Latest Updates

Science:

3 Reasons to Invest in Third-Party Logistics

When a business is starting up and beginning to thrive, the owners may have to come to terms with the fact that the company might need a logistics outsourcing post.

A third-party logistics company can provide solutions for assembly, packaging, warehousing, and distribution that may not be possible for the startup to handle anymore. The original firm may have launched small and grown faster than anticipated; in order to keep the same quality that customers expect, outsourcing certain functions of the company may be what is necessary to grow.

Consider the following three reasons to outsource to third party.

1. Greater resources

A third-party logistics provider may have the resources that the original company may not have at its disposal. The outside firm can improve the supply chain to make sure the original company’s needs are met in a cost-effective and efficient manner.

The supply chain can be restructured with technology to provide better service to customers so they know where goods are located and when they’ll arrive.

2. Flexible response

The benefit of scaling to inventory can save you money by flexing with busy and down times. The third party can scale labor, space, and transportation depending on the needs of the inventory and depend. Seasonal ups and downs can be easier for your business since the third-party logistics team is dealing with the flow of the bulk of the workload.

Outsourcing will save you money you won’t have to invest in warehouse space, technology, and staff for the logistics process; all that comes with outsourcing. The third party can save you from mistakes, as well, since they have expertise and provide your business with lower risk and higher return.

3. Outside expertise

Outsourcing can give your company expertise that it may not have, and you don’t have to hire more employees to fill that gap.

Third-party workers are aware of industry best practices and will keep updated on developments in technology that help your business, along with software used for reporting, inventory management, and monitoring the outsourcing process. A back-up system is available so that the outsourced employees know where and when inventory is shipped so that it gets to its destination on time.

By outsourcing, companies can focus on the core goals of the business without having to worry about incompetence or accidentally overlooking a task. Good third-party logistics companies will allow business owners to be confident on all angles of their business.

Social:

5 Critical Mistakes SEO Leaders Must Avoid

Any type of leadership has a series of positive objectives to pursue, and negative consequences to avoid. Unfortunately, a positive objective in one field might be a negative consequence in another, so it can be hard to find leadership advice for the specific industry of search engine optimization (SEO).

The positive outcomes sought by SEO leaders are fairly obvious: rank as highly as possible on the search engines that consumers use, and do it in a way that is deemed successful to your company (or your client, if you’re an agency SEO leader).

The negative outcomes are many, from simple inefficiencies to the worst of all: getting de-listed and banned by a search engine. Most of the negative outcomes, however, can be narrowed down to five general areas where critical mistakes can be committed. Below are the five primary SEO mistakes.

1. Poor problem framing and goal selection

Perhaps the worst mistake to make is to do a great job, but hit the wrong target. It’s important to understand more than the SEO goal.

How does this company make money? How does it drive the various stages of marketing success (awareness, consideration, trial, loyalty)? Who is the target customer? What are they searching for online?

Understanding these questions and their answers will help you avoid the mistake of aiming for the wrong goal.

2. Buying links

Don’t buy inbound links. If anything, you should pay people to create the solid content that readers are looking for. And a lot of it. Search engines will penalize almost everything beyond that.

3. Doing anything in a fast, or linear, or non-human fashion

How would sites normally climb rankings organically, with no professional help? It won’t be linear, and it likely won’t be fast. Search engines know that.

4. Not being social

We’re not talking about happy hours at the end of the work day; we’re talking about social media. It’s becoming widely known that search engine algorithms are utilizing social data to help prove a website is legitimate.

Make sure to utilize content marketing efforts and link generation across the major social media outlets that your product’s target consumers would likely frequent.

5. Losing all your momentum and above-the-board work due to a poor transfer of knowledge

During a transition of responsibilities from one SEO manager to the next, it’s critical to have a clear process of knowledge transfer, to ensure that all the objectives and the best practices are transferred in a way that makes operations safe and relatively seamless.

Around The Web

last update: April 16, 2014

Social:

4 Reasons Online Foreign Exchange Trading Is Good for You

Trading on the foreign currency market is becoming more popular among home investors. While investing in foreign markets can seem intimidating at first, with a good teacher and some practice, you can find yourself earning a nice supplemental income in your spare time.

Forex trading offers lots of great benefits whether you treat it like a hobby or a profession. Here are four reasons why online foreign exchange trading is good for you.

1. Forex is flexible

The foreign exchange market runs 24 hours a day from Sunday through Friday. Since it’s open much longer than other financial markets, this means it’s easier for you to find time to trade.

You can trade before or after work, or whenever you have some free time during the day. Plus, since the market is closed on weekends, you can use that time to catch up on your research. The flexibility of Forex trading is appealing to many people looking for a way to supplement their income.

2. Forex is educational

If you’re not interested in world events, Forex trading is probably not for you. But if you love keeping up with the news of the world, this can be a great way to turn that interest into real money.

Because the foreign exchange market is based on currency exchange rates, you need to be aware of how the currency of various countries is influenced by world events. For instance, Syria is currently having a large effect on world markets.

Keeping up with the news involves some work, but you’ll become more informed about the world around you. And as your world knowledge grows, so can your portfolio.

3. Forex can be low risk

Even if you don’t make a fortune in foreign exchange trading, you can still make a decent side income … and you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get started. Many experts recommend an initial investment of $100.

Picture that $100 as a practice fee: it’s great if you see a return on that investment, but if you don’t, at least you’ve learned about Forex trading and can use that knowledge for the future. Especially if you don’t plan on making trading your primary source of income, Forex trading can be a relatively low-cost way to earn money in your spare time.

The trick is to be a smart, disciplined trader.

4. Forex can broaden your horizons

World events. Foreign Currencies. Finance. Investing.

Foreign currency trading depends on a lot of knowledge across a wide range of subjects. Fortunately, you can develop those skills over time as you trade; just start out trading small so you don’t run much risk.

And there’s plenty of help available. Reputable Forex websites provide a wealth of information, no matter what your experience level may be. You’ll find that, as your portfolio grows, so does your knowledge of the world.

Lifestyle:

Moonshine and Cupcakes: the Perfect Summer Treat

There are moments on summer days — as the ceiling fan is blowing hot air around, you’ve got the screen door open, and you’re sweating in your porch chair with a pitcher of quick-melting ice water — when all of a sudden you get a craving for the Southern that can’t be cured with just a class of lemonade.

When it’s too hot to fry chicken, consider something a bit different to soothe your Southern appetite: moonshine and cupcakes. It probably sounds odd. Perhaps you are wondering where one acquires moonshine now that Prohibition is long over.

You may be concerned that supporting moonshine distillers means you’ll be arrested for skirting some liquor sales tax. But fret not: this is not a dangerous operation, but merely a new way to rethink an old summertime treat.

Moonshine and sweet tea cupcakes

Nothing is more innocent than a cupcake. Give these little delights a rebellious flair by adding moonshine to the batter … for a fruity, booze-y tinge and a little kick on those hot summer afternoons when there is nothing to do but relax and pray for rain to cool things off.

Start with ingredients for a typical vanilla cupcake batter, then include about one cup of milk and 10-12 bags of tea. The more tea bags you include, the stronger the tea flavor in your cupcakes.

Heat the milk in the microwave or over the stove until warm, but not boiling, and then allow the tea bags to steep in the milk for about five minutes; again, longer steeping time makes for a stronger flavor. Typically, black tea is used for cupcake recipes, but you can use any strong flavor — sweet and spicy Good Earth tea might be an interesting alternative for the holidays.

Mix in the rest of your cupcake ingredients (see recipes here), and then comes the kicker: replace some of your liquids with moonshine — any fruit flavor of your choice will do.

You can also chop up the fruit at the bottom of the bottle, or soak some fresh fruit in moonshine overnight, and then add them to the batter or the frosting. If you want to keep the kick, add the moonshine to the batter (the alcohol will bake off in the oven), then place one of these soaked fruits on the top of the cupcake after it has been frosted.

Make your own moonshine

If you really want to make these cupcakes fresh, consider making your own moonshine at home — it does add a bit of that rebellious feel — and you can make the proof as strong as you like. A number of moonshine recipes can be found online, or in distillery books, and you can make it at home the same way beer can be brewed, or wine fermented … in the basement or the garage.

Lifestyle:

Understanding Variations in Auto Insurance

 

When it comes time to shop for a new auto insurance policy, buyers often find a huge variety of rates. This can be due to many factors, and while sometimes the cheapest auto insurance is also the best, other times it’s better to go for a more expensive rate and get the highest quality insurance.

How do you know? What’s behind the numbers? Here are a few things to watch for.

Surplus Lines Carriers

Insurers who “officially” offer policies inside most states have to file financial information with the state insurance commissioner. They are held to certain standards. They have to abide by specific state laws that govern their obligations to customers. State regulators largely control auto insurance rates; however, they have to follow the state’s financial guidelines.

Other companies are allowed to offer insurance inside the state on a “surplus lines” basis. In most cases, that means they provide insurance that is not adequately furnished by the regulated insurers, but there’s plenty of grey area. A surplus lines policy is often cheaper, but that may often be because it is less subject to regulation and of poorer quality.

On the other hand, some companies offer surplus lines policies for many years. They meet their obligations. They avoid regulation in order to keep their rates low. Discount insurance sellers often provide quality surplus lines policies that cost a lot less and have fewer fees.

Deductible Dodge Ball

When you buy an insurance policy, you’re essentially paying somebody else to take some of the risk for you. The greatest risk to your car is little stuff, like scratched paint or a chipped windshield. It isn’t big stuff, like getting totaled or striking a pedestrian. Insurance companies will offer really low rates while pushing high deductibles on their policyholders. You’re still covered against the big stuff, but you have to pay out of pocket for the little stuff.

Insurers have really smart people working the numbers for them. Statistically, you’re going to pay more money for nickel-and-dime repairs than you will forking out the extra cash for a policy with a lower deductible.

Apples and Bananas

Insurance is a financial tool, so the cost of a policy is always based on how much money is at risk. Generally, lowering the cost of a policy means lowering the amount of money at risk, which some insurers try to do with some pretty intricate cloak-and-dagger methods. That can include things like requiring you to use approved shops (even when they don’t do good work) or applying conditions to the policy that get them out of paying for certain damages.

The declarations page of a policy generally includes all the pertinent information. Get the declarations page for all the policies you’re shopping and make sure that you’re comparing apples to apples.

Some insurance discounters do a good job of making sure the policies available through them are of high quality. Others, however, aren’t nearly so scrupulous. Be sure to check the credibility of the source you’re shopping, especially if you’re using an anonymous online brokerage.

  • Follow TechVert

Gadgets:

6 Essential Facts About Windows Virtual Private Server Management

Companies have plenty of options today when it comes to managing their servers. They can be dedicated in-house hardware, they can be dedicated but hosted by an outside company, or they can be shared with other firms.

Of course, each option comes at a different cost, with different benefits. Even with a variety of server options available, some companies have clamored that they had needs that weren’t being met by these choices.

This gave rise to another means by which companies could have their servers hosted: Virtual Private Server Hosting. Here are six facts about VPS that everyone should know.

They’re a great option for small businesses

Virtual private servers divide one physical server into multiple virtual servers, which equals more bang for the buck. Since it requires significantly less hardware, the costs are lower. Small businesses also get the perks of a dedicated server in terms of management, performance, and security without the high cost.

They bridge the gap

A blend between sharing a hosted web service and a dedicated hosted service, virtual private servers give customers root-level administrative permissions, which means the benefits of a dedicated hosted service with the lower cost of a shared hosted service.

Sandbox security

Programs are able to operate safely in a virtual private server thanks to sandbox security. This is an environment in which untested programs can be checked to ensure they will run on the actual server.

Personalization

Shared web server hosting may be the least expensive route, but it comes with security risks and the potential for down time on a website during high peak traffic. With the power of a virtual private server, one company can run multiple websites, which equals greater personalization and performance.

Mainframe

The concept of dividing servers isn’t new and in fact has been around since the era of mainframe computers. Thanks to cloud computing and virtualization technology advancements, companies no longer have “either or” choices.

Combining cost savings with the benefits of a dedicated server (whether it’s hosted in the cloud or not) also comes with the security, administration, and personalization most companies expect and indeed require today.

With that said, companies that choose the virtual private server route should have IT administrative know-how or hire a consultant or consulting company to manage it. Since there are many ways to customize a virtual private server environment, getting the most out of it can be accomplished with smart configurations and excellent management.

Mobile:

The Subtler Details of Technology

There is very little in our lives that technology does not affect or touch. Some may argue that it reaches every facet. After all, with just one device, the smartphone, we are able to research restaurants and movies on the go, find a hiking trail, or get directions.

The technology at our fingertips is astounding; it’s even more so because its capabilities and integration into daily life are now mundane, quotidian as daily life. But go beyond the smartphone, the tablet, and the GPS. It’s easy to see the when technology plays a role in electronic devices.

Instead, let’s explore the less ordinary and obvious ways technology is used in the world around us.

1. Money

Money is exchanged, traded, and deposited electronically today. Very rarely is cash used for monetary transactions anymore. The Internet is global and has made the global marketplace an easy place to conduct business. Thanks to technology, we are able to book travel, purchase clothing, buy a book, or order a dress — all from the comfort of home.

Recently, banks have made mobile applications and online banking even easier. In the event you actually receive a paper check, there’s no need to drive to the bank. Deposit it right there. Paying bills in one fell swoop takes mere minutes. No need to balance a checkbook anymore, on-demand access to bank accounts lets people check their balances on the fly.

The speed and ease of use when we call up our funds and spend money is astounding. Need cash? Technology powers ATMs. No cash? Technology makes the use of credit and debit cards possible.

2. Driving

Today’s vehicles are more brain than muscle. The technology that brings the driver and passengers voice-activated GPS, phone, texting, and the like is still just the tip of the iceberg.

Cars today have incredibly sophisticated computer systems that dramatically improve fuel economy, safety, and the driving experience. From engine to tires, automobiles are getting smarter.

For example, run-flat tires include an external structure that gives a driver an additional 50 miles to drive to a gas station or repair shop to fix a flat tire. No more driving on rims and no more getting stuck on the side of a busy freeway, risking life and limb to change a flat.

Many parents give major kudos to technology for making kids safer with rear-view cameras and entertaining them with “in-flight” videos and games. More efficient vehicles give us the chance to hand over a less-damaged environment to our kids when they are older.

3. Beauty products

The beauty industry is constantly innovating — investing in and developing technologies that will improve the way we look and feel. The more science uncovers the how and why of aging, the more tools we have to fight the good fight against wrinkles, hair loss, and visible skin damage.

Ultrasound and laser therapies are proving to be highly effective methods of producing collagen and treating skin damage. While new to the market and relatively high in cost, the results are said by many to be worth the cost.

Technology has also left its mark on the hair industry. Advancements have created hair accessories, wigs, and pieces that cannot be distinguished from natural hair. On top of looking real and providing the style and look that suits the moment, they are now designed to withstand high winds, ventilate to prevent overheating, and give no evidence of being faux.

The implications and uses of technology surround us. It goes into the products we use (big and small), the way we pay for those products, and the methods we use to research those products.

Gadgets:

How Cloud Services Can Help Your Business

In today’s economy, small business owners are more interested in finding ways to increase productivity, save money, and reduce time at the office. The more your business can automate, the less you have to worry about. When you leave the drone work to cloud services, you increase your chances of getting home in time for dinner with the family every night.

Cloud services are beneficial

Cloud services offer a number of benefits to small businesses and their owners. The biggest benefit is that cloud services store all your information in one place. You don’t have to worry about having a number of different software programs that can only be accessed from one computer or another.

With cloud services, you have the ability to use apps that can be accessed by anyone in the company from anywhere in the world, at any time of day or night. This is one of the most important of the many benefits cloud services have to offer.

Apps that make life simple

When it comes to running your business, you’d probably be far more productive if you didn’t have to worry about all the little details of everyday business activities. With an app like DropBox, you and the rest of your employees can have easy access to any of your files at any moment, from any device that has Internet service.

This means you can open and work on that file your coworker was working on in California, from your meeting room in Miami. You can collaborate on projects with this app because anyone working on the project can make changes, additions, and deletions at any time, all of which immediately update on everyone else’s device.

Productivity apps

Microsoft and Google are names you recognize. They’re also names that can help you manage your office productivity. With apps designed to keep track of your time, your calendar, and your appointments, you will also know what’s going on in your office the second a change is made to anything.

Saving money

Another benefit of cloud services is the ability to save your business a significant amount of money. You can save on everything from Internet costs to operating costs to shipping costs. The many different available apps can help you to save money, increase productivity, and become more successful.

Cloud services are imperative for the success of any small business. Their benefits far outweigh any reason you possibly could have not to utilize this service. There’s no time like the present to start saving money and time, and laying the groundwork for greater success.

More on TechVert