Category: Business

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.

Practical Reasons to Consider Certified Business Valuation

frIn our age of a highly competitive startup environment where new businesses are incubated and sold every hour, certified business valuation gains a lot of importance. If you wish to sell the business, you should know how much your business is worth. If the value is overstated, no one may come to buy, if it’s understated, you will lose in the process. Hence, certified business appraisal is crucial.

Difficulty in Valuation

It is not easy to value a business. There are both tangible as well as intangible assets which contribute to the value of the firm. These intangible assets like intellectual property and knowledge assets have to be assessed carefully. The right valuation gives you an upper hand during negotiation.

Subjectively deciding the price based on whims of the business owner will not have value in the market. The owner cannot determine the value of the company based on the debt he wants to recover. No buyer will be willing to pay the price that the company is not worth.

Determining the Business Value

Mere estimation cannot ascertain the value of the business. It doesn’t matter what you or others perceive the value of the firm. What matters is the real value of the business enterprise. The intrinsic worth of it should be assessed objectively without any ambiguity.

Irrespective of whether the valuation is a simple or complicated one, the value has to be ascertained scientifically. A simple business with its office in a single location may be easier to appraise. However, a company with an extensive network and a lot of intellectual property is difficult to value. The account books play a significant role in determining the value of the business. If they are not up to date or maintained improperly, the valuation could totally go wrong.

It also becomes difficult to value the business that has multiple owners with different interests. The motto of leadership and business owners also influence the valuation.

The importance of the business valuation cannot be stressed enough. In our capitalistic economy, it’s the most important criteria by which the growth of the business will be assessed. If the profit and loss factors don’t reflect in market valuation, then they will have no relevance in the business.

Different Ways to Value

A business valuation carried out for liquidation purpose and to present before the law requires sophisticated assessment. It should meet legal standards and comply with USPAP rules. On the other hand, a business valued for the purpose of selling may depend on broker value. Ultimately the actual value should be assessed through certified business valuation. It has to be scientifically carried out after considering all the costs.

An unbiased report from a certified expert will have value in the market. The dealings will be performed based on such report and not based on biased valuation.

How Does a Certified Equipment Appraiser Help

images (6)A majority of businesses depend on modern equipment to produce their products. The equipment helps in making production, logistics easy and fast. It is important to keep such useful equipment well maintained. These equipment are real assets of any business. The equipment should be properly valued. However, it is not easy to appraise the equipment. It requires help from certified equipment appraisers to know the value of the equipment.

Why Appraise Your Equipment?

There are various reasons for companies to know the value of the machinery. Since they are valuable assets of the company they help in times of:

– Mergers and acquisitions
– Filing bankruptcy
– Obtaining loans
– Filing taxes
– Selling the machinery

The value of machinery is essential to assess the worth of the business.

Various kinds of Appraisal Reports

Businesses currently accept two types of appraisals as per the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice or USPAP.

1. Complete Appraisal Reports – It contains all the information about the equipment, it’s market value, the condition of the equipment, salvage value, number of years if operation, etc. It is one of the most common kind of appraisal.

2. Restricted Appraisal Reports – It’s an in-house report which can be used for internal purposes. This report is prepared when the client and the user of the appraisal report are the same. The report should not be used for external purposes.

Certified Machinery Appraisal Process

It’s a systematic process where the equipment is assessed diligently considering every piece of information.

1. Appraisers gather all the information about the equipment. They heck its make, model, year of purchase, it’s condition, it’s serial number, chassis number, the number of years it has been in operation, some repairs it has undergone, the upgrades carried out to the machinery, etc. They gather as much information about the equipment or machinery as possible to provide an accurate assessment.

2. A certified machinery appraiser maintains complete secrecy, and may not inform the client in advance while preparing the appraisal report. The appraiser gives time to the client to provide all the documents required to prepare the assessment report.

3. After all the information is gathered; the certified equipment appraiser will assess the value and write the report certifying the report. The appraiser should be neutral and not biased. He should use the fair and transparent process of assessing the equipment.

It is always good to choose knowledgeable appraisers with sufficient experience and good track record. It helps business to have the right value of their machinery. The correct value can increase the worth of the firm. Even if the value is low, a proper appraisal will help business to take steps to enhance the value of their business by having right machinery and equipment.

Criteria for Choosing the Right Kind of Barriers

faCrowd control and highway control barriers come in various materials and sizes. They have to be selected according to the purpose. They are widely used for different reasons from construction, highway to law enforcement. It is important to pick the right barrier for safety and security of the people and property.

Criteria to Choose Quality Barriers

Your choice should be economical and efficient while providing protection against unexpected traffic. It is important to source the barriers from reputed companies since quality is crucial for achieving the purpose of a barrier.

The barriers have to be portable for events and other purposes. In this case, water-filled barriers can be purchased. You should choose the supplier based on his record in the industry and reviews. The supplier should satisfy your budget and individual requirements. Water-filled barriers are portable and serve the purpose of regulating crowd efficiently.

Value Added Benefits

You should also make sure that barriers have interlocking hooks that can bend and are properly welded to the frame to avoid any separation. Choose a concrete barrier which has a good gauge for durability and strength to withstand the heavy traffic.

Concrete Jersey Barriers

When choosing a jersey barrier make sure that they are of the highest quality and don’t get damaged in extreme weather conditions. They should be designed to withstand any accident. The design should have elements which can thwart vehicle colluding to stop going overboard on the other side.

The selection of barriers should depend on its durability, flexibility, affordability, and functionality. If a barrier satisfies these criteria, then you just have to match the right kind of barrier for the event since some barriers are not suitable for managing a massive crowd.

Choosing K-Rails and Plastic Barriers

K-Rail barriers are modular and durable and withstand heavy traffic and help regulate it. If the barriers are of temporary nature, then you may go in for plastic barriers which come in various colors, with light reflectors and signage options for easy recognition. They are also easy to transport and recyclable.

A major condition in selecting the barrier is to ensure that they meet the specifications of National Corporate Research Highway Program for maximum effectiveness and durability. If you require the best barriers, then you can ask for ones that are specially designed for military and highways.

Choose the right kind of barrier to ensure the safety of the people. Security is the most important aspect, and the barrier should serve the purpose of regulating the traffic for property management as well as the safety of people.

Expert Tips For Effective CRM

download (23)Today’s store owners don’t need to manage their operations all on their own like the salespeople in more ancient times did. These days, technology is available to make everything from the simplest to the more complex retail processes easier and faster to accomplish, resulting in benefits all around. Here are some of the crucial software tools that make retail management a cinch for today’s enterprising individuals and organizations.

CRM. Most retailers require a system for effective customer relationship management which would enable them to keep track of every single interaction with their existing as well as future customers. At the most basic level, CRM software lets retailers store their current and prospective clients’ contact information, social media profiles, details on the calls made and emails sent, and such. More advanced systems would allow the creation of meeting schedules, display of sales forecasts and pipelines, and the like. Thanks to this solution, sales and customer service reps won’t have a hard time looking up client information for lead generation purposes and after sales functions, which helps them build stronger interactions and relationships.

POS. Step into any physical store, gather up the products you mean to buy, and take it to the store’s sales counter to pay for your purchases. You’ll see that the cashiers use specific equipment such as a barcode scanner, cash register or drawer, computer, touch screen display and receipt printer. This is the store’s point of sale or POS system, and it requires the appropriate software to successfully tally the cost, conduct the sales transaction and create and maintain records of all transactions. The best POS software makes managing multiple retail processes (business intelligence store operations, inventory control, payment solutions, merchandising, and such) smoother and more productive. The result would be simplified processes, reduced costs, and increased revenue for the business.

Ecommerce. Most retail businesses today complement the performance of their physical stores by incorporating the use of an online platform. Setting up the best ecommerce platform for your business lets you take steps toward valuable benefits: providing customers with a new and different channel to access your offerings, building customer loyalty, streamline inventory management, increase revenue, and improve overall customer experience. What’s more, this software can seamlessly integrate the management processes for both your physical and online store, making monitoring your sales across all channels simpler and more effective.

Strategies For Ensuring Ongoing Industry Compliance

download (22)Making sure that you are compliant with the standards of your industry is important for avoiding serious penalties and fines. It is vital to note that industry regulations are designed for keeping people safe and for promoting ethical business practices. Thus, concerted efforts to remain compliant can also bode well for companies in terms of both productivity and their overall commercial images.

It is important to have a clear outline of all the specifications for compliance that your companies must adhere to. You cannot adhere to the regulations of your industry if you do not know what they are. Create an outline of these and all the areas that they encompass and then distribute this outline to all relevant personnel including department managers and safety control officers.

Start shopping for an innovative compliance software that can be integrated with all other programs that are designed to assist with overall operations management. This will simplify the entire process while ensuring that no single area of your operations is neglected and overlooked. It will also establish accountable by providing a platform for tracking all compliance efforts and the parties responsible for implementing and maintaining them

Hire a compliance manager who can oversee these efforts and all the related responsibilities. If necessary, staff your company with two or more of these professionals. This way, your trained talent is never juggling multiple responsibilities and struggling to find the time to handle these efforts.

Make sure that all of your employees have received adequate training, particularly your most recent hires. As your business grows and changes, you must make sure that all adaptations are on par with the expectations of regulatory bodies. This is one of the most common reasons for companies being penalised and fined.

Schedule regular meetings and reviews so that all parties can be made abreast of any areas in which your organisation has fallen behind the industry standard. If problems have arisen, you can address them at this time. You can also solicit suggestions and feedback from workers at all levels of your organization for improving these processes.

Take stock of your supply chain to ensure that any companies you are outsourcing to are compliant themselves. When you outsource as part of your supply chain, you lose a certain amount of control over how compliant your efforts are overall. That is one of the top reasons why it is vital to choose businesses to outsource to with tremendous research and care. If you don’t, you could wind up being responsible for mistakes that aren’t actually your own.

Whether you are using waste water filtration services or mere payroll services to assist in the completion of important and ongoing business operations, it is important to remain cognizant of the impact that these professionals can have on your business and your brand reputation. Failure to comply on the part of these entities can have serious repercussions all around. Thus, you should only ever work with companies that have diligent quality control measure in place and that are just as knowledgeable of industry regulations as you are.

Enhanced Customer Satisfaction With DevOps

download (21)DevOps is one of the latest buzzwords in the market today. At the enterprise level, the leadership team is focusing more on moving their projects to DevOps mode that benefits their customers in providing a quick feedback to the development teams to work on the changes and deliver the desired service/product.

DevOps are on the broader terms is an approach based on lean and agile practices in which development teams, operations and testing teams communicate and collaborate to deliver the product/service in a continuous manner to reach out to the end customer that helps them to seize the market opportunities. This provides a chance to receive timely feedback and incorporate the changes in a quick manner. DevOps as a concept emphasizes communication, collaboration and integration between software developers and IT operations to enable faster and reliable deliverables to the end client in reduced timelines. This way the execution gaps in a project can be controlled and togetherness can be brought in within the groups working on the project.

Unlike traditional software applications, which are designed with massive data and reliability and can satisfy the customer with one or two releases a year, the current web & mobile application demand continuous delivery and required intense focus on user experience, agility and speed that they reach to the market as end users directly use the system. DevOps enables all these, in an organized way with integrated teams and continuous feedback within and between the groups.

DevOps enable faster delivery to the markets, enhanced customer satisfaction and improved capacity to innovate within the teams. Agile environment enables enterprises to build quality into every individual increment of the application delivered where in with DevOps the whole execution process can be streamlined with reliable, fast and quality products to the market.

Principles of DevOps:

In one of the technical forum’s the following principles of DevOps are published by IBM and the list is still evolving based on the learnings and practices set up at the enterprise level.

• Develop and test against production like environments
• Deploy with repeatable, reliable processes
• Monitor and validate operational quality
• Amplify feedback loops

The goal is to allow development and quality assurance (QA) teams to develop and test against systems that behave like the production system, so that they can see how the application behaves and performs well before it’s ready for deployment. In the same note, automation is necessary to create repeatable and reliable processes.

Unlike traditional monitoring applications in a siloed and disconnected manner at the production end, DevOps suggest to push the process earlier in the lifecycle to monitor the quality and functionalities at development and testing phases that provides early warning about operational and quality issues that may occur in production. Quick feedback and rapid learning from the actions enable fast and reliable deliverables with improved communication within the teams and winning the trust factor of the end customer.

DevOps propose the adoption of the plan, develops, test, deploy and operate in a continuous manner to meet the tight deadlines and to rollout the application to the end market for their feedback for continuous improvement.