Focusing on Global Strategy

If adversity is the best teacher, the Great Recession should have been a prime learning opportunity for companies worldwide. It certainly was for many companies in the Automotive After-Market industry, small and large, traditional and trend setting.

This is particularly challenging for small companies who garner as much as 90% of their royalty and license income from abroad, these company’s face challenges that were compounded by a strong Euro that cut deep into profits coming and going. Coming because sales into dollar based economies were impossible due to high prices, and going because now that the dollar has firmed up substantially, their currency losses for GAAP reporting are substantial – so substantial in fact that they wiped out singularly the entire second quarter profits of some of the best run companies. For some these represent mere paper losses of course where most of the purchases for raw material and research are European based – but still not designed to favor motivation among wall street traders that have unjustly clobbered the industry and its publicly traded members.

“We learned valuable lessons and gained a healthy sense of crisis” said the communications officer of one such company located in New Jersey.

As one would expect, the tactical practice orchestrated by the survivors requires a mindset totally different than that practiced in the industry previously. Management and the entire global distribution network of these companies had to realize that business as usual was not an option. Changing an industry’s ingrained distribution culture was not easy, yet some companies were able to accelerate a program of structural reform. “We consolidated overlapping functions and shortened supervisory processes” one executive explained. “Now we’re leaner, more reactive and able to provide stronger support for members of our distribution networks.”

The revamp also extended to the manufacturing units of these companies. Traditionally the industry had routed different research and productions in separate, dedicated plants and facilities. To improve efficiencies the trend is now to create multipurpose production units to manufacture chemicals and impregnated accessories such as wipes. Workers switch between different roles in the assembly process. The new composite system delivers such significant productivity gains and cost savings that industry executives involved are now keen to roll out the process globally. “The financial crisis taught us that we can’t control our environment. What we can do is have a culture that adapts to circumstances” an executive told me. The lesson to be drawn: Ultimately it’s the adaptable who survive.

To ensure that these companies grows and prospers over the next decade,some companies have devised a plan for the next stage of globalization. The multipronged strategy involves building up the product lines, expanding the reach, and moving even more aggressively into the emerging markets of China and other Asian countries, and not to be forgotten, diversifying into new lines of business, notably disinfection and medical care.

If the rapid success of companies with pipelined products is anything to go by, That part of the industry looks to be well on its way to meeting enviable targets. Aggressive product conceptions are shaking up the market. Products renowned for their convenience, portability and usability have attracted large new audiences; notably women where the purchase rate has tripled, and the middle aged, two groups generally ignored by the traditional industry players.

In medical and disinfection products companies are announcing goals which are equally clear. They wants to grow this rigid business by around 70% in the next five years. Social and economic trends are aligning to support this bold vision. Eager to expand, but aware that developing the business almost from scratch would require a huge investment, industry players are taking the bold step of going on the acquisition trail targeting small to medium sized companies in Chemicals, wipes, and related productions.

Of course the relative economic robustness of developing countries vis-à-vis the developed world is another major post-recession paradigm shift that no company can afford to ignore. Those companies with no debt and an effective distribution network, will experience growing market demands for their product conceptions.

Expanding into new business areas is as important as expanding into new countries. Thus, the industry leadership which is more so represented in the small to medium size corporate players, devotes a significant proportion of the roughly, on average, 10% of revenues they commits to research and development every year to move into promising new business areas.

But just as important to a company’s success is its policy on corporate social responsibility. Whether aligning itself with the UN’s Global Compact for sustainability and responsible business practices, or creating green products in environmentally responsible ways, all initiatives should be inspired by the “Social IN” philosophy. This helps people worldwide lead healthier and more fulfilling lives, and maintains that the value of a company that does right by its shareholders and society at large will inevitably rise.

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Autocar India – The Leading Automotive News Magazine in the Country

Autocar is clearly the established world leader when it comes to automotive news media. With a history of over 100 years, it easily bears the legacy of the world’s oldest automobile magazine. Autocar was first introduced in 1895, as a weekly British automobile magazine published by Haymarket Motoring Publications Ltd. Today, along with the UK, there are other editions including India, China and South Africa.

Launched in September 1999, Autocar India is the country’s leading authority for motorbike and car owners; always seeking to be a forerunner. The magazine is known for pioneering road testing in India, and is the last word on new cars and bikes because of its authentic road test verdicts. It was also the first magazine to explore the Tata Nano, and showcase its interiors. Other magazines are envious of its reputation for exemplary editorial content, as well as high production standards with the magazine receiving accolades from both the industry and consumers alike.

The Autocar India editorial team ranks among the most experienced editorial teams in India, producing daily news and reviews on the latest cars and motorbikes. Hormazd Sorabjee is the Editor, with an experience of over 25 years in writing about cars; from a 65-ton battle tank to a Formula 1 car, he has driven it all. Shapur Kotwal is Deputy Editor and a part of each of the magazine’s extensive road testing activities. He also supervises test instrumentation, data acquisition and has commanded the most experience as a road tester in India. Akbar Merchant leads the staff writers, who cover all the latest scoops, launches, developments, and breaking news in the Indian automotive industry.

Autocar India’s monthly content includes exclusive news, features, and fascinating automobile stories. The magazine was the first to pioneer the concept of advertorials in India. Incidentally, it contains the largest and liveliest classified services section among any other monthly automobile magazine.

Autocar India promises to- “Get you the perfect fix of heady automobiles and dish out thorough reviews of the latest cars and bikes on Indian streets.” The world of cars is exciting to so many of us and Autocar brings alive its piquant stories and engaging features; making it the must-read magazine for everyone interested in cars.

Autocar India has always remained true to its heritage with its exhaustive and authoritative road tests. The best in the business, they have grown from being just a car magazine to becoming the expert on any car brand. The magazine boasts of a readership of more than twice the readership available for the closest rival, making it, by far, India’s best-selling car magazine. But more than the numbers, it is the content that makes it India’s best car magazine.

Autocar is known for being the only magazine to provide content towards leading dailies like The Telegraph, The Hindu, The Hindustan Times and more. Editor Hormazd Sorabjee also hosts the popular show on UTVi on cars and bikes.

According to a report, the Indian vehicle manufacturing industry has increased its growth by 13% over 10 years now, and contributes 6% to India’s GDP. Autocar India had joined hands with Bloomberg TV to present the awards praising the role of the automotive industry for increasing the growth rate of the Indian economy. Awards include: Renault Duster for “Car of the Year (Jury’s Choice)”, “Viewer’s Choice Car of the Year”, and “SUV of the Year”. Mahindra and Mahindra won the ‘Manufacturer of the Year’ award. “Bajaj KTM 200 Duke” won “Bike of the Year (Jury’s Choice)” and “Viewer’s Choice Bike of the Year” awards.

With India being the third largest internet user in the world, there is little doubt that at least a quarter of them will be hooked onto digital reading, which gives them access to an Autocar India digital subscription. Going by the population of the world and the number of internet users, there is no doubt that digital magazines are the future. Also with the access to mobiles and tablets that can be used as readers, the development of apps for publishing and reading has taken the market by storm; to announce that the future is here! Publishers that have made the switch have already realized the benefits and profits.

Autocar being the oldest automobile magazine has also been the first to switch to the digital version of the magazine. With an Autocar e-magazine you can do much more than you would with a paper magazine. As the magazine is always in the cloud, you can access it at any point in time from practically anywhere; get interactive content on the go and within the app too. Consumers who are unable to carry their favorite magazines around during travel can switch to the digital format of the magazine with ease.

Will They Ever Learn? Chat Rooms – Running With the Herd, Chasing and Paying Dearly For Rainbows!

There are two regular presences found on the chat rooms; they are dominated by the “living room day traders” whose chances for a loss are stacked against them with the odds playing 1080/1, and they are sprinkled with chat room investors. The first bunch think the stock market is nuts and that its primary purpose is to give each and every one an opportunity to buy and sell quickly and often such, seemingly, as to ensure to a maximum; the American dream the constitutional right to lose one’s money – albeit the losers will say, but the sweet and bitter adrenaline rush of talking big and talking day trade is well worth the pecuniary losses.

Meandering through the ever changing recommendations – stocks are usually promoted artificially on a mere say so, and this is particularly notable on the day trade chat rooms – one can see the pattern and it’s never good. The stress and dialogue is never on the company but on volume, chart, cryptic press releases and micro engineered pop ups to sucker the gullible all of which for the small companies being “discussed” are and can be easily manipulated. It’s exciting and that’s the point for the 1080 losers to every one winner: it’s great to be the one though!

Try an intelligent communication or posting some fundamentally and verifiable useful reason to buy a stock and the promoters (the 1 in the 1080 present on the chat rooms) download an arsenal of diatribe, even going to having the innocent soul “banned” from the site for suggesting some reading before letting loose on one’s dollars. Chat rooms are a sucker’s game designed to attract the unknowing gluttons for punishment who rather than Google a company to see what the press or news releases say, rather than Email the company and get some veridical information, will rush to buy on an unknown promoter’s – often moderator’s – say so. The feeling of owning hundreds of thousands, even millions of shares (of a stock selling for a fraction of a penny) simply is worth the loss.

The second batch believes the economy is doomed and so the overwhelming consensus triggers a reflex reaction since the end is near; let’s make a killing, what the hell. The selection process is simple, any one of the fraction of a penny stocks promoted to the herd grazing in the chat rooms. Drunk with greed, driven by the high, the participants mask the depression and dejection driving their internal mechanisms; they buy for the sake of buying, knowing that the promoter will soon drop the bottom out. Look at SPGN for one of thousands of examples I have documented all of which were heavily promoted on the chat rooms.

Personally, a swing trader right of Attila the Hun, I like stocks that sit in sideway trades slowly building their fundamental business rather than their volume and charts. The first will ensure the other and the market is full of small (market capitalization of $25 million or less) companies that meet exacting rules to justify investment. Let’s take one as a mere example of hundreds – Falken Industries traded on the OTC under symbol FLKI.

As a general rule I stay away from companies
(i) whose market capitalization is less than $ 10 million,
(ii) whose press releases are not backed up by articles and general industry press,
(iii) who are not rated “Current Information” on the Pink sheets, where most of these companies can be found together with Toyota and many other behemoths of international business,
(iv) that do not provide swing trade opportunities, not less than one and not more than three annually.

I like to see discussion about real deals at press conferences, not prospective deals. I like press releases that follow press conferences. I like to see products not pretty web sites neatly conceived by IR or promotion outfits. In fact the rule I usually find to apply in small cap situations is that success is generally inversely related to the size and complexity of the company’s corporate web page. I buy their products on their web store, touch them, feel them, use them and pepper their shareholder, info, or communications department with questions about products, products, and more products, a small company with less than 50 product conceptions and global distribution will not earn a right to my dollars. A small company that takes more than 48 hours to answer my Email will get no further attention either. FLKI passes all of these tests – and strangely enough, though it generated a juicy 1900% return for its investors in the last 52 weeks, it also generated 890%, 390% and 40% on three swing trades during 2009.

I am an analyst for the Automobile After-market industry. Consequently I admit to more familiarity (and a likely penchant) with companies such as FLKI who have a dominant global business in the industry. But the importance of the criteria is paramount and must be found, notably in a Pink Sheet stock, and this, whatever the industry you favor.

Of course one could simplify the advice for present chat room will be victims; as Keynes said, “the central principle of investment is to go contrary to the general opinion.” Good companies not unlike FLKI are of no interest to the dominant promoters which monitor the activity on chat rooms and spin their stock on volume and charts. You can be certain that when the chat room crowd sounds off on where a stock is going, that sudden burst is the center of the herd as it thunders toward a cliff.

Manic speculator is too kind a word for the 1080 / 1. They are a credulous kind easily parted from their money. Volatility, volume, charts and madness are the order of the day. Chat room moderators, all too often promoters pushing their wares sit around salivating – banning from their sites any participant polluting the environment with logical and edifying information: there should be no sunshine cast upon the goings on of their chat room.

Some will argue that the 1080/1 should have to pay for their sins of greed and leverage. I have to concede that this is tempting at least for the knowing, but chat rooms would have nothing to exploit if they were populated by anyone other than those noteworthy for their distinct credulity.

After every crisis one can find predictions abound that the crisis will be followed by a rebound and then a long period of sideway trading. I don’t buy it. Sure this is backed by past performance, but if the past was a a real component of the future, I and all other industry analyst would be rich.

Prudently I consider alternatives. As a contrarian I run from obsessions – much like those regularly found on chat rooms.

As for now my best gem in the rough, fundamentally sound, globally present and with more than 160 product conceptions out and an equal number in the pipeline, trading sideways for a time, rising bit by bit, I sound off on FLKI. Of course I know that because as you guessed it I touched it, felt it, smelled it, and confirmed it all before I put the whole dollar it took to buy 5 shares at the current 20 cent price.

Falken Industries Ltd OTC: FLKI is a diversified industrial conglomerate that operates in Chemicals, Wet Wipe and Biodegradable Technology. Falken Industries Ltd is the concept behind more than 160 products distributed through a network of global platforms and the recipient of trade awards for innovations, biodegradability and environmental and health quality standards.