Service Industry Gets an Uptick From Recession’s Bottom

Most people do not realize it but the service sector of our economy in the US makes up the greatest portion of the jobs. Manufacturing is now the smallest well under 10% of the employment base. Retail is fairly large, but it’s nothing compared to the service industry. Having the service industry expand does indicate that we are coming off the bottom of the recession and things will be looking up from here on out.

Of course, we still have to worry about the commercial real estate market fallout, which will be significant and another huge hit on the banks, but the authorities, the fed, and the TARP monies are sitting on the sidelines ready to do something serious about it. Obviously, the service sector was hit hard as consumers in the middle class are spending less money going out to eat, and traveling. The hospitality industry has a huge chunk of service related jobs.

According to Industry Week in the first week of October 2009;

The ISM said the overall economic outlook remains clouded: “Even with the overall month-over-month growth reflected in the report this month, respondents’ comments vary by industry and remain mixed about business conditions and the overall economy. Services makes up the lion’s share of economic activity and employment, and is therefore critical to recovery from the long recession.”

The US economy cannot recover from the recession until the service industry recovers and starts replenishing those jobs that have been lost. As more and more companies see more and more customers, their profits will increase. They will have to hire back those workers they laid off. With more workers making a paycheck again, that means retail sales will go up, and therefore, manufacturing jobs will also increase because those retailers will need more inventory to replenish what they’ve sold.

This is a very good sign for economic recovery, almost as good as the stock market, which generally leads economy by 6 to 10 months, and it has been going up now for over six months. Please consider all this.

5 Tips for Success in a Service Industry Job

As more and more manufacturing jobs leave the United States in this era of global economics, we are becoming more focused on service-oriented industries. And as you would expect, the keys to success in service industry jobs differ slightly from jobs in a factory. Here are five things you need to remember to thrive:

The Customer is Always Right: When it comes to service, the customer is always right. The business you’re employed at is there for the customer and he or she sets the terms. If their request is within the realm of the services your business offers, it’s up to you to ensure they’re satisfied.

Stay Positive: No matter how bad of a day you’re having, it’s your job to initiate a positive interaction and create and uplifting atmosphere for the customer. Stay confident and cordial while putting all personal problems out of your mind. This is easier said than done, but it’s essential to generate revenue.

Know Your Services: It doesn’t get much more embarrassing when you’re asked a question and you either freeze or utter those dreaded words, “I don’t know.” You are the resource for the customer or client: know both the essentials and the information that gets asked about most frequently. And most importantly for maintaining good appearance, never say “I don’t know.” Always say something like, “Let me check on that really quickly,” or, “That’s something I’ll have to look up. Just a moment please.”

Look Good for the Boss: I have a friend that worked in the tourism industry for an Alaska summer job a few years back. One of his most embarrassing moments was when he coordinated a ride for a couple to get to their hotel only to find out afterwards that he had just called a taxi car for the CEO. He should have gotten some special treatment and, at the very least, gotten a company car to drive him and his wife. It might sound unfair, but going the extra mile for the owner or CEO of your business is certainly good practice to earn a promotion, a raise, or at the very least positive feedback.

Be Yourself: You might have a dress code, but don’t let that stop you from letting the positive parts of your personality shine while you work. If you have the emotions of a machine while you’re on the clock, customers will notice. Put your personal spin on your job and run with it.

Network Economy – A Brief Review of the Global Language Service Industry

November 9, 1989 was one of the most important events in modern history, launching an entirely new era of economic thought. This was the day when the separation of Berlin came to and end. It triggered a new era, in which economy could really grow global and legislation preventing global communication could be abolished. And in fact, these laws and rules were relaxed, but there is still a barrier, which has limited global communication since the dawn of civilization: multiple languages. It is not even easy to determine the number of languages spoken around the world (e.g. is the German spoken in Germany the same language as the German spoken in Switzerland, as this can hardly be understood by non-Swiss people?). There are several approaches to define a language, but based on the most commonly accepted parameters of the language service industry, the total number of languages used and/or spoken around the world is 6,913.

However, it is essential for the global economy to have participants, who are able to understand each other very precisely and without slightest misunderstandings. This can be attained in but two ways:

1. By establishing/electing a common language
2. By using language intermediaries

Both solutions have their benefits and downsides under certain circumstances. Establishing a common language usually constrained by national pride and cultural legacy. Thus, the use of certain languages is mandatory in several countries, while neglecting its use is considered a felony.

Therefore the global economy is turning towards the second solution, as this one seems to be easier to realize and pose less obstruction in the way of doing business than lobbying for the change of long-established and highly sensitive policies.

This huge demand led to the creation of intense supply, but based on a very special business model. Before, however, investigating deeper into the language industry itself, let’s review its special requirements and unique characteristics:

1. Industry members are seldom found in one location, as usually different languages are spoken in different countries, thus, native providers are rarely collocated.

2. Huge supply meets enormous and growing demand. The volume of the global language service industry is estimated to be somewhere around $12 billion and handling about 500 million pages of translation and localization every year. If you were to print this amount of paper and put each sheet on top of each other, you would get a tower 28.5 miles high. That is more than five times higher than Everest.

3. It is very difficult to establish objective and indisputable quality measures. Each product and service has to be evaluated on its own, as it is very difficult to determine objective pertinence measures.

These challenges are responded to by an industry based on strong, global networking principles. End clients usually get in touch with agencies or other types of network nodes. These play an arbitrary role between the demand and supply sides, as selecting, testing and managing the right professionals would usually exceed the capacities of end clients or would significantly decrease their efficiency. Network nodes play a similar role like agencies, but these do not order order translations in their own names to bill those to their own clients, but instead support the process of demand and supply finding each other, and provide valuable resources for evaluating providers by applying peer review solutions. Translators are mainly in touch with such agencies and nodes, but are rarely employed by these. Instead, they work in networks, thus creating a global and virtual enterprise. Agencies, nodes and translators are commonly referred to as ‘cloud’. Of course, like each other industry, the language service industry has its real global players as well, who are able to influence the entire market due to their size and relation system. Such global players are for example Lionbridge Technologies, SDL International – involved in both language service provision and technology development – but also Xerox, well known for its high quality office machines.

Currently the market is lead by Lionbridge’s 50 offices, $375 million revenue and about 4,000 people on its payroll.

The cloud is supported by auxiliary industries, mainly involved in developing specialized software products and services. E.g. there are several solutions for recycling the translators’ knowledge-base (called translation memory) or managing localization projects effectively, but possibilities are absolutely endless.

It is a solid fact that the translation industry would not be able to perform on such a high level without networking as it is currently a huge virtual network of individuals and companies. Current development points into the direction of strengthening. This is underlined by the appearance of new solutions enabling translators and other professionals to co-operate on various projects and reuse the knowledge created at other points of the network. A successful evolution of these solutions will be essential to the growth and development of this industry and the companies involved in it.

Organizational Culture – Service Industry

One of the most underrated aspects of making a business successful is the importance of the organizational culture. The culture is built on the shared values, beliefs, and principles of individuals within the organization. Instead of focusing on building a strong, sustainable culture, organizations are more concerned with cutting costs. The service industry is a prime example of this. I have worked in different facets of the service industry for the past five years and all the organizations I have worked for are structured the same way. They use labor, food, and bar costs as a barometer to measure how well the organization is operating. Management is judged by how well they are able to manage these costs.

How much total revenue the organization brings in seems to be almost irrelevant. The overall goal of the organization is to maximize profit. Lowering labor, food, and bar costs and maximizing profits do not go hand in hand. For example, a manager could decide to cut the number of employees working on a Saturday night in half. The manager could also order poor quality food in attempt to lower food cost. Meanwhile, the service and quality of the product suffer because of the structure put in place by the organization, so no one wants to patronize the organization, thus actually reducing profits. Organizations structured in this manner suffer from weak cultures. The organization’s goal, maximizing profits, and the management’s goal, lower costs, are not aligned, resulting in a large organizational performance gap. According to the article “Importance of Organization Culture”, building a strong organizational culture helps with many aspects of making a business successful including the following:

• Aligning individual and organizational goals
• Creating healthy competition amongst employees
• Helping create a positive brand image of the organization
• Creating a common platform allowing employees to perform at their best
• Helping unify employees from different backgrounds
• Promoting healthy relationships between employees
• Extracting the best out of each individual

A strong organizational culture conveys the goals, beliefs, ideas, and appropriate behaviors to individuals within an organization in order for the organization to achieve its goals (Gupta,2009). Poorly structured organizations in the service industry need to adapt by making changes to their culture. Changing the culture of an organization can be a very difficult task to accomplish. Leaders of the organization need to facilitate the change by evaluating ineffective strategies and recommending new strategies (Gupta,2009). The leaders must promote the cultural values of the organization by conveying these values to all individuals in the organization and encouraging socialization among employees. By developing a strong, sustainable culture, organizations will extract the best out of their employees, become more efficient, and increase profitability(Gupta,2009).

References

Gupta, A. (2009). “Changing Organizational Culture”. Practical Management Retrieved from
http://practical-management.com/Organization-Development/Changing-organizational-culture.html

“Importance of Organization Culture”. Management Study Guide. 2013. Retrieved from
http://managementstudyguide.com/importance-of-organization-culture.htm.