Every business owner needs to look for ways big and small to make their company run more quickly and more efficiently. In this way, you can save time and money, as well as valuable resources, while driving up your profit margins. But what steps should you be taking to make your business run smoothly every day? Check out the tips below to get started.

Single Sign-On

Single Sign-On, also referred to as SSO, is a great way to eliminate the time-consuming process of needing to authenticate as you move between different apps. Every one of your employees can make use of SSO when they use any web or mobile apps that are hosted in the cloud or hosted by your own business. Take SSO solutions provider ProofID as an example of one of the products that you can use in your company every day. With the right SSO provider, you can have the best combination of user experience and security to get more done in a shorter amount of time. 

Customer Relationship Management Software

Another wise investment would be customer relationship management (CRM) software. This will give you the tools necessary to control all of the communications between your business and your clients. In this way, you and your employees will never drop the ball when it comes to keeping your customers—especially your loyal customers—happy and coming back for more. This along with online counseling could lead to increased sales and more satisfied customers with less effort on your part.

Use Free Cloud Solutions

Your employees work on a lot of different projects every day in order to keep your company going strong and they often have to send files back and forth to each other, making revisions all along the way. This can be time-consuming, as well as take up a lot of space on your email server. So rather than sticking with the old-school method of emailing updates between employees and making notes in files, why not use one of the free cloud services that are available? These include Dropbox and Google Drive as a couple of popular examples. You can give and restrict access for security, as needed, and you can track changes a lot more easily too. Plus, workers from remote locations can access these files with greater ease, without having to worry about having the files on their drives everywhere they go.

Outsource Where Necessary

A final way to make your company more efficient is by outsourcing the tasks that your staff can’t handle on their own. The last thing that you want to do is give your workers too much to do, causing them to hate their job and actually become less efficient overall. So, if you need writing services, design work, or even IT support, consider outsourcing these tasks to qualified pros.

With the strategies and tools above, you can take small steps towards making your business a lot more efficient every day. Before you know it, you will be able to save money that you can reinvest into your brand to help it continue to grow. 

Are you tired of attending Business Award Ceremonies and coming way empty handed?  Do you wait patiently each year in anticipation, only to watch another team walk away with the accolade? Or perhaps you feel deflated when you thumb through your Business Sector magazine and read articles of a team that’s smashed their targets for the third year running?  The secret to High Performing teams is, of course, teamwork.

As a manager, it’s important to know the keys to developing an effective team.  Let’s have a look at seven ways you can do this:

  1. Communication – Sounds like a simple thing, but if a team doesn’t communicate effectively how do they know what goals each other have and what the expected outcomes are? Effective team communication is essential to the success of the group in performing its role as well as to the morale of staff and their motivation to succeed at work.
  2. Utilizing varied strengths and abilities - Team leaders should never forget that one of the key benefits of teamwork is the individual strengths of its members. Some members can be good organisers, others are innovative, others may be good motivators.  Remember that it can be the blend of different strengths which makes a team effective.       
  3. Goals - The whole team must understand what the goals are and should be committed to achieving them. Goals give the team clear direction, if there is an agreed purpose and specific path to be followed it will promote effective teamwork. The team clarity is reinforced when the organization gives clear guidance relating to the team's work, goals, accountability, and outcomes.
  4. Cooperation - Cooperation means working together, for everyone’s benefit.  Work teams succeed only when all staff are fully ‘on-board’ in sharing ideas and undertaking tasks. These cooperative qualities make an individual much more valuable to his team. Getting actively involved and cooperating also earns the respect of other team members, making them more susceptive to hearing your ideas.
  5. Team Therapy - Provide specific and detailed instructions on how to resolve problems that arise among team members.  This will instill teamwork by encouraging members to solve issues efficiently and productively. Instead of creating a culture of blame in the workplace, create an atmosphere of being proactive and solution oriented.
  6. Participative Leaders - This is demonstrated when leading meetings, assigning tasks, recording decisions and commitments, assessing progress, holding team members accountable, and giving directives to the team.
  7. Effective decision making - A confident and effective team leader looks to the team for answers and welcomes constructive challenges and suggestions for alternative courses of action.  On occasion, the leader must be prepared to take difficult decisions and be willing to explain the basis on which they have been taken

Of course, this is not a definitive list.  Why not also think about ways to motivate, reward and bring your team together?  Have you considered implementing a Recognition Program for staff? Or, you may want to encourage social activities outside of the work environment. There are also many companies that offer team building activities in London, Manchester, Birmingham and other UK cities.

Whatever you decide, be sure that your efforts to improve teamwork will result in a greater performance and you never know, maybe the odd shiny accolade for you to put pride of place in the office!

Saving Money with Coupons

By Pete | @kingpetey | 19 Jul 2017

With the ongoing decline in living standards and lack of wage growth, every family is looking for a way to save money. We all want to save ourselves some extra each month - no matter how small. One of the best ways to doing this is by making use of coupon and discount codes.

Using coupons used to be considered being cheap, but now almost everyone wants to get involved and people spend endless hours searching for discount codes that will help them keep some extra money in their pockets. Instead of sitting at your computer, surfing through different websites, and not getting good coupons and discount codes, why not join just one website and get the best discount on your favorite products.

Using a coupon nowadays is not just a necessity, it is also considered to be a smart move. So, how do you use these discount codes to save yourself that extra cash? Well, the process here is quite simple. Below are some factors that can help you out with saving money using coupons and discount codes.

CHECK YOUR SHOPPING HABITS

Discount codes at CouponGrind.com can help you save a lot but you need to be aware of your shopping habits so you can actually save money at the end of the day. Ensure that you are not just using the discount codes to buy products you don't need and be aware of what the deal entails before buying. Make sure the products you buy with the coupons are products you are actually going to use; don’t just buy them because they are cheap.

BE SURE ABOUT EXPIRY DATES

Coupons have expiry dates and these dates are subjected to change. Stores can make the decision to expire their coupons at any time. They have the right to do this and they can do it without sending notices. This usually happens when the demand is too much or when the product supply is limited. Either way, you need to act quickly when you get an offer as you may not find it there the next day.

CHECK OUT THE COMPETITION AND SAVE MORE

You do not need to wait until checkout before trying to get yourself a coupon. Log on to a competent deal and coupon website like CouponGrind.com. This way, you'll be able to cut down your visits to multiple sites as you'll get nothing but the best deals on this websites; you'll also be able to know the store that offers the best price.

TRY OUT A NEW STORE

This is another way to save money of coupons. Do not be afraid to check out a new store. Most times, new stores offer bigger discounts so as to attract new customers. As a matter of fact, new customers can get five to ten percent higher savings than returning customers. But keep it in mind that most times, these offers are only eligible for the first purchase you make at that store.

Get your coupons and discount codes at CouponGrind.com today and save more than you ever think you will. From food, to clothing, to health, beauty, professional services, etc. you have the best chances of saving now.

Happy Savings!

The future of manufacturing will definitely include robots—and the future is now. There are already many automated processes, with more to come.  But how many more robots and automated machines will there be? Will all human factory workers eventually be replaced, or is this just science fiction?

Automation enabled manufacturing’s latest trend known as lights-out production, a term for facilities able to operate without lights and without any human oversight. At the lights out FANUC (factor automated numerical control) facility in Japan, robots are creating other robots.

Not only the lights are off, so are the A/C and heating. The automated workforce operates continuously, without any breaks. Through this automated, lights out process, FANUC creates 22,000 to 23,000 CNC machines monthly.

FANUC, with its 24/7/365 production schedule, is an uncommon production facility. What’s more common is having automated processes occurring during the third shift for a few hours a day—at least as a starting point.

However, before a company even considers lights-out production, automation systems must already be in place. Companies with interest in seeing if lights-out production is a cost-effective option, turn to specialists like Midwest Engineering Systems (MWES) for customized automation solutions and machine designs.

Although lights-out production isn’t for every company, there are some major benefits including the following:

  • Increased product quality
  • Improved throughput
  • Decrease in workplace injuries—especially in hazardous work environments
  • Fills in a skilled worker shortage
  • A decrease in labor costs

Douglas Peterson, general manager for collaborative robots maker Universal Robots, told Automation World the criteria to determine what would work is best for a robot vs. what work would be best for human workers.

“Robots are uniquely suited to any manufacturing task that is dirty, dangerous or dull. If the process doesn’t require human dexterity, mental agility or problem-solving skills, then it can be done by a robot.”

Implementing lights-out production is a complex and difficult process. CNC Cookbook outlines and details the many challenges that can come with starting a lights-out production process, with the largest challenge being perfecting processes.

For example, even with the most cutting-edge technology, if a single process is faulty, the whole system is at risk of failure in an automated environment.  Testing new equipment and ensuring a seamless production process is critical. Having human supervisors and maintenance techs on-site is often recommended.

On the finance side, the upfront costs of lights-out production can be cost-prohibitive for many. Experts say facilities debating a move to a lights-out system should expect a return on their upfront investment within two years. If the gains in efficiency and productivity will pay of the cost of the automated machines and components themselves within 2 years, the investment likely makes sense.

Automation’s popularity grows as lights-out production is becoming more commonplace and less of a novelty. Machines will likely replace many workers who perform more dangerous or repetitive tasks while helping to boost productivity gains and profitability for many manufacturers.

(Image Credit: Steve Jurvetson / Flickr)

Korea enjoys a rich culture, made up of a mixture of deeply historic elements alongside modern aspects like the blossoming K-pop world. Visitors to Korea can enjoy a variety of cultural and modern experiences unique to this fascinating country. Read on for ten fantastically unique products that can only be found in Korea.

K-Pop and Korean Drama Merchandise

K-pop, or Korean pop music and culture, is taking the world by storm, and is largely responsible for the burgeoning popularity of Korean dramas. Television dramas like Descendants of the Sun have enjoyed worldwide popularity, and Korea knows how to capitalize on the unexpected popularity of its pop culture.

K-pop merchandise can be found almost everywhere in Korea, but the real treasures lie in licensed souvenir shops run by major entertainment agencies.

Socks

While socks are certainly not a uniquely Korean item, the prevalence of sock-buying opportunities and the wide range of colors, designs, and characters available undoubtedly is. And they're not just targeted to children, as wearing socks emblazoned with favorite characters or even political figures is commonplace for modern Korean people too.

In fact, sock buying so common in Korean culture that sock vending machines can be found in popular areas of Seoul.

Cute Trinkets and Phone Cases

Much like the "kawaii" culture in Japan, Koreans love anything tiny and cute. Many cute items can be found throughout Seoul and other parts of Korea, from tiny teddy bears and dolls to intricate miniatures on keychains, and trinkets to attach to bags and cell phones.

As an offshoot of Korea's "cute" culture, the selection of cell phone cases available to purchase is almost unrivaled in Korea. The range of cases in the United States is a tiny proportion of what is available in other parts of the world, so it makes sense to bring home a selection of cell phone cases for yourself and as souvenirs for friends and family.

Beauty Products

BB Cream is one of the hottest beauty items on the market today, and by all accounts its popularity will only continue to rise. With BB Cream being a uniquely Korean invention, it is little wonder why people are exporting it in all its forms around the world.

But the Korean beauty market is so much more than BB Cream, with facial packs being another common and inexpensive item in Korea. In addition, a selection of strange and unusual beauty products can be found, from jaw massagers to double-eyelid tape, and antibacterial hand wipes to facial slimming masks.

Hanbok

Back to the traditional, the hanbok is for Korea what the kimono is for Japan. And just like in Japan, Korean men and women still wear their hanbok with pride during celebrations and social occasions. Visitors to Korea can order a custom-made hanbok, however they don't run cheap and can take up to three weeks to made.

As such, a variety of hanbok dolls and teddy bears are available for sale at various places throughout Korea, which have proven to be popular keepsakes.

Soju

Soju is the Koreans' alcoholic drink of choice, and like much of Korean culture, has become so popular overseas that the most well-known soju brand, Jinro, has been known to outsell other popular liquors in the United States.

A clear liquid like vodka, soju is typically made from rice and is considered to be quite bitter to taste, and not as strong as vodka.

Soju was traditionally made from rice, until rice shortages from the mid-1060s until the turn of the century caused the government to prohibit the use of rice in soju distillation. Creators needed to become inventive, and even today soju can be found with a tapioca, barley, wheat, or sweet potato base. The more expensive brands are once again made from rice, and soju that has been aged ten years in oak barrels carries a premium price.

Traditional Korean Masks

Masks have long featured in Korean culture, in royal courts, battle uniforms, ceremonies, and rituals. Today, traditional Korean masks still play a role in re-enactments of traditional plays and ceremonies, and as good-luck charms.

Korean Tea

Korea has a strong tea culture, with a variety of traditional and newer teas available. Meshil (sweet plum tea) and omija (five taste tea) are traditional variants that are still widely enjoyed today, while jakseolcha, an expensive form of green tea made from only the young buds of the leaves, is a firm favorite.

Hanji

Koreans have been making traditional paper, known as hanji, for thousands of years, and the tradition still endures today. Made from the bark of the mulberry tree hanji was traditionally used to over the windows, doors, and walls in Korean houses, but today is more commonly used for artistic purposes including stationery, paper dolls, and lamps.

Folding Fans

Folding fans have long been a part of Korean culture, with their use being considered essential, even in colder weather. Folding fans are widely available for purchase, and have traditionally been used as props in Korean dances and performances, providing shelter from the elements, and even to hide a person's face from onlookers.

Which of these products would you be most interested in bringing home from a trip to Korea? Are there other quintessentially Korean products that should be included on this list? Have your say in the comments below, and please like and share this article.

References

17 Uniquely Korean Items to Buy in Seoul - http://www.gpsmycity.com/articles/73-17-uniquely-korean-items-to-buy-in-seoul.html

A Guide to Cool “Korean” Things to Buy in Korea - http://grrrltraveler.com/countries/asia/korea/cool-things-to-buy-in-korea/

Top 20 Things To Buy In Seoul To Take Home - https://blog.trazy.com/2016/07/07/top-20-things-to-buy-in-seoul-to-take-home/

Top 13 Korean Souvenirs That Friends Will Love You For - https://www.tripzilla.com/buy-souvenirs-south-korea/19531

10 Best Seoul Souvenirs Worth Your Money - http://www.therealtravelers.com/south-korea/seoul/10-best-seoul-souvenirs-worth-your-money/

Top 10 Items to Buy in Seoul - http://english.visitseoul.net/top10/Top-10-Items-to-Buy-in-Seoul?indexSn=1&sectionSn=77

Items to Buy - http://www.lifeinkorea.com/shopping/items.cfm

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