Category: General Article

Six tips for conference calls

Conference calls can be a great asset for any business, fostering good communications and great efficiency. If you are not taking advantage of conference calls, let’s take a look at six tips to help you derive greater benefits from them.

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Professionalism

1. Pick a place for your call where there won’t be a lot of disruption from office noise and any other activities. It is important that everyone can hear each other clearly. Open-plan offices can be noisy and are not always a good idea, as discussed in an article in the Guardian.

2. When everyone has joined the call, allow each person to introduce themselves concisely. This enables everyone to know who is there and encourages individuals to speak up. Make sure you have a clear agenda, possibly distributed beforehand, so that the attention of all participants is focused. When one item is finished, indicate this clearly before moving on to the next.

Quick and effective

3. Try to speak slowly and clearly so that everyone can follow what is happening without visual input. Allow for short pauses during which points can be clarified and relevant questions asked.

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4. Phones with background noise suppression can be useful; otherwise, be aware of anyone’s behaviour that could be potentially distracting or stop others from hearing what is going on.

5. Have a schedule for your call and stick to it. Try not to let participants deviate from this or get carried away with discussions on tangential subjects.

6. VoIP provides a very effective platform for conference calls. This technology also incorporates many ways a business can save money on communications, especially if it can use the benefits of wholesale VoIP termination rates.

If you want to learn more about wholesale VoIP termination rates and how they … Read the rest

What utensils do you need for your commercial kitchen?

There is a vast array of utensils and tools to undertake almost any task in the kitchen these days but the trick is choosing the best for your own kitchen. The right utensils can save time when prepping, cooking and serving food, which is essential in a professional kitchen and can even make such processes safer.

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Essentials

The essentials for your kitchen will vary depending on your menu. Some chefs consider a blowtorch a crucial item but for many, it’s a specialist tool. Here we look at utensils needed in all commercial kitchens.

Most modern ovens and catering fridge will have integral thermometers but for food safety reasons it is still important to have dedicated thermometers to check the internal temperature of meats. Over the course of a service, there may be many temperatures to take note of so it is sensible to record the data with a log book or data recorder.

A full set of chopping boards, ideally coloured differently for specific food groups is a necessity for hygiene reasons in any kitchen. The minimum requirement would be separate boards for cooked and raw foods. Even if raw meat has been kept correctly in a catering fridge, as soon as it is being prepared on a chopping board there is the danger of cross-contamination. Hygienic practices are particularly important to ensure customers return, as discussed in this article from The Independent.

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Material

Utensils such as tongs, spatulas, spoons, whisks, slices and turners have a role in all kitchens. It is important to consider the material these tools are made from as it can affect their use. For example, metal utensils can be longer lasting but should not be used with non-stick coatings as they can scratch them. For use with non-stick pans … Read the rest

A complete guide to designing an efficient commercial kitchen

Creating or redesigning a commercial kitchen is never an easy task. With so much to consider, including plumbing, electricity and the happiness of your staff, it’s no wonder restaurant owners frequently struggle when creating an efficient space.

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However, designing your kitchen doesn’t need to be a minefield. By reading our guide below you should be able to get an idea of what you need and should avoid when it comes to designing the perfect kitchen.

Minimise movement

The less your chefs need to move or fight for space the lower the risk of injury or spillage. Having an efficient kitchen also saves time in food prep and leads to less stressed, happier staff.

Save energy

The best kitchens are energy efficient. Using a commercial combi oven not only saves space, but also saves range hood energy consumption.

Size matters

The square footage of your commercial kitchen should be proportionate to the amount of covers your restaurant sits. As a general rule, provide at least five square feet for each seat.

Necessity

Only fill your kitchen with equipment necessary for purpose to avoid a cluttered workspace. That said, always listen to your chefs; they’re the ones working in the kitchen so know what you need. It might be worth splashing out a little more for that top of the range freezer or commercial combi oven if it keeps your chefs happy.

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Health and Safety

It might be a boring topic, but ensure any new kitchen equipment has proper health and safety certifications.

An often forgotten aspect of health and safety includes adequate ventilation. This not only makes the kitchen and staff smell better, but also maintains a safe environment for employees and customers.

Maintenance

The best kitchens are easy to maintain. Consider when shelving (easily accessible) or … Read the rest

Steps to mastering the right retail signage for your shop

Poor signage leads to frustration and low sales. Creating memorable signs can be fun as well as selling your merchandise. Your physical message is just as important as your website, and shouldn’t be an afterthought. Good signage helps your customers navigate your shop without needing to constantly ask staff questions. Below we give some advice on how to create compelling signs that will boost your business.

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Avoid common mistakes

Some common signage sins are missing signage, a lack of personality and confusing messages. Signage should be up front when you are curating a window or product display. Your customers shouldn’t have to puzzle over the meaning of a sign. The best retail signage makes clear what the merchandise is. Think of how a succinct email subject line or bold newspaper headline grabs your attention – you are aiming to hook your customers the same way.

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Keep it short

These days, social media are creating increasingly minimal messages. Once, Twitter characters were deemed paltry; now, people post six-second videos on Vine. Edit your copy vigorously to cut extraneous details. You must respect that your customers have short attention spans.

If you are curious about signage you will find your answer here: what is retail signage?

Tips on best practice can be found here: https://www.shopify.com/retail/120058499-5-types-of-signage-no-retailer-can-afford-to-ignore.

Use easy fonts

Remember that you want to drive sales. Clear font characters get attention, to help convey your message and your product. If customers can’t read fussy lettering, they will move on.

Five-second rule

You should be able to convey the message of your sign in less than five seconds. If your sign takes longer to read, reduce your message or employ a series of signs.

Say why the customer should buy your product

Be emphatic about the reason why the … Read the rest

How robotic systems are changing the face of warehouse automation

Long-term distribution and logistical costs are the last frontier for the warehouse industry, according to many experts; however, the introduction of robots to work autonomously alongside workers is transforming the industry.

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Robots can handle tasks such as delivery, packing and pick-up and can be used to handle most items in a typical establishment. Fetch and freight used in tandem are also increasingly popular.

Racking

Amazon is generally credited with revolutionising the workplace when it purchased Kiva Systems in 2012, triggering an increase in interest in autonomous mobile robots (AMRs).

Racking systems obviously have to keep pace with these developments. If you are looking for these solutions, racking Ireland offers options through suppliers such as rackzone.ie/pallet-racking/.

The combined process of introducing intelligent robots into the workplace and amending the floorplan and structure to accommodate them can deliver greater productivity and increase the flexibility of the warehouse.

The supply chain, which is currently changing dramatically with the introduction of new technology and an increasingly global reach, means that warehousing is adopting new software to run operations. Robotics mesh perfectly with these changes and are increasingly attractive to warehouse operators. This is hardly surprising, as robots have been increasingly introduced into the manufacturing process. If the items you store are made by robots, why wouldn’t you use them in the storage facility?

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Intelligent

The AMRs on the market are increasingly mobile and intelligent and represent a technology far removed from the large fixed robots used in the manufacturing industry. Minimising the size of intelligent robots and improving their navigation skills makes them ideal for the warehouse environment as it becomes increasingly automated; furthermore, they can dramatically reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Examples of these new AMRs include systems that pick and carry items to the workstations, ensuring a … Read the rest