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Innovation

How To Choose A Warehouse Shelving System

warehouse

Warehousing is big business. By the end of the year 2018, there was more than 18,000 warehouses in the United States and the growth in this industry is predicted to continue so what’s driving it?

The answer is easy; it’s online shopping and improvements in dropshipping. Just look at Amazon and the sophistication of their warehouses and business model.

Yes, Amazon is at the top of their game so to speak, and they’re using the latest technology including AI to improve business processes, and warehousing.

Your business may not be in a position to compete with Amazon nor have the need or inclination to do so, but what it does need is the proper organisation of stock in the warehouse to use the space as efficiently as possible.

What Does Your Business Need?

With the growth in warehousing, there’s also been a rise in the number of manufacturers and suppliers of pallet racking and warehouse shelving systems. Therefore your job of choosing the system and supplier becomes more challenging.

The starting point is to understand your needs fully so you can choose the shelving system that is right for your business, rather than what’s the most popular or costs the least.

Growth

Your business plan and financial statements will determine how your business is tracking and what it needs in supplies and systems to satisfy current and future customer demand.

Investment

How important is the warehouse to your business? Set a budget spend for fitting out your warehouse. Once you’re aware of your business requirements, then you’ll need to ask the right questions of prospective shelving installers.

Questions To Ask Shelving Installers

You can spend a lot of time on critiquing suppliers and not get the answers you need. Here are our top questions for selecting a warehouse shelving provider.

1. Products – Type of Shelving Systems

Choose providers that specialise in fitting out warehouses of all sizes. These companies will have sales and installation experts who can show you their product range and demonstrate how each product may improve your warehouse layout and performance.

2. Costs

Seek to understand the costs and what investment is required by your business when choosing warehouse shelving systems says Speedrack West. It’s easy to get carried away and over-enthused by a system you don’t need nor can not afford.

Remember, salespeople earn their keep by selling as much as they can, and they are likely to be rewarded for selling the premium stock so take the control from the outset and review the shelving systems that are right for your business and your budget.

Technology has made significant improvements in the warehouse driven by the needs of big dropshipping enterprises like Amazon striving for greater efficiency and reduction of operating costs. What you can be sure of is the complexity and added features of the more advanced system would cost a lot more. Therefore make sure you choose a supplier who is interested in your business and what it needs from a shelving solution now.

3. Supplier’s Experience

Selling the product is secure, and even new supplier can do this part competently, it’s the installation of the shelving system that requires expertise. Focus your research on understanding the level of experience of the supplier’s installation team.

Get client references, and if possible, go and see the warehouses for a first-hand account of their experience with the supplier. Plus to further understand their reach of experience ask to see their case studies.

4. Permits, Seismic Assessments, Safety

Every industry has specific regulations and laws that govern safety, quality and performance. In addition to the usual governance, many rack systems need a permit and that needs completion of a seismic assessment. Make sure your chosen supplier manages this part of the process for a permit and can provide tips on warehouse safety.

Summary

Your warehouse can deliver more business when it’s operating to peak performance. Therefore don’t rush the process of fitting it out. Choose a shelving supplier that wants your business and can be a partner providing you with what you need when you need it!

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Innovation

How Is AI Being Used In Business?

robot

Artificial Intelligence is bandied around the office, and there’s plenty of information online but is your business using it and if not yet, where could it be using it, sometime soon?

Machine Learning, Biometrics, and Robotic Process Automation are in use right now and growing in popularity, not just with the big businesses but also startups, SMEs and everything in between.

Adext’s report includes 19 AI Technologies to look for in 2019 and it’s well worth a read. In this article, we consider three types that mainstream business can no longer live without.

Listed in no particular order, you may have heard of these AL technologies, but you’re not aware of what they do, or how businesses use them.

Where Business Is Using AI

Digital marketing & advertising, research and administration, are key areas of business that are seeing massive change with AI, and specifically these AI techs: RPA, Biometrics and ML.

Machine Learning

A branch of AI, this tech has been around for a while.

Machine Learning (ML) develops techniques so computers can automatically learn and improve from experience. It’s used right now to predict and classify data; hence it’s been a game changer for advertising platforms like Google Ads.

Analysis of vast quantities of data, in quick smart time, all the while delivering accuracy has relieved many of us from jobs that involving mundane, repetitive tasks.

ML gets its data from APIs, algorithms, of course, other machines as well as big data tools; to name a few sources; but not all machine learning algorithms are the same.

Machine learning algorithms:

  • Supervised – can apply what’s been learned to new data
  • Unsupervised – explores data and describes hidden structures within datasets
  • Semi-supervised – somewhere between the two mentioned above
  • Reinforcement – allows software and machines to pick the optimum response within specific context to improve performance.

More detail found here: ML algorithms definitions

There are many platforms available now, and you’ll know many of the companies in this space: Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and a few you may not know that well including Adext, and Skytree.

Biometrics

This AL tech is focused on improving communication and understanding between us and machines. It uses measurements and analyses human behaviour. Interactions, such as touch, speech, images and even body language are in its sights.

Just like ML, this is a big field of AI with huge potential, particularly in the area of market research.

Robotic Process Automation

Think AI workers, that’s this technology. Robotic process automation (RPA) is another area of AI that’s a game changer for employment, and many of the jobs we used to do, still do and will no longer do. Already RPA has found its way into many industries, and AI workers (machines) have replaced humans in the workforce.

The prosaic and repetitive tasks, humans used to do, are now done in part or in full by machines. In areas of the business such as accounting, administration, customer support and help desks but also on websites, AI has found its place.

Chat Bot

The ‘chatbot’ is now ubiquitous on websites for products and services and online sales support. Here is a good read on how using a chatbot could benefit business and change the customer experience.

Live Chat is a more human form of the chatbot, and when you’ve experienced it, as a customer, your level of appreciation goes up a notch or two.

There is a flip side for businesses using live chat and chatbot tech. Customers now used to it will expect your business to delivery immediacy and efficiency every time.

With RPA, businesses see lots of upsides, with reduced overheads and improve productivity.

There have been some clever marketing for it, mainly to dissuade negative reaction from workers fearful of job displacement. Business and workers are encouraged to see it as a solution that promotes better use of human workers; though new roles that are infinitely more interesting, and fulfilling, while also doing wonders to the company’s bottom line.

Summary

AI is everywhere and depending on how you view your business, career and life; the future is either exhilarating or maybe a bit scary.

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Innovation

Stephen Hawking: Triumph of the Dreams

galaxy

Stephen Hawking was a notable towering figure in the field of science. He was also a great visionary, who didn’t let his physical debility get in the way of achieving his dreams. Stephen was a genius, a celebrated scientist; and his influence will keep on guiding mankind in varied ways. Stephen’s life has become a beacon of hope and celebration for many people – from science enthusiasts to people challenged by physical and mental barriers. Here are some of the impressive aspects of his exemplary life:

Disease VS. Dreams

After earning a degree in Natural Science from Oxford, Stephen wanted to go for a Ph.D. with Cambridge University. However, at that time his body started experiencing occasional clumsiness. Upon insistence by his family, Stephen went to see a doctor and was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig Disease, a neurological disorder. Doctors gave him only 2 more years to live. However, this daunting prognosis did not stop Stephen from pursuing his Ph.D. which he achieved at the young age of 23. Stephen went on with his career at Cambridge University in the field of research and teaching.

Zigzag course of life

Stephen was adamant he’d just get on with pursuing his dreams, whilst he met more challenges due to his deteriorating physical condition. Eventually confined to a wheelchair in the same decade, Stephen became a father and he was in fact blessed with two children during his lifetime.

Rare Discovery

Amidst the zigzag of life, Stephen kept up his research and his efforts bore the fruits we revere today. Stephen surprised the world at large and the science fraternity in particular, when he discovered black holes emitted radiation. It was a jolt to the earlier belief that Black holes were empty, i.e. a vacuum. Respecting his discovery the radiation was named as “Hawking radiation”. It was the beginning of his genius. That decade he got many awards and went on to present a number of works on science.

Lost speech but retained ambitions

In 1985 Stephen lost the ability to speak. However, it did not stop him from expressing his thoughts and he decided to go for a machine that would speak for him. He first used it with his working fingers and later decided to operate it using the muscles of his cheek.

The ambitions of this young scientist combined with his genius helped him to achieve many milestones.

Notable Discoveries

  • Origins of the Universe
  • Time Travel
  • Space-time Singularities
  • A Universe sans Space-time Boundaries
  • Black Hole Radiation
  • Gravitation
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • The existence of Extraterrestrial Life
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Innovation

Top 4 Reasons Preventing Business Innovation in Australia

sydney

Australia is one of the most developed counties in the world that enjoys one of the world’s best economies. The consistent economic growth in Australia makes it world’s second richest country which is just behind Switzerland. An important reason for Australia to achieve and maintain its economic growth is by adopting mixed market economy. Though the country is enjoying one of the best economies by adopting a well thought-out plan, but it is quite reluctant to take alternative measures that would boost its economy further.

The most prominent example is the business sector in Australia. As compared to several other developed countries that are constantly taking measures for introducing changes in their business models, Australia hasn’t shown interest in this way. The country is following the old business model since past several years and is reluctant to take revolutionary steps in bringing innovation to its business strategy.

Today, whether you are trying to create a company in highly developed country like USA or are planning to start a firm in a developing economy similar to Dubai business setup, you will find new and interesting business techniques adopted by them. But that’s not the case in Australia.

If you want to find the causes behind the slow adoption of business innovation in Australia, these 4 major reasons will provide an insight of the problem.

Less Importance in Educational Institutes:

Australian schools and higher institutes are known for producing large number of research papers on the subjects related toscience & technology, mathematics and engineering. But it seems business is not their priority at all. Australia is far behind countries like USA, the UK and South Korea that have introduced entrepreneurship in their schools.

But this culture could not be developed in Australia. Such type of education expose young people to business cultures that is instrumental in the adoption of innovation in the field.It is because fresh minds are eager to do something new and bring changes in the society.

The slow approach of Australia to introduce entrepreneurship in schools is due to unawareness of the country to see business as a driving force behind economic growth. The experts say that technology startups can add $100 billion in Australia’s GDP by 2033. But it needs 20 times the number of entrepreneurs that the country currently has.

The only way that Australia can achieve this target is by giving importance to business education in schools and providing a business-friendly environment. The problem is that Australia is critically lacking both these factors.

The problem is not limited to schools, but even Australian universities are not much eager in giving importance to business-related subjects. Most of the universities started offering entrepreneur subjects in recent years and they are also lacking experienced professionals. These universitiesare now trying to provide quality business education to students after increase in thedemand.

But as they started the whole process late, so they will take time to come close to the level of countries that are already providing good business-related education. Currently, they are far behind countries like Korea, Germany and the UK that have collaborating business with higher education. This is a major hindrance in the adoption of business innovation in Australia.

Afraid to Take Risk:

A general attitude of entrepreneurs in Australian is that they avoid taking unnecessary risks and like to remain on safer side. It is especially important as their fiscal growth is going smoothly and they don’t consider it necessary and wise to experiment new techniques and make decisions that may pose a risk to their continuous growth.

Therefore, they avoid experimenting with new techniques as their old and reliable business methods are quite beneficial for them. They want to play safe without taking undue risks associated with innovation in business. It is the reason that less than 20% Australian firms operate in international markets.

Due to this, the Australian entrepreneurs are behind entrepreneurs of USA, the UK and other major business locations. The reason is the difference in attitude in USA as compared to that in Australia. Entrepreneurs in USA think that failure is part of their business journey and the success that comes after failure is the real success. They are not afraid of the initial setbacks that they may face in adopting new business techniques and methods. This positive attitude, where they are ready to take risks,has been proved helpful for them to achieve new heights.

Australia can only expect to achieve business innovation after replacing its current attitude with a new approach of adopting global business ideas. But it will take some time to replace decades’ old tradition with a more aggressive one.

Less Support from Government:

The arrival of any new idea and product in any country demands encouragement and assistance from government. But it seems the Australian government is not ready to give business its due importance. Australian economy primarily depends on sectors like services, construction and mining. These sectors provide less business activities and the focus of government is more on these major sectors of economy.

But there are reports that business sector can contribute billions of dollars in the Australian economy in the coming years and it merely requires adoption of innovation in business strategy. This can be done with the introduction and spread of global business ideas, which is only possible with the support of government. Currently, the Australian government provides far less funds to both SMEs and large businesses as compared to countries like South Korea, Finland and Germany.

The Australian government can change this approach with investment in well-structured programs like business hubs and incubators. Currently, the Australian government is providing some tax incentives to entrepreneurs. But direct government funding to the sector is very low and the benefits of this policy will take some time to deliver.

Non Supportive to Big Business:

Another important reason that Australia is not supporting business innovation is due to their negative imagination of big businesses. You can’t expect innovation from small and medium sized businesses as it is difficult for them to take big risks. By taking innovative steps, the entrepreneur is in fact taking risk and this attitude is only possible for big businesses. It is because these firms have enough additional capital and they can afford a single or two bad experiences with new business techniques.

But due to less support of big businesses from Australian government and corporate sector, it is unlikely that major steps can be taken in this regard.


Brenda Cagara is a part of the business consultant team RIZ & MONA in Dubai. Her work is to assist the formation of companies and help setting up business firms. Other services she takes a part in are visa processing, trade license, trade mark, bank account opening, product registration and local sponsors. Along with this, she vigilantly manages to pursue her writing career. Since the past five years, she has been writing on different niches. The top ones are business, taxation and finance.

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