The Impact Of Smart Technology On Driving?


The Impact Of Smart Technology On Driving?

Technology continues to have a major impact on our everyday lives, with new innovations constantly being introduced to make life ‘simpler’.  All industries strive to innovate, not least the automotive industry that in recent years has seen the introduction of dash-cams, key finders and in-car Bluetooth systems.

But, what might be next on the agenda for car tech?  These predictions below from Audi dealership Vindis offer some interesting insight:

Self-driving cars

For a long time, we’ve been envisioning a world in which cars will be able to drive around by themselves. This idea once seemed futuristic and farfetched, but the tech is now being developed and tested by leading automotive companies such as Audi. Similar to the idea behind inter-car communication, self-driving cars are set to reduce the risk of human error on the road. The result? A safer and more reliable way to travel. The Google Self-Driving Car project was initiated in 2009 and has since been rebranded as Waymo. After ordering a Waymo on an app, a self-driving car will pick you up and take you where you need to be — a journey which promises to be both extremely safe and very comfortable. The idea behind Waymo is that you can ‘ride with confidence’ and these vehicles have been branded as ‘the most experienced drivers’. Embracing self-driving cars feels like taking a leap of faith, but in the next few years, this tech is likely to feel much more common place.

AR dashboard displays

Augmented reality dashboards will soon provide all the information you could possibly need to enhance your driving experience. Giving your dashboard a video-game aesthetic, AR displays will show any information you need to know about the car itself. They will also give you other vital information about the road, such as how quickly you’re approaching another car, and how best to avoid collisions. 

Inter-car communication

Cars that are hooked up to the internet are now fairly standard in the automotive world. Soon however, these internet-enabled cars will have the ability to communicate with one another, transforming our driving experience. Communication between cars will help prevent collisions, with precision that human error has never before allowed us to achieve. Before a collision can occur, the car-to-car communication system will foresee the accident and alert the driver to the potential consequences. They will then be able to react quickly and avoid catastrophe.

The world’s leading car manufacturers are currently using this technology to develop fully autonomous models. Which leads us on to our next smart technology…

3D gesture technology

Imagine changing gears or winding down your car windows with a simple wave of your hand. Like magic, you will soon be able to control many elements of your vehicle with mere gestures. As well as being futuristic and fun, this tech is set to make driving easier and safer. Instead of jabbing at buttons on the radio, or being tempted to reach out for your phone, you will soon be able to point at the screen of your infotainment system to accept an incoming call — a simple solution that means you’ll never have to take your eyes off the road.

Full integration with phones and smart watches

We have already seen a huge integration between our cars and our smart gadgets, and this trend is set to continue. Recent innovations have seen car manufacturers such as Hyundai, pair up with the Android Wear app which allows users to complete a number of commands from your smart watch. From your watch you can start your engine remotely, lock your car’s doors, sound your horn, and turn the headlights on and off.

What’s more, built-in integration with apps is set to become more commonplace with new car models. Many models now integrate popular apps into the infotainment system, making it look just like the usual screen on your phone.

Automated parking systems

Finally, for those who are tired of searching for a parking space to riskily squeeze into, let us introduce automated parking systems. Parktronic systems that allow cars to find parking spaces and navigate to them already exist, but with new infrastructure around automated parking systems forecasted, the future looks bright for those who hate parking. This infrastructure will allow passengers to drop off the car at the entrance to a garage, allowing it to venture off and find its own parking space. And when you’re ready to be reunited with your wheels? A simple tap on an app will signal to your car that it’s time to journey back to the drop-off point.

Some of these innovations may seem straight out of science fiction, but every day we are inching nearer to a world in which smart technology drives cars by itself. It may take some getting used to, but our future roads are set to be safer than ever!

Aiming To Improve Overall Patient Outcomes And Experiences


OncoBeta GmbH are a privately held medical device company, specializing in the development and commercialization of state-of-the-art, innovative therapies utilizing epidermal radioisotope applications. Following their success in CV’s Corporate Excellence Awards 2019, we profiled the firm and caught up with Shannon Brown who provided us with a detailed glimpse into the innerworkings of the award-winning company.

Since their inception, OncoBeta GmbH have concentrated on an epidermal radioisotope therapy called the Rhenium-SCT® (Skin Cancer Therapy), targeting non-melanoma skin cancers. OncoBeta GmbH’s primary goal is to offer an effective, customized and non-invasive treatment, independent of tumor size, severity and localization. In addition to this, the company also aims to provide a fast, painless, single treatment, with no side effects and aesthetic results.

Rhenium-SCT® is a specialized state-of-the-art therapy utilizing the radioisotope Rhenium-188, a beta-emitter which in this case is used for the treatment of basal and squamous cell carcinomas of the skin. Going into further detail, Shannon begins by informing us more about Rhenium-SCT® and the medical working principle of using this particular therapy.

“The global incidence of non-melanoma skin cancers has been drastically increasing over the past few decades. Depending on the source, it is estimated that there are over five million non-melanoma skin cancer cases reported globally each year.”

“The medical working principle of the Rhenium-SCT® or epidermal radioisotope therapy is based on the local direct cell-killing effect of the beta-radiation, which triggers both the localized destruction of cancer cells and local reactions of the immune system of the body to repair itself.”

Today, OncoBeta GmbH is helping to redefine patient experiences, patient outcomes, patient expectations, while redefining the approach to treating non-melanocytic skin cancer (NMSC), one of the most common cancers. Patients who suffer from NMSCs are often left with standard care options, which are either painful, non-aesthetically desired, or are invasive procedures in nature. OncoBeta GmbH is part of the story trying to rectify this, as Shannon explains.

“With our therapeutic for NMSC – the Rhenium-SCT®, OncoBeta GmbH has a scalable, highly effective, clinically proven and desirable solution for NMSC patients, that improves overall patient outcomes and experiences. Scientifically, OncoBeta GmbH’s Rhenium-SCT® harnesses the radioisotope Rhenium-188 for clinical purposes in a safe, stable, and repeatable manner. Our manufacturing process, logistics network, and innovative approach to matching patient needs with our supply base are well defined. Overall, we are ensuring scalability and patient access to our therapeutic solution, ensuring patients a better future.”

Working behind the scenes to deliver these award-winning therapy treatments, are the dedicated, passionate and hard-working team which forms the backbone of OncoBeta GmbH.

When discussing the internal culture, Shannon is keen to highlight the significant role the team plays in the overall success of the company.

“Our highly dedicated team plays a large role in our success. The team works relentlessly to improve our treatment and to increase our current therapeutic portfolio, while constantly striving to develop additional non-invasive therapies in the areas of
dermatology and oncology for patients in need.”

Looking ahead to what the future holds for the company, the team at OncoBeta GmbH will continue to deliver their exceptional services, especially following their recent success in Corporate Vision’s Corporate Excellence Awards 2019 where they were righteously awarded the accolade Most Compassionate Skin Cancer Therapy Provider 2019. Bringing the interview to a close, Shannon signs off by revealing the future plans for the Rhenium-SCT®, as well as the industry challenges the team at OncoBeta GmbH are currently facing and how they hope to overcome them.

“The Rhenium-SCT® is presently available in Germany, Italy, Australia and South Africa. We anticipate expansionary activities in other European/ Non-European countries such as: France, United Kingdom, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Scandinavian Countries, Canada, United States, SE Asia and Brazil scheduled over the next 2-3 years.

“OncoBeta GmbH is fighting from inside the healthcare apparatus to offer a better alternative for those suffering with NMSCs. This means being highly active in the NMSC therapeutic community, exchanging in dialogues to change the perspectives of clinicians, exchanging in dialogues to change clinicians minds about standard care and exchanging in dialogue to open up referral chains to other therapeutic alternatives, such as the Rhenium-SCT®. This is the fight of all innovations in the marketplace, to challenge the status quo. This is our biggest challenge, but one worth pursuing with the patient’s perspective always in mind.”

Company: OncoBeta GmbH

Web Address:

Best Logistics & Industrial Recruitment Agency – Wales


Recruitment Solutions Ltd is a growing South Wales-based recruitment company with over 20 years’ experience in the recruitment sector. We profile the firm to find out more about the range of services it has to offer.

Established in 1999, Recruitment Solutions is dedicated to increasing its clients’ productivity through people and have developed an advanced system of tools and expertise for recruiting highly qualified people that are well-suited to a client’s particular needs and environment.
The firm’s own staff are committed, driven and ambitious. Based in South Wales, they can supply temporary workers across South Wales and into England. Additionally, the firm’s professional services division operate UK wide to ensure it meets the exact needs of its clients wherever they may be based.
Collaborating with clients, Recruitment Solutions strive to match workers to client requirements, varying between temporary work placements, contractor work, temporary to
permanent work arrangements and permanent placements. The team constantly seek to work fairly and ethically with their clients, staff, the workers that they supply, the company’s shareholders and within the communities which Recruitment Solutions operates. This approach ensures excellence for every client that works alongside this dynamic and innovative firm.

Overall, Recruitment Solutions believes that having a recruitment partner is of paramount importance to every business success. As such, the team aim to be that partner to their clients and seek to deliver businesses with the human resource solution that best befits their business need, tailoring our approach to each individual client. The firm’s staff listen, respond to the clients’ needs, and aspire to build relationships which are long lasting, and this will remain their ongoing focus over the years to come.


Company: Recruitment Solutions Ltd

Contact: Jamie Williams


Network Rail, World Bank, Duke Energy, SNC Lavalin, Melbourne Airports and Transurban to present ‘Risk Management in Practice’ at Sword GRC Global Conference Series


Sword GRC, a supplier of specialist risk, compliance and governance solutions, has announced the Customer Speakers for its Global Conference series this year. Already attracting record numbers, the series starts in Washington DC on 24th & 25th September 2019 in the Hyatt Regency Reston, followed by the London Conference on 17th October 2019, at The Dorchester Hotel. The third and final conference date is 12th November at The Grand Hyatt, Melbourne. The conferences are open to all risk practitioners and consultants and will host senior directors and executive speakers from high profile industry customers including; Network Rail in the UK, Duke Energy, SNC Lavalin and World Bank in the US, and Melbourne Airports and Transurban in Australia. The customer representatives complement the line-up of keynote speakers who will be presenting their own personal and insightful experiences of risk in business and everyday life. Delegates will also have the opportunity to network with colleagues and discuss ideas and best practice at the events.

Keith Ricketts, Vice President of Global Marketing at Sword GRC said; “We have seen a record number of registrations for our Global Conferences, which demonstrates how important risk is becoming on the boardroom agenda. As well as inspiring speakers from business and the military world, we are delighted to welcome our customer speakers – senior practitioners and directors from some of the leading companies in engineering, utilities, construction, financial services and infrastructure.

“They will share a wealth of expertise and experience of working on high profile, large scale projects, presenting how they manage corporate and operational risk across their organisations. We hope that their insights will inspire attendees to take back learnings and the innovations and apply them in their own working practices.”

Notable speakers at the events also include Lynn Brewer, most widely known for being an Enron Whistleblower and the CEO and Founder of The Integrity Institute®, who will be presenting at the US Conference. The UK event will host two celebrated prize-winning authors from the military and corporate world. John Nichol, ex-Royal Air Force, presenter and best-selling author of ‘Tornado Down’, and Caspar Berry, entrepreneur and professional poker player. Prize winning author, comedian and artist, Vietnamese-born Australian Anh Do, will be sharing his life-changing experience of overcoming risk and adversity with the audience at the Melbourne event.

For more information, and to register for your place, please visit: Sword GRC Conferences


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Customer Service in the Automotive Industry


We just aren’t a country that embraces positivity — until now. Good service has always something we associated with America, where often things go over the top. But, here in the UK, our service has often been nothing shy of disappointing, so much so, Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux Jr. voiced his opinion. The tv-personality noted how the service here in the UK is “surly, slapdash, and dreadful.”

But why is customer service so important? For the likes of Roux Jr., who undeniably delivers cuisine at the highest level in the world, an understanding of the significance of customer satisfaction is prevalent. However, for smaller businesses, it must be noted that retaining customers is considerably cheaper than gaining new ones and more profitable — returning customers are likely to spend 67 per cent more.

But, it isn’t just the financial implications that businesses will experience, their reputation can take a serious knock along the way if their level of service drops by the wayside. The 16-24 age bracket have become particularly synonymous for posting reviews on Trip Advisor when things don’t quite meet their expectations — one-third of the demographic suggesting they would be posting a review online if they received poor customer service.

Research has found that £12 billion is lost each and every year in the UK thanks to shoddy customer service. However, since 2010 the UK has begun to establish itself as a major world player in terms of customer satisfaction. The Zendesk’s Customer Service Benchmark world rankings places the United Kingdom fourth, with a rating of 96.2%.

Despite the fact customer service is vital in all purchases, it’s arguably most important with expensive ones, such as a car. After a house, a car is most likely going to be the most expensive purchase you ever make. It’s a rare occasion that someone would go out in the morning time, on a whim, and come home with a new set of wheels. A study has found that the average car buyer spends around 14 hours researching online, reading reviews and visiting dealers’ websites before making their decision.

Here with Lookers Mercedes, who sell the Mercedes Gle, we assess customer service in the automotive industry.

Stage 1 — Digital
The journey to buying a new car, as we’ve previously mentioned, no longer starts on a Saturday morning when you pull up at the show room, it started weeks before at home, online. Right from the word go, when the customer lands on the website and makes that initial interaction, their experience can mould their end decision.

Most businesses will now use (AI) Artificial Intelligence to track a potential customer’s journey through their website, so they can send through a pop up asking, “is there anything we can help you with today?”. Once the potential lead responds, they get linked through to a member of staff and the ball is set in motion.

Thanks to the use of technology, the customer service experience is being extended beyond the four walls of the showroom. As the automotive industry knows two-thirds of decisions are made online, they can no longer depend on their salesman using their relentless charm to guarantee each and every sale, as the lead may never come through the door. Instead, the initial ‘meet and greet’ is carried out in the comfort of your own home.

Stage 2 — On the day
Creating an emotional connection with the customer is a crucial aspect part of the process, yet one that too often gets skimmed over these days. A report carried out by We Are DMA concluded that car dealerships that are able to connect with customers on a personal level are gaining the strongest levels of engagement. The technical jargon that in the past may have been able to completely mind boggle a customer because they were unaware as to what it meant, is now readily available for their access online. Harley Davidson’s John Russell notes, “the more you engage with customers the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.” By speaking to the customer on a level of mutual understanding, both dealer and buyer are benefiting.

Respondents, when asked what determined their favourite car brand, ranked quality as the highest with 45%, however, one third pointed to the company being friendly, helpful and welcoming. Despite the fact the journey may start online, 59% still bought their most recent car in a dealership, meaning a focus on the development on the customer service at those initial two stages of contact will prove detrimental in the ultimate success.

A similar study carried out by Maritz Research which quizzed customers on their automotive purchasing experience discovered that just under 75% of customers were satisfied overall with the service they received. Similarly, the vast majority rated their dealings with the sales department as the most important aspect.

Stage 3 — Down the line
Signing for the car is by no means the end of the process; this is just the beginning, particularly if this is the first time the customer has bought this brand or from this dealership. This is where customer service needs to excel, and the quality of the product can really shine. In reality, the odds are stacked against a car going through its lifespan without some form of issue.

If it does, great, however, it still needs a regular service, and for a dealership, it is all about ensuring the customer comes to you. This is when the digital aspect can prove its worth once again. By providing customers with details online of simple things like changing the oil the honesty that is ranked so highly by the customer is installed. However, by also suggesting how much easier it would be to drop it in, grab a coffee and have it done by one of your fully-fledged mechanics, you are catering for every customer need. A dealership runs the risk of the customer not getting an oil change, but they’ll develop a love for a brand and return when replacements are due.

In terms of going above and beyond in regard to after sales care, Audi have recently shown how it can be done. The revolutionary Audi Cam offers customers the chance to see exactly what is happening to their car whilst it is in the garage, as one of the members of their service department will walk round with a selfie camera, showing the various alterations that are being made.

Customer service goes a long way in presenting the brand image, mission, and furthermore the values of your company. Although you might be fully aware of why you are in business, the customer may not, therefore, showing them through the experience which they receive from the interaction with your staff is crucial.


Looking after employees, on and off the road


For employers in any sector, finding top talent to grow a business is never easy, but for a variety of reasons it is becoming even more difficult for those seeking to recruit and retain experienced HGV or other fleet drivers. Robin Woodbridge explores how companies can invest in supporting staff to help drive recruitment and staff retention. 

Whilst some companies prioritise searching for a candidate who is the complete package, others look for individual traits such as cultural fit, efficiency and keenness to learn. With unemployment levels at a record low, employees have more choices than ever. This makes for an extremely competitive job market and increases the need for good recruitment and retention strategies, not least within the transport and logistics sector.

Transport for London’s proposed Direct Vision Standard (DVS), which is designed to improve road safety for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs), has helped to push welfare up the corporate agenda. From October 2020, the new standard states that every lorry over 12 tonnes will require a permit to enter the capital. By controlling HGV movements in this way, added protection is granted to vulnerable road uses and pedestrians. Whilst issuing permits is a step in the right direction for other road users, more needs to be done to improve the welfare of HGV drivers themselves.

Long-term investment in people

Despite efforts to recruit more women, the transport and logistics sector is still very male-dominated – 78% of workers in the sector are men. Many are likely to suffer from the effects of prolonged sitting, tiredness, and long/non-traditional working hours. It is unsurprising in the current climate, that the sector scores relatively unfavourably for work–life balance and there has been a rise in the number of drivers reporting mental health issues.

Whilst there are obviously a variety of reasons for these health issues, a lack of access to basic facilities while on the road or making deliveries can be challenging for drivers. For example, on arrival at a business park, whilst queuing for their slot at dispatch and receipt, they may find there is a distinct lack of restrooms and other facilities. This can make drivers feel unwelcome and some report feeling that they are treated like second-class citizens.

For a growing number of employers in the sector, this situation is no longer acceptable, and they take the view that if they are going to look after the welfare of their own drivers, they also need to cater for others delivering goods to their depots. At a time when many businesses are focusing more on their corporate social responsibility, taking action to improve facilities for their own and other drivers can help to enhance their employer brand.

Concerns surrounding ageing drivers and the worsening skills shortage have added to the growing sense of urgency among employers, prompting them to take driver welfare even more seriously. Whilst park security is important, firms increasingly want to give the same level of care and facilities to inbound drivers, as currently exist for their outbound fleet. Forward-thinking developers of business parks are also helping to raise the bar by ensuring the highest standards of welfare are built into properties and the park environment at design stage.

When moving to a new site or choosing a location for a new depot or distribution centre, many logistics firms have recognised that adopting a more sustainable mindset can bring real commercial benefits; helping them to attract and retain skilled drivers.

Building sustainable communities

As acquiring land in the UK becomes more difficult, there is an increased focus on the longevity of industrial property. Options such as building above regulations are regarded as positive investments that tenants expect and value. Parks owned by a central property company that has a vested interested in maintaining the buildings and upgrading them regularly, is bound to provide better facilities for tenants, regardless of the length of their tenure.

When building or upgrading business parks, developers are allocating more space and resource to welfare facilities than ever before. As well as creating more restrooms and shower room facilities, greater thought is given to ensuring there is plenty of daylight and making room for driver-friendly facilities such as lockers, a canteen and even an onsite gym.

The next phase of development at Prologis RFI DIRFT III is set to address the key issues of driver welfare from the outset. As well as restrooms, washrooms, and cooking facilities, secure HGV parking for 300 vehicles is to be embedded as part of the centralised park facilities. A further scheme at Prologis Park Marston Gate Milton Keynes, which is subject to planning permission, is promising to raise the bar further by creating a well-equipped workspace and lorry park facilities, which exceed standards previously seen in the sector.

Leading from the front

By investing in this way, developers and owners of logistics property have the power to help their tenants to make the best decisions, not only for their workforce, but for the industry as a whole.

Once regarded as an additional cost, employers in the transport and logistics sector now recognise that investing in driver welfare can deliver commercial value. By teaming up with property companies with a long-term interest in the sector, they can differentiate their brand and be better placed to attract and retain skilled workers in the future.

Robin Woodbridge is head of capital deployment at Prologis in the UK, specialising in the development of welfare for logistics firms and other businesses.


IT Firm S9 Tech Releases Industry Leading Software to Revolutionise Customs Duty and VAT collection


With specialist experience in custom software development, S9 Tech has announced the release of a unique and market leading SaaS product to revolutionise custom duty payment collections. The brand new dedicated website found at showcases its business potential and exactly how it is implemented.

The Duties etc. solution was developed to calculate and collect VAT and duties for cross-border shipping, specifically for the E-Commerce and B2C customers, where the charges are calculated on day zero, and a payment notification is sent to the final consignee via email and text. This speeds up the process of clearance at destination and avoids creating bottle necks for the final mile delivery division.

CEO Bibiana Fernandez said “We are proud that Duties etc. can save businesses, time, money and hassle with an intuitive stand-alone system or quick and efficient integration with current operating systems. Access to simply priced import duty calculations helps to streamline their existing processes and creates an efficient supply chain that improves customer experience.”

Nearly every shipment that crosses an international border is subject to custom duty and taxes. Every country determines the assessment of import and export duties and taxes differently. With the implications of Brexit still looming, the requirement to provide accurate product classification has never been more important. Similarly, the growth of Ecommerce has led to overseas purchases growing at exponential rates and consumers often want (and need) to calculate their expected total landed costs before purchase.

Duties etc. is used by a variety of cross-border business, providing thousands of calculations and classifications to customers, brokers, retailers and logistics & freight carriers in over 108 countries around the world. Duties etc. will automatically calculate duties and taxes for every order being shipped. Seamlessly integrating with existing front or back-end systems, the Duties etc. system will inform customers with daily SMS and email reminders of the charges to be paid or I.D numbers and ID image which needs to be uploaded before services can be fulfilled. Duties etc. will integrate with any ecommerce back-end system and allow retailers to know exactly how much duty they need to be charging customers. This allows clear, transparent costing and quick and easy payments.

Duty Calculator
Alongside the global launch, S9 Tech has created a free tool which is used to calculate import duty & taxes for 108 destinations worldwide. The calculator provides thousands of calculations and classifications to customers, brokers, retailers and logistics carriers. S9 Tech has created general access to this tool for 3 free calculations.

Duties etc. on Trial
Duties etc. has already been trialled with a number of freight and Retail businesses in the UK, USA, Thailand, Israel, Indonesia and Turkey to name a few. The results have been exceptional:

“The deployment was quick, smooth and successful. Customers are very happy with the new platform and payment rates have increased from 25% to 80% in the first week of launching!”
David Lattore, Deputy Director, Aramex, Switzerland.

Improved transit times.
Reduced back logs at destination.
Reduced clearance and storage cost losses.
International duty calculator for over 108 countries cross-border.
Improved cash flow due to the money being paid directly into client bank account.
Ability to request, collect and feedback info such as ID image, ID number, confirmation of name and address in local language as part of various customs regulations.
Emails, SMS and their reminders are configured as customer wishes
Local and multiple trusted payment gateways for fast and secure payment
Reduced personnel due to the automatic nature of the process and the follow up.
Efficient and improved supply chain that substantially improves the customer experience.
Flexible, fast and scalable implementation
PCI DSS & GDPR compliant


Jump start your career: A guide to the jobs you can do using your car


If you’re hoping to change careers in the New Year, there are a vast number of opportunities available to you if you own a car. Whilst many of us use our vehicles simply to get from A to B, not everyone uses their car for leisure purposes. For some, owning a vehicle is the key to earning money and achieving career success. To demonstrate the different career opportunities available to drivers, we’ve teamed up with Grange vehicles, retailers of used Land Rover and other prestige models:

1.      Become a Plumber

The UK is currently experiencing a record shortage of skilled plumbers and other tradesmen. The trade association warned last year that the skills gap is driving up wages, which is squeezing many businesses already facing high material costs – your country may need you, and you can run your business from your own vehicle, or van. You’ll require a particular set of skills and industry recognised qualifications, but once you have them under your belt, you can run the basis of your business from your vehicle – you’ll need your vehicle to get you from job to job.

Total Jobs lists the average salary for a qualified plumber at around £31,787.

2.      Become a Driving Instructor

During April and June 2017, there were 546,608 theory tests taken and 485,148 practical driving tests conducted, showing an increase of 7.6% respectively on the previous year, and a 49.2% pass rate. If the level of tests continues to show growth, it’s likely that driving instructors will continue to be needed to meet demand. As of 30th June 2017, there were 39,373 approved driving instructors across the UK. You’ll require qualifications to run a driving school from your vehicle, and especially for car driving lessons, your vehicle will require dual control modifications.

Totaljobs lists the average salary of a driving instructor at around £42,500.

3.      Become a Painter and Decorator

We are an interior design loving nation – did you know that Brits decorate their homes over 40 times on average during their lives? As trends come and go each year, a painter and decorator is likely to always have work on with home improvement projects typically taking around 18 days to finish. You’ll most likely need a larger vehicle, such as a van or 4×4 where the seats can be put down as you will need ladders and a pasting table if you are going to offer wallpaper services, in addition to your other tools and equipment.

The average salary for a painter and decorator is listed as around £26,000, with Hampshire noted as the highest paying area for jobs of this type.

4.      Become a Courier

The UK delivery system has experienced growth in recent years.  In 2014, it was reported that parcel couriers had delivered and handled over 1.7 billion parcels domestically in the UK. In a recent report, it was estimated that DPD averages around 1.6 million parcel deliveries per week! Parcelforce average around 70 million per annum, Yodel 135 million per annum, Hermes 190 million per annum and Royal Mail a huge 826 million parcels per annum.

With the rise in next day and same day deliveries, there is an evident demand for more delivery drivers. With 87% of Brits reportedly either sent or received a parcel in the six months leading up to July 2017, a career as a courier is one that is likely to keep you very busy – and of course, you can run it from the comfort of your own vehicle, whether that’s a van, small car or 4×4.

According to Total Jobs, the average salary for a delivery driver starts at around £21,000.

5.      Become an Uber Driver

Uber is now a globally successful business available in more than 700 cities all over the world. Last year, the service acquired over 40 million active monthly users, and with over 20 million rides in London alone since 2012, growth is expected to continue. There are currently over 1.5 million Uber drivers worldwide to which 25,000 of those were registered to London alone. Whilst you will need to outlay some initial costs for a private hire licence and to ensure you vehicle is road worthy, alongside the appropriate insurance – the return could be worth it in the long run.

It is estimated that the average Uber driver can expect earnings of £15 per hour after the 20-25% service fee.

To check out Total Jobs’ Salary Calculator click HERE.


Research: Why business travel is bad for your health


Struggling to beat the bulge? Business travel could be to blame, with over a third of UK workers who travel regularly claim healthy eating goes out of the window 

Whether it’s enjoying a large latte on the train, grabbing a pastry between morning meetings or sitting down to a three-course meal with clients, business travel spells bad news for the usual healthy eating habits of UK workers, according to new research by boutique aparthotel group Roomzzz. 

The recent study of 1000 UK workers who regularly travel with their job claimed that it was their diet that was worse hit when away from home. In fact 36% of respondents believed it was the aspect that suffered the most during time away, with disruptions to sleep patterns coming a close second, with 33% of those questioned saying a super comfy bed was at the top of their wish list when it comes to choosing a room for the night. 

Extra snacks and blow-out meals quickly rack up the calories, in fact 58% of the regular travellers questioned believed they easily consumed anywhere between 250 and a whopping 1500 extra calories each day, compared to a normal working day – potentially 50% over the recommended daily calorie intake for men and women. In fact, out of the 1000 respondents questioned, it was North West workers who admitted splurging the most during business trips. 

Naveen Ahmed, Managing Director at Roomzzz says: “Travelling with work can mean a major disruption to your usual daily routine. Staying in a traditional hotel often means that you are often forced to eat out and have a lonely table for one, when all you want to do is get a take-away or prepare a healthy, home-cooked meal, put on your PJs and enjoy some down time in the comfort of your own room. At Roomzzz we encourage our guests to use the room as they would their own home; we offer a kitchen and living area as standard, giving guests the space to spread out and relax and certainly no need to sneak food or drink into our properties! So many of our guests tell us they love the space and additional living areas, which means they don’t have to work ‘in bed’ with their laptops on their laps, which allows them to keep a bit of normality while away, whether that’s preparing their own meals, doing some yoga in the living area or simply chilling out on the sofa after a hectic day.” 

Jo Cox, a frequent traveller says about her time staying in hotels: “I used to stay away about three nights a week in hotels up and down the country and I would crave simple foods. It got so bad that one night I went down to the kitchen with a tin of beans and some bread and asked them to cook me some beans on toast! I was so fed up of eating out on my own or having the same choices from the room service menu.” 

Naveen adds: “Business travel is tiring – for the mind and body, so it’s not surprising that those questioned ranked a super comfy bed as an important feature of their room. We pride ourselves on offering the best beds in the market…so much so our guests often ask us where they can buy one for their own home!” 

Roomzzz pioneered the Aparthotel concept launching its first development in 2006 in Leeds. Now with a growing portfolio of nine aparthotels, ideally positioned in some of the UK’s most vibrant cities, including Manchester, Leeds, London, Chester and Nottingham the brand has ambitious growth plans with further developments in the pipeline for Edinburgh, Harrogate and York.

Ahead of the Curve


Softlink Global offers end-to-end technology solutions to the global logistics and supply chain industry. We profiled the team as we seek to gain an insight into the company’s ongoing success and achievements.

Located and founded in India, Softlink now operates in every continent with its own offices or partners. Softlink’s cutting edge technology is used right from small medium enterprises to large conglomerates including DHL, FedEx, TNT, DB Schenker etc.

Cutting edge technology and unmatched domain understanding has been a key factor in Softlink’s exponential growth and its solutions being accepted in over forty-five countries. Softlink’s unbeatable team designs products to address the pain areas of supply chain industry and offer path breaking solutions.

Softlink’ derives its strength from its deep domain knowledge, strong technology capabilities, comprehending customer needs and the knack to perceive the future trends of the industry. Softlink has been relentless in its research and development work directed towards the innovation, introduction, and improvement of products and processes. Over the years, Softlink has been remarkably successful in exceeding customer expectations and even providing solutions to customers before its need becomes apparent to them.

Right from the DOS era to the present times of cloud technology, Softlink has always been ahead of the curve, working on new developments and evolving new technologies to augment its product line. The company is also simultaneously working on many
new ideas. Softlink‘s product range includes Logi-Sys — The Next Generation ERP for Logistics and Freight Forwarding, and TradeSys — Global Trade Management application. Logi-Sys is a futuristic solution that is Blockchain ready.

Excitingly, the prodigious capability of Logi-Sys has made it a phenomenal success globally, and the Logi-Sys product has garnered a huge market base internationally, with many freight forwarders and logistics companies across the world using the application to take their organisation beyond just productivity and deliver superior services to their clients.

As a part of its learning curve Softlink has been studying the inconsistency of industry players in embracing of technology. Softlink has been active in creating awareness through various public forms and mediums on how their reluctance to go full throttle in adoption of technology has had an adverse effect on their competitiveness.

Softlink is a keen observer of emerging trends in the industry and develops a strategy for its course of action well in advance, in order to meet future requirements. It has borne fruit by establishing and maintaining the leadership of Softlink in the industry. Softlink has spearheaded innovation and introduced new and emerging technology trends that have given its products distinctive edge. The company’s products are designed to be future proof and be ready for new technology like Blockchain and other advances.

Ensuring the success of the company moving forwards, the team strives for excellence right from the time of hiring employees. Softlink’s human resource department scouts for the very best talent who live by their work. Softlink has been working to foster the practice of enquiry and learning among its people to drive them towards excellence. The work environment offers greater transparency and the employees are given immediate feedback on their performance.

Internally, the culture at Softlink follows a threefold pattern of Mentor – Space – Challenge (MSC). All employees are Mentored by experience senior to bring to the fore their innate talents. They are then given the Space to perform and Challenged to deliver their best. A work policy follows a methodical program to align the employees with the vision of the company.

Under the guidance and vision of Amit Maheshwari, the company Founder and CEO, Softlink has been continuously delivering superior products to the logistics industry across the world. His passion for technology has seen the company deliver exceptional cutting-edge solutions backed by innovations that have brought about a paradigm change in the way the logistics industry operates today.

Furthermore, the logistics industry and the supply chain are undergoing unprecedented changes. The industry will probably not exist in its current form in the near future to sustain themselves and stay competitive, players have to recalibrate their business to the changing ecosystem. Softlink is continuously evolving itself and is working unrelentingly to help its customers evolve.

Overall, there are many attributes which the company possesses which have contributed to the team’s continuous success and achievements. Under the leadership of CEO Amit, the company has been named in CV’s Corporate Excellence Awards in 2018, and Amit himself has been selected has the Most Influential CEO of the Year 2018 for his Technology prowess, leading to widespread optimism amongst the team about what the future holds.

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Risks are Everywhere; How Can You Protect Your Businesses?


Risks are Everywhere;  How Can You Protect Your Businesses?

Jean Pousson, strategy and finance consultant for the Institute of Directors gives advice on how to protect your business.

Every business faces risk. Every strategy faces some degree of risk. Risk is part of the fabric of capitalism.

Risk has been part of society from the very early days. In the biblical story, David took a huge risk but beat Goliath by competing differently and was successful.  But did David have a Plan B? Probably not. So Plan A so had to work!  Likewise, Goliath assumed that David would compete in a certain way and did not even consider what was to come.  Both are examples of strategic risks which were not understood!

There are numerous frameworks, professional bodies, regulations even, that address this topic and serve as guidance for boards and directors. This article takes a slightly different approach based on my experiences of working with boards and directors worldwide.

Things to Remember About Risk

The level of risk complexity is not necessarily commensurate with size. Apple may be the largest company in the world as measured by Stock Market capitalisation ($888bn at the time of writing) with annual revenues of $229bn, but the risks are not as intricate as one would think. iPhone sales make up some 60% of total sales and, in truth, Apple does not have many products. That is not to say that it is a company without risks; far from it.  But risks do not get elevated by size alone. Conversely a small company (however measured) can be laced with a multitude of complex risks that can be difficult to manage or mitigate.

New risks emerge all the time. Apple has been using its immense cash pile to invest and dabble in financial transactions and hedging to the point that it is now attracting the attention of the USA financial regulators.  In its last full year accounts for the year ended September 2017, its cash and investments totalled some $268bn, enough to buy both HSBC Bank plc and Barclays Bank plc.

New business models inevitably bring about new risks that no one had thought about. Ask Facebook!  Its costs will double this year as it seeks to filter false information and prevent user data to be used for inappropriate purposes.

Increasingly companies are registering the possibility of being blindsided by fake news and the digital battles that can ensue.  What boards should consider

·         Does your Risk Register contain new risks?

·         Reflecting on the last twelve months, what has surprised you? Should you have been surprised?

·         What strategies do you have in place to manage yourself out of a crisis?

Supply chain fragmentation. As supply chains become more and more fragmented, aided by technology, risk visibility becomes even more blurry.  No longer can boards be content with counterparty risk analysis; this has now to be extended to counterparty’s counterparties’ risk.

Risks need to be monetised i.e. what would the financial impact be of this event happening on our revenues, profitability, cash flow, solvency and financial flexibility?  Netflix took a hit of $39m on its financials this year.  That was the cost associated with replacing actor Kevin Spacey from the popular TV hit show House of Cards because of alleged sexual misconduct. On that note, what policy (-ies) does your business have in place to deal with such matters?

At the same time over-reliance on numbers, and numbers only, can be fatal.  In his book The Tyranny of Numbers, David Boyle quotes the economist Robert Chambers:

“Quantification brings credibility. But figures and tables can deceive, and nunbers construct their own realities.  What can be measured and manipulated statistically is then not only seen as real; it comes to be seen as the only or whole reality”

And he sums it up beautifully:

“Economists have come to feel

What can’t be measured isn’t real

The truth is always an amount

Count numbers; only numbers count”

So the point here is that risk assessment has to be both quantitative and qualitative.

Reverse Stress Testing. Sometimes different questions have to be asked.  A few years ago an Icelandic volcanic eruption caused havoc over European skies with travel.  Directors often ask me: ”Show me a model that would have predicted this!” Smart question but the wrong question.  The question should have been: ”What is key to our business? What if we are prevented from performing this activity? How would we react? Could we carry on?”  The conversation should not be about the reason but what to do in the event of.  We call this Reverse Stress Testing.

Decomposing Risks.  Risks are often not sufficiently decomposed.  Cyber Risk, for example, is not one risk.  It is merely a heading that should be dissected into all its constituent parts.  Cyber risk can manifest itself in a multiplicity of events. It is that granularity that needs to be understood. As an acquaintance with a technology background keeps reminding me, the top three cyber risks are 1)People 2)People 3)People.  He also takes pleasure in reminding his clients that they are not a food company, or a retailer, or logistics etc: ”You are a data company! What are you doing to protect your digital assets?”

Strategic Risks. All too often, risk conversations tend to ignore this.  Questions for the board:

·         What is the craziest thing that your competitor(s) could do?

·         Do you understand your competitors’ strategy?

·         Those who choose to live by the sword get shot by those who don’t! (Indiana Jones Movie) so have you considered different ways of competing? Unlike Goliath?

·         What if we win? Amazingly enough this is rarely considered.  What if you exceed even your most optimistic forecasts?  Could you cope with this scenario?

·         Are you able to attract new customers?  If not why not?

·         How do you measure customer loyalty?  Frequency of purchase doesn’t necessarily equates to loyalty.

·         Are you confident that your process of strategy creation is robust and would stand up to scrutiny?

The disrupters. When platforms attack!  Technology has caused untold damage to many industries from books, travel, retail, newspapers, music, gambling, advertising, and even the  taxi industry.  Could you be disrupted?  What are typical forces that could cause this?  Most industries that I can think of have seen some level of changing dynamics. My industry (management consultancy)has not been immune.  Knowledge is now free and available in abundance.  Just ask Dr Google!

Board Risks. What are the greatest risks facing the BOARD over the next few years.  This is different to the company’s own risk analysis. Is group thinking creeping in?  Are the Board dynamics changing?  What about behaviour risks ie who is making the key decisions?  Board malfunction is a big risk in itself and should never be ignored.

Risk Reviews. A good practice, of course, and there are many ways of doing this.  Try the following different approach.  Go and locate your Chief Sarcastic Officer (you have one, we all do!) and assemble a team of creative people to work with him/her with one brief. What would you do if you wanted to destroy this company?  This will expose all your risk frailties in a way that outside consultants would probably not.  And all it will cost you is time.

In Summary:  The ABC of Risk

I have never forgotten a lesson taught to me very early in my banking career about risk assessment.

·         Assume nothing

·         Believe nobody

·         Check everything

Good luck!




The world’s only cross-airline flight gift card brand launches in the UK, offering a unique gifting experience and complete booking freedom for travellers

New travel gift brand, Flightgiftcard, has launched in the UK to revolutionise the gifting market.

Flightgiftcard offers Brits the opportunity to give the gift of travel and allows giftees the flexibility to choose and book flights with over 300 full service or low cost airlines.

With no catch and no limitations, Flightgiftcard’s monetary value (minimum £5; maximum £5,000) provides giftees complete freedom to book their desired seat on their preferred date with their airline of choice, to any of 980 destinations in 70 countries worldwide.

Flights often make up the biggest slice of the cost of a holiday, meaning that a Flightgiftcard is ideal for anyone heading off on honeymoon, a sabbatical, or taking a gap year. It’s also a great gift for families looking to lower the annual peak holiday season spend.

As a practical, personal and prized gift, creating memories that will last forever, Flightgiftcard will confer ultimate gifting-cred to anyone struggling with a birthday, wedding, anniversary, thank you, Christmas, retirement or office leaving gift idea.

Lucky recipients of a Flightgiftcard card can find and book flights to suit all budgets and requirements via the Flightgiftcard website.

How Flightgiftcard works:

1.    Purchase a Flightgiftcard online and add the desired monetary value (£5-5,000).

2.    To deliver the delight, choose from a customisable digital gift card that can be emailed to the recipient or printed for hand delivery; a luxury printed gift card with a handwritten message*; or for more impact, record a video greeting to send alongside your ecard.

3.    The Flightgiftcard can be redeemed via the Flightgiftcard website.

For more information or to purchase your Flightgiftcard, visit