Understanding Logistics

According to Ghiani (2004), logistics can be defined as the planning and controlling of products and information in an organization. It aims at delivering materials to a given destination for another trying to optimize a particular measure and ensuring satisfaction of a particular set of constraints. These definitions can be simplified to mean the managing of the flow of goods as well as services from the point of manufacture to the point of consumption ensuring that the requirements of the consumer are observed. Activities under logistics include information integration, warehousing, packaging, inventory, security, transportation, as well as handling of materials. Logistics compliments supply chain by add value to place, as well as time utility.

Logistics are identified in different fields due to performance value. These fields include procurement, after sales, production, disposal, as well as distribution fields. This paper will identify the areas where organizations involve logistics as well as the essence of an effective logistics to an organization.

These fields of logistics determine specific activities. Procurement logistics involve make / buy decisions, supplier and other management, as well as market research. Production logistics' key principle is to connect procurement to distribution logistics. This field of logistics determines the capacities of production under available resources in response to distribution logistics. Distribution logistics deal with delivering of finished goods to the consumer or rather customers. Its components include processing, warehousing, as well as transportation. This logistics is most essential since the time, place as well as quantity of production vary from the time, place, and quantity of consumption.

Today, logistics have been simplified through technological advancements. Complexities which hinder effective logistics management can now be visualized, modeled, optimized and analyzed through particular simulation software. These complexities have necessitated the use of this software. Successful businesses are using this software to case the work of logistics analysis and hence providing effective strategies of managing supply and demand. Problems in logistics majorly occur in organizations that engage in product delivery but they can also occur in firms producing services (Ghiani, 2004). Examples of this include garbage collection, after sales services, as well as mail delivery, among others. Maintenance and operational cost of logistics is another hindrance of its use. Research conducted in the United Stated in 1997 proved that organizations used 862 billion dollars as the total logistics expenditure. It is hence essential for organizations to understand how to minimize logistics cost (Rushton, 2000).

Reliability and sustainability are other factors which affect the efficiency of logistics. Reliable systems as well as equipment's should be able to perform intended purpose for the identified period under stated conditions through effective logistics. Inefficient logistics will lead to a wrong probability on performance capabilities of systems hence causing massive losses. Reliability will thus project the probability of systems and equipment in an organization (Landford, 2006).

In conclusion, the main issue under logistics is deciding how and when raw goods and finished products will be shipped, transported, and stored. This unlike other operations management is most evident in modern societies. A logistics system comprised of facilities that have been corresponded to the transportation services. Facilities include locations where goods are processed, and they include manufacturing centers, distribution centers, transportation terminals, as well as dumpsites, just to mention a few. The transportation services move goods between the facilities.

Production Linearity – Eliminating the “Hockey Stick Syndrome”

Why is linear production so important? It's simple; "It's where the money is!" Scrap, rework, overtime and poor quality are all non-value-added costs that increased as a function of the famous "Hockey Stick Syndrome". That is, as we delay our production schedule completions toward the end of the month (or worse, to the end of the financial quarter), there is a tremendous pressure put on Manufacturing that produces shop floor chaos that generates significant non-value-added cost. We usually end up making the production plan and financial forecast because the "Knights in shining armor" come through with a last minute, heroic performance. But, at what cost? Some companies actually give up 10 to 20% of their potential profit margins because they have developed and fostered a manufacturing team that perpetuates the "Hockey Stick Syndrome".

Companies that continue to live with the end-of-the-quarter "push" will never achieve their full growth and profit potentials. How do you smooth schedules and achieve linear production? The challenge is in how to keep daily pressure on the critical path of schedule achievement. We need to have the visibility of all critical tasks and milestones from day one of the quarter and create team awareness and commitment to their timely achievement. Our manufacturing team must become sensitive and proactive in the execution of early production planning details and they must learn to apply their creativity and energy in a linear style. To be sure, up front planning and execution can yield amazing manufacturing results and lead to profitability beyond expectations.

The most effective production manager I've ever known used a huge magnetic board to schedule production planning details and monitor production linearity. An early focus on details, corrective actions and recovery planning was his management style. He would hold early morning meetings every day to status yesterday's progress on the magnetic board and to establish the daily challenges. He was an expert at team dynamics and his people always new what they had to do and they were always provided the tools to get the job done. The combination of the magnetic board, the morning meetings and his team dynamics skills made this production manger an effective leader and an expert in achieving linear production.

Today many production managers are still trying to solve their linear production problem by pursuing a sophisticated computer software solution. Most companies are now using MRPII / ERP manufacturing systems to control their production environments. These systems do not provide a focus on the detail, up front tasks and milestones that are critical to linear production and consequently have not presented a solution to the "Hockey Stick Syndrome". On the other hand, using an old magnetic board in this day and age of computer sophistication may not be an acceptable alternative. A good trade-off might be to develop a simple computer spread sheet specially designed to plan critical production milestones and to measure / monitor production linearity.

Using this daily schedule as the "bible", the next step would be to retrain the "Knights in shining armor" to gradually shift their manufacturing paradigm from end-of-the-quarter "fire fighting" to daily proactive problem solving.

Finally, it is important to differentiate between shipment linearity and production linearity. In a widget, make-to-shelf manufacturing company that build substantial finish goods inventory and in highly engineered capitol equipment manufacturing companies the two linearity measurements will not be equal.

Shipment linearity may be more of a function of Sales' bookings and customer's preference rather than nonlinear production. Consequently, the measure of production linearity must be developed to measure the performance of the manufacturing process and not be influenced by Sales bookings or customer related shipment delays.

Benefits of Hiring an Digital Marketing Agency for Promoting Your Business Online

Online business has hit an all-time high globally, as major and minor companies are creating their own websites and trying to cater to the Internet public. Marketing online is vastly different from offline marketing as the rules and regulations of attracting consumers differ hugely. This is where a digital marketing agency comes in and ensures that online marketing, from creation of websites to ensuring that they excel in search engine rankings, is available to clients as a whole package. Without the help of a digital marketing agency, it is not possible for companies to enter the online market and emerge successful.

The primary benefit of hiring a digital marketing agency is that these agencies are experienced and understand the online world of marketing. Since there are major differences between the online world and the offline world of marketing, gathering professional help for the better performance of a website is highly recommended. Digital marketing agencies have experts on their board who understand what a particular client website contains and how it can be marketed digitally. From keyword heavy content to social media marketing, all options are available and it is up to these agencies to implement these options as per their understanding.

Search engine optimization is the biggest benefit of hiring a digital marketing agency. Marketing online serves no purpose unless people regularly visit a company's website and go through its features and products. Competition in the online market today is mostly about securing high rankings in search engines. Securing high rankings in search engines automatically translates to popularity of the website as well as increase in consumer awareness. A digital marketing agency is well aware of all this and hence can be trusted with the responsibility to increase a website's search engine rankings. They know how to go about it and whether they should take a content related approach or publicize the site via social media, is up to them.

A digital marketing agency also understand that in today's age of flashy and tech-heavy websites, a company can never achieve the desired search engine rankings unless is website is up to the mark. A digital marketing agency also often acts as a web designing organization and designs the websites for its clients. It knows that depending on the content, how a website is to be designed so that what people are looking for in the site can be easily found. From the home page to the page dealing with the features of the company's products to the page about the history of the company, all are available on the website. It is up to the digital marketing agency to put together these pieces in a manner that will be appealing to regular and new visitors of the website.

Since constant presence on the social media is highly necessary for a company to be successful in online marketing today, an internet marketing company ensures that they are able to provide full social media marketing strategies. It is important not only to have Facebook or Twitter pages for companies but also ensure that those are active. Sharing regular links to the company's website and its new products, features and news are a must for every digital marketing agency. They also encourage active interaction between people and the company via social media pages. This helps the company understand their consumers and what the consumers look forward to from the company. Automatically, this gives the company a great chance to improve its search engine rankings.

For companies which are beginning their innings new in the online marketing world, it is highly beneficial to hire a digital marketing agency with proper experience. In that case, it is the company which will have all the experience and will be able to guide the client on how to improve search engine rankings. Clients can give the content and the layout of the website, but it is up to the digital marketing agency to make a site that will ensure that proper consumers are drawn to the site. Digital marketing agencies come across all sorts of clients and they know how the success of a website is achieved. So being dependent on them is actually beneficial for a company, especially the ones who have just begun.

A Career As Restaurant Owner Vs Restaurant Manager

There is a big difference between a career as a restaurant owner and a career as a restaurant manager. Restaurant managers sometimes go on to own their own restaurants, restaurant owners often do a great deal of managerial work and both are heavily invested in the success of the restaurant and involved in its daily operations, but the general similarities end there. The specific roles and responsibilities of a restaurant owner vs. a restaurant manager will be explained in further detail below.

A Career as a Restaurant Owner

Restaurant owners are responsible for overseeing the entire operations of a restaurant, even when they hire someone else to manage it. They make an initial investment and either buys the restaurant from someone else or starts his or her own restaurant. Owners must make additional investments down the line when the restaurant needs new equipment and supplies, or when the business has outgrown its location and needs to move or expand, and they will also be responsible for cleaning up the mess if the business fails. The owner has a vested interest in the success of the restaurant, not just because it's his or her job, but because it's his or her investment, brainchild and often a dream come true. The owner takes the most financial risk, but he or she also gets the biggest payoff if the restaurant is a success.

They vary in their level of responsibility in the kitchen and on the floor. Some owners hire other people to do everything and trust they will make the right decisions, while others are there every day, interacting with customers and staff and taking on managerial duties. Many of them must work long hours every day of the week as they get their business off the ground, but if it becomes a success, they get the opportunity to sit back and relax a bit.

A Career as a Restaurant Manager

They work closely with restaurant owners to ensure that the business runs smoothly. They also have a vested interest in making sure the restaurant is operating at a profit; in fact, this is their primary concern. The manager has pay increases, bonuses and profit shares to entice him or her to succeed, and the fear of losing his or her job to entice him or her to avoid failure. This career requires skills in budgeting, leadership, communication, analysis and planning, as well as a knowledge and appreciation of the culinary arts and customer service.

OSHA Floor Marking Standards

Since it is in the best interests of employees in industrial facilities for the workplaces to be properly marked with regards to their aisles, passageways and sections, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a series of guidelines and regulations for marking standards at warehouses, factories and other similar structures. OSHA floor marking standards are relatively sparse compared to more detailed discussions in other aspects of workplace safety management, but they are nonetheless relevant and constitute legal requirements in certain instances.

For example, OSHA has provided a few provisions of instructions for the marking and the minimum acceptable widths of aisles in industrial operations, which requisites are mandatory. The first is that a line should be used to designate the aisle, although that line may be any color or combination of colors as long as it clearly identifies the aisle as such. The line does not have to be a an unbroken line, and can consist of squares, dots or even icons, so long as the entire aisle dimensions are sufficiently covered.

In addition, OSHA requires that every aisle marking be at least 2 inches wide, and recommends an aisle marking with of between 2 to 6 inches. The width of the aisle itself, on the other hand, must be at least 3 feet wider than the largest piece of equipment that will travel through it, and in no case narrower than 4 feet in width.

OSHA is more liberal about color schemes in the floor marking materials, having utilized only two colors, yellow and red, in the past. Yellow would stand for caution, and thus, be used to mark areas where the likelihood of tripping or falling is higher, and red would be the identifying color for locating the fire extinguishers or other equipment that would be relevant to fighting fire. However, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), concerned with what seemed to be an escalating number of industrial accidents that led to permanent injuries and crippling lawsuits, decided to establish a uniform color coding scheme for ease of application and understanding. The results proved to be a resounding success, and today the ANSI method is lauded for being readily available for usage in industrial facilities across America. The standardized scheme makes it much easier to use than to have to specify with long explanations the types of hazards that one could encounter, or identify in detail the locations of certain objects. Though it is merely recommendatory in nature and companies will not be penalized for not utilizing the same, the OSHA has heartily adopted and endorsed the same, in the hopes that facilities everywhere will take it into consideration.

The OSHA / ANSI scheme covers every color of the rainbow, assigning each one with a specific meaning that either applies to general industrial facility conditions, or only to particular hazards that only exist in the context of certain businesses. For instance, purple-colored tape denotes the presence of a radiation hazard, and orange marks potential danger from machinery and energized equipment. Armed with the information of the color code alone, anyone walking through any such structure today will know at a glance what to watch out for, and what to avoid.

5 Most Popular Types of Industrial Equipment

There are many forms of industrial equipment used in the workplace. Industrial equipment is usually large and made of materials such as steel and titanium for optimal strength. These machines are often needed to lift and move materials which may possibly weigh thousands of pounds.

A piece of industrial equipment which is not in working order should never be used for any reason. All equipment is inspected at the beginning of everyday to ensure they are in the best condition for workers.

By now, there are a million pieces of industrial equipment racing through your head but the question is, which ones are the most popular and most crucial to the industrial field? Below you will find five types of industrial equipment which are known to be the masters of all machines in the industrial workplace:

1. Bulldozers – Bulldozers are massive machines which are used mostly in the construction and mining industries. Bulldozers have the ability to lift and move vast amounts of dirt and other debris from one place to another. Bulldozers can operate in many conditions including snow, hail and rain. These pieces of equipment are generally used to dig up the ground and provide room for building houses or other types of buildings.

2. Cranes – Cranes are generally used to transport hard, heavy items from one place to another. The arm of the crane is used to swing the object from one place to another and the arm can be adjusted according to how far the materials need to go. Unlike bulldozers, cranes have the ability to transport objects over uneven levels of ground.

3. Excavators – Excavators are engineering vehicles which consist of backhoes and cabs. They are mainly used in the digging of trenches, foundations and holes. They can also be used to destroy objects which are no longer needed for any reason and in which case need to be compressed and condensed.

4. Fork Lifts – Forklifts are warehouse vehicles which are used to lift, hoist and transport extremely heavy items from one place to another. Forklifts are known to be indispensable pieces of equipment in many industrial workplaces.

5. Compressors – Most of the pieces of equipment listed above are used for construction purposes, however compressors are generally used in more of a factory-type setting. Compressors are used to provide high pressures of air or other forms of gases. These devices can be regulated in order to maintain the desired amount of pressure in the tank.

There are many other forms of industrial equipment. Each piece of equipment is designed to perform a specific task which contributes to the overall success in this field of work. Without these forms of equipment many industrial areas would not exist.

What Are Panchaloha Idols and How Are They Manufactured?

As one of the oldest religions in the world, Hinduism carries a broad set of traditions, rituals and worship. Hinduism in the real sense is a way of righteous living and professes the unity of worship and the concept of a formless divine. But these are abstract concepts for many and the best way to help relate is through images. Over time, this was how the concept of various 'Gods' and 'idol worship' was developed, giving the free choice of worship ultimately to the individual. In this regard, Panchaloha idols play a key role in this regard.

Silpa Shastra is an ancient Hindu text dealing with arts and crafts and contains various design rules and standards. All idols whether stone or of metal have to be sculpted and manufactured according to these rules and prescribed rituals have to be followed both during manufacture and installation in order to obtain the correct benefits. Panchaloha idols are traditional idols of Gods fashioned from an alloy of 5 metals (silver, gold, copper, zinc and iron). The percentages in which these metals are used in the alloy varies between different regions in India.

The idol manufacturing process involves 2 steps. The first is the construction of the mould and the second is the actual creation of the idol. Initially, an image of the deity is created in wax with all the details. This wax is prepared by mixing paraffin wax , resin from the tree Damara Orientalis, and ground nut oil. Since wax produced by this method is quite hard, softer bee's wax of high purity is mixed to make it easier to bring to life finer details.

To create a mould, the wax model is covered in layers of fresh clay and soil and then allowed to dry. Once the clay dries, it is heated to melt the wax and create a hollow mould. The melted Panchaloha metal alloy is then poured slowly into this mould to allow air bubbles to escape. This is then allowed to cool and solidify into the idol or deity. The cooling period varied between a few hours to a few days depending on the size of the statue and is judged based on experience. Finally, the craftsmen break the clay mold starting from the head of the statue to get the preliminary image. This image is then worked on to produce the final product.

The process has remained the same since the time of ancient dynasties like the Chera and the Chola and it is heartening to note that the art continues to thrive in various corners of India even today.

Manufactured Homes 101 – The Things You Need to Know!

Everyone has dreamed of owning their dream house. A place they can call your own. It's a place of sanctuary to shelter you and your family. Manufactured homes have always been a good option. Putting your money into it is worth while, although, a lot of people are still unsure whether to purchase one.

Factory built houses come in all shapes and sizes. They come in various floorings and fashion that it is easy to find one that will suit your taste. Aside from being way cheaper than houses constructed right on the location, these homes also give you a chance to design your home. Ranging from $ 20,000 – $ 100,000, they are ready for transfer to any location you'd want your house to be set.

A Factory Built Home: What is it ?

Also known as a prefabricated house, manufactured homes are units of houses constructed in a huge factory. After purchasing, it is then dragged to the site where it can be put ready for transfer to another location or mounted on the ground through masonry groundwork.

Prefabricated homes are constructed upon certain set of codes which administers mobility, fire safety, effectiveness, style and sturdiness. All of these sets of guidelines are closely monitored by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The same set of guidelines also manages the electrical, heating and plumbing systems.

The Basics About Prefabricated Homes

Here are some of the things that you need to know about manufactured or prefabricated homes.

  • They are houses built in large factories.
  • After they are constructed from the factories, they are wheeled to the chosen site for the house. It is done by transporting the whole house one portion after the other.
  • Prefabricated home cost less than the houses constructed right on the site.
  • They are used to be regarded as mobile or trailer houses. They come in many designs.
  • They are constructed under the guidelines set by the HUD or the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
  • After transferring the house's portions in the site, they are put into pieces.
  • Its market value depreciates as time goes by.

The So, now That you have the basic knowledge about what a factory built home is, the I Signature guess you can up your facility clear by mind and start weighing things. Buying a house is really a good investment of your hard-earned money and considering the given details about prefabricated homes, counting it as an option is not a bad idea after all.

The Effects of Computer Technology on Our Everyday Lives

These days, the computer technology industry is rapidly growing and changing. Along with that growth and change of computer technology are the people who almost instantly adapt to the changes.

Computer technology has made our lives a lot easier and convenient. For instance our banking needs. Years ago, people had to manually file the important data of their customers; now they just use the computer to find these data. In just one click, they would instantly find the name of the customer, the birth date, the address, e-mail address, phone numbers and etcetera. As for the clients of these banks, they can also easily get a quick look at their account balances through logging in to the bank website; in addition to that a lot of people are able to apply for a loan with the use of the computer.

Because of the birth of computer technology, we now have credit cards or what others call plastic money, which are very useful especially when we do not have cash on hand or when you are ordering a certain product through the internet. It's amazing how computer technology has changed so much our way of living. Nowadays, purchasing products such as cellular phones, bags, household utensils, and clothes or even paying the bills can be effortlessly done at the comfort of your own home.

With the use of the computer a lot of students especially those with unfortunate disabilities or severe illnesses are able to enroll to different schools through home schooling. Students are even able to take their examination tests or check out their grades by the use of the computer.

As far I know computer technology has helped a lot of businesses to better serve the community. But the computers have not only helped us in the business industry; it also has an effect on our communication systems. Long before the computers were born, writing letters were the main source of communication, which would be such a hassle most especially to those people who lived in far away places; plus telephones were quite expensive so people would pretty much prefer writing to their loved ones. And for that reason, people who are far away from civilization would really have a hard time communicating with others. Now, we have e-mails, and live chat, or even voicemails. We now already have video calling in which we would be able to see the person that we are talking to. This would be really great for people who have loved ones that are away from home. Getting in touch with one another is now a piece of cake.

Computer technology has changed our lives for the better. Without it, we would still be living in the pre historic times.

The 5 Essential Financial Reports You Should Be Asking For in Your Business

A question I often get asked from my business owner clients is "what reports should I be asking for so that I can keep my finger on the pulse on my business".

Now this does differ slightly from business to business. For example, if you are a retail shop, then you're going to automatically have daily figures available to you as part of your normal process. However most businesses should be asking for weekly, monthly and quarterly reports.

WHY I NEED TO READ REPORTS!
Before I go through the reports in detail, I know that a lot of people do not like looking at the figures in their business. And usually this is because they do not know what it is that they're looking for. So usually then their accountant or bookkeeper (or receptionist!) Gives them a monthly report, they glance at while holding their breath, and then either breathe a sigh of relief if it shows a profit, or they grimace and swear when it shows a loss . But usually by the time they've got this report, it's already too late. The financial status of your business should be at the forefront of your mind every day- not something that you look at once or twice a year when you run out of cash.

REPORT FREQUENCY
The first thing to decide is how frequently you need to see reports. I suggest a minimum of monthly, if not weekly. This can sometimes depend on whether you have a full time accounts person, or whether they only come in once a month.

TOP TIP: DO A YEAR END EACH MONTH
To help you know what's going on in your business, one of the first things to implement into your business is a culture of having a year end every month. By that I mean … you want to ensure that every revenue figure and expense if recorded according to the month that it's incurred. If you insist on this type of culture, you will start to receive accurate figures. So think end of year each month and close off all financial data for each month. That way you know that your reports fully reflect the state of your business and you get accurate profit and loss reporting and it can help you to identify trends in your cash flow.

With regards to reporting, if you have a full time person looking after your reports, you should be having a weekly meeting with them to review reports. To make this process easy for you, refer to the 'Essential Financial Management Templates' workbook which you can purchase from our website. This workbook has a standard financial meeting agenda that will help you to guide your meeting so that it's both effective and efficient.

When you are meeting with your accounts person, you want to ensure that you have all the reports up front -before your meeting – so that you have time to go through them and highlight any discrepancies that you can then address during the meeting.

YOUR WEEKLY REPORT PACK
So what information do you need to know if your business is doing well or not? Well your weekly report pack should consist of the following five reports (by the way, a sample copy of each of these reports is also included in the workbook that I mentioned before):

1) A Profit and Loss – this should be provided weekly (if you're meeting weekly) as well as a Month to Date and a Year to Date report. So that's actually three reports in total!

2) From there, you would request a copy of your Aged Payables. This report shows a list of all the people that you owe money to, and when it's due – or if its overdue. If there are any amounts that exceed your suppliers trading terms, you want to know why. If it's because of cash flow, you then look at your cash flow analysis report to see when they will be paid. To maintain a great relationship with your supplier, you then need to communicate this with them.

3) Another essential report is your Aged Receivables. This is where you can clearly see who owes you money and if they have any amounts outstanding to you. This allows you to follow up on collections way before it becomes overdue. As part of your financial management systems, you should have a standard follow up system. For example – if a client has exceeded their trading terms by 7 days, what happens – do you follow up with a quick phone call to check that they've received the invoice. If its 14 days – what happens – and so on.

If you refer to the 'Essential Financial Management Templates' workbook that I mentioned before, there's also a list of demand letters designed to help you when you need to be a little more serious about collecting. But once again, Aged Receivables is essential because you need to see when your money is coming in – so that you can pay your suppliers and employees their wages without having to dip into your own personal cash reserves.

4) This brings me to the next report – a Cash flow analysis. This report should be put together by your bookkeeper and outlines when money is coming in and when it is going out. You can then see if there are any shortfalls so that you can make plans in advance to get this covered. It may be that you need to transfer monies from another account – or it may be that you chase outstanding payments. What you do not want is to find out when you go to transfer the money is that there's nothing in the account!

Believe it or not, this is often the most under-utilized financial report – and yet it's the most important. You would not believe how many bookkeepers or accounts people do not do them either. It's not so much that it's difficult to produce, but it's a working document which means that it needs to be regularly updated. But persist with this one, even if your accounts people try a mini revolt over it, because it's a life saver for your business.

The 'Essential Financial Management Templates' workbook that I referred to previously that's found on our website contains a fantastic cash flow analysis report that will save you and your team a lot of time.

5) The other essential report to have is the Bank Reconciliation. If your bookkeeper is full time, then they can do this weekly by using the online reports from your bank. If its monthly, then they will need to wait for the bank statement to arrive from the bank before they can finalise. However, keep on top of them for this – this report shows that the necessary process has been done to ensure that the month end has been closed off and that the cash in bank and any other payments or receipts are accounted for. Basically a bank reconciliation is done so that its guaranteed that your amounts coming into and out of your bank account are accurately reflected in your accounting software package.

WORKING WITH YOUR ACCOUNTANT
I would also recommend requesting that your financial controller automatically sends a copy of your monthly reports to your accountant. This way your accountant can see where you're headed from month to month. Depending on the size of your business, you could then establish regular meetings with your accountant – whether it's monthly or quarterly – to discuss those reports and your financial plans for the coming month.

Once you are receiving these reports regularly, you will find that you become much more empowered in your business and your finger is never far from the pulse!