TQM in a Service Industry

Here’s an interesting video on how to implement TQM within a service industry, which follows a Plan, Do, Check and Act approach that you’ll be familiar with from the syllabus.

How do you think this could apply to IC Optical?

A Smart Contact Lens for Glaucoma Patients

IC Optical are actively engaged in Research and Development in partnership with the University of Ceeland, activites include the development of lenses that may or may not have a direct optometry application. Technology developed can either be used in their stores or can be sold off to other companies. I found an article based on the development of a smart lense to help with the detection of glaucoma and wonder how this may appear within the tasks across all five variants. To find the original article click here.

The Research and Development section does bring up a few key issues, 3D printing of lenses, and the development of variable lenses and the integration of glasses with other devices. Check out my blog posts for Google Glass and the Samsung Smart Lens. I also blogged with reference to the military applications for lenses such as their use in Night Vision Goggles.

I do think these issues will be explored in more detail in the unseen element of your exam.

A Smart Contact Lens for Glaucoma Patients

Written by: Shirley Dang

Mar. 01, 2016

When a patient gets glaucoma, it can be difficult to know whether the disease will progress slowly or advance quickly, taking vision with it. A smart contact lens could help solve this problem.

A new study appearing in the journal Ophthalmology this April shows that electronic signals from a such smart contact lens can be used to predict which glaucoma patients may have a faster advancing version of the disease.

“This could be very useful if you want to know whether a new medication is working for a patient,” said study author C. Gustavo De Moraes, M.D., MPH, an associate professor of ophthalmology at Columbia University Medical Center.  “You can see how their eye is reacting to the therapy in a much more meaningful way.”

Why eye pressure matters in glaucoma

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the United States and affects nearly 3 million people. Pressure inside the eye, or intraocular pressure (IOP), is the only known controllable risk factor for glaucoma.

Patients with glaucoma should get their eye pressure measured at an ophthalmologists office regularly.  But what happens to their eye pressure in between visits or at night remains somewhat of a mystery, one that could help unravel more about this vision-stealing disease. To help record eye pressure over time, scientists created a smart contact lens that can indirectly measure intraocular pressure continuously.

How it works

A sensor in the lens detects when the curvature changes. As eye pressure fluctuates throughout the day and night, the curve of the lens changes, generating an electrical signal sent to a wireless device that records the signals. Similar to how an electrocardiogram shows a heartbeat, the profile of signals from the smart lens indirectly shows eye pressure changes over time.

Researchers at Columbia tested the Sensimed Triggerfish® lenses on 40 patients between ages 40 and 89 undergoing treatment for open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of the disease. Over two years, scientists performed at least eight standard visual field tests on these patients. Half were classified as having slow disease progression while the other 20 had fast disease progression.

Then patients wore the smart contact lens for 24 hours, including overnight as they slept. Investigators found that patients with steeper spikes recorded overnight and a greater number of peaks in their signal profile overall tended to have faster glaucoma progression.

Using this tool, ophthalmologists may one day be able to more accurately gauge whether a patient’s glaucoma will progress quickly by looking at a readout from the smart lens.

Should You Really Splurge on Expensive Glasses?

Analysis of the performance data published on page 13 of the pre-seen information demonstrates the significant margins IC Optical realise on sales of designer frames and tints and coatings. I found an article that discusses the relative benefits of selecting a cheaper option of glasses, which focusses on a segmentation strategy to match customer needs to the range of frames offered. To access the article click here.

Gregory Ostrow M.D., Director of Paediatric Ophthalmology and Adult Strabismus at Scripps Clinic in San Diego is quoted as often referring his patients to online eyeglass retailers in order to access discounted prices. Such discounted retailers represent a threat to IC Optical. Customers can access a government funded eye test, obtain a prescription and then source glasses from an online retailer that can operate without the similar levels of fixed costs that IC Optical’s retail chain would incur.

Caveats inclided within the article include the assessment of goals, with Rebecca Talor M.D. recommending that athletic daredevils should invest in a pricier pair that can survive extreme sports to avoid being caught in the vicious cycle of buying specs that keep breaking and costing more in the long run. This links with a similar blog post I made on market segmentation (Vision Taken Seriously). Lauren Blieden M.D., also includes advice for those purchasing glasses online to not underestimate the importance of correctly identifying their pupillary distance to prevent double vision when wearing glasses.

Should You Really Splurge on Expensive Glasses?

Or are cheapie lenses good enough?

BYKELSEY BUTLER April 12, 2016

Tina Fey once famously said, “You could put glasses on a rotting pumpkin and people would think it was sexy.” She’s totally right: Frames are an awesome accessory. But when it comes to shopping for new ones, are more affordable options (say, under $100) from the likes of Warby Parker or Zenni Optical just as effective as the expensive pairs you’d find at your local optician’s office?

The short answer: In most cases, yes, cheaper glasses are A-okay, says Gregory Ostrow, M.D., director of pediatric ophthalmology and adult strabismus (a condition that affects eye alignment) at Scripps Clinic in San Diego. He often points his patients to online eyeglass retailers for the discounted prices.

Before shelling out any dough though, it’s important to assess your goals, says Rebecca Taylor, M.D., clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. If you’re an athletic daredevil, for example, you’ll probably want to invest in a pricier pair that can survive extreme sports. Otherwise, you’ll be caught in a vicious cycle of buying specs that keep breaking—costing you more in the long run.

And the more complex your prescription, the harder it is to get right, says Lauren Blieden, M.D., assistant professor of Ruiz Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science at the McGovern Medical School at UT Health. So don’t go for a low-priced pair if you have severe nearsightedness, severe farsightedness, astigmatism, or other very specific vision needs, says Taylor.

Wherever you decide to buy your glasses, experts agree that having your pupillary distance—the space between the pupils in each eye—properly measured is super-important. This will ensure that the center of each of your lenses is in the proper place. This is something that’s done in-office if you’re buying expensive frames, whereas you’ll have to figure out that measurement yourself if you’re ordering online (and that may not be quite as accurate). If the measurement is slightly off, it won’t cause permanent damage, but it can still be a nuisance and cause double vision, says Blieden. So before you click “buy,” check the return policy to make sure you can have them remade or get your money back if they don’t fight properly. If you can afford it, ophthalmologists also recommend polycarbonate lenses, which are 10 times more impact-resistant than plastic or glass.

The bottom line: As long as you don’t have major eye issues (or a hobby that’s rough on your frames), getting a new pair on the cheap is eye doc-approved.



Color Blindness May Soon Be Treatable With a Single Injection

IC Optical currently focus on retail sales of eye tests and corrective lenses, there is no inclination of further appetite for research and development activity beyond improving the current process.

Whilst scanning through Twitter this morning, I found an article on research and development that is ongoing in the USA to correct colour blindness with a single injection. Click here to access a copy of the article.

The accounting treatment for research and development expenditure is covered in detail at F1, however there are a number of Managerial level issues that may arise when undertaking research and development activities. For example project management, ethics, WACC and NPV analysis.

Color Blindness May Soon Be Treatable With a Single Injection

Written by: Dan Gudgel
May. 28, 2015

Animal studies are ongoing, Human trials hopefully next

A one-shot treatment for color blindness may begin human trials as soon as 2017, if current testing goes well. Jay Neitz, Ph.D. and Maureen Neitz, Ph.D., who are both professors of ophthalmology at the University of Washington, have already had success treating color blindness in monkeys using gene therapy. They have been studying color vision for much of their careers.

The new treatment that the Nietzes are testing uses an injection of an adeno-associated virus — a virus that doesn’t make humans sick — to get the genes into the cone cells of the retina. Other successful treatments that they developed required surgery, which is more complicated and more risky. To take the next steps with this treatment, the Nietzes have brought the University of Washington together with Avalanche Biotechnologies to develop the delivery method for the gene therapy.

For the current testing, an injection is made into the clear fluid in the center of the eye, and the virus finds the correct part of the retina to treat. If the treatment is found to work and approved for use, for some people color blindness could be reduced or cured with a single visit to the ophthalmologist. Injections of other medications into the eye are already routine procedures in most ophthalmologists’ offices.

Experts are cautiously optimistic about this procedure. But more testing is needed to find out if just treating the retina is enough. For full color vision, the brain has to understand the information that comes from the retinas, and the brains of people who are born color blind may have developed differently as they grew up.

Although the lives of color blind people are undoubtedly affected by their vision, color blindness is not a vision-threatening condition. Some people have questioned how necessary it is to even develop a treatment for color blindness. However, the methods that the Neitzes are developing could contribute to developing treatments for other, more serious retinal problems in the future.

Want to hear more about the testing as it happens? Visit the Nietzes’ website:http://colorvisionawareness.com/

3D Printing of Sunglasses!

Whilst analysing the pre-seen, I came across the ideas relating to 3D printing and the concept of using 3D printing technology to produce frames and lenses. Here’s a YouTube video that I found to demonstrate the process.

If 3D printing technology proves to be a success, it could remove the need for opticians to stock frames and lenses, printing items “just in time” to meet customer requirements. In time, customers may also be able to create and design their own glasses.

“Question practice is definitely key” – by a March 2015 Strategic level Case Study Prizewinner

Another article from a recent student on how to pass your case study exam, focussing on question practice to develop your skills!

To access the original article, click here.

For more Success Stories from CIMAs website, click here.

Strategic Case Study Exam

“Question practice is definitely key” – by a March 2015 Strategic level Case Study Prizewinner

4th June 2015

I sat and passed the Strategic case study exam in the 2015 syllabus. CIMA asked me to share my experience. Here’s how I got on. Good luck to other students sitting case study exams!

How does it feel to be one of the first students to pass a case study exam?   
It feels amazing, especially for it to be my last CIMA exam, it’s a great way to round off the past 3 years of studying.

How did the case study exam compare to what you had expected? 
I can’t really say what I was expecting, because the format seemed so different from what I’d heard T4 to be like previously from colleagues and friends, I kept pretty open minded to what the format would be like. I did however like the format on computer and how it replicated an every-day work environment.

How did you prepare for the exam and which resources did you find most helpful?

Most of my studying for the exam was done during classroom time, as my tuition provider had drafted some really useful practice questions based around the case study. Question practice is what I’ve always found most useful, particularly a couple of weeks leading up to the exam, to get a good feeling of what’s expected from a well-rounded answer. I found the advice articles available on CIMAconnect useful, as they gave a good insight to how the examiner would test us, and the practise exam format available from Pearson Vue was very useful too, to get used to the software.

Did you use a tuition provider?

Yes, I studied with Kaplan Financial throughout all exams.

What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
Getting the balance between working full time and studying, not so much of a juggle for the final case study exam as the majority of my studying was done in the classroom, but travelling to Leeds from Hull every Saturday after 5 days of working was quite draining.

I made a study planner right at the start of tuition which I hung in my kitchen so I could see if I was achieving what I’d set myself to do. My employer is also very understanding when it comes to studying and offer paid study leave nearer the exam. Lots of sleep was helpful too!

What is your winning formula?
I always try to start (and stick to) a study plan as early on as possible, I think it’s much easier to make the links between the 3 subjects (F, P and E) later on in the studying, when completing past exam questions, if the basic understanding is there. I recommend visual aids for revision, mind maps, images and silly acronyms really help to implant the knowledge in my head. The sillier the better as I’m more likely to remember them!

Is there any one thing you wished you’d have known before entering the exam room (apart from the answers?)
Leading up to the exam, there seemed quite a bit of uncertainty around how many marks were available for the whole exam, and not knowing the marks allocated to each requirement within each of the 3 questions made it more difficult on where to prioritise my time. I understand why the new syllabus might cause changes in the marking guide, but it was quite unnerving not having a solid understanding of this before sitting the exam.

Can you offer some advice to other students?
Question practice is definitely key. It’s reiterated so often, by tutors, past students, current students, in CIMA articles etc, but I do think it really is the best way to be as prepared as possible, and feel comfortable with the format and language used.

What’s your next step?

I’m aiming to complete my experience log in the next couple of months, and keep working on developing my skills at work to progress further within the company and propel myself further in my career.

Good luck!

Rebecca Fleming

“This new type of exam is very much focused on real life examples” – by a March 2015 Strategic level Case Study Prizewinner

As part of CIMAs Success Stories, Stylianos has shared his thoughts on how to pass a case study exam!

The original article can be found here.

“This new type of exam is very much focused on real life examples” – by a March 2015 Strategic level Case Study Prizewinner

4th June 2015

I sat and passed the Strategic case study exam in the 2015 syllabus. CIMA asked me to share my experience. Here’s how I got on. Good luck to other students sitting case study exams!

How does it feel to be one of the first students to pass a case study exam?   
The fact that I completed my CIMA studies and exams with such an achievement is emotional by definition. On top of that, I felt extra excited receiving the results and that I won the prize for the second position in the world in this first CIMA SCS sitting. This is not just a prize for me, it is a confirmation that real life experience is as important as studies and it is an incentive for me to continue learning and apply this knowledge to broaden my experiences.

How did the case study exam compare to what you had expected? 
The case study was very different to what I had seen from the previous paper based version (T4). On the other hand, it was so close to a real life example that my experience helped me a lot to tackle it using the correct approach.

How did you prepare for the exam and which resources did you find most helpful?

I was self-studying using multiple resources from online material, the official syllabus and a lot of practice using past papers. I found the latter the best source of what is required at the strategic level from the perspective of the assessors.

Did you use a tuition provider?

No, I didn’t.

What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was to understand what is really expected in this new type of assessment as it was not clear and all the online instructions I had found seemed to be guesses as well. I used the guidance published by CIMA and I tried to familiarise myself as much as possible with that.

What is your winning formula?
Make sure you know the basics (theory), familiarise yourself with the company in the case study finding a similar company in real life and put yourself in the shoes of the managers in such a company asking yourself “What would this manager do if he had this challenge in real life?”

Is there any one thing you wished you’d have known before entering the exam room (apart from the answers?)

Can you offer some advice to other students?
This new type of exam is very much focused on real life examples. Theory is as important as experience. Put yourself in the shoes of the managers who would actually work in the company in discussion and make sure you empathise and you have built a holistic understanding of the challenges they may face before answering any of the questions.

What’s your next step?

I am a person who believes in continuous learning and development as well as building professional experience. Most probably I will pursue an additional qualification in another field that would complement my knowledge.
Good luck!

Stylianos Matthaiou

“Prepare a reasonable and feasible study plan and stick to it”

In searching through CIMAs website today for additional resources to share with you, I found this article produced by Jacek, a Managerial Case Study student who successfully passed his exam last year. It is worth noting his winning formula.

The original article can be found here.

Management Case Study Exam

“Prepare a reasonable and feasible study plan and stick to it”

4th June 2015

I sat and passed the Management case study exam in the 2015 syllabus. CIMA asked me to share my experience. Here’s how I got on. Good luck to other students sitting case study exams!

How does it feel to be one of the first students to pass a case study exam?   
I am excited but also surprised since it is hard to predict the result on open-ended questions which often involve some business judgment.

How did the case study exam compare to what you had expected? 
Firstly, despite high expectations, the exam was far more interesting than I expected. I had a feeling I was working on real business cases. What is interesting, when I told my friend about the questions in details, he was so excited that he decided to enroll for the next CIMA exams. The level of difficulty was more predictable – it was quite similar to the practice exam.

How did you prepare for the exam and which resources did you find most helpful?

I was using CIMA Official Exam Practice Kit published by Kaplan and I was satisfied with this material. It is logically written, concise and contains many relevant examples thereby allowing effective learning. I also tried to read more widely around key subjects with the focus on the industry from the pre-seen material. I used different publicly available industry reports and well-known business publications such as Financial Times and Harvard Business Review. I also took two practice exams delivered by Pearson VUE which really helped me to identify my weaknesses and practice time management. It is also worth to mention that I was relentlessly thinking about practical application of business models as it was far easier to fully understand the theory.

What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge was to organise and manage time to prepare for the ‘triple exam’ in one sitting. I have made an ambitious study plan (“stretch target” in CIMA terminology). I divided work into five separate phases with specific deadlines for each. First three stages involved reading E2, P2 and F2 books, respectively. By the way, I found this sequence helpful as it was much easier to start with the most pleasant book (for me) and become optimistic before studying harder parts of the material. In the next step I took two practice exams delivered by Pearson VUE in order to identify my weaknesses and practice time management. Finally, I revised part of the books based on the weaknesses identified in practice exams.

What is your winning formula?
WINNING FORMULA = STUDY PLAN + IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS PLAN. Unfortunately, it seems that there are no shortcuts. I strongly believe that organising appropriate amount of time is the most important success factor.

Can you offer some advice to other students?
Prepare a reasonable and feasible study plan and stick to it. Try to think about practical application of business models as it would be far easier to fully understand and apply the theory.

Good luck!

Jacek Komor

Examiner’s Report – Mgr ICS February 2016

2016.02-Mgr ICS-Examiner’s Report

In an earlier post I shared the February 2016 past exam tasks (Past Exam Tasks – Mgr ICS – Feb 2016 (update)), I wanted to share my thoughts with you following the publication of the Examiner’s Report.

Generic comments on student performance across the five variants focussed again on the limited application of syllabus knowledge to the practical and real-world scenarios presented.

Students need to appreciate the complexity of tasks and understand the requirement to demonstrate their knowledge of the syllabus (technical knowledge competency) and ensure they also meet the competencies of leadership, people skills and business acumen.

The Report raises concerns over the dip in quality of answer presented, even referring to scripts in “many cases” being significantly lower than the August and November 2015 sessions. “Some candidates also demonstrated an alarmingly poor understanding of several syllabus areas, including material that is clearly ‘core'”, which as The Report highlights, is rather alarming!

Strong scripts demonstrated some students had prepared well, made good use of the pre-seen material and were technically competent. With that in mind, my key tips to develop prior to the exam are:

  1. Practice exam standard tasks, ensuring you tailor and apply your answers to the pre-seen and context of the requirement.
  2. Revise E, F and P syllabus content.
  3. Ensure you are familiar with the pre-seen information and have an appreciation of the industry in order to understand the issues that may arise in the unseen information.
  4. Review past exams to develop the skill of interpreting the requirements, DO NOT consider the pre-seen information from previous exam sittings.
  5. Reflect on your own performance in tasks, if possible ask for a fellow student or colleague to review your answers in practice tasks.

Note – there is no requirement for students to memorise the pre-seen material or to become an expert in the industry, however students should develop an understanding of the pre-seen company. Exam preparation should focus on analysis of the pre-seen in order to incorporate an appreciation of issues that may arise within the unseen tasks to aid revision.

Do have a read of the task by task and requirement by requirement detail produced in the examiners report to help identify lessons to learn from previous students.

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