Deploying Technology in Trucking to Win Loyal Customers

Truck

Having a sound transport system is vital to the operations of many, if not all, businesses. This has caused the commercial fleet industry to expand rapidly, increasing the competition within it. Improving the quality of services to attain customer loyalty is essential in order to secure a place in the industry. You can do this by investing in advanced fleet dash cam systems if you own a fleet. Below, we explore how such technology can let you win loyal customers. 

 

Performance: Enhanced Services

Fleet dash cam systems have long since evolved out of the basic record-and-store model. Sophisticated solutions in the market come packed with several capabilities due to the integration of various technologies like AI, GPS tracking, cloud storage, etc. These can let you retain your customers by allowing better fleet performance in a number of ways:  

 

1. Better Routing

Customers value timeliness. However, ensuring quick deliveries goes beyond looking for the shortest route. Unpredictable traffic jams and faulty roads can delay deliveries, impacting your reputation and turning away first-time customers from enlisting your fleet’s services again. 

Having GPS integrated into vehicle monitoring systems lets managers analyze all the available routes through real-time traffic information. If congested roads are spotted on time, the driver can be instructed to change their course. On the other hand, dash camera systems let you assess the condition of the road when needed, allowing you to store the information for future references and direct the driver to a better route.   

 

2. Reduced Idling

Drivers can cause delays in deliveries by taking unnecessary stops. As drivers realize their location and video can be accessed by fleet managers anytime, the likelihood of them idling will decrease. In addition, integrating GPS systems can record and confirm the time at which a vehicle reaches the designated site. This enhanced visibility over your operations lets you ensure that your trucks reach their destinations at the optimum time, making sure your customers face no delays.  

 

3. Safe Deliveries of Products

Having inward-facing cameras has two benefits. Firstly, it ensures that the driver is not indulging in reckless behavior like drinking while driving. Secondly, it deters any potential break-ins as such systems can be set up to start recording if they sense motion in a parked vehicle. These features ensure that products get delivered to the customers as safely as possible. 

 

4. Better Control Over Interactions With Customers

Letting drivers know they are being monitored ensures that they stay on their best behavior when interacting with customers. This, along with quick service and a record of the arrival times, lets your customer service remain on top. In addition, in the case of a customer filing a complaint like having to deal with a driver who has consumed alcohol, you can swiftly analyze the video evidence and take measures to compensate the wronged party.

 

Ethics: Safer Employees and Safer Community

With increasing awareness, customers have begun valuing companies that are transparent in how they stay true to their claimed values. Over half of the consumers in the US alone say that they have stopped purchasing from companies that they perceive as unethical. In contrast, three in ten consumers are seen to support companies on social media that they perceive as ethical. 

Large vehicles are not as easy to control, so trucking businesses need to prove that they take employee and community safety seriously. Here is how advanced dash camera and tracking systems help you do that:

 

1. Safer Drives

Ethical operations of business entail making the security of employees the topmost priority. Fleet dash camera systems are vital for trucking businesses to ensure that their drivers remain safe. More than 40% of users report a considerable decrease in safety incidents since employing fleet tracking solutions to monitor driver behavior. This does not mean having an eye on all footage all day long but rather integrating intelligent systems to monitor the fleet.

Advanced fleet dash cam systems offer smart in-cab cameras that can detect signs of exhaustion and alert the driver audibly so that they can focus, pull up, or inform managers of their condition to get a replacement. Access to 360-degree footage further ensures that you can fight against wrongful claims made against your drivers in case of accidents, as video recording provides undebatable evidence.

 

2. Quick Response to Emergencies

As GPS integrated systems let you have access to the exact location of your vehicles, you can dispatch technical help quickly in case of any driver requesting mechanical or technical assistance if a vehicle breaks down. Not only does this further aid in making quick deliveries, but this feature further lets you ascertain that no driver gets stranded in an inhospitable landscape, further enhancing the security you provide to your drivers.

 

3. Ease of Driver Training and Performance Tracking

Training drivers is essential to let you make sure they drive patiently and safely. Dashcam systems can allow you to track driver performances and habits down to the bits that need correction. GPS systems can further be programmed to record the maximum speed attained by each vehicle, letting you pinpoint if a driver is driving too fast. Finally, drivers themselves can figure out areas that they need improvement in through features such as post-incident analysis. The better training you impart, the more you will be playing your part in ensuring that your fleet vehicles drive safely on the road.

 

4. Safer Communities

Working towards a safer community should be among the core values of any business. Holding your fleet members to high standards of driving quality lets you work towards maintaining and enhancing the safety of entire communities. When you employ tracking systems, you can hold drivers accountable for their actions. Ensuring this accountability is vital to playing your part in making your business operations safer to keep your surroundings secure.

 

Endnote 

Getting new customers is more expensive than maintaining existing ones, so businesses must ensure that their performance stays consistent and improves with time. Advanced dashcam systems allow better visibility and control over fleets, letting trucking businesses provide the best services possible. In addition, deploying such technology ensures that vehicles are driven as safely as possible. If you own a commercial fleet, investing in sophisticated dashcam systems may be necessary for you to secure a stronghold in the market. 

Understanding Financial Modeling And Why It’s So Important In The Business World

Financial Modeling

Financial modeling is one of the most crucial skills in the corporate world. A financial model analyst is a professional becoming increasingly in demand in business.

Understanding financial modeling will not only help finance professionals with their careers, but it will also help companies better understand the business landscape.

 

What Is Financial Modeling?

Financial modeling uses various tools to determine the financial performance of a project or business based on past performance.

Therefore, a financial model is a tool used to project a company’s future financial performance based on current and previous variables. 

The model’s assumptions will determine future revenue, expenses, profits, and other variables. 

Financial modeling is typically done by financial analysts, investment bankers, credit analysts, lenders, risk analysts, portfolio managers, business executives, managers, and investors.

A financial model will be formulated based on a company’s financial statements, including its balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement, and supporting schedules. Since the models use financial statements, the forecasts will typically be for a year, quarter or month. Most financial models are made using Excel spreadsheets and need manual data entry. 

 

Learning to Carry Out Financial Modeling Yourself

Financial modeling is a critical skill, and it is in the best interest of every corporate employee and corporation to understand it. There are various ways to learn how to create financial models, including going through an excel financial modeling course.

You can start by learning the basics of financial modeling and proceed to more advanced elements. The best way to learn financial modeling is to commit to an entire course where you deeply immerse yourself in the subject.

If you can learn how to perform financial modeling, you will increase your value and become an indispensable asset for any corporation. 

 

Importance of Financial Modeling

Financial modeling is used for a wide range of functions in the business, including: 

 

Company Valuations and Raising Capital

If you are trying to establish the value of a company, you will use financial modeling by examining the business’ financial statements and knowing how much it is worth.

Investment bankers will perform financial modeling to decide how much they should sell shares of a company in an IPO. The same goes for a company looking to raise capital via venture funding, loans, or other financing avenues to determine how much money they need. 

 

Budgeting and Forecasting

Every company needs to perform financial planning for the sake of its future. A plan needs to be supported by adequate data, and financial modeling is the best tool to analyze a company’s budgeting.

The company will input numbers based on various aspects of the business to forecast their future needs to address them now, for example, working capital. Hence, the company can ensure they have enough funds to address their needs and can forecast financial results for the future. 

 

Capital Allocation

Every business needs capital which it will use to invest in various assets, operations, and projects. Each of the above will have different requirements and returns to the business, which the company must determine.

Financial modeling helps companies know which are the best places to allocate their capital for the best returns or business growth.

Capital is necessary whether the company wants to open new locations, acquire various assets, or enter a new market. They can then prioritize which areas receive money, in which order, their returns, and their contribution to the company.

 

Finding Suppliers

The partnerships a company makes are vital to its success or failure. Every business has suppliers or vendors to provide them with various products or services.

It can be difficult sourcing for suppliers, but financial modeling can help tremendously. The model can help evaluate the financial health of vendors and their cost to the business. The right supplier can either make or break a company, hence choosing the right ones. 

 

Management Accounting

Management decisions have a direct impact on the financial health of the company. Management accounting is the evaluation of how management decisions affect the company’s books.

With financial modeling, management accounting becomes much easier than otherwise. The company executives can know the impact of their decisions on the company, industry, and the economy. The data provided by financial modeling, such as returns on capital, can help them make better decisions. 

 

Credit Analysis

Investors need financial models to help them decide which company to invest in or give money to for the best returns. Lenders also need financial models to determine a business’s creditworthiness. The model will let them know if they will receive their funds or make a profit. 

Financial modeling is a crucial skill and necessary for the corporate world. You need to understand what financial modeling is and how it can help your company.

Financial modeling is vital for credit analysis, management accounting, company valuations, raising capital, budgeting, and forecasting. You can learn financial modeling online.

Making Tax Digital for VAT: Your Questions Answered

Taxes

Those running small businesses or running their own companies may recently have started to think about HMRC’s new tax digital scheme. The MTD for VAT accounting schemes were announced a few years ago, but with the pandemic and Brexit, many are confused about making tax digital for VAT schemes and what it means for them.

 

What is Making Tax Digital?

Making Tax Digital for VAT or MTD for VAT is a relatively new system launched by HMRC. It aims to make tax returns and financing easier for businesses by putting it all online and digitizing it. Since April 2019, VAT registered businesses with annual profits exceeding the VAT threshold of £85,000 have been using this system for their VAT returns and records. Now, from April 2022, any VAT registered businesses will have to do the same.

HMRC claims that these rules will make it simpler for businesses to keep on top of their taxes, financial and business records. Auditox Accountancy`s Newcastle branch have said they have had an influx of new customers and that many people were unhappy with the forced digitization of their finances, claiming that it adds more steps and effort to an already convoluted process. At the same time, it does make small businesses more innovative.

 

Is Making Tax Digital just for VAT?

For now, sole traders can relax. Making Tax Digital is only mandatory for VAT registered businesses, not self-employed sole traders. Sole traders instead must register online or via post for a Self Assessment form, wherein they can then complete a tax return to ensure they pay the right income tax.

However, from 2024, sole traders will also have to register for Making Tax Digital in order to fulfill their tax returns. For those interested, sole traders can currently try out digital tax returns through HMRC’s Making Tax Digital service. Sole traders can volunteer for the service to allow HMRC to test out the service and fix anything prior to the expansive rollout in 2024.

 

Do I have to submit VAT returns digitally?

At the moment, the VAT rules state that any VAT registered businesses have to file VAT returns online before the VAT deadline. Not doing so may lead to you and your business receiving a fine from HMRC. The fines are currently calculated using a point-based system. This allows people to make a few accidental mistakes when submitting their VAT returns, or to accidentally miss the deadline without receiving a fine. But if you consistently make such mistakes, you will receive a notice and a fine from HMRC.

 

Can you opt-out of MTD for VAT?

Most businesses and companies will not be able to opt-out of making tax digital. You will have to find a way to implement MTD in your accounting process in order to stick to the VAT rules. However, certain people may be exempt from having to register for MTD, such as older business owners, disabled people or those who live in remote locations and may be unable to rely on a consistent internet connection. There are also exemptions available for people who are unable to use computers for religious reasons.

If you believe that you might have a cause for exemption from the making tax digital VAT schemes, it might be worth contacting HMRC and filing for an exemption.

 

How to submit VAT returns digitally

MTD for VAT requires businesses to submit their VAT returns using accounting software that is able to connect to HMRC’s systems. You may also need to use a bridging software to convert VAT information into the correct format.

To submit VAT returns digitally, agents or businesses need to register for MTD for VAT.

 

How to register for MTD for VAT as an agent

  1. Check when your client must sign up for MTD
  2. Find and download the correct software. You will need one that is compatible with HMRC and also allows you to sign in using the Agent Services account
  3. Create an Agent Services account which will allow you to administer MTD for your clients. You will only be able to do this if you’re registered as an agent already.
  4. Link your VAT clients to your Agent Service account

This will allow you to file VAT returns for all of your clients.

 

How to register for MTD for VAT as a business

  1. Log into your Government Gateway account (or create a Government Gateway account)
  2. Provide HMRC with your Government Gateway and password, your company’s VAT registration number, your VAT accounting records the date you became a VAT registered business and the amount of your last VAT return.
  3. HMRC will confirm your details and within 72 hours will confirm your registration.
  4. You will then need to activate MTD for VAT on your accounting software using details provided by HMRC

 

How to submit a VAT return

When it comes around to time to submit your VAT return, you will need to file your VAT return via your accounting software programs. This will usually be under an option like “create VAT report” or something similar.

Once the report is created, check over the file for any errors, and then tell your accounting software to submit the VAT return to HMRC.

 

Which software programs can be used to file VAT returns?

There are plenty of accounting software options available that are recognised by HM Revenues & Customs. Some of the most highly recommended software programs for VAT submission are:

  • QuickBooks

£20 a month, QuickBooks is a great all-rounder for all of your accounting needs.

  • Xero

£10 to £30 a month, provides the ability to take photographs of bills and receipts to extract data.

  • FreshBooks

£19 a month, helps to produce estimates and proposals.

  • Sage

£12 to £36 a month for an above average, well-liked and recommended software.

  • FreeAgent

£19 to £29 a month or free to NatWest, RBS or Ulster Bank business customers.

6 Tips for Sourcing the Right Suppliers and Vendors

Suppliers

Quality vendors and suppliers are the lifeblood of any successful business. They are key to ensuring timely delivery of goods and services at the right price and compliance with set quality standards. Entrepreneurs must go through a stringent process to select the right suppliers to serve them for a long period. Keep in mind that it’s important to build great business partnerships with your vendor network to enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship. To identify the best suppliers that will meet most of your demands, here are the most critical factors to consider.

 

1. Check Certifications

Partnering with suppliers with relevant industry certifications is a smart business move. The certification implies that the suppliers have a verifiable process to meet what your entity values most, while assuring that a company’s services and products are of high quality. It also shows that the vendors follow international standards to get the most out of businesses, consistency, and promote growth. ISO, QS, and supplier diversity certification are examples of certifications you should look for when looking for a great vendor for your enterprise.

 

2. Value for Money

Another key consideration when looking for the right vendors is value for money. You do not want to work with suppliers that are only out to exploit customers because this can cause financial problems to your enterprise. Be wary of vendors that are too cheap because they may disappoint you with low-quality products. Such vendors may be too expensive where you have to deal with costs for replacements and returns. Opt instead for competitively priced suppliers who will always deliver value for money without hidden fees. It will allow you to maintain your business reputation while managing finances well.

 

3. Dependability

Great suppliers will ship the right number of products in good condition on time. It’s advisable to check reviews from past clients to gauge whether it is a vendor you can trust. Where possible, split orders between two companies so that you can have a backup if one vendor lets you down. It can also help you decide the supplier to work with long-term depending on the services they render. Ideally, it is best to work with firms that invest in delivering solutions that boost convenience.

 

4. Supplier Capabilities

You want to find a vendor that consistently manufactures the products you want. You can do this by visiting the vendors personally or engaging the services of a third party to audit their quality system. It will help you uncover more about the supplier verifying areas such as:

  • In-process quality control as well as pre-shipment quality control procedures
  • Raw materials the company uses and finished product inventory
  • Research and development capabilities if you are developing new products
  • Licenses
  • Equipment and machine calibration and maintenance

You can also obtain a sample product to give them a stamp of approval. It is one of the best ways to confirm whether the supplier is the best fit for your business.

 

5. Shared Culture

Even when in the process of indirect procurement, you must ensure that the vendors you are working with are willing to work with your entity. Different suppliers have different models where some may prefer to develop new products while withers may prioritize green logistics. Go for the vendor whose goals align with your business.

To evaluate culture fit, you can ask questions like the types of enterprises the vendor typically works with, how much they know about your business, their minimum quality order, and how detailed their quote is. Expectations will only be met when they are clear on both ends. You must also find a vendor that agrees with your communication style. 

 

6. Financial Health

If a vendor has excellent financial ability, they will be able to weather periods of economic uncertainty ensuring business continuity regardless of the season. Do not just ask whether the suppliers are financially able, but ask for documents or other details that can validate financial strength. Examples of the top ways to verify a vendor’s financial stability include the following:

  • Running a credit report is one of the easiest ways to assess the supplier’s financial potential, allowing you to ask relevant questions
  • Review financial statements to look into profitability, liquidity, and activity ratios
  • Validate bank details by finding out how long the vendor has had the account. Frequently switching from one bank to another is usually not a good sign
  • Understand business growth plans and only partner with suppliers that continually invest in their business

 

Conclusion

The supplier and vendors you choose to work with will determine whether your business will succeed or not. The tips above will help you select a supplier that will support your entity by delivering the proper services and goods within budget and on it. It will help you enhance productivity and profitability.

First Time to Ship Your Products and Good? 5 Tips for a Seamless Process

Product Delivery

Building your business isn’t a walk in the park. Apart from developing the best product, you also need to ensure that you have a strong marketing strategy and provide extraordinary customer service. As a first-time seller, you need to ensure that you arrange your logistics and packaging well to deliver your product to your customers in the best way possible.  

If it’s your first-time shipping products and goods, you need to check that everything goes smoothly. Any delivery delays and mishaps in transit could affect your credibility as a business, resulting in an unsatisfied customer experience. Listed below are 5 tips to seamlessly ship your products and goods.

 

1. Look For the Best Courier

The courier you’re going for will highly affect your business, as they’ll be responsible for the speed of delivery to your customers. Additionally, they’ll also handle your products and ensure that they’ll arrive at your customers in the best condition possible. With that, you should search for the best courier that can meet your needs for delivery service.  

As you search for the best courier, you might want to consider going for a load board as they’ll help you save money and time since you’ll be sharing the load with other shippers or freight brokers. However, you should thoroughly research this new shipping scale as it might not be for everyone, especially if you’re still starting new and shipping items in nearby places.  

 

2. Check the Shipping Costs

Before you publish any products online, you should first check the possible shipping costs of your items. You can confirm shipping rates with the courier and relay the price to your customers. Alternatively, you can add a few bucks if you’re going to charge for the packaging cost, such as mailers, boxes, bubble wraps, and honeycomb wrappers. Try to keep the costs at a minimum as many customers are usually deterred by high shipping fees.

When checking the shipping cost, you should also consider the size of the product itself. Most couriers relate the shipping price depending on the size of the actual product or if it can fit the parcel. For your customers who are ordering plenty of items for your business, you should comply with the price increase accordingly. This will prevent you from shouldering the extra shipping cost when allowing your customers to handle them.  

 

3. Ensure Product Safety

Shipping products can be tricky, especially if you’re relying heavily on the courier. To ensure that your products arrive in their best condition to your customers, you should provide maximum product safety as much as possible. This will apply to all kinds of products, no matter how small or large. 

For your fragile items such as glass, acrylics, cement, and gadgets, you should wrap them with protective layering as thick as possible. You can use bubble wraps or honeycomb wrappers while putting them inside a box filled with foam peanuts. Ideally, you should wrap the item itself, including the box, to deliver safe packaging for your customers. While it might cost you a bit more, ensure that you add the costs to the product itself, so you don’t lose profits with shipping packaging.  

As you’ll be shipping your products by courier, it would be helpful if you could select packaging designs that are easy to send. This will help your products be cost-efficient and save yourself time from wrapping your products and securing them with as many tapes as possible. 

 

4. Set a Ship Out Schedule

Some shipping couriers will require you to drop off your products in their warehouse as they cannot accommodate door-to-door shipping, especially if you’re planning to send out plenty of products on the same day. While it might be tempting to pack and ship the items right away, implementing a shipping schedule will help save gas and energy, especially if you plan to do them one by one.  

If you’re still starting new, you might consider setting a weekly or bi-weekly schedule to ship out your products. In most stores, they schedule their ship out date every Monday and Thursday. However, if you’re receiving plenty of orders daily, you should set a shipping schedule for the day wherein you’ll go to your courier’s warehouse to drop them off. Ideally, you should have a cut-off by 10 AM and ship out the orders around 1 to 2 PM. 

 

5. Consider Insurance

If you’re shipping costly products, you should consider getting insurance from your courier to ensure their security. This will also cover any possible damages and help mitigate the risk of losing a sale. With insurance, you can have something to hold on to if something happens with your product.  

Different couriers provide various insurance plans for every package. You can consult with numerous shipping services and see which one you would most benefit from. Moreover, you should also consider the insurance cost as they could be an added fee for your customers.  

 

Conclusion 

Shipping products for the first time can be tricky, especially since there are plenty of things you should research and consider. There are also inevitable issues you’ll encounter along the way. As you establish your shipping process, find reputable suppliers who can offer the cheapest rates as customers would always prefer to pay a low shipping cost. Additionally, you shouldn’t neglect the courier’s customer service so you wouldn’t have any trouble connecting with them if something happens with your product. Remember the tips above for a seamless shipping process for your business.

How to Find the Right CPA for Your Small Business

Business CPA

Running a small business can be rewarding, but it can also be challenging. No startup owner is great at everything, so they’ll need a support system that can help them manage portions of their business. If finances aren’t your strong suit, you can hire a CPA to remain compliant.

But, you can’t just pick an accountant’s name out of a hat; you have to make a conscious decision of who you’ll trust with your payroll, bookkeeping, taxation, and regulatory reporting. 

 

3 Ways to Find the Right CPA for Your Startup

The right CPA isn’t just an accountant; they’re a person who actively supports your business and helps you scale. With that in mind, here are 3 factors you can use to find an accountant.

 

1. Check Their Accounting Qualifications

Becoming a CPA is no easy task, and that’s clear when you look at state CPA test requirements. Although requirements vary across states, most test takers must complete a bachelor’s degree in a related field (finance or business) and 150 college credit hours (30 more than a bachelor’s).

Since 150 credit hours is necessary to write the CPA test, most students will go for a masters’ degree because it improves their hiring potential and furthers their knowledge in their field.

To take the test, accountants don’t have to have any relevant work experience, but they must get said experience after the fact to get their license. This practically guarantees that your CPA will come from a solid financial background, but they may not have direct startup experience.

Any CPA you hire should have prior experience working with startups and developing business strategies to be considered. Check if they’re able to scale companies with minimal cash flow.

 

2. Look Up Reviews, Testimonials, and Referrals

Since all CPAs have to have work experience to get their license, they have to have references or testimonials from other businesses. If they don’t have any reviews, their reviews are mostly negative, or they refuse to offer references what you ask, pass them up for someone else.

Some agencies will hire out their CPAs to other companies, while some professionals will go into business for themselves. A company or individual that doesn’t utilize reviews has bad business sense because they should know how important they are for social proof. 

However, if your CPA of choice has mostly positive reviews and testimonials, look into them further. If, for some reason, you’ve been having a hard time finding an accountant online, ask other business owners for referrals. They may be able to point you in the right direction.

 

3. Find Someone You Like But Be Selective

Your accountant should always meet the basic requirements for the job first, but if you don’t like them, you’ll both have a hard time working efficiently. You should be immediately comfortable with your prospective accountants and have a desire to build a business relationship with them.

When you’re asking the accountant questions about their experience and availability, try to add in some casual conversation. Unfortunately, some CPAs won’t let their true personalities shine until you encourage them to do so. They’d rather play it safe and act professionally at all times.

It’s better to connect with the accountant face-to-face once you’re happy with their credentials, as it’s the fastest way to judge someone based on their personality and general likability.

We recommend bringing another person along to the meeting whose judgment you trust. It’s not always easy to read between the lines once you’re convinced they’re a good fit. But the wrong hire can cost your company a lot of money, so trust your own gut or someone else’s.

The Chip Crisis: What Does It Mean for the Automotive Industry?

Car being built on a factory floor

The demand for electronic devices in the last couple of years has transformed the market into a sort of treasure hunt. If you happen to be a keen videogamer, finding PS5 consoles in recent times will have caused you a few headaches. Likewise, you will have seen fewer mobile phones in stores, and the available ones will have had – and, to some extent, still do have – costly price tags.

A substantial global chip shortage is at the heart of the problem, leading to an array of hurdles that are impacting many different industries. The automotive sector, in this respect, has not been spared. In fact, if you have been looking for a new vehicle or a business car or van, you may have noticed that your options in the past two years have become somewhat limited. As things stand, predictions are not rosy, and the issue is likely to persist for some time.

But what has been causing the disruptions? How is it impacting drivers? Here, we take a look at how the chip crisis is affecting the automotive industry, while also highlighting a positive exception.

 

What is happening?

The pandemic has had an enormous effect in recent years. It has taken numerous lives, changed the way we go about our daily routines, and forced changes to both our education system and work schedules. It is fair to say that the existing global semiconductor shortage is one of its many consequences too.

While more and more people started working from home and required new electronic devices, factories had to run at reduced capacity because of social distancing rules. Therefore, as demand increased, chip supply gradually dried up. What’s more, other unfavourable events, including a fire at a chip plant in Japan and unexpected frozen conditions in Texas, contributed to delays in the delivery of semiconductors worldwide.

As mentioned, the automotive industry has been – and continues to be – on the wrong end of this chip crisis too. Automakers rely heavily on these tiny components, even for basic cars and vans. From in-built navigators to infotainment systems, vehicle tech features need these little ‘brains’ to function properly. Hence, with reduced chip availability, car and van production has slowed considerably.

This negative ‘trend’ is set to persist during the next months, if not years. Toyota, for instance, is still having a hard time because there are simply not enough chips around. As one of the world’s largest automakers, the Japanese multinational has witnessed a substantial 21% fall in its operating profits and expects a manufacturing reduction of about 30,000 vehicles in February 2022. In the whole of 2021, Toyota missed out on the planned production of 1.1m vehicles, whereas Ford fell short of an estimated 1.25m cars and vans. 

As technology advances at an exponential rate and vehicles become more modern and complicated as a result, chips will be increasingly essential. But with the ongoing semiconductor shortage, disruptions are bound to carry on for the foreseeable future.

 

The impact on drivers

Automakers are not the only group suffering from this everlasting chip crisis. Drivers and wannabe vehicle owners are being affected as well. One of the most obvious drawbacks for potential buyers is that they are not as spoilt for choice as they used to be. With fewer vehicles available on the market, they are ultimately left with limited options.   

Moreover, drivers may have to wait longer to finally get behind the wheel of their new automobile. With prolonged lead times, dealerships are experiencing more frequent delays to vehicle deliveries. This means that, on the whole, their waiting time may lengthen up to six months.

Another consequence is the rise of vehicles’ price tags. As suppliers struggle to meet demand, the cost of cars and vans has inevitably escalated. In this respect, used cars are no different. The most popular used-vehicle models have become between 30% and 53% more expensive than they were 12 months ago.

On a brighter note, however, there is a way to tackle this entire situation. Car and van leasing can provide an excellent alternative to the existing hurdles of car ownership. If you are in urgent need of a vehicle for your business, leasers will have a wide range of options at affordable rates.

Jonathan Beadle, Commercial Manager at Van Ninja, said: “Despite the ongoing chip crisis, Van Ninja has not experienced issues with vehicle availability. We have a large number of van models, both in different sizes and payloads, to suit you and your job duties.

“The price of vehicles may be soaring, but van leasing allows you to hit the road in a flash and with no hefty expenses. What’s more, if after a while you fancy a change of pedals and steering wheels, you can always return your current van and replace it with a new model.

“Our fleet is always rich with options, and van drivers can pick the vehicle that best suits their professions or needs.”

 

From severe delays to increased costs, there is no hiding that the global chip shortage is putting the automotive industry to the test. At this moment in time, it seems unlikely that things will start easing again. If in search for a new vehicle, whether for work or personal reasons, leasing can ultimately represent a great way to hit the streets with no inconveniences or setbacks.

Workers’ Compensation For the Trucking Industry: A Brief Guide

Trucking Industry

Being a truck driver is more than driving a truck. It’s knowing how to drive a vehicle that large to deliver goods from Point A to Point B safely. After all, operating something in that size is bound to bring its own challenges.

Accidents can happen just about anywhere at any time, and car accidents continue to pile in numbers each month. Given how trucks are double the size of a car, it only makes sense for its risk to double in size. As such, there’s always a chance your business might get compromised if your transportation got involved in a truck accident. 

But it’s safe to say how the employee directly affected by this event might not come out unscathed. Since treating the damages caused by the accident would come out of your pocket, you might want to consider claiming workers’ compensation.

 

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is meant to provide for any damage inflicted on the employee, regardless of whether they’re liable for the accident or not. To discuss it even further, this claim protects you financially by answering the following:

  • Medical costs
  • Missed wages
  • Funeral expenses


With these benefits protecting the employee, they and the employer won’t be subjected to potential bankruptcy depending on how severe the damage is. And knowing how dangerous it is to be involved in an automobile accident—much less a truck accident—should be enough for you to know how severe it could impact your life moving forward.

 

Qualifications For Workers’ Compensation

Although working in a truck industry may not be the same as an office job, claiming workers’ compensation isn’t that different. If you visit terrykatzandassociates.com and other specialists, the same qualifications must be met to guarantee you’ll receive your workers’ compensation:

  • Must have no relation to foreign substances
  • Must not be self-inflicted
  • Must happen within the job

However, one topic worth getting debated pertains to independent contractors and employees. Since not all truck drivers aren’t employed by a company, employers or insurance companies might claim they’re not suitable to receive workers’ compensation. As long as a truck driver is hired to do a job and their injuries occurred during the duration of their contract, this makes them qualified to be a beneficiary for workers’ compensation.

 

How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim

Much like how one handles other personal injury claims, the same basics apply to workers’ compensation.

 

1. Contact Help

The injured employee must contact their employer first because the accident happened during working hours (or contract). By contacting them, they’re promptly alerted of what happened so they can make the necessary preparations for your workers’ compensation while calling for medical help to attend to you.

 

2. Gather Proof

Although you have workers’ compensation protecting you financially, that doesn’t mean you should allow the liability to go scot-free, especially if you’re confident you’re not at fault. That’s when a lawyer comes in. With their guidance, they can advise you on the next steps you could take given your situation.

 

3. Prepare For Settlement

Depending on who’s the liability, you can either settle a decision with the liability or your employer. You’re supposed to reach an agreement with them. After all, there’s only so much your workers’ compensation can shoulder, especially if your condition takes a long time to recover or whether it’s permanent. It’s only understandable to discuss the settlement between the liability with the help of your lawyer to ensure the benefits you’re receiving are in your favor.

As for the employer, this should already be a given since you got injured on the job. And although workers’ compensation covers medical bills, there are still different categories of medical benefits which hones into what health condition you’ve received from the accident such as:

  • Temporary total disability benefits
  • Temporary partial disability benefits
  • Permanent partial disability benefits
  • Permanent total disability benefits

 

4. Decide the Outcome

Depending on what sort of disability you’ve received from the accident, you and your employer must come up with a decision. After all, as mentioned earlier, it’s rare for victims of car accidents to come out of one unscathed. Therefore, your disability could impact whether or not you’re capable of going to work.

 

Why You Need Workers’ Compensation In Trucking Industry

Getting involved in an accident is an expensive endeavor, whether you’re the liability or not. And with a job as high-stakes as truck driving, accidents may very well be knocking on your door anytime. But having workers’ compensation could help ease your worries somewhat since it protects you from going bankrupt as you recover.

Delivering Products Out of State: How to Find a Great National Shipping Company

Shipping Company

Customer expectations are expanding, and to keep up with this need, businesses are hiring third-party courier companies to deliver their products on time. However, small businesses that try to match the delivery speeds of their competition also have to deal with a high price tag.

Or, do they? When implemented strategically with the right national shipping company, you can drive more sales to your website, prevent cart abandonment, and keep your customers happy.

 

How to Find the Right National Courier For Your Business

The buyer’s journey doesn’t end on the checkout screen; it stays on course up until the point of delivery. You’ll need the right nationwide courier service to impress your state-wide customers.

 

1. Know Your Customer’s First

Before engaging with delivery companies, you need to understand your own requirements and your customer’s priorities. If you’re attracting more and more out-of-state customers, you already know you need a national courier, but the specific company you’ll need will depend.

While researching, consider if your customers will pay for fast delivery, the number of products you ship each week/month, and your competition to determine the right courier for you. Pricing for courier companies varies greatly depending on the type of services you need.

 

2. Delivery Speed and Costs

36% of US online shoppers opted for same-day delivery for purchases, but most retailers don’t offer this feature. It’s likely your buyers will use the same-day shipping option if it’s available, even if they have to pay a premium. At the very least, you should try to offer two-day shipping.

However, fast shipping from your courier will also cost you a pretty penny, and you can’t pass all of that cost to the consumer. At the same time, the cheapest provider isn’t always the best. It’s better to prioritize quality service over low costs to encourage customer loyalty and sales value.

 

3. Delivery Range and Tracking

Any courier service that doesn’t have a national delivery range shouldn’t be considered. Since you’re already expanding to different states, find a company that ships across the US, not just to a select few states (or locations in these states), to keep up with your current business growth.

Customers want to buy from businesses that allow them to track their packages, but this feature becomes necessary across state lines. When a package travels a longer distance, there are more opportunities for something to go wrong. A tracking number will offer peace of mind.

 

4. Customer Service (Helpfulness/Friendliness) 

Even in instances of contactless delivery, couriers will interact with your customers at some point, so you’ll want to perform background checks before hiring them. Look at customer review websites like Trustpilot and Google, and see how they respond to negative criticism. 

If your courier of choice has received a decent amount of positive reviews and can perform conflict resolution tactics on negative reviews, call up the company. Ask about their insurance options and when you can reach them if you have a problem. Make a note of their friendliness

 

5. Courier Specialization 

Some products, like perishables or medical supplies, require a specialized shipping solution. When it comes to these items, even the smallest error could have long-lasting consequences for your brand. That’s why It’s crucial to find a courier that has a specific expertise if you need it.

Consider specialty conditions for your items, such as shipping times, insulated packaging, temperature, and pricing. For medical couriers, you need to ensure the drivers are HIPAA certified. eCommerce businesses may want a courier that offers API integration with their site.

5 Quality Management Tips For the Automotive Industry

Automotive Management

The automotive industry is believed to be an industry wherein consumers’ feedback regarding the quality of auto products and services is key in the sales process. High-quality and responsive offerings allow industry players to achieve profits and continued growth. 

Yet to achieve production efficiency and maintain favorable clientele feedback, several aspects of a business’ processes would need optimization. From policies to manufacturing lines, it’s recommended that every automotive company make quality assurance an integral component of business management through smart operating decisions and practices.

Quality management encompasses every aspect of doing business – covering internal departments, partner manufacturers, and the like. It generally includes routine quality checks to ensure that every working cog meets all safety standards, prototype specifications, and the like before rolling out a given product or service. 

Continue reading to learn more on how to carry out effective quality management and control.

 

Principles and Metrics of Quality Management In the Automotive Industry

Quality checks in the automotive industry occur in three principles and metrics. They’re:

  • Product quality: Vehicular quality is at the top of all other quality checks. According to this great post, everything needs an assessment — from latches to other parts. The goal is to ensure product optimization and safety. 
  • Ownership quality: Ownership refers to the overall valuable experiences of the customer after purchase.
  • Manufacturing or production quality: Production quality is the inspection companies carry out on equipment used during car making, including the engineering assembly, design modeling tools, and others. 

 

Importance of Quality Management and Performance In the Automotive Industry

The benefits of quality management and performance include:

  • Better products: To achieve quality is to make good products. When automotive players have refined systems that detect errors and mistakes in the engineering of vehicles, they’ll produce outstanding and high-quality items. 
  • Higher customer satisfaction: The automotive industry desires to satisfy the available market by meeting and exceeding the satisfaction level of all customers. A better product will make buyers cherish them more. 
  • Lower costs: There’s a strong probability that firms’ costs of production will be reduced when they improve the quality of products. Improved quality lowers costs.

 

Quality Management Tips For the Automotive Industry

There are things to know before, during, and after automotive companies carry out quality management. Some proven tips are:

1. Create a Culture of Quality

Creating and sustaining a company-wide culture of quality is imperative in promoting quality management. This involves quality control and management processes across all tiers: from the production engineers to marketing teams, everyone should be expressive and observant about a product’s quality. 

This culture should be adopted in key areas such as procurement, production, and scheduling. 

 

2. Work Closely With Partner Suppliers

Suppliers of raw material and mechanical parts for production are vital. They work hand-in-hand with the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Therefore, the OEM must maintain a courteous relationship to ensure quality control and management. 

A long association with automotive parts suppliers speaks volumes and determines the quality of automotive products. The OEM working closely with suppliers helps foster a great understanding of the internal processes. That way, companies can develop safety measures for innovative products

 

3. Leverage Manufacturing Intelligence

Automotive products are upgraded through the use of manufacturing intelligence. Manufacturing intelligence is the process of preserving and making use of data gathered during production. These data are useful in making new models after a proper understudy of old releases. Advocating for manufacturing intelligence will guarantee quality management and efficiency in industrial operations. 

 

4. Adopt a Technology-Infused Supply Chain 

Leveraging technology is the order of the day, and its adoption in the automotive industry will highly impact the supply chain. 

The automotive industry has a broad supply chain. The best and most cost-effective method to keep track of this is by implementing the latest technologies that offer convenience and quality control through all data input and manufacturing phases

Quality is believed to be assured when suppliers and manufacturers use state-of-the-art technologies to communicate off-site and on-site production and distribution status.

 

5. Demand More Than An Inspection Report

Manufacturers can, through testing and service, demand more than an inspection report. Companies can only achieve quality in production when they get into a deep involvement with the supplier’s operations. Cloud-based quality systems are handy in monitoring suppliers’ operations and procedures. With team collaboration made in real-time, quality management is said to be improved. 

 

Conclusion

Like every other industry, the automotive industry needs quality management to achieve the double benefits of ensuring patrons’ safety and satisfaction. Aside from that, improved quality lowers costs and enhances profits.

The Need for New Talent in the Logistics Sector

Logistics worker in a warehouse, using a laptop with software to help the buisness

Many sectors have a constant churn of staff and require an influx of talent, but this is especially true in the logistics sector. The industry, which accounts for 8% of all UK employment, is facing a “severe” skills shortage according to the CILT.

The survey shows that 54% of logistics businesses expect to see skills shortages by 2024, with drivers, warehouse operatives, and back-office vacancies the most urgent to fill. An Edge report shows that demand for transport and logistics employees is 4.6 times higher than young people aspiring to work in the sector. This highlights a serious issue with supply and demand.

Like many sectors in the UK, the logistics industry is also facing a serious digital skills gap. According to C. H. Robinson General Manager Nick Ghia, this is as concerning, if not more pressing, than the employee shortage: “Everyone talks about a driver shortage but arguably the biggest issue is around developing a digital workforce which will be critical to driving forward the logistics industry in the future.”

 

Why is the Sector Experiencing Such a Severe Skills Gap?

The sector has one of the most prominent ageing workforces in the UK. RHA data shows that the average age of road haulage drivers is 57, while 81.1% of transport managers are over 45. Over a third of transport managers are aged between 55–64, meaning many will reach retirement age by 2029. This predicament has only been amplified by Brexit, which has seen 80,000 EU nationals leave the UK’s logistics sector.

This older-than-average workforce feeds into the issue of a digital skills gap. According to a PwC report, 50% of executives in logistics businesses say their biggest barrier to digital adoption is a lack of digital culture and training. It makes sense that workers who were not brought up with technology may find it more difficult to adapt than younger employees who have been around it all their lives. But this is causing problems for businesses because workers end up resistant to change.

The logistics sector is therefore ranked low on digital maturity, scoring 32 points out of 100. This is in comparison to the overall travel sector, which scores 41, and digital leaders in transport, who score an average of 62. Logistics companies that work in B2C sectors are feeling additional pressure to go digital as more consumers demand an online presence.

 

How Can You Fill Your Skills Gap?

Not only is the sector short on personnel, but it’s lacking in key roles and skills. If you’re unable to plug these gaps, you’ll struggle to meet increasing customer demands and may lose out on business as a result. But there are a number of ways you can address this pressing issue.

 

Attract the Next Generation of Workers

An ageing workforce and digital skills shortage are combining to create a huge problem for logistics businesses. The good news is that with every new workforce generation comes better digital skills. As businesses digitally advance, they need a workforce that is able to adopt technology easily. The millennial and Generation Z workforces – those born between 1980 and 2015 – have grown up with technology as standard. It’s for this reason that they’ve been dubbed “digital natives”. They’ll bring a natural knack for using digital technologies to any role.

Apprenticeships are a great option to explore for a number of reasons. Training young apprentices on the job means they’ll gain the necessary skills for the role whilst also working towards a qualification. You can also train them on your organisation’s specific systems and processes, moulding them for the role that is most important to your business. They’ll bring the skills that come with an upbringing in a digital world, and you can equip them with the expertise they need to succeed in your business.

It’s important to understand how to attract the best and brightest talent from this generation of digital experts. Half of millennials rate flexibility as “very important” when choosing an employer. This generation is also the most likely to job-hop, with 43% planning on leaving their current roles in the next two years. Therefore, it’s key to meet their expectations in order to retain the best talent once you’ve got them through the door.

 

Provide Digital Training

One of the best ways you can set your business and your employees up for success is to provide digital training. This is critical to equipping your existing and new employees with the skills they need for their roles. Not only will this ensure that your workforce is trained on your specific systems and logistics software, but that they’re also prepared for your company’s digitisation.

With 70% of young people expecting their employers to provide digital training, this can also help you attract the next generation of employees.

 

Encourage Internal Movers and Shakers

A sure-fire way to onboard employees in critical areas of your business is to allow employees to move between roles or progress into higher positions. This is a great opportunity for back-office staff to try their hand at warehousing roles. Similarly, your warehouse operatives may have expressed an interest in trying their hand at HGV driving.

The bonus of filling your most pressing vacancies with existing employees is that you know they’re already familiar with your business and its processes. While they will still require training in their new role, it’ll be a quicker induction than if you were to bring new hires on board. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be hiring externally. Blending internal role changes and external recruitment will help you fill the most pressing gaps.

 

It’s clear the logistics sector is experiencing a serious skills gap. Not only is there an employee shortage in critical areas including drivers, warehousing operatives, and back-office staff, but there is also a digital skills gap which is threatening the growth of businesses. There are a number of ways organisations in the sector can combat this, from recruiting digital-savvy employees to upskilling their existing staff. Blending these three methods together will ensure you have a workforce prepared for your digital revolution.

4 Ways Your Business Can Benefit From Green Logistics

Green Logistics

Green logistics, also known as eco-logistics, refers to sustainable policies and other measures adopted to reduce the environmental impact of storage, transportation, and distribution of goods and other logistic activities. This noteworthy initiative is in response to the realization that the supply chain, which links your customers with products and services from any place in the world, is taking a huge toll on the environment. 

It’s imperative to address environmental, economic, and social issues if we hope to have a fully sustainable supply chain. Such a holistic approach characterized by environmentally and socially responsible practices is beneficial not only to people and the environment but also to your bottom line. 

This article will cite four ways your business can benefit from eco-friendly logistics practices and cut costs down the road.

 

1. Boost Brand Reputation

Going for green logistics can help establish your brand’s reputation in today’s information-rich environment. A company’s brand image anchored on environmental responsibility inspires trust and confidence among the general public. 

As consumers become more aware of the disastrous effects of global warming, they expect companies to go green and reduce their carbon footprint. Consequently, they want to deal with eco-friendly companies and would stop patronizing companies that aren’t taking action against climate change. 

 

2. Attract New Partners

Opting for a sustainable supply chain enables your business to build its environmental credentials. This environmental advocacy makes you a suitable prospect for other businesses looking for a partner with similar values. 

To further enhance your green credentials, apply for ISO 14001 accreditation, an internationally recognized standard that assists organizations in reducing the environmental impact of their products, services, and activities. 

Accreditation lends more credibility to your company’s efforts in reducing the impact of climate change. Potential partners and clients will be convinced that your company would make a suitable partner when your environmental goals align with theirs. 

 

3. Provide Competitive Advantage

Adopting green logistics makes you stand out in the competition. Because it could entail hefty upfront costs, going green is not the conventional or convenient option. Many companies are reluctant to embrace change, even if it’s for the benefit of the planet and for an organization’s operational sustainability. 

It’s important to note that sustainability isn’t a passing fancy, but an inevitable trend as global warming continues to worsen. Therefore, you’re preparing your company for the future when you pursue sustainable strategies.  

 

4. Reduce Costs

Adopting environmentally responsible practices allows logistics service providers to cut considerable costs.

  • Optimizing Transport Fleet Management

The transportation of goods is a major contributor to carbon emissions. More so with inefficient transport management systems.  When fleet management is inefficient, delivery schedules are not optimized and may even lead to ‘empty miles’ or trucks on the road that are driving empty. 

With the aid of software or digital technology, logistics providers would be able to eliminate empty miles as they optimize fleet schedules, delivery route planning, and load pooling. Aside from reducing carbon emissions, they also save on fuel and fleet maintenance costs due to reduced wear and tear.  

  • Implementing Energy Conservation Measures

Implementing energy management systems (EMS) in a warehouse could lead to a significant reduction in energy bills, which translates to big savings. EMS can also make material handling equipment and conveyors more efficient by automatically shutting down the system when not in use. Aside from improving operating efficiencies, the life cycle of equipment is also extended as a result. 

Warehouses and distribution centers may invest in energy-efficient equipment with high-efficiency motors. Although more costly, these pieces of equipment are more reliable and put less load on electrical circuits, translating to more savings.  

  • Adopting Sustainable Warehouse Construction And Design

Eco-logistics can be incorporated in warehouse construction and design, ensuring sustainable building management. Such buildings optimize water and energy consumption efficiency, install alternative energy sources, and use sustainable construction materials, among others. 

With the complete automation of some processes in the warehouse, artificial lighting may be reduced, similar to the lights-out manufacturing method. Reducing packaging is another green initiative for warehouses and distribution centers as it limits the wastage of resources. 

 

Takeaway

Opting for green logistics could bring substantial gains to your business. It enhances your brand image and reputation, brings in potential partners, and gives you a competitive advantage, all of which could boost your bottom line while you do your part in protecting the environment.

As for logistics service providers, adopting sustainable measures leads to considerable savings. This presents a win-win situation for the environment, the people, and the logistics industry.