CategoryBusiness

7 More Ways to Dramatically Reduce the Cost of Using Outside Experts

1. You should be keeping a log to record the time incurred with all your outside experts

I know that in some cases you are not able to verify the time spent on your behalf as it takes place out of the office. However, in many cases you will be able to track much of the time expended on your behalf and in some cases all of it. By having such a log, you will be able to accurately verify or dispute any bills you receive.

For example, if you are billed once a month by your accountant, how will you be able to remember what he has done for you during the month and how much time he spent doing it? If you do not have a log in which you record the time he spent, you will be forced to accept the billing even though you may think the hours are high.

2. Do not ever allow yourself to be billed in 15 minute increments

This is a standard practice among many who bill on time. Let me give you an example. You call your lawyer and speak to him for 5 minutes. He then turns around and bills you for 15 minutes. You have just overpaid by 300%. You would not allow anyone else to do this would you? Why would you let them do this?

They always round up. You take 20 minutes of their time and you get billed for 30 minutes. You are getting ripped off in a big way. Do not accept this. If you use 8 minutes of time, pay only for 8 minutes of time. Not 10, not 15.

Over the course of the year, depending on your size, this can add up to hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars and more;dollars you have paid in return for nothing. Keep a log as I suggested and cross check all bills for these outside experts.

Let me show you how fast this can add up. Using an outside expert who charges $125 per hour as an example, you are paying $2.08 per minute for their time. If you make 12 calls to this outside expert a month and each call lasts 10 minutes but each time they record it as 15 minutes, at the end of the month you have overpaid by 60 minutes or by 50%!

If you allow this to happen, you are allowing yourself to be cheated. It happens every day to tens of thousands of companies and individuals. What have you received for this added cost? Nothing! You might as well just open up your window and throw out the money.

3. Always be prepared when you call or deal in person with an outside expert who is billing you on time

Ten minutes of small talk will cost you $20.80 at a rate of $125 per hour. This figure can be even more if you let them bill you for 15 minutes. Know what you want to discuss, be prepared to discuss it, and make your expectations very clearly known. Conduct your business and conclude it as soon as possible. Think of the time as a faucet spewing out $1 bills. Your $1 bills. How quick would you be to turn this off? Damn quick I hope.

4. Unless you must have it in writing do not let them put it in writing

This is a favorite tactic of outside experts. They will give you the answer, advice, or opinion you seek verbally, over the phone or in person, and then they will follow it up with a letter restating the same thing for your records. What is wrong with this? Nothing unless you mind paying for the same thing twice. They will bill you for the confirming letter they send you.

Unless you have a compelling reason for having a written record, make sure you do not get one. If they send you one that you did not ask for, refuse to pay for it. I fully understand there will be times when having a written record will be important, in these instances ask for the response in writing to begin with and eliminate the added billing of the in person or by phone reply.

5. Make sure that you are demanding and receiving detailed billings for any outside service that you are buying

This is extremely important when dealing with outside “experts” that sell you their time. You want to check these detailed billings very carefully to make sure that your logs of time spent match their billings and to see if any costs for offsite work done at their office appears to be priced properly.

If you are charged for an hour of time for a letter that was written at your lawyer’s office and it is two paragraphs and basically a boiler plate form letter word processed by a secretary, you are being overcharged. Not only is the time dramatically overstated, but the work done by a secretary is being billed to you as lawyer’s time.

Never ever be afraid to question a bill or a charge and always demand a detailed breakdown of what was done, how long it took, who did the work, what the hourly charge for that person is, and what the detailed cost was for each invoiced amount including items such as faxes and photocopies. Many times an adjustment will be made with the blame being attributed to a billing department error. Hogwash of course, but the end result is an adjustment.

6. Get an estimate up front and negotiate the hourly rate up front

Outside experts sell time. This is their product. Therefore, it is in their best interest to extend the time needed for projects whenever possible. It is in your best interest to minimize the time extended on your projects, to get this time at the lowest hourly rate you can and to accomplish this while getting maximum results.

When you first approach a firm about doing business with them you have the most leverage. They want your business. If any concessions are to be made they will be made up front in an effort to get your business. Hourly rates may be lowered to get your business.

Remember, their standard hourly rate is nothing more than a list price for their product. They are also much more apt to be on the conservative side when estimating the time required to complete various projects. You will hold them to these estimates.

This approach can save you thousands of dollars over the alternative of accepting whatever rate they tell you and having them start working for you with no estimate of time. If they won’t work with you on the rate or are unwilling to provide awritten estimate of time required when you request it, walk away and find someone who will.

7. Even if you have complete accounting personnel on staff you should consider having an outside accountant come in periodically to review their work, ensure compliance, and keep an eye out for any fraud

They will be much more able to spot irregularities or discrepancies in the activity of this department.

This edition of The Welch Report has been provided by Derrick Welch the author of ‘In Pursuit of Profits: How to at Least Double your Profits Without Increasing Your Sales’. Including 1,000 Cost Control, Expense Reduction, and Income Producing Strategies You Can Start Using Today To Dramatically Increase Your Bottom Line.


7 Ways to Reduce Your Insurance Costs

1. You must shop around for your insurance coverage

Blindly staying with the same company year after year will rarely, if ever, result in the best coverage for the best rates. I suggest that you bring in 3 agents each year, or at least every two years, to review your insurance needs, recommend coverage, and provide costs.

I would bring in a regional independent agent, a major independent, and a carrier’s agent directly. By doing this you are accomplishing a number of things. First, you are shopping for the best costs. But, secondly, and as importantly, you are seeking to find out what coverage each will recommend. This will help you find out if your current coverage is adequate, if you are over covered, or under covered. If all three companies recommend the same levels of coverage then you are probably safe. If two of the three recommend higher or lower levels of coverage than you have then you better find out why and see if you agree.

You do not need to be an insurance expert as long as you deal with someone who is. You want to avail yourself of their expertise and by undergoing this process at least every two years this is exactly what you will be doing. You want each to give you a complete written proposal including recommended coverage, explanations for these recommendations, and costs for each. Without costs for each area of coverage, you will have no way to effectively evaluate one company against another and you will lose the option to pick and choose policies for different areas of coverage from one company to another.

Remember, you do not need to have all your coverage with one company. In fact, unless the individual costs are all best with one company, or unless one company has a special package plan for your type of business, you probably should not keep all coverage with one company.

There is no reason why you can’t have business coverage with one company and auto coverage with another, etc. In fact, unless you are being given significant discounts for doing so, the only reason that would cause you to buy all coverage from one company, even though some policies may costmore, would be laziness or convenience which is often nothing more than another form of laziness.

I know of one company who had not undertaken a competitive review of their insurance for over 20 years. When they did they saved themselves $30,000 a year or almost 15% in this case.

2. Make sure you are not over insuring

It will do you no good to insure something for $100,000 when the replacement value is only $75,000. The agent and company you more than they have to. They will not rebate premiums if you have overvalued something and therefore over insured.

It is up to you to know the value. If you cover equipment for $10,000,000 maximum at replacement value and the total replacement value is only $5,000,000 that is your problem. You should know or have a darn good idea as to the real replacement value. The opposite of this is also true, do not underinsure. Make sure you know whether you are insured for replacement value.

This is an area where a lot of gray area exists. This is one more good reason for conducting annual reviews. By conducting these you will get opinions and advice from a number of different sources and an inconsistency is much more likely to surface. Remember, do not just ask agents and companies to provide bids on current coverage but to evaluate your operation and recommend coverage and provide costs.

3. Ask your agent what you can do to reduce your insurance costs

They won’t tell you unless you ask. By asking you are expressing concerns over costs. Dissatisfaction over costs should be construed by the agent as a sign you are going to look elsewhere for coverage. The agent suddenly has a great incentive to try to reduce your Business Cost Control.

4. Look for agents or carriers that specialize in your type of business

Start by asking any association you belong to for suggestions. Also, ask competitors, suppliers, and even the Chamber of Commerce. If special plans exist for your type of business you should be able realize significant savings due to bundled types and levels of coverage. You will find that needed levels of coverage are built into the plan and that if purchased separately they would cost you a great deal more each year. I was able to save over $1,200 a year by finding a plan designed to cover companies in my industry.

A note of caution however, just because an agent tells you they are offering a great plan for your type of business don’t assume this is true. You should still get at least three quotes. The agent with the special plan may be just calling it that to sell you when indeed it is not that special at all.The plan may be designed for your type of business but it is overpriced, or contains elements that might be germane for most types of businesses in your industry but are not needed for your business at all.

5. Make sure that your insurance covers replacement value not current value

It may seem that you are saving money by covering for current value but if you have a claim and need to replace the lost or damaged equipment you will quickly find out that you have been very short sighted. The current value will in most cases be a fraction of the cost you will need to replace the item. Don’t cut corners in this area. Make sure you have replacement value or at least coverage equal to what the cost of very good used equipment would be.

6. Remember, premiums are just another name for payments

Your goal is to control these payments; buy only what you need, and get the best value for your purchase. Request written recommendations on coverage and costs and make the agent justify these recommendations to you. Insurance agents are sales representatives. Insurance is their product. Don’t forget this. Plain and simple, like any other purchase you consider they should justify this purchase to you.

7. Whenever you have a claim get your own estimate

Don’t do what most companies do and just take whatever they tell you the claim is worth. This is not an open and shut case;just because they say so, does not make it so. By securing your own estimate you can either verify the insurance company’s estimate and know you have a fair settlement or you can disagree with their costs and fight for a higher settlement. If you just accept their estimate you may find the actual loss involved to cost more, much more in some cases.

This edition of The Welch Report has been provided by Derrick Welch the author of ‘In Pursuit of Profits: How to at Least Double your Profits Without Increasing Your Sales’. Including 1,000 Cost Control, Expense Reduction, and Income Producing Strategies You Can Start Using Today To Dramatically Increase Your Bottom Line.


9 More Tips to Significantly Improve Your Purchasing Profitability

1. Ignore the term “discount”

When you hear this term your warning bells should go off. Ask the questions. Discounted from what? Discounted compared to what prices, over inflated starting prices?

Discounted prices may not be discounted at all. They may be establishing the list price and then telling you about the discount off of this price that they are giving you. What do you care about the list price? You should care nothing about the list price. The only thing about the list price that you should care about is that it’s the price that you will never pay.

Don’t assume a discount is giving you the best price or the best value. You want to compare the prices and all other factors of the sale with other sources. Do not just start dealing with a supplier who claims to give you discounts or calls themselves a discount supplier.

You must compare. A discounted price from one source may be higher than the normal prices of another source. How good is a 30% discount on a product that they list as selling for $100 when you can buy it from other sources for $50? You have actually overpaid for this “discounted” product by 40%. A 30% discount from $100 leaves the price at $70. This is 40% higher than the $50 you can buy it at elsewhere. Quite a deal don’t you think?

2. Never tell a supplier who got the order how much lower his bid was than the other bids

If you do, you can expect a higher price from this supplier the next time you have them bid. No one likes to leave money on the table. The bidding process always contains a certain amount of educated guessing as to what price to come in at. If they find out they came in at a bid that was much lower than the competition, then you can reasonably expect them to increase the price next time.

After all, why come in so much lower than the competition when they can come up in price and
still have a good chance to get the job since they were so much lower last time? If they know
they underbid by 15%, the next time they may feel they can come up 10% and still be well under
the other suppliers.

3. Never tell a losing bidder how much over their bid was

You always want them coming in with their lowest price. If they find out that their bid was only slightly high, the next time they may only lower it slightly. If they think they came in much too high, you may find the next bid they come in with to be much lower thereby providing you with an overall greater savings.

For example, if I know my bid was 5% too high, the next time I bid on this job I may bid 5% less; figuring this will match the winning bid last time and this time that winning bidder will come up somewhat. On the other hand, if I think my bid was much too high and I decide to bid again next time, I may lower my bid by 10% or even much more. The end result could be that you get a much lower winning bid.

4. Never tell a supplier what you now pay for an item

You want a fair process of competition and you want the best possible price. You do not want to give one supplier an unfair advantage over another supplier and you don’t want a supplier coming in just under your current price, when without prior knowledge of your prices, he may have come in much lower than this.

5. When you have an employee that has done an exceptional job in purchasing something at a significant savings, give that employee immediate recognition

Also, let others in the company know of the employee’s fine efforts. Not only should the effort be recognized but you also want to reinforce this type of activity with all employees. You want them striving for this type of sincere, visible recognition. This should be done for both large and small purchases.

6. Use ink jet recharging dispensers instead of buying new cartridges for your ink jet printer

You can purchase the refill kits in most office supply stores, direct mail office and computer supply sources and computer stores. Ink jet printer cartridges are extremely expensive at a cost of $30 and up per cartridge. Re-inking your existing cartridge will cost you 1/10th of that amount. Depending on the number of cartridges you use each year, this can easily save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year.

7. Use recycled laser printer cartridges

They are not only environmentally sensitive but they will also reduce your costs in this area by 25% to 50%. This can add up to significant savings over the course of the year.

8. Want a simple way to save 25% or more on your laser and ink jet cartridges?

When your printouts start fading or streaking with inconsistent ink coverage, instead of replacing them, simply take out the cartridge and gently shake it from side to side a few times.

Before I discovered this trick my laser printer cartridge was good for about 2,500 sheets of paper. Now it will print excellent copies for over 3,000 sheets of paper. You see, since most of what you print has margins on it, the ink on the sides of the cartridge is never used. By shaking the cartridge you are moving this ink into the middle where it can be used.

9. Don’t buy a brand name unless you have to

You can easily save up to 50% or more when you purchase generic supplies instead of brand name supplies. If you are buying paper clips why would you possibly want to spend twice as much to purchase a name brand of paper clip? I do not know, but I do know that millions and millions of boxes of brand name paper clips are bought every day.

There are hundreds of items for which you could choose a generic or house brand at a savings of 50% or more, with no loss in quality or usefulness at all.

Always look to purchase generic brands of office supplies. You will almost always pay more for name brands and almost never will this added cost be justified. How could you possibly justify buying brand name pens, pencils, paper, paper clips, note pads, tape, forms, and any one of a hundred other items that are for internal consumption?

At least be willing to try them.Test them on a limited basis and compare the quality and effectiveness of the product to the brand name equivalent. By testing a limited quantity of generic products while continuing to use the brand name product you will have no risk in the event that the generic product proves to be unacceptable.

In many cases, the generic product is actually manufactured by the same company that makes the brand name product. The products are simply distributed and sold under a different label.

One note here, do not assume that a generic name item is always lower priced than a brand name item. In the vast majority of the cases this will be true, but nevertheless you must compare prices to ensure this. There will be times when the brand name may actually cost less than the generic item. This is especially true when a manufacturer or distributor is offering specials or running a sale. Never assume anything.

This edition of The Welch Report has been provided by Derrick Welch the author of ‘In Pursuit of Profits: How to at Least Double your Profits Without Increasing Your Sales’. Including 1,000 Cost Control, Expense Reduction, and Income Producing Strategies You Can Start Using Today To Dramatically Increase Your Bottom Line.


Money Has a Cost

When I speak about the “cost of money” I am talking about just that. Allow me to explain it here to avoid boring you by repeating the same definition whenever I talk about it. All money has a cost

Money is either used to make you money or you have lost the opportunity for your money to make you money. Or at least to make you as much as it could.

If you are borrowing money to operate your business this money has a price. The price, of course, is the interest you are paying on the money while you are borrowing it. If you have money that you are holding in the form of cash in a low interest bearing account or short term investment, this money may also be costing you money.

How? Simple. Let’s say you are in a good cash flow situation and you have a cash balance of $50,000. You know this money will be needed for operational expenses in the near future so you let it sit in your business checking account or a short term liquid investment account. Let’s say you are earning 1/2% interest during this time.

It might seem that this money is working for you making you money, and indeed it is. But the question is whether or not this is the most effective use of that money. If your money is in one place it cannot be in another at the same time. Obvious right? Well, if your money is tied up in the bank you must ask yourself – is this the best place for it? Is there another use you could put this money to in order to earn more money?

For example, can you pay some bills off early and take a trade discount of 2%. I will cover this in future articles but for now think and understand money has a cost. If your $50,000 sits in the bank earning 1/2% interest you will earn $250 per year. Now I know I have not factored in compound interest but I want to give a simple example of how you should think.

If you have the cash sitting for 30 days you will have earned 1/12th of this $250 or $21. But what if you had used that $50,000 to pay off bills early and get a 2% discount? A 2% discount on $50,000 is $1,000. A simplistic example to be sure, but even using this you have increased the return on your money significantly.

Leaving your money in the bank had a cost to you. A lost opportunity cost. An opportunity to use this money to make you more money. But you must consider your cash flow, no matter how effectively you might otherwise use your money, you only have so much of it to use and therefore the availability of cash must be considered.

Money does have a cost. If I have used $10,000 to pay an invoice early that offered me a 1% discount I have saved $100. If I used that same money to pay a bill early that offered me a 2% discount I have doubled my return on the use of that money as I have saved $200.

Do you see my point? Now put aside any cash flow questions for a minute while I make another
point.

Now what if I did not pay any bill off early, but instead put that $10,000 in an investment for 12 months paying me 1%? Have I not done well by earning $100 on my money? It would seem so, but this is not the case.

By paying off an invoice early to take advantage of an early payment discount, you will save much more than the discount. When you earn a 2% discount by paying an invoice early, you are earning a return far greater than 2%. Unless you understand this there will be no way you can properly determine whether the best use of your money is to pay the invoice off and take the discount or not.

The formula is simple so don’t despair. Here is the formula:

365 x discount rate
Effective annual interest = —————————————
Number of days payment must be
made ahead of the due date to earn this discount.

So if a supplier offers you terms of “2/10 net 30” what is the effective rate of interest? Well, first
of all, he is offering you a 2% discount if you pay in 10 days. The normal terms are 30 days. This
means that to get the 2% discount you must pay 20 days early.

For this example we are assuming that you would normally comply with the 30 days terms.

For the sake of this example let us say the amount of the bill in question is the same $10,000 we have been talking about. This is what your formula looks like:

365 x.02
Effective annual interest = ————– =.365
20

Your effective annual interest rate is 36.5%. Obviously, even if you had to borrow the money to pay off this invoice your rate of return will be well worth it.

Do not think I am suggesting paying off discounted invoices as the only option you want to look at. I have simply chosen this often overlooked strategy as an example.

You must always consider all your options for using your money. The goal is to seek out the most profitable option available to you at any given time.

Never forget that money has a cost. How you use it can make a great deal of difference to your bottom line.

This edition of The Welch Report has been provided by Derrick Welch the author of ‘In Pursuit of Profits: How to at Least Double your Profits Without Increasing Your Sales’. Including 1,000 Cost Control, Expense Reduction, and Income Producing Strategies You Can Start Using Today To Dramatically Increase Your Bottom Line.

And ‘Defy Mediocrity. Choose to be Uncommon. Think of the Alternative’.


Questions Are the Key to Success in Business and Life

It was Kipling who gave us what was perhaps the greatest advice for business success and, in fact, success in life that has ever been given. He told us the key to success in all areas when he said “I had six honest serving men. They taught me all I knew. Their names were: where and what and when and why and how and who.”

The late great Earl Nightingale suggested we add two more friends to this group. They are, which and if.

Whether you are seeking to find ways to increase sales or control and reduce costs, questions are the key. Whether you are striving to improve your customer service or the quality of your product, or your life, questions are the key.

Asking the questions and developing the answers are the keys to any and all success you will have in business and in fact life.

Questions like:

If we do this, what happens?

Why do we do it this way?

Why don’t we do it this way?

Who else can we sell to?

Where else can we get this?

What can we do to reduce costs?

What can we do to improve productivity?

What can we do to improve quality?

What can we do to improve our service?

How else can that be done?

How can we do it better, faster, cheaper?

How can we improve quality, service, and profits?

How can we cut costs?

If we do this, will we improve quality?

If we do this, will it improve service?

If we do this, will it increase profits?

Which provides us with better quality?

Which is best for our customer?

What do we get in return for this cost?

Who else can provide what we need?

Why are we paying that much?

Why do we not deal with another company?

Why are we dealing with them?

How many other bids have we gotten?

What if?

How can we replace that with equal or better quality for less?

What are other companies charging for that product or service?

What are other companies paying for that product or service?

Will this process or step add value to our product or service or does it produce added profit?

When would this investment pay off?

You see my point I am sure. You must ask questions and seek out the answers. You must also justify the answers.

You must never stop asking. If you are not continuously asking the questions and reacting to the answers, you are either assuming or stagnating. Either one can be deadly to your business.

You must review every phase of your business. You may be very surprised when you see how little effort it will take to find huge savings and to make major improvements in how you conduct business.

You can always improve how you do things. You must find ways to conduct business more efficiently, eliminate needless steps, improve quality, increase productivity, reduce errors, increase sales, ways to increase profit in a business, reduce expenses, and control costs.

Let me give you one small example of how an assumption proved to be very costly at one company. One of the many products this company offered was a holiday label strip. This was simply a strip of peel off labels to affix to holiday presents showing “to” and “from”. Banks around the country would buy them and give them out one strip at a time to their customers around the holidays.

For years this company shrink wrapped these in packages of 250 and sold them in a minimum quantity of 1,000. The shrink wrapping was time consuming and costly. I asked them why. Why did they need to be shrink wrapped? How did they know if this was important to the customer? What, if any, difference did packaging make to their customers?

They asked the questions and found the answers. The answer in this case was that the customer either couldn’t have cared less about the packaging or did not like the shrink wrap as it simply meant more work for them to unwrap. After years of doing it the way they always did and assuming that was what the end user wanted, they found out differently. They now bulk package. They save between $20,000 and $30,000 per year and their customers are either happier or neutral about this change.

Did this company sacrifice quality in any way to save money? No, they improved productivity, improved customer satisfaction, and, by doing so, improved profitability.

Ask the questions. They are the key to the door of improvement.

You should constantly be reviewing every area of your operation to seek ways in which you can improve. Use common sense. From office expenses to customer service, from distribution and production to quality control and shipping, you will be shocked at how little effort it will take to improve your operations, reduce waste and redundancy, and realize huge savings.

From the way you sell things to the way you buy things, it is up to you to improve things. Improvement is always possible in everything we do.

You possess the greatest power ever created and it sits right between your two ears. You own it, free and clear. All you need to do is put it to work.

This edition of The Welch Report has been provided by Derrick Welch the author of ‘In Pursuit of Profits: How to at Least Double your Profits Without Increasing Your Sales’. Including 1,000 Cost Control, Expense Reduction, and Income Producing Strategies You Can Start Using Today To Dramatically Increase Your Bottom Line.


4 Green Cleaner That Work Like Wonders

If you are all about green cleaning and you wish to stop using harsh chemicals for your home, you best turn to safer solutions. There are quite a few options you have since people have found the use for some 100% safe and natural products. The best part is you likely already own these in your home, maybe you just didn’t consider their cleaning prowess. Following is a guide on how to use some of these eco-friendly cleaners to great success:

  • Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) – if you are all about domestic cleaning, then baking soda should be high on your list of solutions you use around your home. In fact, you may want to reconsider the uses of baking as being merely an ingredient you use in your cooking efforts. It serves wonders with its deodorising qualities, as it absorbs unpleasant smells in the fridge, carpet or mattress. Put baking soda in a cup and leave it in your fridge, or sprinkle a generous amount of it on the carpet or mattress and you will see the difference it makes. What you can also use baking soda for is stain removal. Mix a paste of water and baking soda to clean stubborn stains on your sink, cooker, worktop or pans. You will find baking soda also works wonders for unclogging drains when paired with vinegar.
  • White vinegar (distilled) – vinegar is another eco-friendly cleaning solution that you should use around the home. One notable use it sees is removing limescale in the bathroom or kitchen. Instead of spraying with some strong chemical, you can use vinegar. Spray directly on the problem area, let it sit for a while and then wipe. You can even use it on the showerhead when it gets too soiled. Tie a bag with vinegar around it and let it sit overnight. Rinse, and you will find the item looking as good as new. Vinegar is also an excellent way to neutralise unpleasant smells.
  • Lemon juice – other than using on your fish, lemon juice can be a wonderful cleaner. It contains natural bleaching agents, which, unlike traditional bleach, will not make your head dizzy. It is also a nice way to sanitise the chopping board and garbage bin. Rub the area with half a lemon and add some salt as a scouring agent. You will find the area not just clean but also refreshed with a pleasant scent. You can brighten your whites with a cup of lemon added to your wash load.
  • Washing soda crystals – the thing about soda crystals is that they are biodegradable, come with zero bleach, phosphate and enzyme content and are therefore 100% safe to use on fabric. Washing soda is an excellent choice if you don’t want to use strong chemicals. It is a decent solution for ink, blood, grass, coffee and red wine. You can apply on fabric and non-fabric stains, such as on pans, chopping boards and cups.


Tips to Choose the Best Steel Bar Gratings

If you are going to purchase bar gratings, you may be finding it hard to opt for the right gratings, which is normal. Given below are a few tips that can help you choose the best steel bar gratings to meet your needs.

1. Press-Locked or Welded Gratings

Although they look similar, there is a difference between them. The difference is related to the production mode. We have discussed the two common types below.

Press-Locked Type

Press-locked bar gratings are pressed together using a high-pressure manufacturing method. So, the end product has a two-directional flush surface, which results in a firm connection and appealing look.

Welded Steel Type

Welded-steel type is the best type of steel bar grating as it offers high strength and ease of installation. This grating is usually resistance welded in order to make a one-piece, rugged construction panel.

The two gratings offer similar features. Hence, you can opt for one based on your taste.

2. Selection of Materials

Based on your needs, you can opt for the right materials. For instance, you may need gratings to work on walkways or shelves. Actually, the idea is to make sure the grating is strong enough to do the job.

If the product is not strong enough, it may not be able to give you the desired results. So, this is important to keep in mind when buying one.

3. The Selection of Mesh Size

After the material, another important point that you should keep in mind when buying steel bar gratings is the size. The common width of a standard panel is 2 or 3 feet and the length is 20 to 24 feet.

Based on the application method, use, place, load and customer requirement, you can divide the grating mesh.

Customer: The optical perception of it is determined by the size and shape of the mesh.

Use: For more light, the bigger mesh can work better. On the other hand, the smaller mesh can help prevent things from falling off.

Load: the benefit of a smaller mesh is that it allows higher load capacity.

4. Surface Protection

You can find steel gratings in black. They are not coated with a zinc protection layer. In other words, their surface doesn’t go through any type of treatment.

However, the gratings are so strong that they can easily last 40 years. Corrosion won’t have any impact on it.

If you need additional protection, we suggest that you opt for a grating that is painted or powder coated.

5. Types of the Surface Shape

Normally, you can find gratings that come in two types of surface shapes: smooth and serrated. If you want the anti-slip to perform better, we suggest that you opt for one that is serrated.

Long story short, if you are looking for a steel bar grating for a specific purpose, we suggest that you follow the tips given in this article. These 5 tips will help you avoid choosing the wrong type. Opting for the right type is essential if you want the best results.


3 Tips When Choosing a Food Courier

Nothing beats the taste of homemade food and it is when you are in a foreign land that you certainly appreciate your native cuisine. Do you know that you can courier your food items from India to any part of the world? In this article, we will be looking at 3 tips when it comes to choosing an international food courier.

Simplicity

First of all, you want to consider the ease of use of the service. You would want a courier service that will make documentation as well as customs clearing as easy as possible. Foods are highly perishable items and you would want the items to reach their destination quickly. Choose a courier service that provides online tracking so that you can monitor your shipment. Some courier service will require a lot of paperwork while others will take care of the documentation procedures for you. This is where a service such as Translink Express might come in handy as they take care of all documentation and guarantee a door to door delivery.

International service

When choosing an international food courier you would want to choose a service that provides a wide range of destination. This will allow you to get your homemade dishes couriered to you wherever you are located in the world. A service such as Translink Express offers a wide variety of destination such as UK, USA, Canada, Dubai and many parts of the world. Moreover, they have some good experience of the customs regulations of these destinations guaranteeing you a fast and effective customs clearance.

Packing service

When it comes to courier food items it is important that you pay attention to the packing. Indeed food can easily get spoiled during transit and only a courier service that is specialized in the transportation of food items can guarantee you a hassle-free service. Also, inquire whether you will be given an insurance on your shipment to protect your food items. A courier service such as Translink Express will provide you with free packing service as well as a money back guarantee in case they cannot deliver your items.

Nowadays if you are working or studying abroad there is no reason why you should miss any of your homemade dishes. With the numerous international food courier service that exists it is easy to get your favorite homemade items to your doorstep. We hope that the tips given above will help you in choose the right courier service for your foodstuffs.


Amazon Isn’t Killing Your Business, You Are

A few days ago, I went to the store to pick up a few items after work, which was the peak time in retail. When I went to pay, I looked at two registers with cashiers and very long lines. I then chose to contend with self-service, and when I got stuck in the particular sequence I was supposed to do to pay, the human who in the earlier days of self-service stood around helping people become familiar with the payment machine was nowhere to be found.

As someone who had worked in retail for years, I was in disbelief of the managers who acted as if people were not frustrated and annoyed at having this terrible experience at a store. What happened to service? When did that become a thing of the past? When did it become acceptable for businesses to disregard the time and experience of their customers?

As an entrepreneur, I have many conversations with small business owners about how online companies and retailers are killing their profits, and they have no choice but to keep things lean and mean.

Amazon is a favorite business killer.

But, when I go to retail stores, I see long lines, which I’d much rather avoid by tapping a few things into a digital retail platform and then receive my products usually within a few hours of ordering in the comfort of my home. Who wants to go to a store to have an experience that is not pleasant when I can sit in my house and get what I need in a fraction of the time?

Here’s my take on the big, bad Amazon and other global retailers destroying small businesses: No, they are not.

While there are pros and cons about Amazon and other global businesses, such as paying competitive and fair wages, as well as working conditions for their employees, it’s easy to think about online retailers as the enemy because it gives business owners someone else to blame but themselves.

If you have a business and you’re not adapting to the changes that are happening, and you think you’re adjusting by destroying the customer experience, then you’ve got no one else to blame but yourself. You’re losing your profits because of you, not Amazon.

I have a question for you.

Have you ever thought of competing against Amazon and other big online retailers?

If the answer is no, why not?

If you say that it’s because your business can’t possibly compete against a trillion-dollar company and if it does, then it has to shaft the customer, you’re wrong. Yes, you can compete against Amazon and other global giants, and you can get more customers. Here’s how:

  1. Change your mindset: First things first. You have to look at yourself in the mirror and stop excusing the failure of your company to be innovative and to adapt on anyone else but you. It’s essential to do this because if you think right from the outset that you’ve lost, then you might as well close up shop. You have to believe that your company can stand out.
  2. Stay in your lane: I’m an entrepreneur and have more than seven brands. One of the most important things we do is stay in our path. We’re not all things to all people. We picked niches for the brands, and we are relentless in being the market leader. Amazon has thousands of products and keeps moving into new industries, such as publishing, retail, and now healthcare and even education. Want to beat Amazon? Focus like a laser on a niche.
  3. Develop a purpose: If you search Amazon, it often has hundreds of thousands of similar products, such as shoes. No one is going to go through that, but if you’re a shoe retailer and figure out a specific value to your customers for buying shoes from you (e.g., a higher purpose), people will patronize your store. Amazon isn’t looking to create a consumer story for making a positive impact. However, other brands have overlaid making a difference in their products, and that’s a competitive advantage your business would have over a behemoth like Amazon.
  4. Customer service:A competitive advantage of my brands over my competitors is exceptional customer service. You can crush even Amazon if you provide something that seems to have gone out of style– extraordinary and live customer service where people can speak to another human who cares about their customer experience. If you want consumers to get into your store, then think about how you can cater to them and treat each person as a unique individual.
  5. Experience: This goes along with the earlier point. Think about the experience you want to give your customers. Do you want them standing in line at your store (not going to happen with many people), or entering into a fresh, modern (including lots of tech) and fun experience? Think of the customer experience from the moment they consumers see your brand, to the point of sale and beyond. Customer experience is why Amazon is a global giant; they are fanatical about knowing their customers.

If you want to continue to claim that your business can’t compete against Amazon or other online retailers, then close up shop. You are correct. However, if you want to get out of your way and operate your business successfully in the 21stCentury, then get to work. There’s plenty of ocean, and even small fish swim alongside the giant whales. You can’t be afraid of it.


Big Data’s Role in the Craft Brewing Process

The use of what is commonly called “Big Data” can play a key role in the operation of any craft brewing company.

How that data is gathered, analyzed and implemented can make a large difference in the efficiencies and profitability of any sized brewer, from new startup to the established multi-state operation.

Nearly all brewers realize that attention to detail is a hallmark of the industry. It can make the difference between success and failure. This includes execution of a daily routine that ensures ingredients are mixed and formulated properly, then properly processed through a kegging and bottling system, and, in the end, results in the replication of a high quality product. This must be accomplished with a production output necessary to sustain profitability.

The overall brewing process must be completed with as little waste as possible. Any variation, large or small, can slow down the operation, impede production, and compromise taste. The end result can be a slowdown in delivery times, loss of customers, and a large increase in overall costs.

In order to maintain consistency, many in the industry are now turning to data gathering systems. These systems can include software that can be automated to accumulate hundreds of pages of information. However the challenge for most becomes not only the collection of the data itself but also how to sift through it, decipher it and put it to use to improve business operations.

Fortunately new data gathering software has been created specifically for the craft brewing industry. Not only can the software be utilized to eliminate the mountains of data which may be pertinent to other types of businesses but not to brewers, but it can also monitor key areas of operation impacting the brewer’s’ specific brewing process.

This software can be customized to monitor and even improve mashing-plato (balling), temperature (conversion) and raise times. It can provide information on Lauter tun-first wort plato, lost Hansel plato, number of bed cuts, runoff time total and grain out time. Items such as brewkettle-kettle full plato, wort cooling, fermentation, time from fill to attemporation, centrifuge turbidity, yeast brink, filter and CIP can also be tagged as needed.

The software can help the brewer with full system monitoring, setup alerts based on production and performance, watch output comparisons by day and time, and track inventory and materials.

Some of the automated software can also provide cloud based reporting for 24/7/365 access on a PC, laptop or mobile device. It can work with all servers and workstations, and multiple devices. The software may also be compatible with any PLC including Siemens and Allen-Bradley devices.

The newer software can be adjusted to provide only the most crucial reports and information. Instead of continuously polling and storing data, it can focus on specific program triggers and collect specific data at specific points in time, at specific process conditions. This provides a detailed comparison from one day’s operation to the next, enabling the brewer to make adjustments as necessary.

A brewer can also find programs that provide a full system back-up, support and updates. Some systems are fully customizable to meet the needs of the individual brewery.

Corporations and multi-national beer producers have used various forms of big data processes for many years. Big data has helped them not only monitor and improve the manufacturing process but also with pricing and marketing.

Now craft brewers, of all sizes, can enjoy the benefits of data gathering and analyzation. The development of new software programming, combined with the ease of cloud based reporting, can help the brewer greatly improve business operations while greatly increasing profits.

David Moye is a Principal with Forensic IT, a firm providing big data solutions to companies nationwide. David helped found Forensic IT and DataSnare software, and has some 25 plus years of experience as a software engineer and solution architect. Along with at least a half a dozen core programming languages, he is a certified DBA in Oracle and Sybase and has spent years working with MS-SQL and MySql.


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