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John Smedley stitches rebound into 200-year-old knitwear brand; Toyota’s ‘kaizen’ philosophy of efficiency has helped Smedley achieve productivity gains of 5 per cent in a year

August 11, 2013 12:53 pm

John Smedley stitches rebound into 200-year-old knitwear brand

By Jonathan Moules, Enterprise Correspondent

AGM-74

Toyota’s ‘kaizen’ philosophy of efficiency has helped Smedley achieve productivity gains of 5 per cent in a year

John Smedley’s descendent has revived the fortunes of his eponymous 229-year-old luxury knitwear brand by embracing the productivity improvement techniques of the Japanese car industry. Ian Maclean, a seventh generation offspring of Smedley’s 18th century founder and namesake, is now its managing director. He was persuaded by an ex-managing director at the Derby factory of Toyota UK to adopt the Japanese company’s “kaizen” philosophy of making multiple incremental efficiency gains along a production line. “Our business is quite like the car industry in that, like the car companies that build different cars on the same chassis, we can make different garments from the same basic body shape,” Mr Maclean says. “What is amazing about manufacturing is that if you squeeze a little bit more profit from each step, the overall profit gain can be very large.” Read more of this post

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Rich And Poor People Have Different Toxins In Their Bodies

Rich And Poor People Have Different Toxins In Their Bodies

JOHN JOHNSONNEWSER AUG. 11, 2013, 11:08 AM 6,240 6

It might be the weirdest indicator of wealth, or lack thereof, yet: Generally speaking, rich people and poor people have different toxins in their bodies, according to a new study spotted by Quartz. For example, rich people tend to have greater levels of things such as mercury and arsenic, probably because they eat more sushi and fancy shellfish. They also show higher levels of the main ingredient in sunscreen, oxybenzone, perhaps because they’re more likely to slather it on and spend time at the beach or on their boats. But researchers at the University of Exeter found that lower-income people have the market on toxins of their own. The worst are lead and cadmium, which the study chalked up to higher levels of smoking among the poor, reports the Daily Mail. They also have higher levels of BPA, the toxin sometimes found in plastic food containers and cans. The clear difference in income groups surprised even the researchers, notes Salon, which has a chart. Read more of this post

The right kind of resilience: The Aberdeen Asset Management chief has an outsider’s determination

August 11, 2013 1:58 pm

The right kind of resilience

By David Oakley

Dressing down: Martin Gilbert was once accused by UK MPs of acting like a ‘sophisticated snake oil salesman’

Martin Gilbert nearly quit just over 10 years ago. Surrounded by government ministers, civil servants and journalists, he was publicly dressed down by one of Britain’s most senior politicians, accused of acting like a “sophisticated snake oil salesman” at a parliamentary hearing into one of the City of London’s biggest financial scandals. He remembers that summer day in 2002 as if it was yesterday, he says, a grim expression spreading across his face. “It was undoubtedly the most difficult moment for me,” he says. “There was nothing else ever that has rivalled it in any degree, and I hope nothing does in the future.” His career as head and co-founder of Aberdeen Asset Management looked like it was about to end in disgrace amid the ruins of the split capital investment trust (or split caps) scandal, when a number of the company’s investment trusts folded and wiped millions of pounds off its share price. Read more of this post

The US president is weaker than you think; Joseph Nye’s ranking of American leaders finds that a low-key approach is most successful

August 11, 2013 6:34 pm

The US president is weaker than you think

Review by Edward Luce

Joseph Nye’s ranking of American leaders finds that a low-key approach is most successful

Presidential Leadership and the Creation of the American Era, by Joseph Nye, Princeton RRP£19.95/$27.95

Having failed to convince the US of the need to prepare for war with Adolf Hitler’s Germany, Franklin Roosevelt quipped: “It is a terrible thing to look over your shoulder when you are trying to lead – and to find no one there.” The US presidency sounds far more powerful than it usually is. Scholars, journalists and presidents routinely exaggerate its potency. In spite of his many wiles, FDR failed to cure America of its isolationism. It was Imperial Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 that eventually snapped it out of its reverie. Read more of this post

Averting a mid-life crisis

Averting a mid-life crisis

In two years’ time, Singapore will be 50 years old. We have progressed far as a country but we seem to be trapped in a mid-life crisis. I say this because, according to some surveys, Singaporeans are amongst the world’s wealthiest but are also the most pessimistic.

BY GOH CHOK TONG –

5 HOURS 36 MIN AGO

In two years’ time, Singapore will be 50 years old. We have progressed far as a country but we seem to be trapped in a mid-life crisis. I say this because, according to some surveys, Singaporeans are amongst the world’s wealthiest but are also the most pessimistic. We are now at an inflexion point of our development as a society. I dare say that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Cabinet are having a tougher time governing Singapore than Mr Lee Kuan Yew and I had. And it is not going to get easier. Read more of this post

Norway PM turns secret cabbie in election drive

Norway PM turns secret cabbie in election drive

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3:30pm EDT

OSLO (Reuters) – Norway’s prime minister worked secretly as a taxi driver in central Oslo for a day in June, leaving his passengers wondering whether their elected leader had quit the day job. Wearing a taxi driver’s uniform and sunglasses, Jens Stoltenberg drove passengers around the streets of the Norwegian capital for several hours, confirming his identity only after his passengers realized who he was. The stunt, dreamed up by an ad agency as part of Stoltenberg’s campaign for re-election, was filmed on hidden cameras. A video of the event was published on Sunday by daily newspaper VG and on the PM’s Facebook page. Stoltenberg told the newspaper he had wanted to hear people’s honest views on politics. “If there is one place where people say what they really mean about most things, it is in a taxi. Right from the gut,” he told VG. Read more of this post

Singapore’s cabby donates liver to stranger after reading Facebook appeal

Cabby donates liver to stranger after reading Facebook appeal

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Sunday, August 11, 2013 – 09:10

Radha Basu, The Straits Times

Mr Tong Ming Ming, 34, was on a tea break during reservist training in early March when an SMS and a Facebook post by his secondary school friend Regina Lim caught his eye.

Transcript from RazorTV:

Liver donor, Mr Tong Ming Ming, 34:

I’m a taxi driver. I used to be a police officer for 10 years. I decided to drive a taxi because I needed the free time. I need to juggle between earning a decent income and also to do my volunteer work. So what I do, when I have the time, is to pick and send amputees to Tan Tock Seng Hospital. I would send and pick retirees to and from church, and I also organise meet-ups, as I mentor a group of boys who are ex-probationers. When I cover my (taxi) rental and my petrol, I would go and do my volunteer work. Read more of this post

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