Month: May 2016

Regulate Traffic and Protect Property Successfully With Barriers

download (24)It’s not easy to manage heavy traffic. Any event or road that attracts huge traffic can be tough to organize without proper control mechanisms. If the event is not properly planned, it could lead to a lot of confusion and chaos.

Organizers have to plan the location, travel routes, entry, and exit for free traffic movement to the site and amenities which doesn’t allow the crowd to get out of hand. An angry crowd can become tough to handle and sometimes they could turn violent leading to a lot of damage to property and people. To regulate and limit the movement of traffic peacefully you need to have a proper plan and more importantly crowd security control measures must be in place.

Crowd Control Barriers

One of the best ways to control traffic is to use crowd control barriers. They help direct the crowd and avoid any traffic congestion. These barriers can be designed in a flexible manner to prevent any harm to the people. They come in handy to regulate traffic, lead them in a particular direction, control heavy traffic to stay within limits, barricade a special place, etc.

There are various kinds of barriers which allow for peaceful regulation of traffic. It can be chosen according to the requirement of the event. Choosing the right kind of crowd control barrier ensures better management. Choosing weak barriers when the traffic is wild doesn’t serve the purpose.

Barrier Walls

Barrier walls are used extensively to regulate the traffic. They can be seen on highways and are used for a variety of purposes including property protection. They are strong and come in a wide variety of designs and quality.

Concrete Barrier

Concrete barriers are widespread especially in controlling traffic, barricading construction sites which are an ideal choice for the safety of the public. Furthermore, concrete jersey barriers are used extensively to control the flow of traffic and as dividers as well as in parking areas. The significant advantage of concrete barrier is its durability and affordability.

Water filled barriers

On the other hand, water filled barriers are made of recycled plastic and are perfect for construction sites and special law enforcement needs. They are light and compact which allows for easy transportation and installation. It also allows safe handling of the crowd and at the same time is very sturdy.

The ideal choice of the barriers along with proper planning of location, event, entry and exit points helps in regulating traffic peacefully without resorting to any force.

 

Software Localisation Services, A Growing Industry

images (7)Software has undergone numerous shifts in the last decade. There have been new approaches, tools, agile methodologies, scrum techniques, automated processes, open-community leanings, parallel development, containerization or Dockers that have impacted the industry as we know it.

Along the way has come an equally appalling and disruptive onslaught of form-factors. The world is no more just about plain-Jane desk machines when it comes to devices. First, the desktops were displaced with things more portable and then phones or carry-along devices themselves underwent huge advancements. There was miniaturization of technology accompanied by a fierce pace of consumerization.

Soon these phones became smartphones and while the world was getting used to technology getting crisper, faster, smaller, cleverer; there were wearables, Virtual Reality headsets, and IoT-powered house appliances waiting on the verge.

In short, an average user cannot be summed up with one device. Form-factors have been melting and new ways and interfaces continuously surprise and wean away existing users. These are also times when companies and marketers keep guessing the app-only or website debate with much confusion and risks at stake.

When one is being surrounded in an environment such as this, one cannot at least ignore the common denominator when the guesstimates are happening on the bigger questions. For a marketer, the task of software localization is no more a tech-thing to be handled by a geek team. It is of extreme importance when every new or existing user would make huge impressions based on how the interaction with the screen happens. It could be a website or a complex interface on a certain device or simply the manual of handling a particular product.

There is no way that such screens are left to arbitrary language decisions. One has to be both strategic as well as tactical in devising software code at the core, and accompanying APIs, add-ons, upgrades, supplementary material, follow-on pieces in a way that the desired user finds the whole experience smooth, whatever be his language.

Translation makes this part smooth despite all the complexity that goes under the hood. Software localization services are often offered as a portfolio solution when professional localization service providers are approached for general translation work. Software localization is not just a mere technology work but also a product of the understanding of cultural aspects of the target language. It is a process that starts with translators and ends with localization project managers.

They also touch upon website translation services keeping in mind a global and tech-savvy customer. This way they handle visual elements, engineering trivia, coding issues, scripting factors and debugging processes in a holistic manner.

Website translation services, when done with a short-sighted view of simply rehashing text in a new language, can be extremely risky and costly. One has to address many underlying and long-sighted issues that will ultimately define the overall user experience. For a marketer, software or website localization and translation are not two separate decisions. They have to be hinged closely so that the overall outcomes shape up as planned and without precious time being wasted.

 

How to Run Your Business Badly – Case Study

download (26)Recently, I’ve had a run-in with a vendor providing a service to my company. I contracted with this business almost a year ago for a service she’s going to provide in the upcoming weeks. She emailed me a couple of weeks ago to tell me that she has to cancel our arrangement due to some work she has to have done in her business. Note that we’re talking about scheduling something 7-8 weeks before our contracted date.

Valuing connection and communication, I called her to talk this through. I called every day for three days in a row and left messages. She did not call me back. Because we have a contract, I got in touch with my lawyers to see what we needed to do, and we’re looking at our legal options.

She has finally gotten in touch with me, but the situation is still unresolved. Based on this situation, and my 14+ years in business, it’s pretty easy for me to spot the flaws in her business.

Here are the problems I see:

1. Not communicating properly or in a timely manner or at all. The business owner should have called me with the bad news. In addition, she didn’t respond to my repeated calls and voice mails. She could have at least sent an email saying she had gotten voice mails but couldn’t return the call until such and such date.

2. Going with the cheapest option. She inconvenienced me in order to save a few bucks on the work she needs to have done, whereas if she continued with our original arrangement, my payment to her might have offset any money she would have saved by going with the cheap option.

3. Not taking care of her customers. The first time I booked her services, a few months later, she told me she had gotten the dates wrong (she was off by a day). This second time, she is canceling. She’s not looking out for me and providing good customer service.

4. Not running her business like a business. She may do what she does well (the actual service she provides), but to own your own business, you have to actually be skilled in how to run a business. She doesn’t have systems in place, she makes mistakes, and she is not planning ahead.

5. Not valuing the service or product she provides. She’s running a non-profit organization, and so she thinks that means she has to be broke and not charge much money. Hence, why she feels she needs to go with cheap options.

6. Doing too much herself. She seems overworked to me. She doesn’t return emails or calls, and she drops things out (that caused the original mistake in scheduling). When she did finally get back to me after a week of no response to my voice mails, she said that she had been busy with back-to-back events. Fine, but what is her business doing in the meantime (part of #4 – not running her business like a business)? She could have easily had a message on her voice mail stating that she was busy helping her fabulous clients, and that the best way to reach her was by email.

What can you learn from this? Well, first, run your business like a business!

Your action steps:

1. Overcommunicate with your customers, prospects, vendors, and employees. Respond gracefully and in a timely manner. Even an “I got your email, and I’ll respond more fully by the end of the week” is better than the black hole of no response.

2. Don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Is that option really saving you money? What’s the hidden cost (in stress, time, other resource expenditure) in going with a cheap option?

3. Your customers and team members are the lifeblood of your business. Take care of them very well. No customers and clients, no business.

4. Run your business like a business. That means systems, automation, outsourcing. If you don’t know how to do those, then find someone who can teach or mentor you. Don’t run your business off the cuff.

5. You offer a valuable service or product. You deserve to make money. You deserve to be profitable.

6. Outsource and get help when necessary. If you’re dropping out things or making mistakes, that’s probably a sign that you’re doing too much or you’re doing things that are not in your skill set. Get help.

Don’t be a case study for how to run your business badly. Run it smartly!

The Inevitable Rise of Discount Supermarkets

cOne of the 5 defining factors of the competition model is the threat of new market entrants; the UK supermarket sector was widely used as a live example of high barriers. Well that has been blown apart with Aldi and Lidl taking the sector by storm in the last 10 years, barriers to entry may as well have not existed.

Is it any wonder then that Waitrose has recently announced its intention to take on the budget stores whilst retaining a premium offering? This notion would have had you kicked out of the strategy lectures I attended. The idea of being ‘stuck in the middle’ would give undergraduates nightmares but here we are 10 years later and the differentiation of supermarket propositions has become a blurred line.

Have we reached a point where a business can be everything to everyman? Or have supermarkets fallen into the very trap that Porter said they would if a business tries to provide both high value and mass quantity offerings.

There is no doubt that the consumer has become price savvy and expects the best deal, Waitrose used to stand out as a more pleasant shopping experience than some supermarkets but as we increasingly turn to online solutions the physical store quality is less of a factor. Booths is the only supermarket I take any pleasure in visiting and part of that is to enjoy the cooling mist of the veggie section and briefly imagine I am in an 80s music video. For the life of me I can’t work out what their proposition is but the Aldi that opened opposite doesn’t appear to have caused any real decrease in footfall.

What then dictates where people actually do their shopping?

I do my shopping at the nearest shop; it happens to be a Co-Op Local. It is convenient and only marginally more expensive than going out of town – I will happily pay 2p more for a tin of beans if it means I don’t have to endure a trip to the ‘supermarket’. As a keen cook if I am preparing something special then I will expect to go the extra yard to find the quality ingredients I look for and understand the convenience store won’t stock.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the arrival of a new entrant who is able to gain market share in an already saturated sector is going to cause some ripples, let alone 2 of them. Perhaps if supermarkets had been less concerned about building 185,000sq foot stores filled with product lines no-one is ever going to buy they might have focussed on offering what consumers actually want. My next survey might be something like “30,000 product lines of which only 1% sell” and judging by my monthly shop it’s more like 0.1%. Hardly surprising 2 new entrants offering the 50 products people actually buy on a regular basis were able to ‘disrupt’ a market.

Give me the data from the big 4 loyalty cards and I would open a chain of stores that stocked the top 10% of items locally and provided an online service to meet the lower demand for the rest.

What we have learnt in the last 10 years is that supermarkets have effectively killed off the specialist high street shop by trying to be everything to everyman. Now when I am cooking something special and want to buy some bone marrow to go with my porterhouse steak I can’t because Tesco don’t stock it and my butcher went out of business.