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Using Case Studies to Improve Internal Business Operation

Posted on April 27 2016 | Author: Britney Hess

Using Case Studies to Improve Internal Business Operation

Internal case studies can introduce a company’s values to employees. They can also be used as an effective tool to evaluate key lessons learned, including best practices and potential areas for improvement.

Why should you use case studies for training new employees?
In a small start-up, it can be easy to maintain communication flow between the founder or CEO and the small team that is driving the business forward. Growth is often a goal of smaller start-ups, however many challenges can be associated with it, including the onboarding process. Internal case studies can be used as a time-sensitive training method to convey the organization’s values, processes, and key historical events (e.g. important clients or pivot points). Additionally, they can stimulate discussions around improving internal processes.

What does an internal case study look like?
A typical business case study is a detailed account of what happened in a particular company, industry, or project over a set period of time. Having case studies from several departments in the organization helps to give employees a broad understanding of the company’s goals.

The reader is given details about the situation, often in a historical context. Objectives and challenges are outlined, followed by actions taken, conclusions, and lessons learned from the experience.

What are the benefits of using internal case studies?

  • Expedites the onboarding process - faster understanding of company culture and history.
  • Stimulates discussion - allows conversations to start regarding best practices.
  • Prevents repeat mistakes – learning from the past.

Getting started – how should you write a case study for training purposes?

  • The goal is to capture an interesting situation or challenge, and then bring it to life with words and information. Creating a story line makes the information engaging.
  • Make sure readers can skim the page for the relevant information. Certain formats can help facilitate this, such as headings or subheadings.
  • Highlight certain sections like “lessons learned” or include a short summary or timeline. Visuals are helpful.
  • Find a case study template and stick to it.

Britney Hess
Junior Analyst



University of Notre Dame, how to write a business case study: http://www3.nd.edu/~sbyrnes1/pdf/Writing_Resources/Writing_Case_Study.pdf

Using case studies for knowledge transfer:

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Best Finance. (2015). How to Choose a Currency for Your Offshore Bank Account. Retrived from: bestfinancenetwork.com/tag/banking-services

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Consumer Business Economic Update

Posted on April 25 2016 | Author: Admin

Key indicators combine with analyst sentiments, search engine and social media trends to provide a revealing snapshot of Canada’s consumer business sector.

The thirteenth edition of Deloitte’s Consumer Business economic update for Canada provides a snapshot of key business indicators across the retail, consumer packaged goods (CPG) and travel, hospitality and leisure (THL) sectors.

The newsletter also aggregates search-related data for online travel, products and shopping with social media trends and analyst sentiment.

Economic indicators
The Canadian economy experienced a 0.8% real GDP growth rate in Q4 2015.

Retail trends
Same store sales year-over-year growth increased by 11 bps from Q4 2014 to Q4 2015.

Travel, hospitality and leisure trends
The majority of key indicators in travel and leisure continue to be positive for this quarter, with hospitality as an exception.

Consumer packaged goods
CPG sales experienced a lower year-over-year growth in most categories in Q4 2015 compared to the growth experienced in Q3 2015.

Social media
Kijiji, a free Canadian local classifieds site has continued to retain its position (as in the previous three quarters) as the top online search in the Shopping category by Canadians in Q4 2015. The second and third positions on the list in Q4 2015 were “walmart”, the American multinational retail corporation that operates a chain of discount department stores and “netflix”, the American provider of on-demand Internet streaming media.

View the full report.
For more information, please contact the Deloitte team.

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The Maritimes Are Keen on Agri-Tech

Posted on April 14 2016 | Author: Jennifer Kalanda

Earlier this year, the Bioenterprise Maritimes office locations delivered the Accelerating Agri Innovation event series, which was comprised of two events and attracted nearly 200 people between them.  The event series included the Accelerating Agri-Technology Innovation Summit in Truro, Nova Scotia from February 10-11, 2016, and the Accelerating Agri-Entrepreneurs & Innovation event in Charlottetown, PEI from March 21-22, 2016.

These events brought together agri-businesses, industry stakeholders, academia and government to explore and promote the entrepreneurial ecosystem in agri-technology. The focus was to build on the region’s innovative agriculture, agri-food and bio-based products economy. 

Attendees had the opportunity to network, make valuable connections and learn about the resources that can support the path of innovation and the market.  The event series also created a platform for the attendees to contribute to the conversation on the future of the agri-technology and collaborate with leading industry experts in Atlantic Canada.

The event series included keynote and panel presentations that provided agri-businesses, and other attendees with commercialization guidance as it pertains to this agri-technology sector.  These presentations ranged from understanding the services available to support the journey to market; how to build a successful business model that will attract investors and strategic partners; how to react in the market; and understanding what funding is available and how to prepare in order to access it.

Presentations were also made by agri-businesses, showcasing their innovations, and sharing their industry insights, the highs and lows from their path to market and what the future of agri-technology looks like for them.

The Accelerating Agri Innovation event series attracted nearly 200 attendees between the two events, with approximately an even divide between agri-business; industry stakeholders and service providers (both public and private); government and academia. 

The event series had support and panelist speakers from the following key organizations involved in the agri-technology ecosystem:

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
PEI Business Federation Ltd.
PEI Business Women’s Association
Dalhousie University
Springboard Atlantic
PEI Association of Newcomers
National Research Council Canada
                  Perennia BioVentures
Farm Credit Canada
Bioenterprise Capital Ventures
Deloitte LLP
Farm Centre
Natural Products Canada Inc
Canada’s Smartest Kitchen
Community Business Development Corporation
Bioenterprise Corporation
PEI Rural Action Centre
Innovation PEI 

Throughout the Accelerating Agri Innovation event series, many trends within the agri-technology and Maritimes ecosystem were identified.

  • The pathways to market for agri-technology innovations and businesses are often very unique compared to other technologies.
  • The agri-businesses who are based in the Maritime regions have demonstrated strong market potential to succeed within their region and beyond.
  • The size and scale of a business does not measure market success.
  • There are many valuable resources in the Maritimes dedicated to supporting innovation and technology development.  These resources and organizations are also eager to collaborate towards enhancing the commercialization process.
  • Some of the top priorities of organizations in the ecosystem include being able to mitigate risk and foster success for the agri-technology ecosystem.
  • The Maritime Provinces are home to a significant amount of funding sources and opportunities that companies of any stage or sector could potentially access. 

It is evident that the east coast is driven to see the agri-technology sector prosper and the Bioenterprise Maritimes office locations in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island will continue to lead and support the commercialization of agri-businesses.

Jennifer Kalanda
Marketing Manager


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What is HACCP? A Comprehensive Look at What HACCP Means and What it Takes

Posted on April 11 2016 | Author: Admin

We know HACCP has to do with food safety. But what is HACCP (pronounced ‘ha-ssup’) really? What does it mean and what does an organization need to do to have HACCP certification? HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP). This should not be confused with HARPC, which will be discussed in a separate article on our website.

HACCP is definitely not new to the food industry. It was initially developed in 1959 by the Pillsbury Company, The U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center (NSSC) and The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The original intent of HACCP was to guarantee the safety of food on space missions, to deal with concerns about crumbs and liquid droplets in zero gravity and ultimately to deal with concerns related to microbiological safety.

In simplest terms the goal of HACCP is to apply a common sense application of technical and scientific knowledge to a specific food production. Part of the HACCP process is to systematically prioritize and control hazards as well as to identify where and how these hazards might occur either in your ingredients, your finished product, your process or your distribution. When HACCP principles are in place, there are defined actions implemented to prevent, eliminate and reduce potential hazards. That’s not all. The next important part of HACCP is monitoring and verifying the applications and effectiveness of these actions to make sure the risks of hazards are decreased. The end result is the production of a food product that is much safer to consume.

Step 1: Put together your HACCP team
To prepare for an effective food safety HACCP program, the first step in the process is to choose your HACCP team. Ideally your HACCP team should represent all parts of your operation. Quality assurance and quality control personnel are an essential part of every HACCP team, but production, maintenance, purchasing and management employees should not be overlooked and have much to contribute to the success of implementing a HACCP program.

Step 2: Prepare a flow chart
After choosing your HACCP team, the next preparation step for the HACCP implementation process involves describing your products and identifying their intended use. This is not a difficult step and is simply acknowledging and documenting what you already know about your product and its destination after leaving your production facility. Creating a diagram of the flow of product from receiving to shipping is the next preparation step and is an excellent exercise in understanding how materials, finished product and people flow through your plant.

Step 3: Identify your hazards
The next step is to conduct a hazard analysis of your process and raw materials. Conducting hazard analyses of your process involves asking the question what are the possible biological, chemical and physical hazards that can occur in my process?

A biological hazard is one that can cause illness. It can involve contamination by bacteria, virus, parasite or any organism that can produce a toxin.

A typical chemical hazard is one that can cause injury or poisoning and includes even naturally occurring substances such as allergens. Other chemical hazards can even include intended ingredients but used in a manner as to exceed the intended amount. Antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides are examples. Chemical hazards also include ingredients that are accidentally added – such as cleaning chemicals, paint or pest control chemicals.

A typical physical hazard is any foreign object accidentally added that can cause injury. Examples of this are glass, metal grindings, screws, bolts, stones, pebbles and hard plastics.

Step 4: Determine the CCPs and limits
The next important principle in the development of your HACCP program is determining the critical control points (CCPs) and establishing critical limits. A CCP is any step (or activity) which adds an element of control to the production environment and can be applied to your process. The CCP is essential to prevent or eliminate a food safety hazard or reduce it to an acceptable level. An example of a biological CCP to reduce a possible biological hazard involves a heating step in your process for a specific time and temperature. An example of a physical CCP to reduce a possible physical hazard involves having your product go through a metal detector. Once the CCPs are established the limits for each point need to be established. For example, for the elimination of a potential biological hazard we would cook a food product at a designated minimum temperature for a designated minimum amount of time.

Step 5: Don’t forget the prerequisite program!
For a complete HACCP program to be in place a prerequisite program is also required. A prerequisite program reduces the likelihood of certain hazards from occurring. Often prerequisite programs are facility wide and if not followed, bring significant food safety concerns. Many recalls are not related to CCPs but rather to failures in prerequisite programs. The WHO definition of Prerequisite Programs is practices needed prior to and during implementation of HACCP which are essential for food safety. They can be divided into the following groups: premises, personnel, transportation, sanitation, equipment, and recalls. Procedures need to be written and implemented and need to be made available to everyone who has a role in monitoring your process, implementing corrective actions, and verifying that the steps implemented are effective.   Finally, procedures need to be in place for record keeping and documentation.

In essence HACCP is a system what when properly designed, implemented and maintained, results in the production of safer food, improved workplace safety, increased market access, protection against liability and sets the company on a pursuit for continuous improvement.

Article provided by: dicentra.com

About dicentra
dicentra provides sought-after food safety guidance, compliance consulting services and scientific guidance for food and health-related products sold in North American marketplaces. Since 2002, dicentra has been helping clients resolve complex scientific and safety issues, develop safe and effective market-leading products and facilitate timely regulatory approvals. To learn more about dicentra, please visit www.dicentra.com

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