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5 Ways to Use Employee Input to Design a State-of-the-Art Laboratory

5 Ways to Use Employee Input to Design a State-of-the-Art Laboratory

Successful laboratories require the highest quality materials and a smart layout. Employees who are working in the space are often aware of improvements and adjustments to already existing labs. There are ways to use employee input to design a state of the art laboratory.

Anonymous feedback
Some employees prefer to leave anonymous feedback as input. This option can be a great way to receive constructive criticism about the laboratory. Employees might be hesitant to voice their opinions out loud, but anonymous feedback allows them to get to the truth of the matter. When it comes to innovative designs, you want this genuine approach.

Group discussions
On the other hand, collaboration in teams can be a terrific way to get input. Many employees might have similar ideas, and when bounced off of each other, the idea will be modified to perfection. You will have an incredible prototype for a laboratory with features from all members of your staff.

Professional advice
Employee input can form the basis for a state of the art laboratory. Once you have these ideas, take them to a professional who can give you further advice on construction. This two step process is a fantastic way to mix your company with a larger entity. The end result will feature facets of both businesses and a nearly perfect laboratory.

Comparing input
If multiple employees submit sketches for the layout of the laboratory, you will need to decide which one works best. First, thank them for their hard work and commitment to these prototypes. It is then easier to compare sketches for efficiency and quality. Think about how feasible it is to implement the model and whether the design contributes to a successful laboratory. When the layout is smart and the technology is state of the art, your products will thrive in this environment.

Ask for general input
A sneaky way to seek employee input is to ask them for general feedback on their job. Some of these comments will reference the laboratory, which you can use for future construction. Because general feedback can fall in any department, you will only receive points about the most important aspects of the lab. This method will help employees get down to the heart of the matter.

Employee input is a great way to design a state of the art laboratory. Because they have firsthand experience with labs and know exactly which pieces of technology work best, they are great sources to start with. Your laboratory will be equipped with a fantastic array of machinery and aesthetics.

8 Ways a Custom Challenge Coin Makes a Unique Gift

8 Ways a Custom Challenge Coin Makes a Unique Gift

Challenge coins are one of the best items to consider as part of your organization’s branding process. These coins are tangible tokens of appreciation that carry a history of their own and denote that someone has gone above and beyond the assigned tasks to earn it. They are not gifts: they are rewards for a job well done. Check out 8 reasons why a custom challenge coin is the best choice for your group.

1. Coins have a history

The moment a challenge coin is earned, a protocol goes with it, starting with a special handshake which puts the coin on the receiver’s palm as a gesture of gratitude. Just the fact of receiving the coin for doing something outstanding goes to show that your group holds high quality standards and values.

2. Protocol

It is not just about earning a coin. It is also about safekeeping it. As a gesture of loyalty, coin earners should keep the coin handy at all times. They should not pass it on, sell it, give it as a gift, or leave it at home. The idea is that, at any moment a “challenge” may be called upon the group, for instance, paying for the group’s tab. Showing the coin means saving you from being challenged.

3. Tradition

Having a system in place to award the coin, and a tangible way for people to see what it takes to earn it, builds a sense of tradition and rigor in the workplace.

4. Challenge

When you challenge an employee the natural result is the want to do bigger and better things once a nice reward is at stake. A custom challenge coin is an attractive, one-of-a-kind symbol of achievement that not everyone gets. It is not a participation trophy, but a symbol of tradition and rigor that sets people apart.

5. Beauty

Imagine the impression upon competitors when they see the brand logo, colors, and symbols of your group minted on a unique coin. This beats any t-shirt out there, especially since coins come with their own sets of rules to use them in challenges, and with their own set of requirements to earn them. Stationary, shirts and cup holders pale in comparison to a challenge coin.

6. Uniqueness

As we stated previously, the art of coin making is unique. You get to pick from a series of styles, ends, colors and finishes to create something that only your organization can have. A simple coin made just for you means a lot. It shows that your group stands out from the rest, and that things are done differently where you work. Challenge coins are good for any group that wants to feel truly special.

7. Identity

Challenge coins can be also used by large family groups, to commemorate family reunions, special occasions, or just to offer as a keepsake or heirloom. Make them a rite of passage for graduations, baptisms, or simply make your own rules to get them.

8. Value

For less than what it costs to send to make t-shirts, your company can mint its own challenge coins, which last forever and maintain their value as milestone pieces.

5 Steps to Having Efficient Franchise Management

5 Steps to Having Efficient Franchise Management

Purchasing a franchise is one of the many ways to build wealth slowly. To turn your franchise purchase into a steady income stream, you need
1) a thorough knowledge of the rules of your franchise and a willingness to follow them.
2) a properly trained team of employees, and
3) qualified managers.

Case Study

For example, let’s say you’re interested in purchasing a sandwich shop franchise. Your manager will need to run the day to day financials, manage employees, and communicate with you on a regular basis.

The challenges your manager will face include
1) Turnover. If you invest in an industry such as food service that has a high turnover, your manager will spend a great deal of their time training new employees. You need a manager with great teaching and mentoring skills, and you’ll need to support them while they put their time into training and mentoring. Thus, it’s critical that you understand your business numbers intimately before asking your manager to take the reins.
2) Hours. To truly understand the work it takes to run a franchise, you may need to find a restaurant owner to shadow and learn from. If, at the end of this employment stretch, you’re still interested in the restaurant business, consider finding your own shadow as a manager to keep your shop profitable as you consider adding another.

Experience

Another option to building a quality management team is to build your managers from your employee pool. This requires you to be on-site and observing your employees carefully to confirm they have the characteristics it takes to be a good manager.

Again, let’s return to our sandwich shop. Your manager needs to be
1) Quick. Fast food isn’t a dining destination; it’s convenient. From the first step inside the door, your customers need to know their food is on its way to them.
2) Flexible. It’s said that managing well can mean serving well, and when dealing with fast food workers, many of whom are working their first job and may have limited schedules or transportation access, keeping shifts covered can be a challenge. Flexibility is a skill that can be under-appreciated by some owners. Don’t be that owner!
3) Thrifty. Profit margins are narrow in many franchises; hiring carefully and purchasing at proper scale will add to profits. A manager with a desire to own a franchise may be a great addition to your staffing pool, and they can develop an eye for careful spending from watching you work.
No matter which franchise you’re considering buying into, you’re going to need some help and you may need to build new skills. If you have the professional flexibility to put in some work shadowing another franchise owner, do so. Learn the business well enough to teach it to someone else, and share your skills as you build new ones.

4 Types of Businesses who Benefit from Metal Buildings

4 Types of Businesses who Benefit from Metal Buildings

Steel buildings are excellent choices for many modern businesses. Because steel is 100-percent recyclable, it’s an eco-friendly choice that is also energy efficient. Steel doesn’t buckle or warp easily, making it ideal for use in locations where atmospheric humidity makes many other building materials, particularly wood, a poor choice. The long life cycles of steel buildings provides business owners with an optimal return on investment. They’re also adaptable enough so they work in a variety of business situations. Following are just four of the many types of businesses that can benefit from installing steel buildings.

Agriculture

Steel buildings are an especially good choice for use on farms and other agricultural enterprises such as wholesale plant nurseries. One of the major reasons for this is that steel has a high fire-resistance factor, which is particularly important for businesses that are located in rural areas where vulnerability to damage by wildfires is a top concern.

Animal Oriented Businesses

Dog kennels require a great deal of open areas for the dogs to shelter from various weather conditions such as hot sun and cold rain. Commercial stables often use steel buildings to provide open-air riding arenas for when weather would otherwise make riding unpleasant, preventing loss of income due to having to cancel riding lessons because of rain, snow, or other adverse conditions. steel buildings are also ideal places to store hay and the animal food.

Auto Detailing or Mechanic Shops

Steel building featuring rollup doors are excellent choices for those starting auto related businesses. A metal lean-to can easily be added to the side of the building to function as a wash-bay. Steel buildings also make good auto repair shops because they provide an abundance of open air space. The large doors can be left open during hours of operations to provide optimal ventilation to help keep gas and fumes from becoming overwhelming.

Landscaping

Steel buildings offer those with landscaping businesses plenty of room to store equipment and vehicles. Rollup or large, pull down doors make it easy for trucks, trailers, and other large vehicles used by landscapers to easily access the building’s interior.

Other businesses options that could benefit from steel buildings are food and beverage operations, retail stores, and resale shops. In short, just about any type of business can be successfully housed in a steel building. Please feel free to contact us at your earliest convenience for more information on how having a steel building installed can benefit your business.

Three Ways to Organize Your Negotiation Training Plan

Three Ways to Organize Your Negotiation Training Plan

With more and more businesses taking note of the many potential benefits of negotiation training, selecting and implementing the right training plan has become an issue of paramount importance. From initial education to long-term ongoing training, ensuring that all employees have the skills and knowledge needed to ensure superior performance is not a concern that should be left to chance. The right training plan makes it much easier to educate key employees and ensure all staff members have the skills they need to succeed in today’s competitive market.

One: Identifying Areas Where Training Will Have the Biggest Impact

Outlining any areas of day to day operations that may require improvement can ensure that training efforts can be targeted with greater focus. From reducing overhead expenses and negotiating reduced costs for vendors and suppliers to ensuring sales leads are able to be converted in greater numbers, the right training can have a positive impact on almost all aspects of daily operations. Assessing the needs and current skill level of all employees can make it much easier to devise a training plan that will deliver superior results.

Two: Providing Base-Level Training to All Employees

Mastering negotiation skills often requires considerable time and effort, and not every business may have the resources needed to provide advanced training for all staff members. Providing all employees who have contact with sales leads, vendors and other associates with base-level training may prove to be a more viable solution. Initial training covers the most basic concepts of negotiations and can ensure that employees are less likely to be a liability should they be required to negotiate with a potential customer or supplier. Rudimentary aspects of negotiation and other communications skills can often be learned quickly and easily and business may benefit by making basic negotiation skills part of their basic employee training.

Three: Ongoing Training Plans for Sustained Long-term Improvement

Honing and improving skills over the long term often requires ongoing training. While many employees are provided with opportunities to practice their negotiation skills from day to day, on the job experience is rarely able to provide the most complete solution. Additional classroom time, workshops and other training exercises are often the best way to teach experienced employees about the latest negotiation tactics as well as any concepts that may have been developed since their initial training. Plans that incorporate ongoing training and continuing education opportunities are ideal for ensuring employees are able to keep their existing skills from becoming rusty and learn more about the latest tactics and strategies.

4 Innovative Ways to Efficiently Track Your Fork Lift Warehouse

4 Innovative Ways to Efficiently Track Your Fork Lift Warehouse

Managing supply chains and warehouse operations are two challenges that never get easier. However, there are proven ways to efficiently track and manage forklift warehouses. The keys to success for any warehouse operations are efficiency and productivity through cutting edge information management systems. Here are four solutions to better track and control your warehouse’s equipment inventory.

Utilize Real-Time Technologies
To better reach business goals and support warehouse improvements, managers can collect and analyze real-time data to create more efficient processes. This requires a warehouse management system (WMS) that hopefully is integrated with the ERP or supply chain management systems. Warehouse management system help decision makers track incoming and outgoing shipments as well as inventory levels and product returns. Once managers are comfortable and familiar with the warehouse management system, they can use it to maximize system throughput and performance while also minimizing waste and inefficiency. Warehouse management systems can logically assess product layouts and recommend ideal placement locations and replenishment techniques.

Monitor Warehouse Inventory Levels
Major corporations like Wal-Mart expects suppliers to monitor stock levels and match price changes while also maintaining accountability. Outsourcing these responsibilities to vendors is great because this saves time and money, but this solution is not ideal for small to medium sized warehouses. Instead, they can simply use their warehouse management system to access real-time views of inventory levels and warehouse order statuses. Warehouse management systems allow users to create customized reports that will identify logistical lags, labor bottlenecks and shipment delays. This will help sales staff to see which orders are being picked, which ones are being staged for shipment and which ones are late.

Strategically Organize Warehouses
Organizing an overcrowded warehouse requires policies, structure and standard procedures. This is critical because failure to fully utilize available space will result in inefficient workflows and product shipment delays. Slow or unpopular items should be appropriate stored out of the way in order to maximize spaces for product staging and stuffing containers. Productive warehouses will have clearly designated isles, staging spaces and inventory zones. Warehouse space is often taken up by rejected or returned materials that are not processed. Warehouse staff usually avoids these products because they are troublesome or confusing. However, these items must be efficiently processed back into inventory or shipped elsewhere. Empowering sales staff to sell rejected items will increase turnaround times and save space.

A fourth and final way to streamline warehouse processes is to better cross train employees on key functions, which will increase their teamwork, productivity and operational readiness.

5 Major Breakthroughs of Commercial Fishing

5 Major Breakthroughs of Commercial Fishing

Commercial fishing has set itself up as one of the high risk but big money businesses. Predictably, the future of it has always come under the spotlight, pitting sustainability against profit. However, as you enjoy your cod liver or salmon, you may be unaware of some of the big moves that have been made in the large-scale commercial fishing waters.

1. PRICE BOOM IN FISH PRICES
With big appetites, comes big money. A visible price boom has been witnessed no doubt fuelled by either the decline of fish stock in the seas or increasing demand for a healthier option. Since 2005, crab prices have gone up almost 43%, while in China, suppliers are taking in orders of about 2000 tons a week.

2. EUROPEAN MARITIME AND FISHERIES FUND
Large-scale fishing is fast becoming a safer business, especially after the setting up of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. The Fund, set to run until 2020 is up for grabs for qualified fishery business who according the rules of the fund, would like to, but not limited to, improve health and safety on their fishing boats and boost the value of the fish caught and include ways to reduce bycatch.
3. RATIONALIZATION
The switch from a derby style fishing to an individual quota fishing system came as a relief to many fishermen working the cold seas like the Bering Sea. Derby fishing prompted fishermen to fill their quota in days, putting fishermen at a risk of drowning. The execution of the individual quota fishing system allowed boats to fill out quotas in 3 months, allowing lighter loads and not exposing the crew to horrible conditions.

4. BYCATCH REDUCTION DEVICES (BRDS)
Commercial fishing is all about scale and magnitude, with tons being the target catch. In most instances, the trawling method used will net unintended targets. These unintended targets are thrown back into the sea for more valuable fish, already dead or dying. Bycatch reduction devices (BRDs) were introduced to help fish not intended as the catch to escape from nets. Turtle excluder devices (TEDs) were also adopted to help deflect turtles escape trawl nets.

5. FISH FINDING TECHNOLOGY
Companies like Simrad and Piscatus 3D have created a niche for themselves in creating fishfinding systems that allow commercial fishermen find schools of particular fish, and map out seabed topology. Such advancements enable commercial fishing boats to do targeted fishing, minimizing time spent on seas.
With progress being made on a regular basis to make commercial fishing less destructive and the eco-system more stable, it would be interesting to see what more the fishing industry has in store for the market.

5 Unexpected Equipment Pieces for Your Commercial Van

5 Unexpected Equipment Pieces for Your Commercial Van

If you own a commercial van for your business or company, you know that this vehicle is imperative to the function of your work. You drive in it daily, and you need it to be in good working order. In addition, you need it to be comfortable and easily functional for you and your employees or coworkers.

Most of the time when it comes to commercial vans, driving is the main function you want to have at your disposal. And even though the driving operation is indeed very important, there are other ways to make your van comfortable for yourself as well.

For starters, you can make your commercial van much more comfortable just by employing comfortable seats. Adding cushioning can do a lot for the comfort of each passenger seat. In addition, make sure that you are making good use of the radio system and heating and air already included in your van.

With that being said, there are a lot of ways to make your commercial van even more comfortable than we’ve already mentioned by adding a few unexpected and maybe unconventional items.

1. Cup holders

This seems like such a simple feature for your commercial van, but it’s really quite necessary. If you are making even a 20 or 30 minute trip in your commercial van, you are going to want to have cup holders available for you and your passengers. From hot chocolates and coffees in the winter to a cool water or soda in the summer, having a beverage at easy disposal is very nice when it comes to traveling in your van.

2. Mp3 Player Hookup

Most people are not listening to cassette tapes anymore, and CDs are even going out of style. In this way, having a hookup for an Mp3 player can be a great advantage in your commercial van.

3. Bluetooth System

If you really want to get fancy, consider putting in a bluetooth system. A bluetooth system can give you a great way to play music, or you can use it to attach other devices, such as your computer, tablet or smartphone to your van. This is one of the best ways to get directions.

4. Rear Shelving

No matter what line of business you are in, having rear shelving in your van can be extremely helpful. Shelving at the back of your vehicle allows you to have a built-in storage system for whatever you’re carting around.

5. Carpeting or Floor Pads

Again, carpeting and floor pads can be very helpful to you in the back of your van. As you work with your storage system in the back and load and unload different tools and items, you’ll appreciate a soft and fashionable surface to work on.

How to Choose the Right POS System for Your Business

How to Choose the Right POS System for Your Business

Modern point-of-sale (POS) systems can do a lot more for a restaurant than simply serve as a modern cash register. With the right POS system in place, a restaurant can manage everything from placing orders to handling cash and from managing inventory to scheduling employees. With dozens of restaurant POS systems to choose from, it is important to consider the following:

User Interface and Ease of Use

Although most POS systems are designed in ways that make them intuitive and easy to use, some require a certain level of management and configuration that allows them to be operated by all employees with little training. Some of the most powerful POS systems require multiple clicks and screen taps to access their functions; such systems demand a learning curve that restaurant owners and managers must keep in mind.

Functionality

The restaurant bookkeeper, the chef and the manager should determine what they want to get from the POS system. Order entry and cash register functions are pretty much standard; however, some POS systems offer advanced features such as customer relationship management (CRM), marketing, inventory, budgeting, and forecasts. A neighborhood pizza shop with just a few tables may not require all functions in the beginning, but they may come in handy as the business grows and expands.

Tech Support

This feature sets POS systems apart and can determine their pricing. Restaurant owners can choose between cloud-based systems that include tech support with their subscription plans but require a reliable Internet connection. Offline POS systems will work even during periods of Internet outage, but they may require onsite tech support at an additional cost.

Payment Features

In general, restaurant owners should consider POS systems that can handle as many payment options as possible, particularly from the emerging digital wallets that are tied into mobile devices. With the move to the Europay, Mastercard and Visa (EVM) chip card standard, it is very important to choose a system that can handle these transactions. Other considerations include Apple Pay, Google Wallet and PayPal mobile.

Marketing and CRM

A POS system that includes CRM features and marketing modules can become a powerful tool for growth. Most POS systems can collect email addresses and phone numbers, but not all of them have advanced features to create marketing campaigns that can be tied to social media and mobile notifications. The level of marketing intelligence that some POS systems can gather is certainly impressive; collecting data such as average spending, table size, favorite menu items, drink preference, and birthdays can help restaurant owners create promotions, coupons and specials.

5 Essential Quality Control Measures for Your Mail

5 Essential Quality Control Measures for Your Mail

Even with the widespread use of the Internet and email for most business functions, regular snail mail is still an important part of everyday business transactions. No matter the size of your company or type of industry, having quality control measures in place to track your mail is important to prevent costly mistakes down the line. Consider implementing the following procedures at your business to prevent mistakes in your mail management.

1. One of the most common mistakes in using mail is that the address list you are working from is not accurate. With human error, it is possible to scramble or mismatch a list of names before the addresses even make it to being printed on an envelope. This unfortunate phenomenon is especially true if you are mailing a massive amount of letters out at once. It is all too easy to simply enter the wrong name next to an address on a worksheet. Before your envelopes make it to the mailbox, use an extra set of eyes to approve the initial address list.

2. Check addresses against the National Change of Address database to make sure that your letter is being mailed to the appropriate person. This step is especially important if you are sending out a mass mailing to businesses or people with whom you do not regularly interact.

3. Another quality control measure to take before the envelopes hit the mailbox is to proofread the contents of the letter being mailed. This job should be done by a different person than the author of the original letter to ensure a fresh set of eyes.

4. Even if the addresses are correct on the envelopes and the letter is properly addressed, it is still possible to insert the wrong mailing contents into an envelope. This is why someone should be designated to check and match up the address on the envelope to the addressee name on the letter before the envelope is sealed. If you lack the time or resources to dedicate one person to this task for each letter, then you could perform a random check of envelopes to prevent the most egregious errors.

5. Institute a check in procedure for when the envelopes are actually delivered to the Post Office or mailbox. There should be a record to account for how much mail was taken and by whom it was transported. This will be important information to have if a problem comes up later on about whether mail was actually delivered to the carrier. It is always best to err on the side of caution when recording data about mail so that you can access whatever information you need to deal with a future problem.