Monday, November 12, 2012

Turning Off The Money Conveyor In Supply Chain

Social Media Marketing Spend to Hit $3.1 Billi...
(Photo credit: Alyssa & Colin)
The seasoned sourcing and category experts at a conveyor systems and logistics management firm would add an additional strategy to the list — apply proven strategic sourcing and disciplined compliance approaches to new spend categories.

One spend category ripe for reigning in this year: marketing. My new teammates put it this way: “Marketing organizations are under constant pressure to find innovative ways to promote their brand. And they must carefully balance their investments across print, online and broadcast channels. With budgets typically very tight, CMOs must identify the right mix of programs and work closely with their peers in procurement to maximize their investments and the returns they generate.”

Indeed. As a new-age marketeer, I am all too familiar with the bullseye enterprises place upon marketing spend. (If I had a penny for every time my former CFO reminded me tat “Marketing is the single largest controllable expense at our company,” I’d be a very rich man.) Having been on both the purchasing and marketing side of this equation, I also understand that supply managers looking to target marketing spend will need to educate themselves on various marketing channels and buying patterns. They must also become fluent in the language of their CMO and marketing managers.

Most marketing types will shut you off if you lead by telling us how much money you can save us. However, if you can demonstrate how you can reinforce brand integrity, speed the turnaround of marketing and print programs, and help me drive more programs from my existing budget dollars, you have my attention.

Here’s a sneak peek at recommendations on how to cozy up to the CMO to control marketing spend:

1. Get a grip:
The key to successfully sourcing marketing spend lies in understanding the unique requirements and concerns of key stakeholders and developing an integrated approach to address them. Be sure to allow stakeholders to communicate their needs and be willing to make the trade offs necessary to drive savings without sacrificing quality.

2. Remove the fear factor:
Demonstrate how cost-efficiency and quality can co-exist and increase the value that marketing delivers through re-pricing and aggregating vendors, re-defining specifications, formalizing processes and tying them to contract compliance, and increasing collaboration with key suppliers.

3. Educate:
By outlining the value and opportunities created by effective spend management - for instance, money saved can be used to fund additional projects - you can gain the buy-in needed to drive your program on an enterprise-wide basis.

4. Customize your approach:
Marketing projects have unique requirements that must be taken into account when developing strategic sourcing events. By adapting your approach to account for their nuances and allowing suppliers to outline their creative capabilities, you can adequately compare price and non-price factors to make optimal decisions that align with and advance both marketing and overall business goals.

5. Look beyond technology:
When it comes to effectively managing marketing spend, software alone is not enough. By leveraging solutions that combine technology, commodity expertise and services, you can more effectively compare suppliers based on unique characteristics and make optimal sourcing decisions that lower costs while increasing quality.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Preparing for the IRS

Seal of the United States Internal Revenue Ser...

If your business receives an audit from the Internal Revenue Service, you will probably want to employ an attorney as soon as possible. Government agents will just provide you with a little window of time in order to get all of your documents ready and to provide them with all of the information that they want. You need a tax audit lawyer that specializes in assisting business organizations that are audited.

As the proprietor of a business you will want to defend your investment as much as you can. By doing so, you will need to hire a pro when it comes to affairs as serious as a tax audit. The IRS will send auditors out to your business and have them begin going through your paperwork. It is your responsibility to ensure that all of your papers is there and that it has been filed properly. Your tax audit lawyer will aid you to organize all of your paperwork and to make a point that you're not missing any vital records or documents.

Should your attorney discover that you're missing some key documents, they will assist you to get them together and furnish them to the IRS prior to you're found to owe back taxes. You don't wish to mess with the Internal Revenue Service, if you are got to owe back taxes the Internal Revenue Service can seize your holdings and everything inside of your business in order to recuperate what is owed to them. This is a ordeal that no well-intentioned business owner should ever have to undergo.

This is one of the reasons why it is so important to call a attorney at the first mention of an audit. It is even possible to have a tax attorney professional come into your company and look through your bookkeeping before you ever even get audited as a easy way to ensure that everything is being filed the right way and that you have all of the crucial documentation that you need organized.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Crane Rail Maintenance

English: RAIL CRANE (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In any automated material handling system that includes a Storage/Retrieval (S/R) machine, fast and accurate material handling is extremely important. Machines must get from point A to point B in a timely manner. The speed of the system is directly proportional to how smooth and precise the crane rails are installed.

Crane rails provide the surface over which the S/R machines move back and forth, up and down the aisle. Over the course of a year, these machines will travel over the rail thousands of times. Because of this, crane rails require maintenance and/or replacement once the components start to wear or break down.
If the surface upon which the S/R machine travels is not in good condition, with joints that are not aligned side to side or top to bottom, they can provide unwanted vibrations or jolt expensive on-board electronics, which can be costly to repair.

Crane Rail Repair or Replacement Warning Signs
When crane rails begin to deteriorate, there are a number of warning signs. Being aware of these warning signs and fixing a problem correctly will keep other parts of the system from becoming damaged as well. If a damaged crane rail is not repaired quickly, electrical or mechanical components also start to wear and break down.

Inspect the aisle(s) for loose anchor bolts. When S/R machines travel over the anchor bolt locations repeatedly throughout the day, the bolts can begin to pull out of the floor. This often causes misalignment of the rail. The bolts can also work their way out and come in contact with the moving machine.

If there are unsupported sections of crane rail between anchors, depending upon the distance between supports, a bending of the crane rail between supports can occur. This will likely cause the machine to move up and down and work to pull the anchors out of the floor. If this sort of movement happens long enough, structural stresses can occur and machine components may crack.

One part of the crane rail that may wear down is the crown. As that happens, more surface area of the wheels comes into contact with the rail head, causing faster wear on the wheel and side guide rollers. In addition, worn spots will tend to form where the S/R machine(s) stop most often, like at the pickup and deposit end of the aisle. These spots could lead to more issues later on.

Fixing the Problem
In all these cases, depending upon the level of damage, the best option is to resurface or replace the damaged crane rails. The specific repair regimen depends on the size, weight, and type of the machine as well as the acceleration and deceleration speeds. Getting in touch with a professional to make repairs or replace broken parts ensures the machines will be up and running efficiently in no time.
Contact viastore systems, Inc. customer service for all your crane rail questions or for a quote on repair or replacement.

This guest post was provided by

Friday, June 22, 2012

Preparing To Send The Kid To Ohio State Law School

So after my son was accepted to Ohio State Law School, a million things went through my mind.

"Do we really need another lawyer in the family?"
"Is he going to like it in Columbus?"
"Is this a good move since he already has a successful career?"
"With the family being from Michigan, will he get attacked at Thanksgiving?"

These were all legitimate thoughts (save, possibly, the last one) that went through my mind. It gets pretty solid reviews from the major publications, as Moritz ranked 39th in the US News reports and the class size seemed to make perfect sense as well, so I was pretty happy with how things looked on paper.

Additionally, the program is heavily recruited with more than 100 recruiters visiting each year - which eases my mind that a smart kid like mine will be able to land a job. Not to mention their rates for passing the bar exceeds 90%, that's also another notch in the cap of the program and something that sells well to a parent. While the school is largely regional in its recruiting, I'm perfectly happy seeing my kid stay nearby after he finds a job!

Most importantly, he was comfortable with his decision. Probably the most important bit, but hey, now my nerves are at ease and I can focus on being a parent!

So what do parents do? They go overboard buying stupid things to celebrate, and of course I felt the need to outfit my wife and my son in as much Ohio State Buckeye merchandise as possible. Here's a few things that we picked up that I got a kick out of:

Ohio State seat covers. Found these on Amazon and thought they'd look great in his Tahoe!
Ohio State drinking gear. Once they hit law school I figure I should be doing the part two - for adults.

Anyhow, looking forward to the next few years and collecting more Buckeyes stuff as a semi-fan!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Eye Protection Cases

A model wearing infection control goggles
A model wearing infection control goggles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One of the most vulnerable parts of the human body are the eyes, and countless employees across the US leave the eyes exposed in dangerous workplace environments. Repairing damaged eyes is difficult and eye surgeries require expensive equipment, like phaco handpieces, demand expensive doctors, and quite often are unsuccessful. It's important to take precautionary measures when it comes to eye safety, but understanding who is liable with any sort of workplace injury can be difficult to judge.

Eye protection is quite often the top priority and concern for any dangerous workplace environment. A company that provides eye protection that is not up to current standards, or does not provide any protection at all, can be liable for a serious lawsuit if an eye accident occurs. This is quite often because eye injuries are mostly permanent, which demand higher compensation.

Another necessary item that isn't worn by workers are wash stations. Workplaces that are surrounded by dangerous chemicals or materials need wash stations within close distances. Every second a hazardous substance is in the eyes of a worker can take a serous tool on their future eyesight.

If you are a worker that is working in a dangerous situation that lacks necessary eye safety gear and equipment, contact a governmental agency that can put your company in check. It's not your fault if your company is compromising your safety for profits.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Construction Standards, Plan ahead!

Construction Work
Construction Work (Photo credit: gullevek)
Whether they like it or not, construction companies are liable for safety violations, installation malfunctions and many other little things that can cost them a lot of money. Before calling in a lawyer for construction legal help, take a look at some common codes and standards that will help you save money in the long run.

Energy Code Issues - the IECC updates and changes their energy requirements for new houses on almost a monthly basis. What was acceptable a year ago may be a violation today, so be sure you are aware with any new releases from them. 
Codes & Standards - When going through construction, there are many codes and standards that must be followed to keep the future residents and your workers safe. Proper trench shields and scaffolding equipment is required for any digging, and all safety equipment needed for the job should always be on site. 
Accessible Housing Standards - If the person living in the home has a disability, you need to learn about building requirements to fit their specific needs. Also, if you are doing work on a public property then you will need to meet all accessible housing needs as well.
Natural Disaster - This is particularly important if you build in an area prone to hurricanes, earthquakes or tornadoes. A home build improperly for such an event puts the residents lives in danger, and an injury lawsuit could be filled costing your business millions. Also be aware that certain building materials have different requirements. Wood siding and brick materials will have different standards from other materials.