Pure Opinion

Pure Opinion

They say good things come to those who wait. Well, we’re excited to let you know that the wait is over! In fact, the wait was over a couple of years ago but you just never heard about it. We’re here to enlighten you on some incredible advances in the Freight shipping industry that will make your life a whole lot simpler. You can thank us later.

Let’s face it, while most industries are evolving at a rapid pace, the freight industry is not one of them – at least that’s what most people think. Lack of information out there is probably the main reason a lot of freight forwarders have just given up and come to terms with the archaic ways of doing things despite it making life hectic and cumbersome. Here are some of the biggest challenges most freight shippers face today:

· Contacting a number of trucking companies to get a quote (high wait times)

· Comparing each quote to find one that meets your budget

· Inaccessibility of the driver once the freight is picked up

· Limited tracking for your shipment

· Miscommunication of critical information

All of the above can now be avoided because (drumroll please) there are actually automated platforms available in the market today that can do all of the above while making your freight life a lot more efficient, guaranteed. If you’re tired of the old brick and mortar practices in this industry then we can promise you that these platforms are going to be a godsend – you can hold us to that.

Check out some of the amazing benefits of these platforms below:

1. Quote Comparison and Real Time Rates

That’s right, no more rate negotiations! Common practice among freight shippers at the moment is to contact each and every individual carrier out there to try and get a reasonable rate. This is a taxing and a tremendously frustrating process and can be completely eliminated by using an automated platform. At a click of a button you can have access to rates from hundreds of carriers saving you tons of time to focus on other things. You know, like counting your money from all that extra business you’re doing. Automated platforms are integrated with various carriers, allowing you to see the rates in real time. That means what you see is what you pay (most times anyways!). This offers rate stability and very rarely would you see major price fluctuations.

2. Reverse Logistics

When purchasing products from vendors, common practice is to allow the vendors to ship them to you and then add the shipping cost to the final bill. Most times the vendors add a mark-up to this shipping cost (extra charge). This can now be avoided! Some automated platforms give you the ability to arrange your own shipping from your vendor. All you need to do is arrange a pick up from your vendor, print a returns label and send it to the vendor to use. This way you are in total control of how much you pay for shipping. Life changing I know!

3. Visibility

Like courier, wouldn’t it be amazing if we had total visibility of our shipments at all times? Well now you can. Just like automated courier platforms, freight platforms also generate a tracking number that allows you to trace your shipment from origin to destination. These platforms have very clearly marked transit times every time you make a shipment, allowing you to plan for warehousing space, docks, and everything in between.

4. In-house Support Services

Now, we know this is not exactly a necessity, but neither was the iPhone yet we still can’t live without it! In-house operations and customer service is kind of like the iPhone of the freight world. It is an invaluable resource when tracking just doesn’t give you that little nugget of information to calm your nerves about your precious pallet. This is just one example where a team of in-house experts can be very important. Let’s just put it this way: the in-house team is to the platform what Dr. Watson is to Sherlock Holmes.

5. Data Analysis Reporting

The ability to run customisable reports for analysis is another huge advantage with automated platforms. This is particularly useful for larger organisation with very high shipping volumes.

6. Centralized Billing

Imagine not having to deal with all those files, receipts, and invoices on a daily basis. Just the thought of it is music to our ears. Besides, no one else does it anymore so why should you? Well, some of the more robust platforms have very intelligently designed billing systems allowing shippers to receive one invoice for all their shipping – I bet Bernie from the accounts department will appreciate this (a lot!)

7. Coverage

Not many platform have services that span across the continent however, there are a few that offer services across Canada and USA. I don’t think we need to explain how incredibly useful this can be.

There it is, now you now know what you’ve been missing out on. More and more freight shippers are making the switch to an automated platform for convenience, speed, coverage and scalability and we’ve given you plenty of good reasons why you should too.

Study after study has been conducted on how employers can attract and retain Millennials and how they are changing the workplace. However, as a non-Millennial, specifically a Gen-Xer (ages 34 – 54), I began to examine the impact or effect that Millennials are having on non-Millennials in the workplace. There are many characteristics of Millennials in workplace. Research has shown that they are very tech savvy, continuous learners, results-oriented, and socially conscious. Moreover, they want flexibility in how and when they work and they want constant feedback and encouragement from their managers. However, the expectation that stands out the most to me is for rapid career progression. This was never more evident to me than when I was promoted to my current position within my organization.

I work in the financial services industry and have been with the same company for a little over 13 years. I was hired into the company through their Leadership Development Program, which is intended to put graduates of the program on the fast track to success. Although I have progressed very nicely in my career, there were times when I felt that my career was being stalled. However, I later realized that my career stalled because I did not take control of it. Instead, I expected someone else to know what my next career move should be and to get me there. This is a distinct difference between Millennials and non-Millennials in the workplace.

When I first joined the bank, the only people I saw in the position in which I now serve were older or more mature men who had been with the bank for many years. Therefore, in my mind, it would take me years to naturally progress to that position. Once I was hired into the position almost two years ago, I was actually shocked to find that there were people in their twenties and early thirties in the position. My first reaction was that I could not believe that a company would entrust that level of authority to people so young and with such a lack of experience. Moreover, if I am honest, I didn’t feel that those younger employees had paid their dues to be in the position that I had worked so hard to earn. What I have come to realize as I have been in the role and in an environment with so many Millennials is that times have changed and what once took a high-performing employee years to achieve is now being accomplished in a much shorter period of time.

As Gen-Xers or Baby Boomers in the workplace, we have to make a decision as to whether we are going to resent Millennials for almost demanding that they are promoted quickly into Senior level positions or learn from them and position ourselves for rapid career progression, as well. Once I realized that many employers and hiring managers are placing more value on what the applicant brings to the table than on the number of years of experience in a specific position, then I began to set goals for getting promoted approximately every 18 months. Moreover, I am now more open to other career opportunities within the company whereas before, I thought that I had to stay in the same position for at least a few years before I considered a different position.

Millennials are definitely having a huge impact on the workforce. However, it is important that employers and managers manage the impact so that is does not negatively impact non-Millennials and the overall morale of the company. If managed properly, Millennials and non-Millennials can feel valued for their contribution to their organizations and work together to make the companies for which they work even more successful.

Gynevella Michelle Ballard is an entrepreneur, author, and public speaker. Michelle’s topics include, personal and professional development, financial literacy, and keys to living life on purpose. She is also currently enrolled in the Masters of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2016 by Gynevella Michelle Ballard.

Several business owners around the world feel that their company has the most lucrative business of all. Each business is necessary in its place and niche, and, therefore, one cannot be compared to the other. When it comes to owning transport and starting a business with it, it is important to be accustomed to the trade plans and how one can work on it to make it better with every passing day. Taxi services are one such business options that several people think of as it is considered to be one of the most lucrative opportunities in urban cities.

People use the services of a taxi to reach their destination safely just like they would have if they travelled in a car owned by them. It is unlike other public transport where there is a crowd, and there are chances of not being able to reach the destination on time. If you ever intend to start a business of your own and provide comfortable taxi rides to people, here are a few tips that can help you.

• Ensure that your car looks presentable to anyone hiring it. Your car should be spick and span to attract passengers and accordingly reach wherever they intend to go.

• Affix your car with the latest technology and gadgets like GPS, music system, etc. this would allow the passenger to feel safe, guide your driver to the right destination at the fastest time and entertain your passengers with good music.

• Allow them to book your services beforehand. You may have a fleet of taxis randomly allowing passengers to hire it. You could increase the prospects by having the right marketing tools and allowing them to book your services beforehand. They can give you a call or directly book online.

• Make it convenient for them to make payments as there are times when passengers do not have money with them and insist on making a payment with their credit or debit cards. Having a swiping device would allow them to make the payments easily. You could also make provision for them to pay online beforehand or after they have received the services.

While a person hires a taxi service, the first thing they expect out of it is comfort and fast services. Availing these services customises the travel and allows them to move wherever they feel like and not have to follow any particular routes, unlike other public transport.

A Sudden Requirement for a Large Run of CDs – This Calls For CD Replication

Tim Burgess works at a recording studio where he manages bands and organises gigs and promotion. One of the activities he provides for the bands he manages, is the ordering of CDs for selling at gigs and for sending on to various radio stations and record companies to try and get some air time. Most of the jobs are short runs of up to 1000 CDs and so he has always used a trusted supplier who provides a CD duplication service. Tim’s team produce their own artwork in house using CD and packaging templates supplied by the manufacturer who then print, duplicate and package the CDs. However, they recently started working with a band who came to them to record their debut album and they had an absolutely huge following because they were working so hard with their live performances and with social media. Tim knew that a short run of CDs just wouldn’t be enough to satisfy the expected demand for their CD at gigs and for sale online. He estimated that they would need at least 12,500 discs which was a much larger quantity than they were used to working with.

He calls their usual supplier of CD duplication services to ask for their advice and speaks to the project manager who they normally deal with, a gentleman called Dean. He suggested that they go for CD replication as a manufacturing method rather than CD duplication.

CD Replication and CD Duplication – What’s the Difference?

Tim had previously heard the term “CD replication” before but just assumed that it was the same as duplication, just as the term “CD pressing” is used to generally describe the manufacturing of CDs. He didn’t realise that the two terms are actually completely different processes. CD duplication is the act of burning information with an optical drive onto pre-manufactured, “write once” discs. CD replication is the act of physically moulding an exact replica of the master disc. Dean quickly filled Tim in on the basics of CD replication and then informed him that he was due to visit a supplier at the end of the week who specialised in this manufacturing process. He asked Tim if he would like to observe the manufacturing process and he agrees

A Trip to See the CD Replication Process

Dean picked Tim up the next morning and they travelled together to the factory. Tim’s first impression of the plant was that it was much more of a mass production environment. An engineer joined them for the tour to explain each stage of the process and to allow them to see CDs being made.

Stage 1 – Glass Mastering

The first stage of the replication process is to produce a glass master of the CD which will be used as the template for all CDs in the manufacturing run. To observe this process the engineer took Tim and Dean into a clean room environment where they had to put on protective clothing, hats and gloves to prevent any dust particles or hairs falling from them and interfering with the complex and intricate manufacturing process. Glass is used as the substrate to make a disc which is about twice the diameter and thickness of a CD, one side of this glass disc is then highly polished. Even tiny scratches that cannot be seen with the naked eye can seriously affect the final product quality of the final CDs, hence the need for the clean environment. The glass master is then coated with a photoresist or dye-polymer and baked in an oven to dry the coating and prepare the glass disc for mastering. A laser is used to burn “pits” into the dried coating and these pits are the physical interpretation of the audio or software data from the master recording which is to be reproduced.

Stage 2 – Manufacture of the Nickel Stamper using the Glass Master

The next stage of the process involves baking the coating on the glass master until it’s hard and then metalising the glass master using nickel vapour. The nickel coated master is then closely inspected for any defects or uneven areas in the coating. As the nickel coated master surface can be very easily damaged, several processes then take place using this original glass master to produce “Father”, “Mother” and “Son” stampers which are very much more robust. The “Son” stamper is the one usually used in the injection moulding process of the end products.

Stage 3 – Injection Moulding of the CDs from Polycarbonate

The injection moulding machines used to produce the finished product are high temperature polycarbonate injection moulders capable of producing nearly 1000 discs per hour. For very large runs of discs, several moulds are produced and the machines run simultaneously. Polycarbonate pellets are fed into the machine via a hopper and these are heated and the polycarbonate liquid is injected into the mould under pressure to form the disc. The clear discs are then removed by a high speed automated system. All the required information is contained on the clear disc but they cannot be read with an optical drive as there is no reflective layer as yet. Adding the reflective layer is the next step in the process.

Stage 4 – Metallizing and Lacquering of the Manufactured CDs.

The CDs pass into a metalising chamber where a very thin layer of aluminium alloy is applied. This metallic layer is then protected with a very thin layer of lacquer to prevent corrosion from contact with moisture in the air or other potential contaminants such as grease from skin contact. The completed discs are then stored on spindles and are made ready for the CD printing process.

Printing and Packaging the CDs

Tim is familiar with this side of the manufacturing process as it is the same as that used for CD duplication. The CDs can be screen printed or lithographically printed:

Screen Printing – If the artwork is made up of solid, block colours or text then this printing method is ideal for producing stunning printed CDs. It’s also a good printing method to go for if the budget is tight as you can still end up with a fantastic looking end product if you only use 1 or 2 different colours in the design and let the silver surface show through in some areas such as allowing text to show as silver. This way you only pay for a film and screen for each colour of ink. Saving money like this is only really useful though for short runs of discs.

Lithographic Printing – When the artwork is a photographic image or is made up of complex colour gradients, then this is the printing process to use. Extremely high resolution images can be printed using this method. It is not, however, a good idea to mix solid block colours and photographic images because lithographic printing is not a reliable method of printing consistent solid colours. It is also important not to use dark photographic images as they are notoriously difficult to print.

Printing and packaging assembly are carried out in the same plant and we use a variety of packaging types from card wallets and standard jewel cases to jakeboxes and metal tins for special edition release CDs.

The Manufacturing Time Disadvantage of CD Replication

The CD Replication process has the advantage of a cheaper unit cost when printing a large run of CDs and especially when there is a requirement for repeated larger runs as, once the glass mastering process is completed and the moulds are made, they have a long life and are capable of producing millions of copies of the CD before they might need replacing. The disadvantage of CD replication is that the initial glass mastering process is complex and time consuming and the initial order may take 10 to 14 working days to complete. This is fine as long as you plan for the longer manufacturing process and don’t leave it until the last minute to place your order or you don’t have a requirement that needs instant supply of CDs.

Summary

Tim found the CD replication plant visit of great benefit in understanding a bit more about the different CD manufacturing processes and as a result he can now offer a further service to clients that he manages and perhaps start managing some more bands with larger followings. Hopefully this information might be of use to others looking to expand their service capabilities within the music industry. Tim’s client has been really pleased that they could confidently keep all their management activities under one roof and he now has another 2 bands potentially coming to them through word of mouth.


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