An efficient supply chain is necessary for running an efficient business. Below are 7 mistakes businesses make when it comes to choosing and managing suppliers. Are you making any of these mistakes?
Not shopping around
If you don’t regularly shop around, you’ll never know if you’re getting the best price. While staying loyal to a certain supplier may give you access to loyalty discounts in some cases, it’s worth occasionally checking what other suppliers are charging. This is particularly important in industries with large overheads like construction – by comparing the price of different timber merchants, you could save huge amounts of money on a construction project.
Prioritising cost over quality
While cost is important, you also want to make sure that you’re using good quality suppliers. If the product is poorly made or the supplier isn’t able to meet deadlines, it could affect your reputation. Research into the quality of suppliers by reading reviews and sampling produce.
Using too many suppliers
If you’re using too many suppliers, you could easily become overwhelmed. The costs will add up and you could find yourself spending a lot more time keeping track of orders. Once you start struggling to keep track of suppliers, it’s a sign that you need to streamline your supply chain.
Using too many middlemen
It makes sense to order lots of different supplies from a single supplier. However, if you’re ordering a single time from a single supplier, consider whether they are at the end of the supply chain. For example, when ordering a single wine from a wine supplier, you may find that it’s cheaper to order directly from the vineyard.
Working with shady/unethical suppliers
It’s important to research suppliers to ensure that their practices are legal and ethical. If a supplier practices child labour or animal testing and there is a scandal surrounding this, you could end up being associated with this activity and it could taint your brand. Make sure that you know exactly what your suppliers are up to.
By using digital technology, you can take a lot of the headache out of supply chain management. This includes using technology to automate orders or technology to digitally keep track of deliveries. Try experimenting with different tools to see if they can make your life easier. Such technology could be particularly useful if you’re working with lots of different suppliers and working with tight deadlines.
It’s very important to communicate well with suppliers. This is particularly the case when it comes to highly personalized orders such as custom packaging or specific bespoke parts. A good supplier will keep regular communication with you so that you’re always in the loop as to what’s happening.
If this doesn’t happen, it’s important that you chase them up. It’s also very important to clearly communicate your wishes at the beginning so that you end up with the right order. Where possible, ask for test batches or prototypes so that you can make sure everything is to spec.
Your customer base is filled with people from all walks of life. Different cultures, different ethnic groups, different generations, etc., all make up their own portions of your customer base, and that’s always important to keep in mind. Because they all have one thing in common: a need for your product – but that’s where the similarities can stop!
After all, different people can need the same product and/or service for a number of reasons, and focusing on this will help you to support the diversity within your customer base. And when you show support for this, your customer base can grow at a rapid rate in the future. But how do you effectively support the people who buy from you, but who you don’t know anything about? Here are our tips.
Start with Your Customer Service
If you want to support your diverse customer base, you need to meet them where they are. You need to be able to provide a diverse customer service to them in turn, which means at the very least, being able to speak their language. No matter where you are in the world, more than one language is going to be spoken, and you should never depend on simply working with English as your basis.
So make sure you’re looking into working with services such as a bsl interpreter; with about 11 million deaf individuals in the UK, about 151,000 of whom use this form of sign language, you’ll be able to service a far greater portion of your customer base. And sure, a lot of your current outreach programs are done online, but what about when it comes to being able to work in person again, or speaking over the phone? Communication is understanding, and if you want to understand who your customers are, you need to be able to speak to them!
Focus on Different Customer Needs
Your customers are all going to have different needs, even if they’re coming to the same shop to find the same product. Some are simply looking at the way the product functions, some are looking at the way the product is priced, some are looking at the way the product looks (and if they could imagine it fitting into their home), and the list goes on and on!
However, it’s the common customer needs within your customer base that you need to identify here. So send out a survey to those who have shopped with you; ask them what they look for when they come to your store? Come up with some customer needs and see if they identify with them – do they want something affordable, or do they want to buy something sustainable, or do they want a mixture of elements to choose from?
The more research you do know, the better you’ll support diversity in the future. After all, customer diversity will always exist without us even encouraging it, and knowing it exists within your customer base is the simple key to ensuring you can grow your client list at a steady rate.
Make Your Company Visible
Is your company visible? By that we ask: how many people know about your brand name? Would they recognise your name or logo if asked to pick it out? And what are you doing to promote your voice in the long run? Because without visibility, it’ll be hard to reach out to a diverse audience. And without a diverse audience, you’ll never know what it’ll take to support the diversity within your customer base – you simply won’t know what people want!
But how can you fix this? How can you promote your company to a wider audience, in a way that’ll get them to respond? Get onto social media. It’s the best platform for reaching thousands at once, and the more you have to ask, the more answers you’ll get. Make sure your posts are interactive, and use features like feedback polls to make any data you get here as quantitative as possible.
You’re likely to get a lot of long-winded responses, and this will ensure it’s easier for you to identify customer wants and needs. And remember what this is in aid of: the more you can prove you care about customer experience online, the more potential customers you’ll pull in!
Your customer base’s diversity needs support; how can you ensure you’re reaching out to the subsets of the people who shop with you? Use methods like those above.
The song “Video Killed The Radio Star” has become a much-loved (and much-covered) pop classic. On current evidence, however, the prediction was totally wrong. Now the radio stars are in podcasting and the video stars are all over social media. Both groups are doing well but which one should you join? Here are some points to consider.
You get more choice of platforms with video
It used to be that YouTube was the only place on the internet that hosted user-generated video content. YouTube is currently well in the lead when it comes to longer-form video content. It is, however, rather ironically, in what is essentially a three-way battle for short-form video content. Its main competitors here are Tiktok and Instagram.
Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn also support video. As yet, none of them looks to be a serious contender to YouTube, Tiktok or Instagram. LinkedIn is unlikely ever to become so as it has a very specific demographic. With that said, video on LinkedIn has become increasingly important and should almost certainly be part of your strategy if your goal is to grow on that platform.
It’s easier to stay off-camera with podcasting
For some people, especially writers (e.g. bloggers) looking to branch out, having to be on camera is a huge stumbling block. If that sounds like you then podcasting may be the way to go. There is, however, a bit of nuance here. You may want to consider podcasting via YouTube and using an image “placeholder” instead of actual video content.
This may sound like a contradiction in terms but there are two good reasons for it. Firstly, it gives you access to YouTube’s monetization options. Secondly, it gives you access to YouTube’s user community. This can really boost your chances of being discovered, especially in the early stages.
Audio content can work very well on YouTube, in fact it’s become home to a lot of channels that are effectively podcasts. Most of these, however, do use video. They just don’t worry too much about their video production standards. The typical setup is pretty similar to “talking-heads shows” on TV.
Similarly, there are some non-podcast video channels where the presenters stay off-camera. Again, these are fairly rare and unlikely to grow as huge as some of the most successful regular channels. With that said, the option is definitely there.
Video can boost your SEO
At present, the way search engine optimization works tends to favour video content over podcasting. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, video content tends to be very mobile-friendly and the search engines rate mobile-friendliness very highly. Secondly, video tends to encourage user engagement and this is huge for search engines.
Part of the reason why video is so good for engagement is that video-focused sites make it easy for users to engage with it. They can like it, leave comments and share it with their friends. Audio-focussed sites still have a lot of catching up to do here.
Secondly, video gives the viewer a visual link with the presenter as well as an audio one. This can really help to build a connection. That’s another reason why a lot of podcasters use YouTube.
There are so many benefits to switching to working remotely such as the saving your business can make, as well as increased productivity, and putting less strain on the environment. However, before you choose to go remote as a company permanently, it’s essential that you consider the following factors. Read on to find out what they are.
Loneliness is an issue that raises its head time and time again with home working. Rightfully so, too as employees are expected to go from working with constant company to none. Indeed, this transition can be hard for some people in particular, including those that are more extroverted, those that live alone, as well as those that struggle to socialize with others outside of the work environment.
Indeed, even the most introverted among us can start to feel the effects of isolation and loneliness when working from home permanently. The good news is there are some strategies you as a business can use to minimise isolation. The first is to embrace video calling for work-related communications. This means Zooming for meetings, 1-2-1s, and even coffee times.
Another tactic that can work well, is to encourage employees to set aside some time each day to leave their desks and get out of the house to work. Indeed, building this into the daily structure can help make this easier for them to follow through.
Last of all, consider offering free or discounted memberships to social spaces like gyms, so employees have a valid reason to get out and be with others during the day. Of course, the great thing is that by encouraging them to go to the gym, you can also raise morale and reduce sick days too, so everybody wins!
Your IT provision is the foundation on which remote working will succeed or fail. What that means is it has to be robust right across the board from software to hardware to offering a secure, reliable internet connection.
The good news is there are some strategies you can use to ensure your employees get access to the best IT provision possible when working from home. The first is to handle purchasing of all the scattered aspects of IT provision in-house. For this to work successfully you will need an IT department, with someone always on call to deal with any issues that your employees encounter. Your IT department will also need to work closely with your accounting division to ensure they have the funds to be able to purchase and update equipment and software quickly, otherwise, it could seriously interfere with productivity. Not to mention the security risks you could run.
Another option to consider here is to use a managed service provider for your remote working IT needs. Now, you may well be asking the question: “what is a managed service provider?” and that’s OK. Indeed you can get a detailed breakdown and explanation on what a managed service provider is and the benefits you can access by using them by clicking on the previous link. Surface it to say for now, that one of the things an MSP can help you with is setting up your entire remote working system, as well as providing secure, and reliable connections, software, and even the support you need to help keep things running smoothly. Indeed, many businesses choose to work with an MSP for these reasons, and the fact that they bundle these services up together and offer them to you at a single reasonable cost.
Productivity and monitoring
One of the things that employees love the most about remote working is that they don’t have managers breathing down their neck all the time, Something that means they can experience more agency and autonomy in the work as well as less stress.
However, for managers, this lack of face-to-face supervision can at first seem like a nightmare! After all, one of their chief responsibilities is to make sure everyone else stays on task and meets their deadline, something that is infinitely harder to do from another location.
Unless that is, they may use productivity and monitoring software which allows managers and the rest of the team to see precisely where each person is in terms of progress, as well as who needs support and help to continue.
Indeed, many managers find that once they switch to using productivity software, their teams are better motivated, their workload is streamlined, and they can much more easily manage multiple projects at once, even when working remotely.
The idea of the Metaverse was once a world ruled by science fiction, but this year has been an explosion of interest with the idea of building new virtual environments online. They are more immersive than our current version of the internet. In these virtual worlds, people can walk around as an Avatar, attend virtual events and even own virtual possessions. Some people see the metaverse as the next stage of the evolution of the internet, but to others is just a tech bus driven by financial gains and natural speculation hype.
In this interview were present:
Yat Siu – Chairman and Co-Founder of Animoca Brands
Benoit Pagotto – Co-Founder of RTFKT
Natalie Johnson – Founder & CEO of Neuno
Sophie Goossens – Reed Smith LLP
Virtual Real State
The idea of owning and trading virtual possessions on the metaverse, last week, Reuters said that a piece of virtual land sold for $2.4M worth of cryptocurrency. But how do we explain what a virtual real state is, why are people paying real money for it, and what do people actually get? For Yat Siu is very clear. Buying virtually has the same meaning as in real life. It can be a sign of status, has a meaning, etc. The Virtual real state on the metaverse is not palpable but when you buy a plot of land virtually you can build, rent, mortgage, and is permitted by law. The Real state in the metaverse has real-life (RL) laws and even contracts.
Imagine in RL that you live in a government that is overthrown. The plot of land that you have might end up being taken, and you lose the land and the money you invested. On Virtual Real State, that doesn’t happen. It stays, increases value, and you will win money with it.
Metaverse as a Commercial opportunity
Big brands are seeking the metaverse to expand and sell their products virtually. Whilst many people want to deal with the “underdog” and want the authenticity of a piece, big brands are bringing the heritage they have and the experience from the RL to the Virtual life (VL).
As in RL, we like fashion to a point, so in VL we can buy skins, fashion, and much more they like in RL to transport in VL. RTFKT owner, Benoit, sells sneakers for thousands of dollars online and in RL, and treats VL customers as “colleagues”. He says that his sneakers are a well-known fashion statement in RL and in VL his products are a valuable piece of collectibles. Such as a piece of Art, collectibles are a way of creating money and will be more valuable with time. One of the biggest facts is that online, the clients can build their own pair of sneakers, and pay safely with crypto, and what happens is that most of them in RL order the same pair they use in VL to use in RL.
The Legal Headache
With the amount of NFT (Non-fungible token, meaning digital products linked to the blockchain aka crypto), in the legal area has been a huge nightmare, as Sophie Goossens states. The NFT headache is that legal ownership is starting monopolies suck as a legislator saying what can be owned or what cannot be owned; in RL you have the right to have a legal backup in case of theft, for example, in which you can go and report to authorities; in VL they are relying on the NFT to reinforce those rights. NFT rights are different from NFT to NFT.
The importance of Virtual Reality in the Metaverse
Since Facebook changed its name to Meta (for Metaverse) everyone started to change a different kind of step in probably our evolution as Humans. People started to be more involved and talking, sometimes creating an ideology or a conspiracy regarding something they don’t know. That is Fear itself, when people don’t know something they fear it. But picking up all of this, how important is Virtual Reality in the Metaverse?
Benoit responds that in the last 5 years, VR has been an incredible tool that has been perfected. Natalie Johnson says that in the fashion world, augmented reality is a big, easy, and more visual tool that is now found commonly everywhere; people won’t need to be a hardcore gamer to have all the technology around, it will become simpler and easier to use all around us. For Yat Siu, VR or Augmented reality can be part of the Metaverse but not be the changing point. He says that either Facebook starts a revolution on their Meta with proper environments or there will not be an evolution if they rely specifically on their VR goggles/glasses or Aug Reality.
Working on the Metaverse
Covid brought many new things to our daily life that will be here to stay since they open eyes to many people that haven’t dealt with it before, and this is talking about working remotely. For Digital Nomads like us, this didn’t bring many concerns, but what about the companies that had to go on furlough or even lose their physical office? Many companies started to realize that they would have a fully concentrated employee safe working at home, and the boom of Virtual Offices started to grow. They did exist before, but now companies are getting places virtually with staff, phone numbers in any part of the world, this is called BPO (business process outsourcing).
Metaverse BPO’s suck as Axie Infinity, are growing using blockchains without any repercussion, building their companies with a group of people, and delivering free platforms and experiences.
What is the Side Effect of Metaverse
Many people are concerned about the use of Metaverse. Many consider that this will create an interruption or a detachment of the real-life relationships, which is now interrupted by the pandemic. But for many cultural things, such as concerts, theatres any cultural event, the Metaverse will be the ideal venue with zero risks, making artists or the people involved maintain their jobs. For Natalie, this is a positive side of the Metaverse with even new friendships being born whilst miles away, and a business opportunity as well.
The Metaverse is not a new subject, it has been here for some decades. Mark Zuckerberg didn’t create anything new, but because of him, everyone is now talking about the Metaverse, and that will be a revolution with this high exposition. What are your thoughts about the Multiverse?
After living almost 3 years into a pandemic, and whilst for a moment we thought that restrictions were easing in some countries with a bigger percentage of vaccinated people, we are now facing again with new strides of Covid-19.
New Zealand’s Prime-minister, Jacinda Ardern, gave an interview at Reuters Next about her thoughts and expectations, and some tips to other countries’ leaders that are concerned about this new wave we might be facing.
Q: Living on the 3rd year of covid and other policies that are implicated, is there any plan on domestic restrictions for the date up to 5 months, on travel? Other governments have open, and now they had to lock again. Are you confident that you have a plan and a schedule that will work for New Zealand, and what would you be watching to make sure that the system is adaptive?
JA: We are watching closely what is happening globally, and one of the benefits that NZ has is the ability to absorb those experiences, and that gives us the ability to see what happens with public health restrictions. We are transitioning now, we are giving the vaccines and the testing, but we are maintaining a level of public restrictions and checking numbers and having lower numbers within our people.
Q: What are you doing with easing domestic restrictions and reducing those most at risk?
JA: That derives all because of our response to covid. Right at the beginning, before we had any way to vaccinate or have any way to treatment, our decisions were based on our population and there would be those. We had an elimination strategy to not affect those who would have lesser immunity. Now we have the vaccine, we want to protect the population on an ongoing basis, using the vaccine but coupling up with other measures. We divided NZ by regions, in which the lower percentage of vaccinated people per region, has bigger restrictions than those regions with a higher level of percentage of vaccinated people.
Q: What about the vaccine mandates? That’s a topic that at a governmental level has attracted attention. What is your view about it?
JA: Here, we have taken a real health approach that we believed was appropriate and that we are having beneficial health effects for those that are more vulnerable, and in other places, we simply have given tools to the private sector to help us. We started by the outside workers, those that work abroad, then we advanced to our public sector, those that work with vulnerable people, our education workers – which is the largest group of unvaccinated (children) and finally moving to other workforces that aren’t working with vulnerable people but the private sector we do anticipate, and we provided tools for them to proceed. We found out that moving from this, the employees move forward to the vaccination procedures without the need to use a mandate.
Q: Stepping way back, what is the thing or things that you think that governments know that work now that would be the initial response at the course of the last 2 years now, thinking about the next pandemic or the global crisis. What do you think, or what is in your mind there?
JA: I think that we all built a familiarity with the health measure useful to stop the spread of these diseases. Basic hygiene, the importance of ventilation, we will see inbuilt and guide for the spaces, in education facilities and focus on ventilation measures. I think that in societies that haven’t been a culture of masks, I think we will see a great mask use, for instance, I hope that we have the infrastructure to highly build the prospects of vaccines in the future domestically, but internationally have a fund that can do that as quickly as possible. And finally for me would be information sharing. Science, a well-known science community, I really heavily on my health chief advisor, with a good communication gave the best intelligence on giving the most ideas and guides, so we can have the best plan to move along our way.
Q: Regarding the raise of the housing, the financial gap in people, raising of the market, for 1st-time buyers, for example, the government’s adjusted tax policy and just raised the whole economy, what else can be done here along with the attention that has been put on the supply side, and what could be done as a type of remedy to underinvestment and stock?
JA: I think that one thing that points us to a solution, here in NZ, is the effect that has not been experienced in all parts of the countries. Yes, we had housing price growth, and that points out the impact of full-price issues and growth issues, and one has been stripping the other but even though it’s not the only issue, but a good one. Increasing supply and removing the barriers, or reducing the barriers to that growth is critical, and record and consent in those areas that we need it the most. If we get those consents working, we can have affordable homes because of the reduction of the building materials, and on those areas more affected, then I believe we can start seeing a turnaround. We have a housing building program, and it is interesting to me that at this economic experience, for people to have stability and adapt and how they changed the meant views and impact on people.
Q: You have captured the Global attention, in part because of your agenda, tour office has been noticed by managing and leading through crisis, in the biggest picture terms, what is it that you’ve learned between being properly reactive to perceiving goals in the future?
JA: Well, you’ve summed it up, really. I’ve seemingly had come to the view that what we do here is, or what you are able to do in spite of the views that you don’t play for, and what I aimed was when I first came into the office was to aim into security and having to face the decision in which we wanted to eradicate something that no one in the world has ever know before. Those and those challenges like the mosque attack and the Volcano eruption, and arrange of the natural disasters and other pandemic issues. But for us, the only side effect is that you can’t postpone are the crisis you face, that actually goes to living day to day with poverty, housing increases, or the expectation that the next generation rightly heads out for us for the climate change, those all must be tended, and in fact, an economic crisis like the one we will experience via Covid, present the opportunity to make sure that as you rebuild and that it will stimulate in order to recover, that poses an opportunity to address those challenges at the same time and that needs to be with both hands. So that’s been our focus, and it will continue to be our focus, and that when I leave this job in New Zealand that it would be better than when we found it.
“The only side effect is that you can’t postpone are the crisis you face”