ince it is important for cold storage to balance the utilisation of space with the mobility of goods, APC Storage Solutions SA is leading the way towards greater economy of cold store refrigeration with its ultramodern in-rack pallet mole. The system was developed by leading European automation engineers at Mecalux, the official technology partner to APC Storage Solutions SA, to drastically reduce forklift travel times and improve storage densities.

 

“The pallet mole, referred to as satellite mole racking, offers cold storage facilities numerous benefits that improve overall productivity,” says Fred Albrecht, Managing Director, APC Storage Solutions SA. “Other than enhanced warehouse safety afforded by automation, the main advantage is the maximum utilisation of space, which allows facility owners to extract more value out of paid for square meterage.”

 

Pallet moles are installed permanently on each racking level and have guiderails that span the length of each rack. When a pallet is to be stored, a forklift or stacker crane lifts each pallet to height, and hands it over to the pallet mole – which then transports the pallet horizontally to its final storage location. Each mole remains within its designated rack, and the system eliminates the necessity for aisle space on each row’s side. 

 

Benefits include a reduction in power consumption as a result of chilling more pallets in smaller spaces. “In a climate of escalating electricity costs, it is important to optimise the way we refrigerate on large scale, and the pallet mole is a step in the right direction,” says Albrecht.

 

Unlike traditional drive-in racking – whereby man-driven pallet trucks load and unload not by row-side access aisles, but by driving inside the actual racks – pallet moles create a single pick face at the end of the racking installation. With this system, satellite moles transfer pallets, fed by forklifts, to their final storage locations faster and more efficiently than man-driven forklifts.

 

Because forklifts no longer need to enter confined racking lanes, the risk of collisions is almost completely eliminated. This helps to radically extend the lifespan of racking installations, and improves general safety in warehouses. Other benefits include greater accuracy with digital item management, and remote control operation for high-paced picking and deposition. 

 

“It is possible to further enhance cold storage efficiencies with a fully-automated compact crane, which allows for racking installations of up to 40m – much higher than a forklift with average heights of around 12 metres can reach,” says Albrecht.

 

This system uses conveyors and stacker crane-like installations to transport pallets from forklifts onto the pallet moles for deposition at such heights. High levels of automation are also ideal for cold storage facilities where extremely high throughput, high product turnover and improved utilisation of three-dimensional space are necessary.

 

“The pallet mole is incredibly versatile, as it’s suitable for both LIFO [last-in/first-out] and FIFO [first-in/first-out] as moles can be installed on either end of a racking system, creating a pick face on both ends,” concludes Albrecht.    

 

APC Storage Solutions SA is the South African market leader with the Spanish Mecalux as technology partner. A supplier of world-class products and integrated logistical storage solutions and services, APC Storage Solutions SA is focused on the core values Quality, Experience, Safety, and Technology – QUEST. APC Storage Solutions SA has FEM (European Federation of Material Handling Equipment), SEMA UK (Storage Equipment Manufacturing Association) and RMI (Rack Manufacturers Institute of America) accreditation, along with accreditation from 14 other federations and associations.

Apex Strip Curtains & Doors has installed a high speed Traffic door at Cape Town-based Grapetek’s Epping manufacturing plant. Grapetek is one of the largest producers of sulphur dioxide generating sheets in the world, used for the post-harvest protection of table grapes.

 

The high speed Traffic door has been installed to seal off an opening through a recently enclosed passage which sees high traffic of incoming raw materials and outgoing finished products. 

 

Grapetek’s Paul van der Merwe says after evaluating other products on the market, his company decided on the Traffic high speed door from Apex Strip Curtains & Doors because it was the best fit for the specification.

 

Apex ‘s Traffic range of high speed folding doors in sizes up to 8 000 mm wide by 8 500 mm high offers a sturdy, dependable and modular solution for medium and large entrances, particularly where windy conditions are a factor, such as shipment and warehouse areas. 

 

Made from strong self-extinguishing Class 2 fabric with excellent thermal insulation properties, this door has been designed to resist a wind loading of up to 50 km per hour. The supporting structure is manufactured from high quality galvanised steel to ensure optimum durability and, if the application requires it, vision windows can be incorporated in the panels. 

 

A counterweighted balancing system ensures high standards of performance and safety and fast, semi-automatic reopening. The built-in automation unit protects the components from wear caused by the elements.

 

All high speed doors in the Traffic range are controlled by an electronic unit that complies with all IEC regulations. It can be activated by any type of remote control equipment including photocells, pressure sensitive mats, movement detectors or induction loops.

 

Reliability is an important factor in the choice of doors for warehousing applications, and the wide range of high speed doors available from Apex Strip Curtains & Doors are manufactured in accordance with international standards, with materials that comply with stringent hygiene and safety criteria. 

 

With the channels of trade all interconnected in our modern world, South African pharmaceutical companies are able to simply and speedily distribute their products all across the globe. While this is extremely advantageous in terms of sales, supplying goods to a number of different countries can become increasingly complicated as each country has different rules and requirements that manufacturers need to adhere to when exporting goods to that particular country.  

Timothy Beattie is the General Manager of PyrotecPackMedia, a brand within Pyrotec that specialises in innovative on-pack solutions. Beattie believes that one of the most challenging packaging issues faced by pharmaceutical companies is the need to abide by varying regulations for different countries. “Recent research conducted at the 2nd Annual Pharma Packaging and Labelling Compliance Conference in Rome revealed that this is a major frustration within the pharmaceutical industry. This is compounded by the need to use text in different languages, which many believed to be the most critical element in the packaging and labelling process.”

When distributing to other countries, user-instructions, hazard warnings and application guidelines need to be included in a number of local languages- which often leads to challenges in terms of labelling. Manufacturers struggle to include the compulsory information in the limited space provided on a traditional label, which needs to fit a small pharmaceutical bottle or box.

One option for manufacturers faced with this challenge is Pyrotec PackMedia’s Fix-a-Form® leaflet- label. These occupy the area of a standard label but provide additional space to include dosage instructions, warnings and indications in multiple languages, as stipulated by legislation internationally. 

Fix-a-Form® leaflet labels also offer many advantages in terms of cost-savings. The leaflet-label allows for the inclusion of extended content, thereby eliminating the need for excess packaging. It also has the added benefit of minimising the risk of misplacing essential instructions. “All languages can be combined with equal weight into a single expanded content label, creating a one-pack solution for distribution to several markets and streamlining your inventory by negating the need for country-specific pre-labelled products,” says Beattie. 

Fix-a-Form® leaflet labels, produced using state-of-the-art custom machinery, are supplied on-reel so they can be applied as ordinary self-adhesive printed labels using standard label application equipment.  Fix-a-Form® leaflet labels are available in a number of options such as laminated, booklet and cross-fold formats. All are available in re-sealable designs so that it can remain neatly sealed on the container, available for future reference.

“Clear user-instructions and well-designed packaging and labelling enhances the consumers’ experience and increases the chances of a repeat purchase,” concludes Beattie. “Fix-a-Form® leaflet labels make it possible to include necessary information in multiple languages, as per international requirements, without compromising on the aesthetic aspects.”

So, who do you really work for? 

Your company? Your boss? Yourself?…Or do you work for your customer or client?

When I first look at the question, the answer seems fairly obvious. I work for my readers. You are in many ways my boss – if I don’t keep writing interesting material, you may stop visiting my column or worse still stop buying or subscribing to the journal completely – that will not make the editor happy! (Perhaps, then I work for the Editor?  Publisher? ) In that sense, I aim to please – I usually try to select ideas that will interest the reader and at the same time be pertinent to their business.

Anyway, back to the subject of who do we work for? This subject came up in a meeting I had with a very successful business owner and one of his ‘entry-level’ employees. The employee was adamant that he worked for the customer (perhaps a lesson he recently learned in a training course?) yet the business owner made it quite clear that he, the employee, worked for Him (the owner). Now we have all heard the clichés that ‘Customers pay our salaries’ and ‘we are here for the Customer: etc, and all of the above is correct – as long as we know who the Customer actually is!

So, again I ask the question, ‘Who do you work for’?

How you answer this question will always define your perspective on the work you do. Because at the core of service is an understanding of who you serve.

Typically, we instinctively answer the question with the name of our company.  Or we say, “I own my own business, so I work for myself.”

Then, when presented with that fourth option, we feel a little guilty, backtrack, and decide that we really work for the customer. Of course we work for the customer.

While it seems like a trick question, there’s no real wrong answer. Employees do work for their boss. Owners do work in the best interest of their company. And that’s not a bad thing. It’s reality. It’s business. But most importantly, it’s a balance, and I believe that this is the key.

Your customers and clients should always be a priority, but they can’t be the only priority. Embrace the dichotomy. It’s what keeps the system alive.

So when it comes to answering the question, in the end I feel it’s not about who you work for, but rather it’s about what you do and how you make your professional relationships work. You need to focus more on that, because businesses will come and go but you will be still around!

 

But that’s not really who we work for. Almost everyone has to exchange some of their time or some of their personal value for money. We make that exchange because we get something in return out of it. Among them:

Money This is the biggest thing that many of us work for. That money translates into a roof over our heads, food on the table, and things we enjoy.

Fulfillment Some people are personally fulfilled by their work – I know I am. Their jobs bring them personal joy and make their lives better. There are many others, though, that don’t get this kind of fulfillment from their work.

Prestige Others work for the prestige of their job. They like to be seen as prestigious by others and often that becomes a major factor in what they choose to do. “How will this affect my image?”

There is no excuse for poor customer service – whether online, in person or on the phone. Bruce von Maltitz from 1Stream shares his tips on how businesses can iron out the wrinkles in their call centres and ensure a better customer experience for all.

 

The call centre is often the first point of contact for customers, which is why it is crucial that the experience is a positive and satisfying one. Here are a few guidelines that explain how companies can make that happen.

 

1.       Don’t skimp on technology

 

There is no use spending money on advertising to lure people to phone your call centre if all your customers are faced with when they dial in is a set of shoddy welcome message or poor call quality. Opt for a provider that has economy of scale and can take away the headache of tech support and upgrading to maintain quality control, but never settle for second best when it comes to the tech that is responsible for customer service delivery.

 

2.       Outsource the tech headache

 

Investing in the best systems available does not always make financial sense. If you are not handling huge volumes of calls, you cannot offset the initial capital cost. Since technology can become obsolete or in need of upgrades in a fairly short period of time, you are left with the problem of trying to integrate different pieces of equipment and keep up with patches and updates. By using a hosted service, you are buying an integrated suite of services that is always up to date – and it’s cost-effective enough for even the smaller contact centres to use.

 

3.       Don’t shy away from implementing a cloud solution as you grow

 

If a call centre experiences rapid growth – increasing call volumes, diverse queries – they are often hard-pressed to meet the demand. Agents stay on the phone for longer and enquiries take longer to resolve. Resources in terms of both staff and technology are pushed to the edge. The call centre could address that by undergoing a costly expansion in terms of hardware and software…but there are no guarantees that the demand will remain high, leaving the centre stuck with the empty seats.  The cloud offers the ability to provide just enough capacity for your business peaks and troughs, with flexible charges to match this “elastic” delivery.

 

4.       Spend time on your staff

 

70% of call centre costs are your people – the agents and their managers.  The industry has grown, and the quality staff that you want to retain has become more demanding. Call centres aim to hire agents that are capable, professional, reliable, sensible, hard-working and committed – and it is important to hang onto them. They want to work in a facility where their workday is pleasant and they aren’t forced to use terrible technology that makes them (and the customers they’re trying to serve) miserable – such as scratchy voice quality, dropped calls, no integration of customer management and telephony systems. Make sure that your staff are happy – and your customers will be a lot happier too.

 

  1. Choose the right partner

Choosing the right service provider is as important as choosing the right solution and service delivery model, since it influences everything – basic set-up of the technology, operation, trouble-shooting, quality assurance and technology refreshes. By choosing a partner with a service-centric, consultative approach, customers can be sure that core issues such as their call routing and queues are set up with the help of the experts, reports deliver the best possible analysis for their business type and goals, and their system functions with optimal quality and productivity.

 

Your call centre does not have be one that everyone loves to hate. Following these simple steps can turn your call centre around, cut costs and improve service delivery.

Raptivity

Raptivity – the world’s largest library of educational interactivity templates that will work on iPhones, iPads and all mobile devices using HTML5 technology.  Customers will be provided with award-winning Raptivity educational software with HTML5 publishing capabilities for all of its interactivity packs this year. The company’s Raptivity Himalaya pack would include the industry’s most extensive library of 170+ eLearning interactions for mobile devices that do not support Flash.

 

This marks a strategic move into the fast growing market for products from Apple and others using HTML5 technology. The HTML5 standard is rapidly being adopted and supported on various web browsers and mobile devices.  As a result, there is a burgeoning demand for tools that can help to deliver eLearning content on mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads that don’t support Flash.

 

 “With the increased use of smart phones and tablets in education, the eLearning industry is well-positioned to reach a wider audience in unique ways,” said Voula Philippides, Managing Director of  Edutain distribution  “Raptivity’s vast library with HTML5 support will allow course creators and instructional designers to meet the new requirements of a mobile audience quickly, easily and affordably.”

 

 Raptivity allows trainers, educators and subject matter experts to create effective learning interactions quickly and easily. It uses Adobe Flash technology as well as HTML5 non-flash technology for more than 170 eLearning interactive elements, such as quizzes, game shows, videos, and 3D objects.

 

ABOUT EdumalL ,Division of Edutain Distribution .

Edumall.co.za,division of EDUTAIN distribution , established in 2009 in Johannesburg, today is a growing division of Edutain Distribution, developer, distributor and publisher of local and international brands using cutting edge technologies with a realistic perception of the needs of AFRICA and territories with English as a second language.  Part of their drive is to convert the computer to a potential learning center for any age, subject or language for the masses.  Edumall have a comprehensive range that is all encompassing for the various requirements of any grade and subject. They provide innovative local ICT integration products from classroom resources through to school technologies.   Edumall aim to infuse the world of education to new, more engaging ways of teaching, for an enhanced learning outcome.  They are passionate about EDUCATION and their expertise is founded in our 18 years of developing the ICT market. 

 

About Raptivity 

With Raptivity, users can create interactivity rapidly and add it conveniently to their eLearning content. With interactive content, learning experiences become memorable and dropout levels go down. Raptivity provides a pre-built library of rapidly customizable interaction models. These interaction models are based on best practices in instructional design. Users can customize them to create any number of variations. The content published by Raptivity is a single flash file so it fits right into hundreds of eLearning tools and can be used anywhere. With its patented technology and open architecture, Raptivity is at the forefront of rapid interactivity technology.

 

Raptivity has won numerous awards in various categories, including the e-Learning Guild Platinum Award for highest user satisfaction in the simulation tools category. It has also been voted number one interactive eLearning software by users. Raptivity won the 2011 Best Educational Software Awards in the Online Technology Tool category and three 2011 LearnX E-learning & Training Awards from Training Australia Magazine.

mCommerce: Many ways to play

From the get go, the business sector has been anxious to discover a way to exploit cellular services technology to access customers. Early mCommerce offerings failed to live up to the hype but excitement is again emerging, this time with a variety of options to suit the desires and budgets of almost any business. 

 

No one anticipated the success that mobile telephony would achieve. According to Nielsen South Africa, more South Africans use mobile phones than radio or television. And an astounding 35% of South African smartphone users revealed in a Google report into worldwide smartphone usage and mobile marketing that they would rather give up their TV than their smartphone.

 

No other communication channel can deliver retailers an audience as comprehensive as the mobile phone.

 

Bouncing back

 

To my mind it was Apple’s release of the iPhone, and shortly thereafter it’s App Store, that offered mCommerce the opportunity to return to the spotlight.

 

Until this point, mCommerce strategies predominantly relied on wireless application protocol (WAP) technology. Its SMS delivery mechanism, however, proved to be problematic, and security and congestion drawbacks were significant enough to undermine its virtues and subdue large-scale adoption amongst SA retailers.

 

Apple’s iPhone highlighted an alternative to these SMS systems with its glitzy marketing of actual applications. The impact of this promotion was and continues to be astounding, supported by improvements in modern mobile devices and development technologies, particularly HTML5.

 

A recent report released by international research firm IDC predicts that the number of annual mobile app downloads will increase from 30.1 billion in 2011 to 200 billion in 2016, an ascent it calls blazingly fast. A closer look at the state of the US market gives a clearer indication of what South Africa can expect to experience in the near future.

          Huffington Post: mCommerce will be bigger than eCommerce within 5 years.

          ABI Research: In 2015, $119 billion worth of goods and services will be purchased via a mobile phone.

          Juniper Research: The market for mobile payments is expected to quadruple by 2014, reaching $630 billion in value.

          ATG Inc: 20% of all consumers and 32% of 18-34 year olds are researching purchases via mobile at least monthly.

 

Ticket to ride

 

We can already see local organisations capitalising on the rise of mobile applications. FNB for instance has achieved significant success with the launch of its mobile banking application and not just in the realm of marketing either. Recently CEO Michael Jordaan announced on his twitter account that the bank had in excess of 200 000 transacting apps, delivering over 2 million transactions and R4 billion in transaction value. 

 

Although FNB’s return from its mCommerce initiative is certainly compelling, many companies will find that developing a native app is simply not appropriate for their businesses. The cost and complexity involved in developing, maintaining and continuously enhancing an application for numerous platforms, not to mention the approval processes required from the various app stores, presents a daunting hurdle that is only justifiable to a minority of businesses.

 

Fortunately the emergence of HTML5 – the latest iteration of the language used to create web pages – means organisations no longer have to deliver device-based applications but can look to web-based offerings accessible via a mobile device’s browser. Native apps will still have a role to play, if well thought-through, but certainly look set to face major competition in the popularity stakes as HTML5 gains traction.

 

Alternatives to applications are also available. Mobile couponing, for instance, could be an influential tool in the retail fight to combat constantly slipping engagement rates. A recent report found this form of couponing to offer redemption rates often exceeding 50%; comparatively, paper coupons typically return redemption rates of up to 2%. Mobile couponing is able to achieve its high returns through the use of geolocated, relevant messaging which engages the mobile user with an offer that can be instantly gratified at a store which is at that moment in close proximity.

 

Location based marketing certainly should not be ignored. Location-based social networking site Foursquare enables users to check in their locations through their phones and informs them of their friends’ locations as well as places to go and see close by. Large retailers and brick and mortar stores are taking advantage of this by providing coupons and freebies to those who check in often or first. American Express, for example, has expanded its Foursquare promotion internationally, delivering to its cardholders special offers only available through the application, such as buy one get one free promotions to customers looking for a place to eat.

 

There’s significant advantage to be gained from using a number of mobile capabilities to improve the customer instore experience. Retailers can create a ‘bricks & clicks’ environment by combining location based services, barcode scanning, and push notifications as an example. In such an environment merchants enable their customers to access the benefits of online shopping such as product reviews, comparative information, and special offers while still delivering the physical instore shopping experience and promoting greater length of time spent within the store’s walls. 

 

Retailers simply cannot afford to dismiss the role of the internet in the performance of physical stores. The tendency to define the online influence by the number or value of transactions taking place fails to recognise the considerable number of consumers that turn to the web for information on the best product for their needs, stockists, comparative pricing and current availability within their travel comfort zone. This rapidly growing pool of shoppers may be making their purchases instore, but their decisions are often made before they’ve stepped out their front door.

15 August, 2012: The common perception that concrete is cold and aesthetically-unpleasing is being challenged by Pan Mixers South Africa (PMSA) – the largest supplier of concrete, brick, block and paving making machinery and technology in Africa – which is currently in the process of constructing a modern, cutting-edge showroom almost entirely from concrete. 

PMSA marketing and sales manager Quintin Booysen points out that the company began construction of PMSA’s new two-storey 700 m2 showroom, which will also house a sales and marketing office in order to fully highlight the endless creative possibilities that concrete offers in modern day construction, in May 2012. 

“The showroom flooring will be completed with HTC Superfloor – an easy-to-maintain polished concrete flooring system that provides the highest shine to the floor surface, by making use of a range of HTC floor grinding machines and accessories,” he explains.

Booysen notes that PMSA will be going one step further by using HTC Superfloor to polish a number of concrete pull-up wallingpanels that will make up the showroom walls and main receptionstaircase. “A polishing and grinding machine weighs up to 300 kg and would be impossible to run against a wall. Another option would be to use a hand-held grinding tool, however that would not ensure a precision finish. PMSA plans to polish its precast panels using the HTC Superfloor system, before pulling them up by making use of a tilt-up method,” he continues. 

This process will be subject to a number of challenges, due to the fact that each panel weighs up to seven tons. “These panels have to be pulled up into the right position, and they need to be positioned in such a way to ensure that they are not just decorative, but also that they are structural elements of the room. After 14 days of curing, the concrete panels are lifted with the aid of a 20-ton mobile crane and placed into final position.”

According to Booysen, PMSA is working closely with contractors to ensure that the necessary quality and precision is met to ensure a world class facility. “With conventional grey concrete pull-up panels, the perception is still that these panels are generic, grey and ugly, and only fit for purpose in industrial applications,” he continues. 

As a result, PMSA will be using these panels for display purposes to highlight the potential beauty of precast concrete, by simply polishing or adding colour aggregates to it. Booysen adds: “Our main objective is to show architects, engineers and contractors that a polished precast panel can serve as a stylish and modern finish in a home, office or shopping environment.”

In addition to being aesthetically-pleasing, Booysen points out that polished concrete provides further benefits that include ease of cleaning due to a smooth surface, and a reduction in lighting bills, due to the fact that the panels reflect more light into the building. “What’s more, concrete flooring can have a lower lifetime and installation cost, when compared to traditional products such as epoxy and tiling.”

Looking to the future, Booysen is confident that construction of the PMSA showroom will be complete by the end of October 2012. “Construction work is going according to schedule at the moment, and we recently completed the casting of the concrete panels. Once building work is complete, the final touch will be to ensure that we provide a comprehensive customer service offering onsite, where clients and their employees will be trained in various fields, ranging from the application and usage of products, to operator safety and machine maintenance,” he concludes.

With the current economic climate as it is, you are probably looking at ways to spend less money each month, not more.  However, one of the traps we (being human) often fall into is cancelling or downsizing some of our life insurance policies.  This is only natural.

BUT, have you considered what will happen to your family if you were to pass away?
OR, maybe even worse, what would happen to you if you were to loose your ability to earn an income (either from a retrenchment or an accident)?

Furthermore, have you ever considered shopping around for cheaper life insurance?  Nowadays, there is so much competition for your business that you are more then likely going to be able to pick up a cheaper policy that actually covers you for more.
 
At CoverMy-Life.co.za (South Africa), we believe that gaining easy access better insurance cover at a cheaper price shouldn’t be for a privileged few but for every South African. We have been refining our product to consumers over the past few years and feel that we offer one of the most compelling propositions in the market today.
 
Through CoverMy-Life.co.za not only will you will be able to access some of the cheapest life insurance around, but we also offer some of the broadest life insurance and financial planning offerings too.

So why not try us out and get a quote for one of the following products we have available:

Life Insurance – Get upto R6M cover (no medical); Quote in minutes; Save upto 50%
Disability Insurance – Cover for if you become disabled (eg From an accident)
Salary Protection – Cover for if you are unable to earn an income (eg Retrenchment, Injury etc)
Critical Illness Cover – Cover for if you become critically ill (eg Cancer)
Cover for HIV – Life Cover for those suffering from HIV
FREE Financial Plan – Let us provide you with a Financial Plan absolutely FREE

This takes all the hassle and hard work out of finding the best insurance for you and what’s more, you can do it from the privacy of your own home / office / wherever you are reading this.

Give us a try, go to www.CoverMy-Life.co.za, or apply now

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