Emerging Technologies in Supply Chain Management

[ad_1]

The Internet has enormous impact on the way people communicate, shop, and work. This technology has also made changes in the way companies do business in the 21st century. One of the areas of business that is likely to see tremendous change in the coming years, the supply-chain management. By harnessing the power of the Internet, supply chain management will continue to evolve in a way that allows companies to change the way they manage inventory, orders with suppliers, and communicate important information with each other.

While some of these technologies have been for many years or decades in the case of radio frequency identification tags, harnessing the Internet to this technology offers the potential to transform the supply-chain management. Improve supply-chain management also means improving inventory control and increase profitability.

In 2001, Nike lost revenue goal by a significant amount. The shortfall was explained in part by a failed supply chain automation project. “Some estimate that the new technology could strip out more than $ 30 billion in excess inventory” (Fonstad). The term E-Business – as opposed to e-commerce – can be used to describe the adoption of the Internet to speed up the objective of supply chain integration (Lee) Four new technologies and practices in e-business will have a dramatic impact on inventory management.

o Virtual marketplaces

o Radio Frequency Identification tags (RFID)

o Synchronized plan

o Supplier performance management

actual market PLACES

Metal Junction is real market held by the two largest steel producers India. Tata Steel and Sail Steel traded more than 5,000 tons of steel in March 2002. In March 2003, the tonnage had increased to 43,000 tonnes per month (Mills).

What is the real market and it has its applications to the industry? Virtual market has many names such as e-markets, net market places and electronic markets. These markets all have common characteristics.

o Reliance on the Internet

o buyers and sellers come together without an intermediary

o Neutrality (all buyers and sellers are treated the same)

o Information provided by vendors and products

in the most basic form, virtual market place brings together buyers and sellers today. At its highest level, a virtual market place gives the buyer and the supplier the opportunity to re-engineer sales administration processes, improve forecasting and scheduling, update Go-to-market approach, shortening the order-to-cash cycle, and extra customer (Steel24-7). Preferably, the actual market positions centered on a particular industry. Some prominent examples are steel, agricultural products, and automotive parts. In addition to providing information on manufacturers and general information about their products, the actual market can also offer product information, side-by-side comparison, technical papers and market.

Many challenges in setting up the e-market. Primary among these are defining the tools necessary to use the market, providing a safe environment, price, payment and fulfillment. For regulated markets, Internet protocol will be selected. The cost of technology to access and participate in the market may not be prohibitive. Privacy and security must be sufficient to ensure confidential business. Authentication and authorization of users from many institutions will be possible. Private communications must be guaranteed.

pricing policy can be set or bartered. A common example of bartering, or auction, is E-Bay for consumer goods. Payment methods can advance or arranged between buyer and seller. Finally, the fulfillment of orders must be ensured. As in the case of traditional marketplaces, failure to deliver in a timely manner will result in companies losing market share and ultimately can lead to failure (McKnight).

The final issue of concern in real markets, jurisdiction and applicable law. Virtual markets put their members in the international trading community. Since e-markets are a recent phenomenon, defining the legal system that is responsible for the settlement of disputes is an evolving process. Current rationale proposed jurisdiction in the locality in the market. In the virtual market, however, one must ask where the market actually exists. Although the FTC has tried to control the on-line business, the final ruling on jurisdiction to international locations E-market has not yet been made.

Radio Frequency Identification tags

In November 2003, Wal-Mart collected 120 Its Top Suppliers to announce that it would require radio frequency identification tags (RFID) on shipping pallets and cases of merchandise. Wal-Mart set the deadline of January 2005 for its top 100 suppliers. The remaining suppliers will were there in early 2006 to meet the requirements (Sliwa).

A basic RFID system has three components.

o Antenna

o Transceiver

o transponder (TAG)

The antenna activates the tag, reads and writes data to it. When the RFID tag moves past the reader, the information is sent to the host computer for processing. The most common RFID systems are passive and contain their own power supply of, the short range transmitter, operating at low frequencies, and low cost. Although RFID has been since recent technological changes in 1960 have reduced costs and allowed the technology to be used in more applications.

common everyday use of RFID is an automatic reading prepaid passes on toll roads. Benefits of RFID are many fold. For example, RFID is very fast, non-contact, does not require line of site, and can operate in various weather conditions. In the case mentioned above, the benefits of RFID will go to Wal-Mart, but the costs are the responsibility of the suppliers. Kara Romanov, an analyst with AMR Research, Inc., estimates the initial investment cost for a supplier who ships 50 million containers per year will run between $ 13 million and $ 23 million. These costs include RFID tags and related hardware and software (Sliwa).

Samsýn Technologies Richmond Hill, ON and Thing Magic, LLC Cambridge, MA are two leaders in the application of RFID for supply chain management. Sam-Sys is dedicated to an open systems environment that will not restrict RFID to one protocol or range of frequencies. This philosophy is based on the premise that many manufacturers and readers that will work seamlessly together (group exhibition).

Thing Magic was founded in 2000 by five MIT graduates. It has developed a low cost RFID system. Now, Thing Magic is developing and marketing protocol agile RFID tag readers (Thing Magic). In addition to Wal-Mart, Department of Defense (DOD) is a key player in RFID development and deployment. The Department of Defense has issued a new policy that requires all suppliers of embedded passive RFID chip in each individual product if possible, or otherwise deployed cases or pallets in January 2005. In February 2004, DOD hosted the summit for their suppliers discuss RFID plans (Broersma). To quote Colin Cobain Chief Technology Officer Tesco Stores: “The question is not will RFID change the way you do business question is will you be ready.” (Thing Magic).

synchronized ORGANISATION throughout the supply chain

“Synchronized planning, in the form of cooperation forecasting and replenishment, coordinated production, inventory and capacity plans, information integration, and the connections of the ERP system, is one of the most exciting developments in supply chain management in many sectors “(synchronous). Synchronized Planning involves basic steps (Lee).

o Information integration

o Planning synchronization

or Workflow coordination

o new business model

First, information integration requires information and transparency. It is the sharing of information between members of the supply chain. Information can be exchanged inventory levels, production schedules and shipment schedules. The benefits are better timing and reduction of the bullwhip effect. “The effect shows a lack of synchronization between supply chain members. Even a slight change in the sales of consumer ripple backward in the form of intensified fluctuations upstream, simulating the result of a flick of the bullwhip handle” (Chase 335).

Planning synchronization defines what to do with the information is shared. This may include co-planning and co-design. The benefits are lower costs and better service.

If planning synchronization, “what” is to have shared information, workflow coordination is the “how” it is done. Functions that can be coordinated purchasing, engineering and design changes and production planning. Benefits include early time to market, improve service performance and efficiency. Synchronized planning can lead to new business models. Not only can this new business models redefine workflow, they can lead to changes in the responsibilities of the various parts of the supply chain. A defining supply chain can work together to create new products and lead to expansion in new markets (Lee).

Compatible planning, however, can not be achieved without the tight connection of all companies in the supply chain. Channels of communication must be well defined and should monitor closely the performance of each entity in the chain. An integrated supply chain must hold members accountable for their part in the process. As product life cycles grow shorter and shorter, efficient synchronization of the supply chain grows in importance. To ensure that the supply chain is driven by consumer demand, and to reduce the bullwhip effect, synchronized planning is important (Lee).

SUPPLIER Performance Management

supply-chain different organizations will be tightly intertwined, it will be necessary to measure the performance of each member of the chain. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan testified before Congress in February 2001 as companies were unable to see the decline of the last recession, over building supplies, despite strong supply chain automation (Fonstad). Even the use of the latest technology, it can not guarantee that the supply chain is operating efficiently.

One way to answer the question of how well the supply-chain is working to develop supplier scorecards. There are five steps in developing an effective scorecard (Golovin).

o Agree on what is important and how to measure it

o Use web based incident reports to communicate the problems they occur

o Participate in continuous supplier management

o Measure to prevent rather than react

o use web based software that all suppliers can take without making expensive investments in software and training

it is important that the buyer and seller agree on the beginning of what is important and how it is measured. This is important because once decided, a supplier will streamline its work designated criteria. If just in time delivery is a priority, the supplier may focus on these aspects to the detriment of other factors. In addition, a benchmark to measure supplier performance must be realistic and attainable.

Actual performance should then be continuously monitored against these criteria. Manufacturer and supplier should work together to develop standards that are consistent with industry performance and production. Using web based incident reporting is important to keep track of problems as they occur. Incident reports should not only be used to monitor the problem, but should be used to solve problems in real time. It is also important to measure the time it takes the supplier to correct the problem.

Continuous supplier management, sometimes referred to as engineering supplier, has become more important as manufacturers outsource more of their operations. A 90-day review cycle can be ruinous when you are manufacturing innovative products. “New products usually have a few months of life” (Chase 337). A 90-day review cycle can come close to going over the competitive advantage of innovative products. Effective continuous supplier management to be based on certain periods and tolerance. This is then restricted to web based incident reports that make alarm call when products or delivery, are out of the agreed tolerances.

Effective supplier scorecard should be set up to prevent the problem in order to deal with them. The sooner you know there is a problem in lower cost of solving it and more likely to avoid it completely. Best performance measures not only the events after they have happened, they constantly monitor performance in real time. The use of automation is the key to making this happen. For example, a system that matches invoices with purchase orders will cover pricing errors before the check is cut and money is a manufacturer out the door. Utilizing a web-based software not only reduces the cost of the supplier to integrate with the manufacturer, it speeds up the integration. Web-based software also enables suppliers both large and small to participate in the supply chain.

The four items listed above depend on the ability of a manufacturer and supplier to participate in the planning, sourcing, quality control and delivery of goods. The internet makes all members of the supply chain to work and work together as a team. Finally, by making supplier performance web-based, suppliers are able to participate in their own performance improvement of (Golovin).

Resolution

Supply chain management is an interesting and complex subject. It goes to the core of new methods in business in the 21st century. The near universal availability of the Internet is enabling technology for a change in how supply-chain business is managed. The Internet also enables organizations to adopt new business and enter new markets. By harnessing the power of the Internet, supply chain management will continue to evolve the changes implemented today.

E-business has been a logical outgrowth of e-commerce. E-business adopts the power of the Internet to accelerate the growth of supply chain integration. While E-business has had a huge impact on supply chain management, it can also be adapted to both the front end and back end operations of companies (Lee). Improved inventory control and increased profits are two of the benefits of better supply chain management. As stated in the introduction, Nike miss 2001 earnings targets in part due to failed implementation of supply chain automation project. It has also been estimated that more than $ 30 billion dollars in excess inventory can be eliminated through improved supply chain management. These real savings can be brought directly to the bottom line.

Four new technologies and business practices that harness the power of the Internet, virtual market places, radio frequency identification tags, synchronized planning (RFID), and supplier performance. Virtual markets make buyers and sellers to come together 24/7 actually create a store that never closes. The additional advantages of virtual market are eliminated middlemen, access to product and vendor information and neutral market where all buyers and sellers are treated equally. Virtual markets provide both buyers and sellers the opportunity to re-engineer sales administration process.

As noted above, RFID has been since 1960, however, improvements in technology and RFID paring with the Internet has expanded this measurement method beyond the limited past their factories. Three factors RFID systems are antenna, a transceiver and transponder (TAG).

Compatible planning when applied across the supply chain consists of cooperation forecasting and replenishment, coordinated production, inventory and capacity planning, information integration, and direct links to ERP systems. The four key steps in synchronized planning, information integration, planning synchronization, workflow coordination and the opportunity to develop new business models. Key synchronize planning to use the Internet to share information. The benefits of concerted planning including better timing and reduction of the bullwhip effect. The bullwhip effect amplifies fluctuations upstream in the supply chain caused by the change in consumer sales. Synchronized planning also defines what to do with common information and how it will be done. As product life cycles grow shorter, efficient synchronization of supply-chain rewards companies that seize potential.

Supplier scorecards is a method to assess the members of the supply chain in the increasingly intertwined bodies. As Alan Greenspan noted in 2001, many companies were unable to see past the recession and continued over building an inventory despite having invested heavily in supply chain automation. This statement underlines the need to develop tools to monitor the performance of companies up and down the supply chain. Five steps to develop an effective scorecard is accepting what is important and how it will be measured, using a web-based incident reports, participation in continuous supplier management, measuring prevent problems and the use of web-based software. In rolling out these tools, it is important to both buyer and seller agree first on what is important and how it will be measured. Other steps flow from the first.

The Internet has had a tremendous impact on the personal and professional life businesspersons. On the business side, the Internet has brought new life to existing technology and offer companies the opportunity to participate in the world market. Harnessing the Internet company has made greater cooperation and exchange of information up and down the supply chain. The Internet has enabled firms to improve supply-chain by the way they manage inventory, place orders, and communicate important information with each other.

Works Cited

Broersma, Matthew. “Defense Department drafts RFID Policy.” CNET News. 24 October 2003, 5 December 2003

Chase, Richard B., Nicholas J. Aquilano, and F. Robert Jacobs. Operations Management for Competitive Advantage. 9. Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill / Irwin, 2001.

Fonstad, Jennifer. “From the ground floor: How to manage inventory on Demand.” Red Herring. 31 May 2001, 5 December 2003

Golovin, Jonathan. “Five Keys to a Successful Supplier Scorecard.” Vigilance, Inc., 5 December 2003

Lee, Hau L., and Seungjin whang. “E-Business and Supply Chain Integration.” Stanford Global Supply Chain Management Forum. November 2001. 22 November 2003.

McKnight, W. Lee, Diana aniuta and Ozlem Uzuner. Virtual Markets in Wireless Grids: Peering Policy barriers. TPRC 30. Research Conference on communication, information and Internet Policy in October 2002. Vienna, VA :. Telecommunications Policy Research Conference.

“Mills Warm to Online.” Steel Business Briefing. 1 July 2003. 03. November 22 group exhibition. 4 December 2003.

Sliwa, Carol. “Wal-Mart Suppliers Shoulder Burden difficult RFID effort.” Computerworld. November 10, 2003: 1+. Steel24-7. 22 November 2003.

“Synchronous Planning Across the supply chain.” Stanford Global Supply Chain Management Forum. 27 January 1999. 22 November 2003.

Thing Magic. 4 December 2003.

[ad_2]

Source by Edward Fadden

The benefits of landline and a mobile CLI Masking

[ad_1]

Telephony business can be a complicated matter. Whether you are a multi national company or a sole trader, phone system (mobile or landline) needs to be tailored to your needs so that you can maximize the business potential and that customers can have the best possible user experience when they contact you. To achieve this is no mean feat, but fortunately there are many advanced new development in the telecommunications industry that make this more favor now than it ever was in the past.

One such development is the ability to create a virtual landline numbers that transfer benefits directly to your mobile. This has been a godsend for many sole traders or small businesses. Take this scenario:

Sean runs a small electrical business in Birmingham. He is often on the road and has a small team of admin staff working for him and he also outsources electrical contractors in different parts of the West Midlands. When Sean gets a call on his landline business from a potential customer call is transferred directly to his mobile phone so that he can answer the call. If Sean is at work and he knows he can not answer the call, he can arrange for the transfer back to landlines where hopefully someone admin his team will pick up. This way Sean did not miss any important business calls.

Sean is also looking to grow his business, but he can not afford to set up different offices. Instead he arranges to have a real local landline number set up as a pass through to his mobile phone. For example, one of the electrical contactors his is based in Kidderminster so Sean arranges for a virtual local landlines for Kidderminster to install. Through ads that speak in the local Kidderminster area Sean can take calls from customers local to this area of ​​his mobile phone, and to Kidderminster-based electrical contractor him to go and see them. By doing this, the customer feels they are dealing with someone local and Sean can increase business footprint across the West Midlands without having to move or set up new offices. Sean can grow his business and create the perception of a larger company simply by obtaining actual land line numbers.

One of the trends that allow this to occur is called CLI mask. CLI stands for Caller Line Identification and mask is a way of hiding your number or show the site number. For example, a company that is based just outside London, let’s say read, might want to target customers based in London. By hiding their number a London number, customers will think they are in contact with the London-based company. This will possibly raise the profile of the company by customers and promote business in more prestigious light.

Similarly, as in the example described above, CLI mask can be used to display local number for customers when in fact you are based elsewhere. It is well documented that customers are more likely to pick up the phone when they see that it is a local number that is calling. In addition, customers prefer also to call business landline rather than a mobile phone because it creates the impression that the company is stable and well established and that they are not dealing with fly-by-night operation.

Here is a list of the features and benefits of landline to mobile phones and CLI mask

1. Transport landline calls to mobile means you can pick up any important business calls and do not miss any revenue potential.

2. You can respond to customer needs wherever you are or whatever you might be doing.

3. You can arrange for your existing landline number to be transferred to your mobile.

4. Flexibility transfer calls back to colleagues when you are not in a position to answer.

5. You can organize virtual landline to be transferred to the mobile phone based on a different geographical area you want to target.

6. Customers like buzz landline because it creates the impression that you are a stable company and they also want to alarm local number

7. Customers are more likely to take a call when it comes from a local number.

8. You can advertise your business in different areas without having to set up new offices

9. You can create the impression that you are a larger company with a prestigious location.

The landline to mobile and CLI mask technology is changing the face of telephony for businesses throughout the UK and, with a few strategic thinking, it can be used to grow small businesses in ways that historically would have never been possible . This can only be good.

[ad_2]

Source by Claire Cameron

9 Apps that will make your life easier!

[ad_1]

There are positive stacks and heaps of utilizations out there in Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store. In any case, the issue is how many of them are really productive? How many applications we use every day? All things considered, these are some of the programs that have had a momentous conclusion of my day by day Smartphone use and some truly spared me the vital time of need.

1. Google Drive

Wherever you are, as long as you have a mobile device with an Internet connection, you can access your files anywhere in this world through Google Drive. It is a Cloud based service from Google to let you get data Gmail account drive. You can store files such as documents, photos, videos and share those files for others to view, comment on or edit these files.

2. Evernote

Evernote helps you with little notes, checklists, schedules, and each one of them easily overlooked details. It is one of the highly reputed apps that have been around for quite a while. It is more similar to some time secretary to you, that helps you remember the proportion of these seemingly insignificant details that will make your life considerably simpler.

3. ProShot

With plenty of power-packed features, Proshot is definitely Camera Replacement App you can find in the market now. Features include – Auto, Program, Manual, and two fully configurable Custom mode, just like a DSLR. It also includes a manual focus assist and expand with just one finger. The developers are proposing, “Leave the heavy DSLR at home, ProShots got back.”

4. Good Look

You would certainly feel amazing when it’s real consultant who keeps you introduce new and in vogue way tips life. There are articles on the current pattern of going out in style commercial projects. You can choose your own likings from a wide range of coordinate indications.

the arrangement of the overall look is also available on this application of specific custom-made item. You can log into the application with Facebook identity and discover the most loved look. You can also access a wide Instagram articles on trends fashion wardrobe and lifestyle options.

5. clap! phone Finder (Android) Only

Can not seem to remember where you left your phone? on top of that, the phone was kept in vibrate or silent mode? All things considered, now you should to simply celebrate and you would quickly know where the phone is. How? Simply put ‘Clap! Phone Finder ‘app (Android). This program gives you the opportunity to experience your phone by pat regardless of the phone was held in silent or vibration.

6. MyScript Calculator

This great calculator works on handwriting. What you need to do is compose numerical expression and the program will leave it for you in seconds. It is simply obvious, effortless and instinctive.

7. Keymer

Every once in a while, we tend to abuse our keys and here and there. Fortunately, we have a smart app – Keymer, which scans and stores the electronic copy of the key. Did you lose the keys? Try not to worry, simply go Keymer automated kiosks and shiny new and a copy sent to you.

8. Dash Lane

Dash Lane is a very practical and comfortable Digital Wallet and Password Manager. This extremely rewarding app lets you keep all your passwords in one secure place. It stores the necessary data and code safety notes. Among many other features, you can store your credit / debit card safely in your wallet and portable use, the wallet application to make secure payments on the go.

9. Waze

Are you tired of getting stuck in traffic on the regular way? Try not to focus, simply put ‘Waze’ and you can use this unique program to say goodbye to your suffering.

Waze is a group-based movement and the way program that relies heavily on constant activity and street information. With this program you can have continuous data about the course you need to take. You can also get reprimanded for blocks traffic and information on the least expensive cost gas from mutual group.

[ad_2]

Source by Antar Shome

Digital Transformation in Real Estate

[ad_1]

In the last five years, however, the paradigm of real estate transactions has gone through a major change with digital transformation of our societies being at the heart of this change.

Every aspect of our lives has changed drastically in the last two decades and much of the change has been fuelled, catalysed and necessitated by the increasing digital awareness and ubiquity. The Real Estate industry, although, much slower to adapt to this change has since picked up pace and is now at the forefront of some of the cutting edge innovations.

As our lives are more connected, and there is greater financial freedom with easier movement possible, a greater value has now been found in attempting and executing phone system transactions online. There is less apprehension and greater confidence being shown by buyers, sellers, brokers, lessors in deploying digital mediums to conduct their real estate business.

The National Broadband Network in Australia is set to take this transformation into a much higher terrain as improving connectivity and access will bring about better transmission of data, improved transparency and a much larger populace into the online phone systems fold. Consumers will be able to view and evaluate properties from far and wide, while developers will be in a position to pitch them to a more varied audience. The brokers will find themselves being able to create unified platform for the interaction of both buyers and sellers.

Digital transformation in the real estate sector also means that there is an improved coordination and liaison amongst the various parties involved. Virtual meetings, conference calls and video conferencing means that physical presence is no longer the clinching requirement to close a deal. Digitization also moves the land records and ownership documents to the online sphere, this reduces fraudulent transactions and improves confidence amongst buyers.

Thus, we see that the actual transformation brought in by increasing digital presence in the real estate industry is to increase transparency and improve confidence amongst buyers. This has in turn allowed for a greater organization of the sector. Real estate brokers are now no longer regional players but can scale their operations with considerably decreased costs. For the buyers, there is a greater sense of security in real estate transaction. They have greater access to information which in turn provides them a clearer picture of the property in question and the sellers on hand. For the sellers, the new digital age has opened up new market avenues hereto non-existent. Wider scope, better targeting and improved conversions have helped bottom lines.

In conclusion, digital transformation has been a holistic and all-encompassing phenomenon that has helped each one of the stakeholders in the telephone systems chain.

[ad_2]

Source by Susheel Tadka

Pros and Cons of Having a Small Business Voicemail System

[ad_1]

In any business, application of advanced technologies can contribute towards ensuring success. Your office may require a better telephone system and voice mail system to carry out effective business transactions. The success of any business depends mainly on client satisfaction. In order to maintain steady contact with clients, small business owners can make good use of the voice mail system which functions as an answering machine.

The pros and cons of having a small business voicemail system are many. The main point in support of having this system is that, it is featured with a personalized answering facility which allows you to brief your client in situations when you are unable to answer their calls. The voicemail system is provided with caller identification facility which enables you to respond to your client at a later stage when the client might have forgotten to provide his contact information. It is also provided with date and time stamps which give a clear idea about the date and time when the message was actually obtained.

Most of the voicemail systems are provided with alerts which inform you about the arrival of new voicemail, and with this facility you can respond to your client without delay. There is also the interactive voicemail system which is feature rich and can help to make your small business venture a success. Through these systems small business establishments are able to reduce the time and space limitations. They help a lot in decision making; moreover, it can also bring a steady decrease in your telephone expenditure.

Even though there are many advantages in having a small business voice mail system there are some negative aspects also. Voicemail systems are capable of managing only a restricted number of voice mailboxes. As far as security features are concerned, it is possible for hackers to crack the passwords and read the messages, which can have a negative effect on your business goals.

[ad_2]

Source by Alen J Smith

Live Virtual Receptionists Vs PBX Auto-Attendant Answering Services

[ad_1]

It's a common business dilemma: you need office help, but do not have the capacity to hire a full-time receptionist. In reality, all you really need is someone to answer the phones and occasionally make phone calls on your behalf. When this is the situation, you have two options that do not involve the hassle of hiring a new employee: enlist the aid of a virtual live receptionist, or a contract with a PBX / auto attendant answering service. This article states why it is better to outsource your answering service to a virtual live receptionist firm.

Before diving into pros and cons, let's define these two types of answering services. A remote receptionist answers and forwards phone calls, takes messages for you, and helps relay information to your clients, all while working from a remote location. The virtual receptionist answering service charges you only for the time when their receptionists were actually on the phone on your behalf.

On the other hand, a private branch exchange (PBX) or auto attendant answering service, employs a digital operator to prompt callers. For instance, the auto attendant may tell callers to dial specific numbers until they reach the correct contact. The PBX organization charges you a monthly fee for their services.

Better Business Long-Term
Many business owners choose a PBX answering system because they believe it is a more economical choice. It is certainly less expensive than hiring a full-time receptionist. Over the long-term, however, hiring a virtual receptionist is a more business savvy choice. The key here is to think about how an automated voice impacts your clients' moods – and the impression it gives to potential new clients. Remote reception gives similar savings over hiring a full-time employee, but with an actual human answering the phone. As detailed below, virtual reception services help you keep more happy clients while winning more new clients – boosting your bottom line more over the long run. Read on for additional reasons why a virtual live receptionist is the better option for an outsourced answering service.

Real Human Contact
A virtual receptionist humanizes your company. With a remote receptionist, your clients will not encounter a prerecorded message when they call your office. Additionally, there are no scripted conversations because, unlike with a PBX service, the person with whom your client speaks is a trained professional who does not need a scripted conversation to help your customers. If you are not available to take a call, a virtual receptionist can relay important information to particular people, send messages via email, phone or text, and / or connect your clients with a voice mail system. All of these options are more personable and positive than sitting through a robotic phone menu.

Customer Satisfaction
Customers often encounter an auto attendant answering service when calling businesses. In fact, most of us are so familiar with the occurrence that we have memorized the typical recording: "Please listen carefully as our options have recently changed. If you know the extension of the person you are calling, please dial it now … "Three minutes later, after twiddling their thumbs through every single menu option, your customers will finally hear:" To leave a message on the general system, please wait for the tone. "

Using a virtual live receptionist means your customers do not have to wait for a message to finish. In this way, a remote reception service eliminates frustration for your clients. In fact, at least 60% of customers report that they become angry or frustrated when they encounter an automated telephone system, and many people hang up as soon as they hear an automated voice. With live reception services, however, your clients and prospective clients will speak with a real, live person right away. This will help ensure you never miss new leads and business opportunities.

Professional Appearance
When you hire a live virtual receptionist service, callers will think you have a receptionist working in your physical office. As a result, your business will seem bigger and more professional. In addition, when you use a service that guarantees their receptionists are cheerful, bright and charming, clients will find their good moods to be addictive. Consequently, you will discover your clients have a more positive and joyful attitude that puts them in a better mood to do business with you.

Additional Services
PBX and auto attendant answering machines offer limited service options; there is only so much an answering machine can do for your clients. Virtual receptionists, however, do not just answer incoming calls. They can also make outgoing calls on your behalf, such as appointment confirmation calls. The best remote receptionist services can relay information to a particular client should you have to go into a meeting, so you can focus on your business while keeping your clients informed and happy. Just like a traditional receptionist, a virtual receptionist is happy to call your clients to gather details for you. For example, if you are an insurance agent and need some background information regarding a claim, a virtual receptionist could gather the information, freeing you to focus on other business matters. How many answering machines can do that?

When clients butter your bread, it is up to you to keep them happy and loyal. A virtual live receptionist can assist you with this goal by making sure you never miss a call while giving your clients a personal, positive customer service experience – and at a lower cost to you.

[ad_2]

Source by Elizabeth L. Robinson

10 Pointers for Hiring a Virtual Assistant

[ad_1]

So, what exactly is a virtual assistant? The term virtual is a little misleading … and perhaps more appropriate would be the term, remote assistant. Nonetheless, the more established and recognised term is virtual assistant, so for the purposes of this article, this is the term that I'll stick to. Over the last few years, the 'remit' of the virtual assistant, and the access to these services has increased dramatically! What began as opportunities for companies to remotely take care of certain tasks such as transcription, typing scanned documents, data entry and cold-calling for lead generation, has now expanded to include almost all tasks that a personal, executive or administrative assistant would do, and far more. The virtual assistant role has now developed to the point of encompassing a far wider spectrum of tasks … you can find virtual assistant that can help with web and graphic design, social media and other marketing, research, the usual administrative tasks, and more . This job 'role' is allowing more and more people the flexibility to work remotely, and around other commitments. For this reason, people with a variety of skills are benefiting from including themselves in this pool.

So, this all sounds great, and it might very well seem like this option is an answer to your prayers, particularly if you're a small business, starting up, or you yourself are an entrepreneur who works remotely. Take it from me, finding the right virtual assistant, or even pool of virtual assistants is like a dream come true. Achieving this is not a straightforward or easy process though, so be prepared to spend the time and make the effort to find the right person or team for you.

Now, on to the tips that can help you navigate the process and make it a little easier for you …

1) Be very clear about what your expectations are, what tasks you want done, how long you anticipate this will take and what your budget is for the tasks. Be aware that whilst it's possible to get a VA very reasonably.

2) Rethink your budget. If you are short on time, and do not want to waste it trawling through hundreds of potential low-cost candidates, it is sometimes worth spending a little more in order to recruit someone with more experience and who works to a higher standard.

3) At times it can be worthwhile allocating a slightly higher budget to a task, whittling down the pool of potential VAs, and then hiring more than one on the same task.

4) Before you agree to any larger pieces of work, pick a smaller job that you want completed, and negotiate terms based on the scope of the work, timelines, and budget. Once this been agreed, start reviewing potential VAs with a few key points in mind:

a) Availability: Many VAs have a number of clients that they work for at the same time. Even if you are only hiring for a smaller job to assess the candidate pool, you want to make certain at the outset that the VAs you recruit have the time available to allocate to your additional tasks should you choose to pursue a longer term working arrangement. Knowing this from the outset will save you the trouble of fully vetting candidates that may not be able to work for you thereafter. (Note: Due to the nature of VA work, even when you find the perfect person for you, it is worth considering splitting the work so that you're not left in the lurch should you be left without a VA on short notice, or alternatively, have your VA continually update a handover file that will help with a transition to a new VA).

b) Professionalism: Consider whether the VA answers his or her emails, voicemails and other correspondence in a timely and professional manner?

c) Time management: If possible, choose a task that you can divide into milestones and then assess the VA's commitment to these.

d) Quality: Consider the standard of the work delivered and whether it meets or exceeds your expectations.

e) Project management: Try to find a VA that displays project management skills. This may seem like a high expectation, but good VAs are able to juggle multiple tasks at once in a comfortable and organised way. This is what you want, rather than someone who will buckle under the pressure of varied tasks.

f) Endorsements: Get references and testimonials from VAs particularly if considering more long-term work. Check these for authenticity and do not hesitate to contact references for feedback on the VA with regard to the type of tasks you want done.

The right VA can be a tremendous asset to you and your business. Their services cover an expanse far wider than the average in-house administrative, personal or executive assistant, and they can help relieve a great deal of pressure by making sure some of the details of the business are taken care of in the business, while you work on the business.

By bearing the above points in mind and using them as a guide when hiring a VA, you'll hopefully better be able to navigate the process, and move closer to finding the perfect VA a lot sooner, and with less trial and error. Good luck!

[ad_2]

Source by Noleen Mariappen

3 Ways to Overcome Challenges in a Business

[ad_1]

No matter what kind of business you may want to set up or run, if it is a virtual business such as an online shop, or a physical bricks and mortar stall, there are bound to be problems which any business owner may face. These problems sometimes slow down your business and impede the ways of getting good profits. The question is how in the world are we going to overcome these problems and challenges in our business?

The first way to successfully overcome challenges is to try and forecast the problems that one might face. It is always wise to brainstorm the possible obstacles that could get in the way of your growing business; and to have the ability of forecasting these problems would be a huge advantage when it comes to getting the problem solved. If there is a prescribed set of solutions to possible problems, when these problems actually do arise, it is much easier for us to deal with and frees up more time for more constructive things – such as advertising the business.

The second is to have a business plan. Having a plan would allow businesses to have an overall aim, and would allow the head of the company to have a form of guidance. It also allows the company to fall back on a blueprint and allows the smooth sailing of the company. A good business plan should be very detailed and must put in place the order of things in the company. The plan must also list the possible problems that the company may encounter and the solutions to the problems.

The third is to have competent leadership. Leadership is an important factor on which the company relies. The leader is always the first to be notified of a problem or an obstacle and will be there to steady the ship when there are challenges that the company faces. They must have the ability to create a solution for a problem and to have good marketing strategies for your products or services, such that in the case where there is a very strong competitor, your company is still able to hold the ground that you have in the market. A competent leader must also be innovative, must be able not just to go with the times, but to improve with the times, so as to keep pushing the company forward and be a forerunner in the field that your company is in. More often than not, the leader of the company is often the problem solver when it comes to meeting the challenges that the company faces. It is normally a long and tiring process to look for a good leader, but most small companies are unable to do so, so it is necessary to just nurture yourself into a leader who is able to sail through the tough times and to be the forerunner in your industry.

[ad_2]

Source by Ken K Brown

Suitable Business Location

[ad_1]

Background

Modern society has three aspects – social, economic, and political. The social aspect deals with association between some social group / institution (such as family, school, collage, mosque, etc.) and individual, economic aspect deals with interactive relationships between firm / industry and economic agents, and political aspect is dynamic combination of parliament, executive, judiciary, media, civil society, political parties and voters. The economic aspect has three sectors – product sector, service sector, and financial sector. Business Location is important for product sector due to concerns about availability of raw material, it is vital for services sector in order to provide convenience to customers, and it is central for financial sector for efficient communication links. Thus, business location is vital for every sector of modern economy.

Determinants of Business Location

Business growth and survival is based on multiple demand and supply factors. We may group these factors into two categories – tangible and intangible. The tangible factors can be felt with five senses, while, intangible factors can not be felt with five senses. The prominent tangible factors are capital, land, physical convenience to customers, and cash in hand, while the prominent intangible factors are entrepreneurship, organizational behaviour, consumer tastes, and social links. At production level, after capital, the possession of land and its suitable location is the most important tangible factor that fortify and maintains manager's stability towards business struggle. At consumption level, customers have great attraction towards easy attainment of product or service. The physical convenience to customer is an important tangible factor that shapes demand-pattern of product or service, so that business location easily accessible to customers is vital for stable customer account. Thus, the most important demand and supply factors for business survival and growth – ie, stable customer and stable entrepreneur – are strongly linked with business location.

There may be another division of decisive ingredients of business location, input and output elements. The prominent input elements are – convenience to entrepreneur, convenience to work force, cost of transportation, efficient communication links (ie, phone, internet, wireless, mobile, etc.), government incentives, availability of raw material, availability of cheap labour force , and operational efficiency. On the other hand, the prominent output elements are – convenience to customer, distributional ease, and business effectiveness. The optimal availability and utilization of input elements are beneficial for cost minimization, while the optimal availability and utilization of output elements is beneficial for sales maximization, thus, the combined effect of input-output elements enhances the net return of business struggle, and both are strongly linked with business location. It is noteworthy that the input-output analysis may also include the social dimensions of business location.

Business Location & Taxonomy of Business

A traditional division of economic struggle or business venture is – farming, agribusiness, mining, manufacturing, and commerce. These classifications give shape to three basic sectors of economic aspect, ie, agriculture sector, manufacturing sector, and services sector. Agriculture sector or Farming is indispensably based on land. A suitable farm location is required for distinctive farming activities. Agribusiness are highly dependent on land output coming from agriculture sector such as cotton ginning, spinning, tannery, flour production, and sugar manufacturing. These businesses are generally located near to the source of raw material. Similarly, mining is a business highly dependent on land and its hidden treasures, such as oil & gas refinery, gems and stones, and coal extraction. Expenditures on transportation of raw material and facility of warehouses are high and costly, thus, to arrange location of these business units near to the sources of raw material is reasonable approach. The administrative units of the business are generally located somewhere else, normally near to some financial hub. Agribusiness or mining are labour-intensive or raw material-intensive industries. The capital-intensive industry opt a different approach towards business location. Industry location is decided by capital efficiency, labor or raw material is secondary, eg, automobiles, home appliances, and military equipments. In addition, government incentives, structural facilities, and focused working environment for knowledge workers are some decisive elements for the business location of capital-intensive manufacturing sector.

Commercial businesses or services sector are customer-driven businesses. The very existence of the business depends on easy provision of product / service to consumers. These businesses are highly sensitive to location and its physical appearance, a minor mistake towards location may bring a great loss to a business, for example, a restaurant on some odd area or bit away from customer's easy approach may be a failure. Generally the posh area brings many customers due to snob and bandwagon effects. The snob and bandwagon effects, thus, play an important role in making final decision about location of commercial business. In addition, there are multiple small factors are involved at the time of area selection, for example customer's ease on parking, customer's security, and pleasant customer mobility during shopping. The customized location analysis for each and every commercial business is essential and indispensable. The location analysis of retail would be different from wholesale, retail is generally profitable within city while wholesale is suitable outside the city. A virtual factor has gained special importance in commercial business, product can be displayed on virtual location, monetary transactions can be made through credit cards and product can be delivered through company's courier service. The services sector has accommodated the benefits of virtual location but indispensability and significance of physical location can not be wiped out.

The non-governmental organizations, trusts, hospitals, and educational institutions are important intuitions of modern society. They are inevitable and essential part of every civilized state. They are critical for physical health, psychological strength, spiritual purification, and social ties. They are managed and operated with entrepreneurial skills and personal devotion. Efficiency and effectiveness of such institutions are also depend on multiple factors such as capital, volunteers, and physical location. A facility away from volunteers or user would be less effective. The location has dual effects; it attracts volunteers as well as users. A volunteer brings time and money, thus efficiency / effectiveness is increased, and user is eventual beneficiary of a welfare activity, an ultimate goal.

Business Location & Size Analysis

A business venture has four economic sizes -micro, small, medium, and large. A micro business is a single member firm. It has, generally, less than three staff members. A micro business is started with limited capital. The legal structure of micro business is sole-proprietorship. A micro businessman is, generally, self -centered and heavily dependent on micro-management (static, short-sighted, and person-specific approach of management). Physical location is extremely important for micro-business. Land ownership gives peace of mind and sustained motivation for work to businessman. A micro businessman remains micro in his business due to micro-management or austerity leanings towards life.

A small business has, generally, less than ten staff members. The small businessman has outward looking tendencies with high ambitions. He likes / loves his product / service. The greater psychological challenge of small businessman is MANAGERIAL EGO or NARCISSIM. A small entrepreneur may remain small during his economic life time due to managerial ego / narcissism. He is unable to get synergic benefits. He can work on someone else land and gives utmost importance to capital against the micro manager who is highly land-dependent. A small entrepreneur may enhance her business status through effective entrepreneurship.

A medium business has, generally, less than hundred staff members. The owner of medium size business is outward looking with high ambitions, however, pragmatic towards business aspirations. He likes social interactions, enters into socio-economic links and develops a business circle. He is social-oriented economic entrepreneur. He is generally trapped by social links due to extreme social tendencies. The physical location is important for him for solid social ties; it is, sometime, a trap on his economic growth. The social demand extracts his multiple business energies. A medium business may be a global venture due to availability of some global social linkages. A medium entrepreneur may enhance her business status through better management of socio-economic ties. A mid-size family business is sustainable goal for him due to great social leanings towards social ties. A location-oriented socio-economic networking of business can give a stable shape to business.

A large business has, generally, more than three hundred staff members. An owner or initiator of large business is inward oriented, outward looking, dynamic, and visionary. He wants to develop an empire, thus, a suitable physical location is materialization of his entrepreneurial dreams. The boundless intentional energy or Will Power is asset of economic entrepreneur of a large business. His entrepreneurial skills towards social linkages are relatively low. It may be his strength towards business, he is able to develop or run a large business with professional zest and zeal. Due to limited social leanings and low conceptual intelligence, he is dependent on social entrepreneurs and consultants. The dependency phenomenon, ie, reliance on consultants / social entrepreneurs, is permanent feature of a large business and demands a proactive / positive stand of owner towards dependency phenomenon. A large business may be a global concern due to presence of marked profit differences between native and global markets.

Challenges / Opportunities of Business Location

A business either micro or small or medium or large faces numerous challenges / threats. The foremost challenge to a business location is cutthroat competition. Business life is predominantly competitive by nature. A suitable business location may add / reduce the competitive environment of a business due to uneven availability of capital, work force, or customers.

The second major challenge to suitable business location comes from some cooperative businesses. A cooperative environ is needed to attain or retain some synergic benefits. A sustained unity among members is great challenge towards any strategic alliance due to lustful tendencies of human nature, mushrooming perceptual errors, continuously surfacing miscommunications, incessantly evolving socio-economic changes, and frequently occurring political upheavals. An effective leadership or stable institutional framework is inevitable for everlasting or reasonably long lasting cooperation. A suitable location can bring some advantages to a cooperative business struggle via maximum interaction among stakeholders, now and then. There may be another kind of cooperation, Anchor Benefits. A few businesses flourish due to vicinity to some renowned business, known as anchor businesses, it is forced cooperation a business gets due to its location, eg, pharmacy develops near hospitals.

An important challenge to business location is Law & Order. A peaceful environ of area is, effectively, a cooperation from government and chaotic situation is indication of non-cooperative government. There may be some other indicators of friendly government such as merit criteria towards businesses, tax incentives to business community, and structural support of government.

Another important challenge / opportunity to business location is regional blocks / globalization. A business location gives an area of ​​effect to entrepreneur due to linkages of the area with customers / stakeholders. A shift in linkages among areas strongly influence the area of ​​effect of entrepreneur because a demographic basis of business is changed, a demographic shift or shift in demand may extend the business circle or may reduce it, thus, a regional / global orientation of business has structural importance for business. In addition, a business linked with some wider markets or global outlets is comparatively more dependent on suitable location due to phenomena of free / easy mobility of various input-output elements. Cost of transportation, government incentives, communication links, subtly restrained competitive-cooperative environ, and cultural aspects are involved in wider / global business, thus, intensive-extensive analysis is needed for suitable business location, physical as well as virtual. A successful native business may be a failure at wider or global level due to bigger and greater threats, while a dwindling native business may get an upwards push due to large and immense opportunities. Moreover, an entrepreneur is habitual of two comfort zones – time oriented comfort zone and space oriented comfort zone. A buying / selling interaction at wider or global level is; obviously, disturb the temporal and spatial setting / movement of entrepreneur. The time-space disturbance may be short-lived and re-adjustment might be productive and can bring long-run benefits.

Another challenging area is market volatility; a business location is frequently disturbed by market trends. A volatile trend of customer gives shocks to business, now and then. A mature and stable business can easily resist short run volatility of market trends and business location is not affected. A medium run crisis can be managed with land ownership. A change in long run trend leads towards a change in location, thus, business is disintegrated or take a new shape.

Alternatives of Suitable Business Location

We are inhabitants of an incomplete and continuously evolving universe. Ideals are relentlessly pursued, a few are materialized but a lot remains ideal. A suitable business location is sometime an unachievable ideal. There are several alternate options for suitable business location such as home business, industrial districts, vendor business, outsourcing, and virtual business. If these alternatives are chased with professional acumen and wisdom, they may become a greater blessing for business growth and survival. The synergic benefits can be reaped through these alternatives; unachievable in autonomous flights of business venture, eg, industrial districts provide economies of scale to business venture normally available to a large business; home business can give a social push to economic struggle generally available to a large family business, virtual business may give a global look to a business journey, outsourcing can reduce overhead costs, and so on and so forth. It is note worthy the synergic benefits of alternative business locations are available to only an innovative entrepreneur. An innovative entrepreneur is stable towards crises / change, flexible towards pressures / stress, resilient towards threats / challenges, and persistent towards mission / vision.

Concluding Remarks

At the time of initiation, an entrepreneur must evaluate three aspects of a business venture. They are temporal, spatial, and informational aspects. Temporal analysis of business venture analyzes the trends of market to arrive at some reasonable revenue or demand estimates, spatial analysis considers the physical location of the business in order to minimize the input cost / distribution cost, and informational aspect considers the efficiency in flow of information for quick and accurate decisions. We are living in information age, thus, virtual location or informational aspect of business has gained special and utmost importance for business success. A virtual inefficiency may damage the physical efficiency, while the virtual efficiency may cover up, to some extent, the physical inefficiency. Thus virtual location of business, a recent phenomenon, is supportive to physical location of business.

[ad_2]

Source by Muhammad Ilyas Qadri

Are Virtual Receptionist Services the Right Call for Your Business?

[ad_1]

Interested in exploring the world of virtual receptionists and not sure where to start? Good news, you've got some great options out there! When exploring your virtual receptionist options, first things first, you'll need some background to help you decide if automated or live calls services are right for you.

Not very long ago, there were really only a couple options for small businesses or other organizations with offices to choose from for dealing with callers. Today, however, a whole myriad of choices are available to meet the needs of most businesses. Answering companies can meet your receptionist needs, whether you are a lawyer, healthcare clinic, plumber, realtor, dentist, and on and on … And having a facility that handles this oh so important duty, and specializes in it to boot, can be worth its weight in business growth gold.

Virtual Receptionist or answering service companies offer a wide range of services, from appointments setting, order fulfillment, transfer, new medical patient registration, messages processing, customer care and support, urgent answer processing, lead capture automation, 24 hour emergency service call processing – medical, HVAC, Plumbing, you name it. The list is truly endless, if you have a business, or organization of any kind that relies on patrons, donors, patients, customers, clients, you get the idea, then you should absolutely look into virtual receptionist services.

There are many advantages to using virtual receptionist services. One of which is you will likely lose fewer prospects because they can not reach you. With a live staff handling your calls, you're in much better shape to respond as necessary to new customer calls. A second benefit would be giving your business a competitive edge by achieving faster customer growth. A third would be the significant cost savings that you will enjoy over hiring in-house. Another benefit is that every call is time-stamped and recorded. Lastly, these providers very much enable you to streamline your workload. Ultimately, having that human quality makes all the difference – it truly affects and increases customer conversions.

Here is some further advice. When choosing a virtual receptionist service, you MUST talk to the company, in person or on the phone, and find out how long they have been in business, make sure they have a friendly, professional demeanor, and check how many clients they have. The sources you are vetting do not need to have a zillion served, but they should have a solid, happy customer base to tell you about. Ask for referrals from an existing client base if available. Ask if they have any new account promotions or guarantees. The health of a company can be measured on many metrics – ultimately, they need to be able to handle important tasks for you that you're better off not doing with hired staff. Bear in mind that if you choose to pay someone as am employee to perform this task, full-time, it will always cost you tons more, hence the wisdom of outsourcing this duty. Lastly, ask them directly why you should choose them over the competition!

If you're looking for a live virtual receptionist solution that reduces missed calls, opportunities, and customer service situations and headaches, then a virtual call center solution may well be right for you. Fancy software simply can never take the place of a live voice / receptionists talking to your prospects and managing your calls. This can work, but for limited applications, such as automating payroll. But when it comes to people calling, they need a receptionist on the other end to really feel good about things. Remember, the primary or main concern here is to streamline office services, keep expenses down, efficiency up, while growing your operation.

[ad_2]

Source by Evan Featherstone