What is 3PL logistics and how can it give you peace of mind?

3PL

Today, most people prefer to build an online business as it allows flexibility and ease of use. However, running a business isn’t an easy task, especially when you’re just starting out. You’ll need to conduct product and market research, purchase enough inventory, plan your marketing strategies, and officially launch your brand online. While that is definitely hard work, it’ll get even harder when you’re already live and taking orders.   

When your business is running and orders are incessantly coming in, you’ll probably feel happy and stressed at the same time. You’ll be glad because your company is becoming a success and stressed because you’ll be facing difficulties fulfilling multiple orders while simultaneously handling customer service and marketing campaigns. 

To reduce your stress, consider hiring a third-party logistics company (3PL) for your business.  

 

What is 3PL?   

Third-party logistics is an outsourced service that handles your warehousing, packaging, and delivery. 

When a customer orders an item through your website, instead of picking the items, packing them, and bringing them to your local courier company, the 3PL logistics company will do the job for you as soon as you forward the order details to them. They’ll handle every step necessary to bring your products to your customers safely.   

A 3PL company will take the item from their warehouse, securely wrap the product—especially if it’s fragile—pack it, and send the product to the customer using their couriers. In this way, you’ll have more time to focus on the other aspects of your business that you’d like to improve.   

 

What Are The Benefits Of A 3PL?   

Many companies either do drop shipping or use a 3PL company. It can make you wonder, why are business owners going for their service? What do they gain from it? 

Listed below are the advantages of using a third-party logistics service for your store:   

 

Cost-efficient  

If your business is handling a large number of orders every day, you might not be able to fulfill your orders on time. To keep business running smoothly and ensure you’re sending out orders within one to three days, you might need to hire more staff to handle your order fulfillment process. While that can be helpful, it can also be an added cost for your business.

By availing the services of a 3PL company, you don’t have to worry about hiring more people, as the company will get it done for you. They’ll handle any issues, including hiring additional staff. All you have to worry about is keeping up with the inventory. They’ll handle everything else on their end.   

While hiring a 3PL company can be costly, it’ll save you money and time as you don’t need to worry about employing more people and renting a warehouse.   

 

Saves Time

Sorting and packing orders can take up a significant chunk of your day. You need to make sure that they’re correctly sealed and wrapped perfectly to avoid any damage while in transit. While you’re handling that area of your business, you may not have enough time to manage other aspects your business such as customer service.   

Hiring a 3PL company will enable you to use the time you spend on order fulfillment to work on other essential areas of your business.   

With a 3PL company, you don’t need to worry about allotting a specific time of the day to pack orders when you can just focus your attention on handling your customer concerns and planning effective marketing strategies

 

Improve Customer Experience  

When customers place an order through your website, they expect it to be delivered to their doorstep immediately. To do that, you must start shipping out their items as soon as you receive their order. However, that can be challenging to do if you frequently get a lot of orders daily. A 3PL company will be able to fulfill your order promptly, so your customers can receive their items as soon as possible.   

If you’re residing in a rural area, using a local 3PL company may not be the best choice as it’ll take additional time to get your products out to the customers. To help you minimize your delivery timeline, work with an interstate logistics company as their team and couriers are typically faster with handling orders coming in from different areas.   

When your customer receives their orders quickly, preferably within one to three days, they’ll be delighted with your service and would consider re-ordering from your store. Remember, some customers tend to give a lower rating on review sites if they received the item late, even if they enjoyed the product. To avoid unfavorable reviews, deliver the items as soon as possible.


Limitless Inventory   

One of the most significant advantages of hiring a 3PL company is that they allow you to store as many stocks as you like. You don’t have to worry about storage space when the 3PL company has got it all covered for you.   

If you’re a huge business and you’ve been selling considerable product volumes, having a well-stocked warehouse would help you never miss a sale. You can continue to sell your products without having to worry about where you’ll store your inventory.  


Peace of Mind  

With a 3PL company, you’ll get peace of mind as they’re professionals who are good at what they do. You don’t have to worry that they won’t be able to deliver on time or use poor packaging because you can easily customize the solutions you get. You’ll also get daily updates about your orders’ status.   

When looking for a 3PL company, ensure that they’re a legitimate company so that they won’t run off with your products. Additionally, you should check their capability to handle large order volumes per day and their warehouse size. Lastly, the 3PL company should be responsive so you won’t have any issues when you have shipment inquiries.   


Conclusion  

Running a business is time-consuming, especially if you do everything on your own. Allow yourself to have extra time to focus on the more important aspects of your business and hire a 3PL company. 

You don’t have to worry about handling the orders by yourself when you can simply forward the order details to your 3PL company. You’ll save plenty of time and money. You’ll also be more confident that things are being handled efficiently and professionally.

Victory for VMS Manufacturer

Nutraceuticals

Nutraceuticals are a relatively new area different from medicine and pharmaceuticals that have risen to the forefront, as people are craving products that are nature-friendly and highly beneficial for their own wellbeing. Today, we examine the world of Natrol® as the winner of this years’ title of Most Outstanding Nutraceutical Manufacturing Firm 2020 – California. Join us as we take a closer look to find out more about the company and what it has to offer.

Natrol® creates quality and innovative products that deliver positive health outcomes to help enhance people’s quality of life. Born from a passion to improve human wellness, Natrol has evolved over a number of decades into one of the most recognized brands in the world of vitamins, minerals, and supplements and is considered a pioneer in formulating vitamins with clinically researched ingredients so consumers understand they are getting safe and effective products that provide the benefits they claim to. Today, Natrol is the number one brand of melatonin and the number one brand of 5-HTP, in addition to being a leader within five vital human health areas – those being Sleep, Brain Health, Mood & Stress, Immunity and Beauty. Brands that fall under the larger Natrol, LLC umbrella include Laci Le Beau, a line of herbal teas for weight control, and Shen Min and NuHair, which includes hair rejuvenation products.

Founded four decades ago as a cosmetic company by Elliott Barber, Natrol was originally a firm that marketed nutritionally-based weight loss products, which is why the name of the firm is an amalgamation of the words ‘natural’ and ‘control’. The company quickly evolved over the years into one of the leading VMS brands in the nutraceuticals industry. Natrol is wholly dedicated to quality assurance and delivering safe, effective, and trustworthy products that meet expectations every time. The firm formulates its vitamins with clinically-researched ingredients so that consumers can feel the difference when taking safe and effective products that have great benefits.

Three key components make up the founding mission of Natrol – Quality, Innovation and Agility. In terms of quality, Natrol is NSF-certified (National Sanitation Foundation), GMP-certified (Good Manufacturing Practices), USP-certified (United States Pharmacopeia), and an FDA-accredited facility. The second component of the Natrol mission is innovation, and the firm focuses heavily on consumer-led innovation across its five key areas as a business. Finally, the third pillar is agility, implementing a structure that enables the company to be nimble across departments to foster collaboration and respond to real-time consumer wants and needs. This enables the firm to act quickly and work closely with distributors and retail partners in order to deliver exceptional products and consumer services.

As an innovator, Natrol prides itself on being able to consistently push the frontiers of research when it comes to developing vitamins, minerals, and supplements. Natrol is always trying to improve their customers’ quality of life, which in part is guided by the brand’s quality assurance program, which is extensive and industry-leading. It performs rigorous quality checks throughout the process, from exhaustive supplier qualification screening, to sourcing the very best and most natural ingredients.

Natrol has a complex customer base, ranging from those with a health-conscious mind who have heavily researched the ingredients and quality of vitamins, to those looking for a trusted brand to provide health and wellness supplements for their benefit. Natrol’s products appeal to consumers of all life stages, from parents getting through their incredibly hectic days, to retired baby boomers looking to maintain their longevity of a life well lived. Because the company caters to many different clients and consumers, it is constantly innovating its products to meet the evolving needs of consumers. Natrol works alongside notable experts, healthcare professionals and Scientific Advisory Board members who can directly speak to and engage with audiences through their growing social platform.

Its staff is another key component of the success that Natrol has earned over the course of the company’s lifetime. At Natrol, people make things happen, either with colleagues being responsible for producing high-quality products, identifying cost-effective solutions or improving processes to provide top quality products. To support them, Natrol’s leaders actively foster a working environment that is based on integrity, respect, and responsibility. The firm welcomes and embraces creative and motivated talent to join a culture of innovation and inclusion, whereby it values its employees and provides them with the tools and environment to harness and cultivate change. Above all, Natrol actively encourages teamwork. quality, fostering a healthy working environment, equitable action, active participation, respect, responsibility, and communication across teams and the company as a whole.

Looking to the future, Natrol’s CEO Andy Houlberg has carefully considered and crafted a five-year plan that puts the company on pace to double its business. It has the essential building blocks and annual steps to reach its long-term goals, and those annual steps include further improving the quality of the brand’s range of products. There are more than one hundred different formulas from Natrol present in markets around the world, and the firm will remain true to its mission and endeavour to continue improving those formulas. The firm is also committed to adding new products into the marketplace, and some are in the process of being researched and developed right now. Growth also centres around creating deeper relationships with distributor partners to solve their problems and business needs, whilst continuing to introduce new and relevant products into the marketplace.

Ultimately, Natrol is completely and totally committed to delivering uncompromising quality and customer satisfaction within the growing world of nutraceuticals, vitamins, minerals, and healthy supplements. All of its products are backed by the company’s 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, and are widely available at many major retailers where vitamins are sold. For those who prefer to get their vitamins, minerals, and supplements online, consumers can also visit Natrol.com for more information or online ordering within the United States. This treasure trove of a company is truly outstanding, and the world of nutraceuticals is better every day for having Natrol be a part of its growth and success.

Recruiting Leaders

boardsi

boardsi is a unique, Californian headhunting and recruitment firm that concentrates on securing Executives for Board of Directors and Board of Advisors roles. Bridging the gap between modern companies and advisory solutions, boardsi has created a selection of strategies designed to bring accommodating, all-encompassing solutions to companies, regardless of their shape or size. Since 2016, boardsi’s priorities have been built around promoting the relationships and connections between companies and executives that are vital to growing businesses, whether they are a large corporation or a smaller, independent organization. We put together a profile of boardsi to find out more about how they are revolutionizing the recruitment process for modern executives and companies.

Established in 2016, boardsi is a unique headhunting and recruitment firm specializing in the recruitment of Executives for Board of Directors and Board of Advisor positions, located in El Dorado Hills and Petaluma, California.

Boardsi has successfully gathered an expansive, private network of first-class executives, each of whom seek to join a company as a board member, and already have the time, commitment and experience to dive straight into an organization that is seeking expertise and leadership. Although specializing in boards of directors or advisors, boardsi is also equipped to provide single advisors as well, if this is what a company is looking for.

Meanwhile, boardsi has also established close relationships with businesses of all sizes and niches, from privately funded to public companies, and works B2B and B2C, often both at the same time. The boardsi process helps them to identify and fill any gaps in their current boards and then use their meticulous onboarding call systems to establish the type of executives needed, using their platform and comprehensive resources to find the perfect match.

Through these services, boardsi seeks to be the first choice for executives and organizations who are seeking to revolutionize their business, setting those executives on their path towards a successful career in an advisory role. Fundamentally, boardsi wants to be a one-stop solution to all levels of businesses, to speed up the board recruitment process. In only four years, boardsi has already seen success in their mission.

Whilst the true factor to the success which makes them stand out from the crowds of their competitors is a well-kept company secret, a great deal of boardsi’s success can be put down to their two-tier approach. The first element is their platform that provides executives with opportunities that are only available through boardsi. Second, is the firm’s other database of companies that do not necessarily want to be openly available on the platform, but are constantly on the lookout for any new talent that joins boardsi, who might fit the profile they are seeking. It is for this reason that boardsi is always striving to add new, talented executives to their growing network.

Another factor, and perhaps boardsi’s worst-kept secret behind their success, is the people that drive the organization. Martin Rowinski, tech entrepreneur and CEO of boardsi says, “I have never led a better group of motivated individuals. The excitement they bring every day to the office, or on a call is a difference-maker. I truly believe everyone working at boardsi loves what we do and are excited to meet all the new executives and hear their stories.”

Indeed, every member of staff plays a vital role in the organization, each collaborating and bringing ideas that contribute to the growth of clients and boardsi itself. The team has grown slowly and organically, and everyone that is recruited has a long-standing relationship with boardsi or someone within the firm. boardsi looks out for open-minded, motivated, driven and happy employees, and the result is a team of self-starting, mission-driven individuals with a passion for innovation. The team takes joy in their work, celebrating every success and as devoted to the office dogs, Leo and Lambo, as they are to their work.

However, boardsi has recognized that the present business world benefits only the biggest and most financially lucrative companies in terms of getting leading executive advisors and other advisory bodies, at the expense of smaller, growing businesses. This is widening the gap between big and small businesses, leaving the people that occupy executive board positions in the small companies with little options to explore and grow their businesses.

The team behind boardsi do not agree with this idea and as such are each committed to their mission of levelling the playing field, redefining the present system of seeking professional advisory services and revolutionizing how executives join forces in pursuit of common goals. boardsi aims to fast track new ways that will ease the relationship between businesses and executive, facilitating crucial and sustainable growth to success.

Whilst the growth of their clients’ businesses is boardsi’s priority, they are also able to celebrate their own growth and evolution. However, their philosophy and mission remain consistent and their delivery of solutions for the executives in their network will always remain simple and efficient.

However, presenting an executive with a role or potential career path can only do so much. Acknowledging this, boardsi is now looking to see how it can help companies to bring their new executives seamlessly onboard and as such is developing their services. Fundamentally, the process of recruitment is a two-way street and the executive has to perform exceptionally in an interview for themselves, without relying on boardsi. Consequently, the firm is now working on education and training tools for their executives, which will put their Board of Documents together and equip them with the best chances of landing the next board opportunity. In this way, boardsi’s next step is guiding clients to their own next step’s in the pursuit of an advisory career.

Growing fast every day, boardsi does not like to think about the destination that they are aiming for as a business. Instead, they prefer to concentrate on their journey of growth and development, exploring how they can be better at what they do. Wherever the journey may take this ambitious firm, it will undoubtedly be an exciting one to watch.

One Click Away

car2car

Cars2click is a B2B car trading company with a difference. Recently, we caught up with one of the founding members to find out more about how his unique offering is completely revolutionising the car trade industry.

Cars2click founders, Brian Madsen and Fredrik Glenning, were more than familiar with the used car sales industry, with selling via online auctions being the norm. However the duo realised that, despite online being a successful selling format, the process itself was far too heavy, costly and time-consuming for the auction companies, plus there was far too much competition as selling online was so simple to set up that literally anyone could do it! The pair decided to change the way they worked and the idea of Cars2click was born.

Effectively, Fredrik and Brian turned the process around – instead of waiting for the auction results to see who the purchaser was, Car2click uses market data to identify and target potential buyers instead.

The firm uses a digital set-up to harvest data known as ‘retail driven B2B car sales’. This data can show how many cars of each brand, model, variant, fuel type and colour are sold in each country and region. It even developed GEOpricing which employs its own comparison table to highlight in which countries a certain car can be sold at the highest price, and how fast it will sell. Once the most suitable country has been decided for the intended vehicle, the firm’s very own GEOmatch will simply present a list of the most likely buyers for that specific car. A sophisticated AI robot, or ‘Maria’ as she is also know, will even create a business case and send it via email or chatbot to a potential customer.

The firm may have begun on the understanding that car dealers needed help to improve the way they manage used car sales and online selling was already a tried and tested approach, it just required a little tweaking. However Cars2click also recognised that, although the digital process is highly effective, people still want to deal with people, so a personal approach was missing. This is something that the firm overcomes as it offers a door-to-door transport service.

“Knowing what is hot and what is cold is one of the most important factors when selling cars,” explains co-founder Brian. “Knowing that you are faster in deciding where to sell your cars is crucial as the most important thing for a car dealer is to turn around the stock fast and with a good profit, so we only offer cars which we know sell fast in that country.”

Promotion and marketing is not a big part of the Cars2click budget as the service sells itself. The buyers are car dealers across Europe and rental/leasing companies that need to shift stock cars fast, and the firm is lucky regarding its staff base as many of the trading managers employed have strong relationships with dealers from their vast experience in the industry.

“We have people in all the countries that we operate in and the reason for that is that they need to establish a relationship with our car sellers and car buyers, build a network and take responsibility for the delivery of the promise we make when we offer and sell cars. We will not need as many employees as our competitors due to our digital set-up but we need people to maintain and grow our network.

That being said, Brian jokes that Maria, the AI robot, is the most important member of staff and the most effective client hunter as her 100% digital approach accurately identifies buyers each and every time!

As well as being at the forefront of cutting-edge digital technology, the start-up company also has the benefit of not having the old culture of car sales mixed with an entrepreneurial approach to development and changing old patterns. Instead, Fredrik is what Brain affectionately calls “the car guy,” whilst he handles the digital side of the business.

“Together we make a great team and the company culture is linked to this friendship and our shared values,” laughs Brian. “Our golden rule and way of working and treating people the way we would want to be treated, with honesty, trust and clear, honest relationships are a key part of our culture and DNA.”

It is an approach which clearly works. The company is not only successful, but in the space of not quite two years Cars2click is turning over £2 million worth of revenue, making it one of the fastest-growing car traders globally to date.

“We have gone from zero to what we are today faster than expected and a lot faster than I was used to working for other companies, we are very fast from having an idea to developing it and then launching new features.”

These new features are just scratching the surface of what Cars2click is working on as a new offering, this being a subscription based solution with three main options:

  • Cars2view – a dealer management system with easy-to-use online dashboards which will help car dealers monitor the market and their competitors. Dealers can even see which of their cars are slow moving. All this is linked directly to Cars2click therefore any car dealer with access can easily publish a car on the website www.cars2click.com with a simple click.
  • GEOpricing – the solution which tells dealers in which country they can get the best price for their car.
  • GEOtrend – a solution for rental companies, leasing companies and manufactures who want to know about current market trends within the industry.

It seems that, for now, the skies the limit for Cars2click and both Brian and Fredrik are very proud of their achievement and of the team they have around them who join them on their crusade to help car dealers become more profitable by taking advantage of the ‘new normal’ in the way of digital opportunities.

“Ultimately, we are constantly on the move to improve and expand our data to cover more and more countries and to have better and better data. We are moving forward so fast now – changing the automotive world on our journey with and AI as we build a new future.”

Can Employers Make Vaccines Mandatory in a Pandemic and How Will HR Handle This?

vaccination

With a vaccine for COVID-19 in the works, many employers are starting to think about the vaccine policies their businesses may need to deploy.

HR leaders need to be able to ensure the safety of all employees and stay up to date on any changes during this global pandemic. Remote work has been a huge trend during these difficult times, but many are still working in person, or are eager to get back to work once the pandemic subsides. This means that when employees start getting back to work and a vaccine is available, employers need to start thinking about the next step.

This decision will not be easy for many employers thinking about whether or not it is even an option to make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory, and who will be willing to get the vaccine if offered. There are so many questions left in the air which is why having an HR company that has knowledge and experience managing HR needs at a global level is vital.

The Chief Executive Officer at Stipenda, an industry leader in international PEO that specializes in helping businesses expand globally, Solomon Williams, explains the benefits of having a strong HR leader when dealing with things such as a COVID-19 vaccine within the workplace.

“A strong human resources department needs to understand the legalities of requiring employees to get a vaccine. These rules and regulations will vary across countries, so global businesses should consider working with a PEO,” said Williams.

With different rules and regulations in different countries, it can be difficult for businesses to tackle issues like a vaccine on their own.

According to Williams:

  • The Vaccine will be mandatory to health workers and possibly retail workers who are working consistently with the public on a day to day basis
  • There will most likely be religious and medical exemptions to receiving the vaccine
  • There will be employees that decide to leave their place of work if the vaccine becomes mandatory

There are a lot of things to consider when thinking about the possibility of a COVID-19 vaccine and how employers are going to be able to keep their employees safe and healthy. A viable option could be having onsite vaccine administrations to make it easier for all employees, but on the other hand, the mandate of the vaccine could have an unpopular reaction. Adapting to new changes during this global pandemic has been difficult for many companies and with a possible vaccine in the works, it is time for employers to start thinking about how they are going to handle this next obstacle.

4 Tips For Creating A Safer Workforce

security

Creating a safe workplace is one of the most important tasks of a business owner. Every member of staff should feel safe and secure when they come to work and there are some simple, yet very effective ways to create a safe environment for your team members.

 

Invest in training

The first thing you should ensure you invest in is training. Regardless of what industry you work in, there will be health and safety hazards to consider. On a staff member’s first day they should be brought up to speed with the company’s health and safety protocol.

From this, they should also be trained on any equipment which requires it. If, for example, you work in a warehouse, team members should be approved and authorised to operate heavy machinery. Training can ensure jobs are carried out efficiently and to the highest safety standards. Training isn’t a box-ticking exercise, nor is it a one-time thing. Training your staff should be regular, as refresher courses can help prevent staff from becoming complacent.

 

Make sure the equipment is up to scratch

As well as being trained on how to use them properly, they should be up to a good standard. This means tyres are checked regularly for any vehicles, tools are repaired by professionals and they are inspected before use. These are basic practices which should be maintained to prevent accidents, injuries and fatalities.

 

Telematics

As well as having a safe workforce in the office or warehouse, you should also look at how safe the conditions are out on the road. If you operate vehicles and have drivers out delivering or attending jobs, then investing in fleet tracking and telematics is essential. Not only can you monitor driver behaviour, but it can also be a good safety net if one of your vehicles is involved in an accident and you need evidence for insurance purposes. Other benefits of telematics include:

  • Route optimisation: Allows you to find the most convenient route for a driver. If, for example, a new job comes available and five drivers are free and already on the road, route optimisation will allow you to re-route the driver closest to the new job. Saving money on fuel and improving customer service.
  • Real-time live tracking: Can help to identify when drivers are in traffic and will allow you to inform customers of delays – improving your customer service offering.
  • Can help you save fuel: Telematics can help you save fuel by identifying the most cost-effective route (the quickest route may not be the most economical).

 

Security cameras

Security cameras are an amazing safety feature in both vehicles and buildings. They can act as a deterrent and protect your premises from thieves targeting it, but that’s not the only benefit of a security camera. They can improve staff productivity and ensure they are doing their job correctly. It can also be a good safety measure to have in place if there are any issues among staff members.

 

Safety is paramount in any industry and there are some simple ways to ensure you are creating a safer workspace.

How far Back Does an Employee Background Check Look?

cv

In most cases, companies that initiate an employee background check will want it to go seven years back. However, reporting information up to a decade old is allowed in some states. In California, a credit reporting agency could go a decade back if a candidate would be offered $125,000.00 or more a year. If they were to be offered less than that, the agency couldn’t go more than seven years back.

There are ten states apart from California that limit conviction reporting to seven years from release from prison, the end of parole, or the date of the disposition. They are Colorado, Maryland, Kansas, Massachusetts, Nevada, Montana, New York, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and New Hampshire. Income exceptions apply in some cases.

 

Knowledge is Safety

Companies should be aware of how far back different types of background checks can go in order to make the best employment decisions. This will make sure candidates are qualified for the job, and that risk to clients, volunteers, and other employees is reduced.

It is important to understand that the state and even the county can impact the period of time checked in an applicant’s background. Compliance regulations in some cities and states can affect this period of time.

You also need to know what specific background checks entail. General pre-employment screenings are very different from criminal record checks or employee credit checks.

 

Pre-Employment Screenings

Employers typically use these when performing an assessment. They usually cover seven years of court and criminal records. Depending on what you’re looking for and on state compliance laws, they can go back further.

 

Bankruptcy Checks     

These can go as far as a decade back.

 

Criminal Felonies

Depending on the state where the applicant works or lives, one can report felonies for an indefinite period of time or restrict them to seven years or a decade.

 

Credit History

Employee credit checks generally go seven years back. Depending on specific state laws and expected salary, they might go a decade back. In addition, some state laws restrict how long you can report certain types of credit data.

 

Minor Infractions and Misdemeanors

Depending on the state where the applicant works or lives, you can report these indefinitely or for five years, seven years, or a decade.

Educational history, employment history, and professional license information is subject to verification over a candidate’s lifetime. Driving record checks can extend from three years to a decade back. Again, it depends on the state where someone works or lives.

 

Limitations and Regulations

When it comes to screening tools, HR departments have lots of options. However, this doesn’t exempt companies from obeying local laws, state laws, and federal compliance regulations when doing background checks to make hiring decisions.

It is challenging to stay current on all the details that may apply to your applicants’ jurisdiction, which can limit how far back you’re allowed to look into their background. For instance, some local and state “ban the box” and fair hiring laws restrict the extent of a criminal history check. Ban the box refers to removing the check box on applications that refers to the existence of a criminal record. A few states also impose limitations on how companies can use employment credit checks to make recruitment decisions.

 

FCRA Guidelines 

Specific regulations exist in terms of how far back a screening can go into an applicant or current employee’s history according to the FCRA. Background check services and CRAs are not allowed to report bankruptcies filed more than a decade from the report date, tax liens paid seven years from the report date, and arrest records, civil judgments, and civil suits that are older than seven years. In addition, they cannot report any adverse information that is more than seven years old with the exception of criminal convictions. Finally, they cannot include collections more than seven years old in any reports they make available to their clients.

Tips for Buying Preowned Equipment for Your Business

lorry

Your ability to buy good preowned equipment can be the difference between profitability or not. Businesses must know how to get the right equipment without breaking the bank. That usually means going to the secondhand market, but there has to be a lot of care in doing things this way. The most important thing about this type of research is knowing what to look at and when to walk away. Many companies make the mistake of never walking away from a bad deal and ending up losing more than if they had just done nothing.

 

1. Make Sure The Seller Is Reputable

The first thing that a business needs to buy preowned equipment is to make sure the seller is reputable. It might be worth your while to hold out for someone that you know and trust. However, it is even more important to have a third party or other industry veteran vet them for any potential problems. You don’t want someone with a history of selling bad equipment or trying to take advantage of the buyer. This stage of research will help you weed out those vendors that you deem untrustworthy.

 

2. Get Your Truck Used

You don’t always have to get the latest model when it comes to buying business vehicles. A preowned Nissan Sentra or Peterbilt 579 for sale will cost less and still get the job done. On top of getting the job done, it will serve you well for many years down the line. You won’t have to worry about anything breaking down if you maintain your truck correctly. The other downside of modern trucks is that they have many electronic gadgets that make it almost impossible for you to make repairs yourself. It is the same way in the tractor industry.

 

3. Do a Thorough Inspection

Many business owners think that the inspections they are already doing are enough. However, the reality is that they aren’t doing a good enough job with inspecting their preowned equipment. The inspection should ideally be done by a professional, so they know what to look for. You should be inspecting the equipment in much greater detail, so you don’t have any problems in the future. That means looking for things that you wouldn’t otherwise think about checking. For example, you might need to learn more about the machine to understand potential problems that could happen in the future.

 

4. Choose Quality and Not Price

You might be tempted to buy preowned equipment on price, but that would be a huge mistake. One of the best things you can do is choose functional products that are preowned rather than buying bad equipment new. It is better to invest your money in equipment that you know will last the test of time. The higher-quality equipment will also be more advanced.

 

5. Know the Market

A big part of not getting ripped off is understanding the market for the equipment you are trying to buy. When you understand the market, you can decide whether something is a good deal or not. Take the time to research the price people are buying and selling the equipment before you take the plunge.

 

6. Be Willing to Walk Away

The biggest thing you have when buying preowned equipment is knowing when to walk away. You might find something that you think is a good deal, but it turns out not to be what you expected. The biggest power you have in negotiating is walking away. If you find any problems at all, then you should walk away as quickly as possible. If the price isn’t what you expected, you can walk away to make sure you don’t get ripped off. Walking away will help keep you out of trouble and save you a lot of money.

Time Tracking Software: Everything You Need To Know

time tracking

Time is a very precious resource and once gone, it’s gone forever. For a business, lost or misused time can cost a lot of money and hugely affect the revenue being earned. This makes it essential to have a metric to measure and analyze how every employee within the organization is spending their work time.

This is where a time tracking software comes into play. What it essentially does is automatic recording of the time being spent on a particular task by an employee, providing details down to the minute. The best time tracking software will precisely record and reflect how much work an employee accomplishes in a given time frame. 

Let’s look at how using a time tracking app benefits your business:

 

  • Prevents wastage of time : Timesheets provided by a time tracking software helps you recognize if a particular employee is wasting their time indulging in non-work related activities. Such activities can delay work and can cause obstacles during project delivery.

 

  • Increases efficiency of work : Having real-time data about where the employees are investing their time can help managers assess their progress within a project. This information helps them in optimizing the team capacity to increase efficiency of work.

 

  • Cost effective : Knowing their time is being monitored ensures employees are alert about their performance and increases their work productivity. This turns out to be extremely beneficial as the increase in revenue is very high compared to the cost you end up paying for putting in place a time tracking software for the company.

 

  • Accurate billing : With a time tracking software you can have accurate time records that help you bill clients for exactly what work has been delivered. Failing to record this can lead to a lot of billing inconsistencies and disputes which can eventually tamper the reputation of your organization.

 

Now that we have established that time tracking is supremely advantageous for every organization, let’s look at the important features that are essential in a time tracking software :

 

  • Easy to use : The most important feat that a time tracking software accomplishes is that of saving time by maintaining a record of how it is being spent. If your employees have to invest time in learning how to use the software, it completely defeats the purpose of using it. And so it is necessary that the interface should be uncomplicated and easy to navigate.

 

  • Absence Management : Nobody wants to sit through endless logs to identify holidays and time-offs by employees. A time tracking software must have an inbuilt option for aiding absence management by providing clear overviews of available and absent employees. This will make it easy to re-allocate resources for ensuring project completion before the designated deadlines.

 

  • Automatic timesheet generation : A time tracking software must automatically provide records of all billable hours through an online timesheet which helps in monitoring employee productivity. This also helps in maintaining the project progression records as well as employees absences and holidays all in one place.Online invoice generation : Having the facility to generate invoices based on billed hours through the same software that maintains time records makes things so much easier. This feature is a must to facilitate accurate billing and paycheck generation, thus eliminating any chances of disagreements.

 

Conclusion:

When a company is focusing on growth, it becomes crucial to have better control over time being spent. Having said that, the advancement in technology has helped integration of additional features like online invoicing and mobile compatibility with time tracking softwares, which has made the use of this software even more favourable. But no matter which time tracking software you end up picking based on your company needs, the most definite results will be increased productivity and major saving of time.

Tips for Maintaining Health and Safety at the Office

office health and safety

This is something positive that comes from the recent pandemic. With many office buildings starting to call back their staff, employers now have a focus on maintaining a healthy and safe work environment. Listed below are a few tips for business owners to create a healthier and safer environment.

 

Indoor Air Quality

There are many things that can contribute to poor air quality in the workplace. Chemicals, poor ventilation, and an outdated or under-serviced HVAC system are a few examples. Improving ventilation will allow for a quick release of toxic fumes. Replacing the current HVAC system, or contacting a Santa Rosa HVAC repair company service (or someone local to you if you don’t live in Northern California), will improve the air quality considerably. Headaches, difficulty breathing, and fatigue are some of the common symptoms resulting from poor air quality.

 

A Clean Office

Most business owners have a cleaning service that comes in once or twice a week to perform general cleaning jobs. However, with the virus still present, owners must follow CDC guidelines. Using disinfectants on desks, floors, and other surfaces is a requirement. Having hand sanitizer available is also necessary.

 

Adopting the Stay-at-Home Policy

In the past, some employees would come to the office even if they felt sick. Today, that’s simply not acceptable. If an employee has a fever or any symptoms of covid or the flu, they must stay at home. The good news is that, due to the pandemic, many companies have systems in place that enable workers to work remotely. 

 

Returning to The Workplace

Some people who recently worked from home enjoyed the environment. They didn’t have to deal with office cliques and negative or mean-spirited employees. Returning to this environment once again after several months away can bring about excessive levels of stress. In order to achieve a healthy environment for all your staff, it’s important to address any issues immediately. Weekly meetings that allow for open discussions can be productive. 

 

Safe-Proofing the Office

There are many hazards in the workplace. Unsecured rugs, wet floors, loose handrails and uneven steps can lead to a slip, trip, or fall. Cluttered high-traffic hallways, exposed wires, and open metal utility cabinet drawers can cause serious injury. Doing a thorough check of the interior and exterior of the building will reduce the possibility of any development. 

 

Safe Handling of Heavy Equipment, Packages, and Boxes

Lifting injuries are another potential hazard in the workplace. Having procedures in place that identify the proper way to lift boxes and move heavier equipment is essential. Make sure that you include it in monthly meetings and post material to encourage safety. 

 

Sufficient Lighting

An office that lacks sufficient lighting and is either too dark or too bright can cause strain on the eyes and increase the risk of an injury. Overhead recessed lighting is ideal. Make sure that when a light bulb goes out that you replace it quickly and that your lighting doesn’t produce dark areas, glare, or shadows. 

 

Ergonomic Equipment

You may spend a bit more acquiring an ergonomic chair and keyboard. However, in the end, reducing the potential for injury is worth the investment. Your staff remains seated for a good portion of their workday. After several hours, a regular office chair and traditional keyboard can cause back and neck pain and bring about carpal tunnel. 

 

Encourage Breaks

Sitting at a desk for 8 hours daily can lead to poor circulation and fatigue. Having scheduled breaks every few hours allows your employees to get up, stretch their legs, and clear their heads. When they return to their desks they will feel energized and ready to tackle problems. 

There are many hazards in the workplace. However, through awareness, you can avoid a serious injury.

Pros and Cons: Paper Trails in Business

paper trail

With increasing environmental consciousness in both our professional and personal lives, many have not only become more careful with their recycling at home but also considerate of  what can be achieved at work. This push to be more environmentally friendly has prompted many companies across the world to go paperless in certain, or all areas of their business.

Of course, this isn’t a new concept and in a 1975 BusinessWeek article titled “The Office of the Future” the phrase ‘paperless office’ was first discussed after computer terminals were introduced. So, why, more than 40 years later, aren’t paperless offices a universal reality?

However much a paperless office is an aspiration for many businesses the world over – the pros of having a paper trail in some circumstances offers invaluable protection and peace of mind. No matter the nature of your business, you’ll come across certain situations where you’ll need to have proof you’ve followed all the correct procedures and laws. This is why printers, photocopiers, robust filing systems and stationery cupboards filled with printing supplies such as toner cartridges are all still office essentials.

So, if you’re looking to edge your business closer to a paperless future, or reduce your use of paper, what are the pros and cons you need to consider?

 

Pros of paper trails in business:

  • You have a firm method of tracing conversations and processes from the beginning

  • Can provide proof that you’ve adhered to essential procedures and laws

  • A detailed history of important information that might otherwise be forgotten

  • Should you have to take unexpected time off, a colleague has a paper trail to follow and pick up where you left off

 

Cons of paper trails in business:

 

  • Reliant on the information being recorded correctly in the first place – chances for human error

  • Space could become an issue for your business – there are only so many files you can keep neatly tucked away before they start to overflow cabinets

  • Your time will be taken up regularly with needing to archive or responsibly dispose of files

 

The reality for some businesses is that the possibility of being completely paperless and operating without paper trails could be unrealistic. However, reevaluating your paper use could be a fantastic place to start if you want to make steps towards being more environmentally friendly.

Carry out a complete audit of your processes and culture – do you print things out that could be sent in an email or via a file sharing service? Are there certain things that could be saved in a secure online environment rather than being filed in an office cabinet? Digitising some files could be a solution, even if it’s not possible for everything you do.

During your audit, you might even find you’ve got inefficient processes you can tighten up or other ways you’re negatively impacting the environment that you can adjust. Digging a little deeper and being honest with what you can and can’t change could make a huge difference.

While removing paper trails completely might not be possible for all businesses, regularly reevaluating what you do and remaining transparent can keep your business firmly on the pulse.

Unused UK Office Space Almost 50 Times Larger Than London’s O2 Arena

office

With 2020 dubbed ‘the year of remote working’, demand for office space in the UK could drop by up to 50% as more businesses realise the value of flexibility post-COVID-19 according to a report by Commercial Property Specialists Instant Offices

With 60% of the UK workforce working from home during peak-lockdown and millions of businesses struggling to cover overheads, offices across the country have been left standing empty and rental negotiations have stalled.

At a vacancy rate of 4.5% (57.6 million sq ft of empty space) the amount of unused commercial office space in the UK right now is almost 50 times larger than London’s O2 Arena, which is 1.2 million sq ft.

The Instant Group, says “COVID-19 has shown the world that we can cope with rapid changes to the way we all work, and as more businesses embrace flexibility, we’re going to see a permanent shift in the way an office can meet individual needs.”

With the future office becoming a mix of a central office, flexible locations and a remote working wing. The experts at Instant Offices discusses the three changes that the industry is likely to see in the second half of the year and into 2021.

 

1. Half the workforce could become remote

Whether they were ready for it or not, COVID-19 forced business leaders and employees to embrace remote working, with many discovering unforeseen benefits. To manage costs, a Gartner report shows over 70% of CFOs are planning to move part of their on-site workforce into remote roles post-COVID.

In a report for The Instant Group, CRE advisor Simon Johnson predicts that on the other side of lockdown, regular remote working could become the norm for up to 50% of the UK workforce in the long-term, reducing the need for one central office space. Instead, we will see more people working from home or multiple flexible spaces.

This will have a significant impact on corporate footprint requirements, but for companies to transition smoothly, considerable planning is needed to manage change from an organisational and policy perspective.

 

2. Demand for flexible office space to outstrip supply

Long-lease commercial property still dominates the UK market, with flex space like coworking offices or serviced offices accounting for just 6% of the total market share – but this is set to change as the flexible trend grows. Post-COVID, Instant predicts more companies will be unwilling to take on the expense of a long-term lease, or the level of risk that comes with it.

Flexible office providers have already reacted to emerging trends. According to Instant Offices data, over 60% of providers are offering reduced rates or rent holidays to current clients, while commercial spaces are attracting new business with virtual tours, rent-free periods and discounts of between 16% – 20%, enabling firms to sign on now at a reduced rate, for occupancy at a later date.

 

3. Tech integration will monitor employee wellbeing

In addition to spaced out desks, altered air conditioning systems and thorough cleaning protocols, tech and wellness will become more heavily integrated into offices around the world. Some buildings have already installed monitoring systems to encourage employees to start heading back to the office.

Office life could soon include daily online wellness checks, assigned arrival times at the office to avoid bottlenecks, and limited meetings and face-to-face interactions. AI and motion sensors could raise the alarm if social distancing guidelines are not being followed, while thermal cameras will be used to measure employee temperatures on arrival at work.

As businesses prepare to go back to work and commercial real estate leaders roll out plans for re-entry into different physical spaces, it is more important than ever for landlords and tenants to collaborate more closely.