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Is it time you moved your business telecoms to the cloud?

You might often hear reports about ISDN technology being phased out in the business telecoms market and more modern networks receiving fresh software updates and features. With news like this swirling around your head, you could understandably be nervous.

You may particularly be wondering whether now is the time to transfer your firm’s telecoms network to the cloud. Here are examples of signs that you should consider proceeding in this way.

BT says: out with the old, in with the new

If your company currently routinely uses an ISDN or PSTN circuit, BT has sent out a clear message that you are relying on what is increasingly a legacy network. As recently reported by Elite Business Magazine, BT has announced that it intends to stop selling ISDN or PSTN circuits by 2020.

ISDN – Integrated Services Digital Network – and PSTN, which stands for Public Switched Telephone Technology, are both examples of traditional phone lines on which most of us rely for phone communication. However, BT is also planning to switch off these networks by 2025 and so force businesses into moving to VoIP telephone systems, which are cloud-based.

Look at your business. Is it ready to move to VoIP?

If you do seriously consider transitioning your business to the cloud, you will be in good company. Bytestart.co.uk reports many businesses mulling over a cloud transition for all of their corporate applications. However, you might want to think carefully before putting a cloud move into action.

There remain many years before the cut-off year of 2025 – and, in that time, the UK will need to see fibre completely rolled out to bolster national connectivity. Furthermore, if your firm’s Internet connection is spotty, it might be best to delay a cloud transition for now.

This is because using a VoIP system would require you to make and receive business calls online. Hiccups in your Internet connectivity’s speed could see business-critical calls dropping. This would hardly be convenient for your corporate image or productivity.

Reasons to consider going full steam ahead with VoIP

You should also look closely at your current office phone system to see if it supports VoIP. If you bought that system recently, it very plausibly could include this support. If it does, contract terms might hint that, by switching to the cloud early, your business could save money.

If your company’s Internet connection would not be conducive to effective use of a VoIP system just yet, rest assured that this could soon change. The Government has revealed its plan that, by 2020, everyone in the country will have access to broadband Internet of at least 10Mbps.

Even this target could be considered less than ambitious, given that the EU Digital Agenda goals include a plan to have broadband of 30Mbps or more widely implemented by that date. Therefore, the omens look good for many UK firms to set up a VoIP phone service like that available from the telecoms company Planet Numbers, which can be reached by phone on 0333 370 7333.

Festival tips for taking care of yourself

Group of young adult friends are taking a group selfie on a smartphone while they are at a festival.

As summer comes around, so do music festivals. While Glastonbury may be taking a ‘fallow year’ in 2018, hundreds of thousands will still flock to Leeds, Creamfields, Bestival and more. More often than not, the essentials are forgotten when packing for a festival. Paracetamol, wet wipes and other considerations will ensure your festival season gets off to a flying start. Medtree, leading suppliers for medical equipment and first aid kits, are sharing their ultimate festival survival guide.

Cleanliness

Cleanliness is a huge challenge for those attending a festival. In 2017, over 200,000 festival goers made the journey to Somerset, for the world-famous Glastonbury festival. The clean-up for that year involved 1,000 volunteers, some £785,000 and six weeks. Likewise, there are only a certain number of toilets for those 200,000, and it’s best to pack wisely.

Several days of not washing properly can lead to a build-up of bad bacteria on your skin, possibly causing infections and illnesses. You will become more at risk of spots when visiting a festival. Similarly, there have also been cases of people changing contact lenses without proper sterilisation, which can affect vision in the short-term. To avoid incidents such as the above, we recommend packing:

  • Wet wipes
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Mouthwash
  • Antibacterial hand wash
  • Dry shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Disposable toilet seat covers (due to the reasons mentioned above)
  • Bin bags

Current medication

For those attending a festival and, currently, taking prescribed medication – you must take them. The likes of Glastonbury and other larger festivals, generally, have a ‘prescribed medication policy’, advising guests on what to do if they forget their medication. Similarly, they may even have an on-site pharmacy for any essentials during the weekend.

For those taking medication, be aware that you will likely be searched upon entering the grounds. All medicine should be kept in their original container, and you must never attempt to enter the festival with medication prescribed to another individual.

Of course, we are not forgetting the necessity for Paracetamol and Nurofen. Hay fever tablets are also recommended, as they may cost more purchasing at the festival. If the pollen count is high, the symptoms can seriously hinder your enjoyment of the weekend. Unfortunately, alcohol also triggers hay fever symptoms, containing histamines. We suggest taking:

  • Antihistamine tablets
  • Nasal drops
  • Eye drops
  • Nasal spray

First aid

While we do recommend you pack light when attending a festival, a first aid kit can make all the difference should an incident occur. Of course, there are paramedics on site for more urgent matters, but a small first aid kit can help with warding of infections should you receive a cut. You can buy relatively small first aid kits that should include:

  • Plasters
  • Gloves
  • Various types of dressing
  • Sterile gauze swabs
  • Wound wash solution
  • Safety pins – both medical and fashion benefits
  • Sports tape
  • Eye pads
  • Insect repellant

Hydration

Most festivals are held in the peak of summer, meaning dehydration is a worry. Simply, drink enough bottled water to survive a nuclear holocaust and you should be just fine. Keep drinking water to reduce the risk of headaches, dry mouth and muscle cramps – particularly when waiting for artists to take to the stage.

Sun protection

It’s likely that it’s going to be sunny when you attend your festival, so you must look after your skin. Not only can a sunburn stop you from gaining the tan you’ve been looking for, but it can also severely affect your health and mood. Your best option for sun cream is one boasting an SPF 30, and aim to apply every 2-3 hour. Look for the window of opportunity when waiting between sets.

A large floppy hat will also prove effective when it comes to sun protection. Shield your skin from the crowd and keep cool. Likewise, check the UV protection of certain sunglasses before buying.

Rain protection

While you may pack your wellies, a rainy festival can also affect your health. If you get stuck in a downpour, you’ll be colder and, subsequently, your body temperature will lower, leaving you more susceptible to viruses. Likewise, you are even more at risk when packed into a festival with hundreds of thousands of other attendees. Look out for areas that seem slippy, as you could also fall and injure yourself or others. With that in mind, we suggest you pack:

  • Ponchos – generally, you can purchase plastic ponchos on site
  • Raincoats
  • Fleece/jumper
  • Wellies with good grip
  • Several pairs of dry socks

We recommend packing more pairs of socks than you need, as numbness, nerve damage and tingling can appear in only 24 hours if you have cold feet.

Alcohol poisoning

Recently, a woman posted a video of her and a friend dancing at a festival. In that video, she inadvertently caught a man dropping a pill into her drink, highlighting the need to stay safe and protect your drinks. If you do believe you or a friend has had their drink spiked, you must seek immediate, medical attention. Watch out for symptoms such as these, also suggesting alcohol poisoning:

  • Strong smell of alcohol
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Red face
  • Deep, noisy breathing
  • Fast pulse
  • Unresponsiveness

If you do notice someone with these symptoms, there are several measures you can do yourself while waiting for medical assistance.

  • Keep the patient warm
  • Check their breathing
  • Ensure there aren’t any obstructions in their airway
  • Do not make them vomit as doing so could obstruct their airways

Drug poisoning

Drug poisoning and drug related deaths are a large problem in the UK. Unfortunately, two young students recent lost their lives at Mutiny Festival, highlighting the urgency of putting in place provisions. An initiative has recently been rolled out across the country – including the Secret Garden Party and, likely, Leeds Festival – to allow attendees to test their illegal drugs for any harmful substances, before taking them. However, there are several symptoms to be aware of that indicate drug poisoning, including:

  • Stomach pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sleepiness
  • Alternatively, hyperactive behaviour
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Hallucinations
  • Unusually slow or fast pulse

If you believe someone is suffering from drug poisoning, take these steps before medical assistance arrives:

  • Call 999
  • Look for any packages that can identify what drugs have been taken
  • Check their breathing and pulse
  • Open their airway if unresponsive
  • Don’t force them to vomit
  • If they do vomit, pass them a bag and keep it. Doing so could help medical professionals identify the source of the drug

You should be aware of all of the above to ensure you have a great, fresh and healthy festival season. Likewise, don’t forget to sleep. Rest may not be a priority, but a comfy airbed and a camping pillow will certainly help with any minor issues as you make your way back to the tent.

The story of hidden bank fees in Britain

Close up of female accountant or banker making calculations. Savings, finances and economy concept

In theory, banking should be a simple operation: as a customer you deposit money, and as the bank they lend it out to other customers in order to create returns. But most financial institutions these days are operated as cut-throat businesses, and this means that many banks are seeking to extract profits from their customers at every possible opportunity. And over recent years, there have been a number of scandals in Britain after customers of some of the major banks discovered that they’d regularly been charged in a way that they considered clandestine or unfair. With that in mind, this article will explore two of the main hidden fees which have been levied on British banking customers in recent years.

Payment protection insurance

Most people are now familiar with the basics of the payment protection insurance scandal thanks to a public information campaign fronted by Arnold Schwarzenegger – but fewer people know exactly what this scandal entailed. In essence, payment protection insurance was an added product which was commonly sold to people when they took out a debt-based financial service of some kind, such as a car loan or a credit card.

And although the intentions of the insurance were good (it would cover you in the event you became unwell and could no longer work to repay the loan, for example) it was very commonly mis-sold – and few of the people who eventually took it out actually needed it. Luckily, however, there’s now a way to claim compensation if you were a victim of this hidden charge. Start a PPI claim today with the assistance of experts, such as ppi-claim.co, and see if you can make back what you’re owed.

Exchange rate fees

When you go on holiday or travel abroad, it’s common to go to the bureau de change or other currency broker in order to take some ready cash out before you fly. And while there’s sometimes a clear cost to the user in terms of the exchange rate, banks and bureau de change companies also often charge consumers in a way that’s not so transparent.

Despite the fact that in 2009 it was made illegal for currency conversion providers in the European Union to not be upfront with their customers about prices, many people have still suffered from hidden charges – like transaction fees – on their holiday spending money transactions. For that reason, it’s always best to ask at the counter before you make a transaction – and ensure that you find out the details of any extra fees in full.

As profit-making institutions, it can sometimes seem like banks are always out to take your money. But as a savvy consumer, it’s important that you stay on top of these fees and ensure that you always ask for a full explanation of anything you don’t understand. That way, you can ensure that you don’t shell out any unnecessary cash – and encourage the banks to think twice before trying to sneak in an added fee here and there.

Business tax legislation to watch out for in 2018

An editorial stock photo of the UK Inland Revenue Tax forms with the new 2017 One Pound Coins.

As the famous saying goes, ‘in this world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes’. And while sorting out tax returns and handing over a portion of your income can seem like a headache, it’s true that it’s an inevitable part of modern business life. For that reason, it makes sense to stay as on top of the latest tax news as possible in order to prepare yourself and your business’ finances for the obligations you’ll need to meet in the coming months. With that in mind, here are some of the top tax laws you’ll need to know about this year.

IR35 is changing

IR35 is the set of regulations that control how some businesses interact with and employ contractors, freelancers and other non-permanent workers without standard employment contracts. It’s common, for example, for some contractors to set themselves up as a limited company, appoint themselves as a director and then receive their earnings through the company for tax reasons. But changes to the law mean that there will soon be penalties in place if it can be shown that the worker would be a normal employee if they weren’t using another legal structure within which to work and earn, and it could be that your freelancers are now seen as “disguised employees” as a result. For that reason, it’s wise to get help with IR35 from experts so that you’re not caught out by the changes.

The “staircase tax”

A number of businesses which previously operated out of a single room in shared premises accessed by a joint lift or stairwell may have noticed that they recently had to start paying higher business rates. That was because of a Supreme Court decision, but proposed legislation is set to overrule that. If the law is approved, businesses will soon be able to ask the tax authorities for a recalculation – meaning those affected will be able to claim back the cash they had to pay out in the unfair higher rates.

Self-employed tax changes

Those who operate as sole traders may also see changes to their tax bills this year. The personal allowance, for example, is going up to £11,850, which means sole traders earning above that amount will be able to keep more of their income. Those self-employed people who work through a limited company, however, may be impacted by changes to the dividend allowance, which is going down from £5,000 to £2,000. If that might affect you, it’s worth scheduling an appointment with an accountant to discuss the changes.

2018 is shaping up to be a busy year for the business tax world, and there’s plenty to keep on top of. From changes to the rules around contracting to proposals to shift the way businesses in shared spaces are taxed, there are all sorts of things to think about. By staying abreast of the changes and seeking professional advice where necessary, it’s easy to make sure you don’t lose out through the shifts in legislation.

Should You Repair or Replace Your TV?

Interior of a contemporary minimalist living room with home entertainment system.

Has your TV stopped working? Whether your TV has completely stopped working and no longer switches on or works but has noticeable defects, you’ll most likely want to get it fixed and return it to new, working condition.

Modern TVs are quite technologically complicated, meaning that repairs often aren’t as simple as they would be with an old-fashioned CRT television. If you have a modern LCD or LED TV, there’s a real chance that it might not be “fixable” in the conventional sense.

To make solving your TV problems easier, we’ve put together a simple guide to working out whether you should repair or replace your TV. You can find our advice below, as well as tips designed to help you get your TV back to working condition at the lowest possible cost.

Is it still under warranty?

If your TV has broken and you purchased it in the last year, the first thing you should do is check to see if it’s still covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.

Most TV manufacturers offer warranties that last for one to two years. For example, Sony offers a two year limited warranty for most of its televisions, as well as coverage for 90 days if you use the TV commercially.

Other brands like LG, Samsung and Sharp also offer warranties ranging from 12 to 24 months for new TVs. Some manufacturers are even known for covering repairs for TVs that are out of warranty in order to retain customers.

If your TV breaks during the warranty period, the best thing to do is contact the manufacturer and the retailer from whom you bought the TV. Most of the time, you’ll be able to organise an easy, quick repair or replacement.

If it’s out of warranty

If your TV is no longer covered by the manufacturer or retailer warranty, the best approach is to contact the manufacturer for more information.

Most large manufacturers have dedicated support staff that can help you diagnose the problem with your TV. If you have a smart TV that’s no longer working properly, it may even provide you with an error code to give to the manufacturer’s support staff.

Sometimes, the manufacturer might opt to send an expert around to your home to diagnose the problem with the TV. If the problem is repairable, you’ll receive a quote for the repair. Assuming the repair is cheaper than a replacement, it’s usually best to have the TV repaired.

If it’s more expensive to repair the TV than to buy a replacement, or the problem is unfix-able, it’s best to consider buying a replacement TV.

It’s also important to keep the age of your TV in mind. Modern TVs can become out of date fairly quickly, with resolutions increasing rapidly and IoT tech become more commonplace. If your TV is more than five years old, it’s often better to upgrade than to repair old technology.

Consider buying TV insurance

Finally, one of the best ways to protect yourself from the cost of repairing or replacing your TV is to buy TV insurance.

TV insurance covers the cost of breakdowns, repairs and replacements up to £2,000, meaning that almost all TVs are fully covered. Even the cost of parts, labour and calling out a technician are fully covered, meaning you’re totally protected from the cost of TV repairs or replacement.

The future for the UK pub industry

Sign on the gate leading to the beer garden in a British pub

The pub industry has undergone considerable changes in the past 10 years. While we may be seeing plenty of bars open in the UK, the ‘traditional’ pub seems to have fallen out of favour. According to figures released by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the number of pubs operating in the UK has fallen by 17% since 2000. In numbers, that equates to a staggering 10,500 pubs closing, leaving around 50,000 currently in operation. In 2017 alone, CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) reported 985 closed their doors for the last time, with almost 19 shutting shop per week. However, it is fairly consistent with the previous year’s figures, which could suggest the hard times may have passed for the pub industry. Business Rescue Expert, leading UK insolvency experts, are sharing their thoughts on the sector’s changing landscape.

Food and Beverage Service Insolvencies

‘Food and Service Activities’ – how the insolvency service presents its data – incorporates restaurants and mobile food service activities, such as event catering and the like. The insolvency service further breaks down this data to cover ‘Beverage Serving Activities’, including pubs, gin houses and similar establishments. Below, we have compared the two types of data.

UK Food & Beverage Insolvency Service Statistics

The insolvencies charted in the UK in the F&B sector – including restaurants and beverage serving activities – are largely made up of voluntary liquidations. The numbers for compulsory liquidation are relatively small in comparison, with few administrations and CVAs in the industry also. In reality, this is consistent with the insolvency market in the UK, with CVLs accounting for 74.6 (12,681) insolvencies in total, in 2017. Across the year, 17,243 UK businesses entered insolvency in the UK.

The trajectory for total insolvencies in the UK – including voluntary – has steadily increased since 2010. The UK did experience some relief in 2014 and 2015, but the trend has continued growing since 2015.

UK Beverage Serving Insolvency Statistics

While the above paints a picture of insolvencies increasing, the numbers contradict the year on year insolvency statistics for Beverage Serving Activities. The figures remain remarkably steady and have done so for the previous four years. There had even been a slight decrease in the number of voluntary liquidations, between 2014-2016, levelling out again in 2017.

Does that mean good news for the beverage serving sector?

The beverage serving sector has seen a slight decrease in voluntary liquidations, between 2014 and 2017, so it’s heading in the right track. These figures reflect the overall decrease in the number of insolvencies across the board for the beverage serving sector. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the overall Food and Beverage sector, which has seen a rise in insolvencies up to 2017.

UK pub landscape in recent years

Over the years, the UK pub industry has faced tough changes to policies and increasing competition with ‘trendy’ bars.

Policy changes include:

  • Higher rates of beer duty (this was subject to a welcome freeze in Autumn 2017)
  • Slower rates of business rate review
  • The smoking ban in 2007 led to a significant change in the industry

When we dig even deeper into the reasons why pubs may be failing in the UK, we can attribute a lot of change to the credit crunch and global recession. During the initial launch of the smoking ban (in 2007) and up to 2010, the UK saw extremely high pub closure rates, totalling up to 6,000. To put it in perspective, an average of 850 pubs closed per year between 2011-2016 and 985 shut in 2017.

Impact of changes to insolvency rates post 2014

Market changes continue to influence the sector, and will continue to do so in the future, taking into account the figures. Increased competition from off-sales – particularly sales from supermarkets and off-licences – has had a massive impact. Consumers can actively drink at home and purchase cheaper drinks before heading out.

The dramatic increase in the number of breweries in the UK could also be counted as a factor to the changing marketplace. More than 300 breweries opened in 2016, with the number pushing way past 2,000 in 2017 and set to grow for 2018. According to reports, the ‘craft beer boom’ is responsible for the 64% increase, thus negatively affecting ‘traditional’ pubs. More and more consumers are turning towards craft beer and gin specialists, experiencing a massive boom in the industry. This estimation is also reinforced by people drinking less than ever before, and opting for specialists when choosing the indulge.

Pub industry in the future

Looking at the figures, appealing to younger generations may be the way forward for old-fashioned pubs. According to The Pub Market Report 2017, 14.8% of 18-24 year olds (from a survey of 2,000) listed social media as their top leisure activity. Therefore, a proactive social media strategy may be able to pull the traditional pub from the past and into the present – particularly as drinking in a pub was voted 16th. That same report also stated that atmosphere, friendliness, music and free WiFi played a part in their choice to drink.

Ultimately, the landscape for the pub industry has changed dramatically over the past 10 years, and will continue to do so. The pubs that adapt to the changes and aim to improved will be better placed to survive in the industry.

Forex Trading

3d illustration

In June 2016, the citizens of UK voted to exit the EU. With the UK government having enforced Article 50 of the Treaty on the EU, UK is set exit the EU come March 29, 2019. Of course this has affected forex trading and is expected to remain so at least until the UK finally exit the EU. Even after that, the uncertainty may stretch further for an unanticipated period of time.

Brexit has been seen as the circumstance that has caused restrictions in the forex market, especially to UK forex traders. With many investors increasingly shunning British founded financial systems; it is likely that many investors will opt to use other types of currency as opposed to the pound. Since currency is derivative and liquid based, investors will still be able to make profit regardless of the deteriorating forex market, characterized by barriers and speculations against the pound, with many investors waiting to see how it will perform against other currencies especially the USD and the EURO.

Various happenings in Europe and the USA in the year 2017 have continued to affect forex trading. Many currencies have declined since then and this trend is likely to remain significant in the forex market for longer. Many traders are finding it difficult to launch profitable strategies, a predicament that may discourage forex traders in the UK from making currency investments. As a result of this, the forex market activity is bound to drop which may lead to a fall in the economic prevalence.

Today, foreign exchange popularly referred to as forex exchange is one of the most traded markets globally. Trillions of pounds are traded every day and this amount is expected to increase exponentially along the years. Traders vary from big corporate companies to individuals. With the increased use of the internet, forex trading is set to become more popular as many people discover the same through social media platforms.

There are various factors which determine currency shifts including major disasters, global events, economic and political stability, monetary policy, and currency intervention. Forex trading is executed in pairs and the trader makes a projection sighting the anticipated exchange rate variation between the two currencies. Their projection will determine the currency they will purchase. Assuming that their projection is right, their currency of choice will rise enabling them to sell it at a profit. If the opposite is true, then they will lose.

For instance, USD/GBP indicates the number of pounds a dollar can buy. Assuming the trader thinks that the dollar’s value will increase against the pound, they buy the dollar using the pound. In the event the exchange rate increases, then they can sell the dollars and gain profit. Generally, forex trading has become popular among investment connoisseurs because the markets remain open throughout globally.

Forex trading is quite popular among traders in the UK. However, it is risky and has been compared to gambling. Individuals who want to join the world of forex trading can read through various books and tutorials available online. Some experts claim that traders can make a fortune in forex trading. However, it is worth mentioning that many traders incur losses every other day. Executing currency transactions can be an expensive idea and while huge companies may make a substantial amount of profits, making big profits as an individual trader can be an arduous task.

If you are a novice forex trader, it is advisable to invest money that you can afford to lose. Potential investors may not find comprehensive information regarding forex trading and how to make a profit. While there are financial advisors and brokers willing to advice would be traders on basic investments and the magnitude of risk involved, many individual forex traders have learnt the skill by themselves, either through research or consulting from expert traders.

Finally

Tutorials and guidelines may paint forex trading as an affluent venture and promise you huge returns within a short period of time. Do not believe such promises. It is important to read and research widely before venturing in online trading. Forex exchange is a risky activity that many tutorials never talk about. Where possible, identify a successful expert trader and learn the trade from them.

How can Smart Alarm Systems protect you and your family?

Call box and digitally coded gate lock for new house

Keeping your home and family save is a key priority for most people, and can also be a major stressor, getting the balance right between protection and paranoia, security and surveillance is something most people struggle with daily, but it becomes worse when you have children. One of the simplest ways you can help to keep your family safe is with an alarm system for your home, either a simple burglar alarm or a high-tech smart alarm system.

If you are looking for more ways to secure a new home, then check out this handy list.

What is a Smart Alarm System?

A smart alarm system combines the security of a conventional burglar alarm with the ability to control, monitor and interact with the alarm remotely using an app on your phone, tablet or computer. Most systems include alarms, locks, security cameras, motion detectors, and door/window sensors, this list is not an extensive list though and the latest smart alarms almost double up as a home management system.

What are the befits of a Smart Alarm System?

The main benefit of this system is that you will be alerted to anything suspicious as soon as it happens, so you don’t have to replay on neighbours calling the police when your alarm goes off. You can either have an alarm that will call for you or you can call when you are alerted. It also gives you the ability to turn lights and appliances on and off remotely to give the appearance that someone is home which is a great deterrent.

They are not only useful when you are out of the home, you can set the alarms to cover parts of the home, so if you are going to bed you can set the alarms for downstairs so you would be instantly alerted if there was an intruder. You can put motion sensors in the babies room so you would know if someone went in there, and you can also remotely access the security cameras if you were away and had left your children with a childminder, this is great for that added peace of mind that your family is safe when your not able to be there.

How much Do smart alarm systems cost?

Smart alarm systems varies greatly in price with basic systems coming in at around £150 and more complex systems costing upwards of £600+. Not everyone will need to spend £600 on an alarm though as the number of features and security coverage needed will very from person to person.

Attracting the best talent for your business

The firms who get it right are those who know the value of getting and retaining the best staff, and there are lots of ways that companies can improve their techniques for growing the talent pool. It’s important to assess the whole brand of your business when trying to attract good staff and that means how you come across to potential employees.

Therefore, consider how your company is perceived by people looking for a job. Do you have good mission and vision for your company? Do you come across as employee-friendly? Do you give the impression that new staff can grow and progress with opportunities for challenge? It can help to look at these aspects of your business intermittently and analyse if you are giving out the right message as when this is undertaken effectively excellent staff will naturally start to gravitate to your company.

Job Description

Don’t underestimate the benefits of a well thought out job description and person specification that clearly defines the roles, tasks and behaviours of a particular job. Many companies don’t invest much thought in these key documents and are then surprised when potential candidates don’t match up to their requirements.

Equally, good candidates want to understand as much as possible about the role and if they feel it is good fit for them, so use the many internet resources at your disposal to devise the perfect job description.

Networking

Good employees can come from a number of directions not least through the contacts and networks of your already established staff. Therefore, make sure you spread the word amongst staff about other positions you wish to recruit to so that they can pass this to professional colleagues, networks and family members.

Social Media

Make sure you tap into the many benefits of professional networking through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to connect to a huge audience of potential employees. The beauty of modern technology means that you can get the message out to literally hundreds of people from the comfort of your P.C. or laptop and with minimal costs! There are a range of helpful sites and information to support businesses to use social media more effectively.

Recruitment Agencies

Another great method for acquiring key staff for your business is through recruitment agencies who will have undertaken all the legwork to screen and profile staff and match them to an employer’s needs.

Agencies work with a range of businesses from small SME’s to large blue-chip companies in diverse sectors and are well-versed in every aspect of assessing top quality candidates and matching them to the business needs of their clients. This means that by the time they are referred to a potential employer they have already had a range of background checks and compatibility profiling to ensure that businesses get top notch candidates for interview. Many companies have grown their business by recruiting in this manner and equally, excellent candidates get a chance to progress their careers.

Internet

In addition to the benefits of social media outlined above the internet is a powerful tool for recruitment. There are many options to post vacancies including professional association websites classified advertisements, newspapers, trade journals and job websites so hunt around for the best options.

4 ways in which chain conveyors are used in business

"Shot of a chain and bearings rolling along a track in on an industrial machine. A great editorial shot for industry, engineering or manufacturing."

The main task of conveyors is reducing manual work when transporting materials in businesses while increasing efficiency at the same time. Chain conveyors are specifically used in moving heavy loads by employing the use of strong, continuous chains. They are mostly implemented using a double strand architecture. However, depending on the weight or width of what is being transported, chain driven conveyors may have a varied number of strands. In businesses, these conveyors are used in:

  1. Moving heavy products

Chain conveyors are tough and strong. They can withstand the weight of heavy things such as engines and their components without slipping as rubber conveyor belts would. Also, when these heavy materials are placed on them, they do not compress or buckle as roller conveyors would. Instead, they provide grip and efficiently move materials around the business plant.

  1. Moving products through extreme temperatures

Chain conveyors come in handy in moving products through either hot or ice cold temperatures along the processing/ manufacturing plants. A roller conveyor might not be suitable for high temperatures because its components might expand unevenly and ruin its ability to roll. Similarly, a rubber belt roller might not be suitable for cold temperatures because rubber gets hard and stiff in the cold which makes it lose grip and therefore slip. This leaves chain conveyors as the most suitable option to operate in such conditions.

  1. Moving in indexing mode

Chain conveyors are the safest option when dealing with high precision processing. These conveyor units usually contain an index drive that moves the material to the exact position for further processing. An example is the precision link conveyor which is used by design engineers and machine builders to move engine parts to accurate positions for robot welding, automated inspection or other automated processing procedures.

  1. Moving products in variable speeds

The ability to change speeds on conveyors when moving materials is very advantageous. Chain conveyors can easily be fitted with a Variable Frequency Drive which can adjust the conveying speed to suit the speed at which other activities in the plant are being carried out. This adjustment can be done comfortably without worrying about slipping because sprockets grip firmly onto the chains regardless of external factors.

Additionally, chain conveyors have several advantages come in a variety of types which are majorly classified as pallet handling conveyors and factory handling conveyors, each with its own unique application area.

Advantages of chain conveyors

  1. Ease of installation

Chain conveyors are very easy to install. In fact, most chain conveyor manufacturers offer free installation services for every purchased conveyor to make it easier for you to begin operations immediately.

  1. Affordable

Their affordability is relative to their durability. Since they last for long with little maintenance costs, whatever the chain conveyor’s initial cost was, it is recovered eventually because it gives you a high return on investment.

  1. Flexible

Chain conveyors are very flexible. As the business operations scale upwards, more conveyors might be required. It is quite simple to modify and upgrade existing ones which reduces the overall scaling costs.

It is important to note that each conveyor system has its own application area where it performs best. Before buying such a system, consider these tips so that in the end you get the most efficient system that suits your business requirements.

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