving the effectiveness of Southwest Airlines. Above all, Employees will be provided the same concern, respect, and caring attitude within the organization that they are expected to share externally with every Southwest Customer.”

The Southwest mission statement shows that the company has a strong commitment to its employees. The company affords the same respect to its employees that is provided to its customers. The Southwest mission statement is unique in that it recognizes the importance of its employees within the broader business strategy, which emphasizes superb customer service and operational efficiency. The employees reciprocate the respect, loyalty and trust that Southwest demonstrates. Southwest employees are known for their loyalty, dedication, attitude and innovation. The employees are the distinguishing factor between Southwest and the rest of the airline industry.

Hiring

Southwest hiring policy is unique not only within the airline industry, but also more broadly, and revolves around finding people with the right attitude that will thrive in the Southwest culture. Extensive procedures are employed to hire for positive attitude and dedication. Those who do not posses those qualities are weeded out. Colleen Barrett, a non-operational officer at Southwest, states that

“Hiring is critical, because you cannot institutionalize behavior. Instead, you must identify those people who already practice the behaviors you are looking for. Then you can allow Employees to be themselves and make decisions about Customer service based on common sense and their natural inclinations.” 1

Recruiting and interviewing at Southwest is a two-step process. The first step is a group interview, conducted by employees, where communication skills of potential candidates are evaluated. The next steps in this process are one on one interview, where the candidates’ attitudes and orientation toward serving others are evaluated. These hiring criteria apply to all job functions since all Employees at Southwest play a customer service role. A critical part of Southwest operational strategy is that every job at Southwest is a customer service position, whether it directly applies to the customer or whether it is internal.

The table below shows that even though Southwest is the most heavily unionized airline, at approximately 80%, that contract negotiations between the unions and Southwest are much shorter in duration than of the other major carriers. This shows the quality of relationship that Southwest has with its employees and with the unions that represent them.

Culture

Southwest was created as a different kind of company and from its beginnings a unique culture was nurtured. In 1990 Colleen Barrett formed the Southwest Culture Committee. This is unique within the industry and among all large companies. The committee also has a mission statement:

“This group’s goal is to help create the Southwest spirit and culture where needed; to enrich it and make it better where it already exists; and to liven it up in places where it might be “floundering”. In short, this group’s goal is to do “whatever it takes” to create, enhance, and enrich the special Southwest spirit and culture that has made this such a wonderful Company/Family.”

It is this unique approach to company values that has created a culture that differentiates itself from others. Southwest’s culture is the reason why it is successful.

3. Customer Service

The Mission of Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit.

Approach

Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest, has been quoted as saying that “We’re in the Customer service business; we just happen to provide airline transportation”.2 Award winning customer service is a distinguishing characteristic of Southwest and it is referred to internally as “Positively Outrageous Service”. It means that from the top to bottom everyone does whatever he or she can to satisfy the customer. This includes Herb Kelleher, who has been known for helping out baggage handlers on Thanksgiving. It is through emphasizing the customer and employee that Southwest is able to differentiate itself from others in the airline industry. On a more technical level, each employee or group within Southwest has his or her own customer. This means that every employee ‘serves’ in one way or another despite not being directly involved with the passenger. The mechanic’s customer is the pilot and the caterer’s is the flight attendant.

Results

It can be said that the “Positively Outrageous Service” that is unique to Southwest “is not the result of a department, or a program, or a mandate from management. It is not secondary to the product; it is the product.” This approach creates the conditions where Employees are more likely to treat customers in ways that distinguish the company from others. There are numerous accounts of passengers who have received exceptional treatment from Southwest employees.

The question that needs to be answered is how Southwest’s customer service is different and why? Is it common for customers of other airlines to rave about their special service? The answer is that it is not. While Southwest does not have a monopoly on people who are kind and who are willing to go above and beyond to satisfy a customer, such behavior is nurtured at Southwest to a much greater extent.

It can then be concluded that the customer service that is inherent to Southwest is a part of its culture. This culture is supported through employee encouragement to do the extra to satisfy the customer. This approach inspires people who would ordinarily only on occasion go out of their way to help someone, to become consistent performers that offer exceptional service all the time. Southwest employees are what differentiate its customer service from the other airlines.

4. Technology

Southwest utilizes technology in many ways to fulfill its business objectives and maintain its efficient operations. According to its CEO, technology equals productivity. Launched in 1996, ticketless travel was first introduced by Southwest. On May 1st 2000, Southwest Airlines introduces “SWABIZ,” a portal that assists company travel managers in booking and tracking trips made through its web site [http://www.southwest.com]. There are many new technology initiatives being undertaken currently and some are in the pipeline.

Bar codes in Boarding Passes

Southwest Airlines has invested $12 million during the past three years to standardize corporate and terminal operations on about 10,000 Dell OptiPlex desktop and Latitude notebook computers according to its company executives. Southwest wanted to replace its well known, brightly colored plastic boarding passes with an electronic system with bar-code paper boarding passes. So it installed about 350 touch screen ticket readers powered by Dell OptiPlex desktops. The bar code gives Southwest more information to automatically reconcile the number of boarding passes with the number of passengers that actually board the plane.

Although the technology will help Southwest Airlines remain efficient by consolidating passenger information for the company’s 3,000 daily flights, there were concerns it could lengthen the time to get travelers on board. However it was found that scanning each bar code on the boarding passes didn’t increase or shorten boarding schedules, but it did take minutes from administrative processes, such as looking up customer records. The new paper bar code system is giving Southwest ticket agents the ability to match a customer record within having to scroll through and log into multiple software screens. The process is much more automated. Once the bar code on the boarding pass is scanned at the terminal gate it checks off the person from the passenger list in real time.

The old process was manual that involved finding the information, scrolling through several software screens from reservations to check-in to boarding. The bar code hardware to scan the boarding passes has been deployed. The company is in the process of replacing customer service back-office equipment at airports including at its headquarters in Dallas.

Software Upgrades

Software applications, such as those used by clerks to check in passengers, are being replaced. Southwest Airlines’ internally written “Airport Application Suite” is expected to rollout next year as the company transitions from green screens to Window-based user interface. Similar to Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Southwest Airlines believes in developing in-house the software that runs its operations. The company uses very little off-the-shelf software. There are between 75 and 100 projects in the works each year supported by approximately 900 IT employees.

RFID

Radio frequency identification technology, a favorable alternative to bar-coding for luggage identification, is also on Southwest’s radar. It plans to test RFID technology sometime in 2006. Even though, Southwest is playing a little catch-up with other airlines such as Air Tran, Alaska and Champion Airlines, in many cases they are able leapfrog to more sophisticated applications easily having waited longer.

Challenges:

Southwest has emerged very successful, despite the most troubled times in the airline market. However, it faces new challenges in the face of increasing competition from other low fare airlines such as JetBlue, ATA airlines, America West.

Reserved Seating

Due to increasing security guidelines since September 2001, Southwest would need to prepare for assigned (reserved) seating to track its in-flight passengers. This change will involve large technology investments and may impact its gate operations negatively since the current way of unassigned seating has helped in quick gate turnarounds.

Passenger Demand

The keep-it-simple philosophy has served Southwest well. But as its own business grows and grows more complex, with plans to purchase dozens of new aircraft and an expected upsurge in passenger traffic to about 80 million boarding’s a year, the simplicity strategy that has been reflected in the airline’s IT philosophy is evolving. The CIO Tom Nealon says that “It’s time to adapt our business processes for efficiency. As our airline scales for us to provide the same kind of high-touch customer service, we have to automate a lot of things we’ve been able to do without technology previously. The challenge is doing that without conceding the customer touch.” Southwest is also aggressively pursuing customer relationship management (CRM) techniques and has applications to get insight into customer’s wants and dislikes. According to an interview with its CEO Gary Keller, Southwest has its focus on improving in two areas – customer’s airport experience and in-flight experience.

In-Flight Entertainment

In an overall effort to improve customer’s in-flight experience, in-flight entertainment is something that Southwest is currently evaluating and which JetBlue has been very successful at already because of its introduction in its long-haul flights. In comparison, Southwest has 415 airplanes to consider and that represents an investment decision at a whole new dimension. Additionally, Southwest has to consider how things may fit into their environment. At this point, 60% of its service is still very short haul. Southwest needs to be mindful of the fact that a certain approach that has been successful for its competitor may not be necessarily work to its advantage.

Summary:

Southwest has long been regarded as a benchmark in its industry for operational excellence. Southwest Airlines is a fine example of a company that is committed to its core competencies – efficient operations to drive its low cost structure, outstanding delivery of customer service and innovative HR management practices. We hope this paper provided a good insight into Southwest operations, as part of its overall strategy, to achieve success and gain competitive advantage.

References:

1. [http://www.southwest.com] (Southwest airlines official web site)

2. “Southwest keeps it simple” – Air Transport World, April 2005, Pg 36

3. “Around the World on $48 (or So): How High Can Discount Airlines Fly?“ Strategy Management – Knowledge@ Wharton Newsletter Oct 5, 2005

4. TechWeb – [http://www.techweb.com/wire/ebiz/173601227]

5. “Southwest’s Strategy for Success: Consolidate!” – Oracle Magazine (Sept/Oct 2004 edition) http://www.oracle.com/technology/oramag/oracle/04-sep/o54swest.html

6. “Southwest Airlines: High Tech, Low Costs” – Eweek.com, April 2005

7. “Jet Fuel Hedging Strategies: Options Available for Airlines and a Survey of Industry Practices” – Kellogg School of Management Research Paper, Spring 2004

8. Winning Behavior: What the Smartest, Most Successful Companies Do Differently, Terry R. Bacon and David G. Pugh, 2003

9. Time Magazine, Oct 28th 2002 issue, Vol. 160 Issue 18, p. 45

10. “Wings Of Change”,Information Week, March 28, 2005,

11. Labor Contract Negotiations in the Airline Industry, Monthly Labor Review, July 2003, page 24

What to Wear to a Brunch Wedding

Brunch weddings have become increasingly popular lately. Couples like them because they have a relaxed family-friendly feeling, and also because they are less expensive to host than a traditional wedding dinner. Attire for a wedding held early in the day can be quite different than what one would wear to a formal evening wedding. This is what to wear to a brunch wedding.

Dressing up in the morning can be a tad confusing. The usual tricks we use to make an outfit festive, such as sparkly jewelry, shimmery fabrics, and the like seem out of place for brunch. Yet, a wedding at any time of the day is a special occasion, and therefore a special outfit is called for. The time of year also makes a difference, as one would dress a bit more formally for a winter brunch wedding than a summer one.

Wedding attire for men is fairly straightforward. For brunch, a nice pair of trousers worn with a jacket and tie is ideal. If the wedding ends up leaning more casual, it is a simple enough matter to remove the jacket. Dressy loafers would be a good choice for shoes. In the morning, a male wedding guests can feel free to experiment with more colors and patterns than he might for a formal evening reception. Whimsical ties, shirts with small checks or in colors other than white, and even fun socks (think argyle) would all be great.

Female wedding guests have more leeway in what they wear, which makes it more fun to get dressed, but also more confusing. For a summer brunch wedding, a knee length dress or skirt in a floral design would be pretty. It can be worn with cute flats or pretty low sandals, pearl earrings, and a small handbag. Even in the daytime, your everyday purse is not dressy enough for a wedding, so pick something like a cute little fabric covered clutch. Other accessories to consider include a little cardigan or wrap to wear over a dress and possibly an elegant wide brim hat with a ribbon. The hat would be marvelous for an outdoor brunch wedding and will help to dress up a more simple sundress style. Stay away from any jewelry or attire with a lot of beading or sparkles for a morning wedding.

If the brunch wedding falls in the winter months, plan to dress up a bit more. A beautiful jacquard dress would be ideal. Or look for the chic combination of a skirt and jacket in an elegant fabric to be paired with a silk or cashmere shell. Look for a skirt or dress which falls a little below the knee, rather than to the floor. Another great option is a pair of tailored velvet trousers worn with satin flats and a cashmere sweater. Black is pretty harsh for a morning wedding, so look for clothing in other colors. Deep winter hues like plum, chocolate, and forest are lovely, as are neutrals like pewter or champagne.

Fall weddings tend to be very difficult to dress for, stuck as they are between the sundresses of summer and the rich fabrics of the holiday season. For a fall brunch wedding, think cozy. A flattering wrap dress worn with elegant high heel boots and a pretty pair of drop pearl earrings would be highly appropriate. A wool skirt worn with a silk blouse or cashmere sweater would be another option, as long as the pieces are not too business-like or too casual. In other words, a pink tweed skirt and a fitted chocolate brown sweater with a pretty bow would be lovely, however the gray skirt from a suit or the heavy fisherman’s sweater would be too business-like and too casual, respectively.

The trend towards brunch weddings is likely to become increasingly popular, so it is helpful to know what to wear to that type of celebration. As with any wedding, err on the side of dressing up a little too much rather than putting in too little effort. Stay away from evening-only attire like cocktail dresses, low cut tops, and too much sparkle, and you will look wonderful for the brunch reception.

Merchant Ship Safety

Any retailer understands that customers now expect choice. In order to compete on the global market, it is important to provide customers with what they want. Without imports, the range of goods on offer would be significantly reduced, so we have become reliant on the ability to transport huge volumes of goods around the world.

As the global population has grown, so has the demand for goods. As the most viable means of cargo transportation, 80% of the products we buy and sell are shipped by boat. In response to the need to ship ever greater loads, advances in technology have enabled the development of unbelievably large vessels. These mega container ships have the capacity to carry over 10,000 containers, yet they can still float.

Merchant shipping fleets have also had to expand, so at any one time there are in excess of 50,000 merchant ships voyaging across the world’s oceans.

This is great news for consumers who want to stock up in the supermarkets, invest in a new car, buy the latest gadget or update their wardrobe. It does, however, impact on the safety of vessels, both in the open seas and in busy ports.

Port Provisions

It is one thing to design and build a mega-sized container ship, but in order for it to operate, it is essential that shipping channels and port provisions can cope with vessels of such a grand scale.

In recent decades many of the world’s largest ports have had to invest in expansion plans in order that the new merchant ships, which can be over 390 meters in length, can reach the port and manoeuvre safely. The cranes, logistics and on-going infrastructure also need to be in place to successfully load and unload the ships.

When at the helm of such an imposing vessel, it takes time for the ship to respond to the controls. External factors such as strong winds or the movement of other vessels impact on how the ship moves. The captain and port controllers have to factor all of this in when bringing a ship into or out of port.

It is now a regular occurrence for large vessels to be passing along narrow shipping lanes in order to dock. This is a high-risk situation, where everyone involved has to be fully engaged in order to prevent a safety disaster.

In addition to providing a safe passage for ships, port employees also need to ensure that every vessel is compliant with marine regulations. This includes onboard checks of equipment, crew conditions, medical supplies for ships and the safe handling of hazardous goods.

Meanwhile, the on-board officers may need to take responsibility for balancing the load, crew safety, navigation, security and medical care in addition to their main duty.

Modern vessels benefit from internal alarms to warn of any onboard issues, along with radar and advanced communication systems. Despite this, there is still a need for paper charts, binoculars and other traditional maritime resources.

Dover Strait

As an island nation, the UK is reliant on shipping to transport goods. Felixstowe, Grimsby & Immingham and the Port of London are amongst the largest trade ports and provide a link with mainland Europe. It is therefore little wonder that the Dover Strait is one of the busiest shipping channels in the world.

Around 400 shipping vessels pass through the Dover Strait every day, along with ferries, fishing vessels, leisure cruisers, scientific research boats and the occasional cross-channel swimmer. In such a congested stretch of water, it takes little imagination to work out the logistics involved in keeping everyone safe. Yet for many crews, this is just the start or end of an epic journey around the world.

The $99 A Month Car Dealer Scam

A lot of people get confused or excited when they see a car dealer advertise a $99 a month payment. Sometimes the dollar amount changes, dealers will use a $47 a month payment or some other low number. I’m going to explain why car ads that use these tricks are usually offering you a bad deal. In fact, I tell people that if a car dealer advertises in this manner they should avoid doing business with them. The reason car dealers use this advertising method is because so many people are fixated on what their monthly payment ends up being and they never understand how that number was generated.

You must understand how a car dealer arrives at your monthly payment to determine whether your $385 monthly payment is a good price or a bad price. Many people don’t understand that two people can have the same $385 payment for the exact same car and one person got a good deal, the other a bad deal! So when someone asks me to evaluate their car-buying skills by throwing out a low monthly payment I simply nod in approval just to be polite. Of course I do not know if they got a good deal or a bad deal and they usually don’t know either!

So let’s look at all the elements that make up a car buyer’s monthly payment so you can make intelligent decisions. Your monthly payment is a combination of the following: an interest payment for your loan, a fraction of your actual loan (if your loan is 48 months you pay 1/48 of the loan each month) along with any other fees or taxes you might have rolled into the deal. These are the separate elements that make up your monthly payment. So you must have negotiated a good purchase price for your car or your monthly payments will never be a good deal. This is true whether you are buying or leasing your next car. No figure has a bigger impact on your car deal than the car’s purchase price – common sense when you think about it.

Now you must take the vehicle’s purchase price and subtract any down payment or trade-in allowance. So if you are buying a $25,000 car and you put $5,000 down or give the dealer a trade-in worth $5,000 your financing figure becomes $20,000. Now we take that $20,000 and add any additional fees you might have rolled into the deal to create the final amount of money you will be financing.

When you go to financing you need to determine how much interest you are paying on the money you are financing, in our example let’s use $20,000. The length of your loan determines the number of monthly payments you will make. A common rule of thumb is the longer the loan and the large amount of money you finance, the higher your finance rate will be. So do not be afraid to ask if your financing gets better if you shorten your loan term.

For instance, let’s say two people are financing the exact same car for the exact same amount of money, $20,000. One person got a rate of 7.9% financing for 60 months. This person will have a monthly car payment of $404.57. The other person got a rate of 4.9% for 48 months. This second person’s monthly payment will be $459.68. Now remember, they both are financing the exact same amount of money, so who has a better deal? Many people instinctively would say the lower monthly payment is a better deal, I disagree. You see, the first person is paying $404.57 per month for 60 months for a total of $24,274.20. The second person is paying $459.68 for 48 months for a total of $22,064.64. The person with the higher monthly payment ends up paying $2,209.56 less for the exact same car!

Now that you understand the process you can see that anyone could buy a new Rolls Royce and have a $99 a month car payment. To accomplish this all you need to do is put about $125,000 down! Car dealers advertise $99 a month payments because they know that any potential customer who walks in the door off that ad is fixated on their monthly payment. This allows the dealer to jack up the financing rate, spread the payments out (some dealers now push 72 month loans). By hiking your rate several points and stretching the payments out an extra year or two the car dealer and the bank will make additional thousands of dollars on every customer! Don’t let this happen to you! Buy smart, don’t be fooled into judging a car deal by the monthly payment, it’s the easiest way to get scammed by a car dealer!

The Best Housing Option For Professionals Who Commute

Commuting has become a part of the professional life of many and those who have been commuting to and from work for years now know that the perfect commuting lifestyle is simply inexpensive, reliable and easy. This means living in a location where public transportation is available and efficient, that does not necessarily have to deal with bustling traffic each day. Living in the city near offices is usually stressful, expensive and often housing is unavailable. This is why many professionals who commute to Los Angeles and Ventura opt to invest in homes in bedroom or commuter communities that offer quiet, stress-free, comfortable and convenient living environments.

Escape The Hustle And Bustle Of The City

City life can be stressful and as a professional you have to deal with it each day, but having to deal with it every night, during the weekends and even during holidays can be very difficult. The only solution to such a problem is to live in a community that offers easy access to your office, but conveniently located at a certain distance to escape the typical hustle and bustle of the city. Choosing such a community offers you a cleaner and healthier environment with all the convenient amenities you can also enjoy in the city and more.

Cost Of Living

Money is not easy to get by and investing your hard-earned money wisely is very important as a professional. Leasing or buying a home in the city near offices and recreational facilities is very costly because of the location, but you can actually find a reasonable place to live in that ensures you get your money’s worth. You can find suitable housing that meets your taste and budget, such as condos, typical homes and estates, while being able to enjoy the various amenities in bedroom communities. You can take advantage of healthcare facilities, parks, trails, swimming pools and even golf courses, without having to splurge just like how you would have to spend a fortune in the city to enjoy such facilities.

Convenience And Comfort

Commuters have busy lifestyles and this means convenience and comfort are a necessity. With no time to waste, everything must be accessible and available. This involves banks, restaurants, convenient stores, pharmacies, clinics, retail centers and other business facilities. Living in a community designed for the comfort and convenience of professionals who commute each day, you will not have much trouble sticking to your schedule or worry about not being able to have access to facilities that can cater your needs before and after work.

What Horses Do Today – The Many Roles Horses Perform in Modern Society

What do horses do for a living? I love these great animals and they are my pets and companions today. For years we participated in amateur competitions and did some trail riding. One hundred years ago, these common domestic beasts were still used as means of transportation and their lives consisted of a lot of work. Rarely were they only pets.

I decided to look up current statistics to understand how modern horses spend their lives and how people relate to them now. Since I live in the United States my estimates are from the U.S. (I looked at data supplied by The Equestrian Channel, American Horse Publications, and the American Horse Council.)

Recreation

Today there are more than 9.2 million horses in the U.S. About 3.9 million of them are used for recreational purposes. This includes those that belong to people who simply like having them, ride non-competitively, and trail ride for fun.

Show

About 2.7 million are show horses. Showing includes any of the non-racing riding disciplines. Western riding takes a number of forms: barrel racing, reining, roping, cutting, and pleasure. English riding is done in dressage, hunters and jumpers, fox hunting, saddle seat, and eventing (combined training). There are also endurance riding and polo. We’ve been emphasizing riding, but driving horses continues to be an active form of horsemanship too.

Since few horses earn their way by winning money at shows, I’d say that these 6.6 million recreational and show animals could be considered to be non-earners of money. They earn their keep by the enjoyment they provide to their owners.

Racing

Just under a million (over 840,000) are race horses. Since racing is intended to make money for owners, I would say that these could be called money earners. They make money in the form of gambling proceeds, increase in their prices when sold, and enhanced value for breeding fees.

Traditional Work

Over 1.75 million other horses perform a variety of activities. They work on farms and ranches, in forests, and in cities. Farm and ranch work includes working cattle, ploughing, hauling, pulling equipment, carrying packs, and rodeo. City work includes pulling carts and carriages, and police work. They provide income to their owners by carrying out the work of the jobs that need to be done.

From these estimates, it looks like working breeds comprise almost 20% of horses in the U.S. at this time. I would have guessed a much smaller percentage still had day jobs in our modern motorized society. I was surprised to find out that true working types, in the traditional sense, continue to be needed in fair numbers.

Air Pollution

Air pollution is the emission of substances in the atmosphere that interferes with the amenities of live. Air pollution could also be defined as any process that alters the standard component of the atmosphere by quantity or quality.

Air pollutants may be classified as follows

* Aerosol is a term used to describe dusts of small particle size, smoke and some mists whose presence can be really revealed by its scattering of visible radiation. Aerosols cover a wide range of gaseous disperse systems consisting of particles of low vapor pressure which settle slowly under gravity.

* Smokes are formed by combustion, destructive distillation or volatilization

* Dusts are solid particles dispersed into the atmosphere as a result of mechanical disintegration of a body of matter.

* Mist consists of droplet as a result of condensation of vapor in the air. When there are many particles in the droplet, it is called fog. When there is droplet with particle and dust at the same time it is called haze and if there is fog as well as poisonous gases, it is referred as smog.

* Acid rain, this occurs when the rain water pH falls below 5. It is usually as a result of presence of CO2 in the rainwater. Gaseous emission is a very important aspect of air pollution especially the green house gases (CO2, CFC, and NO2) that it emits in the atmosphere.

The effect of air pollution could be categorized as follows.

Earth warm and climate change; this is as a result of green house gases in the atmosphere. When the solar radiation strikes the earth surface, some of these gases trap the heat of the sun and thereby giving rise in the increase of temperature of the environment. The effect of this rise in temperature is shifts in temperature and rainfall. Sea level will rise as a result of thermal expansion of the ocean. Some area will be subjected to drought. Another effect of these gases is the depletion of the ozone layer.

Air pollution affects the health of the body ranging from eye irritation to lung diseases.

Acid rain is one of the very dangerous effects of air pollution. Its environmental effects range from acidification of lakes and streams resulting in reduction of fish population. It could also lead to the damage of vegetation, structure and equipment.

The cause of air pollution are as follows; domestic and industrial activities, Transportation sector and thermal power stations.

Air pollution control achievement depends on a well knowledge of the source of the pollution.

Pollution in the transportation sector can be curbed by

*taxation aimed at penalizing inefficiency in fuel consumption.

* Developing more efficient fuel combustion systems.

* Installation of systems to monitor the exhaust of automobile.

* encouraging mass transit

Pollution by industries should be controlled as follows

*Polluting industries may be regulated to emit pollutant only on a favorable wind movement and direction.

*Erection of tall stacks which usually also have high velocities in them so that the pollutants are sent in the high part of the atmosphere, where they will be diluted and made harmless.

*Use of fossil fuel should be reduced and resorting to much more environmental friendly source of energy should be encouraged.

*Industries should use scrubber to trap most of the pollutant that they emit.

Developing countries should endeavor to have consistent power supply so as to discourage the use of domestic generators. However, the flexible strategy of controlling air pollution remains the use of taxes and price mechanism

5 Reasons to Schedule DFW On Site Drug Testing

Scheduling DFW on site drug testing may seem like a lot of work to go through. However, it has a variety of benefits. Knowing why you should schedule this will make it easier for you to spend the money and enjoy the convenience.

Not Everyone has Reliable Transportation

You want to make sure you eliminate as many excuses as possible as to why someone couldn’t conduct their test on time. Unfortunately, not everyone has reliable transportation and therefore it may be too much for you to ask for people to go to a lab. The moment you ask people to do things on their own time, you will start to see diminished participation.

The better solution is to offer on-site drug testing where people are already on premises. You can simply send them in to be drug tested when they have been randomly selected.

Ensure Full Compliance

You need to be sure you are in full compliance with all rules and regulations. Particularly with the DOT, on-site drug testing is preferred simply because it rules out various issues. You can have an MRO conducting the tests and maintaining full confidentiality with the records. It also means that the tests pass through fewer hands, which makes it easier for you to track the tests throughout the entire process.

Eliminate Tampering

You know who your employees are, and therefore you don’t have to worry about any kind of tampering. If they are on your premises, you know that they are where they are supposed to be. If you don’t offer on-site testing, you can never be too sure whether it’s your employees going in for the drug test or if they have someone else do it for them. Additionally, you don’t know how legitimate the drug testing site may be – and you need to eliminate any potential tampering issues.

Appear More Professional

You are going to appear more professional when your drug testing is on-site. It keeps your employees happier because they don’t have to go anywhere besides your facility. They also don’t have to do anything on their own personal time.

When the drug testing is conducted on-site, you also get to stay more organized in terms of the results and all of the employee records.

Faster Results

On-site testing is also known to be much faster than if you were to use a third-party lab. Faster results are of the utmost importance because you don’t want to keep your candidates waiting nor do you want to run the risk of employees being out on the roads when they have tested positive for drug use.

There are plenty of reasons why you should be scheduling DFW on-site drug testing. It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than you make it out to be. You will be able to save time, money, and be more professional when you have the tests conducted on-site. Additionally, you stay compliant and get faster results.

How Does Overnight Shipping Work?

Overnight shipping, also called expedited shipping, is a shipment service that guarantees delivery of a package to a destination location. Sometimes this may involve a combination of transportation, such as ground and air.

This service is usually a bit more than normal mail delivery so most people use it to send urgent packages.

Now most of these urgent packages are categorized under lightweight or heavy weight and depending on the nature of the shipment, will be sent via freight or air. Overnight air can also be delivered internationally, but most mail carrier agencies only guarantee next day delivery in the continental US.

Overnight Shipping and Time Sensitivity

There are many reasons why a package may need to be delivered the very next day. A hospital or surgeon could be awaiting medical supplies or important items that can mean life of death fro hundred of people. Businesses may also rise or fall based on a critical shipment that has to be there on time or else.

This is why overnight shipping is such an important aspect of commerce in the modern world, but can this type of courier really get items to the right area when it counts?

Really there the next day

Can parcels that are shipped overnight arrive to its destination the very next day? It can, but it will really depend on the carrier company you use. To ensure that the company you choose has the capabilities necessary to get your package where it is needed, ask about their shipment guarantees.

You should also be aware that the time of drop off may greatly affect whether or not your item will get to the place it needs to be. If it is imperative that your package get t its location the following day try to arrive at the carrier agency by start of business, no later than 10 am, in fact, the earlier the better.

Benefits of overnight shipping and next day air services

There is a multiplicity of reasons why the use of overnight shipping is beneficial to those who want to get urgent packages into the right hands consistently.

– You can often have your packages insured for the full value if something happens to it for less than the usual price.

– The carrier service will utilize several different modes of transportation to makes sure you get the best courier service available.

– You can track your packages online in real time online or via telephone via the use of tracking number.

– With the right company, you can get your service customized, especially if there are special requirements and stipulations on the delivery, like leaving it on the door or only letting the recipient sign for and receive the parcel.

– The ability to set up accounts for multiple shipments where you can receive discounts.

A reputable courier delivery services company will also be available for questions regarding your overnight shipment 24 hours a day seven days a week and can be reached via telephone or online.

Current shipping technology

Courier agencies that want to be on the cutting edge utilize software and computer technology that helps them route packages for maximum efficiency. This will enable the company to get products to business and institutions quicker than in the past, almost guaranteeing next day service. If you want to be sure your overnight package will get to where it is most needed, then go with a leader in the packaging and shipment industry.

This may require a bit of research on your part but it will be well worth it, as you will always know when and where to go to get your urgent items to the proper location, safely and effectively ever single time.

Thoughts on The Flow of Transportation

A main component of a healthy human civilization is the flow of its transportation. The transportation of people, products and services throughout the society to serve mankind is an essential part of any Nation or State. The Flow of Transportation has been discussed in committees, focus groups, association meetings, Think Tanks, Government Agencies and even at the kitchen table for years. It is one of the major issues important to any civilization. During my travels across the country nearly 500,000 miles visiting every city in the United States and Canada over 10,000 population and observing the traffic flows; often stuck in them for hours in major cities and listening to people and citizens in the suburbs and rural areas about the challenges of bus services. I began to look at the flow of transportation with a much more keen eye. I started to see the good, the bad and the ugly.

Realize that all of us use some form of transportation to get around, even if it is people power like Lance Armstrong, well maybe not as fast but some of us still peddle to the store, to work or around town. It wasn’t so long ago that a fast and reliable horse was a must. Now then my mission today is to open this discussion by describing my observations and knowledge of transportation and to get you to think about your observations while traveling around. As you drive around town today or tomorrow, think about this topic and how vitally critical it is to our civilization.

As on observes our current set of transportation systems and how they interact and get us from A to B, we will see that it greatly effects our daily lives. Obviously my observations about the flows of transportation will be different than yours and yours different than that of relatives and neighbors; different perspectives of the same set of interacting transportation systems. You may even have some great ideas to help us fix and modify the flow of transportation to help the most amount of people that it serves. Maybe you can find the key to make it better, the missing component if you will to improve the efficiency of transportation and thus bettering the flows of civilization and increasing our quality of life and standard of living.

Out transportation system is an integral part of how we live and work. It is a modern marvel indeed. For every minor increase in its efficiency there is an exponential increase in our lives. Teach your kids to be observant of the flows of transportation and understand its value. The flow of transportation has helped our nation become all we are today and we must maintain our systems if our civilization is to run properly.