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Management

The Four Pillars Of Productivity

The work we all do in our day-to-day lives must carry some meaning, and whether we are in charge of a company, or we are a staff member, the worth that attaches itself to a job role is sometimes evident, and sometimes it is not. As every building has its own support so does every business, and the pillars of each company are vital, relevant, and imperative to a company’s survival.

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The work we all do in our day-to-day lives must carry some meaning, and whether we are in charge of a company, or we are a staff member, the worth that attaches itself to a job role is sometimes evident, and sometimes it is not. As every building has its own support so does every business, and the pillars of each company are vital, relevant, and imperative to a company’s survival. The manufacturing industry is one that thrives on its ability to reproduce product at a high volume and with speed. The pillars that ensure a manufacturing industry makes its mark are as follows:

The Product

The final product in all its forms is the culmination of many different factors behind the scenes, we all know this, but how important is it to really make sure the end justifies the means? The whole manufacturing or factory line setup can be viewed as a metaphor for the whole operation, every piece is vital to the process. So this is why there are inspectors in place to check the machinery, this is why quality control are on the backs of the employees, and this is why each piece of the process has to be in place. General Motors has a maxim of the 3 Cs – Common, Common, Common, in other words, the common goal of the whole factory. Not just one area, but the whole gamut, from the workers all the way up to the CEOs. This is why you need to have a clear vision of the process, and it needs to be seen clearly by everyone. A common goal gives everyone a purpose, not just the ones at the top of the operation.

Cost

This is always a big bone of contention. We need to cut costs, but we need to be sure that everything is operating at full capacity, and this is such a fine line to tread. The best way to look at how cost can be cut is to focus on each essential component in turn and work through the processes one by one until you find an area that can be shaved. This is difficult because each department will argue that they are more essential than the last, and they are right, which makes it a difficult job. Take the example of equipment, if you utilize 6 Pro-Pleat Filters during the course of a year to reduce moisture on the factory floor which can help the product, you can argue that it is an essential process. But in buying those same filters every year, are you using the filters to the point of expiration?  If not the cost could be stretched out further by using them for another few months. As time goes on, the overheads can get away from you, and as every business struggles to find ways to shave money off the budget, it is sometimes inevitable that there are more personal areas that feel the pinch, which is why you need to pay particular attention to…

The Workforce

In a factory setting, it can be very easy to overlook the achievements made by staff because of the transparency of the roles. Look at it from their perspective; they are very likely to be working shift patterns, 12-hour day shifts or 12-hour night shifts, and it can be a draining job, especially working the same role. It requires a huge amount of concentration, and one mistake can cause a major setback on the factory line, and the product could get shipped late, and that one staff member’s mistake can be a real embarrassment. It is so important that your staff gets recognized for their efforts because it is a big morale booster for them and if you don’t already do it, it may show how much your staff thinks you appreciate them, which isn’t a lot. So you need to start to reset the balance in favor of your staff. Morale is a big thing that is lacking in manufacturing settings, and as the model of the factory workforce is being threatened by technology and changing times, you need to take a holistic look at how your workforce is coping with the massive changes. A factory setting is almost a portal to the past in this respect, and staff may feel somewhat unsupported. In Japan, there are many ways to encourage a sense of morale and purpose in their workforce, and while their model may not apply directly to western practices, you can still take some of that on board and spend some small amount of time per week taking feedback or discussing future plans with them. The workers on the lower rungs don’t always feel like they are being heard. Change that for the better.

The Customer

Coming full-circle, the product is destined for the customer and as a key pillar for any industry now, customer service is the main way you can stand to get any suitable feedback on your product. As we welcome feedback from our staff members, we should welcome feedback from customers. In fact, we should not just welcome it; we should go out of our way to ask for it. This should be part of the post-sale process, and as the manufacturing process is the place where the durability of the item is tested, it is likely to be you at fault if there are any errors. We read about issues with pieces of glass in a product or a faulty batch, and it is you that will get the blame for. This is something that can be prevented with good working practices. As the adage goes, the customer is always right, and they are. It is much easier to disassociate yourself from the customer in a manufacturing industry setting, but it is also much easier to bear the brunt of the backlash. Treat the customer with the respect they deserve, after all, they are the reason your business is doing so well and why your product is selling.

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Management

How Team Building Events Improve Productivity

team work

Who doesn’t like a good team building event? We all do, and they are so effective for helping a team to bond, i.e. connect at a deeper level.

Improving cohesion with new employees or strengthening the relationship among workers that have been working together for years, is good for business.

When people enjoy their job and the work environment, they are usually more productive and that can only be good news for business owners.

What has been tried and proven to improve productivity in the office is team building events. Group activities that encourage openness and trust, and foster teamwork, improve the workplace environment. People that work well together and as a team, are more productive.

We spend a lot of time working and in the work environment. In the UK the average weekly hours of work is 37.5, though that’s an average, there are professions that work a lot more hours every week. Therefore workers that don’t get along with each other, will affect everyone around them and the overall productivity of your business, so regular maintenance of relationships is required.

While your workers don’t need to be best friends, in fact, you probably don’t want to encourage that, as that too, would lead to distractions; you will want them to be able to set aside any differences they may have, to collaborate on joint tasks in the workplace.

Here are some tips on how to get more from your workers with team building:

Get Out Of The Work Environment

Getting out of the office for the day, is a great starting point says Zing Events, UK industry leaders in innovative, fun and effective team building.

As your workers spend most of their team together in the work environment, just stepping outside of the office provides an intriguing curiosity of each other. There are plenty of activities they can engage in, with businesses like Zing Events so your business can make a habit of it, and well as keep the whole exercise interesting and engaging.

Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Team building events can bring out the best and maybe also highlight areas of improvement in individuals, in your leadership and the company’s culture.

Change is continuous and that also includes your business and it’s people. Getting out of your comfort zone will present areas of improvement and also ideas for change to strengthen the business, and are suited to different tasks.

Whether you have just established a business or it’s been operating for years, it’s always growing and you want to nurture it and to do that successfully, it starts at the shop floor with your people, by improving workplace relationships.

One type of event that can do that effectively starts with getting people out of their comfort zone. Events such as: obstacle courses and also sports and games. Engaging in these activities will shine a light on the people in your business who are leaders and who prefer to follow. This will help organise your roles from managerial to specialist or technical.

A great team building event will help your staff to work well under pressure and Zing Events say it’s also important to have fun!

Relax And Have Fun

If there’s one thing that brings people together, it’s laughter. A natural ice breaker, humour will relax your team so they can perform their best during the challenging tasks. Then it’s time for the after-event. These can be organised too: cocktail making classes, pizza baking lessons, or tenpin bowling and they should always include a good meal together!

Summary

In the office, or on the sports ground; to get the best from your people, requires empathy, participation, trust and teamwork and enjoyment. With regular team building exercises, a clearing of the air for all workers, and renewed enthusiasm for their work are just a couple of the benefits for your business.

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Management

7 Safety Tips to Keep Your Workplace Injury-Free

safety

When we talk of workplace safety, the images that come into mind are mostly of construction workers hanging off high-rise buildings. The truth is there are hazards in any workplace, including office environments.

Thousands of employees fall victim of workplace injury every year. This has led to reduced productivity in the workplace, increased healthcare costs, and increased workers’ compensation claims, thereby having devastating effects on the injured employees as well as their employers. Here are a few things you can do to keep your workplace injury-free:

Wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

PPE is essential in any working environment to protect users from workplace hazards. Note that different working environments require different safety gears. Some of the common PPEs include helmets, metal detectable gloves, slip-resistant shoes, earmuffs, hard hats, full-face masks, goggles, and much more. When worn correctly, these safety gears will significantly reduce the risk of accidents at your workplace. Be sure to check that they are in good condition before using them.

Keep Clean

A cluttered and untidy working environment is much more difficult to manoeuvre and more prone to hazards. Having a clean, organized, and clutter-free workspace can help avoid unnecessary hazards such as being hit by falling objects, tripping over scattered objects, slipping on wet surfaces, and so on.

Inspect Equipment before Operating

It’s important to do a complete visual inspection of all equipment before using them to ensure they are safe to operate. In case there’s an issue with the equipment, inform management about it. Remember to keep all inspection records to let other workers know about the equipment’s working condition.

Follow All OSHA/HSA/HSE Protocols

The law requires all employers to provide danger-free workplaces to their employees. Those researching long term disability due to work-related injury/illness should seek help from an attorney experienced in Social Security Disability law. There are several organizations that have been put in place to protect people in the workplace. For instance, OSHA/HSA/HSE protocols describe the methods that employers must use to protect their employees from hazards. Following these simple rules and guidelines can go a long way in keeping your workplace injury-free.

Report Any Hazard to Management

If you notice something that could potentially hurt someone, clear it up if you can do it safely. If not, inform your supervisor. Management is legally obligated to provide a safe working environment and will surely take care of any workplace hazards to ensure that. Both employees and employers should work together to find a long-term solution to prevent a similar unsafe condition from occurring in the future.

Store Hazardous Chemicals Properly

Hazardous chemicals need to be properly labelled and stored. Ask management if you are unsure where to store them. Chemicals such as gasoline are combustible and should be stored in highly ventilated areas. Failure to do so can put everyone’s safety at risk. Any spills or splatters made while working with hazardous chemicals must be properly cleaned right away.

Implement Emergency Procedures

Even with all the safety precautions in place, some accidents can still happen. It’s important to have an emergency management plan to prepare for the unexpected. All employees should practice emergency drills. Also, remember to update your office first-aid kit, as well as keep a few snacks and water for emergencies. This will mitigate the effects of an accident at the workplace like preventing long-term disability.

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Management

5 Tips For Managing Web Development Projects

data management

A web development project can quickly become a confusing mess if the right management technique is not used. Management is important to the success of any project, but with so many different aspects of site design coming into play, it’s important to streamline the design process so as to save time, and eventually money.

Here are five tips for managing web development projects that will do just that.

1. Communicate!

Communication is key to successful management. If management doesn’t communicate with the team or vice versa, the problems can become exponential. That’s why we’ve put communication at the top of the list.

Communication helps identify problems early on, set expectations and standards, and provide updates on the project. Communication within the team doesn’t only include the team members and management however, but also should include the clients.

You should keep your client updated as the project progresses with frequent communication via email, phone call, or even in-person meeting. The latter is probably the best way to go about communicating with your client, so you can show them how the project looks at each step of the design process and make edits as you go.

There are literally hundreds of digital communication tools you can utilize to improve team communication, from team management software to conference calling services. Whichever medium you choose, be sure to utilize it each day to improve your team’s collaboration and ensure everyone is on the same page.

2. Utilize Easy Sharing And Collaboration Tools

Sharing has never been easier with the advancement of cloud sharing services. It seems like cloud saving and sharing have become the staple of any digital service, from wireframe tools to team management apps.

Easier sharing eliminates the problem of lost files, hard drives, etc. The days of emailing and downloading files are just about gone, being replaced with the ease and security of cloud sharing. By sharing via the cloud, you’re providing a central place for your team to access important files related to the project, saving time.

Cloud sharing also makes keeping the client updated simpler. You can give clients access to the shared folder, so they can see the files as the project progresses, and even send instructions to the team via the cloud.

Overall, cloud sharing is the best way to share files among team members and streamline all of your sharing and collaboration. Centralizing these efforts into one location makes managing assets and team members much easier.

3. Use A Wireframe

A wireframe is probably the single best tool you can use to assist in managing a development team. This effective tool provides a roadmap for the project that both the team and client can utilize to make edits, suggest new additions, and view the design process.

When you make website wireframes, you’ll want to focus on the functionality and UX of the design rather than any visual elements. That comes later in the design process. A wireframe is simply a blueprint for the site, and therefore should be kept simple with greyscale and simple fonts.

Use your wireframing tool to coach the team in the direction of the project, and to keep the client updated. Both the client and your team will be grateful for the organization that a wireframe can add to a project, and edits are much easier when you have a workable interface.

4. Use Team Management Software

Team management software serves several different purposes. You can assign tasks and hold team members accountable for their assignments, share files and projects, and even collaborate in some cases in real-time via video or audio chat.

Team management software provides managers with an easy to use interface to track team efforts and communication. This is especially useful when managing large teams or remote teams that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to meet with in-person.

There are hundreds of different options for team management software, with many of the apps being web-based for easy access. While there are many free services, the best team management apps will come with a fee. If you’re serious about managing your team more effectively, these tools can be an excellent option.

5. Set Expectations From The Beginning

This may seem like a simple thing to do, but often managers will not set clear expectations for what they expect and are then unsure as to why the team isn’t meeting standards as a result. Clear and precise expectations can mean the difference between an efficient team and a clumsy one.

The best thing you can do as a manager is to set expectations in writing at the beginning of each project. Provide the client’s expectations for the final project as well as yours. Include attendance expectations, each team member’s role, and any other pertinent information.

When you set clear expectations, the team becomes much easier to manage. Everyone is aware of what’s expected, so you can pinpoint those team members that aren’t meeting those expectations and make the necessary adjustments where needed.

Conclusion

Team management isn’t rocket science. With good communication, clearly defined communication, and the right management and collaboration tools, you can effectively manage an efficient and productive team. Keep in mind that team members need their managers to be organized and respectful of their work. You need to earn the team’s trust and respect as their superior, and with a little communication and empathy, you’ll be on your way to becoming a great manager.

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Management

Lead the Way: 5 Practices for Successful Leadership in Your Company

Whether you’re leading employees in a large corporation, or you’re leading within your own small business, the same practices for successful leadership apply. Employees hold the responsibility to carry their own weight, but leaders have the role of guiding others down the right path – toward safety, productivity, efficiency, and integrity.

As the leader of a company, what can you do to help ensure employee safety? What habits might eventually become a threat to their safety? What skills can you put into practice to lead your team to success?

1. Lead by example.

No matter what type of company you run, leading by example will always remain the first priority for building a strong team that makes smart choices. When you set the bar for high expectations, your team will strive each day to meet them. Whether you’re on a construction site wearing proper safety gear and staying on task, or you’re in the office delivering a presentation, your team will look to you as an example.

2. Communication is key.

Growth in any relationship comes from mutual understanding and a desire to improve. When you learn to adapt your communication skills to each of your employees, transformation increases tenfold. Many interpersonal issues stem from a simple lack of communication or misunderstanding. Having open lines of communication means your team will trust you and be willing to put in the work.

3. Learn from your mistakes.

We all make them, and we can all use them as a guideline for improvement. Take note of things that haven’t worked for you in the past as a leader, and see if you can shift your perspective to create a solution.

4. Make conscious decisions.

Taking the time to pause before making any major decisions is wise for many reasons. A simple mix of instinct and logic is the perfect blend to back your choices. Your employees will see that you don’t make hasty decisions, and they’ll be inspired to think through issues of their own.

5. Help your team remained focused.

Encourage your team to stay on task. If your job requires manual labor or an onsite location with large machinery, make sure your team remains aware of their surroundings at all times. Not only does productivity increase with heightened focus, but safety increases as well.

If an employee is injured at work, always direct them to seek medical treatment. According to workers’ compensation lawyers in Raleigh, NC, these claims should be handled immediately following an injury.

Keep these 5 practices in mind to help improve your leadership skills and guide your team to success!

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Management

4 Important Logistics Trends to Consider

cloud computing

Businesses and other types of consumers need to be able to find the right logistical solutions. Taking care of a consumer’s shipping needs is absolutely important and there are many things to consider. Those who want to have the best possible experience should really think about current trends and where things are going.

Take a look at these four important logistics trends that you need to consider moving forward.

1. Green Logistical Solutions

Many companies are taking environmental concerns very seriously. Being able to implement green solutions into the structure of a business is very important. As per 3PL Link’s eco-friendly supply strategy, iIt has become a big trend in the logistical world recently . You will find that several large companies have begun to decrease the environmental impact of their operations.

As the world continues to turn away from fossil fuels, green solutions are going to become more common. Integrating new green technologies into the normal business processes is crucial. Some companies are making greater efforts to do this than others but the trends show that green logistical solutions are here to stay. It is important for the reputation of logistical companies and it can lead to benefits such as lowered supply chain costs.

2. Digital Logistical Solutions

Of course, digital logistics are among the most important innovations in the logistical space. The addition of digital logistical processes has really improved the process overall. It allows companies to have access to real-time data in order to keep track of shipments. This makes everything more efficient and improves communication between all parties.

One of the biggest reasons why the digital logistical tend is going to continue to be important is that it reduces the time to market. The improvements in technology have made it possible to do things more quickly. Being able to plan things out more efficiently leads to better logistical services. The innovation in the digital logistical solution sector is impressive and this will continue to become more important as the years go by.

3. Elastic Logistical Solutions

This is a logistical concept that involves being able to provide very flexible logistical options to consumers. This logistical approach is all about being capable of responding to the demands of any given situation. Companies are making use of cloud-based solutions in order to help adjust things properly. This helps with supply chain integration, improves overall visibility, and keeps things running on time.

One of the goals of the elastic logistical solution strategies is to ensure that customers have the optimal experience no matter what their needs are. By adding real-time supply chain visibility to the mix, it gives customers the chance to see what is going on with their shipments. Companies that can take care of logistical needs in an agile and adaptable way will be able to better meet the needs of consumers.

4. The Importance of Supply Chain Collaboration

Supply chain collaboration is actually starting to become a very important part of the process. Companies that are providing better service levels throughout the supply chain process are noticing increased growth and lower costs. This process can ensure that everything is being run as efficiently as possible while communication is kept up on all ends. It gives people a better idea of where their goods are while also keeping the costs low.

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Management

7 Tactical Tips on How to Disrupt an Industry

laptop

1,000 songs in your pocket.

That one slogan helps explain how a computer company (aka Apple) transformed the music business and sold 300 million iPods in the process.

People could now purchase their music online. Physical music stores became redundant. Online piracy was less of an issue. Lone songs were available at a fraction of the cost of whole albums. And hundreds of them could be transported on one portable device.

Disruption of an industry doesn’t get much bigger than what Apple achieved.

But how did they do it? How do some companies look at proud, old industries, and revolutionize them in line with their vision? Thankfully, you don’t have to be a Steve Jobs to make it happen.

Anyone with the right know-how can do it.

Keep reading to discover 7 tactical tips to disrupt an industry.

7 Ways to Disrupt an Industry the Easy Way

Sometimes you need to make a splash, cause a fuss, and mix things up. Here’s how to do it in your industry of choice.

1. Solve the Unsolvable

Every market has problems they haven’t been able to solve.

Then someone comes along, solves them, and voila, market disrupted.

Take Amazon as a prime example.

There wasn’t really anywhere to buy books online before Amazon. Book stores were struggling businesses, stuck in the dark ages. Then Bezos created an entire marketplace from buying them online.

Now the company generates over $61 billion annually and has 97,000 employees.

That’s the power of disruption you should be aiming for. Consider the problems in your industry and set about solving them.

2. Take a DIY Approach

That’s easier said than done, right?

Try taking a new approach to old problems. Why not look to make a splash in industries where you have no prior experience?

Previous experience in totally different fields can be exceptionally helpful. For instance, it may take a biologist to solve a physics problem or vice versa.

People usually say something can’t be done because they’ve been told as much. They’ve been reared on that belief and fulfill the prophecy accordingly. Someone new to the mix doesn’t have that negative mindset. They can see it clearly for what it is and set about fixing things.

Oh, and yeh, solve the problem yourself. We’re too used to paying someone to provide solutions. But the nature of unsolvable problems is that there isn’t anyone to do it. Scratch your own itch instead.

Need a company that’ll provide the requisite logistical support to succeed in your initial industry of focus? Create it. Make it happen, then use it to solve the first problem.

3. Break the Mold

Disruption of anything usually requires doing things differently.

To disrupt a quiet classroom you make a noise. To disrupt an industry you do the same. Look at what’s happening and actively push against it.

There will always be people and ‘experts’ with an opinion on your idea. You will probably be told you’re stupid, foolish, and absolutely incorrect in your approach. Take that as active fuel for your fire, as well as a clear sign you’re doing something right.

People generally don’t enjoy someone upsetting their current way of life. They’ll get annoyed, stomp and moan and throw a tantrum, telling you you’re wrong. That’s good news. Keep doing what you’re doing.

4. Move Fast and Make a Fuss

Speed is of the essence.

And so it the amount of noise you make.

Be a bull in a china shop when you enter your industry of choice. The metaphor of a bull is apt here. You need to be the business embodiment of one. Bulls don’t stop with an obstacle in their way. They don’t hesitate when they’re told they can’t do it.

Instead, they charge and break things at every turn. They’re one step ahead and out of earshot of the naysayers before anyone can wonder what happened.

5. Break the Mold

Did someone say ‘déjà vu’?

No, you’re not imagining things. We did include this above. And yes, it’s absolutely on purpose.

What was your first thought when you saw this subheading for the second time? Did you feel uneasy? Did you think it was wrong, or just downright stupid?

Good! We broke the goddamn rules. They get in the way and stop creativity in its tracks. That’s what you need to emulate as you set about disrupting your industries. Be crazy, and be creative. Be bold and break the mold.

6. Listen to Problems

Here’s a quick tip for idea generation.

Listen to the complaints of customers. What don’t they like? What do they wish they could do or see? What do they moan about?

Go to forums, read reviews, listen to podcasts and watch videos online. There are little golden nuggets of information around every corner.

Find out more about a product that’s addressed an issue and is disrupting an industry as you read.

7. Take Aim at a Target

Who is the industry leader in your field?

They may have ruled the roost for years. No-one else even tries to knock them off their pedestal. Until you came along. Remember, you’re a bull. Take aim and charge.

Targeting a competitor is like going to war. It’s a risky business. Win, and glory is yours. You stake your claim and immediately disrupt the status quo. Lose, and you’ll be laughed at and relegated to the history books…until next time.

Hyperbole aside, going into competition with an industry leader (with a competing product or service, etc) may be exactly what you need. It can help to raise awareness and cause a stir. Then it’s up to you to follow through.

Time to Get Disruptive

There you have it: 7 ways to disrupt an industry without an issue.

Some of the biggest companies in the world established their names through disruption of an industry. Like an athlete applying a whole new technique to an event, these companies, cause a ruckus that works in their favor.

This requires the ability to look at old problems with new eyes. It also requires the willingness to take a risk. Thankfully, with the right tactics, both are possible.

Hopefully, the information here has provided the ideas and inspiration to start disrupting your industries without further ado.

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