Work-Life Strategies & Solutions

On the Evolution of Work Systems in the Digital Economy

Category Archives: Business

What Is Outbound Logistics and Why Is It So Important to Modern Business?

What is Outbound Logistics? 

Outbound logistics is a term for the processes of storing, moving and distributing goods. It includes all systems that help prepare an order and get it to the end customer. 

The different stages are warehousing and storage, distribution, transportation, and last-mile delivery.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at the individual areas of outbound logistics:

 

1. Warehousing and storage

To meet demand as you make continued sales, you need to keep a surplus of products in storage. In January 2020, US companies had, on average, a ratio of 1.39 inventory to monthly sales.

The goal of warehousing is to keep products safe and readily available while awaiting purchase. You can store products in your own warehouse or one that is owned by a third-party logistics provider. 

2. Inventory management 

Inventory management involves picking, packing, and storing your goods in the right place. Many warehouses have inventory management systems to help with this. Read more of this post

On the Clock: A Pocket Guide to Timesheet Rounding


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Back in the day when handling payroll was pretty much a pen-and-paper process, employers would use rounding to account for odd minutes and seconds outside the regular work schedule. Timesheet rounding helped streamline calculating wages and save chunks of time in the process.

But does it still make sense today?

What Is Timesheet Rounding?

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), all employers are required to track and store employee time records completely and accurately. This can be done either by asking employees to write their hours down, using regular time clocks or through time-tracking software.

“So, what does timesheet rounding mean?”

In a nutshell, timesheet rounding means that the actual work hours of your nonexempt employees are rounded up or down by set increments. Depending on the type of your business and general industry practices, you can round work hours in 5-minute and 15-minute increments or to 1/10th of an hour (more on that in a moment).

These days, thanks to GPS-enabled time tracking and payroll automation, fishing for small deviations from regular clock-ins and clock-outs has become much easier. And yet, some small-business owners still use rounding to calculate their employees’ wages.

Is Timesheet Rounding Legal? Read more of this post

Forward and Backward Scheduling: Definitions, and How You Can Use Them to Compete

Missed deadlines mean lost customers.

This is true whether you’re shipping products, performing installations, or delivering food. Imagine you run a cable company. You have a customer that rearranged their day and stayed home from work to let your installation specialist in during a 4 hour service window. If your worker shows up late, you’re probably going to lose that customer (and likely get a bad review). Fortunately, there are two proven strategies that can help you stay on top of deadlines, increase customer satisfaction, and earn repeat sales: backward scheduling and forward scheduling.

 

What Is Forward and Backward Scheduling?

Forward scheduling and backward scheduling are planning strategies. Both methods are useful for strategic planning at all levels of complexity. Whether you’re mapping delivery routes for multiple drivers or scheduling maintenance appointments for service teams, you can benefit from using one or both of these strategies. Read more of this post

5 Types of Corporate Culture: Which One Is Your Company?

This article was originally published at Enplug.com

Culture affects every aspect of your company, from the public’s perception of your brand to your employees’ job satisfaction to your bottom line. Because there’s so much at stake, it’s important that your corporate culture is adaptable and open to improvement – which starts with being able to articulate just what kind of culture your company has.

While no two cultures are exactly alike (the nuances are too great!), there are defining characteristics that tend to place organizational cultures into one of five categories, or types, which we’ve outlined below. Often, the industry of a company will dictate its culture to some degree, but that doesn’t mean your culture can’t be changed. Thankfully, culture is not static, but rather evolving.

So which of these five corporate culture types sums up your company best? Or do you have some elements of each? While no one culture is the best or worst of the bunch – each has its pros and cons – there’s something to learn from companies that fall under any of these categories. Read more of this post

Online Food Delivery on the Rise

Currently the traditional model of delivery, where a customer contacts a local restaurant directly, still accounts for nearly 90% of all delivery orders, with ⅔ of those being ordered by phone. However as technology has shown in many other commercial markets, the ability and desire to purchase or order anything online is growing quickly.

Recently the worldwide market for food delivery has been estimated to be worth over $87 billion, which is around only 1% of the total food market, and 4% of food sales by restaurants or fast-food chains. Americans themselves are expected to spend over $12.5 billion a year by 2019 on delivery food. With the estimated growth the by around 3.5% per year for the next 5 years, many companies and startups are trying to get their piece of the pie.

Companies like Deliveroo, UberEats, and Eat24 have slowly grown to become the middle-man between the customer and restaurants throughout many cities in North America and the UK. The concept is to basically offer as large a choice of restaurants as possible based on your address. Two models of this concept have been developed that both involve dealing with numerous restaurants but handle the delivery of food completely different. One model is operated by aggregators. These aggregators take orders online or via app, and pass the order along to each individual restaurant who then handles delivery themselves. The other model can be defined as “new delivery,” which is a concept that requires the company taking the orders to also control the logistics and delivery. Read more of this post

27 Digital Signage Content Creation Tools

This article was originally published at Enplug.com

Get noticed with the right digital signage content creation tools

Digital signage content can help you get your message out, but it only has an impact on your business and team if it’s relevant and compelling. Luckily, turning your content strategy into memorable visuals that get noticed doesn’t have to cost a lot or take hours of time.

Want to know the secret to creating great content, even if you don’t have a graphic designer on staff? Use the right tools. That’s why our list of 27 digital signage content creation tools is a must-have for anyone managing screen content.

Types of Signage Content

You probably already have some of these content tools, but have never thought of using them for screen content. Others are free and low-cost applications that take the headache out of creating original content like videos, graphics, web pages, analytics and social media. And others help you repurpose the content you use elsewhere to share it in a screen-friendly format. Read more of this post

Why Use Route Optimization Software?

With route optimization software you’ll spend much less time planning – and the routes produced will be far superior to manually created routes.

For a mobile workforce, route optimization is the process of determining the most efficient routes, in terms of cost, resources and time. All other relevant factors such as order and driver restrictions, as well as the various workflows of a particular business are also factored in.

The aim is to maximize efficiency and fulfil more orders: getting to more addresses with fewer resources. This allows businesses to save time, costs and ultimately increase their revenue.

With route optimization software, your business will:

  • increase earnings by 10-30% simply by allowing you to complete more orders,
  • improve employee productivity and customer satisfaction,
  • cut operating costs and overtime by 30%.

Using a map, or any other manual means, to create optimized routes is incredibly difficult and time-consuming. As the number of drivers and orders increases, the complexity of the task of dividing up the work accurately and efficiently grows exponentially. Read more of this post

The Gig Economy for Businesses [Infographic]

It’s no secret that the modern workforce is changing. In an era where more value is being placed on workplace autonomy, flexibility and freedom, the gig economy is becoming the new normal. In fact, 36% of workers in the U.S. work in the gig economy (in some form or another). Spurred by technology, the gig economy has helped create a buyer’s market for many job seekers, offering businesses who utilize it’s services the agility businesses need to stay competitive.

It’s likely that you’ve heard of the gig economy as “side hustles” offered through on demand platforms like Uber, Amazon Flex and Postmates. However, the gig economy encompasses a broad range of workers, that are simply “independent.” This means that gig work is everything from rideshare and delivery services to freelance writers, designers, and other contractors.

In the gig economy, there are two sides: that of independent workers and that of businesses who utilize the services of independent workers. To help you better understand the history of the gig economy, how each side works best practices for businesses and independent workers. Startup insurance company, Embroker, put together this comprehensive guide that covers all facets.

For example, in their gig economy for businesses chapter, they cover best practices for startups and companies to best utilize the skills of independent workers. Some of these include:

  • Identifying your needs and skills gaps.
  • Developing a long-term strategy that lets you take advantage of on demand talent
  • Utilizing different platforms like Upwork, Freelancer and others to find experts that work best with your business
  • Different ways to efficiently operate with a blended workforce.

To learn more about these best practices and ways to implement them in your businesses, check out their full guide to the gig economy. Read more of this post

How These 3 E-Commerce Companies Work Remotely

This article was originally published by Index Code

 

Software, mobile development, SaaS, and other tech companies that hire remotely are a dime-a-dozen: companies like Stripe, Buffer, and Coffee Meets Bagel are just a handful of those that benefit from working with top developers all over the world. 

 

Remote workers are penetrating virtually every industry, not just technology. A survey by Upwork found that 63% of companies now have remote workers, and 90% of those working remotely plan to continue doing so for the rest of their careers. Even e-commerce companies are shifting to a remote-friendly culture. While it may seem disjointed to design and produce a physical product with a distributed team, these e-commerce retailers, wholesalers, and brands are harnessing the benefits of remote work. Here’s how they do it. Read more of this post

Top Financial Advisor Content Marketing Questions Answered in 280 Characters (or Less)

financial advisor content marketing, Top Financial Advisor Content Marketing Questions Answered in 280 Characters (or Less)

Executive Summary: Financial advisor content marketing is growing in importance, especially as old Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices fade away and become ineffective. Great content that speaks directly to the ideal client can help an advisor stand out, form relationships, and built trust — even before the first appointment. However, just publishing a few blog posts on your website won’t do the trick. This article walks you through some of the frequently asked content marketing strategy questions that can trip up an advisor. If you have a question that I didn’t answer, please add it in the comments!

We have all read plenty of long articles about why content marketing is a powerful tool for audience-building and business growth. Just on this blog, there’s a piece on financial copywriting, another on financial advisor email marketing, and social media marketing for financial advisors, which all mention the importance of content.

And yet, sometimes you just want quick answers. No trends, no 3 reasons why, no top 10 best practices … just tell me what I need to know!

Well, I have good news. Short answers are exactly what this article is all about!

I have pulled together over a dozen of financial advisor content marketing questions that I hear often, then answered them in 280 characters or less, Twitter-style. Some of these responses were inspired by Joe Pulizzi’s book Epic Content Marketing (which is a quick read and a good source of ideas). Read more of this post

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