Sad tale of leave application system

In a small company, it’s easy to manage 5 employees, their leaves, benefits and training programmes. In a larger organization however, it is becomes impossible to maintain a good overview of how employees are doing as a whole. Larger organizations manages training programmes for different disciplines and recruiting processes. So they implement this information system to support their employees. Employees hated this systems, not the fault of human resources, but largely because these systems are often cumbersome and inpersonal.

The leave application system user interface

In a Singapore company I worked for, the old system to apply for leave involves printing out leave forms, writing the amount of days you want to apply and getting them signed. We moved to a new system using a bespoke web application that basically looks like that:

There are many things wrong with this user interface (UI):

  1. You are allowed to choose a from date that is after the to date. You get an angry error only after submission.
  2. You are allowed to apply a leave for, say, Monday to Tuesday, with Monday Morning and Tuesday Afternoon selected. That counts as 1 day of leave and meant you have to work on Monday afternoon and Tuesday Morning. This is just too complicated.
  3. There are many Leave Types but really 99% of the time, just quoting numbers from thin air, people only use Annual and Medical leaves.
  4. Stand In is bolded for no apparent reasons. Users think it is a required field. It isn’t.
  5. The required fields is not just Leave Type as suggested by the asterisk. From and To dates are required too.

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Matsushita changes name to Panasonic Corp

Okay, I just realized Panasonic is under Matsushita. I guess the name change is good.

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. discards its 90-year-old name Wednesday and recasts itself Panasonic Corp., a change that comes as the electronics giant moves to lessen its reliance on the stagnant Japanese market to focus more overseas. (Source: WSJ)

This change to Panasonic Corporation would unify the Matsushita, National and Panasonic brands under the new corporate name.

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Panasonic ideas for life

(Panasonic ideas for life.)

I have to say this – Wikipedia updates really quickly. The articles seemed to have been redirected and Matsushita related articles seem non-existent. The power of collaboration?

IKEA is the world’s largest charity

I didn’t know IKEA is perceived as a charity. Interesting.

Is IKEA the World’s Largest Charity?

IKEA’s technically a charity. But before you write down the umlaut-riddled name of your most recent dresser purchase as a charitable donation on your next tax return, it’s worth exploring this ownership structure, which was brought to light by a 2006 article in The Economist.

Ingvar Kamprad founded IKEA in Almhult, Sweden in 1943 when he was just 17 years old. Kamprad originally sold low-priced consumer goods from his home and by mail, but added a furniture line in 1948. As the company began opening its trademark sprawling stores, Kamprad grew fabulously wealthy, although he retained frugal tastes like driving an aging Volvo and always flying economy class. By some debated estimates, Kamprad is the world’s richest man, and even Forbes’ more conservative accounting pegs him as the seventh-richest person in the world with a net worth in the neighborhood of $31 billion.

Why can’t anyone agree on how much Kamprad’s worth? Well, for one he doesn’t technically own IKEA anymore. In 1982, his ownership stake in the company was given to the newly formed Stichting Ingka Foundation, a Dutch charity. The foundation in turn administers the stores through Ingka Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary that operates as a for-profit company.

It would seem that the entire charitable foundation is a clever, if dubious, way for IKEA to avoid paying taxes. In 2004, the company pulled in a 1.4 billion euro profit, but since it’s owned by a tax-exempt charity, it didn’t pay a dime. (Source: mental floss blog)

I still like IKEA though. Probably not the corporate side anymore but they make nice furniture.

Federal judge found Justice Department hadn’t prove case

A piece of really old news but I thought the following paragraph’s a little funny.

Beginning in 2003, PeopleSoft battled with Oracle over control of the PeopleSoft company. In June 2003, Oracle made a $7 billion bid ($19.50/share) in a hostile corporate takeover attempt. In February 2004, Oracle increased their bid to approximately $9.4 billion ($26/share), a 33% increase; this offer was also rejected forthwith by PeopleSoft’s board of directors. Later that month, the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit to block Oracle, on the grounds that the acquisition would break anti-trust laws; however, in September 2004, the suit was rejected by a U.S. Federal judge, who found that the Justice Department had not proven its anti-trust case; in October, the same decision was handed down by the European Commission. (Source: Wikipedia)