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This article demonstrates the savings that could be made by UK public libraries through the use of electronic data interchange (EDI). The findings stem from a one‐year…
This article demonstrates the savings that could be made by UK public libraries through the use of electronic data interchange (EDI). The findings stem from a one‐year research project funded by the British National Bibliographic Research Fund during the period December 1998 through to the end of August 1999. The author of this article (who comes from a business/economics background) worked with a prominent academic (in the field of economics, particularly in the book trade) Dr Frank Fishwick, to investigate where cost savings could be made in elements of the library supply chain. The results suggest that wider adoption of EDI could potentially save the sector somewhere in the region of £2 million per annum. Cultural barriers, however, and lack of resources present two major barriers to these savings being achieved. The author acknowledges that further research is needed to qualify such estimates. However, the research does demonstrate that, for those authorities examined, cost savings have been achieved.
In September 1995 the UK Publishers Association decided to abandon the Net Book Agreement (NBA). This has had major repercussions on all sectors of the book trade but the library sector is the segment most affected by its change. This article looks at how the collapse of the NBA has led to major changes in the competitive environment of library supply. It achieves this through the application of a well established model of competition in business strategy. The article concludes that there have been major changes in the competitive environment of library supply and these have had a knock‐on effect on industry profitability. The industry is still highly unstable with the new rules of the game yet to be established. Firms need to identify how their own position in the industry has changed and develop a strategy to make any new rules work in their favour.
This paper examines the rise of electronic‐commerce and its implications for quality and service delivery with particular reference to its impact on legal services…
This paper examines the rise of electronic‐commerce and its implications for quality and service delivery with particular reference to its impact on legal services. E‐commerce is growing at a phenomenal rate with more organisations offering their goods and services on‐line every day. Importantly, this growth is being matched by the number of people gaining access to the Internet in a variety of ways. E‐commerce offers both opportunities and threats to law firms. The main threat is identified as coming from on‐line competitors offering reduced prices and higher customer services. This competition is forcing law firms to change their attitude to new technology generally and the Internet in particular. A Web presence allows legal practices to be more transparent and to offer greater access to information to customers by way of improving their services. This improved communication may lead to a reduction in complaints against solicitors. The paper concludes that the Internet will have a profound effect on the way private law firms conduct business.
The UK Public Library Service has been in the news lately, but for all the wrong reasons. The service offered to customers/users has been steadily declining in recent…
The UK Public Library Service has been in the news lately, but for all the wrong reasons. The service offered to customers/users has been steadily declining in recent years as local politicians view libraries as a "soft" option as regards budget cuts. This decline in funding is seen as being responsible for poor service levels and declining book stocks. Central Government aims to halt this decline by introducing another set of performance indicators against which libraries will be judged. However, their success will depend on what is happening at local level. This paper examines the decline in library services and its impact on users. It looks at the role of libraries in the community and offers ways for libraries to improve their product‐service bundle. It further highlights the need for library services to be fairly and properly funded if their role in the community is to be maintained and service levels improved.
This paper aims to present the results of a study of supply chain management (SCM) practice in small‐ to medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) in Merseyside, UK.
A questionnaire is used to identify the perceived benefits, barriers and attitudes towards SCM. The questionnaire was distributed to 250 SMEs in the Merseyside area. A total of 60 usable replies were received.
The results reveal the perceived benefits of SCM to SMEs, which centre on SCM as a means to improve customer responsiveness. It also reveals concerns over SMEs' ability to adapt to these new working relationships and therefore gain the desired benefits. Analysis of these barriers highlights that they reside at the individual, relational and organisational level, thus increasing the complexity of adapting to SCM.
Given the focus of the paper, this only looked at SMEs in the Merseyside area.
The paper provides thoughts on how SMEs can improve SCM within their own organisations and supply chains. This includes the adoption of a multi‐faceted change management approach to facilitate the adoption of SCM. This needs to cover the individual, relational and organisational levels.
Much of the SCM literature is dominated by case studies of large manufacturing organisations. The focus on the barriers and benefits to SMEs in a regional area is thus an identified gap in the extant literature.
This paper examines the quality issues facing private legal practices as they try to offer services on the Internet. The threats and opportunities from offering high…
This paper examines the quality issues facing private legal practices as they try to offer services on the Internet. The threats and opportunities from offering high quality e‐services are examined as well as potential problems. E‐service operations are divided into “hard”, that is those operations concerned with ensuring the customer receives what was ordered at the right time, place, cost and condition, and “soft”, that is those concerned with Web site design, data information readiness and transactions. Quality measures for both types are proposed and the implications for the legal profession examined. The second half of the paper reports the findings of a survey of Merseyside legal practices in order to see the extent to which they are facing the challenges of the Internet and the issues of e‐service provision. The results show that the legal profession is being slow to introduce Internet technology and only a few firms are offering limited e‐services to their clients. The old attitudes of an aged and learned profession are proving difficult barriers to overcome as the profession battles to bring itself into the twenty‐first century.
The action taken by the Council of the British Medical Association in promoting a Bill to reconstitute the Local Government Board will, it is to be hoped, receive the strong support of public authorities and of all who are in any way interested in the efficient administration of the laws which, directly or indirectly, have a bearing on the health and general well‐being of the people. In the memorandum which precedes the draft of the Bill in question it is pointed out that the present “Board” is not, and probably never was, intended to be a working body for the despatch of business, that it is believed never to have met that the work of this department of State is growing in variety and importance, and that such work can only be satisfactorily transacted with the aid of persons possessing high professional qualifications, who, instead of being, as at present, merely the servants of the “Board” tendering advice only on invitation, would be able to initiate action in any direction deemed desirable. The British Medical Association have approached the matter from a medical point of view—as might naturally have been expected—and this course of action makes a somewhat weak plank in the platform of the reformers. The fourth clause of the draft of the Bill proposes that there should be four “additional” members of the Board, and that, of such additional members, one should be a barrister or solicitor, one a qualified medical officer of health, one a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and one a person experienced in the administration of the Poor‐law Acts. The work of the Local Government Board, however, is not confined to dealing with medical, engineering, and Poor‐law questions, and the presence of one or more fully‐qualified scientific experts would be absolutely necessary to secure the efficient administration of the food laws and the proper and adequate consideration of matters relating to water supply and sewage disposal. The popular notion still exists that the “doctor” is a universal scientific genius, and that, as the possessor of scientific knowledge and acumen, the next best article is the proprietor of the shop in the window of which are exhibited some three or four bottles of brilliantly‐coloured liquids inscribed with mysterious symbols. The influence of these popular ideas is to be seen in the tendency often exhibited by public authorities and even occasionally by the legislature and by Government departments to expect and call upon medical men to perform duties which neither by training nor by experience they are qualified to undertake. Medical Officers of Health of standing, and medical men of intelligence and repute are the last persons to wish to arrogate to themselves the possession of universal knowledge and capacity, and it is unfair and ridiculous to thrust work upon them which can only be properly carried out by specialists. If the Local Government Board is to be reconstituted and made a thing of life—and in the public interest it is urgently necessary that this should be done—the new department should comprise experts of the first rank in all the branches of science from which the knowledge essential for efficient administration can be drawn.
THIS issue opens the new volume of THE LIBRARY WORLD and it is natural that we should pause to glance at the long road we have travelled. For over forty years our pages have been open to the most progressive and practical facts, theories and methods of librarianship; our contributors have included almost every librarian who has held an important office; and we have always welcomed the work of younger, untried men who seemed to have promise— many of whom have indeed fulfilled it. In the strain and stress of the First World War we maintained interest and forwarded the revisions in library methods which adapted them to the after‐war order. Today we have similar, even severer, problems before us, and we hope to repeat the service we were then able to give. In this we trust that librarians, who have always regarded THE LIBRARY WORLD with affection, will continue to support us and be not tempted because of temporary stringency, to make a victim of a journal which has given so long and so independent a service.