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NPI Editorial: Are we using Best Practices?

As we begin 2002, we look for new trends and new opportunities. Some of the people I've spoken with are considering international ventures and opportunities, hence the editorial a few weeks ago. Others are merely trying to ride out an industry flat period with limited new investment in sales, marketing or operations. Still others are shoring up those areas they feel will be mission critical in the years ahead, business process improvement, unit productivity analysis, economies of scale, effective technology deployment, branding exercises and more.

Others, operating in a more reactive mode, are digesting the impact of technology and trying to deal with information overload, lack of available time and crisis management. Although the term strategic planning is an accepted business principle, most executives admit how elusive the concept is as they are bombarded with operational priorities. And strategic planning has never been more complex and in some case uncertain, with so many variables.

Now throw in the emergency budget meeting, the critical new hire, the system and e-mail crash...and we can never get to that bigger picture. But we know that if only we could, we could get away from crisis management and take control of our jobs and our company direction.

Many of us face the same frustrations. How many times has six o’clock gone before we can really reach our own agenda, those strategic issues that will ultimately make or break the company? How often have we been involved in mission critical planning only to realize an hour later that we’ve been sidetracked by an intriguing e-mail message, or a crisis?

Whether it’s strategies for handling e-mail, projects and meetings or systems for paperwork, files, contact management, and other processes, there are improvements we can make to efficiency and effectiveness.

How many times have you heard of the overworked executive whose only problem was that they could not delegate? From time to time it’s reasonable, to ask questions including:

  • Is there a better way?
  • Why are we doing it this way?
  • Should I be doing this or can this be best done by someone else? (don’t just pass the buck though)
  • What’s the opportunity cost of doing this action/activity?
  • Do I really need to do this? What value is it providing?
  • Is there redundancy to eliminate?

At the same time, it is critical to capture information first pass, and to get information to actionable parties as quickly as possible. Many organization we’ve spoken with have numerous filters for incoming materials. While there is a lot of ‘spam’ and ‘propaganda’ out there, the real meaty pieces need to get to the right hands quickly. Your customer service and ultimately your reputation depend on it.

I have spoken with a number of executives, who, when asked why they’re doing something answer, “well, we always have.” These organizations have often lost sight of the value equation. In many cases they are victims of ‘operational layering’, where new requirements or processes are layered on top of existing ones to create inefficient systems with multiple points of double entry and complex, convoluted communication pathways.

I have also talked with busy professionals who frequently get caught up by what they like to do, not necessarily what they need to do. They then scramble when the crisis they could have avoided catches up to them. Or others, who have not developed processes for managing an increasing amount of e-mail or figured out how to deal with the impact of technology.

In no particular order, here are some areas that may bear investigating:

Periodically do a study of what you do for a couple day period, find out how you’re actually spending your time.

Perform work flow analysis, tracking paper and business processes through your organization.

Study related activities that can be gathered together and dealt with in one process.

Note what times of day you and your staff are the most productive and schedule key activities for these times including brainstorming and other meetings. Are you using all communication tools effectively to advance projects?

Designate four times per day to check e-mail in addition to first thing in the morning. If you’re expecting urgent correspondence, obviously the situation is different.

If you’re in a position to do so, develop a company e-mail and Internet policy.

Communicate as widely as possible your objectives so that individuals who come across information understand organizational priorities.

Set up rules to organize and filter e-mail and external communication.

Use descriptive e-mail subject lines to help recipients who use the subject line only to scan e-mails for importance.

When combining e-mail and call strategy, suggest dates and times to make it easier to schedule calls. Understand that the recipient of your call or correspondence is as busy or busier than you.

On a broader level, as more organizations focus on core competencies, you may find yourself evaluating whether certain jobs or functions are better outsourced. In general, wherever possible, despite operational priorities, try to take some time to draw back and think strategically if this is part of your responsibility. Formally allocate this time if possible.

Think best practice; look outside the company and if necessary, outside the industry for best practices of successful companies and organizations. Whether it’s Six Sigma, GMP, brand strategy or technology implementation, there are pieces which can dramatically impact your operation and activities. Keeping an open mind when these opportunities arise can increase your chances of mid-term and long term success.

There are numerous other ideas and practices which you probably know of and use to more effectively manage and operate in today’s business environment. Often too we know the theory, but the practice is lacking.

The fact remains that any tools you use personally and as a professional to increase your capabilities increase the likelihood of personal, professional and organizational success. Maybe these are a few such tools.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the NPIcenter Discussion Forum

Modern Science Confirms Ancient Wisdom!

A NEW LINE of Medicinal Mushroom products from the manufacturer you have trusted for over a decade!

New Jersey: Maitake Products, Inc., proudly introduces MUSHROOM WISDOMTM, a premier line of medicinal mushroom products. Throughout Asia, mushrooms are considered to maintain health, preserve youth and increase longevity. Now, thanks to modern science and the support of companies such as Maitake Products, Inc., there is research confirming this ancient wisdom of the medicinal effects of mushrooms for health improvement.

MUSHROOM WISDOMTMconsists of the following full spectrum products:
Super Lion’s Mane
Super Shiitake
Super Reishi
Super Cordyceps
Super Tremella (Silver Ear)
Super Turkey Tail (Coriolus)
Super Royal Agaricus (Agaricus blazei)

It is important to note that ALL MUSHROOM WISDOMTM products contain both high quality extract and fruit body, enhancing their power with the company’s highly researched D-FRACTION® and their bioavailability with BIOPERINE® !

As the pioneer in bringing the research and development of the highest quality Maitake mushroom products to the U.S., Maitake Products, Inc. is recognized as the leader in the industry. This new line of medicinal mushrooms products, MUSHROOM WISDOMTM, is a sign of the dedication to the support of research in the medicinal effects of mushrooms.

Now you can get the mushroom supplement of your choice from the mushroom specialist you have trusted for over a decade! Call 1-800-747-7418 for more information.

BICL Discontinues Kava Sales; Health Canada Issues Consumer Warning

Toronto, January 17/CNW/ - Boehringer Ingelheim Canada Ltd. (BICL) supports Health Canada's safety advisory to consumers about the use of Kava and its potential side effects. Kava (also known as Kava-kava) is a popular herbal medicine in North America and Europe where it is often used to treat anxiety. In December 2001, due to concerns from international reports of adverse side effects, BICL was the leading member of the Canadian natural health industry to voluntarily discontinue sales of Kava. "Though there had been no serious, or even moderate, side effects reported for Kava products in Canada, customers safety was our primary concern and that is why we voluntarily stopped selling Kava and advised Health Canada immediately of our concerns." says Nancy Baines, Vice President, Consumer Health Care (BICL).

BICL Sets High Standards for Consumer Safety and Product Quality Assurance
BICL launched Kava products in Canada in 1998, after a number of clinical trials proved it to have significant analgesic and tranquilizing effects. However, BICL stopped selling it in December 2001 after being made aware of recent German reports of 24 cases of side effects during the use of Kava involving serious liver problems. Though there have been no reports of Canadians becoming ill from Kava, BICL opted in favour of consumer safety. "It is not yet clear what has caused these side effects or whether they may be due to interactions, other medications or pre-existing liver weakness. Nonetheless, the safety/benefit ratio of Kava does not show the high degree of certainly that Boehringer typically requires," reports Don Beatty, Director of Quality Control and Regulatory Affairs.

Consumer Safety First: BICL Encourages Industry Members to Cease Kava Sales
Health Canada is currently conducting a safety assessment of Kava, but in the meantime has advised consumers not to use any products containing Kava. BICL encourages fellow industry members to also discontinue Kava sales until the results of the safety assessment are made available.

BICL is a leader in the Natural Health Products industry, providing products only of the highest quality and with well-proven safety records. BICL is a leading manufacturer and distributor that works alongside other industry members and Health Canada to advocate stricter industry standards. BICL manufactures high quality Quest brand vitamins, nutritional supplements and herbal preparations. The company prides itself on offering products with unsurpassed potency, purity and effectiveness thanks to rigorous quality control testing at every stage of production.

New Organic Yogurt Smoothies - First Single Serve

MARSHALL, CA - Straus Family Creamery, once again the pioneers in the organic marketplace, are Introducing the first single-serve organic yogurt drinks on the U.S. market. The yogurt smoothies are made with 100% organic ingredients. The smoothies will be introduced at San Francisco's Fancy Food Show next week.

Flavors include raspberry, strawberry and vanilla. Smoothies are made with just nonfat yogurt, nonfat milk and organic vanilla or fruit puree or juice concentrate. As usual, no thickeners, no additives, nothing but pure organic ingredients.

Straus will offer the smoothies in both 8 oz. and 12 oz. sizes. In addition, Straus will package their Chocolate Nonfat Milk in the 8 oz. single serve size to round out the flavors. With a shelf life of 30 days, Straus is hoping to expand distribution of their products, as well make the smoothies available for local schools who are testing and expanding an organic school lunch or after school program.

Straus Family Creamery, the first organic dairy and creamery in the western United States, committed to producing high quality organic dairy products, has an ever expanding full line of products including their recently introduced milks in returnable pint glass bottles.

Straus Family Creamery
Contact: Vivien Straus
Tel: (213) 481-0745
Email: [email protected]

Newzealand Authorities study killer-kava claims

Source: The Newzealand Herald

New Zealand health authorities are investigating claims that kava-based products have caused widespread liver damage.

Reports from Europe say kava consumption has been linked to hepatitis and caused a need for liver transplants in some people.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health said yesterday that inquiries were also being made of public health officials.

On New Year's Eve, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced an inquiry into the possibility that kava sold as a herbal remedy to promote sleep and stress relief could damage the liver.

These products can be found on the shelves under the name "kava-kava" or even "kawa".

Britain's Medicines Control Agency has already negotiated with herbal food industry organisations a "voluntary" withdrawal of kava from store shelves.

In France, products containing kava have been suspended from sale and a recommendation made that patients stop taking these.

These actions follow the linking of kava extract to dozens of cases of hepatitis in Europe.

The precautions were taken after health authorities in Germany and Switzerland informed the French Health Products Safety Agency that they had recorded "about 30 cases of hepatitis" among people who had taken kava-based products, the French agency said.

"One person died and four other patients had to have a liver transplant. These cases can occur unexpectedly and after several months of taking kava. In some cases, the kava-based products were taken off and on."

Kava is extracted from the root of a species of pepper plant called Piper methysticum, which thrives in tropical and subtropical climates in the South Pacific.

It is sold in health-food shops, on the internet and even in supermarkets as a "natural" beverage that is supposed to relieve stress and anxiety while promoting relaxation, mental clarity and mild euphoria.

It is supposedly free of the side-effects of prescription drugs.

Most users add the powdered extract to tea, coffee, cocoa or milk, although fizzy kava sodas and alcoholic kava drinks are also produced.

Some drink it with a glass of wine or beer to enhance the effect, and others take it as a sedative at bedtime.

In New Caledonia, Dr Yann Barguil, a biopharmacist and researcher at Noumea Gaston Bourret hospital, told the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes that he was unsurprised by the emergence of a kava-related pathology but said that only about one person in 170,000 was potentially affected.

"In New Caledonia, we have detected three cases of hepatitis linked to the consumption of kava," he said.

"We believe the active properties of this plant, the kavalactones, have an effect on the liver's enzymes.

"And one person in about 170,000 has in his or her liver a type of enzyme that, if combined with kava, could produce a toxic enzyme," Dr Barguil said.

"This could provoke a sort of allergy that would eventually destroy the liver."

Original Article: The Newzealand Herald

Cyanotech Names Bob Capelli as Director of Sales

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii--Jan. 16, 2002--Responding to increasing demand for its products on a worldwide basis, Cyanotech Corporation (Nasdaq: CYAN) has named Bob Capelli as Director of Sales.

Mr. Capelli, an 11-year veteran in the natural foods and supplement industry, was Senior Sales Manager for Forcite--The Source, a division of Tree of Life, Inc., with responsibility for more than $25 million in annual product sales. He joined Forcite in 1991 as a sales representative and was named a sales manager and field sales manager before becoming a senior sales manager.

"Cyanotech is experiencing steadily increasing demand for its products, particularly BioAstin(R) and NatuRose(R)," said Kelly Moorhead, Cyanotech's Vice President of Sales and Marketing. "We look forward to Bob helping to direct and manage our expanding sales efforts."

Recently, Cyanotech announced an expansion of its astaxanthin production capacity by approximately 60% as a result of current and projected future demand for NatuRose and BioAstin natural astaxanthin products.

Mr. Capelli has a B.A. from Rutgers University, is fluent in Spanish and Portugese and has had prior work experience in Latin America as well as the United States.

Mouse Experiments Link Folic Acid Deficiency To Parkinson's Disease

Mouse experiments suggest that folic acid deficiency could increase the brain’s susceptibility to Parkinson’s disease, according to scientists at the National Institute on Aging.

In the finding, published in the January 2002 issue of the Journal of Neurochemistry, the investigators fed one group of mice a diet that included folate, while a second group was fed a diet lacking this vitamin. They then gave the mice moderate amounts of MPTP, a chemical that can cause Parkinson-like symptoms. In the mice fed folate, MPTP caused only mild symptoms of disease. But mice fed the folate-deficient diet developed severe Parkinson-like symptoms.

The scientists found that mice with low amounts of dietary folic acid had elevated levels of homocysteine in the blood and brain. They suspect that increased levels of homocysteine in the brain caused damage to the DNA of nerve cells in the substantia nigra, an important brain structure that produces dopamine.

Loss of dopamine causes the nerve cells to dysfunction, leaving patients unable to direct or control their movement in a normal manner. In mice fed adequate amounts of folate, dopamine-producing nerve cells were able to repair damaged DNA and counteract the adverse effects of homocysteine. However, similar nerve cells in folate-deficient mice could not repair extensive DNA damage. As a result, these cells died.

“This is the first direct evidence that folic acid may have a key role in protecting adult nerve cells against age-related disease,” said Mark Mattson, Ph.D., chief of the NIA’s Laboratory of Neurosciences. “It is clear from this study that a deficiency of this vitamin is associated with increased toxin-induced damage to the dopamine-producing neurons in the mouse brain.”

People who have Parkinson’s disease often have low levels of folic acid in their blood, but it is not clear whether this a result of the disease process or if they are simply malnourished due to their illness.

But based on this study, Dr. Mattson speculates that consuming adequate amounts of folic acid—either in the diet or by supplementation—could help protect the aging brain against Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. Green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and juices, whole wheat bread and dry beans are good sources of the vitamin.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations require the addition of folic acid to enriched breads, cereals, flours, corn meals, pastas, rice, and other grain products.

Parkinson's disease occurs when certain nerve cells die or become impaired and can no longer produce dopamine. Without it, individuals can develop tremor or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face; rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk; bradykinesia, or slowness of movement; and postural instability or impaired balance and coordination.

Patients may also have difficulty walking, talking, or completing other simple tasks. The disease is both chronic and progressive.

Parkinson's is not usually inherited, but incidence of the disease increases with age, with an average onset at about 60 years. It afflicts about 50,000 Americans annually.

Source: NIH/National Institute On Aging

KAVA ADVISORY: Health Canada is advising consumers not to use any products containing kava

Source: Health Canada

OTTAWA - Jan, 16, 2002 - Health Canada is advising consumers not to use any products that contain the herbal ingredient Kava (also known as kava-kava), with or without drug identification numbers (DINs), in light of recent reports of liver toxicity related to use of kava products in Europe. Kava is found in herbal and homeopathic preparations, and marketed to treat anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, pain and muscle tension. It may also be found as an ingredient in food products. It is widely used in Europe, and has become increasingly used in Canada.

There have been at least 24 reports of liver toxicity associated with the use of kava products internationally, including one reported death, and several cases which required liver transplantation. However, no cases of liver toxicity have been reported in Canada. Like Health Canada, other international regulatory agencies (Germany, France, Switzerland, U.K., U.S.A.) are taking steps to prevent liver-related risks associated with the use of kava-containing products.

As a result of these international reports, Health Canada is now reviewing the safety and effectiveness of kava. To ensure the safety and health of consumers in the interim, Health Canada is issuing this advisory, advising consumers not to use any products which contain kava until the safety assessment can be completed. Once the safety assessment is completed, and all international safety data are analyzed, Health Canada will communicate the results to the public, and take further action if required.

Consumers are advised to check the labels of any herbal products for the presence of Kava, and to discontinue use of any product labelled to contain kava.

Kava may be identified by the following names:

  • kava
  • kava kava
  • kava-kava
  • kava root
  • kava-kava root
  • kavain
  • kava pepper
  • kavapipar
  • kawa
  • kawa kawa
  • kawa pepper
  • kawapfeffer
  • maori kava
  • rhizoma di kava-kava
  • ava
  • ava pepper
  • ava root
  • awa
  • gea
  • gi
  • intoxicating pepper
  • intoxicating
  • long pepper
  • kao
  • Piper methysticum
  • Macropiper Latifolium
  • Piper inebrians
  • Malohu
  • maluk
  • meruk
  • milik
  • kew
  • Rauschpfeffer
  • sakau
  • tonga
  • Wurzelstock
  • yagona
  • yangona
  • yaqona
  • yongona

Consumers are also advised to consult with their health care practitioner if they have experienced any adverse effects from taking products containing kava. The following symptoms may be associated with liver problems:
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes)
  • brown urine
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • unusual tiredness
  • weakness
  • stomach or abdominal pain, and /or
  • loss of appetite.

Additionally, health care professionals and practitioners of alternative medicine are being asked to report any cases of liver toxicity in association with use of Kava-containing products.

- 30 -

Nutraceutical Clinical Laboratories International, Inc., Secures $2 Million in Funding

Financing to Support Rapid Demand for Natural and Other Nutraceutical Products

St. Petersburg, FL: January 15, 2002 - Nutraceutical Clinical Laboratories International, Inc. (NCLII) announced today the closing of a $2 million credit facility.

The allocations will be used to support the full-scale manufacturing of its proprietary nutraceutical products with a special focus on the groundbreaking natural preservative, NuPreserv™.Amidst growing demand by food and beverage manufacturers for NuPreserv, the company has earmarked much of the capital for finalizing the construction of its state-of-the-art facilities.

Mr. Paul Simmons, chairman and CEO of NCLII, sees the credit facility as a catalyst for increasing shareholder value.

“These funds allow us to successfully meet the demands of our customers and accelerate the growth of our company without any current dilution to our shareholders,” says Simmons. “This marks an exciting milestone in the company’s immediate goals for manufacturing.”

The company’s primary thrust is to capitalize on its preservative NuPreserv, a highly-adaptable formulation made from natural ingredients that has proven health benefits and the ability to extend the shelf life of food and beverage products by several times the effectiveness of chemical preservatives. Ultimately, this allows distributors to cut deliveries to food retailers by as much as 50%.

“An increasing number of food and beverage manufacturers are recognizing the need for a more cost efficient and effective alternative to toxic chemical preservatives,” says Simmons. “NuPreserv offers a bonanza of benefits both for health-minded consumers who are worried about the chemicals that exist in many of the foods they eat and for food manufacturers who are concerned about trimming the bottom line. We believe that Americans can look forward to a future where the majority of the foods in our grocery stores no longer contain chemical or artificial ingredients.”

Founded in 1997, NCLII is a leader in the research, development and manufacturing of nutritional, nutraceutical and alternative health formulations designed to bring the benefits of anti-aging, health and well-being to consumers worldwide. NCLII’s primary focus is the production of its natural food preservative, NuPreserv, which has proven the ability to extend the shelf life of a vast array of food products by several times the effectiveness of toxic chemical preservatives and is less expensive.

Nutraceutical Clinical Laboratories International, Inc. trades on the OTC market under the symbol “NCCL” and can be found on the following servers:,,, and Nutraceutical Clinical Laboratories International, Inc.’s web site is

Special note: Forward looking statements in this press release are made pursuant to the “safe-harbor” provision of the Private Securities Litigation Act of 1995. Investors are cautioned that such forward looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, including without limitation, market acceptance of, demand for, the Company’s products, manufacturing, development and distribution issues, product pricing, competition, technological changes and other risks not identified herein.

Consumers Search for Healthy Cleaning Products That Work

According to Orange Glo International Survey, Most Americans Prefer Natural Cleaning Products to Harsh Chemicals

Source: Orange Glo International

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo., Jan. 14, 2001 - Consumers overwhelmingly are wary of the harsh chemicals found in many household cleaning products, preferring instead to clean with products that are proven safe for themselves and their family, according to a recent survey. The survey, conducted on behalf of Orange Glo International - makers of OxiClean*, Orange Glo*, Orange Clean* and Kaboom(tm) - took a look at the cleaning habits, perceptions and product preferences of 704 men and women nationwide.

The research confirms a clear majority of Americans are committed to keeping their homes clean and feel cleaning is an important part of their lifestyle. The way people clean today - preferring fresh-smelling solutions that do not harm the skin, children or pets - is a significant trend in American cleaning attitudes, the survey showed. And, according to a separate 2001 trade report by the Fragrance Foundation, "disinfecting smells are out. Pleasant, clean and inviting fragrances are in."

Orange Glo International's research reveals that:

  • Most consumers - 69 percent - strongly agree that natural cleaning products are preferred for laundry as long as the products are effective at removing stains and odors
  • 65 percent said they also avoid products harmful to their skin
  • Only 40 percent think strong cleaning chemicals are fine to use all the time
  • And less than half, 47 percent, believe that there is no substitute for bleach
  • The top three reasons consumers cite in choosing a cleaning product are:
  • Good value for the money (selecting products that work)
  • Easily available at retail
  • Not harmful to children or pets

Who's Who: How Do Americans Clean?
According to Orange Glo's survey, Americans who clean fit into four basic categories:

  1. Cleaning Challenged (19 percent) - Laissez-fair attitudes, not bothered by lack of housekeeping.
  2. Casual Cleaners (26 percent) - Care about cleanliness, but other activities take precedence. They do not have a preset cleaning schedule, and their busy, hectic lifestyle often preempts their ability to clean.
  3. Clean & Natural (31 percent) - Have a strong desire to keep things clean, dislike strong chemicals and prefer natural products. They do not mind investing the time to keep the household clean.
  4. Clean at All Costs (24 percent) - Might consider nuclear radiation if they thought it would do the best cleaning job. They have a preset schedule for cleaning and are willing to use harsh chemicals to do it.

The key attitudes that define consumer's cleaning habits are:

  • Somewhat or strongly agree Challenged Casual Clean/Natural
  • Clean at all costs
  • You keep your house spotless 7% 26% 60% 87%
  • Guests should see a model home 33% 69% 92% 92%
  • Prefer natural cleaners 96% 85% 95% 93%
  • Stick to a preset cleaning schedule 7% 20% 37% 81%
  • Strong chemicals are fine 11% 52% 10% 80%

As a result, for those who are committed, cleaning is an important part of life as the task demonstrates their personality and attention to detail. The way people clean today - preferring solutions that do not harm the skin, children or pets - is a significant trend in American cleaning attitudes. A June 2001 collection of secondary research from the Mintel International Group supports this finding, concluding that "the most important factor to consumers in the future will be keeping the home a safer and healthier environment."

Orange Glo International Survey Information
In a nationwide survey conducted on behalf of Orange Glo International by Talmey-Drake Research & Strategy, Inc., 704 men and women over the age of 21 were telephoned and asked what they thought about the products they use to clean their homes (95 percent confidence with +/- 3.7 percent).

About Orange Glo International
Orange Glo International began developing its naturally powerful products more than 15 years ago. The first product, Orange Glo* Wood Cleaner & Polish, was developed in the Appel family garage by founder Max Appel. Word of this remarkable product spread as the Appels began offering it at state fairs, home shows and stores across the United States and Canada. Since then, Orange Glo has grown to become a trusted source for powerful and healthy cleaning products worldwide. With sales of more than $200 million in 2001, the company continues to expand in an increasingly crowded market, making Orange Glo the 10th fastest-growing private company in the country, according to Inc. Magazine in 2001. Today, consumers can find Orange Glo products in such retail outlets as Sam's Club, Costco, Wal-Mart, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Linens 'N Things and many regional grocery and drug stores. For more information, please go to