Category Archives: Main

E-commerce warehouse: tips from Logistiko

Since most courier companies offer delivery within one day, the key task of the warehouse is to prepare the orders for dispatch on the day of placing them by the customer. How to achieve this goal using simple methods?

It would seem that warehouse designed to handle e-commerce is a warehouse like any other. Products come in deliveries and then they are released. However, the specificity of e-commerce and high expectations of buyers mean that the organization of an e-commerce warehouse entail several specific requirements.

Order completion is essential.

Nowadays, almost every client who makes a purchase online expects to receive goods on the next day. In e-commerce survey conducted by Gemius in 2016 in Poland – the most common problem with online shopping mentioned in customer’s opinions is the long wait for delivery of goods (35% – Logistiko internal data). In a similar survey from 2015, high cost of shipping was in the first place, while the long delivery time was second. It is clear that the order completion time and expectations associated with it are gaining importance year after year.

Since most courier companies offer delivery within one day, the key task of the warehouse is to prepare the orders for dispatch on the day of placing them by the customer. How to achieve this goal using simple methods?

Courier package collection hours

Depending on the location of the warehouse and the number of packages per day, couriers offer a variety of schedules for collecting them. Of course, the key is to find a courier company that will offer not only favourable prices, but also the latest pick-up hours. This will allow the warehouse to have more time for handling the orders (e.g. if the courier collects the packages around 15:00, then automatically no order placed after that time has a chance to be sent out on the same day and delivered on the next day).

Warehouse working hours

The natural tendency is to balance the number of warehouse employees during the day. For example, if the warehouse employees work on two shifts, it is natural to balance the number of employees for both shifts. However, most often in the case of e-commerce, the number of orders is not distributed evenly throughout the day. Usually, the amount of orders increases in the afternoon. In addition, the later the orders get to the warehouse, the less time is left for packing them and preparing for dispatch.

Therefore, before assigning working hours to employees, it is always a good idea to consider whether you really need the same number of employees on each shift?

Almost certainly the answer will be – in the afternoon, we need more staff than in the morning.

Arrangement of goods on the shelves

This is very often ignored in the case of warehouses using WMS support, where recognition of products is based on barcodes. In such a situation, it seems that the placement of goods is of secondary importance, because the employee has to scan the product before taking it from the shelf anyway. The error in such reasoning is that before the employee scans the product, he first needs to find it, most often visually (otherwise, he would have to mindlessly scan every product on the shelf until he finds the right one).

The greater the density of goods on the shelf, the more time it takes to identify and scan the right one. Since warehouses are not made of rubber, the density on shelves is often inevitable. So, what to do? Ensure that products that are similar to each other are not placed next to each other. Optimization of the products’ distribution for one of our clients who sells small electronic products, which differ from one another only by symbols, shortened the time of searching for products by more than half, and thus, increased our confidence that we will be able to deliver all orders on the same day.

As you can see, improving the work of your warehouse for e-commerce does not have to require big investment or costs. Sometimes, it is enough to think carefully about what prevents faster completion of orders and remove these obstacles one by one. For more details please visit http://logistiko.eu/.

5 Simple Ways to Slash Your Car Budget

Trying to maintain a balanced budget is a little like trying to maintain your balance on a tightrope. Just when you think you have the hang of it, a gust of wind comes by and leaves you flailing. For most people, transportation costs are some of the most unpredictable and burdensome budgeting factors. However, you are not doomed to a lifetime of hefty car expenses. Here are five changes you can make to your vehicle-related spending that could help you enjoy bigger savings and a more predictable budget.

1. Trade in Your Car

While the actual process of trading in your car is not always simple, the results can dramatically simplify your life and your budget. For example, if you bought a new car this year and have been struggling to make the payments, you can do yourself a huge favor by selling your current vehicle and purchasing a slightly older but gently used model. Car values depreciate so rapidly that you may be paying top dollar for a vehicle that is already worth 20 percent less than when you originally bought it.

On the flip side, perhaps you have been driving an absolute beater for a while and regularly drop hundreds of dollars into making repairs. The wisest course of action, in this case, may actually be to spend a few months saving for a down payment on a more reliable vehicle. In both cases, your end goal is to minimize the sum of your monthly payments plus your monthly maintenance costs.

2. Update Your Car Insurance

Shopping for car insurance is such a hassle that most people are content to stick with whatever policy they already have. However, thinking this way can be a big mistake when it comes to your budget. Circumstances change over time, and you may qualify for discounts today that did not exist four years ago. To learn more about what different companies have to offer, you can use comparison tools like the one on www.carinsurancecheap.net. Tools like this one provide useful information about coverage rates in your area as well as crucial saving tips.

3. Learn Maintenance Basics

Most people lack the time, resources, or desire necessary to perform all their own vehicle maintenance, which is why mechanics shops exist. However, you can save hundreds of dollars if you learn to handle some basic maintenance tasks on your own. For example, instead of paying labor and facility fees for a mechanic to change your tail lights, you can do the same job on your own for a few dollars. There are millions of car maintenance tutorial videos available online, so you can teach yourself some useful new tricks for free.

4. Walk or Bike

Cars are obviously meant to be driven, but excessive use is one of the major contributors to breakdowns. You can prolong the life of the car and reduce the frequency of breakdowns by walking or biking to your destinations whenever you can. While it might seem easier to drive two minutes to the post office, walking there instead will give you the exercise you need and your car the rest it deserves. Walking and biking more will also help you cut back on your gas expenditures, enabling you to allocate that money to different areas of your budget.

5. Use Public Transportation

Of course, you probably do not live within walking or biking distance of all your regular destinations. If this is the case, then consider using public transportation when possible. Once again, you will save money on gas and avoid putting excessive wear on your car. Public transportation also gives you the opportunity to walk a few extra steps and avoid the hassle of finding and paying for parking in busy areas. If you need more convincing, try using a fuel savings calculator like this one to see exactly how much you can save with public transportation.

Simplify and Save

No one wants to waste money, but it happens all too easily. While cars tend to be a particularly significant source of costs, there are multiple ways to modify your spending habits in this area. Whether you adopt all five of these methods or stick with just one, they can help you enjoy more room in your monthly budget and more simplicity in your daily life.

How to Benefit from LinkedIn More

we live in the times when we constantly need to rely on the Internet in order to get or keep our job. Our professional lives changed dramatically the moment the Internet became popular and it seems like adapting to this new reality is the only way to go these days if you plan to be successful.

One website that has been big for a while with all those looking for a job as well as employees is LinkedIn. The site has grown so much that today many people use it to look for new job opportunities, but to also look for that perfect candidate. In other words, this is a marketplace where people meet. It is no wonder then that after some time of its existence LinkedIn developed a premium plan for all their members.

You might be wondering about LinkedIn Premium cost. Another question you will be asking yourself is the following: is LinkedIn Premium worth it?. Well, look at the prices, all the benefits listed, and you will be able to see clearly for yourself. Now if somebody asks you how much is linkedin premium you will precisely know the answer and you will be able to decide for yourself whether this will be something that is worth paying for.

Research and Writing: Tips, Tech and Tools for Producing Top Copy

As a writer, you’ll know that time is money, which is why you’ll have a number of ways you try to make the most of your time. However, there are also a variety of different tools available which can help you to produce stellar copy by enabling you to organize your time and remove any unwanted distractions. Here are just some of them:

Removing Distractions

One of the hardest things most writers face is distractions, whether these are chores that need doing around the home or the Facebook tab you’ve got open on your laptop. However, an app has been designed to help eliminate many of the distractions you’ll find on your computer – meet FocusWriter.

Available on a number of computer systems, this has been designed to try and remove things from your computer screen that you may find distracting, allowing you to focus on one thing – your writing.

Recording Conversations

If you’re a journalist or you’re involved in interviewing clients, you’ll no doubt find it quite stressful gathering notes from your meetings. This is especially challenging if you’re not going to be working on the piece until a later date, as you’ll want to make sure you’ve captured all the essential details you’ll need, just in case you forget them.

However, there is an app that enables you to keep track of all your important conversations for a later date – Call Recorder for Me. You can automatically turn this on to record all your conversations, or you can pick and choose which ones you want recording. One thing’s for sure – you’ll never have to take notes again!

Editing Work

Even though there are plenty of apps you can download to help with your work, it’s always nice to find something that’s available online and without the need for a download. The Hemingway App can be a writer’s best friend as it’s a free web app that helps you to edit your work with ease. Highlighting your text in different colors to draw your attention to various things, including common grammatical errors and complex sentences that are too long, it helps you to see where you might have gone wrong in your work.

Unnecessary adverbs are also picked out as are uses of passive voice, which helps you to see where you might need to make changes. This is a really good tool if you’re editing your own work or want to double-check your text before you send it on to your clients.

Creating eBooks

Writing books doesn’t have to mean publishing hard copies, as many authors go straight to an eBook. And there are a number of ways you can create an eBook, including uploading your work from your favorite word processor. However, one app has been designed to help you edit books with much more ease – Sigil. As it hasn’t been bolted onto an existing app, Sigil allows you to check your book against EPUB standards (eBook file formatting) and offers WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editing. It also allows you to fix and format your work and comes with a number of optional plugins, which you can use to further enhance your eBook.

 

Beat the At-home Blues with a Networking Event

Working from home can sometimes be a lonely venture. Even if you communicate with people online and over the phone, you might not get to see people in person very often. If you feel like you need some more engagement with fellow professionals and at-home workers, there are a few things you could do to get some people together. One idea is to host a networking event for local people who work at home so that you can get together to socialize and perhaps share ideas. It can also be a good way for you to learn some new skills and add something interesting to your resume. Put together an event using these tips.

Artist: Ghozt Tramp

Find Your People

Firstly, you need to find the right people who could be interested in coming to your event. They need to be local people who work from home or perhaps use coworking spaces and public places to get their work done. They don’t necessarily have to work in any particular industry, and they could work full-time or just do some casual online work. Try looking for relevant LinkedIn groups, or creating one if there isn’t one. Facebook can also be useful to find other people in your area who want to network. Ask your friends and family if they know anyone who would be interested too.

Get a Venue

If you’ve asked about interest in a possible networking event, you need to find somewhere to host it. Don’t set anything in stone until you’re sure people are going to come, though. For your first event, it might be a good idea to use somewhere casual that you don’t need to book, especially if you don’t know how many people will turn up. You can use a variety of spaces, from your own home to cafes and bars (warn them in advance if you’re going to turn up with a large group). If your event will be more formal, you might want to book a meeting room or private event room.

Promote the Event

You need to get people interested in coming to your event, and possibly have people sign up, so you have solid numbers. You can promote your event both online and offline. For example, if you make flyers you can use them on social media pages and forums, as well as print them out. Try displaying your printed materials in places like coworking spaces or even local cafes. You never know who might spot them.

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Open Data Institute Knowledge for Everyone

Make Your Event Fun and Useful

Your event needs to be useful to those who come, especially if you want to host another. It might be a purely social affair, allowing everyone to chat to each other. Or you might decide to have some people speak about making the most of working from home and other helpful topics. However you structure your event, it’s a good idea to make sure there are drinks and food available. This is easy if you’re somewhere that serves food, but you might need to arrange something if you’re not.

A networking event is an excellent way to connect with other people who work at home or remotely. If you need some more in-person interaction, a regular event could be a great idea.

Mom’s Money Makeover: How to Improve Your Credit Score

Being a mom is a juggling act. Sometimes when life gets busy you can lose track of your finances. Maybe you miss a payment one month. No big deal? Well, it is if it happens more than once and you are trying to apply for a loan. Your credit rating will slide if you aren’t on top of things. Here’s how to whip it back into shape if it has gone for a dive.

Never miss a payment

In many instances, a poor credit rating can be a result of a disorganized lifestyle. You may have the money to pay your bills, but you are missing your regular payment due dates. In this case, automatic payments will go a long way to getting you back where you should be. Schedule your payments to happen throughout the month, coinciding with your pay cheques, so that your bank account isn’t emptied all at once. For example, rent comes out on the first of the month, cable at the end of the first week, Internet on the second and cell phone bill on the third.  If you show that you can pay on time, your credit rating will begin to climb again.

Pay more than the minimum

Ideally, you will pay your credit card off every month. If this isn’t possible, try to keep your running debt load under 30% of your allowable amount. This will protect you from higher interest rates and monthly fees. When you put some money toward your credit card balance each month, make every effort to pay more than the minimum amount due. You also need to look at other areas of your life where credit is involved. If you can reduce your debt load by eliminating a car payment, this will immediately improve your debt ratio and credit score. You can also ask your lender to increase your credit rating for this purpose. If you have been making regular payments, there is no reason why they shouldn’t raise your limit, especially if it is going to help your credit score.

Don’t allow numerous inquiries

If you are shopping around for a mortgage or a new car, or checking your own credit score, it doesn’t have much of an effect on your credit rating. These are called “single probe” inquiries. But if you are applying for every store credit card that is offered to you, those “hard inquiries” add up. Half a dozen credit rating inquiries in one year can be detrimental to your credit worthiness.

Credit ratings are a snapshot of your life at the moment the inquiry is made. If you just bought a car, paid a kid’s university tuition and took a trip somewhere, you might be hurting credit-wise. Try to spread out your bigger expenditures over the year so that they don’t all happen at once, leaving you in a tough spot with high payments to make. By following these steps and monitoring your own finances carefully throughout the year, you should score higher within a year.

5 Ways To Save Money On Childcare

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 The affordability and availability of childcare remains a major issue in Australia.  Costs have risen dramatically in recent years, increasing more than 44% between 2009 and 2014 alone.  The National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (PDF) suggests that the average cost of childcare has risen to $75 dollars a day, up from $30 in 2003.

While successive federal governments have increased the amount of assistance available for childcare, it is still quite expensive, with most families paying between $2,000 to $6,500 per year for a single childcare placement.

Families with high incomes can pay even more if they pass the income threshold for government assistance.  Some families have to bare the entire cost of their childcare — costing as much as $35,000 per year.

Fortunately, there are some simple techniques you can employ to decrease childcare costs!  Here are five of the best.

#1 — Get your friends and family involved
The simplest way to reduce childcare costs is to reduce the time that your child spends in a childcare centre.  Consider the following approaches:

  • Ask your parents if they can babysit your children 1 day per week
    Grandparents love to spend time with their grandchildren.  Instead of popping over on a weekend, ask them if they are willing to look after your children 1 day each week.  It can be a very rewarding arrangement for both the grandparents and their grandchildren.
  • Swap childcare services with friends and family members
    If you are working part time and have a friend or family member in the same situation, ask them to swap childcare services.  You could look after their child one day a week and they can look after yours one day a week.
  • Ask younger family members if you can pay them to babysit
    Many friends and family members would be happy to babysit for one or two days a week for a small fee.  Having a babysitter available also gives you more flexibility when it comes to childcare.

#2 — Employ a nanny or au pair
If your family obtains limited assistance from the government or you are located in an area with limited childcare centres, it may be worth considering a nanny or au pair.  You will have a much more flexible and convenient arrangement, where you can dictate how much assistance you require.  You can choose a carer who is ideally suited for your children.

The difficulty with using a nanny of au pair is locating one that is trustworthy, reliable, and professional.  Here are a few tips for finding a suitable great nanny or au pair:

  • Only use experienced nannies or au pairs with great references
    Look for experienced carers who have excellent references.  Call each reference yourself and ask them detailed question about the carer’s job performance.
  • Use specialist websites to locate the perfect nanny or au pair
    There are a variety of websites which let you browse nannies and au pairs.  Using these websites can help you quickly identify carers with the right experience, skills, qualifications, and availability.
  • Perform a police check of all applicants
    It is important to check the suitability of all candidates with a police check.  This will tell you if the nanny or au pair has had a checkered past.  A police check will also provide you with some information about their reliability and suitability for the position.  It is simple to perform a police check online, with many websites offering the service.

#3 — Obtain all of the government and employer assistance available
The types of financial assistance available for childcare can change over time.  As you change employers you may gain or lose access to employer-based assistance packages.  As your income changes, you may gain or lose access to government assistance.  If your employment situation changes, talk to the human resources department to understand how it may affect your childcare arrangements.

Governments are also tweaking childcare assistance programs fairly often.  The next major change is occurring in July 2017, when the federal government introduces the Child Care Subsidy (CCS).  This program will replace some existing schemes, including the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate.

The new program changes the size of payments, how many hours of assistance parents can claim, and much more.  It also introduces a Nanny Pilot Programme, where parents who employ a nanny can receive additional assistance.  You can read an article here to understand how these changes may affect you.

#4 — Choose childcare centres that offer more benefits
The level of assistance provided by childcare providers can vary greatly.  For example, some childcare centres will provide all meals for your children, while others expect parents to cover that cost.  Some childcare centres have strict rules about parents who turn up late when picking up a child, while others are more forgiving.  Some childcare centres have special activities and outings that must be paid for by the parent.  Make sure you include all financial aspects when comparing childcare centres.

#5 — Save money on other aspects of your child’s life
You can reduce other expenses and put that money towards childcare costs.  Here are a few simple suggestions:

  • Buy food in bulk and prepare meals in advance
  • Purchase clothes from other mothers with children who have grown out of them
  • Cook more often instead of taking your children to fast food restaurants
  • Share childcare transport costs with other families
  • Limit spending on toys — do they really need 10 teddy bears?

I hope you enjoyed reading 5 Ways To Save Money On Childcare!  By following these tips, you will be able to reduce your childcare costs and relieve some financial pressure.

The Importance of PR to Promote your Business

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Public Relations can be defined as a strategic communication process that is mutually beneficial to both consumers and businesses. There is a common misconception that public relations are the same as marketing; marketing involves promoting and advertising a product or service whereas public relations involves communicating with your consumers in order to build a relationship. Another misconception is that having good public relations is inexpensive and easy to do. Maintaining good public relations is a very time consuming process, which is why many businesses have their own PR department as other people are too busy to undertake tasks such as responding to people on social media and answering any questions that people may have.

Although PR is not the same as marketing it is still a very useful tool for promoting your business. First and foremost, having an open line of communication with your consumers allows you to see what their opinions are and what they need. The most common form of this communication comes through social media, where consumers will post questions or file complaints about the product or service you are offering. By having a person or team that can respond to these questions and complaints you build up a good reputation and respect from the consumer, as they will feel that their opinion is valued and that you are changing your business thanks to them.

Public Relations can also be improved by other methods than interacting with consumers. Another way to improve public relations would be to do something that is portrayed in a positive light by the media. An example of this would be to do things that are considered charitable or ethical, such as sourcing your products from locations that don’t exploit the local workforce/environment or by running or supporting charitable events. The media then may pick up on this work and write an article or run a news story about it. This is in a sense even better than advertising as your business is being supported by the media who are generally considered not to be bias and so when consumers see an unbiased organisation supporting a business they will be much more likely to believe that you are a reputable company and so you will be more likely to gain the consumers respect and sometimes even gain their business than by just advertising your product, highlighting the importance of good public relations.

When consumers see your business in a good light they will be more likely to return as customers again than go to a competitor as they feel that they are more valued at your business. They will also be more likely to recommend you to other people as again, they see you in a good light and so will actually like you as a company. This then, means that having good PR can increase the amount of both repeat customers and new customers that you get, as if people like your company they will in essence advertise for you since they will recommend your business.

Public Relations therefore are a key way to promote your business, allowing you to gain the respect and loyalty of your consumers as well as having them in essence advertise for you as they promote your business through recommendations and word of mouth. Gaining the respect of the media can sometimes even be better than advertising itself as having an unbiased organisation highlight the positive things about your business will lead to more respect and potentially more business from consumers than advertising alone could hope to do.

 

For more information, visit: Vantage PR.

Small Business Basics

It sometimes feels weird being called a small business. But it essentially means a startup. A business without huge staff on their payroll and enormous logistical problems. However, a small business does come with certain problems that need to be dealt with. How you address them is your own business, and it may depend on what you want in the future. These are some of the basics you should think about in business that can address issues and help you run strong. Good luck in your entrepreneurial endeavors.

In the first instance, when you are running your business from your home or the cheapest office you can find you may want to project a better image of yourself. You can do this by looking for a small business virtual address. You should also try to ensure the email address you are using has your business name tagged. It looks far more professional and gives a better first impression for those when they first deal with you. Image is everything in business.

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You should be looking to get your visibility out there too. Again, this is a major factor in the business world. If nobody knows about you then how can you expect them to purchase from you? Get your name out there. Exploit social media. Create a business page and post quality content with links back to your site. Look at relevant blogs and start to target key advertising streams. You can keep track of everything by using Google analytics. You can also think about using a marketing video. They are the best way of increasing brand visibility, far easier to watch something that read something. You may need help though, as creating a market video can be quite daunting.

You should also get to the relevant trade shows that are near you. There are all different kinds of trade shows and you should try to ensure your business is represented. Get a good patch and use branded items to showcase your business to people who have taken the time to come and see it. These are usually people who are actively looking to part with their money, otherwise why go to the trade show? Take your best speaker and let your passion shine through when talking about your products or services. Samples are a good bet too.

Consider creating an app too. A mark of a good business in this day and age is that of a good app. It can really make the difference and open up your business to those who love to use apps to shop and solicit certain services. Ensure it is of a certain quality otherwise you are going to end up suffering a hit to your reputation, find a great app developer and take their advice on board. It may seem a bit far in advance to create an app. But look at your competitors and you will see that there are apps out there already. If you want to compete with the leaders in your field try to get one set up as soon as possible.

The Key To Professionalism In Your Business

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Success in business relies on many different factors, but one of the most important ones is professionalism. When it comes to crafting a brand image which impresses potential customers or keeping your current clientbase happy with products and services so that they come back for more, the route to achieving this always comes back to a professional and efficient service.

Whilst customers want to see a friendly, personal face when engaging with businesses, they want a solid and organised business even more than that; people want to know that the products or services they’re buying have been crafted by employees with expertise and dedication to their work. If you’re wondering how to project the image of professionalism within your business, here are a few creative ideas for doing so.

The personal touch.

A business which goes above and beyond to make an impression is one which is sure not only to turn heads, but to impress its target audience. Something as simple as a beautifully and neatly handwritten note could really stand out to potential clients and send a message that your company is dedicated to creating an outstanding product with regards to something as straightforward as correspondence. In an age where most businesses simply use emails to contact potential clients, your business will stand out as an organisation so professional that you put time and care into the simplest of messages.

Payments.

The professionalism of a business is often marked by its cash flow, as shallow as that may seem. It’s important that you don’t mess up the transactional process either with customers or other businesses, otherwise you muddy the reputation your business is trying to form as a professional, organised and stable organisation. You could check out some online options for printing corporate checks, as this would make the payment process far easier than manually creating a check or relying on your local bank to get back to you. In the modern age, your business needs to be using the quickest and most efficient solutions available, as this makes the right impression on clients and fellow businesses.

Get online marketing right.

In the modern age, a business’ brand is mostly projected through the internet. Your target audience is essentially entirely based online, as the marketing methods of traditional forms are slowly losing popularity. If you want to make your business appear professional, then, the key is to figure out how to do so online. It all begins with your website, and you’ll need to be spending a fair bit of money on an official domain name for your business, as you don’t want to portray an amateurish image. Using a responsive web layout is also important, as customers want to be able to browse your website whether they’re using their phone, tablet or laptop; if the design of your website isn’t responsive and doesn’t look neat and tidy on devices of all screen sizes, then your professional image will be tarnished in the eyes of visitors.

A memorable brand design.

At the end of the day, people are captivated by intriguing messages and powerful imagery. Your brand won’t look professional with a cheap, tacky logo, so it’s important that you create something memorable, unique but well-designed. Spending money on a proper graphic designer to get this done for you is important, as your business will struggle to project a professional image without a professional-looking brand.