By Adam Ismail, Candice Meyer, Safiyya Patel, Partners at Webber Wentzel

On 9 April 2019, the Minister of Trade and Industry signed four amendments to the Amended Generic B-BBEE Codes of 2013 (Codes).

These amendments were gazetted last Friday and will come into effect on 31 November 2019.

The noteworthy amendments to the Codes are highlighted below:

Amendments to Amended Codes Series 000: General Principles

• The deemed Level Two Contributor status, available to 51% Black owned exempted micro-enterprises (EME) or qualifying small enterprises (QSE) are now only available to such entities if they are at least 51% Black owned on a flow-through basis.

• Similarly, the deemed Level One Contributor status, available to 100% Black owned EMEs or QSEs are now only available to such entities if they are 100% Black owned on a flow-through basis.

• Guidance has now been provided on how unincorporated joint ventures will be measured, in essence providing for the compilation of a consolidated verification certificate using the compliance data of the joint venture partners in proportion to their shares in the joint venture.
Amendments to Amended Code Series 300: Skills Development

• The 6% target for skills development expenditure on learning programmes for Black People has now been reduced to 3.5% for a weighting which has been reduced from 8 to 6 points.

• A new sub-element for skills development expenditure on bursaries for Black students has now been introduced. The target for this sub-element is 2.5% for 4 points.

• The target for the number of Black People participating in learnerships, apprenticeships and internships as a percentage of total employees no longer includes a specific target for Black unemployed people and is now set at 5% for a total of 6 points.

• The 5 bonus points for absorption by a measured or industry entity at the end of a learnership is clarified to also pertain to internships and apprenticeships.

• It has been clarified that the calculation of the 40% minimum threshold to avoid discounting by one BEE level cannot include bonus points.

• Recognition for skills development expenditure arising from informal and workplace learning programmes was previously limited to 15% of the total value of skills development expenditure. This limit is now increased to 25%.
Amendments to Amended Code Series 400: Enterprise and Supplier Development (including Preferential Procurement)

• The amendments clarify that for an entity to meet the 40% minimum threshold to avoid discounting by one BEE level for this element, the calculation of the 40% cannot include bonus points. In other words, in order to achieve the minimum threshold of this priority element, an entity must achieve at least 10 points for procurement, 4 points for supplier development and 2 points for Enterprise Development.

• The target for procurement from 51% Black owned companies has increased from 40% of total procurement spend to 50% of total procurement spend, and the number of points awarded for such procurement has increased from 9 points to 11 points.

• The criteria to receive the multiplying factor of 1.2 for procurement from a recipient of supplier development contributions has been amended, and this enhanced recognition status is no longer limited to QSEs or EMEs. It may now also be claimed for procurement from large entities which are 51% Black owned on a flow-through basis.

• Beneficiaries of enterprise development or supplier development initiatives which are currently limited to EMEs and QSEs that are 51% Black owned, now also include large entities (which are 51% Black owned on a flow-through basis) provided that when the entity first received assistance from the measured entity, the Beneficiary was an EME or QSE. Recognition for assistance to 51% Black owned large entities will be limited to five years from the time when the beneficiary first received assistance from the measured entity.

• Procurement from large entities which are 51% Black owned on a flow-through basis will also qualify as procurement from EMEs or QSEs for a period of five years from the date on which procurement from the entity first occurred, provided that when that procurement first occurred the entity was in fact an EME or QSE.

• The amendments clarify that a Supplier Development Beneficiary is a part of the Measured Entity’s supply chain, whereas an Enterprise Development Beneficiary is not.

• Previously only 3% of the amount of any guarantee provided could be recognised as supplier or enterprise development contributions. This has now been increased to 50%, which will act as a major catalyst for companies providing guarantees rather than having to actually spend money. This has both positive and negative consequences.
The amendments to this element of the generic scorecard are likely to act as a catalyst for the implementation of 51% Black ownership transactions. Importantly, the structuring of these transactions could not be reliant on the modified flow-through principle, if the full benefits of the proposed amendments are to be reaped.
Amendments to the Schedule 1 to the Codes which contains the interpretation and definitions sections
Most of the changes to Schedule 1 are aesthetic in nature and aimed at neatening up some of the definitions used in the Codes. However, some more noteworthy changes include:

The term “Absorption” for purposes of the Y.E.S B-BBEE recognition targets and the Skills Development bonus points is no longer confined to Learners. It now includes employees, interns and apprentices.

The new defined term, “Designated Group Supplier”, has been introduced. It refers to a supplier that is not only 51% Black owned but also owned by unemployed Black people, Black youth, Black people with disabilities; black people living in rural and underdeveloped areas and/or Black military veterans. This term was not previously defined. Its introduction provides clarity on how to earn the 2 points on the preferential procurement scorecard to procure from a Designated Group Supplier.

The fifth criteria to qualify as an “Empowering Supplier” which was introduced in May 2015 has been deleted. This read “at least 85% of labour costs should be paid to South African employees by service industry entities”. Now large enterprises must comply with three out of the four remaining elements to qualify as an Empowering Supplier.
The term “long-term contract of employment”, defined as “a legal agreement between an individual and an entity that this individual would work for until his or her mandatory date of retirement”, has been introduced. This relates to the definition of the term “Absorption”.

The introduction of a definition of “Current Equity Interest Date” clarifies the determination of the graduation factor calculation for “Net Value”.

May: Message from the Board

The Association organised and held a very successful breakfast on Friday 24th May at Killarney Country Club. A huge vote of thanks goes to Wendy Bezuidenhout (Dancer) and Leigh Richter for their efforts in organising and arranging the event.

The current shop-sa association chair, Hans Servas, was away in the UK. In his stead Bill Bayley, of Rexel Office Products, was asked to do the welcome and introductions and to see the agenda of the meeting through.

In his opening address Bill reminded those present that that the shop-sa of today is quite different in form and function from what it was in the past. The office supplies industry has changed and evolved and is no longer dependent on a trade association to provide marketing inputs such as catalogues and trade shows. Retailers and dealers within the industry have either joined marketing groups or have developed their own resources.

In response to this shop-sa has looked at what trade associations in other countries have done to stay relevant in today`s market. One association model worthy of consideration is that of the Boss Federation in the UK. Faced with similar market changes to those experienced in SA, Boss refined their offering and focus. They discovered that one of the ways to add value to the industry is to gather intelligent industry leaders around tables, provide stimulating talks and insights which may enable those intelligent minds to go back to their respective organisations to find appropriate responses to the many changes that we are facing.

The guest speaker at Friday’s breakfast was Dion Chang, who is a strategic thinker, keynote speaker, a walking ideas bank and professional cage rattler. He is one of South Africa’s most respected trend analysts and founder of Flux Trends, which takes the unique view of “trends as business strategy”. Flux Trends specialises in identifying unexpected business opportunities within shifting trends, and specifically the impact of disruptive technologies – across all industries – ensuring that global trends have relevance when translated for African, and South African businesses.

He successfully convinced those present that the future will be quite different to life as we know it today. The second, third and fourth industrial revolution will change everything. Children will develop different ways of learning and memorising knowledge. He spoke of the need to splice as there will be different things going on within market sectors. Not everyone will move and adopt new ways of doing things at the same rate or pace. He said that running a business today is less about technology and more like white water kayaking. He spoke of the difficulty that well established organisations have in disturbing their current business models to cope with future trends and how hierarchical systems blunt innovation. He predicted a change from the practice of looking after shareholders only to the need to look after the wellness of the workforce as well. He spoke of the move towards morality marketing where consumers will reward brands that can show proven social and environmental care and awareness and that embrace diversity and inclusivity.

He predicted that companies will lead the push for positive change and will upskill the workforce. Companies will continue to introduce new technology and take care to retain institutional memory. Successful organisations will find the appropriate mix. The customer facing side of the business requires warm human interaction. The back end of the business will need automation to remain competitive.

In his presentation Rob Matthews showed the significant progress that the My Office digital publication has made in growing its readership base and encouraged industry suppliers and potential advertisers to expose their products and brands to this high quality data base of readers.

Wendy and Leigh have set up a collection drive in association with the Gift of the Givers to address the need to supply stationery to the many children in Mozambique and KwaZulu-Natal that were affected by the recent floods in those areas.

A number of guests were heard to say words to the effect that “it’s been so long since last we got together, we really must do this more often”.  This for us is a familiar phrase, one that probably keeps us doing what we do. The current leaders of shop-sa are inspired by the words of Ken Blanchard when he said: “None of us is as smart as all of us” and for this reason we will continue to attempt to add value to the industry by gathering together and exposing ourselves to the wisdom and guidance of those who may inspire us to plot a way for successful business in the future.

“The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and re-learn.” – Alwin Toffler

shop-sa hosted a breakfast at Killarney Country Club on Friday 24 May 2019, which included a talk by guest speaker Dion Chang of Flux Trends.

Update on the association

Board member Bill Bayley open the breakfast by highlighting the changes facing the home and office products industry, both in South Africa and internationally.
Dealer associations and the way that they operate are changing across the globe: many are closing, downsizing or revising their offerings.


shop-sa as an association has gone through a number of significant changes in the last few years. The print magazine has moved to two weekly digital newsletters, as well as monthly trade newsletter.
Despite facing a number of challenges, the association truly believes in the Ken Blanchard phrase “none of us is smarter than all of us”. It is when times are toughest that standing together becomes imperative for survival.
Many of us in the industry don’t know the rate of the change, or the extent of the change – and then they panic.
shop-sa considered what can be done in light of this, and the answer is facilitating thought leadership.

Update on the publications

Rob Matthews, owner of My Office News, then took the stage to explain more about the change surrounding the move from a print to a digital publication.
The print publication had a number of flaws: the cost of production and postage was astronomical; no one could accurately count how many people were receiving the magazine; and sackfuls of magazines were being returned on a monthly basis.
“Our advertisers demanded a change in the way we do things,” Matthews says. “Now we have a product offering that gives concrete stats on your advertisement, including the industries that it is displayed to.
“We are capable of looking at your digital strategy and helping you, connecting sellers and buyers through content. Aside from our digital publications, we also provide services around corporate LinkedIn and Facebook strategies.”

shop-sa/Gift of the Givers drive

Wendy Bezuidenhout (Dancer), sales associate at My Office News, then announced the launch of the My Office/shop-sa initiative, in conjunction with Gift of the Givers, which is aimed at providing stationery to those children affected by the severe flooding in KZN and Mozambique. A call was made for any scholastic stationery donations, including pens, pencils, erasers, math sets and exam pads. For more information on how you can donate, contact Wendy on 012 548 0046 or wendy@shop-sa.co.za.

Cresting the second wave of disruption

Guest speaker Dion Chang then took the stage, giving a talk on the skills and mindset required to pivot in the ever-changing face of business.
Chang, who is one of South Africa’s most respected trend analysts, explained how to go about challenging disruption in the workplace by constantly upgrading and evolving skillsets.


“Times – and consumers – have changed. In the knowledge economy, the true digital natives – those who will become your customers in a few years’ time – have already had a mindset shift.” For example, traditional ways of working seem outdated to a digital native. There is no defined workplace; they will not be not employed in a typical way; and their lives and careers may well be controlled by artificial intelligence (AI).

What was the first wave of disruption?
The first wave of disruption had to do with the death of legacy companies – which Chang calls “organisational lumbering behemoths” – and the collapse of the traditional value chain. This traditional value chain involved middlemen, such as travel agents or insurance brokers, who stood between the customer and the service.
In addition, there has been a degree of fragmentation, especially pertaining to threats. Banks are now facing threats not from thieves or competing banks, but from social media.

What will be the second wave?

The second wave of disruption will be centred on:

  • Robotics
  • Big data
  • IoT and remote working
  • Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), which is collectively called the metaverse

In order to crest this wave, companies will need to do the following:

  • Create an enabling environment
  • Learn to pivot: companies will need to learn to pivot by changing the way they do things or moving into other industries
  • Move away from traditional corporate social initiatives and look to morality marketing or ESG (environmental social governance) to appeal to a new, environmentally-conscious generation of consumers
  • Ditch the hierarchy: companies will need to leave the traditional top-down form of leadership behind them, and instead adopt an approach that is about being the centre of the circle
  • Break down the silos within themselves and learn to share information
  • Become more diverse and inclusive
  • Re-evaluate their employees: there is no longer a linear career model, and employees no longer feel a sense of loyalty to companies

 

Get your name and brand out there!

 With the banning of plastic bags by many retailers in South Africa, more eco-friendly alternatives are in demand.

 Stamping onto paper bags is especially popular in small-to-medium sized businesses. The cost of printing is very expensive, and using a stamp can save you money.

Trodat South Africa has released an Eco-Friendly 5mm laser rubber to deal with this increasing demand.
Trendy clothing boutiques and chic coffee shops are already adopting the practice of stamping paper bags with their branding. Not only does this enable them to create a unique product with their contact details and a logo on it, but it also means their stamp can be used for other applications too.

Coffee shops are using the stamps to stamp on paper cups, cake boxes and take-away bags. It is a simple and effective way of getting your message to the public without having to invest thousands of rands in printed bags, which come at a premium.

 

The 5mm Laser Rubber can be used on the popular 5211 and 5212 Trodat Professional Extra Large Stamps which gives plenty of room for a branding opportunity. The stamping area of up to 116 x 70mm is especially suited to this application.

COLOP announces Arts & Crafts

The Austrian company COLOP (www.colop.com), with more than 15 affiliated companies around the world, took over the entire creative stamp division of RoyalPosthumus, including the international trademark rights for NIO, Woodies and Alta.

Additionally COLOP integrated four important and experienced employees of RoyalPosthumus into the newly founded company in Eupen/Belgium – COLOP Arts & Crafts.

With the acquisition of the entire creative stamp division of RoyalPosthumus and the newly founded affiliated company COLOP Arts & Crafts, we were able to reach another important milestone in our expansion policy. As we are already familiar with this field, we are well aware that it requires a completely different approach compared to the traditional stamp area.

We would like to thank Nicholas van der Plaats for the excellent and smooth handover. The team of COLOP Arts & Crafts, under the leadership of the new partner Jacques Ahn and his staff, will be able to work independently from Eupen/Belgium, but with the utmost support from COLOP in Wels/Austria.

Choosing the perfect printer

Get the perfect print every time by choosing the right printer for the job 

Multi-function printers
Multi-function printers (MFPs) typically provide print, copy, scan and fax capabilities from a single device. Also known as all-in-ones (AIOs), multi-function copiers (MFCs) and multi-function devices (MFDs), they are available in both laser and inkjet models. MFPs are usually categorised according to their intended use. For home use, inkjets are considered better because they print longer-lasting photographs, while for office use a laser-class printer is more effective due to the volumes and types of material being printed.
MFPs for the office need to be able to fax and e-mail, and should include an automatic document feeder (ADF) that allows users to scan, copy, fax and e-mail multi-page documents.
However, these basic functions are not always straightforward. Some MFPs can only scan documents over a USB connection, while others need a computer to be on for the printer to make copies. This is problematic if you plan to connect over a network, or use the machine as a stand-alone copier.
Not all MFPs include a fax-to-PC function, which allows you to fax documents directly from your PC without having to print them first. E-mail features also come in two forms: direct e-mail scans and sends an e-mail directly to your Internet service provider (ISP) or an in-house email server on your network; while other MFPs require you to open an e-mail message on a PC and add the scanned document as an attachment.  
Most MFPs include a flatbed suitable for scanning photos or single-sheet documents. An ADF allows for the easy scanning of multi-page documents in duplex (both sides of the page).
Connecting to an MFP can be done via a USB port, Ethernet connection or WiFi connection. Some printers now include WiFi Direct, which allows compatible devices to connect with them without needing a wireless access point. A few of the newer models offer near-field communication (NFC), which allows you to initiate printing from a compatible mobile device simply by tapping the printer with the phone or tablet.
The space-saving design of an MFP can benefit small offices, negating the need for multiple cumbersome devices and masses of cables. This can save companies money in the long run.
The main disadvantage of an MFP is that if a printing problem occurs, other functionalities of the device, such as the copier or fax machine, become inaccessible. 

Continuous ink system printers
Continuous ink system printers, also known as ink tank printers, are printers that deliver large volumes of liquid ink to a comparatively small inkjet printhead, negating the need for ink cartridges. The ink source in a printer that uses a continuous flow system is placed outside the printing device. A set of printing bottles are attached via plastic tubes to the machine’s print-head.
This helps businesses to increase printing capacity at a lower price point.
Continuous ink system printers have a number of advantages: 

  • Low-cost – this printing system is budget friendly, making printing available to a range of users from students and professionals.  
  • Economical – it is efficient and affordable for businesses who want to print high volumes of documents.  
  • Good value – documents are printed efficiently and ink supply is not wasted unnecessarily.  
  • Easy to refill – users just need to connect the ink bottles to the ink containers outside the printer in order to refill the ink tanks. However, it is important to note that using inferior quality ink will clog up the sensitive print-head, and possibly void the manufacturer’s warranty. 

These types of printers offer the same connectivity options as other modern printers. 

Wireless printers
Wireless printers are classified as any printers in the work environment which are connected to a network rather than being connected to workers’ computers with cables. Most often, the printer is connected to a large area network (LAN) via WiFi, but some models can also connect via Bluetooth. Staff computers are also connected to the network, and messages are passed from the computers to the printer in this way.
Almost all types of printers come in wireless varieties, including thermal printers, laser printers, inkjet printers and even modern impact (dot matrix) printers. 
There are a number of advantages to wireless printing – the most obvious being that there are no wires. Wireless printers eliminate the need for inconvenient (and sometimes dangerous) cabling. No time, effort or money needs to be spent on connecting computers to printers, or the subsequent cable management thereof. 
Another advantage of wireless printing is that the machine can serve more than one staff member at a time. Print jobs can be easily queued and printed quickly, rather than each staff member needing to physically plug their computer into the communal printer.
Wireless printers can save businesses money. Apart from the fact that they negate the need for sharing a printer via a cable, they also negate the need for each person (or group of people) to have access to an individual printer. They also feed into managed print services (MPS), helping businesses keep track of what is printed, when, where and how often. This further promotes cost savings. 
Mobile printing is considered to be the process of sending data to a printer wirelessly from a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet. Wireless printers mean office workers can easily print on-the-go – from any networked device, and any place that has sight of the network. This boosts productivity, ensuring that employees can print things quickly and move on with their tasks, rather than standing around waiting for their turn at the printer. 
There are, however, disadvantages associated with networked printers. They can reduce the speed of your wireless network, resulting in slow communication times, especially if the office is large and there are many devices tethered to one network.
They can have problems seeing the network, and intermittently disconnect themselves from it. This means a wireless printer will need to be rebooted more often than a traditional, wired printer does.
Consumers also report that wireless printers jam more often than traditional ones, and that they often experience compatibility problems when using multiple platforms (such as Windows and Mac OS).  

Mobile printers
Mobile or portable printers are small, lightweight printers that are used by field workers and people on the move. They cover a range of printers, including photo printers, receipt printers and label printers. In the case of field work, mobile printers are rugged and durable, resistant to dust, moisture, temperature extremes and drops. They can be worn on the body by means of a strap or a belt clip. Portable printers are used to great effect in the retail, warehousing, hospitality and medical environments.
Mobile printers have a number of advantages: they increase productivity; reduce operating costs; improve cash flow and revenues; and enhance customer retention in a competitive market.
This is due in large part to the fact that portable printers eliminate the need for handwritten forms, so more accurate, legible documents are produced. Customers can review charges before the field worker leaves the premises, resolving potential billing disputes. Administrative costs are reduced, and cash flow is improved. Route maps and driving directions can be printed for workers on the road. Customers can be provided with updated receipts and future orders can be logged. Inventory and tracking is improved, while processing time and errors are minimised.
Mobile printers use cabled or wireless connectivity to receive print jobs from a mobile computer or other device. Mobile printers are quickly becoming wireless, although the type of connectivity they offer differs.  

3D printers
3D printing or additive manufacturing is the process of making three-dimensional, solid objects from a digital design file. Additive manufacturing occurs when successive layers of material are laid down in a particular pattern, in order to create an object. 3D printing is used for a range of applications, from fashion and medicine to toys and food.
The process of 3D printing begins with a computer-aided design (CAD) file, containing the original concept of the object, modelled digitally. This creates a virtual blueprint of the object to be printed. 3D printing software divides the object into digital cross-sections which act as a guide so that the printer is able to build it layer by layer. 
After the finished design file is sent to the 3D printer, you can choose the material to print in. The types of material you can choose will be determined by the kind of 3D printer you have. Some can print in rubber, plastic, paper and even food (such as chocolate).
Your chosen material is sprayed or squeezed from the printer onto a platform. 
The 3D printer makes passes (much like an inkjet printer) over the platform, depositing layer upon layer of material to create the object in the design file.
Depending on the size and complexity of the object, this can take several hours or even days. 
The different layers are automatically fused together to create a single three-dimensional object in a dots per inch (DPI) resolution.
Although the possibilities of 3D printing seem endless, there have been a number of controversies surrounding the technology. One such example occurred in 2013, when a pro-arms group published the design files for a fully-functioning gun that could be printed on a 3D printer.

 

 

Imagine having an easy, on-the-go journal at your fingertips, filled with interchangeable inserts, and convenient pockets for tucking away all those interesting bits and bobs.

Fill the spacious inserts with words, ideas, pictures and doodles to inspire and remind.

Refill your journal easily with new inserts and take them with you everywhere. Choose from a variety of fabulous covers and colours – there is truly something for everyone.

So, indulge yourself and get creative.

To view these amazing products you can visit our website at www.trocraft.co.za

Interstat is on the move

It is with great excitement that Interstat announces our move to new, bigger premises.

After four years of good support from our clients, we have moved into a much larger facility. The new Johannesburg branch is almost three times bigger than before, allowing us to process your orders even faster.

We will also increase our stock levels significantly for your needs.

In addition, we have added new staff to our team to ensure a smooth transition while confirming our interest in the future.

How to sell: optical media

Optical media are types of storage media that hold content in digital form and that are written and read by a laser
There are many different types of optical discs, from CDs to DVDs, and each has a unique set of pros and cons. 
When recommending optical media to your customers, you need to take into account the writable standard they support, the dyes and other materials they use, their compatibility with different models of writers and players, their archival stability and their overall quality.

The original compact disc (CD) specification still stands today. Optical media discs are 120mm in diameter, have a 60mm radius and are 1,2mm thick. They have a standardised central hole which accommodates the rotating central spindle of the optical drive. 

Did you know?
CDs and DVDs are produced using a physical stamping process, and are called pressed discs or stamped discs. Commercial discs may be one-sided or two-sided, with data sides being a reflective silver colour. Writable discs are produced by a high-powered laser on a layer of dye that can be altered by light. These are always one-sided, with the data side being silver, gold or dark blue 

Discs differ in terms of the quality of the materials used to make them, and it is worth informing your customers that buying cheaper discs may lead to issues with the archival stability and the quality of the reflective layer. Cheap discs may stop working sooner, and their data will be lost. 

Despite their similarity in appearance, there are many different types of discs. 
 

CDs 

CD writers themselves may no longer exist, but CDs are still a good buy for your customers. Even premium brands are affordable, and can be found in large quantities. Speak to your customers and ask what they plan to do with their optical discs. CDs are great for duplicating audio CDs and making quick backups of data.

There are two types of writable CDs: 

CD-R discs 

CD-R (CD-Recordable) discs can usually only be written to once. This means that any data recorded on the CD cannot be overwritten or deleted. 

Most CDs currently sold are rated for 48X to 52X writes, and so can be used in nearly any optical writer. CD-R discs can be written by all CD writers and by nearly all DVD writers. CD-R discs can be read by any modern optical drive or player.
In general, CD-R discs differ in capacity and quality. Standard CD-R discs store 74 minutes of audio (650Mb of data), but there are also 700Mb (80 minutes of audio) discs available. 

CD-RW discs 

CD-RW (CD-Rewritable) discs can be written to repeatedly. Data is deleted or overwritten to make room for new data. CD-RW discs can be rewritten up to 1 000 times. 
Rated disc speed is more important for CD-RW than for CD-R discsWriters often refuse to burn CD-RW discs at anything faster than the speed indicated on the front of the disc.  

Although most recent optical drives and players can read CD-RW discs, there were many early compatibility problems, and so this is an underutilised type of media.
There are significant quality variations between brands of CD-RW discs.

Did you know? 

A writable DVD said to have a capacity of 4,7Gb actually stores 4700000 000 bytes. Contrary to popular belief, the units of measurement of data storage are not in round thousands, but are actually in units of 1 024. For example, one megabyte contains 1 024 kilobytes, not 1 000 kilobytes. Thus a DVD of 4,7Gb actually only has 4,4Gb of capacity.

DVDs 

Unlike writable CDs, for which only the CD-R and CD-RW standards exist, there are numerous standards for writable DVDsAnd unlike CDs, rewritable standards for DVDs preceded write-once standards. DVDs are ideal for customers who want to store large amounts of data, such as music, photographs or videos.
 

DVD-RW 

Early DVD-RW has 1X drives, and discs were soon followed by 2X and then 4X models. Current DVD-RW discs are certified for 4X or (rarely) 6X writes. They can be rewritten up to 1 000 times and can store about 4,7Gb worth of information 

Because DVD-RW has relatively poor error detection and correction, these discs are poorly suited for recording data. However, DVD-RW discs are less expensive than comparable DVD+RW discs, and so are a reasonable choice for recording television programs, movies and other noncritical types of data.
DVD-RW discs can be read by any DVD writer other than some elderly DVD+R/RW-only models, and by nearly all recent DVD-ROM drives. Estimates vary, but approximately 65% to 70% of all installed DVD players play DVD-RW discs correctly. 
 

DVD+RW 

The greatest advantage of DVD+RW discs is that they have much better performance and reliability. 

DVD+RW discs store about 4,7Gb and are rated for 1 000 rewrites. They are not only faster than DVD-RW, but have superior error detection and correction. 
DVD+RW discs can be read by any DVD writer other than some elderly DVD-R/RW-only models, and by nearly all recent DVD-ROM drives. Approximately 70% to 80% of all installed DVD players play DVD+RW discs correctly.
Advise your customers to use DVD+RW discs when backing up important data.

DVD-R 

DVD-R was the first write-once DVD format introduced. These discs store about 4,7Gb in size, and are available at up to 16X write speedsHowever, error detection and correction is poor, and so it is best to advise your customers not to use these types of discs for storing important data. 
DVD-R discs can be read by any DVD writer other than some elderly DVD+R/RW-only models, and by nearly all recent DVD-ROM drives. More than 90% of all installed DVD players play DVD-R discs correctly. 

 

DVD+R 

DVD+R is a superior alternative to DVD-R. These discs store about 4,7Gb of data and can write up to 16X. Error detection and correction on these discs is much higher, and is therefore a good choice for storing data.
DVD+R discs can be read by any DVD writer other than some elderly DVD-R/RW-only models, and by nearly all recent DVD-ROM drives. A somewhat lower percentage of DVD players are compatible with DVD+R than DVD-R (perhaps 85%). 

 

DVD+R DL 

The most recent enhancement to the DVD+R standard is DVD+R DL. The DL stands for dual-layer, and these discs have a storage capacity almost double that of DVD+R discs (8,5Gb).
These discs are most costly than their single-layer counterparts. Even so, they are ideal for customers that wish to back up larger amounts of data. They are also useful for backing up original DVD movies.  The higher capacity of DVD+R DL allows video to be duplicated without the compression required to fit on a single-layer discs. 
DVD+R DL compatibility with drives and players other than DVD+R DL writers is problematic.
If your customer wants to use DVD+R DL discs, recommend that they first verify compatibility with their current DVD drives and players. 

 

DVD-R DL 

DVD-R DL (also called DVD-R9 or dual-layer DVD-R) has a number of drawbacks. It has the same compatibility issues as DVD+R DL, in addition to error detection and correction that’s inferior to the plus-format version
DVD-R DL is acceptable for recording video, but the superior reliability and features of DVD+R DL make the plus versions a better choice for your customers 

Blu-ray discs 

Blu-ray discs are a next-generation optical disc format that offers more than five times the storage capacity of traditional DVDs. It can store up to 25Gb on a single-layer disc, and 50Gb on a dual-layer discBlu-ray discs are exactly the same physical size as CDs and DVDs. 

Blu-ray discs are made by using a blue laser with a shorter wavelength of 405nmDVDs use a 650nm wavelength red laser, while CDs use a 780nm red laser
The shorter wavelength of the Blu-ray system allows the laser to focus on smaller spots. This means the pits and spiral groove in the discs can be made even smaller and tighter.
Blu-ray discs are ideal for the recording, rewriting and playback of high-definition (HD) video, as well as for storing large amounts of data. 

By Ivan Israelstam, chief executive of Labour Law Management Consulting

Constructive dismissal is a special and unique brand of dismissal under labour law. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that it is the only type of dismissal that is not implemented via the employer telling the employee to leave the employer’s employ. That is, with constructive dismissal, the employee resigns and claims that the resignation occurred as a result of the employer’s intolerable conduct.

In order to convince an arbitrator or judge that unfair constructive dismissal has in fact taken place the employee must show that:

1. The employment circumstances are so intolerable that the employee could truly not continue to stay on

2. The unbearable circumstances were the cause of the resignation of the employee

3. There was no reasonable alternative at the time but for the employee to resign in order to escape the circumstances

4. The unbearable situation must have been caused by the employer intentionally or unintentionally

5. The employer must have been in control of the unbearable circumstances.

Unbearable circumstances in this context can refer to a wide variety of acts or omissions on the employer’s part and could include, amongst others, failing to pay the employee, verbal or physical assault, sexual or other harassment, victimization, scapegoating, unfair demotion, unjustified unilateral changes in employment conditions or unfair discipline.

It is often the case that the aggrieved employee theoretically has, instead of resigning, the option of remaining in the employment relationship and of referring an unfair labour practice to the CCMA or other tribunal. Where the employee fails to do so and resigns instead, this will not always mean that he has failed test number 3 above. Passing this test will depend a great deal on whether, under the circumstances at the time, the employee could reasonably have been expected to stay on in the employer’s employ for purposes of referring the unfair labour practice dispute.

Employees must be equally careful not to misinterpret the law. Where, for example, an employer notifies an employee of a disciplinary hearing this could genuinely be seen as unbearable to the employee. However, a resignation by the employee for purposes of avoiding the disciplinary hearing is unlikely to constitute unfair constructive dismissal.

For example in the case of Mvamelo vs AMG Engineeering (2003,11 BALR 1294) the employee was informed that he was to be called to a disciplinary hearing for theft and that criminal charges would also be laid. He resigned and claimed constructive dismissal but lost the case because it was found by the arbitrator that he had resigned to avoid the disciplinary steps of which he had been notified.

However, where disciplinary steps have been taken unfairly and this renders the employment circumstances intolerable this can constitute constructive dismissal. In the case of the Pretoria Society for the Care of the Retarded vs Loots (1997, 6 BLLR 721) the employer had given the employee a final warning for a number of alleged offences. The Labour appeal Court found that this disciplinary action constituted constructive dismissal because the employer had found her guilty of things for which she could not be held responsible and had humiliated her.

Employers need to be extremely careful that they do not discipline employees unfairly. Otherwise the employer might have to pay tens of thousands of rand in compensation and legal costs.

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